#76: Doubt

man with a serious face

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I doubt whether my clothes fit well, I doubt whether my hair looks good, I doubt whether my personality is likable enough. I doubt the sun shines in the morning when it’s supposed to, and I even doubt when I’m supposed to go to bed. But most of all, professionally, I doubt my lesson planning work. What I need to focus on more is trusting my instincts, and if something doesn’t go well, trusting that I can make up for it the next time, or improve from my mistakes. I’m so afraid of making mistakes sometimes that I prevent myself from making them; I shield myself from error by copying the work of my peers or mentors instead, trusting that they have better ideas than I do. There’s never a time when I’m not wishing another person had done this before, but better, so I could copy them and be rid of the anxiety of having to be accountable for my own ideas. It’s an easy, affordable way of avoiding accountability, which is not very good.

But let’s make this a positive and productive blog post. I don’t want to mire in negativity forever. I think I have a lot to offer as an educational professional, it’s just a matter of unleashing that potential appropriately, actualizing it in just the right way. If I need to go to college again to figure that out, then so be it. If I need to stay here for awhile first, then so be it as well. Doubt is a terrible infection, and I need to overcome it one way or another. My ideas aren’t as terrible as they seem in my head; it’s just my self-critical ways acting up. Self-esteem is a tricky thing.

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Watch

analogue classic clock clock face

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Watching and waiting full-time;
He used to scroll blindly through
His previous job’s inbox, with hints of
Nostalgic remembrance when
“Daily Attendance” or “Student IEP”
Appeared, knowing he no longer
Needed to pay them heed
But now his access is gone
And so goes his brief detachment
So it goes.
He should have known this would happen
Eventually

Watch this space, he says proudly,
Knowing nothing about the future
Except its dramatic, unprecedented
Uncertainty;
He sleeps all day and night,
Wasting time and energy and life,
Waiting for emails and inbox
Notifications from elsewhere,
Any messages directed
At his attention, to embrace
To celebrate, to ignore
Ultimately

#21: Tutors

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I look back on previous tutoring experiences with positive vibes, thinking about the students, their progress, their achievements. You can imagine them in your head, the first session and the development of our practice from then to now. It’s a truly unique feeling to know a student personally for years, and then to see them accepted into their top school as a senior. To watch them develop and become the student you know they can be. There’s a fantastic joy that overcomes me when a struggling student manages to figure out their troubles with a little guidance, and tutoring exemplifies this joy on a regular basis. When tutoring, you are fundamentally in control of the sessions, and there is a freedom of choice and platform that makes them more unpredictable and unique. Each session has to adapt to the one before it, and eventually no two days or sessions look the same. Having a free platform to present tutoring is what allows me to spread knowledge and lessons in English in a care free, easy-going way. It’s the best way for me to approach the practice, otherwise I become bogged down in personal expectations and focus on the performative rather than the intellectual.

That’s one of the major reasons why I see tutoring as different from teaching; in teaching, there’s an element of performance that never goes away. You are always “on stage” to some degree, and you never get to leave, not even when people come to visit you during your free periods. Teaching necessitates a constant, high-octane energy on the part of the teacher, and incoming teachers are made to feel as if they need to constantly display a smile and a positive outlook 24/7 in order to be successful. Those of us who smile and laugh as introverted defense mechanisms, and not necessarily just in a good-natured way, tend to fall into the same category as the extroverts here. But tutoring, though, never has to fall into this trap. It’s always based on that one connection between the teacher and the one tutoree.

#10: Vulnerability

True emotional vulnerability is impossible to manage, even more impossible to last. We persist in speaking of the levels to our vulnerabilities, never disclosing one-hundred percent, as it would ruin so much. If I unveiled to the world every thought in my head at every point in time, firstly not many people would care, but secondly it would damage the privacy and independence of my thoughts from my identity as a person. I don’t think of my identity as a collection of my most taboo thoughts; I look at important decisions, memorable experiences, and repeated behaviors, among other things, to define myself. If we only contended with our regrets and shortcomings, we would never be able to move forward with ourselves.

But vulnerability, when managed in a way that respects each other’s privacy and emotional wellbeing, can lead to wonderful, trusting relationships. Exposing an emotional weakness, displaying oneself as fallible and sometimes irrational, revealing a long-hidden but still-haunting guilt or frustration from the past: these are the bedrock that form a lasting honesty between people. When two people have equally shared their sorrows, they inch closer together as companions. Our humanity is what makes us human, after all; it deserves to be celebrated from time to time. When a person reveals a crystalized memory to another, and the recipient understands, sympathizes, and shares in turn, that’s humanity.

