Monthly Archives: December 2015

Letting Go

I signed up for a once-a-day email course in letting go.

I’ve been finding that I’m tense and uptight when I didn’t used to be.  I have trouble sleeping, I don’t feel as though I’ve been thinking clearly, and I seem to be having a hard time thinking clearly and focusing.

Almost all of that stress is work-related.  I’m doing what I love, but I’m doing it in a place in which I really don’t fit well, and that bothers almost every part of my life.  I’m hopeful that this course will help me to prioritize what’s important, release what doesn’t serve me, and help me find some balance.

Today’s lesson asks us to reflect on our goals for the course, and I thought perhaps that this might be a good place to put them.

  • How I hope to feel as a result of clearing what no longer serves and supports me is:  I would like to be able to sleep well.  I’ve been having anxiety dreams – frenetic, pointless, busy dreams that leave me feeling more tired than I was went I went to bed the night before – and I feel generally restless and uptight in my waking hours.  It would be a bonus if I could feel better about my professional situation, though I recognize that a lot of that is beyond my control.  I would like to feel as though I’m thinking clearly and that I’m able to focus; I feel as though I’m scattered and frantic most of the time.

 

  • What I hope to let go of is:  the feeling that I’m powerless.  I have a lot of good ideas and I can see a clear way to implement them; I’m just not sure that I can do it where I am now, so I would like to give up the feeling that I can’t do it at all, that because I’m only one person, I don’t have the resources or the wherewithal to do big things.

 

  • What I hope to attract is: clarity, confidence, and balance.  I want to feel organized and effective, and to attract people who think and feel the same way I do.  I want to build a team that gets things done, and that supports each other while we’re doing it.

 

  • How does “clutter” show up in your life?  I tend not to suffer too much from physical clutter; though there are a lot of extraneous things in my life, I’m pretty good at clearing the excess out relatively often (in fact, I currently have a trunk-load of stuff that I can bring to the thrift shop; I need to make a point of doing that soon). My brain is cluttered, though, with to-do lists and scattered tasks, and with a lot of plans and ideas and hopes.  I’ve been working on getting these things on paper and out of my head, but I find that I often think of things that I want or need to do in the car or the shower or, worse, just before I fall asleep.  I’ll focus on getting better at putting these things down (and checking them off); I learned how to use the reminder feature on my phone the other day, so I’ll make better use of that.  I’m also working with my students on weekly goals; I’ll use that as an opportunity to put my short-term stuff in order.

Today is the Solstice, so it feels right that I’m beginning to put these ideas in place today; this day feels like a good day for fresh starts.

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Just Call Me Fred

I mean to give him the same chance every year, whether he likes it or not, for I pity him. He may rail at Christmas till he dies, but he can’t help thinking better of it—I defy him—if he finds me going there, in good temper, year after year, and saying Uncle Scrooge, how are you?      -Fred at his party, talking about his determination to keep being generous and cheerful to his stingy Uncle Scrooge.  Stave III of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

I’m feeling an awful lot like Scrooge’s nephew lately.  I keep offering little bits of kindness and generosity that keep getting baldly ignored.  Case in point:

The other day, I was in Trader Joe’s texting with a coworker – we’ll call her Blair – asking her about the candy preferences of yet another coworker, whom I’ll call Charlotte (I’m putting together little gift baskets and, since I have almost no interaction with Charlotte on a regular basis, needed some inside information).  I sent a bunch of pictures of the choices and managed to determine from Blair that Charlotte likes chocolate covered peanuts, so I bought some.

On my way home, Blair texted again with interest in the peanuts; she doesn’t live near a TJ’s and wondered if I’d pick up a box for her, too.  I’d already left the store, but I had Bean text back (I was driving at the time) that she could have the box I bought for Charlotte, because I’ll be back in TJ’s before I need to give her the gift.  Blair did the “no, no; that’s okay” thing and that’s the last we said about it.

This morning, I left the box of peanuts on Blair’s desk for her to find when she came in.

Blair’s room is two doors away from mine.  We have REALLY easy access to email.  She has a double-block free period AND she passed me, TWICE, in the hallway today.  Never ONCE did she acknowledge the gift.  In fact, she barely acknowledged me (and maybe wouldn’t have if I hadn’t said hello first).

Merry Christmas, Blair.  God save you!

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Fuck Your “Thoughts and Prayers”

Today is December 2nd.  It is the 336th day of the year.  According to all of the sources I have looked at today, there have been 352 mass shootings this year.  For those of you who, like me, might be math-impaired, that’s 16 more shootings than we’ve had days.

Sit with that for a moment, would you?

Today, there were three mass shootings; one in San Bernardino, California which, at this writing, has claimed 14 lives and left upwards of 20 people wounded; one in Houston, Texas which left one person dead and an unknown number wounded; and one in Savannah, Georgia, which left one person dead and at least three wounded.

I always feel the same after something like this happens (and it should be noted here that something like this happens a couple times a week, and yes, I know about almost all of them; I make a point to seek out this news).  I find myself suspended halfway between gaping despair and wordless, seething rage.

Right now?  Rage is winning.

Observe; these are the twitter responses of some of the major candidates for the nomination on the GOP side:

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This right here?  This is why we have 16 more shootings than we’ve had days in this year.  We are experiencing EXACTLY WHAT WE DESERVE because we’ve tolerated – no; more than tolerated, we’ve elevated – the people who aspire to some seriously twisted image of what it means to be an American with “2nd Amendment rights” far more than they value public safety and the lives of our citizens.  We vote these nationalistic, ignorant, dangerous and deluded maniacs into office.  We allow them to refrain from bringing to the legislative agenda anything that even remotely resembles a meaningful, rational attempt to curb our national obsession with firearms.  We’ve allowed them to get the ignorant and frightened all worked up about “baby parts” and refugees and Obama coming for your guns.  We’ve stood politely by and respected the “opinions” of others who tell us that “laws don’t matter; bad guys will always find a way to get guns” and, “an armed society is a polite society” and, “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and instead of collectively standing up and saying “you know what?  No.  No more,” we light candles and hold vigils and offer “thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families” and hope that we can finish praying for one set of murdered citizens before it’s time to focus on another.

Fuck that.  Fuck your thoughts and prayers.  Your thoughts and prayers weren’t enough after Columbine to prevent Mark Orrin Barton from killing 9 people in Atlanta.  Your thoughts and prayers after Atlanta weren’t enough to prevent the Virginia Tech massacre.  Your thoughts after Virginia Tech weren’t enough to stop the mass murders in Huntsville or Tuscon or Seal Beach or Aurora or Oak Creek or Minneapolis or Newtown (when we REALLY should have said “here and no farther”) or any of the literally hundreds of shootings that have happened since; they didn’t stop the guy who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood on Friday and they didn’t stop the guy who murdered a waitress at a Waffle House because she told him he couldn’t smoke in the restaurant and they didn’t stop the guy who killed someone for parking in front of his house.  They didn’t stop the staggering number of young black people who’ve been murdered, literally in the middle of our streets, simply because they were there.

For whatever good intentions you might have, your thoughts and prayers don’t do shit.

Enough.  Get off your fucking knees and DO something.  Write to your congresspeople.  VOTE.  Insist on reasonable, rational laws and regulations that will certainly help to limit the number of these kinds of incidents.  Volunteer at your local schools to help teach kids how to manage their problems without violence.  Stop tolerating the kind of rhetoric that allows us to think of our neighbors as less than human.  Be fucking decent to each other.  Stop enabling a society where more mass shootings than days in the year is commonplace.

I’m begging you.

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