The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Examination, Comma, Self. Also Extreme Stupidity. April 5, 2014

Filed under: A-Z,Dreams and Passions — DDKlingonGirl @ 10:35 pm
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Hello all. Today has been a good day, but one that I have spent a portion of in serious self examination. Not the breast kind, although for the record, that is really important too. No, this was examination of what I may or may not have been born to do.

*

I used to be a teacher. I went back to school at age 35 and got my degree in English education. I taught one year and got out. The story of why that happened is something for another day’s post, but part of it was that I was not fond of the classroom management part of teaching. I loved my kids. I wanted to see them succeed. I wanted them to maybe learn to love literature and writing as tools for experiencing the world on a bigger scale, a wider scope. I didn’t have the skills or experience to be successful at managing their behavior in the classroom in order to get their attention and show them how that whole ‘loving literature and writing’ thing was supposed to work.

*

Anyway. Today I went to a special event that made me want to think about teaching again. Just maybe not in a regular public high school classroom. This event was an open mic day of sorts, at a local coffee house, with some kids from our area’s alternative ed programs. We are talking the toughest, most damaged, most vulnerable kids, and I watched them sing. I watched them perform competitive speech pieces. I watched them perform rap that they wrote themselves. I watched them come alive through creative expression, and I thought “THAT is what I wanted to do as a teacher. Precisely that.” But realistically- I do not know how to be tough. I do not know how to set consistent limits and endorse them with consistent consequences. God knows, I have tried. I tried in my classroom. I tried with myself. And I tried with my own children. Still never have learned the trick to it.

*

So now I wonder whether that is something I can learn, or whether the ability to give “tough love” is just a skill you’re born with. I can’t say I know the answer yet, but I know watching those kids today was inspiring and made me wish I could be making a difference in kids’ lives. I am trying to make sure my own kids get what they want out of life, but they are already ahead of the game in that they have support; they have a pretty decent home life; they know they are loved and that someone has their back.

*

Some of the kids I saw today didn’t know that, until they met their arts teacher. Having just recently discovered community theater in all it’s different aspects, I know just how much someone can blossom and grow in a creative and expressive environment, and I was born to encourage that. I was born to cheerlead. Maybe. Maybe I am thinking of this for the wrong reasons- my own gratification in being The Mentor versus the simple fact of these kids’ growth and improved potential because of creativity and expression.

*

Anyway. Enough navel-gazing. The extreme stupidity referenced in my title was something i had never seen before, but I witnessed it tonight at the gas station. I have seen those little “No Smoking” symbols on gas pumps all my life. Never seen anyone smoking at the pump until tonight. There was a man at the next pump digging through the back of his pickup truck with a cigarette in his mouth. Granted, I don’t think he had taken the nozzle off the hook yet, but still. I was just thankful I didn’t somehow get blown up.

*

Until next time,
D.

 

I’m Just That Weird February 7, 2013

From George Cruikshank's illustrations to Laur...

From George Cruikshank’s illustrations to Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. Plate I: The Effects of Trim’s Eloquence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello all.  Ok, I couldn’t really explain where this feeling came from or what prompted it.  I’m a little bit unusual in the respect that I’m about to describe.  I’m not sure other people feel like this, and I wonder if it means I have like, boundary issues or something.  But here it is.  For some reason, today I am really missing my English professors.  Yep.  I miss my English professors.  They were special to me.  I went to a tiny little regional state school in Durant, Oklahoma, and there were four people there whom I just really loved.  They were the Big Four in the English department and the chairmanship of the department has rotated between most of them several times, I think.  Dr. Paula Allen, Dr. Randy Prus, Dr. John Mischo, and Dr. Mark Spencer.  Let me just tell you about them.

*

First, Dr. Allen.  The only woman in this little quartet, she was a fascinating person.  I got the sense that she had had adventures, you know?  The classes I took with her were World Literature, Methods in English Education, and Middle School/High School Lit.  Dr. Allen helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life; she was my supervisor during my first (and as it turned out, only) year as an English teacher.  I wish I knew her better so I could talk about her views and politics, but it’s been a long time.  My impression of her was that she is a dedicated, passionate teacher, teacher trainer, feminist advocate, and overall, a wonderful person.

