Allow me a moment to be with my anger. I want to stew in it a bit today. (Besides, anger can be powerful and transformative, and I just don’t feel like shying away from it at this moment. So, this is not an apology if you were hoping for one.)
As I was driving to work, I was trying to shake myself out of my funk. There are a lot of things contributing to it: achy hips, a SI joint issue that is causing pain in my flanks and hamstrings, stress of writing lesson plans, getting all my grading done, knowing I have to face 140 students today and be “in charge” of their whiny asses, to name a select few.
I thought about turning on the radio and finding some good 80s tunes to jam out to, but I had a brainstorm, “Why not just be mad? Why fake that I’m happy when I’m really not? Why care what others think of me as I walk about wearing my anger like a cloak?”
And so I got angry. I allowed my anger to fill up my car with imaginary green smoke like Maleficent when she curses the baby Sleeping Beauty. Imaginary horns grew out of my head and my claws became sharp. I wasn’t about to retract them for anyone or anything, including the jerk who tried to inch his way into my lane as I was approaching the stoplight.
I got to work and a colleague opened the door like a true gentleman. I had a polite conversation with him and in the end he made me laugh. After my chuckle, I said, “Damn’t Nate! I’m trying to be all brooding and pissed off here. Get out of my space so I can be mean.” He laughed too and said, “I’m sorry. I’ll leave you to your anger.”
I scrambled to get my lunch put away and pull up my worksheets to make copies for the first hour. The bell was close to ringing and my copies weren’t complete. Frustrated, I mentioned to my friend Ashley that I would “have one of my buttheads come and pick them up after the announcements.” She laughed and appreciated that I was being verbal with my anger as she too was feeling some animosity as well.
The villain/anti-hero inside of me started to grow into fuller form as my first hour class sat in complete silence while only a few kids stood for the “Pledge of Allegiance”. They are a surly lot and rarely do they give me eye contact or respond with a simple “Good morning” when I cheerily greet them every day. They choose to stare at their desks and not draw attention to themselves and do not participate in class or group discussions nor do they do the assigned reading, even when I give them time in class. This morning, with my anger permission slip in hand, I decided to match their heavy, dark mood. The moment of silence ended, and I wickedly said to them, “I’ve learned my lesson with this group to not engage you with even a simple ‘Hello’. I’m not even going to ask you about your break. I hope it was enjoyable for those of you that care. Get out your notebooks and let’s start taking notes on Emily Dickinson’s biography.”
The downward spiral into the simmering pool of wrath continued as my 2nd hour group of juniors complained about having to do any schoolwork. I gave them the my best Claire Huxtable head-twerk, stanky eyebrow raise impression I’ve got and my nostrils flared a bit as well.
And all would have gone seemingly well had not this one girl who has a daily negative attitude (and a permanent stanky-eyebrow raise, head-twerk, eye roll facial expression) approached me with an accusatory tone and gave me the “it’s you, not me” excuse by boldly saying, “You should give me an extra literature circle packet because I can’t find mine and it is all your fault”. My dragon scales stood up and my hackles came out. “Go sit down. You were supposed to have this completed today. Before the discussion. You know this. We’ve done this for 3 weeks in a row. Go sit down.” I cut her off as she started to complain some more. (Later I learned I might have made a mistake and kept hers and others’ lit circle packets and forgot to grade them over the long weekend. But, whatever. Who talks to their teachers like they are a loathsome creature who is their lowly servant or slave?)
I was getting a little bored and annoyed with my anger by now. It was starting to drag me down a bit, but it wasn’t completely through with me just yet. I managed to get through a decent discussion with my 3rd hour seniors, but a know-it-all boy who was absent last week and didn’t have a chance to read the short story kept interjecting his thoughts on the character’s motivations. He was off the mark the entire time. I asked him nicely to just be quiet and listen to the discussion so when he reads the short story in class today he’ll have a better understanding. He muttered, “I probably won’t read it. You’re explaining it all right now anyway.” My canine teeth grew another half an inch and my eyes felt like they flipped to the back of my head. I curtly cut him off with a, “Stop it. No one wants to hear your assumptions. Just read it. And do the work so you can get a decent grade on this essay.” I finally got everyone back on task and gave them suggestions on how to take notes when reading the story for a second time. Right then, he had the gall to ask me to go to the counselor’s office because it was an emergency. I grasped the podium to brace myself in case my head started to spin around. I firmly said, “No. Do your work and figure out your life later.” I walked away and went to my desk and began writing this blog post.
How is my anger now? I will let you know after all these beasties are gone and out of my life at 3:25 p.m. today. If I don’t devour them first.