Monthly Archives: January 2015
I’ve got an anger management problem. I don’t think I’ve always had it, I think its developed since my divorce. I’m not really sure where it comes from, although my dad has been known to throw random objects into the woods in the back of our house. He’ll be grilling out and the spatula won’t work like he thinks it should… and wham, it’s flying over the back yard into the trees. Sprinkler not working right? Watch out cars going up the hill, that thing will break a window if you’re not looking…
I’ve started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix with the BFF, and I have to tell you, I really relate to the anger on that show. Not like, I’m gonna pee on your floor relate, but I get the gist of it ya know? (I swear if my BFF calls me Crazy Eyes one more time I’m gonna blow. I call her Dandelion in return, so I’m pretty sure we’re even in the end.) My favorite thing about the show is they tell you the story of everyone’s past so you can see where they’ve been and understand what led up to them being incarcerated. Life sucks for everyone so I guess it’s all in how you handle it. I can honestly say I hope my anger isn’t that severe, and I hope I look good on the outside, because some days whats going on inside wouldn’t look too pretty on the outside.
I have a multitude of angry emotions that can be volatile if I’m not careful. Stewing is never a good sign. My BFF has spidey sense for it. She sees it coming a mile away. She’s always telling me, “You’re so angry… I also have this thing where if I get really mad I cry. I hate when other people see me cry, so I won’t make eye contact. Like, if I don’t look at you, you can’t see I’ve been crying and I won’t be embarrassed. That’s generally the first day. The second day is my emotionally compromised teenage girl angst day. By the third day I’m good. It’s those first two days you gotta steer clear though.
In the meantime, this attribute tends to be quite challenging when around children, working with children, or being a parent to children. My dry wit and sarcasm doesn’t help either, but anger, it just fuels the fire. My oldest tends to have an anger management problem as well, and while I use to think she got it from her father, I’m not so sure I can pass that off on him anymore. Homework time seems to be a problem area, as well as bedtime. The yelling, the crying, the tears.. it’s all just so, cliché. It frustrates me to no end, and if it’s not one of them it’s the other. Like they have a schedule all worked out for how we can drive mom crazy the quickest.
Then there is the whole working with kids thing, which probably doesn’t help when it’s time to work on homework with my own kids. But it is what it is, right? This week at school one of my students has been unusually more talkative than usual. It’s not abnormal for him to be so vocal, but this week seems to be particularly bad. I use the Classroom Dojo which is a computer app that you can use to give or take points to students based on appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. At one point this week, I decided I was going to use Pavlov’s version of conditioning him to stop constantly interrupting me. I mean, it was so bad I couldn’t get a full sentence out all afternoon. So, I started taking a point off every time he interrupted. He got up to like -14 points. It was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I felt like Dr. Evil telling Scott to “zip it”.
Apparently my students find my temper amusing at times. Today I heard one say, “Look how red her face is!”. I should probably do something about it before I stroke out or say something I may regret later, but it’s probably way past that point now. I generally say things without the filter on full blast and usually end up regretting it later. It’s not that I mean the things I say in anger, it’s just I tend to get all worked up and in order to deflect the blame I put on myself (or rightly should), I will start bitching about anyone and anything that doesn’t have to do with me. It’s a defense mechanism really. So… yeah, I should look into that, although apparently there aren’t many anger management classes around here. It’s just… so exhausting.. Lol.
It’s been a particularly rough week at school. Today I learned one of my students is homeless and it definitely struck a chord with me. I felt horrible after I learned this because first thing this morning s/he and I had an incident and had I known I would have handled it completely differently. S/he had brought some coloring sheets and math pages to school. As I was helping him/her get things turned in for the morning and get him/her set I told him/her I would take them and hold onto them for him/her. S/he got upset and the situation escalated.
Later I couldn’t help but feel bad because I too know what it’s like to not know where you are going to be the next day, week or month. I remember shortly after the girl’s dad left feeling completely hopeless. We were living in a home that his family owned, and while they willingly let us stay, I knew it wouldn’t be forever and new plans would have to be made. On a Catholic teacher’s salary and as a newly single mom, I knew having my own place would be next to impossible. My options were slim and with debt and attorneys fees, the stress it imposed on me and the girls was felt daily. Then adding the fact that I was let go from my teaching position in a free-falling work force added even more emotional stress and turmoil.
I always remember my girls having a difficult time letting go of things that were theirs. Even today the smallest things are kept and secreted away in hiding places. And now I understand, not knowing what is temporary or what is permanent can be stressful on an adult, let alone a child.
This past year I have often become frustrated because others say it is hard to understand where children from low-income are coming from and the situations they often encounter. I don’t know if it’s because I too have been in many difficult situations in my life, as well as other people I have known, but I always think to myself that not understanding others mindset or culture can cross over into all socio-economic statuses or family situations. Very few of us take the time to actually get to know people and their struggles, and it’s not always our fault. Many of us don’t like to openly share our hardships or stories. We think it makes us weak in others eyes. But I think it makes us strong, and better able to understand where others are coming from.
Someone once told me a story of a person suffering from cancer and how she would always ask the other person how they were doing. The person would say to her, “Why are you asking about me? You are going through one of the hardest struggles in life there is?” But the person would always tell her that EVERYONE is going through a struggle in their lives. It matters because it is happening to you.
I think so many of our misunderstandings and miscommunications could be refocused if we all took this viewpoint towards others lives. It’s not a race issue, or an economic issue, it a human issue. We all struggle, we all fight our own daily battles. The importance is showing kindness to others and to recognize that we don’t know or understand completely what another person is going through. The importance is taking into account the feeling and mindset of others, and custom tailoring our interactions to make them meaningful and thoughtful for others.
So there are a few things I want to take from this: one, always be cognizant of where others are coming from, you never know what battle they are fighting. Two, be brave and tell your story. We ALL have stories, and they should be told. They are powerful and are a part of us and have made us who we are. And lastly, keep an open mind. Don’t be condescending or critical of others. We all have different perspective on life. No one is the same. That is they beauty of our world. Sometimes it’s good just to stop and watch what is going on around you, and to recognize where you can help: be it a kind word, a helping hand, or encouragement to others to keep going. Keep your chin up friends, and know while no one can know your specific struggle, we have all been there and we are all cheering you on.