I went to the first grade at a small country school house that was nested nicely between two cow pastures. Even without looking out of the window of the car on the morning ride, I could tell when we were almost to the school. There is nothing like the smell of a field of freshly deposited manure early in the morning to get you in the mood to do some learnin'. To this day, when the odor of a cow pasture wafts through my nostrils for even the briefest of moments, I am struck with the insatiable need to do addition in my head.
The first grade is a murky blur with the exception of two incidents. The first was the time that Mrs. Wheeler put my name on the board, because I failed to put my pencil down when she instructed the class to do so. This was emotionally scarring to me, because in all two years of my professional classroom experience I had not once gotten in trouble. For anything. And I SWEAR I DID NOT HEAR HER SAY TO PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN. But that wasn't really a good explanation in her eyes, and the bitch went and scrawled my name on the board anyway, forever blemishing my record of excellence and thrusting me, pencil in hand, into the clutches of inadequacy. (I bet, if I try really, really hard, I can blame Big Mistake 2009 aka Divorce #2 on her. Later, in the privacy of my own head, I shall try this.)
The second incident happened in the middle of the year. Every week in the first grade, we would get back a packet of papers that she had graded. Worksheets, tests, and page upon page of wide ruled, recycled paper with sentences printed in my first grade handwriting. We were supposed to take these papers home to our parents to be relegated to either the refrigerator or the trash can, depending on the demonstrated level of achievement. However, I had a better idea. Of course. My plan was to store these packets in the bottom of my school desk chair. The goal, obviously, was to create a huge stack of old papers so that I could use them at home later when I played "office" on the piano bench. If I took them home, they would be thrown out. My mother was not one to put multiple pages of recycled, wide ruled paper on her refrigerator. I was simply saving my precious "office work" from the stinky old trash can. So I left them there in the bottom of my desk chair. For months. I was so proud. The stack piled higher and higher.
And I couldn't wait to take them home and turn them into important executive documents.
But then, Mrs. "Put Your Pencil Down" Wheeler, called me to her desk one day and told me I would have to stay in at recess and clean out my desk. "The papers have to be thrown out. Your desk is a cluttered mess."
I probably could have explained why I was saving this mess of papers. And if I had, she might have even let me take them home. But I didn't. I was 6 years old. And for what may possibly be the first time in my life, which obviously later would become one of my most damaging themes, I betrayed my own desires in order to make someone else happy. She stood over me as I sat on the floor and dug through 3 months of papers, placing them into the trash can she provided for me. Not once did I try to explain myself. Not for a single moment did I attempt to speak my mind. I just jumped through the hoop that she held out for me, and threw away something so seemingly simple that made me just as simply happy. And 23 years later, I still feel sorry for that little girl sitting on the floor by her desk, because I want so badly for her to have the courage to stand up for herself. And I know she won't.
All of this to say, that I have attempted to write multiple blogs in recent weeks, only to be stopped in my tracks by the worst case of writer's block that I have ever experienced. It took me a while to pinpoint why I was having such a hard time sharing my thoughts. Usually, they pour out of me like a steady flow of maple syrup. But lately, I have been having a hard time getting my fingers to peck out an entry that doesn't sound like I'm "trying." My writing has a distinctly different voice when I'm "trying" versus when I'm "inspired." The voice isn't real. It isn't me. And it isn't anything that deserves an infinite home in a corner of the internet.
I have realized that the reason that I haven't been able to blog is because my brain, like my school desk chair, is a cluttered mess. There are so many snippets of conversations and blogs stirring in my head all day, every day lately. The heights of introspection that I have climbed to in recent months are at nose bleed altitudes, and the swirls of issues, goals, and thoughts that have set up residency there have resulted in my ability to actually write or speak about them being undeniably crippled. The bright side to this is that I have applied for my handicapped decal, so in 4-6 weeks parking will be much easier.
In an effort to continue on in my goal of vulnerability with you all, here are some of the snippets:
How did I manage to get myself HERE. Divorced twice before my 30th birthday. My second chance wasted. How many chances do I get before God decides that I have simply wasted too much of his time? My brain knows God well enough to know that He will never give up on me. But my heart aches at the realization that deep down, I feel like if I were God I would have given up on me a long while ago. It's a good thing I'm not God. (The flip side to this is that if I WERE God...they would still be taping new episodes of FRIENDS.)
Why is love so damn disappointing? I have spent the whole of my 20's putting all of my effort and energy into men who were too childish in their emotions to put any of that effort and energy back into me. The result of this is that my best date ever has been with a pint of Ben and Jerry's. This is depressing. But it's REALLY good ice cream.
The amount of shame that makes its home on your shoulders when you find yourself in a spot like mine is HEAVY. I have discovered that it isn't so much about what I am afraid that others might think of me. The scarier truth lies within the belly of what I have come to realize I think about myself. Shame is a strange bedfellow. He takes up too much space. He hogs the covers. And He breathes foulness onto my countenance. And sadly, I feel stuck in this relationship with him. He climbs into bed with me every night, and every night I can hear him planning what we will do tomorrow.
I am confused by dating. It both excites me and nauseates me in the same instant. I do it, and I still feel naggingly unsatisfied. I think about not doing it, and I feel vaguely hopeless. Loneliness isn't a bedfellow that I care to invite into my room either. I avoid him by dating, but he always shows up like a squeaky third wheel anyway.
I'm tired of trying to make my family happy. It seems to be an impossible task that has culminated in complete emotional exhaustion. Regardless of what decision I make, someone disagrees that I should have made it. And hearing about it, or not hearing about it because I'm "in trouble," has made me tired. I want to live completely and totally for myself and E...yet I still feel the need to get my passport of approval stamped by my family of origin, and I have stood in customs waiting to enter Russia. That seemed easier...
I'm almost there. I know I'm almost there...wherever "there" is. I'm on the cusp of living God's purpose for my life. But some days "the cusp" just feels like loosing your footing and falling off the edge.
I'm not sure that "falling in love" can ever look like it did that first time. Now I know exactly how many pieces of my heart have to be picked up when it gets broken and exactly how much of my soul that requires. And once you know that, I'm not sure that you can "fall" with the same reckless abandon and the same wide eyed innocence. But how I wish you could! To allow my heart to seek out life and love the way it did before I knew just how much risk that involves is a naivety that I long for.
So there you have it, just a SMALL amount of the clutter sitting in the bottom of my brain like a stack of haphazardly collected papers. To many, it would seem time to clean house. Obviously this magnitude of clutter is screaming for some therapeutic intervention. And while this may well be true, I firmly believe that there is some value in everything firing in my brain at the moment. I am in this place for a reason, and I am experiencing these introspections because they have a purpose.
I may not have been strong enough to say it when I was 6, but to the Mrs. "Put Your Pencils Down" Wheelers of the world...
Back off Bitch...This mess is mine, and I'M DOING SOMETHING WITH IT.