Category Archives: musings

Is it over yet?

Jk…Jk…It’s only day two tomorrow. Only 15 weeks to go…

Teaching is a odd sort of activity. It’s not that it’s all difficult-it is, but it’s not simply that which makes it odd. It’s not just that is time consuming-it is that, but there is also so much more that makes it odd.

No one taught, trained, gave me the “experience” needed to be a college instructor, well, at least not directly. My 3 week long “Teaching College..” course really did so much for my confidence, my abilities, my expertise, in such a short THREE WEEKS. In all truth, it did none of those things. The class was a joke. I did meet nice people, who shared in my disdain of the joke we were forced to live for three long weeks, but other than that, it’s didn’t teach me how to teach college…in fact, it didn’t teach me much of anything at all.

So you go into it with a blind “how the fuck is this going to work” attitude. You bring dry erase markers to classrooms with smart boards you were not trained to use and can’t taint with markers. You try to demonstrate to the students how to utilize the digital components of the course, but batteries for the projector remote are rotted into the remote, so no projector for you. By this point, you’re sweating like a nun in a whore house…confused, frustrated, annoyed, you just start to ramble. I am just dragging “you” into this-in part because only I read this-and for the fun of letting you DEAR READER (read: me), know what it feels like to do what I do. I ramble. At least the first day. You ramble. These are the books. You hold up the syllabus to demonstrate where the required texts section is, since you can’t project it out for them to see….You then try to remember which point to hit next, because it’s simply not logical to follow the logical order, the comprehensive order arranged in a syllabus you fussed over for a month. You look out, making sure these 50 wandering eyes are on the same page, and you notice, them. They’re here again.

There is always that one student. No matter how witty, engaging, charming, strict, educated, enlightened, whimsical you are…there they sit…staring in disdain of ever word you say, waiting with harsh breath until that clock tick-tocks to “escape!” time…You always causually look behind you to make sure a prankster didn’t draw a dozen penises on the wall behind you-nope…it’s you. That or they are sucking on the sourest thing ever created…or defecating through pantaloons onto University property. Maybe all at once. And that look…that look is so distracting. So you pause, loose your place, and ramble on…”Pencils are better than pens because you can erase”…why the hell did you say that? Moving promptly on…

It’s only ever one student who occupies that role. Some 70% are indifferent to be there; so they twitch, fiddle, look and relook at the syllabus simply because it’s there. 16% don’t know where they are anyway. It’s a Liberal Arts college, with a itty bitty boozy reputation. They register, show up sometimes, do what the have to, and move along if they’re able. but roughly 13% wants to be there. Not because it’s their area of study, or even because they like the topic. This precious 13% seems to get what I am doing, seems to understand that it is okay to laugh when your instructor say’s something so funny, comedy central would take it and write a RomCom script about it. These students look at me, and I look to them. They acknowledge me with small head tilts, sheepish smiles, and sometimes if I am lucky, an actual verbalized response.

Teaching is odd. You never know what to do to “get it right” so you can simply keep keepin’ on. I am very dedicated to what I do; not because it’s a job, but because I promised myself as an educator, I would impact lives in the way education, and some educators, impacted my life. Awkward at first, we eventually gel into a more stabilized group. You still ramble. I still loose track of my thoughts. The damn board still can’t be written on, and when the fuck is IT going to replace this remote…but it all, oddly enough, falls away, and the tasks at hand take center stage. The curtain moves aside…it knows, learning is about to happen here. Shhhhhhhh.

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Is it really a lie if you just say nothing?

I love my husband with all my heart. He makes me smile when no one else can. He looks at me as no one else ever will. He makes me feel loved, safe, and cherished. But I think I lie to him all the time…

When he asks if anything is wrong, I always so nothing, by literally saying nothing or saying, “no, nothing is wrong.” But that’s a lie…there is always something wrong. My brain is like a watch…a very powerful watch…it ticks, on and on and on and on and on, always ticking onto something new…sometimes it gets stuck, and ticks backwards instead of forward…but then it get’s set and ticks forward again, on and on and on and on…I am always thinking; of the present, the tasks at hand, my insecurities relating to what I am doing or what I’ve got to do, silly little things like when can I find time to go grocery shopping. If I am not fixated on the present, I am locked in the on and on and on and on of the past…relegated to the hazy field of nightmares and daydreams of things, people, places, times that would be best serve falling away into some dimly lit abyss. I don’t like to bother him with these things, so I say nothing…”no, nothing is wrong.”

