Wednesday, November 21, 2007

lessons in loss

one of my student's parents died yesterday.

she's one of my best and brightest and is probably one of the most well adjusted people i have ever met. i look at her all the time and marvel at her abilities and the ease with which she navigates through her life, balancing it all incredibly well.

i was dumbstruck upon hearing the news. felt personal, felt the weight of it deep in my chest. understand why they call it shock. it is shocking to see someone one day and within a matter of hours know that their entire life has just drastically shifted direction.

literally felt the hand of some higher order being tear through the heavens and rip up the pathway by its foundations.

felt like i was suddenly living in a novel. this was the kind of thing that you read about. i was in the middle of witnessing a seminal moment in someone's life. one that would come up later in therapy, in her choice of mate, in that quiet part of herself that is herself.

it was insane. it was surreal. felt the intensity of the impact as though it were happening to me.

felt myself mourning the life i had imagined for her. found myself worrying that this might somehow thwart her confidence, her balance that has so inspired me.

of course these are my projections and fears. being the person she is i'm sure she'll do and be all of the things that she was meant to.

find myself gobsmacked by the randomness of it all. talk about a rug being slipped out from underneath do you cope, how do you just keep on keeping on, as they say...

found myself welling up with tears throughout the day, thinking about how she'll likely take it in stride and soldier on, worrying that she won't allow herself the luxury of grieving, of unravelling for a little while ...again, projections...still, hope that i say the right thing, that i will be able to support her in a way that is somehow helpful.

so want to protect her somehow.

kids were great, let me cry my tears, shed a few of their own out of compassion. wrote some incredibly sensitive things in their cards. we shared our experiences of death with one another, our fears, regrets and sadness. felt comfortable and natural. hope i was able to help.

know that it's said you can't predict the future with any certainty but never truly believed it. this is my first real brush with some cold, cruel evidence.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


ever been so pissed at someone that you literally feel sick about it? kind of like acid reflux but more queasy than prickly?

had a confrontation with someone friday that had my blood boiling. he's got a bunch of his own crap going on that has spilled over into my life and threatens to jeopordize something that is, at the moment, the only thing keeping me going.

hate it when other people's agendas blindside you. hate it when something that was your safe place gets tainted. there are so few stress free things in my life that when drama rears its ugly head, i feel defeated in its presence.

to top it all off, the drama included this person's critique of my abilities. he didn't know who he was messing with. i haven't worked for twenty years to be told by someone having their own crisis that my sense of my own skills is somehow naively misinformed.

hate being condescended to more than anything else. hate not being taken seriously by guys with the same/less experience that think they know better.

hate that i saw through his passive aggressive bullshit and lecturing, and posturing and attempts to preserve his image as the good guy and let him have it straight up. hate that it was me that looked the bad guy for calling him out on his calmly presented crap.

what's with that anyway? not the first time i have met the 'want everyone to think i am good so i do my manipulating in a more muted, highly crafted way to disguise it' guy. i have so much more respect for someone who is who they are all the time.

anyhoo, blood's boiling again and know for a fact that i am the only one twisting here in the wind...

oh to be able to be pissed off and release it to the source without getting it splashed all over day...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

kids say the darndest things

dont let the title fool you. what follows is not an account of a corny kiddy quote, the likes of which used to appear in reader's digest.

no, this is more of the where the hell did that come from variety.

i was teaching a grade four class music and was doing a preamble to a remembrance day song i had prepared.

since it's also holocaust awareness week, we're going to touch on it at our assembly on friday so i wanted to give them a bit of background so that it wouldn't catch them unawares.

so when i announce that in friday's assembly we will be addressing the holocaust a young girl smiles broadly and says yes!while making the arm pump movement that humble pro atheletes make after scoring a goal. i look at her, perplexed, and continue. so i go into a spiel about how a powerful, persuasive politician named hitler only wanted people that looked like him and believed what he believed to be part of his country and how he segregated those who he didn't like...blah, blah, blah, and as i am mentioning the groups that he persecuted the same girl pipes up, proudly "and black people too, right?" (her mom is black and dad is white and mom has her go around to classrooms to do black history month psa's all february long) when i told her no, she looked confused and deflated, suddenly losing interest.

oh multiculturalism, where have we gone? what a strange thread we have woven...

anyway so after that little detour i mention that we're also going to focus on the contributions of women during the first two world wars . i explain that while the men were away at war women had to keep the economy going and entered the workforce in large numbers for the first time, marking a significant change in the options that were available to them. from out of nowhere another girl puts up her hand and says that she saw a movie called edward scissorhands where all the women stayed at home to look after the kids and they all had the same houses and dressed the same.

it's precisely these tangents that keep things fresh for me. never know where an introduction to a song will lead you. i went in planning to teach a sombre verse about uniting for peace and ended up talking about how screenwriters and set designers will exaggerate aspects of the truth to make a point.

good times. good times.