Born without Boundaries

Lesson; the latest one.

It’s been a while.
And I’m sorry.
I’ve been bottled up and imploding a lot
and now I’m kinda forcing this blog out
because it NEEDS to happen. If not,
I’ll just be more of a mess.
The truth is I met someone. Someone I trusted was
what they said they were.
And they weren’t.
The entire situation was a kind of hoax,
well orchestrated for the maximum satisfaction of the other party.
And I could mull over and over thinking thoughts like,
it’s unfair
why do people do that to each other?
But I really don’t want to.
Because in the end the one thing I’ll come up with is the thing that I’m desperately trying to avoid:
That once again I’ve been passed over for someone else. Once again I was the fall back girl,
the rebound,
the one during down time.
And I don’t want to mull over the psychologist ‘speak’ about how I choose these people,
that it’s all intentional,
that it’s all about me not being able to be loved or being able to commit.
Because that’s wrong.
I do want to be loved and I’ll love being in a committed relationship.
And there hasn’t been one day that that wasn’t true.
And I wasn’t in love with my son’s father for 10 years straight because he didn’t love me back;
I was in love with him because I saw extraordinary things in his person that inspired me and,
especially in the end, helped me to grow into a better human being.
And I did not keep giving the lunatic, who would eventually try to beat the shit out of me, chance
after chance, after chance to be a better man to me because I didn’t love myself. I did it because I could
have loved him; he too had so many extraordinary things about his person. He was the kind of beautiful that could have inspired life long love in me.
I look back, proud, that I loved myself enough to get out of these situations where I was all in but the man was out and about: the first one took me 10 years, the second 2 years and this final one, it took me just over two weeks.
That means I’m learning.
And getting better at being on my own side.
That even when I see something in another person that I would very well like to see in the eyes and smile of my next beautiful child,
I will not stay in a toxic place.

I will not stay in second place.

I look at pictures of this last looser,
and I say looser because he is.
He’s a looser.
He lost me and that’s something he should have fought his ass off to keep.
But when I look at pictures of him I still feel the sadness that’s making it hard to breath right now.
I’ll never figure it out.
I can know everything, flat out and rational in front of me,
including that I’m better off and that I dodged yet another bullet,
but my heart and brain have a detachment it seems that won’t allow one to understand the other.
Rationalizing this doesn’t make it any better.
I now have to live through being passed over by another looser.
One that may never know how much he lost.
One that doesn’t care.
And that’s better for me.
Better that I don’t have someone who couldn’t care less about me in my life.
Because he should have been sticking up for me and defending me and making sure I never got hurt.
Instead, it seems, he was doing that for someone else.
He was protecting her by not acknowledging me publicly.
He was hiding me because she was the one he was proud of and I was the one he was ashamed of.
Because he wanted to be loyal to her, and by being with me he wasn’t and I’m really really glad I sent
the mother-fucker home with blue balls.
But it turns out he took a piece of me anyway. More then my mouth, my vagina, my tits or my ass, (he got none of those), he took a piece of my heart (which is infinitely more valuable).
I left it wide open for his rejection.
So now I have to patch myself up and heal my heart and do whatever it is I have to do to make myself okay.
Whatever it is.
I’m worth it.
So I thought about keying his new car.
Would have been fun.
And I thought about flattening his tires.
I even considered punching the mother-fucker dead is his blackened teeth (yeah… what was i thinking?).
But that pleasure just wouldn’t last long enough.
Instead I’m going to move on.
To my own place, my time, surrounding myself by people who really care about me and wouldn’t throw me under the bus every chance they get.
People I belong with.
Even if it’s just me, myself and I.
Good enough.
Too good for most.
And all I’ll ever need.

I’m Sorry

For seven months and twenty-six days I have waited for my phone to ring and on the other line hear a familiar voice say- “I’m sorry”.
Like it would make me whole again.
As if him saying I’m sorry would reverse some universal verdict determining I wasn’t worth anything.
Finally, I’d be able to let go of all the bad things I believed about myself because he’d finally said “I’m sorry”.
And everyday I’d check his profile.
Certain of how beautiful he is and what a good person really lived inside; convinced of his goodness despite all the wickedness I’d seen.
And I’d praise him.
And I’d pray for him.
And I’d wait. Wait for him to tell me I was worth it because he’d finally called and said “I’m sorry”.

