Well, as always, I’ll start with my numbers for the month …
Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Physical Comics Read: 24 (51/379)
Digital Comics Read: 8 (511/538)
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 1 (24/83)
Books Read: 3 (120/164)
Movies Watched: 4 (108/118)
TV Shows Completed: 0 (38/38)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 150
This is a weird month to recap and a weird entry to write because while it’s going up on Election Day 2020, it’s being written the day prior, and I honestly don’t know what to do or think at the moment. I have the day off from work–it’s a comp day from eight hours of parent conferences that were outside of contract hours–and am trying my best not to throw myself into a panicked tailspin of politics speculation.
The list here has me thinking a lot about both the past month and the past four years. The past month was a bit tougher than usual at points. I feel that on some level, I’ve settled into the routine of the school year, yet there’s a lot that still seems unsettled. Without going into all of the details about work and all of its frustrations, the complete shift in what school looks like coupled with what seems like the expectations that I have for myself and what I think others have for me is compounding the stress I usually have around this time of year. One of the worst things about it, to be honest with you, is that any day that goes “normally” (meaning that everything is smooth and routine and feels good) feels fake and wrong. I mean, how could I not think that when I’m constantly hearing phrases like “these unprecedented times” and “this isn’t normal.” And feeling successful at anything at this point–or feeling like I’ve adjusted to some of this normal–seems to be naive or wrong or reeks of privilege or myriad other points I could make here. If I’m not constantly distraught, I’m doing something wrong.
Similarly, this is how the last four years have felt. Not entirely, of course, because there have been a lot of times where I have felt okay. But feeling “okay” since the 2016 election has the same feeling I was describing above, and the last couple of weeks on social media have felt that way. As I scroll through my feeds, I start to worry–that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not worrying enough, or that I’m just as naive and arrogant going into this election as I was four years ago. I don’t tell many stories about having to teach during the 2016 election season because nobody really gives a shit, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how nightmarish it was, how unequipped I was to deal with all of it, and how that made me an incredibly ineffective adult figure in the lives of the students who needed it at the time. Here, I’m separated by a screen and … well, not facing any of the real bullshit I had to deal with four years ago. And still, I worry about how I don’t do enough.
How does this tie into the mission of this blog? Well, I had a realization this month. Okay, it wasn’t so much of a realization as it was a reaffirmation of something I already knew. I not only use food as a coping mechanism (i.e. “Stress Eating”), but seem to spend more money during times of stress. I seem to make excuses to run to the grocery store one more time or buy an extra book or two at the comic shop even though I know I shouldn’t. And while I certainly know I’m doing it while I’m doing it, it also feels as if I don’t realize I’m doing it. Furthermore, I find it easier to want to hold onto things–I’ve certainly given away or thrown out less and less in the last month or two when there’s certainly more stuff to offload.
I’m ready, on some level, for today and tonight. What I’m not ready for is Wednesday. Four years ago, I barely got through the day. I hadn’t slept at all the night before and was completely shaky and numb. Students came into my room crying. Others came in gloating. I think the only reason nobody got into a heated argument or fight in my room was because of the shock of the moment. I barely spoke all day aside from the teaching I had to do, and when I got home, there were tears and anger. Once again, I have to face work on the day after a tough Election Day and don’t know how to approach the lessons that we have to do (in fact, in one class, I don’t currently have a lesson plan and I’ll have to figure that out tomorrow or Wednesday). It’s that lack of time to process things that is as much a source of anxiety as the state of the world, and while I have no choice to accept that as a part of being an adult, it doesn’t seem right.