It’s barely still morning as I’m sitting down to write. I didn’t get to sleep ’til the clock was creeping up on 4am. I was out at a party and the time slipped away.

I really enjoyed it so very much though. I felt like a grown-up. Or a grown-down, or at the very least someone who wasn’t trapped by the definition of parenthood. Of course there’s a flipside. My long relaxed night was countered by 100% parent-mode for G. And not just for the night, as three hours later when the boys woke I was incapable of getting up.

I guess that’s an exaggeration. Like, surely I was capable of actually getting up. It just seemed abominably hard and I took extra sleep time without consultation. It’s fair payback though, G. is sleeping now and the boys seem extra demanding of my attention this morning, although it might just be that they’ve been up and a bit hyper for a while.

We’ve been having fairly solid and consistent familytime at the weekends, with trips out or birthday parties, or some other kind of event and this morning it’s just The Neverending Story on the TV while I attempt to put some words on my state of mind this morning.

I’m a bit distracted by the ego-pings I’m getting from Facebook as I spent a bit of effort doing intense 80s makeup with 5-colored eyeshadow and Jared The Goblin-King style hair. It’s being well-received on Facebook and as we all know comments are the real love, so there’re lots of those coming through.

Praise is a bit of a drug too, isn’t it? I mean, obviously when you go and put lots of effort into something it’s nice to get some feedback. Although the feedback is not always matched to how much effort was put in, or how much of your heart and soul might have gone into an artistic endeavour. Does this morning’s parade of comments lessen the pain and loneliness I feel when I create something and send it off into the world to the sound of crickets?

I suppose some mindfulness is in order, right? This too shall pass. The warm fuzzies of praise and recognition are as temporary as the swamps of sadness and loneliness that sometimes suck me down.

And during the school day that preceded the party was one of the worst I’d had in a while in terms of frustration and anger-feelings. Rudeness and deliberate attempts to disrupt my teaching and things that are designed to get under my skin – and they succeed! It’s all fine now, but I think it took a solid three hours before I wasn’t shaking even a little bit. I won’t go into the boring specifics here. All is fine, or will be, but there will be a bunch of follow-up and administration required in order to handle this classroom management and student management issue and I am not particularly looking forward to spending that time.

I just want to teach my subject!

But, this is part of the job too. It just doesn’t arise quite so frequently and it’s not pleasant for anyone. It feels like maybe it’s unnecessary, but I guess it’s just a battle that needs to be fought for the greater goal in the longer term, teaching these young people about how to behave in the world and in groups and about how they aren’t the only people in the room. They are only the most important people to themselves.

That sounds harsh. Every individual is important, but the greater good of the class group has to also (not only) be a teacher’s concern.

Anyway, I had a flash, a brief moment where my brain checked in with those old pathways of coping and oh my god for those few minutes I really really wanted a drink. Thankfully it passed before too long, but I felt a teensy bit resentful and deprived during the “getting ready for the party” period, and then, weirdly enough, once I was actually at the party, I didn’t miss it at all.

It’s getting easier, being at parties. In fact, it’s getting better. I am here the next day, tired from not quite enough sleep and with a headache clinging to the hand of that exhaustion, but I don’t have a hangover, and I don’t have that horrible anxiety where I feel like I spent portions of the night acting “up” and not being myself and omigodwhatdidisaytowhom and shame!shame!shame! Even when I knew for sure that all was fine and I hadn’t acted egregiously, I would still feel a sort of nameless dread and shame for just being myself.

It’s pretty nice to be free from that.

Every outing I take just solidifies in me that I’ve made the right decision for myself. There is more of “me” in my skin now. The mask is melting.

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