Where is me? (Purposely not Where am I.)

I give too much to my kids. The teacher who is always available, always encouraging, always ready to guide a puzzled or frustrated kid to a solution, always finding “that thing” in the room of chaos (that she patiently puts back together every day) has lost herself.

It really sneaked up on me, this idea that I’m lost. It began to dawn on me yesterday, when I was laughing with a friend who is just now facing an empty nest. Mine’s been semi-empty for two years, so I offered her some lighthearted comfort about still liking the guy she married (do you remember your husband? what’s it like to have just the two of you again? is it weird?) But it started me thinking about why I felt so disconnected yesterday.

*I* see you, Mommy...

I was so looking forward to Spring Break. I had great plans – Monday was SHOPPING, Tuesday was some volunteer work and finishing grading for the quarter, Wednesday was a facial, and Thursday & Friday were for spending with my husband. In between I wanted to get out and take photos, anywhere I could think of. Energized, I was! Then Monday came, and there was absolutely no wind in my sails. I forced myself into the car and pointed it to Easton, parked, looked halfheartedly around one of my favorite stores, and just gave up and left. Came home. Nothing accomplished. Today is looking pretty much the same. All of a sudden I can’t wait for the pressure of a too-full schedule and the constant demands of needy kids. WTH?!

So maybe the idea that the “good” teacher gives everything to her students has seduced me to the point that it’s a codependent relationship. As much as I know that I can’t be a good anything unless I take care of myself first, I seem to have lost touch with the ability to do that. I can’t even name my favorite anything anymore – except maybe color. Paying attention to the news, about which I have been passionate for years, has demoralized me now to the point of wanting to move to another country. Once again, I feel like a tiny rowboat lost & tossed on a sea of possibilities.

What will help in the long term? Who knows? I’d love to find another job, but at my age, in this economy, when I have no concrete marketable skills (like computer programming or accounting) and have been in education for eleven years? Fat chance. I could try to distance myself from the job I have right now, but I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as effective. Nor do I posses the skills to do it. I need wall-building lessons.

I guess the shot-term solution is to find something to do and DO IT. Just for today. Just for me.

I’ll let you know how that works out.

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About techlady911

Still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Pictures are my lifeline, words are my wings.
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4 Responses to Where is me? (Purposely not Where am I.)

  1. seeliewood says:

    Yes, please do! You’ve always been like that, though…everyone else came first. You see yourself as worthy only through the eyes of another. Like any habit, though, you can break it, and you really should, because it’s high time you appreciated just what a beautiful, intelligent, and gifted person you are — even locked in a room all by yourself! Your worth isn’t in what you give. Isn’t that a strange thing to think? Sure isn’t how we were raised, is it? Being Selfish isn’t “selfish,” though, it’s absolutely essential, because you are right: you can only pour decent servings from a vessel that’s full. ❤

    • techlady911 says:

      🙂 You know me so well. I thought I had successfully resisted the model of Martyr that I found so repulsive in my mother growing up – turns out I just morphed into something a little less distasteful. Being a teacher doesn’t help; you’re brainwashed into thinking that you cannot turn down a kid who asks for help, no matter how drained you might feel. They come first.

      The key to my well-being is to not give in to the lethargy that happens when there is no deadline pressure. But I never feel I have the strength to resist, when I come home mentally exhausted from a full day at work.

      I have made a promise to myself that, at least this week, I will do something every day away from the house that is out of the ordinary. Today I spent a blissful hour or so at Dawes Arboretum with my camera practicing composition. I came home feeling so much better.

      Thank you for your gentle reminder that I’m fooling no one but myself! ♥

  2. James F. Mothersbaugh, Jr. says:

    This one I can empathize but not identify with. I have never been at a loss for outside interests. Man, as soon as the bell rings, I’m done. Well, to a certain extent. Are you sure this wasn’t just short-term fatigue? I remember when I left a high-power high school orchestra program 6 years ago to spend more time with my sons, I spent the first six months of the new school year just lying on the couch and watching TV every day after school. It was like I was doing what I had not been allowed to do for 12 years. Or as if I was soaking up all that rest just in case my replacement didn’t work out and I was involuntarily transfered back to the HS. But as for the time with my sons: IT WORKED! I still am able to do my job teaching 5th and 6th grade strings very well, but maybe that’s because nothing has changed for the last 350 years in teaching strings. Not much innovation to keep up with. Not like tech anyway! And now as they are aging and finding/wanting more time for themselves, I still have been able to keep myself in their lives: we umpire together. I have never been a person to want to do anything for too long. I find something that interests me and absolutely flog it. And then after a while, I find something else that interests me, and I flog the hell out of that. Right now it’s rebuilding a 1972 Yamaha CT2 Enduro motorcycle.
    I remember your tweets around this time; you were talking TV every day. Huge spiders, wasn’t it? Has (sic) you found yourself this summer? Going to DC in late July?

    • techlady911 says:

      Welcome to the repository of my musings! Thanks for the comments. Things only got worse from here, as I had managed to take on a HUGE responsibility outside of work. Oddly, I took on that commitment to try to disengage my brain from the job a little more – you know, to sort of force myself to think in different ways and utlilize long-dormant skills. But it all worked itself out. I’m thoroughly enjoying summer so far; I’m Working my way through Rosetta Stone Italian. How about you? I really, really want to go to Washington in late July…are you going?

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