blank'/> Mirth, Melancholy, and the Mundane: May 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Like a phoenix, rising...

It took me a long time to determine what to write about.  After all, it has been a long time since I posted in this blog and it didn't feel right to just dive right in without acknowledging that.  It isn't as if I've such a large following of readers that it really matters, but it matters to me.  Therefore, it matters.

I've had numerous conversations and deep thoughts of late that would make excellent blog posts, and I suspect that many of them will become just that as I move into my attempt to do this more regularly.  

I've talked late into the night about fear when it comes to allowing people into my inner circle.  This fear is borne out of the realization that letting them in gives them the power to impact my state of being.  I’m emotionally sensitive and I feel things very deeply.  This can be a dangerous combination.

I've talked about the nature of religion and belief and how I've come to peace with belief systems and organizations built on belief systems and the disparity that oft seems to lie between.  My own is at once deceptively simple and infuriatingly complex.  But I’m at peace with it, and on the edge of a path that might lead me into a journey of discovery.

I've thought a lot about my role as a teacher and how closely intertwined that is to who I am.  I cannot speak for other careers, but I know that for me, this calling is one that cannot be wholly separated from that emotional being I mentioned above.  Teaching exhilarates and exhausts me, excites and exasperates me.  Grading is a terrible time for me – each student who has stumbled, each who has failed is a failure of my own, whether that’s accurate or not.  I’m not sure which ones hurt more – those with wasted potential and squandered time, or those who are just misplaced and have not found what will motivate them.  Some of them so desperately need me and I live in constant worry that I will somehow let them down.  And when I do, it can be devastating.

I've thought a lot about the nature of leisure activities and what constitutes entertainment.  I've noticed a trend towards the bleak in much of what is popular these days and I used to struggle immensely with what makes me so different that I have no wish to watch shows where the biggest question of the week is who and how many will die and whether or not it was a fitting end for the serial killer and the meth addict.  For a long time, I wondered what was wrong with me, quite frankly, that I couldn't take pleasure in these sorts of stories.  And I wondered who was the more odd, me or the vast numbers of the population whose proclivity for this sort of entertainment was so disparate from mine.  And then I figured it out.

I've thought about these things and talked of many more.  I have grappled with friendships just born and those which seem always on the edge of failure.  I've talked about dark psychology and bright futures.  I've thought about poetry and birds, babies and the cold winter, plans and regrets.  I've talked about a world that is changing for the better in the face of tragedies which belie how far we have to go.  Tragedies and tears, love and light.  So many things rolling around inside my head and yet not one of them seemed fitting for the re-inauguration of a blog that means a good deal to me if not to anyone else in particular.  Instead, it seems more fitting to talk of why I am bringing it back to life.

I love to write is one reason; this goes without saying, I’m sure.  The other main reason is that I spend ten months of the year actively feeling disingenuous.  I teach my students to read and to write and yet I do not do enough of either to make it anything more than “Do as I say and not as I do.”  It feels – and has felt – wrong.  I have half read books collecting dust, poems that only get written because I feel the pressure of an annual reading wherein I am in the spotlight and need words with which to fill the room.  This cannot stand.  So, when asked to build goals as part of my post-tenure review, I wrote this as my last goal:

Be a better practitioner of my own craft.

And so, here we are.  Come with me, if you will – and we shall see where my mind goes and whether or not it is of interest to you.  That said, I will leave you with the words of our beloved Maya Angelou, who so recently slipped her light away from the earth...

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Will you listen to my story?