Sunday, August 12, 2018

Big Head

It's not something that I have considered to be my strong suit. I tend to throw in with sense of humor or being clever. Part of this may be that I am internally very aware of the moment at which my patience runs out. I have a history of what is now referred to as "rage quit." When I was in junior high, I would spend hours in front of my algebra homework, leaning hard on that expectation that a clever person such as myself should be able to discover the answer to a math problem, especially since there were problems just like it at the top of the page that gave me clues. And all those notes that I took put me in a position to go back and examine where I might have gone wrong. Somewhere along the line, I reached a point of frustration that sent those notes and that book and my pencil and my notebook to the floor in ways that were in no way orderly or helpful to the continued process of math homework.
The unraveling of all that stress would take some time, along with the attendant shame for not having been able to avoid the flinging of all those materials and having to pick them up off the floor. During the time that it took to shake off all of that fuss that had been generated, none of the problems, notes or examples had magically rearranged themselves to become any more comprehensible to me. So there they sat, on my desk, staring back at me without the tiniest clue as to how to proceed. Everything I knew was wrong.
So I sat there.
And fumed.
There were evenings when I spent hours bouncing my head off the same two pages of algebra until I had worked myself into what my mother lovingly referred to as "a lather" that I was left with little alternative except to show up the next day without my homework completed and a sense of doom accompanied the depression that came with it. It was my father, who tried in good faith to sit down and struggle through the math he had long since forgotten, that suggested that I go in early and ask my teacher for help.
That was surrender. And I wouldn't have it. Even if I got every answer wrong, it would be my work. Flawed and inconsistent, but all mine. Which only now occurs to me as an odd form of patience. Not a really happy looking or something to be proud of patience, but patience nonetheless. Now that I am a teacher of things such as math, I have learned to be patient in a way more fitting to my station. I ask for help when I need it, because as it turns out, everyone does now and then. I learned that making mistakes helps your brain grow. No wonder I have such a big head.

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