Curiosity

Change/Transformation, Hard Stuff, It's Personal, Obstacles/Challenges, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing

Today, for a split second, I was not afraid. I wasn’t anxious or worried or catastrophizing; daydreaming or future – tripping. I wasn’t fantasizing or wishing.  You know, all those things you do when some new person or thing shows up and you’re scared as fuck? When you’re so terrified you wake up every 67.5 minutes, mind chasing this or that rabbit, refusing to calm the hell down and rest itself?

I’ve had a lot of those days and nights lately.  November was a hellacious month, and I may or may not be through the worst of it.  A lot happened in the last couple of years and, as it turns out, November was the month it all vomited itself back in my face.  Well, stuff from the last couple of years and maybe a few other significant events in my life. You kind of lose track when you’re averaging 14 minutes of sleep every 5 hours or so, and lose water constantly because you can’t stop crying.

Yesterday, for the briefest moment, I was simply curious about what was in front of me.  I wasn’t looking for the next thing or assessing the current thing, judging or punishing myself, or wishing for something different.  I was open to the possibility of whatever was in my life At That Moment.

It didn’t last long.  My thousand-footed emotional Luggage suddenly reappeared, and curiosity was swept away in the wash of debris and detritus it drags along behind.  It’s hard to remember how it felt, now, with all my thoughts and feelings and judgments and barriers back in place – hard to recall that feeling of lightness, of effortless wonder and potential.  It’s hard not to be sad that I am not more naturally, easily, and gracefully in that state more often, that I have lost so much of the delight in exploring.

I wonder if I need to forgive my younger self for growing up, becoming an adult – protective of my tender and vulnerable insides.  Some days, I feel like such a cliche – growing older, growing thicker and slower and more hardened to what life offers.  It is more difficult to find the will to open, to intentionally seek the new and unknown, to trust that I am resilient and supported. It is much easier to simply explore the known a bit more, tell myself I’m digging deeper, not wider, but that’s not entirely true.

Even those of us who seek change, who actively work for change, are afraid of risk, of pain.  I doubt that I will ever be fully comfortable with taking risks, but that little taste of simple curiosity helped.  If I can get there once, I can get there again.

Motivating Giraffe and FromTheLaundryRoom today had posts that I found helpful and comforting.

curious

Worlds collide

Corrections, Obstacles/Challenges, Reflection, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing

I just completed our required three days of DOC In Service and my ass may never be the same. I don’t remember the chairs being so hard last year, but maybe they were. This is my third In-Service and it was less terrible than the other two, for which I am quite thankful.

But I’ve noticed something unexpected, now that I’m back in my office and with my students. After spending three days with DOC folks (Medical, Security, and BHS), I feel oddly disconnected from my students. It’s almost as if the collective DOC aura rubbed off on me, building an invisible barrier and forcing me to see them as inmates, not students.

It’s a strange sensation, a kind of double vision. I see my student or clerk working or talking to me and, at the same time, there’s a faint overlay of “Inmate” where there wasn’t before. I don’t like it, it feels uncomfortable and disorienting to suddenly have this imposed vision of “Other.” These are my worlds, colliding, and it doesn’t feel good.

I always know my students are inmates (or Adults in Custody), but I don’t give that label priority billing. I work within the rules and boundaries, but their primary identity is themselves, not their inmate-ness. Today, their inmate-ness is more present, and I know it’s a result of three days of hearing others refer to them in that way, being in the mind-fields of those people, knowing that my approach and relationship with my students is so much different than theirs – as it should be. I assume that if some of them saw how my program works, they’d think I was crossing all kinds of boundaries and making lots of mistakes, but they would be wrong.

I just operate differently, the women relate to me in a different way, and I see them first as people and women, not as inmates. I hadn’t realized what a difference it makes, that it makes working here bearable for me. If I had no option but to treat them always as inmates, I couldn’t tolerate the work. It’s good for me to be reminded of the mindset of so many of my co-workers, but that’s not a path I want to walk.