There have been many times in my life where I felt (long pause at keyboard).....weird. Yeah, weird I guess. Different.
By who's perception? I guess my own. From being a kid that rollerskated in her basement, lip synching to the Annie soundtrack, all while pretending the poles that held up the floor were my watching admirers.
To high school where I saw what popular looked and acted like, but I just could not bring myself to DO it. I dipped my toe in and just couldn't do it. Don't get me wrong....I had friends, but I chose to leave high school with two SOLID friendships and that was it. And it was plenty. And it has been plenty still.
To my adulthood where I feel like I need to carry around a water-proof roll of duct tape to stick over my lips when I feel the word vomit coming up. I once told "someone" that my brain is like a non-stop peanut gallery of muppet characters. Not in the "I hear voices" kind of way, but in the white-noise way.
A sound bite from my inner dialogue at any given moment would sound a little like,
"What'd he say? No, that's wrong! Don't say it! What would he/she think of me if I did? I should keep my mouth shut. What's that? Oh, it would be really funny if XYZ happened! What if it did? What would I do? AGGGHHHH! My head's going to explode! Why am I the only person bothered by this??!?!? Am I wrong?? Maybe......NO!"
Some days I get completely wrapped up in wanting to save the world. Or at least try.
I teach 6th grade, so...11 and 12 year olds. On the brink of middle school. A.K.A. THE BRINK OF DISASTER/WORST PHASE OF LIFE EVERRRRRRR!!!! Okay, dramatic, but I find myself getting caught up in thinking and/or saying things like, "Ohmygosh these next few years are going to be a WILD ride, but HANG ON 'cause you're gonna make it!!!" It's like I see them as calves going down the conveyer belt, but I know they're going to jump off at the last second and be okay. Whaaaat? What the heck kind of analogy is that. That is weird.
I know I can't save 'em all. As much as I want to be the one that puts an end to bullying once and for all with THE PERFECT words of wisdom......I alone can't stop the you-know-what storm that happens in EVERYONE'S life between the ages of 11 and...........well, I'm 33 and still wearing my raincoat and wellies.
But what I can do (I think? I KNOW!) is I can be one person in a child's life that believes they WILL be okay, and they'll be okay by being themselves.
You do NOT need Uggs.
You do NOT need to do duck face. (in fact....don't.)
You do NOT have to silence yourself.
You do NOT have to pretend to be someone you are not.
I think it was William Penn that said, "Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone." No, I think it was Walt Whitman.......I forget.
Babble babble babble. I love blogs, because I can babble, but I'm doing it for me. (read my first post....this is Kestutis. This is my coping) :::::pumps fist in air:::::: (that's weird?)
Anyway.... all of that saving lives on the brink of disaster plus oh, having a career and plus being a wife and plus being a mom and plus maintaining who I am has left me a bit.......(long pause at keyboard again).....emotionless? It's like, I get so overwhelmed with "stuff" that I just go into auto-pilot mode. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop.
And maybe that's why I don't speak up enough? Because, "don't rock the boat", right? Don't cause waves? Well....I'm seeing some very wrong, wrong things and I don't think I can keep it in anymore.
I plaster my walls with quotes such as, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" (Gandhi!) and
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." (MLK!!!) but I feel like a hypocrite because I haven't been doing enough of that. I feel my passions being stirred but I'm afraid to act. Afraid to be different. Afraid to deviate from the norm. But what if the norm is not acceptable? What then?
I've been home for the past 5 weeks, taking a family medical leave from work/school to take care of my 2.5 year old, who broke his leg and is in a chest to toes (yep, plural....toeS) spica cast...so I've had some "think" time. Some time off of the go go go go merry-go-round to reflect on who I am and what I really stand for.
This morning, I groggily brought him downstairs, let his happy fingers start the coffee machine for me (mommy's barista!!!) and laid with him on his beanbag chair. I popped on the TV and pulled up my DVR menu to eagerly watch the last 45 minutes of the Oscar's from last night that I just could not stay up and finish live.
Oprah walks up on stage to present Best Adapted Screenwriter. ("She's pretty", my little man says. Mommy's heart melts into goo.) She announces the winner, Graham Moore for his screenplay written for "The Imitation Game." Never heard of the guy, but he looks pretty pumped that he won, so I listen to his speech.
He finishes by saying that at age 16, he tried to commit suicide. Then comes this......
Laying on my back next to my little dude, I felt heavy tears stream down my face. Wow.
I'd like to say thank you to him. Thank you for speaking up and speaking to the other "weird" people out there. Thank you for using your time to be brave, for the chance that it may help someone else. Thank you for renewing my own sense of purpose in the work that I do. Thank you for making me cry.
So, I hope to spend these last few weeks that I have nursing my love back to health, thinking about where to go from here. To continue to try to be a voice that matters. That sticks. That says, "Don't listen to them. Be who you are. You are perfect." And maybe say that to myself every now and then.
I encourage you, reader, to watch this yourself if you need a high-five or a hug. We're all weird. We're all different. That's the point of life. Click here to view his speech... Graham's Speech
Congratulations, Graham. XoXo.