Tuesday, August 18, 2009



Heard about 'The Harlem Children Zone' on 'This American Life' this weekend. I thought about Alaina and reading this entry today seemed to fit in somewhere with some of what the 'Zone' is all about.

The cat who started the project, totally reimagined how we think of educating children. It was an amazing story, full of ambition and risk. It made parental involvement MANDATORY and the results were amazing. The children that started with the project were above standards that they can track results for. And the thing about that group, is that they didn't benefit from the pre-school program that those that are following them have gone thru.

Anywho, listening to it my thoughts were of Alaina and her work on the front lines of educating the youth. I like Alaina, I like her a lot. She reminds me of a couple of chicks that I went to high school with. Her music is not necessarily what I would go to sleep to, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were some songs she could appreciate on some of my playlists.

Then there is the teaching thing. Man, I wish that I had my folded-over books that I used to make in 1st and 2nd grade, thinking then I would grow up to be a writer! I also wished that I could be a teacher, always social science. All of that was with my dreams of either playing a sport and being a superstar, as well as President of the United States!

Back to Alaina ... I am very happy for her and Mr. Mischief. I did what I call 'rooting' for her for the reasons you can infer from what you have read, and because I like her. Period, end of story. There was a period where I lost sight of the boundary and in my enthusiasm, crossed over too far.

Like the hikers in Iran, it was my fault for not being careful and recognizing where I was. Period. See, I get boundaries. When you cross them, you get what you pay for.

Too bad not knowing where they were costs the hikers as much as it has. But don't you think they knew that BEFORE they slipped up and found themselves where they are now, what may have been at stake? You mean to tell me that they didn't have any clue to what may happen if they messed up? I don't think you go into that situation without ...


I will have to tell her, the SFC that this hasn't been the best of months for me. In fact, I cannot remember the last time when I felt as I do now. I am glad that I did give props for how things were when thing were as I hoped they could be, you know? Mainly, because it is the same attitude that I am going to take to get through this.

This is where having someone 'care' about me gets sticky. Involved people can't separate and see things objectively. Stuff gets taken personally when it isn't about them. What can you say?

What can I say??

Of all the people that I have come in contact in the past five or so years, MJB is the only person who I could really imagine being able to identify with me. How she'd describe certain things, I could really nod my head and say, 'I know what you mean, girlfriend!' I don't think it would have offended her, because in my own way, I put up with the same deal. It may be of a fashion, but very, very close.

I don't complain, because some of what I am dealing with, seems normal. Looking at me, physically, you wouldn't notice (though Nebraska picked up on 'tricks' when she saw me and so did my NCOIC ...) or it may be taken for granted that I can keep going. This month has been very different for me. I have tried this week to get into my routine, but to no avail. I have been tired, and my thoughts have been even more scattered, slippery. The harder I try, the slipperier they feel.

There have been 'radom thoughts' posted throughout my journal, but right now, everything in my head is just random. One of my elementary school nephews is here and this morning, he was a life saver.

I made breakfast for him and my Uncle. I was kidding around with him, about now he had to make my breakfast. I got it together and was doing alright in making my omelette until somehow, the pan and the contents ended up on the floor. How that happened ..?

My nephew, all 8 years old, came rushing into the kitchen. Self-pity was lurking around, and I asked him, 'What am I going to do?' When you are trying to feel sorry for yourself, little questions have so much more meaning to them ... drama queen and fainting princess stuff. But when he answered straight away, "You are going to clean this up and make another," I was able to snap out of it. We cleaned up the mess, and I made my omelette.

For me, asking myself 'what are you gonna do?' is a gentle reminder to quit being a little bitch and get after my life. No, I don't feel well. No, I won't let what results be my ceiling, but the floor from which I climb from.


Perhaps my Mom wasn't a full memeber of the 'BMC', but it's influence is so great that it couldn't help but play a part in how my family was socialized. Since it is my story, it was a very feminine household. Sista girls and home boys have a very adversarial relationship. It always seem like it is the girls against the boys.