I just realized:
I’m too good for “I’m sorry”.

And all those beautiful things I’d seen in him are things that live inside of me.
And all that love and faith I was giving to him was better invested in me.
I don’t like being alone.
But I’m not.
And I don’t like being abused or used,
But I was- and it’s over.
And seeing only his good side isn’t going to make the bad side go away.
There isn’t anything I can do to make his bad go away, I can’t wish it, pray it, will it, demand it, work for it.
Only he can.
And the only thing that keeps me down is my own memory of what happened, and how it made me feel, and how badly I want to unmake it and my waiting for the silliest thing:
Him to save me- by being “sorry”.

I woke up, finally, today and realized I don’t need to be saved.
I have everything inside myself to be saved and if I’d stop giving it away to him, pictures of him, then I’d be saved already. And the only pieces of me left abused are the ones I keep abusing all by
By not looking at my own picture and telling it “You’re beautiful”.
Is that the only way I can feel like I’ve been a good person? If I’ve given all of myself away? By giving every drop of energy I have away to the thought of another person?
And what does it matter who that person is? If I don’t invest any of my energy into myself then how much am I worth- really?
I thought hearing him say “I’m sorry” might lead to “I love you” and that would make everything happy, everything perfect, and undo all that was done, almost unmake the past.
And that was cowardice; Me not facing me and making how I feel about myself his responsibility instead of mine.
It was me, once again, not appreciating me. I was doing the same thing, over again.
I was making everything about the other person okay, everything about him beautiful, so that I didn’t have to stick up for myself.
So that I didn’t have to love me, I loved him.

If I could experience his worst and still believe in his best,
why couldn’t I do the same for myself?

I’ve got to admit, hearing “I’m sorry” would be nice.
But it’s no longer necessary.
Because “I’m sorry” is not an apology, nor is it taking responsibility. It’s nothing but a statement of regret and I don’t want to be part of somebody’s regrets.
Because I’m too good for “I’m sorry”.
Because “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean shit without knowing what you’re sorry for and putting time and energy into fixing it.
And because, straight up, “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. Because I deserve A LOT more. I deserve “I love you”.
I deserve it.
But it’s got to come from me.
I’ve got to be the one that says it, everyday. I’ve got to “love” me.
And then, loving “you” won’t be so scary.
And “I’m sorry” will be obsolete.

