The Power Deferential

I am a thirty something woman.

My whole life, I have struggled to please others–especially the bosses or influential people around me.

I crave their approval. I want their validation. I want to know I am good enough. Continue reading

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It’s that time of year

It’s that time of year.

It is dark when I wake up. Dark when I get home.

Cold. Dry. Windy.

It sounds silly to say, but I realized today…I am actually afraid of this time of year and what it will bring.  Continue reading

“I HAVE to love you, but I don’t HAVE to like you.”

I teach little people every day. Seven and eight year olds, to be precise. This year, I have one friend who can be particularly challenging. He is a boy on the spectrum, not in control of his emotions and easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli and frustrations.

He feels best right next to me. Getting one on one attention. Holding my hand. Hugging me. Being up in my bubble. Each day, I do these things for him because he is also a child of poverty and neglect and it is my job to love and take care of him while I have him.

The other day, we were walking together. He had been having a rough day, and his signal is yelling, “I hate (whatever is bothering him).” Often, it is me, or a friend, or school, or his mother. My response is typical–“I’m so sorry you are feeling that way right now.”

After having numerous breakdowns that day, he held my hand and calmed down as I led him on a walk. He squeezed my hand hard and asked me, “Do you like me or do you hate me?”

I looked this sweet boy in the eyes. He held my gaze for a second, and looked elsewhere, uncomfortable with direct eye contact, as I said to him, “I don’t hate you at all. I love you.” He took a deep breath and relaxed, ready to go back into the classroom. Continue reading

When therapy ends

There is this person, whose couch I could always curl up on and cry, laugh, or simply vent about my life.

This person showed me a kindness I had not ever experienced. A basic, human kindness–empathy. She saw me for who I was, respected me for who I was, and allowed me to be and feel whatever I needed to.

She believed in me.

And, eventually, it allowed ME to believe in me, too. Continue reading

Time

Time has been a good thing for me.

While in the very midst of counseling, time felt like a foe. Each and every day was a battle. Nights were long, full of anxiety and worry and overthinking. Each minute stretched out endlessly and I would focus on just trying to make it through another day, until I could reach the safety of my therapist’s office once more.  Continue reading