-~- Welcome Fellow Derp

If you’ve ever had one of those moments where you realized you’d done something so stupid that you just had to laugh at yourself, you’re in the right place.

You know…

One of those moments where you had to facepalm yourself just hard enough to verify that there was actually a brain rattling around in that skull of yours.

Or maybe just one of those moments where you felt like you had something interesting to add to this conversation we call life, but were too afraid to share for fear it wouldn’t come out the way you wanted.

If you’ve at all found yourself feeling like any of the above, I think this is just the little corner of cyberspace for you.

Why did I name this blog derp2derp?

Well, in order for me to answer that question I should probably clarify the meaning of the word derp, JUST in case some of you reading this don’t already know it.

  Sooo…

What does the word derp mean? 

Here’s a couple definitions:

Courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

derpy-awkward or embarrassing, especially pertaining to a person:

“Man, that guy is so awkward!”
“Yeah, he’s really derpy.”

Courtesy of Myself:

herp derp (or simply derp)-a person who is doing or has done something unusually dopey and/or laughable:

“Ouch! I just walked into the sliding door because I thought it was open.”

“Hahaha.  You’re such a herp derp.”

(the terms “herp derp” and “herpaderp” have also been known to be used in rage comics in order to substitute dialogue)

SO, WHY THE SILLY NAME derp2derp?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we all know that we have moments that bring out our inner derp and this blog is a way for me to share some of those moments with you.  I find that my inner derp surfaces quite a lot (probably more than I’d like) and I figured if I’m going to be plagued with the disease of herpaderpitis, I might as well do something productive with it.  From failing at holding simple conversations to everyday ruminations about the value of life, I’d like to give you a chance to both laugh at my silly everyday mistakes and hopefully, share some of your own derpy stories in return.  I’d also like to share my thoughts on various matters and hear what you guys think yourselves.  It doesn’t matter if you think my thoughts are off the wall bogus or genuinely interesting.  I’d like to turn this into a space where everyone is free to share their thoughts.  I’d like to hear from you.

Life’s too short to waste time being embarrassed by failure.

Why wince at failure when you can laugh?

Let’s derp it up.

~LDA

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You Wouldn’t Like Me

There’s this Tegan and Sara song I really love called You Wouldn’t Like Me.” 

 

Part of it goes like this:

“There’s a war inside of me 

Do I cause new heartbreak to write a new broken song? 

Do I push it down or let it run me right in to the ground? 

I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me. 

Sunshine is days away 

I won’t be saved

I know all the words 

I can’t say that I’ll love you forever 

I won’t say that I love you forever” 

 

I relate to it a lot, although maybe not for the very same reasons as the speaker.

I’ve spoken about love and how I’m learning to be better at loving others. I even recently wrote a post about how I’m feeling more confident about undertaking what seems like this goliath task. I spoke about how even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing when loving and being there for others, trying your best is half the work so there’s no use sitting there, just go for it. Which is true.

It’s really important to not let hesitation get in your way, or you will just be one more dumbie in the world twiddling their thumbs and being upset that no one will love them properly even though they barely put in any effort themselves.

I find that as I move forward with this philosophy I’m still not perfect. Which is no surprise. I won’t ever be, but never have I felt further from it.

For the most part, instead of stopping before I start, I’m stopped dead in my tracks in the process. Sure, I can push myself to make an attempt, to try my best even, but it’s like I fall short eight times out of ten. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. It’s not necessarily that I fail in the attempt. More like while going about my life relating to people on a mundane level, I seem to spot more and more flaws that will make loving and supporting people on a deeper level impossible.

I’ve stopped saying “I can’t say that I’ll love you forever. I won’t say that I’ll love you forever,” but sometimes it’s still hard to swallow that fear that I won’t be able to.

People say that if you fear you can’t love it’s most likely because you fear you yourself are unlovable. That’s true, but it’s not quite the case with me.

