Summer has started and I have quickly discovered that I do not do well with rest and relaxation. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Yet, it’s true. I find small things to feel stressed over. I find ways to make myself busy. I over-analyze people and what they say.
I struggle to just sit and enjoy the quiet and the calm.
I don’t do calm well. It isn’t the norm for me.
Two weeks ago, I went into school one more time for my final evaluation. Overall, it was pretty good, considering I had a very difficult year with a very difficult class. I learned SO MUCH, and that a teacher can never, ever, underestimate the power of good classroom management.
As I was talking to my principal, however, she did tell me that she wanted me to know that someone complained that I am too negative. She stated that she didn’t feel this way, but that it might be something I want to work on.
As usual, I only heard this negative part of the assessment. My stomach sank. I had to quickly get a grip on myself and blink back tears. I wanted to argue, I wanted to say, Who tattles to the principal about something like that?
Of course, I didn’t. I smiled and said I would work on it, and that I was sorry if I had come off that way–it wasn’t intentional.
I felt terrible about myself. For a fleeting moment, I considered running away, applying for other jobs.
Then, on my way home, I really thought.
The truth is, I have been more negative lately. I have been feeling extremely run-over. I feel like I am doggy paddling my way through life…barely staying afloat and above the water.
At work, I’ve struggled to find a place among a group of women who are pretty tightly knit–where friendships are old and established. I’ve struggled with a lack of support–no teaching partner next door (mine was out all year), a super busy principal who couldn’t always help with behavior issues, and no mentor teacher.
I am the type of person who needs encouragement and validation. A few kind words. Someone who just says, I see you trying your hardest! You are doing great! And this year, I didn’t get that.
So, sometimes, I went looking for it. I complained. I vented. About my students, their behaviors, how awful I felt as a teacher some days, crazy parents. I hoped someone would hear me and say all those encouraging things I’d been needing to hear.
Instead…I began to look like a negative person.
And, it hurt to hear that pointed out to me.
I am struggling now–how do I act at work? Do I try to find friends who I can be real with? Who I can vent to? Or do I just keep it totally professional?
I know I’d feel happier having a real friend in the workplace. I’d feel more accepted. I’d feel part of the “in-crowd.”
But, what if those aren’t my people? I certainly did more complaining around people who were also complaining. Other negative people who helped bring more negativity out of me.
And, what about the others?
Why is this friendship thing always so hard, anyway? It always, always, triggers insecurity in me. I just want other people to like me!!
I know I have people.
But, I also seem to want other people, too.
A month ago, I felt so much better. And I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was two or three years ago. But, it will never cease to amaze me how quickly I can revert back to my original ways of thinking.
The other day, I went into my classroom and my new teaching partner was there, with her two other teaching friends (all from our school). One of which I suspect called me the negative person.
I felt like such a small person. I feared for my year ahead. It hurt. It triggered so much insecurity.
That night, at home, I was irritable, emotional, and depressed. I wanted to talk to someone who would understand. I even called my mother, out of some misplaced need to be heard and loved.
That didn’t work. She complained about her life and I wasn’t stupid enough to even tell her what was going on (that, at least, is a really important piece of growth.)
A month ago, I thought I was HEALED.
Today, I wonder…are we ever, really?
Or always just healing?
Striving to be better, each and every day?