The worst part has to be that he knows I am lying. He knows I just want to shield him from this hurt inside me. He knows…and I just don’t know what that does to him. But why should I share these things with him? What good could possibly come from that? “Babe, I hate you mustache because my father had a mustache…and I have to think about that 76% of the time that we kiss…” No-I don’t need to share that with him…it’s my own issue that I need to work out. Besides, he looks like a fucking idiot without his mustache (we found that out the hard way…). All of these things are minor issues taking refuge inside my head. I have no desire to bring them out into the world by putting them in his head.

So I find things to shut me up, make it feel like nothing is really wrong. I guess I am like a typical American in that regard. But then those things become part of the nothing. It really is a never ending story. The nothing chases me, it eats up everything I say, I do, I think, or I feel…and sooner or later, he’s going to get sick and fucking tired of it. But for now, I just I will skirt the lie by saying nothing…

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Creating a new course shouldn’t be this hard

Trying to develop, categorize, and create a syllabus for a new course is literally defeating my soul. I know that I know what I am doing…but reading this “teachers guide” and trying to create this newness, out of nothing, is harder than it should be.

Am I making myself fail by taking the hardest possible path? I am most prevented by the difference in “ability” that perceptions around me note. I don’t agree with these perceived differences…so I am roadblocking myself again and again as I try to decide which course path to take…Shit.

Okay…deep breathing…I will read this entire book today and come up with some middle ground.

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California Dreaming

We’re exploring California in October when we go there for a friends wedding. Starting out in LA, we’ll find ourselves adventuring to Palm Springs, Big Sur, Southern Sacramento, Yosemite, and back down to fly home from LA.

I love California. Born there, I always considered myself a California girl. The song detailing why California girls are better never really said because they swear a lot and have glorious tattoos, but I’ve still always felt a kinship to the song, and place. But for as much as I love it, I hate it. Trying to figure out our itinerary forced me to look at a map. The state is big, but when you’re moving the curses around, pulling a coast in and out, trying to find the beach beach hotel on highway 1, your eyes pull east, in land, and see names of places blurred by hazy memories of traumas must sooner forgotten than relived. As big as the state is, those names, even for small cities so few people have heard of, seem to be a central point of every search. It’s unavoidable I guess.

I’ve lived in too many places to remember. Before I turned 11, I had never attended one school for a full school year. From 11 to 15, I stayed in one state, but attended at least three different schools. For a few wonderful years, I has a stability I never knew in a small town in New York. I made friends, I made a place for myself in the world. I began to realize I had individual interests. I began to realize I has an individual power, both internally and externally with my words, spoken and written. I guess I began to develop into the person I would become. Yet for as stable as it seemed, there was no true stability in a life such as ours. As soon as the comfort set it, a promise wrapped around a firm lie lead us away from the small heaven we were fortunate to call home, at least, for a time.

I should have gone back to California. Back to my Grandmother and Grandfather, back to beaches, back to a sunshine that didn’t dull my hair. I was supposed to ride that Uhaul all the way across the country until we reached the place I always longed for. I was also supposed to grow to 6 feet tall so I could play college basketball. I was also supposed to be a super model on the side. I was supposed to ride a god damn horse for my eight birthday. I was supposed to be beautiful on the inside and out. I was supposed to be a trooper. I was supposed to do a lot of shit, but that wasn’t the time for me to take the reigns on any of it.

I didn’t see that ocean again until my Grandfather died. By that time, I was already a women; I was no longer the girl dreaming of all that was supposed to be, I was a person resentful of all that wasn’t and would never be. I was an eighteen year old delinquent who had dropped out of school to work at taco bell-the open schedule gave me more of a chance to have sexual relations with dudes way too old to be dating me. I was a person who could no longer see unicorns prancing on the waves of the Pacific. I was just me the…whatever or whoever I was supposed to be was gone.

Now I go back when it suits me-and in truth-it never really suits me. The glean of what it, that gigantic state with so much to offer, was supposed to be to me, has faded. My Grandmother is there, and for her I will go. Friends have moved there and have begun their own lives, and for them I will go. My husband has never seen mountains such as those, nor an ocean so bristling with a secret sadness, and for him I will go. But I never go for me. The home I thought it always would be washed away with all that was supposed to be. The names of cities, full of hate, disrepair, anguish, torment, and a hell I still haven’t escaped, haunt me when I look at a map…when I am there, the very thought of them scares the bejesus out of me. A city can’t hurt you. A city can’t torment a frail mind. But the memories of a time, in that place, those can hurt even the strongest person.

So I avoid those places. I don’t need hills when I can climb mountains. One valley is as good as the next, and I don’t need to see the ones that stretch the very fabric of my sanity. I will travel highways I have no memories of, I will create adventures all our own, with no attachment present of past lifetimes and past people. I will go for all those I love, and find a California specially made for me.

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