*

Dr. Randy Prus.  He was… an interesting experience.  I wish I could go back in time and take his classes again, because I think I’d probably understand them so much better now.  His incredible intelligence made him seem a little spacey, kind of stoner-deep.  He’d throw out concepts, ideas, words… at the time they seemed connected by just the barest thread of a theme, but to him they probably all wove together perfectly.  I had American Lit and Creative Writing with him.  The creative writing class was the most fun because that was my strength.  I was a poet.  At least I thought I was.  I loved showing off my stuff in that class.  I think I struggled in the lit class because the selections seemed boring and I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell us about them.  The thing I seem to remember about his classes is that he tried to stretch your mind, to make you think deeper, and yet more creatively.  At the time, he was intimidating.  He probably still would be, but I enjoyed learning from him.  I still don’t know if I understand the term ‘trope’ though.

*

Dr. John Mischo.  I took English Lit and Shakespeare with him.  He made us do what he called a ‘response card.’  Every class we’d have to write on a note card our response to a writing prompt from the assigned reading.  It was terrifying, because sometimes I just felt like I didn’t understand anything I’d just read and I had no idea how I was going to come up with something even mildly intelligent to say about it, yet somehow I usually did well.  I still remember how proud I was of a paper I did that he really praised, and I was shocked.  It was titled’Wimpy Knights and Ugly Women’ and right this minute I can’t even remember what it was about, but it got a 98, which felt like winning the lottery.  He is especially special to me because he took the time to drive an hour to attend my wedding.  I invited all of them but didn’t really expect any of them to make it, and I had never been so shocked and honored in my life as when I saw him there.

*

Dr. Mark Spencer.  Ah, Spence.  How do I even describe him?  He was quiet and serious, and made nerdy English-teacher jokes that he was usually the only one laughing at, other than me.  I had several classes with him:  Literary Criticism, History of the Novel, and seems like one or two more, but I can’t think now what they were.  Literary Criticism was one of the first classes I took when I went back to school.  I had tried to take it once before and had to drop it because it made so little sense to me, and failing was not an option.  I remember being absolutely terrified about the class, but he was so warm and funny I managed to make it through, and couldn’t figure out what was so hard about it before.  The only time in my life I was ever assigned a book to read and couldn’t because it was just too darned dull was Tristram Shandy, which he seemed to talk about all the time.  He was always checking his pocket watch, which wasn’t an actual pocket watch, but the face of a little digital watch he’d taken the straps off of, and I still can’t figure out why he didn’t just wear a watch.  In a way he was the stereotypical nerdy English teacher, and I adored him, but I was so curious about who he really was as a person.  It’s a wonder I actually learned anything.

*

I think these four educators are special to me because they were part of my life when I felt like I was where I belonged.  I had gone back to school at 35 years old, and I fell back into it like I’d never been gone.  I excelled because I love being a student.  I’m good at it.  I could take classes from these four teachers forever and be content.   At least that’s how I feel sometimes.  Sometimes I remember that the point of reading and literature and culture and all of that is to make you realize there’s a big world about there, and in addition to reading it, you can also aspire to actually see it for yourself.  I can’t imagine where these four teachers have collectively been, what they’ve seen.  I hope I can someday see even a fraction of what they’ve seen and done.  But I hope they know that today… for some reason, they are on my mind.  Today is a day that I would literally hop into my car and drive for an hour just to run across campus and up three floors of Morrison Hall just to say hi and let them know they meant something to somebody.  They meant something to me.  For an educator, that’s success.

*

Until next time,

D.

 

Tested By Fire (Parts 2 & 3 of ?) February 19, 2011

Hello all.  Today is another anniversary for me.  I didn’t realize the date until I was at work today.  In the middle of just another Saturday at work.  I was actually hiding in the bathroom checking Facebook on my phone, and I noticed the date, February 19th.  Two years ago today, my world broke.  Not to be dramatic or anything, but you know, it kinda was.  A week and two days after a tornado hit my hometown and killed 8 people on the same day that I found out I wasn’t going to have a job the next year. 

*

It had been a normal-ish day.  Read: a difficult day.  I was teaching, as usual.  It was almost the end of 6th hour.  Speech class.  We weren’t doing anything.  I think they were supposed to have been finishing an outline or something.  The principal’s secretary beeped in on the intercom and told me I had a phone call.  I went to the office to get the phone.  It was my husband, and his first words were, “You need to come home. The house is on fire.” 

