It Hurts to Become

October 31, 2015

I’ve got this thing with becoming. The liminal states in our lives and in ourselves. Everything in my life is symbolic. Everything. Don’t be alarmed when i’ve read deep deep meaning into what most people don’t think twice about. It’s why I read a lot, it only reinforces my need to read into everything, every line. I think it’s why Neil Gaiman is my favorite. Have you ever read one of his short stories? There is so much packed into such little space it’s astounding.

I went to see my favorite poet Andrea Gibson earlier this month and the performance blew me away. There was so much emotion in this small space and everyone was just crying openly and fitfully in front of each other. I don’t think anyone left that show with a dry eye.

We watched her poems in class all day the following Monday. I wanted to share the poems I loved so much with my students. I brought a former student to the show with me and it was a really amazing experience. It made me rethink my teaching for the millionth time this year and it was just really great. I’m constantly changing and i’m constantly getting a chance to change. I’m allowed. I’m becoming.

A few weeks ago I hit a low spot in my personal struggles with anxiety and depression and I was beating myself up about how out of control I let my emotions get, I thought I had been taking such great care of myself. I re-doubled my efforts at self care and self monitoring. I fixed and reprinted my whole calendar in response. I took up planning again with a renewed sense of purpose. Self care and balance was my number one goal. I was determined to make sure it didn’t happen like that again.

This week my sugar just plummeted during my 6th period, i’m hypoglycemic. I found myself scrambling in my desk drawer for food, shaking and heating up, and drinking water as fast as I could. Thankfully the teacher next to me is a Type 1 and had emergency sugar snacks which she graciously gave me. I evened out after a while but was completely exhausted. I couldn’t see what had gone wrong. I’d eaten consistently that day. I’d had half a gallon of water that day. I’d gotten almost eight hours of sleep the night before. and i’d *just* had lunch. What in the world happened? I wasn’t even sick or pmsing! My body was in regular stressors and here I was burning through all of my sugar and ALL of my water in like 2 seconds. What did I do wrong? What was out of balance?

I was in the bathroom washing my hands and I had one of those weird look into the mirror and laugh moments.  You know when you realize something huge and you just have to actually look at your own face and laugh at it because how could you be so silly?

There wasn’t anything I did wrong with my sugar. It just happens sometimes. My body just decides to be really weird and take all of that energy and just process it all at once and it burns me up (and makes me have to pee real bad hence the hand washing and being in the bathroom, sugar people you know what i’m saying right?) and there’s just nothing I can do about it. My body is broken in some ways and I can maintain and prevent but sometimes stuff is just going to happen.

And I laughed at myself because all I could think of in that moment is how easily i’d come to that conclusion when my sugar crashed, but it has been literally weeks since my manic low and i’m still trying to figure out where I went wrong.

So I laughed at myself because sometimes that’s all you can do. You can share as many comics as you want about how absurd it would be to treat physical illness like we treat mental illness, and you can laugh at them and go ‘ugh I know right!?” but no matter what. You’ll still do it to yourself. You’ll still treat them differently. And you’ll still suffer because of it.

It’s going to take a long time to treat my mind with as much forgiveness as I treat my body but at least I have these little moments where I realize it’s happening. I’m grateful for these moments. I’m grateful for the becoming.

Until next time,

P.S. Why aren’t teacher health benefits more clear about our mental health care options? God knows our profession needs some clarity about that benefit. Amiright!?

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