Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A box I don't fit into

I drive a truck. I've driven this truck for eleven years. This is the first vehicle I chose on my own.

I think I wanted a truck because I almost got one when I was a teenager. We were going to buy the neighbor's pickup, but then they realized the pickup was more reliable than the other car they had, and kept that one.

People's reactions to a city girl driving a truck are varied.

Female reactions include
  • I like it when women drive trucks.
  • You are the best parallel parker! That was awesome when you pulled into that space, after that tiny little car gave up.
  • Can you help me move some bookshelves?

Some boxes are too big.

Male reactions include
  • You're going to have trouble driving that in the snow.
  • I'd expect you to drive something compact and smart. (!!!)
  • I always think, "Katherine's here" when I see that truck. (Well, duh, that's the point!)
  • Can you help me move 30 bags of rocks? 

Some boxes are too small.

After eleven years, I'm still not over having a truck.

I don't fit some guys' idea of a demure, feminine woman with a practical if bland vehicle. I drive a truck, I own power tools and a shovel, and these days I probably can hold side plank longer than they can, too. That's just the kind of girl I am. The best guy, the guy I'm looking for, will appreciate me for all that, rather than question my choices and expect me to be someone who fits a mold.

Some boxes are just right, but that doesn't mean we belong in boxes.

Monday I was driving home and found a set of chairs by the side of the road. Free chairs! I couldn't have freed those chairs with a clown car. I can't wait to see what I end up doing to them.

They will probably end up purple.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I keep secrets

It's interesting, the things I don't mention or can't find the time to mention. It's nearly always good things, like starting yoga teacher training and teaching my first yoga class. I decided I was being stupid about not saying anything, and needed to announce all of this to the world (which, these days, means Facebook).

The thing is, I hate narcissists. You know who I mean. The people who have to have everything be about them. Think of someone making a speech that steals the spotlight from the guest of honor, the person who shows off on the dance floor, or butts into every conversation with their opinion or personal experience, no matter how irrelevant. The person who just has to tell you a story that seems designed to impress or convey the teller's importance.

Lépicié, Nicolas-Bernardt - Narcisse - 1771
Nicolas Bernard Lépicié [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I am someone who routinely fails to be impressed. You know the owner of this coffee shop? Sure, but you still pay full price. You once sold T-shirts at that performer's show? How does that make you closer to him?

So when I have something to brag about, I fail to do so. I get so tired of social media being a brag-fest: look at my cute significant other, baby, degree, new job... So tired of it that I fail to see it as a tool for sharing information. So tired of comparing my struggles, about which I know every detail, to everyone else's highlights.

So I'm quiet. I don't ask for attention. And, not surprisingly, I don't get it.

But look what happens when I do.

To reframe bragging as sharing good news, I have to accept that people genuinely do want to hear good news and consider the idea that people succeed in groups. I'm not entirely sure that this is true, or what it looks like.

It also requires seeing things I do as success, which is perhaps the biggest challenge for me. It just feels like the things I do are the things I do. I don't generally attach any particular value to them.

I do, however, attach value to the things other people do, that I have not done.

It does make me wonder about how I am seen by others, and if what they see is more or less accurate (or differently accurate) than what I see.

Not coincidentally:

Thanks so much for volunteering your time last Thursday, I know we all really enjoyed the class! After you left Mr. S--- said it was the best class so far, because it was more challenging!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First step

I taught my first yoga class Thursday night. Even though I had anxiety tummy all day, I was not overly hyping it up in my head. My thoughts were these:
  1. It does not have to be the greatest yoga class ever
  2. I just really don't want anyone to be injured
  3. There is something "more" that isn't quite there yet, and the only way to figure it out is to teach. So enough already, start teaching.
And just like that, an opportunity came up to fill in as a volunteer teacher for a group organized through Americorps for people without health insurance. I am both an Americorps grant recipient (paid off my expensive grad school degree!) and a person who doesn't always have health insurance. Plus the class was 10 minutes from both work and home.

I got there early, did the aura kriya, had my usual when-are-they-coming am-I-in-the-right-place-even-though-I-asked-and-was-told-it-is-in-this-room head thoughts, meditated, and the volunteers showed up. Granted I only had 4 students, but that's a good number, sufficient to watch and see what they're doing.

It was a little not-real, in that it was in a cafeteria. So it didn't feel yoga-ish. They didn't say "namaste" back to me, but then, why would they. Still. They did good work, didn't get hurt, and even though I forgot about 5 minutes of my sequence (It was right on the floor next to me, but I was looking at my students, not my notebook, which is probably how it should be if a choice has to be made) and wondered why my class ran so short, they'll never know that I left something out.

What I understand from my first "real" class is that there is a continuum. That I have started on this journey. That I have made the leap from yoga-teacher-trainee to beginning yoga teacher, and that it's only going to get better, more natural, and more me from here.  The only way to do it is to do it.

Master Yoda - origami

By Ciro Duran from Caracas, Venezuela (Master Yoda) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A year

In the last week I have found that I am able to say to people that I lost my job, and not feel the tears coming. Even a month ago this was not the case.

It has been a year.

I don't think I will ever completely forgive what happened, because so much of what happened was morally wrong. I should not have been asked to do the things I was asked to do. I should not have been fired for maintaining my integrity.

This is a big part of why every day I feel the loosening of my grip around the idea of myself as a classroom teacher.

I have held onto this idea for a long, long time.

