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Sunday, January 29, 2017

PTSD Contemplations...

 Why am I thriving as a school counselor? I feel WHOLE.  Well, pretty much. Whole in my family.  Whole in my marriage.  Whole in my job.  Full...in the imperfect world of a working mom and public school counselor.

Last summer, though, it felt as if my family were under siege.  I felt it.  Accusations about an incident at my child's school...ignited the "fear flame" of knowledge.  Knowledge that my family and my child would be sacrificed by a school district. 

So wholeness is relative.  From that fullness, I "came out swinging" because I have seen a school district's lies in action.  Anything goes!  Documentation--and referred to documentation in any and all lawsuits--will be...created.  Presented.  

"Prepare yourself for anything."  And I thought I was prepared for anything.  Thought I'd experienced the worst of a school district's lies--about me and about other educators.  Those lies protected then, and, protect now, a brute of a man.  I've given up trying to understand why he is allowed to destroy educators' lives and careers. I don't, anymore, care why.  

I care only that it happened.  I care that it's happening right now.

I wasn't, though, prepared for anything.  Certainly not this.  Not my child!  Not my child's legs, arms and torso thrown under that bus!  Oh, fourteen year old him of the goofy smile!  

My mind screamed: "They will sacrifice him, just as they sacrificed you, KIm!" Oh yeah, I was sacrificed at the altar of conformity.  My truth telling burned.  

But truth telling was not enough.

"Sundays you say!?  Hell no!  So very sorry investigators of abuse!  Werner did all of that on Wednesdays.  Doesn't matter a whit or a damn what she says!  She's a trouble maker!  

You'd do well to get rid of her."

Ah, there he sits still on his principal's throne...but he would like a bigger audience....  Oh!  How he hates me!  He HATES that it was my truth telling that kept him on the small throne.  He wanted to be a superintendent!  Wanted to sit on the big throne!  Reign supreme!

He might yet...

Remember the day you, Kim, were waiting to present in a first grade classroom? 2009..?  Remember his face on the announcements saying over and over, "Not good enough. Do it again." We children and teachers had to "practice" entering classrooms. Do you, Kim, remember your disbelief? Do you recall his face on the announcements? His smug smiling control over "his subjects...?"  It's almost like your mental repeated viewing of his "Do it again" command is as painful as what? The birth of a baby? 

You sit with a beautiful sunset by the lake behind your house! Dinner is ready! HE is NOT invited, Kim! Why, then, do you carry him with you?  He's like a swaddled, petulant infant you coddle in your mind.  You sit with him at the dinner table as you sooth his sniveling.  You hoist him on your back as you stand at the kitchen sink.  

"There, there, my smug, arrogant darling!" you say.  "Shush now.  You have nothing to fret about.  The school board and I will take care of you."

My God.  It won't ever end, will it?

10:38 am est          Comments

Monday, January 16, 2017

A tribute

 I just want to go home," my 87 year old Aunt Deane said to me on the phone. I'd called her two days before her death.  My daughter and I had returned to Miami a week earlier from visiting her at a small town nursing home in rural Ohio. 

The three of us had lunch and visited and laughed while there.  I'd taken 1969 photos with me. The photos were taken during summer vacation at Indian Lake, Ohio.  Our families would spend one week each summer crammed into a small cabin.  We'd water ski and swim...and burn and peel for no one thought to apply sun screen. 

Now why is this memory so clear? Of all the memories in all my brain's crevices, why does this one float into conscious? I lift my bangs. I laugh as I look at my face in a mirror. In contrast to my sun burned twelve year old face, my forehead, protected from the sun by my hair, is white.  I'm not, in my mind, at the lake cabin.  This memory takes me to Carol's house. But that's the way memories work.

At the lake we'd play cards at night and eat hamburgers my father cooked on a small charcoal grill. Aunt Deane is forty in the pictures: divorced and raising four boys on a secretary's salary. Although she was deftly (and carefully for her job was in peril) avoiding her bosses' overt sexual harassment at work, in the pictures she looks care free. And gorgeous. Tanned.  Long blond hair.  Green and white bikini.  

Aunt Deane looks good! 

"Show those pictures to Jesse. I want him to see what I used to look like."  Jesse, my aunt's nursing home attendant, was appreciative.

Aunt Deane is right.  I could go crazy....

"You've got to develop a sense of humor about life, otherwise you'll go crazy," Aunt Deane said to me and to my daughter during our visit. Aunt Deane was laying on the small bed in the nursing home. My daughter was standing as there was no place for her to sit.  I was perched on the edge of the bed.  Aunt Deane's roommate's television was loudly blaring.  "My God," I thought to myself, "I'd go crazy here", so Aunt Deane's statement was perfectly timed. 

I would have loved to rummage around in Aunt Deane's head.  Tenderly tiptoe into her brain memory chambers.  Inspect her hurts and her triumphs for there is much to be learned from my Aunt Deane. Resilience in the face of betrayal! Acceptance of injustice! Love no matter what! Patience!  

And humor.  

"I just want to go home, Kim," she said to me during our last conversation.  

I must also learn to let go.  Aunt Deane's gotten her wish.  She's home for good now.

9:24 am est          Comments

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