Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Boring Catharsis

Mozely cried when church was over. “Home is boring!” he said. I figured if I outlined the benefits of home over church, he’d stop fighting his way to the car.

“They have little pieces of bread!” when I told him there was nothing to eat.

“You can watch movies on the wall!” when we said there was nothing to do.

There was no answer at all to the idea that I would not be there.

It’s true. Most of what we do at home is keeping our lives together. We rarely break from business. I used to think my dad worked too much. But I certainly did not want to stay at church. Major insult.
I work in a world where reading is boring, paying attention is boring, real life is boring.

Truth in advertising: I fell asleep in my first workshop of the day on Monday. I don’t know how to live without deathbed repentance in one more episode procrastination. I’ve gotta check my phone, just one second. Oooo. Is that a cookie? Let me eat it in place of entertainment while I sit here.

At school I think of myself as a paid entertainer. I do my song and dance (sometimes literally), I guilt trip, I joke, I kid, I tease, I talk faster and louder in case confusion is an antidote to boredom.
And I become an overdramatized version of myself: The teacher who groans loudly and full-bodied when the student claims this poem sucks, the whiny and long lecturer of the value of work when complaints stack up about upcoming due dates, the one who adores and cheers the overwrought analysis of character faults over time, stopping and recreating each turning point.

It’s not that I’m lying about what I believe: that interesting yourself is more important than being entertained, and there are a lot of reasons to interest yourself beyond just pure pleasure
.
But, I do find that teaching is a little like acting on a stage. Everything, from your look to your voice, when you overdo it, it’s just enough. I think that's true in parenting as well. Maybe it's just how you have to deal with the in-the-now dramatic little people I have around me all the time.
Somehow, if I am the crazy, demanding, always version of myself, they’ll catch a sliver of the urgency in my character’s voice, and find that they are caught up in it. Too.

4 comments:

mariah said...

Nice thoughts. While most performances are not fully appreciated they are still beautiful and necessary.

Karen said...

Thanks for interesting and entertaining reading as you speak your truth.

Nippon Nin said...

You have two tough jobs - teacher and being a mother - I don't know how you managing but I think you're doing great job! You're amazing!

ephraim said...

I heard a piece on NPR about whether theatrics in the classroom have merit. I could not agree with the guy who claimed it's a waste of time. I am totally stoked picturing you doing your own song and dance. We all enjoyed Pammy's dance!