I know I’m lovable. I don’t lack self worth. In fact I’m probably a little stuck up in that regard. I’m confident in most of my abilities. And blessedly, it’s obvious people in my life love me. It’s more along the lines of me just thinking it’s sad that they do, because I’m not sure I can do justice to loving them back. 

I was talking to my father the other day about how he needs to be careful how he comes off to people when he talks to them. That while he’s sitting there thinking they’re having a friendly discussion they’re clearly reading it as an unwelcome lecture. He tends to come off as always thinking he’s right, never open to the possibility that others have much to bring to the table. He doesn’t mean to, but he does. I’ve always known he and I are very alike in a lot of ways. Been very wary of it.

I thought I was doing a decent job at not manifesting his worst features. Apparently not. Although I’ve done things like ask my family to let me know any and every time they feel I am being dismissive, to my dismay, the other day my best friend told me the same exact thing I had spent time warning my father of. She might as well have taped recorded my words and fed them back to me on loop. 

Do you know how crappy that feels?

Having gone in to prevent a problem before it happens and then be told you were completely ineffectual?

If people can’t trust me to talk to them in a way that makes them feel heard and valued, how the hell am I going to be there for them when they need me? They won’t come to me when they’re feeling fear or sorrow if they’ve already been run over in areas that don’t even matter as much. I’ve almost completely taken myself out of the equation of their emotional support system. 

That ish hurts to know. It’s all my fears about lack of ability to love realized.

I guess I should say yetLack of ability to effectively love yet, but it’s just really discouraging. Talk about one step forward, six steps back. Although I realize talking about love like it’s a skill is strange.

My best friend also keeps asking me why I don’t let myself cry. I’ve never really been able to articulate it, but I think it’s because of an old fear of the intensity of my emotions. I feel like if I open that door I might not ever stop crying. Or shouting in anger for that matter. I’ve sprinted away from happiness in the past for fear of the possible and very likely sadness it would bring later. I think recently I thought I could run towards happiness without embracing the melancholy and rage as well.  I knew in my head that wasn’t possible, but I think my heart needed to believe that for a while in order to start walking.  Reality is hitting hard.

There’s this weird thing that my body does where I tear up when I laugh. Whereas most people only do that when they’re having an intense bout of laughter, I do it pretty often. It’s like all my emotions only come in one variety: Intense. There have been a few times when I was laughing especially hard that it’s devolved into tears of grief. Very suddenly and uncontrollably. I’m talking, looking like a madwoman, I’ve started completely balling, unable to keep the saltwater from spilling across my grinning face.  Has that ever happened to you? The edges of my happiness come crashing against the jagged corners of my sadness, eager to find a way out in tidal wave fashion.

I should probably not let that ish boil up and over like that…

The answer to the question in the song at the beginning of this post is, I should “let it run me right into the ground.” My emotions, that is. It’s the right thing to do in order to live a life genuinely and worthwhile. It’s just so scary. I think there’s a part of me that whole-bloody-heartedly believes that if I do I will combust into a ball of flame and disappear.

Which maybe wouldn’t be so bad.

 

There’s another Tegan and Sara song I love in which the speaker promises a loved one:

“I won’t make all of your love so scared to come through our yard 

I won’t scream in my head and let it isolate me”  

 

My chant is the same for all the people I love. I just pray I can kick my butt into reaching that goal sooner rather than later. I’m so sick of myself. It feels burdensome to ask you to put up with me too, even if I do have things to offer in unemotional arenas. As usual, it’s not quite enough. 

~LDA

Happy Imbecile

I hold the belief that it is generally very bad to be a willful idiot.

Ignorance is toxic, and so to choose to stay ignorant is the epitome of human irresponsibility. As bad as pulling the trigger on another person, ignorance kills. Psychologically, spiritually and physically. It is deadly to one’s self and to others.

But laying ignorance aside, I also believe that it is sometimes good to be an idiot. There are types of idiocy that do no harm to others.  That are healthy for the soul. One such idiocy is the way we act with children.

Whether you’re a normal person or a humanoid tasked with the cruel mission of pretending to know how to do this whole human emotions thing like me, children (more specifically babies), usually elicit pretty strong reactions from people. You either are made super uncomfortable by them and want to stay as far away as possible from their drooling, babbling existences. Or, you are reduced to a cooing mess of squealing glee.

Surprisingly, I fall into the latter category.

Or maybe not so surprisingly. I’m a teacher by trade so obviously I have an affinity for children, but I don’t think my general temperament suggests as much.

I adore babies. 

Every time I come into contact with one, I am made more aware of that fact. It’s funny how much different I react to these humans, simply by virtue of them being smaller and more innocent. Their cluelessness rings of lack of life experience rather than willful ignorance or carelessness. For example,

inability to say my name because you lack knowledge of phonemes? Cute.

forgetting my name after the millionth time I’ve told you? Annoying.

inability to sit up on your own because your limbs are just so darn chubby and you lack balance? Precious.

sitting in a way that takes up a bunch of space even though there are clearly people in need of a place to sit? Rude.

Babies can get away with things that older humans just can’t. If a grown man threw up on me I’d probably punch them in the face. But when a baby does it, “Aw, it’s alright. The poor thing has indigestion.” I mean, even saliva, one of the most disgusting and bacteria-ridden substances in the human body, rendered endearing when it’s from a baby. Even a germophobe like me finds a way to rationalize my way out of it in the most irrational way possible. “No, no. It’s fine. It’s from a baby. Even though it’s seeped its way into most of my clothes and probably 70% of my hands’ surface area, I’m still clean. Babies don’t have germs.”

They’re manipulative sons of guns without even trying. 

“What’s that? You want to ruin my night of sleep in intervals of one hour because I don’t even know what since you have a clean diaper, I fed you one second ago, you’re not sick, and have a comfortable place to sleep? But yes, of course I’ll giggle with you in the morning when you smile after letting out a toot. Your body proportions are comedically stunted and you have that adorable fresh pampers smell.” 

If I think too hard on the things I get excited about when babies are around I want to get my head checked. For who else could I clap my hands and squawk in delight for recognizing that moving the left foot forward, must be what comes after moving the right one in order to travel across space?

It’s ridiculous. But they get me to do it.

I turn into a joyous buffoon every single time. And I thank them for it. It’s the kind of nonsensical idiocy I devolve into that makes the world seem a little brighter and a little less serious. Babies remind us that we were all blubbering morons at one point in time and the only real difference is that we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking we know more because we can chew food all by ourselves and stick our special parts into other people’s special places. Babies give us a chance to cheer ourselves on without knowing it’s us we’re cheering for. 

~LDA

Knowing That You Know

I’ve been on this weird journey of learning how to interact with others on a meaningful level.

At first, I thought it was a problem of not knowing how to trust people.Which wasn’t wrong,since the reason I’ve never really had close relationships with people outside my family is because from a young age I didn’t trust humans to be genuine enough to be bothered with. The vast majority of people are busy putting on masks, worn with the simple goal of not feeling silly for being naked in a world full of masqueraders.

Being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings in this world is like being caught with your pants down. 

“GASP. You actually say what you think and express genuine committed emotion for others? What do you think this is?! A burlesque show?”

In reality everyone is jealous of anyone who dares exist in such a way. They wish they would be so bold. Absolutely long for a moment in which they could shed the mask and feel the sunshine of an honest existence on their pallid faces. But they’re too busy protecting themselves from pain, and as long as they do, they will never feel such warmth. Just like in the business world, opportunities are created and not found in the realm of love and relationship. As long as you’re unwilling to risk harm to yourself, chances are, you will only receive as much shadowed, flimsy and lukewarm affection as you give.

There are instances in which one is blessed to receive the open devotion of another without even trying. For example with a parent, or as is depicted over and over again in romance or the very rare friendship-focused films. And so a lot of people choose to wait around for such miracles in which they won’t have to take off their mask to get what they want. Or at least get to wait until it’s safe to take the risk.

Myself included. 

I was really good at the intellectual side of honest living.

