Yesterday was a bad day....a really bad day. It really wasn't especially terrible, just the same type of day I've been having every day this school year. I found myself without a minute to spare from the time I arrived at work until the time I left, which was almost two hours later than I should have left. It was at that time when I had my mental breakdown, when I realized that I would be adding another couple of hours to my day while the rest of my coworkers went to enjoy a happy hour to start the holiday weekend. Anger and frustration welled up inside of me and I became stressed, my stomach wound into tight knots.
When I finally got out of school at 4:30, my stress level was ebbing. I immediately turned to Facebook at wrote a status that read, "I seriously just want to cry." In the minutes that followed, I wanted to go back and delete it. Putting those types of feelings out there does nothing for yourself, and it only works to make other people see and think that maybe I'm just looking for attention, and the wrong kind, no less. But it was too late to remove the post...people had already seen it.
Now that I've had a good night's sleep and time to think on it, I realize that through all of this, the getting angry, the meltdown, the Facebook post, and my inner thoughts afterwards, that I was just doing what Frank, the tarot card reader, told me to stop doing, and that's being a victim.
I Am Not a Victim
It's been over a month now since I had my Tarot cards read and I still believe that the circumstances in my life beginning with that reading signify my greatest change in life to date. I haven't spoken of this before, but my reading with Frank coincided with two other life learning experiences. For one thing, my class had just finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. I had read much of that novel with my students before, for another class, but had never gotten through the whole thing until now. I'd like to talk about it some more in the future, but for the moment all I'll say about the book is that it really is a great "how-to" book on how to live life.
Here are a couple of Morrie's quotes from the work that spark some thought:
"Accept who you are and revel in it."
"Don't cling to things because everything is impermanent."
"I give myself a good cry if I need it, but then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life."
And probably the best piece of advice for me right now:
"I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day."
Finishing up Tuesdays that same week as my reading helped further some clarity on what I've been doing wrong in my life. A third incident that occurred just a couple of days later in my classroom took that lesson one step further. One of my students had given me a lot of trouble. He had lied to me about leaving the classroom and I caught him. It wasn't the first incident with this particular student, but this was a final straw that got me all worked up. I decided to write him up for the incident.
I brought the documentation to the necessary office, but the discipline officer was out. Only his secretary, Madeline, was there. Madeline is someone who I've known and loved for 11 years now, and she had gone through a very serious health issue just last year and is now heading towards retirement with a new outlook on life. She caught my frustration and stress at first glance.
"John, if there is one thing I've learned it's that worry is a wasted emotion. It does nothing for you and nothing for the ones you're worried about. Just let it go. Let it go"
Ha, I thought, easier said than done, but you know what? She was absolutely right. Morrie says that there are times we invariably feel emotions that do nothing for us, but we must recognize them for what they are, immerse ourselves fully in the emotion, and then let it go, detach.
I told Madeline about my Tarot reading and about some of the things I'd learned from Morrie, and we had a moment. Like a good friend, she listened with an empathetic ear and a genuine interest in the revalations I was experiencing. She told me that I was meant to come to her office at that point in time and I believe she was right.
I Am Not a Victim
So, there you go. The momentary lapse of composure I felt yesterday was just that, momentary. That experience was supposed to come out of me somehow, at one point or another. I'm not proud of my actions, but neither am I going to worry about it. What's happened has happened and I need to detach myself from it. I am not a victim, nor do I need such negative attention brought unto myself. I am responsible for the place I am in in my life and if I don't like it, it is I who must change.
I'm going to put this under my belt and take this as another life lesson in this latest of thematic unit in my life. As always, this is a work in progress...
Indestructible - Robyn