Posts Tagged With: encouragement

inspiration or toxic positivity

This picture is hanging in every single one of the faculty restrooms at my school.

I don’t know who put them up.
Was it the PTO?
Was it the admins?
Was it the school counselors?
I understand what whoever put them up was trying to do.
Trying to encourage all the adults in the building to embrace what’s good. Look on the bright side.
(my brain has literally become the end of Life of Brian with Eric Idle singing and whistling. “Cheer up you old bugger.” forgive me, I digress…)

As I was saying…
In concept I understand the good intention.
In reality this photo pisses me off.
I mean truly makes me seethe every single time I see it.
This is the most disrespectful bunch of toxic positivity crammed in the faces of women and men who are doing the absolute best under some pretty complex circumstances.

First and foremost how dare you?
Secondly, nobody wants to be a teacher unless they’re a teacher. And to be perfectly fucking honest, sometimes not even then! Such a thankless day to day existence. We are doing the best we can in an absolute crap situation. Every single one of us is here for the kids. And the fact that someone has the audacity to suggest our underappreciated-crap-pay-micromanaged-by-non-educators-government-mandated-in-such-a-way-as-to-take-the-joy-out-of-it-at-every-turn employment is somehow being dreamed about?
And don’t even get me started on the one about a smile and depression.
Fuck you, dude.

“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity. Find something to be grateful for”
Imma say it again for good measure.
Fuck you, dude.
This toxic positivity disgusts me!

Here’s a simple definition if you’re unfamiliar with the term.

This assumption that no matter what’s going on in one’s life, ‘other people have it worse’.
If that’s not toxic I don’t know what is.
One assumes that ‘others have it worse’ because they only see one aspect of someone’s life.
One says ‘distance from negativity’ makes everything better because one assumes expression of self is comparison or complaint…?

I’m over here like, beautiful things happen every day. No matter your proximity to negativity. Or positivity for that matter.
How about: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
(even though it’s attributed to Roosevelt, I couldn’t find supporting evidence he actually coined the term)
And being told to ‘find something to be grateful for’?
Y’all know I’m all about gratitude. Celebrating when I find it in unlikely places. Noticing it in the every day.
But to be ordered to find it?
After being told beautiful things are away from all things negative?
Once more for the cheap seats in the back.
Fuck you, dude.

I’m all for inspiration, but this doesn’t land for me. It lacks true compassion.
Am I looking at it askew?
What do y’all think?
Is this inspiring or does it encourage self gaslighting?
Is this positivity helpful or toxic?
Please oh please discuss!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

organizing my home and brain space

This is the view from our bedroom window this morning.
Can you spot three deer out there in the snow?
I watched them for about ten minutes while they foraged.

Today is snow day number four.
And two to four inches of snow predicted in the overnight hours tonight.
Three full weeks of winter break.
I’m actually ready to get back to school.

Though I’ve been quite productive around here and feel good about it. This additional week was helpful.

I found some good decor items to add with things we already have to style the dining table. I’m being mindful about making sure I have mostly practical pieces that are useful in ways other than simply looking nice. I don’t want decor for decor’s sake. I want beautiful things I can utilize in other ways.
I may end up returning some things, I’m still trying to figure it out.
Photos to come.

I’m actively journaling.
It feels good to get my brain space better sorted. In addition to journaling my thoughts and feels, I’m also writing about writing. My hope is that will eventually translate to this blog.
We’ll see, those thoughts are still hatching…

I’m feeling positive and hopeful about all the things right now.
Inspired and encouraged.
About our home.
About my feels.
I’ll strive to do what’s best for my physical and mental health.
I’ll continue to ask questions that may or may not have answers.
I must consider some serious decisions.
But I’m going to accept what comes as it do.
And I’m going to embrace as much playful fun and joy as I possibly can.

How are all y’all feeling this first week of the new year?
What thoughts are hatching in your brain space?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sundance knows all the things

Sundance sent me a package late last week.

The inside of the card says, ‘add vodka and soda and call it a day’.
That is so us.

She knows I’ve been struggling emotionally. So she sent a little something to say, “You got this.” and “I love you.” all in one.
How kind of her.
I look at that little red haired girl on the book and smile. She’s a little bad ass for sure!
Somewhere inside me is that little warrior goddess. The one that won’t take shit off anybody. The one that really does “got this”. She must be taking a nap or something, because she doesn’t seem to be showing up of late.
I wonder if I need to be all, “WAKE UP!!” or if I need to continue to be patient and know I’ll come out the other side of this low point when I’m meant to.

I have no choice but to wait and see.
I’m so tired of feeling this way.
YBW asks me, “How are you feeling today, baby?”
It would be lovely to respond with something other than, “I’m me.”

But I am me.
I’m depressed.
I am also a bad ass warrior goddess.

Sundance knows this with certainty.
She’s my anam cara. My soul friend. My soul sister. She knows all the things.
I am truly blessed.

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storytelling part four (classroom fun)

Friday’s heat advisories kept us indoors so we made our own fun. I got down off my soapbox and let the kids do what they wanted. After expanding our construction zone to somehow encompass the entire back half of the classroom they cleaned up and came together ready the write a story.
I encouraged the worst possible story in the history of all stories and they did not disappoint.

(email title)
total global destruction

Well…sort of.

Miss Robynbird told us how proud she was that we were able to make a story without any bloodshed, so much so that today she challenged us to make the most horrifically terrible story possible! We’re talking fire, flood, famine. We’re talking dragons, dinosaurs, witches and sharks. We’re talking destruction of TOTAL GLOBAL PROPORTION!

During the planning process we shouted out things like:
witches potions
dinosaurs
dragons
sharks
villagers
fire

KR-J asked to begin the story, and it went a little something like this:
Once upon a time there was a scary dinosaur and there was a villager. And the villager found the dinosaur.
AO:
And then there was another dinosaur. A dragon came and he blow fire on the grass where the dinosaur was. A witch came from where the villager was. She said, “NO DRAGONS BREATHING FIRE!”
VS:
Another witch found a villager’s house and saw a cloak and put it on then she went to the dragon and the dragon ate her and she “spelled” out of the dragon and found her body again.
RC:
Then another dragon came and the villager…he saw crocodiles…they are by the water…he was trying to be careful by the bridge, but fell in the pond and the crocodile is gonna eat him. Then the villager got out and runned away from the crocodile.
ZB:
Then what happened, there was a shark, and he was bad and ate some people and there were other people and they went on a bridge and the bridge broke and they fell in the water then what happened, was the dinosaur got the people and stomped on them and they was squished.
JH:
More people ran into the forest and into their house and the dragons blowed their house. Then they run into the bridge and they fell into the water and the shark get ’em.
EY:
The dragon and shark…the dragon saw a knight guard…he tried to fight the dragon and he fired the knight guard and eat him.
Miss Robynbird turned to TK: Bring us home.
TK grinned:
Then there was a bridge that was broken and the shark at the broken pieces and a dragon breathed fire on more people and then stepped on them and they were dead. And then he ate them.

Total global destruction was a SUCCESS!

(Teacher’s Note: YBW asked me if any of the parents found this inappropriate. I laughed. These parents absolutely LOVE this stuff. They think these stories are wonderful. I am blessed to have parents with senses of humor. They are blessed to have teachers who encourage creativity and critical thought.)

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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