I think that too often that it happens in families, too. Details, details, but it comes down to where I think that the resentment of crap authors like Terry McMillian and the misguided 'you go girl' feelings of Oprah's rise made for a bad mix with my peeps. Growing up, because I was the oldest, I was above crap Jan's spell. But when I got home, things had changed.

They may have loved me, but I don't think that they liked me. Not because of anything I did, but it felt like the resentment Morrissey sung about in the Smith's song 'London':

You left...
Your tired family grieving
And you think they're sad because you're leaving,
But did you see
Jealousy in the eyes
Of the ones who had to stay behind ?

Jan has always been a vengeful, hateful c*nt (and I do mean that ... bring her from Florida so I can call her that to her face). Her jealousy and lack of discernable talent powered her as she manipulated the household. Doesn't it seem that is how it happens ... crap people moving into places to get other people to be crap too?

That this was the undercurrent in the house for years, I didn't let it keep me from 'doing me'. But when I was asked why I remained loyal to people, even when they may or may not like me, I never would tell them that is prolly something I learned in home. Just as there isn't enough space to unravel something that is at best mostly unrecallable, and at worst too dense and 'who gives a rip to matter'.

It comes down to where I care about people, even if they don't have the same level of emotions for me. I even like people who don't like me. When I was able to understand that about myself, I came up with 'Imperial Thinking', so that I could do the things that I think was best for me. No matter what, I have all the guilt that a Jewish Mother could lay on her son, so I don't get too caught up with that. I do think that people in the end, will act in regards to their own self interest, and what they think is best for and by them.

Being able to think for myself and what is best for me hasn't been something that I feel I have done all that well. When I came up with most of the seemingly surprise things in my life, it was after the unseen preparations being made so that I could do whatever I was trying to do. Since no one was going to 'have my back', I was going to give myself the support of a 'kingdom' and put the weight of 'the monarchy' behind me.

Besides, I was fully grown. The only thing worse to me than a whiny child, is the perpetually whiny adult they grow up to become. This also meant I had to try and get a grasp of my responsiblities and the fallout from being a coward about things.

I was glad that my nephew caught me before I slid off into that vat of crap. Thinking 'woe is me', I believe will get me into a worse trouble.

NEXT: 'Gotta get back into this thing' round!


Beth said...

I'm worried about you, man. Don't be mad at me for saying that. I know you'll sort things out and set things straight soon. The first order of business is making sure that you're physically healthy, and I know that's on the list.

As for teachers, I have several that I still remember fondly. A wonderful and inspiring teacher is a true jewel.

Love, Beth

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Make sure that you make taking care of Mark priority one. You need to get past this mish-mash so you can get on with the plan :o)

a corgi said...

that was interesting about that Harlem Children Zone project; seems like something more cities need to get incorporated for their youth

like Beth, I'm also worried about you, Mark; I'm not sure what to say other than do take care of yourself and be open and honest with SFC so you guys can get through this time.....


miss alaineus said...

you are a writer....

is the heat affecting you? it's made me even more absentminded and forgetful then usual around here too.

take care of yourself and thanks for the shout out.


Indigo said...

Alaina is one of my favorite people too. As for what your going through...try to remember we all have those days, weeks, months...

As strong and forward as people think I am with my deafness, I still have moments where I literally crawl back into my skin and want to scream. For example I wanted to write a scene in my book. I knew what I visualize, felt, I could even pinpoint smell. But for the life of me I couldn't visual or remember the sound I wanted (swamp at night).

And...I totally lost it. I should know those sounds. I lived in Fla. for over 9 years next to a swamp. Yet for the life of me I was stuck. Literally stuck in a moment.

I gave up the ghost of trying and folding in on myself with angry tears. For the first time ever I couldn't remember what something sounded like and it scared me to lose that.

Today I'm unstuck. I'll go back to that chapter later on, when I'm in a better frame of mind. But this just goes to show you it happens to the best of us. Bad days? They don't last forever, we get unstuck eventually.

Thinking of you dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo