Posts tagged introspections
Posts tagged introspections
I’ve softened a lot in regards to my views on children in the past year or two. I really could not be bothered with them between the years of 2001 to 2010. I didn’t want to hear them screaming or crying. When I worked in a restaurant, I certainly did not want toddler’s grubby little hands smearing food all over my tables and throwing things onto the floor for me to clean up later. My old roommate and I used to dread going to the supermarket for fear of unattended children running into our shins. Looking back, I think I was just uncertain of how to interact with kids. I like to talk. A LOT. And I consider myself a very articulate person. I always found it difficult to interact with kids because I felt like they could never understand what I was trying to say. And I found myself unable to say things in a simple, relatable way. (I have this problem with peers and adults too. If I say something the way I want to say it, and it’s not understood immediately, I have a really hard time rephrasing it.)
But I remember what actively changed my mind about children. I met my friend Owen’s 1-year old son, Liam, for the first time. I had met other babies/children of friends and family members prior to this day, but something about this casual afternoon with Owen and Liam was special. We were watching kids’ shows and Liam was eating pizza (I think), and just playing. I just became fascinated by how open and inquisitive he was. When he picked up a toy and I asked, “Liam, can I see?” and he brought it over and shared with me, there was something so simple and innocent and sweet about it. It was love at first interaction. I was also fascinated by the side of Owen that Liam brought out. Owen is someone who I have known for years, but seeing him interact with his son was different than seeing him in any other situation – it was also tinged with simplicity, innocence, and sweetness. The love I could see and feel between my friend and his son, and the love I felt towards my friend for bringing someone so magical into the world and letting me share an afternoon with him, filled my heart. That day changed my demeanor towards kids forever. Soon after, my cousin and his wife had a baby girl named Michelle. Two years ago, I would never have made the effort to get to know my adorable second cousin, but presently, I did. And I love that she knows and recognizes me. And I love when we make silly kissy-faces at each other.
But I don’t just have a soft spot for children that I know or am related to. I smile at kids in stores now. I tell little girls that they have cute dresses or pretty headbands or awesome animal hats. Let’s face it. Kids have all the best clothes and I am totally jealous. I also never ever thought I would want to work with kids but I do - I work as a mentor for school children grades K-8. And while I still find that some can be bratty and annoying (so can adults), I mainly find them to be sweet and joyful. There is nothing like a first grade girl holding your hand and asking you to sit next to her on the bus. There is nothing like the pride you feel for a fifth grade boy who notoriously acts out when he works quietly and completes all of his assignments correctly. There is nothing like a game of “I Spy” with a second grade boy who calls you “salty.” There is nothing like first graders screaming with laughter when you are chasing after them on the playground. There is nothing like getting an arts and crafts project with ridiculously drawn likenesses of you. These are just some of the things I have experienced working in a school for 5 hours a week for only 6 weeks. The five hours a week I spend with my kids are almost always the best hours of my week. I have no idea what the future holds for me in terms of whether or not I will ever have kids of my own (if I do ever, it will not be for a very long time). But in the meantime, other people’s kids just keep on amazing me.
Over gin martinis (which I may or may not be allergic to) with my best friend of ten years, I recently divulged that I’ve spent the past five years of my life not really liking who I am, not even knowing who I am really, which is worse. I guess the idea had been bouncing around in my brain for a while, but it wasn’t until it came out of my mouth last night that I realized the extent to which the statement was true. The past five years have included a soulless, creativity-crushing four years in college, followed by graduation into the worst possible job market for recent grads; two of the most terrible “romantic relationships” a girl could choose for herself and all the emotional baggage that goes along with that; working a dead-end job for over three years that made me miserable to my core and decry that 99% of all people are morons; and tons of diffidence and self-loathing. I feel guilty complaining about these things, because by other standards, like having a loving family, fabulous friends, quality education, and sufficient material resources to live, I have been luckier than almost anyone I know. My intent in writing all of this isn’t really to complain. Only recently have I been working on actively freeing myself from all of the things that bogged me down for so long in order to begin a new quest for happiness and self-improvement. And I want to document that in some way.
I used to be a very active writer and poet, but I have not felt compelled to put words on paper/text on screen in the past six years - until now. I’m not sure what’s prompting it or how exactly I intend to go about it, but I’m just running with it. So that’s why we’re here. On this fancy blog machine. I have a lot of apprehensions about this whole thing - one being that I don’t think my writing is very good and two being that I am weirdly antiquated and somewhat of a technology-phobe. I thought about just writing a diary instead. I’ve always been this way a little bit – I have both an ipod and a bulky portable cassette player; both a Macbook and an 80’s typewriter; I e-mail for “business” but snail mail for personal satisfaction. Sometime in the next five years, the only people you will know who won’t have Smartphones will probably be your grandparents and me. Although my grandfather totally rocks a Blackberry, so maybe I am in a category by myself. I think I have gotten off track. I think the reason I ultimately decided to do this thing rather than just keep a diary hidden under my pillow is that I value the opinions of other intelligent people and I think this is a good forum for people to weigh in on my ramblings and converse with me about my opinions if they want to. I don’t think in the future, everything I write will be this weirdly self-exploratory, so don’t fret.
Back to the pursuit of happiness and self-improvement. I’m working on it. If you talk to me for more than five minutes, you will likely take away that I am pessimistic/realistic/cynical/snarky/etc. It’s just how I view the world. At this point, it is so ingrained in me, it is a permanent part of my personality and of course, my charm. And I won’t apologize for it, because honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being cynical, skeptical, or inquisitive. In fact, I feel it’s very healthy. But it does sometimes admittedly make it difficult to look at life positively and go forth confidently in any direction. The past few months, I’ve found trying to maintain a base-level of optimism completely exhausting. It sounds awful admitting this, but I think there was a great ease and comfort for me in being sad and dissatisfied. Facing the world with angst worked for me for a long while, but at the end of five years, I’m realizing it’s just not a sustainable way to exist. This is going to sound so cheesy, but at the end of every day, deep-down somewhere inside of myself, I know that I am a special, beautiful woman. I especially see this fact reflected in the amazing people I surround myself with, whom I could not possibly love, admire, and respect more than I already do. I just need to work on bringing that love, admiration, and respect to the forefront of my own mind. The past month or two, I have really been focused on spending time with the people who bring out the best in me while forgetting about the people who always leave me feeling crummy; on putting my energy into projects like reading challenging literature, mentoring children, and writing poetry that bring me a sense of fulfillment; and generally, striving to be someone that if I met, I would like.