Happy spring everybody! It’s Monday afternoon and the first big hump of the work week is over, so I’m in a good way for a change even though I was just awakened from an after-work nap by Fuzzy. Yes, he’s back, but more about that in a minute. I’ve got a lot on my mind today and I want to get it all out…
Public Speaking...Not again!
Today was a teacher’s conference day at school, which meant the students were off so that we staff members could learn something ourselves. We usually have about three of these a year and most of the time they can be pretty arduous for teachers, with hours-long seminars on this or that tedious educational topic. I think I speak for my fellow teachers when I say I’d rather have the free time to plan for future classes.
Last week I got an email from upstairs telling me that I had been named to be a facilitator for a post-presentation discussion about “Teaching in the 21st Century.” Today’s conference day was scheduled to be a joint one with two neighboring districts and a morning presentation by a guest speaker was to be followed by an hour and a half ‘forum’ on the topic at hand. I was one of only a few people chosen for the job. I have no idea why I was chosen, but I take it as a complement.
Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve always been terrified of public speaking, and that hasn’t changed even today. People ask me how I can feel that way since I’m a teacher, and my answer is that it’s different with children for some reason. I don’t know, but whenever I’m asked to make any kind of presentation to my fellow teachers, I’m always nervous about it, to the point where it consumes my mind in the hours leading up to it. Yet once I get up there in front of everybody, I do okay. Today was no exception.
As we sat through the morning speaker, I diligently took notes so that I could be better prepared to lead the discussion, and when it was over we all had to report to our assigned classrooms for our forum. My stomach was in knots and my hands were sweaty as people poured into the room. I can’t say for sure, but I think I had one of the larger groups, about 20-25 people. Just before I needed to start, I went out into the hallway and typed “Why me?” on to my Facebook page.
I then returned to the room and like magic I was on. I had three questions to pose to the group in an hour and a half’s time, and in the end I think I handled it pretty well. It just goes to show you that the more you do it, the better you get at it. As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect” and I just need to remember that the next time I’m asked to speak in public. Those pre-speaking jitters can be terrible!
I can commiserate
After the morning sessions it was time for lunch and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with several of my coworkers. We were all given the afternoon to catch up on some work and four of us decided to do it together, which was nice. A teacher’s job can be lonely sometimes, with students all day and nary a moment to spend with adult conversation. The four of us had a nice afternoon together until right before it was time to leave.
One of my coworkers, a special ed teacher who’s in her mid-twenties, suddenly burst into tears at the table in the back of my room. Though it hadn’t been talked about, we all knew that the guy she’d been seeing since October ended their relationship last night. She’d been texting on and off all day, presumably with him, and I guess the last one was the one that caused her to burst out in tears.
I don’t know all of the details. It was none of my business and even knowing only reminded me of my own situation from recent months. From what I gather, the dude had nothing against her, but he just didn’t want to be in a relationship. Sound familiar?
On the way home this friend sent me a text apologizing for her outburst. She didn’t have to. I know exactly what she’s going through. My car pool buddy said that she hoped that she’ll learn from this relationship when she goes into the next one and when she said that, a feeling of dread came over me. I thought about the phrase ‘next relationship’ with dismay. I don’t even want to think about ‘next relationships.’
Who am I kidding? I really, really hate to admit it, but my relationship/breakup really knocked me for a loop. I don’t like what I’ve become in the weeks since it ended for good and I can’t help but still miss the bastard. Though I hadn’t been looking for a relationship before I met him, I realized from my time with him that a relationship is something I ultimately seek. Unfortunately, this experience has caused me to retreat backwards to a point where I think to myself whether it’ll ever be worth the price that I’ve paid here to ever try again. Who knows?
I just came across an article by a good writer friend of mine, Michele Starkey. She just had to put her beloved dog, Brownie, to sleep and she constructed her piece around a quote by Queen Elizabeth. The quote went: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” As I read the piece, I hearkened back to when I had to do the same with our cat Spike back in 2007, and all of the grief that came with it. I also related it to my current state and realize that I am still grieving because I loved, and so now is my friend.
I left a comment for Michele that I agreed with the quote, and I told her that in most cases going through the grief is worth the love. I’m still struggling with that one!
Hang in there Michele and my friend “K,” and so will I.
Here’s Michele’s piece:
The Price We Pay for Love
Hmmm, I just don’t know…Am I too shallow?
A few weeks back I posted here that a friend of mine wanted to set me up on a date with a Spanish teacher from a neighboring district. About midway through the morning, I realized that his district was one of the ones we shared with today and that he was probably in the building. I immediately became nervous and when I mentioned it to another friend, she knew who he was and pointed him out to me. I wasn’t attracted to him at all. During the presentation, my friend texted me to say that she should have introduced us. I’m glad she hadn’t remembered to.
A little over two years ago, I started a series on Y!CN called “Gay Man’s Single Files.” In the first installment (check it out here), I spoke about how physical attraction is one of the first important aspects of a relationship. Without it, there usually can be no beginning. I lamented that many guys my age just don’t take care of themselves and the ones that do don’t want me. They want younger!
I work hard to keep in shape and maintain a healthy looking appearance and so I only expect the same from someone I’d consider dating. I have few objections to dating guys of any age, as long as I’m attracted to them. As things would have it, to date I’ve dated mostly younger guys, too, for that very reason since I’ve been single. I guess I’ve become one of those guys I complained about in my piece.
If this notion makes me a shallow person, then so be it. It may make me perennially single, but why should I settle for someone I’m not attracted to? My friends say I’m too picky, but at least when I’m with someone, it’s always someone who I’m interested in, so I see nothing wrong with that. This may turn out to be a sticky situation with my friend, but I will tell her directly when I get the chance. Hopefully she won’t read this before then, but in case she does, I want to say thanks for trying…
Now that's more like it!
Uh oh, Fuzzy's back!
As I mentioned earlier, I was taking a power nap after work when I was suddenly awakened by my cell phone ringing. I picked it up to see who was calling and it was him! Needless to say, I was jolted into awareness. I ran to my front window to see if he was outside. Nothing! Then for some reason I decided to peer out further, checking the sides of my property and there he was sitting in his red car to the right of my driveway.
He hadn’t gotten out of his car this time, otherwise I would’ve called the police. A couple of minutes after the phone stopped ringing, he pulled away. I thought it was over with, but obviously there’s definitely something wrong with this dude. I don’t get it and now suddenly I’m a little frightened again. Just what I needed!
Thanks again for reading! Here’s a video to capture how I’m feeling at the moment. Some of you may remember this one by Michael Jackson protégé Rockwell…Enjoy, and I’ll catch you next time!