After becoming very quickly emotionally jaded, I decided I couldn’t stand myself if I were to transform into a completely tepid person, the very thing I held most contempt and anger for in the world, so I devised a plan in which I would be truthful but safe. I donned a Phantom of the Opera half-disguise, if you will. I’d unleash my logical and intellectual honesty on the world, while still shielding my fragile emotions. 

Those I would hide away. After all, only a fool would remove their beating heart from the safety of the rib cage in a world swarming with vultures. Sure, there are a few idiots wandering around willing to trade pieces. It was not an impossibility to find someone as equally as daring, but why risk it? I’d be more likely to have the life clawed from my bloody hand.

I lived like that for a long time. Miserable, but safe. 

But because I still had half my face revealed, I’d damned myself to a lonely, bitter life. I’d never find comfort in the massive groupthink that poses as genuinely thoughtful expression, or the sweet nothings of a mutually agreed upon lukewarm love arrangement.

It was only because I was blessed enough to have run into one of those gems walking around disguised as idiots, that I pulled myself out of the muck of such a dour life. It took an egregious amount of time, but I learned that it was worth trusting people, even if it doomed you to a lot of pain over your lifetime. 

So it wasn’t untrue. Part of the problem was my trust in others.

But even after getting over that hump, there was still a lot wrong. It wasn’t enough. Even though I had made a decision to start trusting people again, even when no tangible reason for trust is presented, I was still having a lot of trouble putting that into practice and connecting. 

Why was it I still found myself hesitating even though I had made a serious decision to open my heart again?

It took a long time to realize, but it was because I still didn’t trust myself. If just a moment ago in the timeline of my life I had been so steeped in bad decisions to close off my heart, what made me think I was pure enough or had the strength enough to become a person worthy of trust myself? Just like that? Was my decision really enough? Was all it took just a stable resolve?

I’m great at stability. Once I commit to something you can count on it, so I kept telling myself over and over that it was enough. But deep down, I still felt disgusting. Icky. Absolutely unworthy of returning to the loving and open state of being we’re all born in.

I felt unregenerate.

So although my resolve was perhaps admirable, and even solid enough to swear by, I was still crippled by the guilt of my past life. And this manifested itself as hesitation. Even though I was completely willing to share any and all, I felt like I shouldn’t. Not in fear of getting hurt, but in fear of being sniffed out as unsure of myself emotionally. 

I didn’t trust myself to know how to love, even if I knew for sure who I loved. I hadn’t walked the road of emotionality in a long time. Whether it was people I cared for deeply or people I’d just met that I knew were in need of some love, it was extremely difficult for me to wrap my head around what love looked like.

No, that’s not true.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what it looked like. I knew very well. I just didn’t know if mine was enough, if it would measure up. I still felt tainted. 

These days I’ve reached a point where I know. I know that I know it’s enough. Or at the very least I’ll die trying, and that’ll just have to be enough because there won’t be anything else left to give and that’s all I can do. I’ve finally gotten enough out of my head to take better action, to start banishing the hesitation.

I’m still not that great at it though.

I’m still figuring out how to love people. Especially those who start out as strangers who I have to let in while still maintaining boundaries. I think that’s what I’m worst at going about at this point. Half of the reason is just because I’m a crappy conversationalist. I’m still not that out of my head, so I miss opportunities, with strangers and loved ones alike. Although I’m perceptive in some ways, I’m still pretty dense in a lot of ways.

But I’m working on it.

And out of this will come more stories of my cringe-worthy social existence,

so lucky you.

~LDA

Talking to Myself in Public

When you accidentally talk to yourself in front of the school psychiatrist:

 

It was the end of the day.  I was tired. Annoyed by the amount of paper I’d been pushing in the past weeks to prepare for the close of the school year. Stressed by various sources, so I started talking to myself.

Yeah, no.

I can’t even keep a straight face while typing that.

