Thursday, November 21, 2013

Glass Half...?

There have been a couple of times this week when I have wanted to blog that "It is a good week." Then, just a few moments before I take the time to write... something blows that mindset to smithereens.

My English classes are enduring enjoying their poetry units this month. Each year, the ninth graders read the poem "Making a Fist," which creates an extended metaphor between a car journey and the ultimate journey... life. One of the questions accompanying the poem asks if it ends with an optimistic or pessimistic tone. And, each year I have to explain what pessimistic means. Unfortunately I am all too familiar with this term and at ease in explaining what it means.

The great metaphor, the not-so-great cliché, we all are familiar with is... that glass of water. Is it half-full? Is it half-empty?
If you're thirsty, does it really matter?
I wish my glass was more "full." I wish I didn't allow negativity to be so draining. I have said about my own kids before, or to parents about their kid, that "he adapts to his environment"- meaning around good influences, he behaves. Around negative influences, not so much so. I can't say that I am so much different.
I try to be conscientious about removing myself from environments charged with negativity. Sometimes... that is not an option. And often, I can deflect the negativity around me - not even just ignore the negative talk, but combat it with excessive cheerfulness so well portrayed that the dripping sarcasm is not obvious.
Externally though, I often find myself falling into the pits of negativity. Making comments I wish I could retract. Taking part in conversations that I wish I had walked away from... or not started. However, even though that is the case, it is still far more easier to avoid the external negativity than the internal negativity forever churning within.
I wish I could see the positive in a difficult situation, the humor in a frustrating one. Although I can be an objective and sympathetic person and put myself in the place of others to understand their viewpoint (although many would tend to disagree)... when I am looking at something from within, from my viewpoint, it is often tinged with the negative. I implode, not explode. So, all the "good" of a day can be ruined by one brief frustration, or all the "fullness" of a good week can be tainted by one stressful conversation.

There was a movie in the 80s called "Mask." It starred Eric Stolz (pictured above) and Cher. Rocky is a high school boy, strong student with big dreams, but hindered by his extreme facial deformity. His cranial bones will not stop growing and ultimately lead to him having a pity-induced shortened life span. Following his death, his alcoholic slutty mother, Cher, finds a poem he had written and reads it at his graveside. There were two stanzas, things that were good and things that were bad. Both stanzas ended with "sunshine on my face."
I get that.
I wish I could squelch that internal dialogue though... so the good is just... good. I guess I can work on that. I have done well at curbing my knee jerk reaction to responding to situations... sometimes.

So, the good...

I was awarded Teacher of the Month for November. This is something the new Superintendent instituted, so I'm not really sure of the parameters or selection process. I think the administration just decides who to award it to since there's been no "voting" amongst the staff for it. The boss gave me flowers and I have a luncheon with the other county recipients and the Superintendent on Monday. Acknowledgement is a good thing. I would work as hard and long without it, but it's nice to get the nod that your efforts are not unrecognized. (See how good I did there not footnoting it with complaints of the picture required for it today?) (No, this doesn't count.)

Our New Mom in the English Department has returned from Maternity Leave. So, we have an intact English Department for this school year finally and I only have to worry about my four classes again. (Some funny perspective at work there to make me "thankful" for four classes, when the norm is three.)

It's Key Club week. We have had a jam packed week of achievement and fun. I have allowed myself to be more laid back, not get stressed about the event details, and let the kids step into their leadership roles. They were outstanding at Induction Monday night, and I use that word in its literal sense- they stood out amongst their peers. Breakfast on Tuesday and Movie Night tonight were just plain fun, with many guttural laughs. And tomorrow will be a long yet rewarding day with the Blood Drive, followed by a Thanksgiving Dinner & Dance with our adult mentally-challenged friends at Zuni.

Then on Saturday, Justin will be coming home for Thanksgiving week.
I haven't seen him in almost a year.

So much GOOD to reflect on...
I just need to drink the dang glass of water and be over it already.
I definitely need to drink more water seriously though, relying far too much on caffeine this week (always)!

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