*

My heart fell through the floor, and I said the dumbest thing ever:  “Are you kidding?!”  (Like he would joke about that, right?)  He assured me he was not kidding:  “No, I’m not kidding!  The house is on fire!” And I said “Well how bad is it?”  He replied, “I don’t know, but the firemen are here and there’s a lot of smoke.”  I told him I was on my way.  The secretary was sitting behind the counter looking at me, and I just looked down at her and told her my house was on fire and she said “Go. We’ll find someone to take your classes.”  I practically ran down the hall to my room, grabbed my purse out from under my desk.  I was hyperventilating, shaking, almost crying.  Things were falling out of my purse and I just grabbed them and stuffed them in the bag.  One of the kids asked me what was wrong and I said “Don’t worry about it.”  In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t been so snippy, but at the time, I think I didn’t want them to know or something.  I’m not sure.  I tore out of the room without a backward glance, ran out the side door, threw myself into the car and flew out of the parking lot throwing gravel. 

*

My school was about 10 miles from my home, and my normal 15 minute trip probably took 5.  I could see from down the street, there were several fire trucks surrounding my house, and I knew it was bad.  I pulled up and parked on the street in front of the house.  The firemen were everywhere, but it looked like they were finished.  The front door was standing open.  I think they were dragging a big hose out and rolling it up.  I walked up, and they said I could go in.  RMB and I went in together.

*

This house has been mine since it was built.  It was built especially for me.  Me and the kids and their father.   I was there when it was nothing but a concrete slab.  During construction, I crawled on my hands and knees and scraped plaster and wall texture off the floors, inch by inch, with a razor blade in the dead of winter.  I picked out the colors of the tile and the cabinets and the brick and the shingles on the roof.  The kids’ dad and I.  We were blessed to get this house because he has a CDIB card.  A certificate of degree of Indian bloodChickasaw, to be precise.  We entered the program at just the right time and we were able to get a new house, built on the lot we picked, with the colors we picked. 

*

When I walked in the front door of the home I’d lived in for 13 years, first with The Dufus, and then alone with my kids, and then with RMB, all I could see was black.  The walls, the floor, every surface, every object in the house was blackened.  One living room wall and the door leading to the hall were charred.  The firemen had torn into that wall and chunks of drywall were scattered in the floor around it.  The living room windows were blown out from the heat.  The living room ceiling fan was drooping, melted, toward the floor.  The back door was open, and the remains of the couch had been thrown outside.  Most of the things in the living room had been heat damaged.  The entertainment center, the computer desk.  My laptop that Mom got me when I started back to college.  The digital camera she got me for my graduation.  The TV, VCR, the kids’ collection of Disney movies.  The flower arrangement that was the casket spray on my first baby’s casket. The coats in the entry closet.  All blackened and melted.  The smell was overwhelming, nauseating.

*

I called my mom and dad to tell them what had happened.  I might have done that when I first got out of the car.  I don’t remember.  They were at our church building, sorting donated clothes and items that we had been collecting for the tornado victims.  School was almost out, and Mom went to go get the kids and bring them.  RMB and I had gone back outside, because we couldn’t take the sight, the smell, and the lingering heat.  Mom pulled up behind my car and she and the kids jumped out.  They walked across the yard, Mom hanging on to them, holding their hands, even though hers were shaking uncontrollably.  I walked in with them.  At first they just looked around in shock, then finally they started to cry.  Even RMB.  It was the third house fire he’d been through, and he said he didn’t think he could take it.  I did my best to comfort all of them, tried to tell them it was ok, that it was ok to be sad, and we’d get through it.  They couldn’t stand to stay in there very long, and we had to leave anyway.  The house was unliveable and there was no power and no water.  We knew Mom and Dad would let us stay with them, even though the kids’ dad and his wife and daughter were already staying there, since their house got ruined in the tornado. 

*

PART 3

We went to the church building to look through the donated tornado clothes and find something for the kids to wear to sleep in and to school the next day.  Mom and Dad’s house was now our house, and would be, indefinitely.  We were pretty sure the Chickasaw housing people would rebuild the house, but we had absolutely no clue how long it would take.  At the start, I was hoping for two or three months.  I was being optimistic. 