I held onto it by working in a daycare for two years, and by going back there when I lost my job. At least there I could say I was doing important work. That it made a difference that I was there.

I looked at it as working on my behavior-management skills. As a break before I got back to my real work. As a chance to be creative and not have to worry about people breathing down my neck.

I got to make and do a lot of things, work with some really sweet kids, and have a lot of fun.


But when I eventually decided to go back to being a classroom teacher, it all happened so fast. I applied, was interviewed, was swept up into the job. That first year I even got an award.

And so when I began to push back, I felt like I was sending a message: This is what good teachers do. Good teachers hold students accountable. Good teachers expect to be paid fairly for their time. Good teachers know their job responsibilities and don't have to worry about those responsibilities changing every month.

Because people are fond of creating either/or situations, we were told again and again that caring about ourselves meant not caring about children. As if there were a limit to how much a person could care, or how many people a person could care about.

So I find myself again not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. With less certainty than I had. But also with a lot fewer boulders to push up hills.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why do people hate floors?

Carpet, I understand. I hate carpet. I have ripped up carpet before.

This is so, so gross. Yes, that is blue and green shag carpeting. That light brown is not floor. It is dust from the padding.
I don't know what was with me. Like really, I do not know why it has been a year and a half since I ripped up that carpet and the floor has not been finished. All I would have to do is call the number and write a check, and this hideousness would be gone from my life.

No. Apparently I needed to rip up more carpet. Rufus started that task for me a while back.

Some homeowners might think that it is preferable not to have a small furry assistant. I think it is preferable not to listen to my small furry assistant repeatedly hurling himself at the basement door.
When I peeled back the carpet at the landing, the floor looked really good.


So I got out the gloves, the prybar, and the needle-nosed pliers. At 9 o'clock on a Friday night, because that's the kind of homeowner I am.

The outlook seemed good when I started. Not excellent, but good. Workable.

The second step was not as good. The third was not lovely. And then it just got plain disgusting, so disgusting that I got out my boxcutter and cut the carpet so I wouldn't have to deal with the rest of it. I cleaned up what I could so it would be safe to use the stairs.

And then I got some soapy water and a brush. That seemed to help the situation a bit, if only in my mind.

If I were to do this again, I would start at the bottom of the stairs. That would have given me a solid, safe, tack-bar free work area as I moved up the stairs. But this is how we learn.

I'm just...ugh. Why would people do this to perfectly good hardwood?

More to the point, after my experience in the bedroom, why did I think it would be better? Well, because the landing looked better.

What it really does (I hope) is force the issue, so that I say no, I cannot live with these stairs. An entire bedroom ready except for floor-finishing and molding, I can live with, because I have another bedroom to live in. But now the dishevelment is in a space I use and see every day, and this should bring it to the level of crisis occupied by water heaters, faucets, and lack of electricity.

Why do I wait? Fear. That's the easy question.

The hard question is, fear of what? The worst has happened. What I feared has come about. And I'm still here.

I lost my job. I didn't lose my house.

I lost my grip for a while, but I got it back, and every day I am stronger.

So what am I afraid of? There's nothing to be afraid of. It's all happened.

So I stood there at 11 o'clock Friday night (1 tough gal, 5 stairs and clean-up = 2 hours, make a note of it) and resolved to finally call the floor-fixing people. As bad as the stairs look right now, the change is that I can see how they will look -- how they could look -- when they are finished. I can see their potential.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eight things to do before I turn 38

1. Get floors done

 (There's a post coming on that...)

2. Earn a bike through Free Ride

Street scene from Bundi, Rajasthan 
Ideally I would use it to escape, though I think perhaps bikes don't fly, so I could not escape very far.

3. Take an aerial yoga class

Aerial Yoga 
Well then I will just have to learn to fly another way.

Hmmm, where are the other 5? Well, I don't know what they are, yet! And, honestly, who cares if it's three or eight or thirty-eight? It's just a number. No sense in picking arbitrary numbers and trying to fill up those numbers with things that don't really matter. Three is still more than zero.
I really have a bajillion things I intend to do. But these three are the ones that require stepping outside my comfort zone -- yes, having my floors redone qualifies since I have to admit that I can't do it myself!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday awesomeness

Beautiful new location for outdoor yoga!

I didn't even know this park was being built, and I probably would never have known if it hadn't become the new location.

This is so much better than looking at shoppers and a pile of rocks.

I've got lots of reading to do, so it's time to head out to the porch with an iced coffee and a cat throwing himself against the window screen.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creating happiness

I have to admit, when I first saw links for this blog on Facebook, I was like, how annoying, another happy person telling me all I have to do to be happy is be happy and have a positive outlook.

Nope. Not so much.

I think it's really important not only to admit to ourselves that we are struggling with something, but to admit it to others. I struggled with this a lot as a teacher, as my colleagues waxed joyful with stories of sweet things their students did and lessons that went amazingly well.

I had awesome lessons and sweet students too, but I forgot about them in the morass of kids who threw milk cartons and fell asleep in the back of class.

You can imagine how little I care for social media, then.

More and more, as I progress through my training, I start to understand the idea that though pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. I start to recognize those little efforts that add up to improvements in my world. I start seeing "positive people" not as unrelentingly positive but struggling, just like everyone else, looking for the opportunity in the difficulty, looking for ways to examine discontent and find a way to change it instead of wallowing in it.

Positive attitude? Maybe for me, this manifests as a belief that I can change my circumstances. That to accept what is, does not mean I have to be defeated by it. That there is something I can do, every day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...