Today seems like a day for big realizations. I have tons of work to do, but maybe I will turn my attention to this and to connecting for a while and see if that settles things down inside me a bit.
I was waiting for the friend today. It’s tough. She didn’t come and didn’t come. Then two trucks started up, not just one, it started to be time to put my clothes on. They are sawing things nearby or sanding or I don’t know what. Every possible trigger at once, it seemed. Meanwhile, I need to think. That’s the hard part. My brain needs to keep functioning, because the pancakes need to get to C. I bought chilis also, but that part is not terribly important. It’s just something needs to get to her, because now she expects it. Now it is part of her world, this morning delivery, and it is part of the routine and what makes her feel safe. Now it is Mr. Rogers feeding the goldfish, and if it isn’t there, if Mr. Rogers forgets the goldfish, then something is terribly wrong.
It’s going to make it hard for her. And that’s okay. Except other things already make it hard for her. It’s like for me, the girl didn’t come. That’s okay. Except life being what it is, there is also a truck idling. Oh, no, not one truck. Two trucks. Plus power tools. That’s life. Nonstop intense triggers. It’s hard to keep life within the range of what you can cope with.
So I needed to be able to think: the girl isn’t coming, it’s 20 past 7, I’m not dressed, and the girls near school leave around 7:30. What do I do? I have to be able to think reasonably about that question.
I started to put on my clothes. That seemed to be the place to start. I put on my clothes, decided to skip the bath waiting for me, and to rush up to school. I was putting on my clothes for maybe 5 minutes—it wasn’t going well, but the main thing is to keep trying and not panic about it. Then I saw her. She wasn’t in her school uniform, but I went out anyway.
She stopped when she saw me, and turned away. I think she was spitting. Anyway, I asked if she was going to school. No, she said. Are you sick? I didn’t hear the answer, but she came to me and I handed her the chilis and the pancakes and she said her friend would take it. Okay, so that was settled.
It was about 7:30 then and I decided to reconsider the bath. I was washing up and thinking about what happened, about how I felt waiting and how I felt after making the hand-off, because it felt really difficult. The whole thing felt difficult. Everything about it. Before, after, during.
It seemed kind of 2×2-ey, like that might be part of it. I was thinking as a 2×2, there is almost no way to feel good or to enjoy being alive. It promises that you will feel good, but psychologically it is set up so that that is impossible. You are not allowed to feel good about anything actually. How do I explain that? The only thing you are allowed to really feel is shame. You are supposed to feel intense shame, because you are bad. Human beings are basically bad, and the only morally sound position in life is to recognize your badness and accept your punishment for it. You are supposed to strive to be good, but recognize that you are not good.
The other thing about this is that if you are good, you can expect to be punished for this, because “the world” hates goodness. But if you feel good about being good, that is pride, and there you are—bad again. So it’s impossible. It’s impossible to be anything but permanently broken and ashamed. It elevates this broken, ashamed feeling that comes with infant trauma and disorganized attachment to the level of virtue. And then also promises that you will be punished for being virtuous.
That is what seems to be left bumping around in my head, anyway.
So the girl walked by my house, accepted the delivery, promised to pass it along to her friend (whom I also know, because she was on C’s football team for a while, and she danced in a number with C last year in the fall for the school show.) The friend was in my class the year before last. She’s a nice kid, never caused any problems. It turns out I know the girl’s mom. I used to see her all the time at the Holy Site. She doesn’t speak English, but she’s a very friendly, nice lady. I am pretty sure she has given me something before—a peach or something. So a nice kid from a nice family.
I have no idea if this girl minds making my deliveries or not. She wouldn’t feel entitled to be annoyed with me, probably. Nice kids here don’t.
The thing is that I think some of the kids like that I am helping C. Kids are like that. If you help one of them, and they see that the child you are helping needs your help, they really like it, and they respond to that. As a teacher, I have noticed that. When you help one child in the class, and the other children see it and feel the child you are helping needs that help, they respond to that. If you praise the best kid in the class to the skies, they hate it and they will hate you, but if you take time to help that kid who knows absolutely nothing, they will love you. Children respond to kindness, even if the kindness has nothing to do with them, because they feel the kindness does have something to do with them. They see you helping the class knucklehead, and they think, “If I get confused, she will also help me.”
One of the students at the lower school whom I taught in class 6 and feels close to me sometimes asks me about C, and why I am doing this thing or that thing, and she always gets it, because her mom is an alcoholic also. She always says, “You have a good heart.” Like she asked me about something I do every day or often—I can’t remember what, and I said I am doing it, because C doesn’t feel secure that I still care about her. If it seems like I care one day, by the next day, she doesn’t feel secure anymore. And this other girl immediately got that. Yeah, I know what that feels like to not know from one day to the next if someone still likes you or cares about you.
So the thing is that it is possible the girl making deliveries thinks something positive about me. She sees my effort to be consistent with C, and to show my care to C each and every day, and it’s possible that she actually admires me for it. In the moment, as I am waiting for her, I feel freakish, because I have to constantly look out the window, and there is this terribly stalkerish feeling about it. The thing about being a stalker is that it is unwanted pursuit, isn’t it? And I don’t think it’s unwanted—at least, from C. I delivered pancakes and some apples (a rare treat around here) to C on Tuesday, and she was grumpy toddler walking down the hill, but when she heard the explanation (no messenger) and saw what it was, she had a different attitude. She probably had some kind of thought, and then a feeling in response to that. I suspect the feeling was warmth, and I suspect the warmth came from a thought of some kind that generally fell into the category of, “This is a good person.”
The other thing is that I can’t stand that thought. I physically feel like kicking it away. I do not want anyone to think I am a good person. I don’t know why. I suspect the 2x2s have something to do with it though, that my morally upside-down universe has something to do with it.