In a way, discussing my emotional sore spots has become for me a necessity before developing long-term friendships. It makes the process a nightmare of rediscovering all my past haunts, and with no guaranteed success. It’s just that I require a basic level of humanity before committing myself to another friendship with another person. I cannot trust a friend too much until they’ve seen an adequate number of my regrets, otherwise I fear they will return at a later point, mightier than before, and willing to crush a promising relationship in half. I never know how new friends will react when the parts of my personality that I’ve kept long hidden return and wreak destruction. I never know what they will say to me, or if they’d rather say nothing and walk away. I never know what to do when that inevitably happens again. I thank myself for the distance between my most harrowing guilts and my current mental state, but you never know when an internal demon will decide to reignite its ancient flame.

Similarly, I’ve talked in other blog posts about empathy and human connections, how an artificial or forced socialization could never work for me. This is partly why; in being emotionally vulnerable with others, I have strengthened core relationships while dooming myself to a struggle before finding others like them. This is the eternal struggle of the introvert.

Synchronicity

They say every person needs a partner

Every life needs another;

To seek, embrace, complete it.

But I don’t buy into that gypsy philosophy,

Practiced by fools and wayward spirits.

Heart’s weren’t made in a lock-and-key fashion,

Never have I noticed my heart missing

A second half, atrium and ventricle absent.

Love has never soothed my soul’s worries,

Nor has it fixed anything troubling going on.

It’s only brought more worries, more trouble

And more anguish and foolishness.

Synchronicity is overrated because love,

Love makes no sense…

But maybe it doesn’t have to.

 

 

Discursive Ramblings: Dokapon Kingdom

Hello. I’d like to formally introduce my followers to an informal, casual series which I will try to maintain steadily. As I haven’t had much time to read lately, the Story of the Week series has taken a much needed rest.

Here’s what Discursive Ramblings will do to benefit both you and I, the reader and the writer: I’ll be able to vent some of my frustrations which come from my academic, laborious, and social life, and you’ll be entertained (I hope) by my providing a sense of personality that may be missing from my creative work. Discursive Ramblings is my time to relax and release. What’s in store? Well, I’m not sure of the particularities, but I am sure that this series will be rowdy and especially audacious.

While my opening segment may not entice you the way the following entries to this series may, I expect that I’ll get used to the structure (or lack thereof) that I’m creating the more I participate in it. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it:

Today and yesterday, I played an incredibly irritating yet somehow enjoyable game for hours on end. I think I had Stockholm syndrome. To anyone who knows anything about friendship-destroying party games, you must have heard of Dokapon Kingdom, for the Wii. Without exaggerating in the least bit, the game is built from the ground up to anger you. It will piss you off. It will throw you into painful and obnoxious situations you will learn to despise, as they appear consistently. This game knows how to hit a nerve, if you are the least bit impatient and easily bothered.

252px-Dokapon_Kingdom_cover

Surviving a Story Mode game without combusting into flames  is modern society’s most extreme measure of self-control.

But yet, I felt a desire to return to it after every painful brick to the face that the game throws at you. To an extent, I have an abusive relationship – that is, with a party game that sets me in both rage-mode and complacently comfortable mode in the blink of an eye, or the shift of the day.

A few weeks back, a group of friends and I started a session of the longest possible game setting and set for adventure. However, in actuality, the adventure was more so an attempt to survive in an expansive, probability-based world which takes every chance it can to screw you over. There is some element of skill and strategy involved, but much of that is obliterated as the “Surprise!”-based structure of Dokapon Kingdom promotes silliness and uncertainty instead.

If you have ever played Mario Party, think of Dokapon Kingdom as a longer, inescapable loop of the most difficult and/or annoying minigame, with role-playing elements included. Grrr! It’s frustrating to even think of it.

Like a true, abused partner, I am bound to the game because it animates us, excites us, and throws us into walls. Most of the time, we do it to each other seeing as the game promotes dicking around with your pals (whose status as friends may be slowly diminishing as the game progresses, only to be restored once you realize that it’s simply a game). That always elicits a reaction, either in game or out of game.

I swear a lot. And when I’m angry I swear even more. Fireworks fly. A little animation of steam rolling out of my nose appears. It’s all wrong.

Yet I enjoy this game.

Until next time, fellas.