*

We went to Mom and Dad’s and tried to get settled in- just one big happy family.  My parents, me, my husband of only 21 months, my kids, their father, his wife, their toddler daughter.  Like a reality tv show from hell.  I only took a few days off from school.  Being me, I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone too much.  In the next few days and weeks, the rest of the family set about trying to remove everything from the house so they could gut it and rebuild.  I couldn’t be there.  I was stuck at school, trying to put on a normal face, trying to teach English and Speech to kids who couldn’t have cared less, all the while knowing it didn’t matter, because I wouldn’t be there the next year.  Meanwhile, everybody else was going through MY house, throwing out MY things, MY memories, without me.  I know, it was my choice to stay at school, but I didn’t feel at the time that I had a choice. 

*

Over time, we emptied the house and the reconstruction began.  Living at Mom and Dad’s was challenging at best.  After a few weeks, the kids’ dad and his family got some relief money from FEMA and moved to another town where they could find a house.  Things got easier then, but by that time, RMB had left.  He and my dad had a difference of opinion one night, but that was just a convenient excuse.  He went to stay with his mother, and remains there to this day, two years later.  We’re still legally married.  I plan to remedy that with this year’s tax return. 

*

So here we are.  Two years later.  The house was rebuilt, better and more beautiful than before.  Again, we got to pick the colors.  Wall paint, trim, carpet, tiles, kitchen laminate, everything.  Up until it was almost finished, RMB was going to join us when we moved back in, but at the last minute he decided he wasn’t coming back. 

*

But we’ve survived.  Exactly 6 months after the tornado, we moved back into the house that was cleansed by fire.  Our lives were a literal mess before the fire.  A literal disaster.  The house was continually a filthy wreck.  My new marriage was a complete disappointment.  The fire took care of all that.  A clean, fresh start.  The kids and I are here now, alone again, and we’re happy.  We’ve been tested and come out on the other side, stronger and better than ever before.  Tested.  And passed.

*

Until next time,

D.

 

In Pursuit of Sparkle and Growl! October 6, 2010

Hello all!  It’s been too long since I posted a new entry.  I was getting my computer fixed, and now it’s mine again and I am happy.  And now I don’t have to use my purse or a pillow on my lap to prop the screen up because it stays up on its own!  Ah, bliss.  I’m actually supposed to be doing dishes right now.  That’s what I told myself I was going to be doing when I got home from taking the Crumb Crunchers to school.  But like the disciplined, self-controlled, energetic, tightly organized machine that I am, I sat down and started messing with the computer instead! 

*

Life has been good lately.  I have been feeling pretty happy and empowered and like I have an almost unbearable amount of potential and limitless future ahead of me.  I’m sure I’ll get kicked in the teeth again shortly, but for now I’ll just enjoy smiling.  (I know, is that not the most sadly pessimistic thing you ever heard or what?) 

*

Weight Watchers was great yesterday.  I had been slacking off pretty seriously for about three weeks.  Not trying hard, not writing down what I ate, not making it a point to eat healthy.  I wasn’t eating everything in sight, and I was trying to eat healthy-ISH, but definitely not at the top of my game.  So this past week I finally got my head out of my backside and got it on straight, ate more veggies, tracked all my food, basically started over as if I were on Week 1.  I lost 11.4 lbs!  No, that’s not a typo- E. Leven!  I know a large portion of it was probably water weight, but part of it was not.  So now I’m all hyped up, but I’m hoping I can at least be good enough to lose 1 or 2 this week.  I know it’s not really possible to have such a huge loss two weeks in a row, and I actually don’t want to; I know that the slower it comes off, the more likely it is to stay off, and that’s definitely my goal.  Slow and steady and permanent is infinitely preferable to fast and flashy and temporary.

*

Another reason I’m happy is that The Boy is doing much better in school this week.  Last week I was stressed out because he wasn’t getting his work done in school and got in trouble and got paddled, and this week he has gotten most of his work done in school, seems to be in a good mood, and I have had no more calls from his teacher.  Big. Improvement!  The Golden Goddess and her cohort Big Curly (my counselor and the kids’ counselor) have been suggesting I consider home-schooling him.  That has not seemed do-able up until now, but I’m thinking it could be accomplished if it becomes necessary.  He still hates school and thinks it’s stupid and pointless, but at least he’s doing what they tell him to do and not getting swats just for being stubborn like his Other Biological Parent.  (Hi, OBP!  Love ya!)  But you know what?  I’d really rather him enjoy learning and be interested and engaged in what he’s doing and be forming a habit of being a lifelong learner who is open to what the world can teach him, rather than just counting the minutes until he can check the last requirement off the list and walk across a stage in a funny hat and grab a piece of paper from (most likely) a man who has made his life miserable for 4 years!  If that means I become his primary educator, I’m open to the possibility!  So it’s definitely something I’m praying about, and I’d appreciate any of my readers who feel inclined to do so to pray with me, that I will know what I should do and what is best for my son.