I always talk to myself. It’s nothing novel. My brain tends to process things better if I’m able to vocalize them or write them down while they fall into place.  Also, I think my brain enjoys making me look like a nut. Since writing tends to be highly inconvenient and impractical in most moments, I often talk to myself aloud. Sometimes too loudly. In public spaces. Where people might obviously overhear me.

I was scrambling to put in copies for the week’s lesson plans because I had already spaced last week and didn’t want to be a double slacker by forgetting again this week, but there were no pens for me to fill out the copy form with . The only thing lying around were some prehistoric Papermate pens, which the school keeps around in order to say they provide pens but everyone knows none of work since the ink dried up approximately the same time as raptor ovaries, and a stupid pencil.

Stupid, not because I don’t like pencils. They’re quite charming.

Excuse me, pencils.

Stupid only because even though it was the only viable option, it was of course, un-sharpened, and therefore useless.

“That makes me really upset!” I whispered-shouted, as the psychiatrist ambled in.

She gave me a slightly clinical sideways look and asked, “Hi, how are ya’?” as she made her way over to her mailbox.

“There’s no pens in here!” I said, trying to explain why she’d caught me in such a private moment of frustration. After all, I think most normal people just sigh or something when they’re annoyed in a public setting, not actually verbalize their emotion in such a literal fashion.

“I’m good, and you?” I added, realizing I’d only made it more awkward by ignoring formalities. It was bad enough I was so overly vexed by a missing set of writing utensils. Did I have to throw in clueless and rude too?

“Good, good,” she replied obligatorily, still looking me over.

I walked out into the main office to get something to write with, and also to end the interaction. I decided to snatch a pen off the receptionist’s desk without asking. Because that’s the BA and obviously logical way to punish the universe for letting me fall into a mildly uncomfortable predicament.

The school psychiatrist was gone by the time I returned to the copy room.

A part of me wondered if she thought I had been practicing some kind of coping mechanism that another psychiatrist had taught me in order to manage my emotions. Mindful vocalizations or something or other, I imagined it was called.

“No, no,” I wanted to tell her.

I’m just naturally enough of a mess to have come up with that all on my own.”

 

~LDA

Secret Destruction

Dreams can reveal a lot about you to yourself. I dreamt a while ago that some guy who used to be interested in me years ago came back “seeking my hand.” Like legitimate, “I asked your father for permission” style courting. That freaked me out a little. I hid for a while, deciding whether or not I wanted to entertain him. Like, actually hid in some corner of the house. I know, I’m so mature. Eventually I decided I did. Want to entertain him, that is.

Interestingly enough, it was only when he began to pull away, giving signals he was about to leave that I overcame my hesitiation. When we came face to face with each other we completely skipped any long time no see formalities. I basically pulled him into some alcove and dared him to make a move.

As I did it though, I realized what little intention I had in pursuing the relationship seriously, but I continued anyway. When I woke up, half of me was laughing at how kinky I had been, but half of me was appalled I would play with someone like that. He was clearly pursuing me as something serious, but I did it anyway. In that way I was intentionally hurting him.

Even though I’ve never actually done something like this in real life, when I woke up, the guilt was real. I mean, dang. What a savage, heartless move. If I’m being honest, such cruel things have flashed across my imagination during dark, lonely stretches, but I always drew the line at actually doing them. And reprimanded myself, warning to keep myself in check, because I think I see through people well enough to conduct such malicious endeavors of manipulation with ease if I really wanted to. I’ve always believed that you never truly know yourself and the lengths you’ll go to for comfort and relief of pain. For this reason, it’s when you get too comfortable in your inner good and ability to read yourself that you can find yourself doing crazy, destructive things.

I’ve always been extremely careful not to do anything like that in my waking life. I have kept people at bay for long periods of time simply because I was not sure of my true motives, or whether or not I would be able to fulfill them, even if they were good ones. As much of a virtue as that may sound, it has proven to be as destructive as it has been protective.

For the most part, I can assume I’ve hurt less people, but I’ve also deeply hurt people who are extremely important to me. Because they don’t know what on Earth my walls are for or why they haven’t been able to break through them yet, it can become pretty wearying and even insulting for them to see me still at a distance.

