- "I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London
Sunday, June 08, 2008
There is so much to say about this place. Every day I discover something new to love, some small detail I had yet to notice; the way the roses are beginning to bloom in our garden, the way the suctioning sound of our screen door as it closes reminds me of every beach house I've ever been to, the way the quiet of my room inexplicably reminds me of childhood, the way it feels to sit on our front porch with a cup of tea and watch the world go by, the way it feels like home.
I have tried to take pictures, but between my lack of a good camera and my lack of photography skills, somehow I can't seem to translate the feel of the place into an image. That's never been a skill of mine. I have spent years of my life trying to capture places and moments through images and words to no avail. So many times I've stood before those winding European streets, those intricate curves of architectural splendor, trying to transport their wonder with me without success. So many times I've walked among crowds of faces with stories desperate to be told, and fields of flowers whose beauty longs to be expressed, and buildings with histories aching to be uncovered. It is difficult to do any of it justice, through any means. It is difficult to find a way of keeping it all with me. Still, I promise to post photos soon.
I have been having a lot of trouble at work, which is partially to blame for my lack of blogging. It seems wrong somehow, to write about this here, not because it is public necessarily, but more because this type of subject matter tends to come across as more of a whining session and less of an expression of my need to create, my need to write. Yet, it feels equally wrong to write about anything else, to ignore the focal point of my current thoughts, to deny myself the opportunity to explore what I'm feeling. It feels wrong to pretend that everything is wonderful.
There is so much to say about this place, about this current realm of emotions. I have spent the past few weeks very unhappy at my job, which is completely uncharacteristic and unexpected. My slightest unhappiness is generally pretty apparent given it's rarity. Everyone knows, and in some ways that only makes it worse. It only makes it more difficult to take a deep breath and put all of my grievances behind me. I can't just revert back to the way I was without dealing with anything, without some sort of change. I am not like my two year old students who take each feeling as it comes. I carry these things with me. They only grow heavier with time.
And so in an effort to be better about asking for help, asking for what I want and need, I sat down with my boss and discussed some options. She was great, and while we didn't land on anything official just yet, simply talking about it helped in some small way. But that was a week ago and I have spent almost every day since growing more agitated, wondering if one of these small changes will be enough of a difference, wondering if it's time for something more drastic. A large part of me feels as though all of my favorite decisions have been the big and impulsive ones. But another part of me knows that most of those decisions have been about running away from things when they got tough. Yes, life is short, but I also know that I can't spend my life leaving situations just because they've stopped being fun. And there lies my constant dilemma about this place.
I still love every second with those children. None of this is about them, or about my need to be doing something other than teaching. This is what I want to do. This is what I love to do. It is about the adult nonsense that gets in the way. It is about the politics of administration and the attitudes of coworkers and the consistent questioning of why people who miss the sublime perfection of children choose to do this. It can't be about the money. Trust me.
I have woken up every morning trying to be positive and have come home every afternoon in tears. I have, for the first time in my life, tried to ease my nerves at night with a glass or two of wine. I am not proud to admit that, not that it's the worst thing I could be doing, but it's the first time I've ever felt a need for alcohol and it scares and saddens me. I want, so badly, to believe that this is a phase, that when I can potentially switch classrooms next week, I'll be happier. But I suppose a larger part of me, a more logical part, doesn't fully believe that.
I think the truth is, I'm burnt out. I haven't slept past five am in almost two years. Between sickness and vacation days, I've taken maybe a total of 15 days away from that place in almost two years. That's been my whole life for almost two years. I'm in need of a break. And generally this kind of mental and emotional breakdown is the best way to spot such a need. I guess I just feel stuck between a place I have felt so much love in, and generally so much love for, and my need to have a break from it. I guess all of those pro and con lists I've made have only left me more torn. I guess I just need to make some sort of decision, one way or another.
And while this is just whining, as I suspected it would be, I needed to write it down. There is so much to say about this place, this time in transit between the old and new, this waiting for a new chapter to begin. I have been here before and I will be here again, and each time I will try to capture the way it feels to no avail. Each time I will fail to do it justice. Each time will feel more significant than anything that has come before, the way that each new rose that blooms seems to be more gorgeous than the last, the way every winding road in Europe still leaves me breathless, the way every place I've ever put my heart has felt like home. The way there is so much to say about that.