*

In fact, my counselor has suggested I could start a small homeschool that would include other kids like The Boy, who don’t really have learning disabilities, but who struggle to function in the Box that is traditional educaction.  She seems to think I could charge a reasonable rate, teach a small handful of kids, and be doing what I have wanted to do, which is teach, in a setting that was more suited to me than a public school classroom.  When she first said it, I thought, “Yeah, right.  I could never do that.”  But now when she has told me she already knows of several people who would be interested in such an arrangement, I’m thinking, “Why the heck not?  I can do anything I set out to do, and with God, all things are possible.”  So maybe there’s some research and study to be done and some serious prayer to be said, and a new direction to my career in my future.  Who knows?

*

Overall, I’d say life is pretty good right about now.  I’m feeling peaceful and contented and looking forward to the future and all the possibilities.  I’m in hot pursuit of the qualities I desire:  Sparkle and Growl!  I think I’m catching up!

*

Until next time,

D.

PS- I’ll define Sparkle and Growl next time!

 

Like a Proverbial Burr Under a Saddle… August 30, 2010

Hello all.  For the last few days, I have wanted to write an entry entitled “In the Dictionary Under ‘Galling’...”  But up until today I haven’t taken the time.  I’ve just been really aggravated lately.  You know the feeling, right?  Where it seems like everything that happens is specifically designed to raise your blood pressure a couple of notches? 

*

Like the other day.  Somebody let it slip to me that somebody else has been running their mouth about me behind my back.  Which I know they always do, but for somebody who doesn’t have a creative or talented bone in their body to criticize me for what I write in MY OWN blog?  Whatev.  Don’t like it?  Feel free to go read something else.  See what I mean?  Galling.

*

Also filed under galling:  realizing that every teacher I ever had in school whose style in the classroom was anything like the style I would later have- the kids shredded.  I remember them.  Pre-Algebra teachers?  Shredded.  Spanish teacher?  Shredded.  Librarian/Yearbook teacher?  Shredded.  In fact, I don’t remember a teacher who had a personality like mine (soft-hearted, soft-spoken, and loving, if I do say so myself) in the classroom above about 3rd grade.  After that, they were all ‘Rambo with Chalk.’  Why in the name of all that is sane and holy could I not have realized this before I got the bright idea of becoming a high school teacher?  And why can I not let go of feeling like I was totally screwed as a first-year teacher?  And is there any hope for my teaching career, short of my checking into a clinic and receiving a Classroom Bitch transfusion?  Because in a high school teacher…  soft-hearted, soft-spoken and loving translates into indulgent, gullible, and doomed.

*

Want more galling?  Try this on.  Hearing that the person to whom I am still legally married and who supposedly still cares about me would not have accompanied me to my class reunion even if I had asked.  Or more accurately, was hoping I would not ask because he didn’t want to have to say no.  Not that anyone would have wanted him there or that any of us would have felt the slightest bit comfortable with him there, but he should still be willing to go with me if I were dumb enough to ask.  Petty and small of me, perhaps, but still… galling!

*

Galling:  Wanting to tell somebody something and not having the guts, not being able to make a decision and stick with it and not second-guess it to death until you drive yourself and everyone else around you completely berserk, not having the self-control you desperately need to develop if you’re ever going to become a Person At Her Ideal Weight, knowing that nobody is ever going to invent self-folding laundry.

*

So there is plenty more, but in the interest of not driving away my few surviving readers, I’ll skip it. (You:  clapping and cheering gratefully)  Instead I will let my poetry speak for me by posting some more of it in the comments section under the Poetry and Fiction tab at the top of the page.  Check it out.  And maybe I will be in a better mood by my next post!  Thanks for sticking through it all with me!

Until next time,

D.

 

 
The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

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