So I’ve learned it’s very important to strike a balance between monitoring your intentions and giving yourself room to connect with people. Which sounds so much easier than it actually is.

As you may know by now,

I overthink everything.

So zen equilibrium is hard to come by for me.

 

I’ll just have to keep trying.

 

~LDA

High-Functioning Hopeless

I have often considered what the cause of this all encompassing sense of hopelessness that sometimes overtakes me is.  It doesn’t feel like a chemical imbalance.  Especially in the way that I am able to continue through my days.  At worst, it only threatens to cripple my motivation enough to interrupt my daily life, but it almost never does.  I am quite functional.  In fact, I would even go as far at to state that I am happy.  Or at least I should be.  The state of my life in all arenas (work, family, play, etc.) is very satisfactory. There is nothing I can point to as saying is wrong.  There are things that I am working on, relationships, but that’s normal.  Although I use it because it is the closest I can come to explaining my current condition, I have difficulty describing myself as “mildly depressed,” because even the term itself is a contradiction.

How can one be,

oh,

just slightly despondent?

It doesn’t really make sense.  But at the same time I know I should at least describe things as being wrong.  There is a very notable sense of melancholy that presents itself often enough to be a red flag. Call it high functioning depression, I suppose. 

A low volume siren that warns “Wee-oo, wee-oo.  Normal people don’t fantasize about their life ending.  Even if it’s mostly in a “whoops, that’s just the way it worked out, whoopee, kind of way.”

I’ve gotten better in the last few months.  There has been a notable lessening in the frequency of these thoughts, partially due to therapy sans meds.  But I can’t say I’ve fully shaken this pall over my existence.

I’ve been thinking.

I know, I know.  What’s knew?  But hear me out.

Part of my therapy sessions used to constitute accepting the causeless nature of such a dip in life motivation.  And I understand why she chose to sharpen that ability of mine.  It brings a certain measure of peace without closure, but at the same time, I haven’t fully accepted this approach.

Lately, it’s really been smacking me in the face how unequal our society is.  And when I say our society, I mean our global community in general.  Our approach to things is crazy stupid.  It’s stupid that millions of people are still in danger of starving and dying from unclean water.  It’s stupid that wars are still happening, because seriously for what?  Nothing is worth the atrocities that happen during wartime.  Why haven’t we woken up enough to not be so confounded selfish?  Even the few just wars that are being fought, I wish there wasn’t a need for them.  That whatever skirmish that happened between nations over land, money or religion would dissolve.  Can’t we all just shake hands and let bygones be bygones?  Compromise is not so hard if we would just learn to forgive and let go of desires that can’t (or shouldn’t) be met.  It’s also stupid that people don’t have enough access to or freedom from discrimination to get the mental health services they need in order to not feel like they have to go shoot up a school or bully someone else into committing suicide themselves.

There’s so many more things that are unbelievably stupid that we should’ve already gotten over.  The list goes on.  But what’s most frustrating is that it’s not like the solutions to them are rocket science. They could hypothetically be very successfully executed.  It’s simply the unwillingness of man to come together and compromise that keeps it from happening.  One person over there who wants to keep their power, a few over there who want to keep their money.  All it takes is a small group of people with enough power who want to keep others less than for the whole panacea to disintegrate. The hope of world peace falls apart every time,

because the sad reality is,

there will always be people who are too afraid of losing their positions of security to give selflessness a try,

so we will always be broken.

The world will always be broken.  We’re too busy tearing each other apart or pretending the carnage isn’t happening to reach any compromise.

It makes me feel sick, because it feels like no matter how hard I try to spread a little love and light through my life’s actions, it will never be enough.  I’m fighting a losing battle, at least in this life, and that is just a tad discouraging to face on the daily basis.