Tony-Lynn; Sunshine

Tony-Lynn was too good for me. That’s always what I thought. She had the prettiest smile, the most ridiculously perfect figure and hung around with all the “mean girls” in school. She always seemed so friendly from afar, but who she hung around with indicated she must be like them. So I assumed she’d make fun of me or turn up her nose at me if I said hi or paid much attention to her. We existed in the same halls living our lives through four years of high school without saying a word to each other. Turns out we were actually in middle school with each other too but I hadn’t known it. I don’t remember her from that time at all. She was there though.
About four years ago my best friend Alicia and I ran into her at a nail salon. We were all relaxed and happy getting pedicures and, though it felt a bit weird because of residual high school misconceptions, struck up a conversation with each other. She was sweet and kind, spiritual and FUNNY. I’d never have thought but was so glad to be wrong. As the water wirled about our toes and the hot rocks took us over the moon we shoomzed about life inbetween high school and now. Tony had become a Special Education teacher at a school in Stamford, CT. That facinated me. I was proud and a bit jealous of her because I still felt so unaccomplished. I hadn’t yet finished my BA and was hurting financially; I wasn’t where I wanted to be career-wise.
The pedicure was great- I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere but in that whirling water. We exchanged numbers politely but I knew I’d never call her. I figured she was still way too good for me and decided if she called me I’d be happy to hear from her but I wouldn’t make the first move. Even the thought of doing it made me feel like that geeky little high school girl again, trying to sit at the popular people’s table. I didn’t have the nerve.
She never called.
And I didn’t care. I remembered that day from time to time but was too caught up in all my goings-on to worry about not having kept in touch.
Two years went by and I was finished with my bachelors degree, just starting to work as a substitute teacher in the Stamford Public School system. I was assigned a teaching position for first grade at Roxbury Elementary School. As I’m walking through the main hall way toward the office whose familiar face do I see but Tony-Lynn’s? She smiled HUGE and giggled when she saw me and greeted me with a bear hug. I felt stupid for never calling her. I’ve always had a problem with confidence and assumed that hearing from me would be a bother not a blessing to her. I was WAY TOO self conscience. We caught up briefly and once again went our separate ways.
Flash forward two more years to this summer and whose summer school class room am I assigned to assist in but Tony-Lynn’s? We both agreed this was it; some heavenly creature was telling us we should be in each other’s life. Summer school being only a month long it passed by quickly and we had a blast.   With every conversation I realized that Tony-Lynn was so much like me it was ridiculous that we’d never been friends as kids. I guess social borders kept us apart. There were people you “should” hang out with and people you “shouldn’t”. It never occurred to either of us that across those borders could be a person that was meant for you. She told me that one summer, years ago, she’d recognized me roller blading with my jogging stroller down beach road. I couldn’t believe she’d even recognized me, having assumed that I was invisible to her in high school. My son securely fastened into the carriage, I would roller blade with him on the straight away that was and still is Beach Road in Norwalk, CT. I didn’t know she’d seen me but during one of our many conversations she told me that she had seen me and she’d thought to herself “Look at Michelle, she’s so brave”.
That was a good word for me.
I’d just recently come to accept that about myself.
Maybe that is why I was able to allow Tony to enter my life for real just this summer. She’d seen something in me from afar that I’d needed time to see close up. When I did, I could be comfortable in her presence.
Maybe we’d just been too stubborn and busy, wrapped up in our old habits and negative relationships to realize that somebody we’d never seriously considered could be just the right one.
During summer school this year we learned A LOT about each other. We have WAY too much in common. It’s kind of crazy. How could people that grew up separately have so much in common?
But people are not their environments. They are not their experiences. They are their choices and those choices are guided primarily by their spirits. Spirits have a whole other sense of priorities when it comes to connecting with people and interacting with their world. Of course what we live through affects us, molds our egos and thus our decisions but I will always believe there is another part of us, one that is watching and trying every day to guide us toward our happiest place. But we have to listen to it. Here Tony and I were, making so many of the same decisions, same mistakes and having such similar experiences living absolutely separate lives, surrounding ourselves with people who we thought were right for us because they were supposed to be.
Supposed to be.
It takes along time to break through “supposed to be” and understand what is. I don’t even know where “supposed to” comes from, the ego is my best guess, but it’s the silliest concept and most ridiculous idea. “Supposed to” really doesn’t and never will exist. It’s an illusion and a vail that keeps us from our happiest selves. I’ve only just recently begun to realize how much I allow myself to get lost in it.
Because it’s keeping me from many good things.
Including other people who add beautiful things to my life.
Tony-Lynn is beautiful; she has a lot of greatness about her. Most especially the way she brings out the best in others. Her work with our Autistic Spectrum Disorder children demonstrates it. The smiles she brings out of those children everyday speak for themselves. With their confidence high and energy levels up it is no surprise they grow and progress so quickly through her guidance. But there is something more. It’s the way she works with the adults in the room. The assistants, the paraprofessionals, of which I was one of this past summer. She’s empowering. She makes you realize how important your instincts and ideas are which in turn opens up your ability to interact with the children. Without realizing it, you become better at your job because she is so good at her own. She teaches everybody in the classroom not just the kids. Suddenly you realize your abilities and strengths and gain confidence in your decisions. “It’s OUR classroom”, she says, “We’re all teachers”. But it’s her energy. It’s her light. She’s the one producing it, shining it and giving it.
There are planets and there are suns.
Tony-Lynn is a sun.
She produces her own light.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy it’s warmth this summer and I’ve never felt so energized.

