At Battle With Myself

I did not write a post last week.  Did you notice?  I noticed.  I agonized over it.  The time was just not there.  It was fine. It should have been fine.  It’s really no big deal.  Except that I read three entire books about starting a blog before I started a blog and they all stated the importance of maintaining a schedule.  To me, this was equivalent to the authors stating that if I skipped a week I was basically a failure as a human being.  Overly dramatic?  Absolutely.  Yet that self-imposed pressure to do things just right has been with me for as long as I can remember.

August is a month like no other for everyone in education, from the superintendents to the custodians.  It is go time.  We start our whole career over again.  Who else does that?  It is crazy!  This August, I have been in many school districts working with teachers in various grade levels.  It is what I love to do most.  This year has been particularly special, because I have been able to focus entirely on literacy.  My position was fully funded by the state in July.  I no longer have to work with other grant programs to “earn my keep.”  The state has enough funding to support a K-12 literacy consultant in each of the professional development centers.  This is the position I have wanted since I first began teaching.

Do you know how excited I get when a new school reaches out and asks for literacy support for their teachers?  I am SO thrilled!  I want to help them with all the things on all the days.  Then another school calls and I get just as excited all over again. I am truly happy and I really do want to go to these schools and meet all the teachers and do wonderful things.  I could dance around my office sprinkling fairy dust and shooting rainbows out of my fingertips.  The only actual issue is that I cannot just go to these schools and sprinkle fairy dust.  I kind of have to plan stuff.  Planning stuff takes a really, really long time. 

Therefore, I have an enormous amount of stuff to do.  It’s all good stuff.  I enjoy doing it.  I do it all day.  I do it at night.  Sometimes I even do it on the weekends.  But I do get more migraines, and my fibromyalgia flares really badly.  I kind of feel like I am 110 years old.  My list of daily medicines grows longer and longer.  So this week, I attempted to take a break from it all.  I left work at noon and checked into a hotel for the night, without my computer and with my phone turned off.  I unplugged.

I had chosen this date weeks ago, so I knew that it was approaching.  As it drew closer, I wanted to back out so badly that I just had to force myself not to think about it.  I had so much work to do.  My kids had just started school on Monday.  It was not a good time for me to be gone.  I had teachers in schools who were trying new things and they might really have needed me to talk to them. When the day arrived, I packed my bag and headed to work for the morning.  Noon came way too soon.  I had several emails out that I knew would come back needing responses.  I was in the middle of planning workshops.  It felt very, very wrong of me to leave work.  But I walked away from my desk and left my computer there.

At the hotel, I read a book I have been attempting to finish since our beach vacation in early June.  I read about ten pages before I fell asleep for about three hours.  I woke up in time to watch a couple of hours of a movie before I fell asleep again and slept all night.  

Was my break away from it all awesome and rejuvenating?  I have no idea.  I slept through almost all of it.  I will say that I was never tempted to cheat and look at my phone.  I was content to be by myself in the quiet.  I did sleep very soundly knowing that my phone was not going to go off.  But I woke right up at 6:00 AM to check my email.  I had responded to two before my feet ever touched the floor.  And my heart was racing, because I knew I had a half day’s work to make up for.   I got to work early and got to it as if I had never been gone.

My urge to do everything just right and right now is very strong at the current time.  There are times when I manage it much better.  For now, I feel an extra buzz of energy that keeps me hyper-vigilant to every detail at work and at home.  I buzz around until I am so exhausted that I crash, then I get back up and do it all over again.  Something has caused me to revert back into some old habits.  It happens. I cannot do everything perfectly and I cannot make everyone happy and I have learned this lesson over and over again.  Yet I still find myself back on the old hamster wheel.  

I will straighten myself out.  It will just take some time.  Just remember that those of us who look like we have it all together and can handle anything, are sometimes fighting a battle that’s hard to see because we hide it so well.  We are fighting a battle with ourselves.  

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