I’m thinking maybe that’s part of why I’ve been feeling the way I have. This sense of hopelessness has gripped me, that I’ll never get it right enough to really fix anything.  Sure, I can make a difference in the lives of my students, my family, and my friends.  But there will always be someone gasping for air across the planet, the country, or even my neighborhood that I will not be able to reach.  The constant cycle of losing people is depressing, in the most non-overused sense of the word.  Everyone is worth love and attention and being saved, but I have to face this reality that countless souls are being lost anyway. It’s enough to take a person out, to convince them to stop trying since they matter so little in the grand scheme of the universe anyway. Even though mentally I know that’s a stupid choice.

It’s better to do something than nothing at all.

It’s just hard to motivate yourself when you’re hardly a blip on the cosmic radar.  Maybe one day I’ll make peace with the fact that every breath I take is very-almost an exercise in futility.

The key word is “almost,” I guess.

 

~LDA

Bedside Manner

I have the most terrible bedside manner, if you can call it that. One of my students sidled beside me on our way back into the classroom from recess and announced somberly, “My fish died.” It was almost as if the thought had caught her off guard, the way her eyes registered disbelief and her eyebrows furrowed consolingly inward.

I paused a moment, having been as taken by surprise as her, and offered the usual condolence, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” Except I actually was. It wasn’t just something that came tumbling from my mouth out of habit. I really was sorry to know that she was experiencing loss. Even if only the loss of a fish. But then who’s to say a pet fish death is inconsequential?

Anyhow, the child was clearly sad. She had been running around and giggling just a moment ago, but now she was grief stricken. It was an interesting type of melancholy to witness. One that sneaks up on you and sinks in its teeth, right when you think you’re alright. It looked familiar.  She seemed almost more perplexed by the experience than hurt. Like it was the first time she was digesting such a feeling. I think we can learn a great deal about humanity from watching and engaging with children. The way their fresh souls experience things and churn out certain reactions is pretty fascinating.

She turned my expression of empathy over in her mouth a little and assumed an appreciative but resigned little pout. My condolence had done nothing to solve the problem of the fish’s now lack of existence, but she recognized, even as someone so young, that there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t help her anymore than she had helped her dear little fish herself.

“Yeah,” she replied to both our unspoken confessions.

“That’s just the way things happen in life,” I explained, though she clearly had already experienced this truth for herself. “Things are born and eventually they die,” I continued. “Even you and me.”

I know.

Maybe not the best time to remind a 7 year old that she’s a finite creature. That’s a pretty scary realization for a child.

Heck, it’s scary even for most adults. But I thought it was a valuable learning moment to put things into perspective. Everything dies. Plants, animals, humans, you name it.  It’s just an irrefutable thing that happens. It’s what those that are left behind do with the memory that makes it a happy or sad event. It doesn’t have to be Earth shattering. In fact, the Earth has proven to keep spinning time and time again. Whether that’s cruel or not is our interpretation.

Our class is learning about what soil’s composed of in science and part of the state standard requires the students be taught that it’s made up of small rocks and once-living things. At first I was surprised they went into such detail, went as far as to mention the role of death in soil’s composition. We so often shelter our children from the realities of life. But in the end, I thought it a very healthy thing to reveal, even to such young people. I honestly believe that it’s when people start becoming blindsided as unguided preteens and teenagers, and even adults, by obvious tidbits of life like this, that we develop adverse reactions and consequently unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with them. We ignore things, suppress them, refuse to digest them.  Until it creeps up on us in a traumatic way that’s close to us and then we implode and wonder why.  I think it’s only natural little ones be taught to get used to this cycle, with some easing in of course.

I mean, just think about it. All organisms that are now alive are literally living off of the remains of animals and people that have passed away. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, you’re benefiting off of the expired life force of another. It’s morbid, yes, but also sort of amazing how well in tune that works.

I didn’t get to expound on this Simba-esque circle of life sort of idea, and probably for the best. I don’t know. But at that point, one of my other students had butt in with his own wisdom.

I was born,” he declared. “I think I was two years old at that time.”

Which I then had to chuckle at and call time to start walking in line for writing period. It diffused some of the tension in the air as I corrected him and told him he would have been zero. He looked dumbfounded that such an age was possible and my fish-less student soon relaxed as her mind probably wandered to some other topic.