Killing our Children

 I believe structure is killing our children. We offer them so much structured learning and play time that they are never put into a situation where they have to be inventive and brave. They NEVER have to learn to figure things out for themselves. YES, in order to get a child to do what you want when you want the best way is to create a schedule for them. Structure the basics like meals, potty and sleep so as to structure them from the inside out. This way it is easy to get them used to your schedule and way of doing things. And I agree with this type of structure. It offers a subconscious security and confidence in their environment. The structure I believe is killing our children, or entitling them to the point of weakness, is the structured play and “modeling” that all day-cares and schools have incorporated into their required daily activities.
First off I’m going to admit, right away, that I do not believe in day-care. I believe in pre-school for four year olds but not day care. That is why I waited tables until my son was eight years old, so I could spend all day with him, only missing a couple of ours in the evening before his bed time. Yes, in terms of my career it has held me back but I would not change it for the world. I never missed a step, word, coo or climb and that is priceless to me. When full time school started, in our town that is first grade (age six) is when I decided I had to make changes to my schedule in order to adapt to his. That is why, two years later, I went back to school to finish my degree and, or at least I hoped, open more doors for myself. Now, This anti daycare belief opens doors to so many controversial topics that I am happy to delve into but in the comment area- not preemptively in this blog. Secondly let me say that my best friend and my mother are both day-care professionals so I say this at high personal risk as well because I do not wish to insult the integrity and hard work of people I love. Still, I can’t help but notice what I do and though daycares are safe and happy environments for children it does something to them that is integrally bad for their future autonomy:
It socializes children before it civilizes them.
What is more is it provides so much structure it never allows the child to develop their own individuality ‘muscles’– the kind you get from playing in the mud and making dolls out of stickers and crayons and writing your own stories  or climbing trees in your backyard. This is the sort of play that has been destroyed by daycare. Not necessarily because daycare workers want it this way, but because parents who would sue if they found out their children were climbing trees want it that way and so that is the red tape daycare workers are tied down by.
Imagine, if you gave your child a walker or crutches since they were 1 year old, how strong would their legs grow to be? That physical atrophe is analogous to this atrophie or autonomy; what external structure would do to bones and muscles it is exactly what this excessive structure does to a child’s autonomy. They are never allowed to develop that intrepidatious attitude required if we are to truly be individuals. In intending to do something healthy for our children, something that keeps them safe and makes us feel like they are learning, we are doing too much and therefore ruining them.
Children in daycare have so many fabulous toys and other children to constantly play with as well as two or more teachers per class room to watch over them and design activities for their whole day. And the children who sit at home are pitied. I believe it is the other way around. Because the children who sit at home by themselves or with one or two siblings are not over inundated with activities. They are put to the task of making monsters out of shadows to fight pretend battles against and toys out of sticks to create shows with. They are forced to make something out of nothing and in doing so develop parts of their brain that get ignored in a highly structured environment. What is more, they are not socialized too soon. This is something that most people will think I’m crazy for thinking because daycares and preschool programs have been constantly praised by teachers for preparing children to work together in a class environment. But I argue that children who are raised in classrooms, many from infancy, grow so dependent upon their piers that they become unable to think for themselves, contain themselves, or identify themselves seprately from their piers. More and more I see children so involved in what other children are doing they can not focus on their own affairs. We are teaching our children to adapt to a social environment before we’ve aloowed them to become aware of themselves. That is so unwise. It would be like teaching a ballerina how to leap before we’ve taught them first position. In otherwards we are setting them up for a fall, for future injury.The foundation of humanity is the individual.The foundation of a solid community is a solid individual.One must develop the individual before developing the community. In socializing children from infancy or toddlerhood in daycare we teach them to be constantly dependent upon each other for entertainment, ideas and security and never force them to development any independence. So even though children are entering kindergarten aware of how to play with other children, they are not aware of how to contain themselves or motivate themselves. They’ve never gotten the chance for those skills to develop. In combination with the incessant structure around their activities we never give our children the chance to develop as sense of independance. Then by high school we are wondering why they are so inept at scheduling and organizing or doing anything but socializing. It is because we are raising them this way. Adolescents will always be socially curious. It is in their physiological nature to be so. But it has not gone unnoticed that over the last twenty years of this excessive structure and helicoptering, this “socialized” idea of child rearing has raised quite possibly the laziest and most entitled generation of children we have ever seen. In other words, it isn’t working. Our good intentions have paved us a smooth road to hell and now our children are college aged and completely unable to live without structure, think for themselves, or exist independently. We’re ruining our kids.
