Surprise, Surprise

I’m over that recent bout of depression, and now there’s just the fallout to contend with. I resumed afternoon naps this week, such as I had in the early days. On my teaching days, I walk out of the building utterly spent. In running, they say to give it your all on race days, to “leave it all on the race course.” Me, I’ve been leaving it all in the classroom. Like a novice professor, I overprepare for my classes, and I’m wiped out afterward.  But during that stretch of time that I’m in the classroom, I’m completely engaged, in my element, laughing, gesticulating, really listening, recalling historical tidbits I thought were lost to the memory loss of trauma. Maybe they think I’m nuts, I don’t know, but I like these students, I like this job, a lot. This job is giving me so much.

During this week’s meditation class, which focused on awareness, I realized something. Before I started meditation, I thought that “letting things go” meant that a person had to be pretty flighty, what with all that letting go. But in meditation this week it struck me that one has to be pretty solid to face thoughts (or images or experiences), recognize them, and let them go. That takes strength, or solidity, or something, but whatever it is, it’s not flighty. I was surprised.

A few months ago, I tried to envision if I would ever have another companion. I pictured him in my head–longish light brown hair, kind eyes. Daughter and I were at our local restaurant this past week, and a guy with longish brown hair and kind eyes walked out. Wow. He exists. I have no interest in pursuing this or any other guy right now. But it’s neat to see one’s imaginary vision in real life. Today I drove down the driveway and realized that, as lonely as I am, a companion will not make me happy. I need to find my own strength. I was surprised to accept myself as not married anymore and to just accept my situation, as it is, right now, as an individual who needs a lot of work. But, wow, I’ve achieved some acceptance that this is now my life. I don’t have to like it or hate it. It just is this way, right now. My practice needs to take place where I am, with what I have; it’s not about what I don’t have.

Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m on a path of enlightenment, both my kids and I were surprised by a few sudden outbursts of mine this week. I think I hollered (not unprovoked, but quite suddenly and out of proportion to the provocation) three times–twice at son and once at my delicate-as-a-flower daughter. We reconciled soon after, so we’re good. But where did this rage come from? It’s like I’m this lady buying milk, carpooling kids, but there is a monster inside me, and she’s so very angry and tired and exasperated. Actually, this should come as no surprise. See paragraph, above. I’ve got a lot of work to do. See paragraph #2 for how strong someone has to be to let things go. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. And see paragraph #1–I’m very tired. Okay, this outburst stuff is crappy but it’s really not so surprising, after all. 

In prepping for one of my classes this week, I found the assigned reading to be redundant of things we’d already read. It was a dud. I couldn’t imagine what we’d talk about. I almost gave the kids a freebie and canceled class. But as I looked over their reaction papers at 5am, I was surprised to learn that some of them didn’t understand the article, and some of them understood it but still couldn’t figure out why anyone would adopt that theory, and others got it and connected it to other things they knew and displayed such intellectual curiosity that it became infectious, and I was intellectually curious, too. My heart was full. The students taught the teacher. I walked in that classroom and taught, and they shared, and we all learned.

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