What the Crap Wednesday: Because it's Wednesday and I feel like crap

Yesterday one of my oldest students, Andrew, sat in my lap and gave me a hug. It was rare because he's not really the huggy one. That's Jesse. Jesse thinks that everytime I get frustrated with him, a genuine squeeze and sometimes even a little peck on the cheek will make it all better. He's also gotten into the habit of bowing before my anger, his small forehead pressed to the ground, elbows out at right angles like he's going to do a push-up. I am not moved by this. It is only a child's ploy to distract me from the reason I am upset in the first place: oh, yeah, NO ONE LISTENS TO ME AND IF YOU DON'T SIT IN YOUR SEAT RIGHT NOW DANIELLETEACHERWILLGOCRAZYSOSTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP. IT. NOW.

However, yesterday it was Andrew who hugged me as I was sitting in the floor. Then, he leaned back, still in my lap, and with his hand rubbed my left cheek. He crinkled his nose a tiny bit and made a sound kind of like when you accidentally get something just a tiny bit gross on your fingers. Like, "ehhh-eeewww-uuuhhh." He looked surprised and his eyebrows attempted to leave his forehead. He rubbed my cheek again.

"Teacher! Look!" He grabbed my hand and made me rub my own face. Then he took my hand and made me rub his face, which is of course beautifully soft and smooth. "See?"

"Okay, yes, thank you Andrew. I see that your skin is perfect." And of course, I am also aware that mine, compared to a child or most people on the street, is rough and scarred and a little bumpy in places.

I was relaying this story to Kenny and he said, "Andrew is so mean!" And I told him, no, he wasn't being mean. Sometimes, Andrew is mean and he knows it. But he wasn't being mean. He was just discovering something and honestly sharing it with me. And I started to think about that. How children honestly observe the world and then tell people about it without that inherent meanness that seems to lurk in every adult criticism, even the constructive ones. I was lying in bed thinking, perhaps if we were all honest with each other, but honest with kindness or just with observation things would be different.

For example, there would be none of the first however many weeks of American Idol airing awful auditions. Some kind and loving friend or family member would have encouraged the contestant to pursue something else. "Dear friend, your singing makes me really happy because I love you. Not because you are the next Mariah Carey. But the way you fix my computer/braid my hair/support me/write stories/tell jokes/give good massages/etc.- now that's your talent!"

Because whenever these people are auditioning and we are shamelessly exploiting that beautiful confidence they have in themselves as a person and in their passion, I am thinking, "Who encouraged you to do this? Who are those people who stand outside that door waiting for you to come out of that room? And why didn't they honestly tell you that you couldn't sing if your life depended on it? Whyyyyyyy?

photo from here

Also, someone would have gotten through to Amy Winehouse- albeit a fight through the jungle of drugs and that hair- to let her know that her eye makeup is doing her face a disservice. Her face is perfectly lovely and despite the fact that she will probably continue to decay before the public's view, her friends coudl at least summon up enough guts to inform her of her beautiful face and let her know the liner is NOT HELPING.

I mean, I understand that appearance is rarely worth anything in the long run- we all get old, saggy, and senile. But I'm not necessarily talking about honesty only in regards to appearance, which seems to be something that we can no longer muster, even with our family and friends. But an honesty not designed to hurt each other, but to do a kindness, even if it is honest in a negative way. Being honest in love with each other about our individual gifts, our abilities.

Yes, you are able to do anything you'd like, to pursue any dream you choose. But should you?

1 comment:

  1. I agree, to a point. Many well-meaning people told me not to move away from my family, that it would be hard and I might fail. I did it anyway because it would be the experience of a lifetime. Fail or not, it was worth it.

    So, yes, I think it's a good idea, but that doesn't mean that the person folks may try to convice that they are not the next Mariah Carey shouldn't go and audition anyway. It could be the experience of a lifetime.


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