I’ve noticed that in the curriculum of all the elementary schools I’ve taught in this concept called “modeling” is now a staple. What “modeling” really is is doing the figuring for the child. They are not required to READ instructions and figure what the instructions mean for themselves (even if that means making some mistakes). No. Now, instead of this the entire exercise is “modeled” for them so that word for word they are feed the way to solve the problem and present the answer. Nobody has to figure out how to solve the problem for themselves. I do not model anything for my students. I require they figure out the instructions for themselves. If they fail, they try again. If they get frustrated I encourage them, help them regroup and try it again. Failure isn’t final. It’s the bumpy and uncomfortable road to success. And success leads to the high ground away from hell. Why are we so afraid to allow our children to be wrong? Why do we protect them from their own mistakes when it’s those mistakes that teach them the best? This is why when I am assigned to teach in the middle schools I still have to explain, word for word, the directions of an assignment to thirteen year- olds! They were never required to figure out what the words on the paper mean and self- apply them. And this behavior is across the board. Black/white/Hispanic children, rich and poor children alike are all being ruined by this overly structured, excessively social, and horribly sheltered structure of learning we are building around them. And it’s ruining our children.
Many parents have to put their children into day-care. I understand better then anyone the financial demands of the times but if we give up our litigiousness and fear then maybe those daycare workers could take the kids out for walks and mud-play and tree climbing, like we would be doing if we were at home with them. Maybe they could allow more free play with basic toys, like boxes and wooden blocks instead of structured play and activities which, though preparing them to be academic, never require them to be creative or adaptable. Why do we think we are doing children a favor by teaching them their ABC’s when they haven’t learned how to self sooth or create? You can push all sorts of information into the minds of young children but whether or not they learn how to use it productively has more to do with them developing autonomously then socially. The truth is you are not a healthy part of society if you can not contain yourself, if you are constantly looking to other people to help define you. No wonder so many kids are killing themselves. It’s not that bullying is something new. What is new is this idea that being “social” and “pier approval” is what their safety and happiness depends on. It is the structure we first introduce our children to now a days and so they have no faith in their own person. Without pier approval they literally don’t even feel safe because that’s all we’ve given them since their early daycare days. Children who grew up forced to play with the socks their moms were folding or sticks in their backyard, all by themselves, with no pier support would not care as much. Yes, being made fun of would still hurt them, especially in the naturally social years of adolescence, but it would not threaten their safety, or feelings of well being or existence because they would have the knowledge from their early experience that they can exist and be safe on their own, without pier support or approval.
We are killing our children.
We have grown too arrogant in our belief in academics, grades and test scores. We have grown entitled with the concept of constant positivity and “niceness”.  If we continue to raise our children this way we will continue to have generations of people incapable of making up their own minds or adapting to new situations. Structure is making us weak. We are not insects. We were built to be structured internally not externally. By allowing our children to develop a sense of independence, a sense of individuality and intrepidatiousness we allow them to develop autonomy and self control (internal structure). If we continue to support them externally we are forever making them dependent upon the world out side of them, like cold blooded creatures that are incapable of adapting to different circumstances. Are we raising humans or bugs?
It’s kind of scary to ask but I think it’s necessary. Humans were not designed to live in hives. We were designed to live in groups and the only way to do that well is to be strong individuals, not drones. Clearly the concepts forced down our throats over the last twenty years have been wrong. The child-centric world we now live in just DOESN’T WORK and the old school was FAR BETTER at preparing our young to be individuals. To me it’s simple- but I realize the change will not be easy.