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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saying No

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I finally self-diagnosed myself with a condition I’ve long suspected that I’d been the carrier for.

Over the span of years this ailment has had ample opportunity to gestate, grow, and mutate into something far more perpetually grotesque than what it originally started out as: something innocent and benign…and I’m sure that there are those out there that would have originally called this a blessing; however, it grew into nothing shy of an obscenity over the blight of years. In fact, I have a feeling that some of you may be carriers of this particular disease as well:

The inability to say no.

I remember being asked to do things for work, family, church, friends, and various others that I didn’t mind in the slightest over the years. When asked if there were any volunteers, I found myself suffering from what some have been known to call, ‘helium hands,’ and the willingness to help out when nobody else seemed to be willing.

This was all fine and good—well, for a while.

I learned something important about myself over the years, though. While it’s good to help others in need, there comes a time when one needs to realize their own limit, and admit to themselves—and to the world—that they are not the Superman everyone might think they are, especially those of us who are perfectionists with Narcissistic tendencies…such a dangerous combination; I don’t know what Mother Nature was thinking when she threw those two permutations into the mix.

So, here I start off with perfectionism? And you ask me to do something on a grand scale? If it isn’t grand to begin with, chances are…I’ll try to make it become so.

I remember my second year at my local university when they needed someone to take charge of the children’s carnival for Fall Fling. Nobody would head up the program and it seemed that it was doomed to be a failure. However, somebody mentioned that Teachinfourth was in the Elementary Education Program and therefore, he would be a prime candidate for the job—after all, that makes sense doesn’t it?

Without a team of any sort at my disposal, I went about organizing a program I had no experience at. I spent countless hours planning, replanning, organizing, reorganizing, working, reworking, stressing, restressing, panicking, repanicking, and so on, and so on - all with a very limited budget.

And then, when things finally reached their worst, I turned to a few of my neighbors to help me out because I couldn’t take on a venture of this magnitude completely on my own, and not have it totally blow up in my face.

I think I might even have generated a stomach ulcer or two…but the night’s festivities were festive, and the fun was fun. The kids loved it.

Then I stayed and cleaned up everything afterward.

Fast-forward ten or so years into the future, when I finally came to the realization that it’s good to sometimes tell people no. After all, there would be times that to someone else—a simple job or task—that for somebody else (like myself) who needed it to be perfect—it would take hours until it was done right. While that other person simply wanted it done, I would want to make sure it was done with grandeur and awesomeness.

In other words: all they wanted was Panda Express, I was wanting to give them P.F. Chang’s and Cheesecake Factory for dessert.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times I still say yes.

Friends come and ask me to take photos.

I love photography, you know.

But there are times I tell people no to sessions as well.

I simply do not have the time or energy to devote to them with being a full-time teacher, blogger, person and everything else in my life that is spinning about me. I have to think about my sanity…sometimes. Besides, I’m really not looking for helium hands anymore; I let the air out of those things months ago. I really don’t need relapse…or another intervention.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Post About the Next Post

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I’ve decided to change it up a bit this week—for next week. This week’s post reflects what next week’s post will be. Please let me know what you’d like me to write the next post about from the available list. The choices listed are either the titles, or a phrase which will be used in the said post.



Fake it Until You Make It.

It was like a scene out of Lord of the Flies.

And so I said No.

A Funeral for Myself.

The Polaroid.

I’m an Addict.


The Attic.

The Exhilaration of Life

Photo garnished from www.ivanwalsh.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hansel, Gretel, and Katy Perry

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I stood in the midst of my classroom yesterday afternoon, feeling lost—somewhat akin to the mood I imagine lingering about Hansel and Gretel as they found themselves disoriented deep in the forest and surrounded by wild and ferocious animals.

I sank into one of my student’s chairs.

I’d worked at the juvenile detention center for a hefty chunk of the summer, and spent a good portion of it putting my classroom back together again—all the king’s horses and all of his men had nothing on me, I’ll tell you that. However, even after hours of work, there were all of those little things that never seemed to find their places. At home, I’d automatically shoved them into the junk drawer where they’d magically find their way into another day’s adventure at some clandestined future moment, when they were most desperately needed…like the room of requirement at Hogwarts.

Alas, my classroom was not Hogwarts.

…at least not yet.

There would be no sorting ceremonies, quite simply I was Hufflepuff…I took everyone, not the brave, not the crafty, or the most clever...I would take the lot: the hodgepodge mix of what makes a classroom what it is.

If I had a choice I think my classroom would be Slytheryn. It seems that the Slytheryns always seem to have the most fun.

I arose from my student’s chair and looked longingly at my empty Dr. Pepper cup from Walker’s Gas Station down the road from previous working visit.

Okay, Teachinfourth…work. You’ve got to get to work…

Into the playlist went a repeated sampling of Katy Perry songs and I tried my best to find my way out of the forested jungle of my classroom.

My desk is still a pile of the unknown, but the rest of the classroom looks pretty great.

Tomorrow is ‘officially’ my first day back to work for meetings and such, through truthfully, I’ve spent a good chunk of the summer there. However, I’m still hoping that the trail of breadcrumbs will lead me to where I need to be before Thursday’s Back to School Night. After all, all of those little wild animals will come, whether or not I’ve found my way through that dratted forest…
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