In any case, despite my bedside manner being perhaps a little too frank, she took it in stride. As children often do.  

 

~LDA

Dewy Letters: A Poem on Optimism

He chuckled

Dewy letters trickling

Out of his mouth 

All hopeful proposals

And bouncy grins

 

Unfortunately

 

They froze before they hit the ground

Solidified by the critical stares

Of his eye cocking recipients

 

They shattered  

Launching splinters of

T’s

                                       H’s

                                                                          and W’s

                                                                                                     Into his innocent eyes

 

“I think

I hope

I wish“

 

His soul convulsed as they made

Impact with the unforgiving concrete

 

One shard of expression

Found its way

Directly into the darkness

Of the pupil

 

And maneuvered a path

Into his veins

Sending fatalism and apathy

Seeping into his bloodstream

 

The virus of death had been triggered

Awakened was the dormant code

Seemingly

Powerless until acknowledged

 

All at once

His chest became cold

And his mouth downturned

 

One eyebrow twitched upward

And his feet made a pivot

 

The assembly line shifted forward

And he thought to himself

“Who is this grinning fool standing in front of me?”

 

 

~LDA

Leisurely Persona

The other day someone asked me what I do for fun and all I could respond was “Netflix.”  

How embarrassing, am I right?

I made myself sound like a total couch potato shut in.  Which, to be honest, I am 70% shut in.  I like to be alone.  Most of the things I really enjoy are solitary activities like writing, reading, knitting, drawing, being overly critical of myself, and whoops, it’s partially true, watching television.  They’re pretty individualistic endeavors.

However, I do go out and do things on the fairly regular basis nowadays.  With humans, even.  I may slightly resemble a grandma in my proclivities, however I’m not that boring of a person.  There were things I could have said other than “Netflix,” as if my entire leisurely persona consisted of consuming television, limbs spread out in a root vegetable position.

I guess part of my problem is that I’m an overly private person.  I often feel like people don’t have the right to any kind of info about me that is beyond surface level.  Even if the information they’re requesting is in reality pretty darn surface level, I usually hesitate in answering in any sort of way that makes me any less opaque.

I value the obscurity I project to people.  

That made sense a couple years ago when I was very obstinate toward connecting with people in any manner that resembled depth.  I viewed people as not worth investing in, even in regards to myself.

But now that I’ve shifted that worldview and am trying to get to know the mess that is humanity, I ought to start giving real answers and stop replying things like “Netflix,” huh?  

 

~LDA

Music Vibes

It’s powerful the amount of emotional attachment we can derive from or infuse into music. Usually we focus on what we take away from music, but I think it’s interesting what we pump into it as well.  It makes me sad when music that I once listened to in order to get me out of a sad funk ends up reminding me of unhappy times later on.

The music retains the memory of the dark cloud that was suffocating my consciousness when I last listened to it and now forever carries with it sad overtones.

I am trying to reverse some of that.

Rewrite it.

Partially because I’ve been in such a funk for such a long time that this symptom has oozed into too much of music library. Partially because it’s cool to experiment with how much power you wield over your mind.  

I’m not just talking about listening to sad music when you’re sad, mind you.  Most people tend gravitate toward bluer vocals when they’re in a blue mood and then that particular music might remind you a specific sad moment in your life later on.  But I’m talking about the opposite too.  Sometimes you listen to upbeat music to try to lift yourself out of your emotional muck and it works.  Or sort of works.  In reality you’re suppressing negative feelings with a temporary fog of lightheartedness and the dark is lurking not far beneath.  But it’s still nice to feel okay for a while.  

Of course, then a once happy tune later carries with it memories of the dark you tried to chase away, if the dark was grim enough.

If I listen to a song now which once used to invariably pull me out of an agonized self, will I be able to attach happier connotations to its notes if I am happier now?  Or will it only bring me down?  How many listens in a happy mode would it take to turn that trend around?

I am still finding out.  Wish me luck.  

~LDA