So it’s been about 10 days since my last post, and there’s a pretty obvious reason for my absence: I finally got to start on the new job!! I wasn’t even allowed in the building until HR had completed my paperwork, which meant that I couldn’t be on campus until I finally signed my papers around 2:30 pm on Thursday of last week.
On the plus side, that meant that I missed all the terribly boring inservice meetings that they make teachers go through, and this year there were 2 full weeks of them!
On the down side, I missed almost 2 full weeks of meetings and therefor almost 2 full weeks of work! They altered my contract accordingly… meaning that my contract is worth around $2K less than it should be.
It also means that my room was mostly bare come the first day of school, which means that I had to rely on my winning personality to get the kids on my side instead of the super exciting decorations and themes that usually are a sign of an organized, fun, hardworking teacher who actually knows his/her stuff.
And there has been so much change going on…
Since I’m also dealing with the possibility of me being an Aspie, it’s been almost too much to process. Hence my absence.
In case you missed it, I do think I am an Aspie, as in a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, also identified as the high functioning end of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I’ve also decided I’m okay with it. And in actuality, it’s been really helpful in helping me to stay a little level-headed while I go through this massive change.
Even as I write that, I feel like perhaps that sounds… off somehow. I mean, how can realizing you are somewhere on the Spectrum make anything easier?
Well, it helps me to identify the cause of all those panic attacks that I have (many of which were so frequent I hadn’t really identified them as such) and to deal with them without giving up and running away into the underbrush, which, as has been observed from my behavior at the last two schools, is kind of what I do.
I can see now how some of the things that have in the past made me extremely nervous and caused my blood pressure, which gets dangerously high sometimes, to absolutely skyrocket are just things that are overwhelming to an Aspie, and instead of succumbing to the anxiety and the accompanying health problems, I’ve been able to deal with them head on.
Like, sometimes I do allow my students to discuss things that really aren’t school appropriate, or I’ll use movie clips from films that aren’t quite kosher (i.e. not school appropriate either) because it is the best to illustrate what it is I’m trying to teach, and it’s never bothered me. It’s like what I tried to explain in one of my previous posts about sometimes I will tell the book club girls (and my Geek guys/friends) stuff that is really a huge overshare because it doesn’t occur to me that it’s inappropriate to talk about such things until I see the looks of shock or disapproval on the faces of some of the ladies.
It’s one of those things that I’ve, before now, attributed to having brothers, so it’s not a big deal to talk about because, well, guys talk about all sorts of dirty or disturbing things… But after one of my brothers told me I was being crass over the summer, I had to realize that maybe, just maybe, it has nothing to do with growing up around boys (which is also misleading since I’m the oldest and was an only child for 8 years), but it’s because I honestly don’t recognize when I’m discussing things that aren’t appropriate.
That’s an Aspie trait according to some of the research I’ve done.
And once I realize that I’ve allowed something inappropriate to happen in my class, I become increasingly nervous every time an administrator wants to talk to me. And if they have a blank expression or one that, as best I can tell, might be a disapproving look, I start to panic, and it becomes a growing anxiety until I have to get that dreaded Xanax prescription refilled because otherwise I will stay awake all night long for weeks practicing (in my head only) all the possible scenarios of what they (the administrator) might say so that I can deal with it when it comes up.
It’s an unpleasant experience.
I do the same thing once I realize I’ve upset a friend or a lover. I will go over and over and over all the different ways I can make it up to them until I find one that I think will work, and I will play it out like a movie in my head until I’m confident that I have identified all the possible ways it can end.
It’s like a constant variation of Run Lola Run inside my head all the time. And sometimes it’s exhausting!
It’s also one of the causes for my obsession with the Boy: he always acts in a way counter to all my potential scenarios. I can never identify what his reaction will be, almost as if he can sense what I’ve identified as possible outcomes and he purposefully chooses one that I’m unprepared for. The result is that I will panic and have a very awkward time while in his presence while I’m running new scenarios in my head.
It tends to make me ramble until I feel like I know what’s going on or what can happen.
Ever wonder why I talk so much? Because then I know what’s going on. I have control of the situation and am not afraid of an unknown situation.
So… I’ve had a lot to process this past week, is basically what I’m trying to say.
Last weekend was completely spent preparing (as best I could with no supplies and no money to buy them) for the beginning of the year. Add to that that my team leader didn’t add me so I could see her lesson plans, and you might understand why I hardly slept Sunday night… I’ll give you a hint, we just finished talking about that very thing.
Yeah, I was running variations of how the first day would go.
And, even though I only had a few moments where they were kind of close to some of my worst scenarios, I did feel like it was a successful first day.
In fact, I don’t know if I would say I have had a single unsuccessful day so far!
I know it’s just the first week, but at my old school, I did have kids push me verbally the first day and I hadn’t been prepared for it because of how awesome my first teaching experience had been (Shout out to my Falcon kiddos!). It set a bad tone for the year for me, and add to it that I didn’t have a very supportive team or administration, and it was a recipe for failure.
The new school, everyone has been extremely positive… except my direct team. I’m teaching English III (and one section of English II ESL), and, while the English II and English IV people have been very positive and helpful, my English III team has been mostly just there.
I haven’t had the opportunity to converse with the English I people, so I can’t speak to how they are…
The teacher across the hall, who is on my team, has been helpful, but she also strikes me as someone who’s just there for the paycheck. In fact, she was quick to tell me that the most important thing to remember was that I was going to get the same check on payday as everyone else, no matter whether I did a good job or not; so don’t lose any sleep over it all.
Meanwhile, my team leader has been writing the lesson plans, and she writes them (I think) purposefully vague with a ton of TEKS so it looks like we’re doing stuff, but thus far, if we follow her plans, we are not really doing anything.
And while we used one of my lessons this first week (an actual fucking lesson and not just a get to know you game), none of them listened to what I said about the vocabulary being intense, so they didn’t pre-read the text so they could explain key vocab terms as they were reading. Then, over lunch yesterday, I heard them grumbling about how their kids were struggling with it.
My kids didn’t have any problem with it…Just saying.
My team aside, the rest of the place has been amazing! It’s a much nicer school than any of my previous schools, as far as the building itself is concerned. And my kids, even the “bad” ones are more like my kiddos at my first school, as in they (for the most part) want to learn. One of the ones I identified as one of my “bad” kids even asked the teacher across the hall if I knew what I was doing, because she didn’t know if she could trust me with her education.
That goes back to that blank wall problem that was going on in my room. I know it was. Ok, I hope it was…
And I even have a mentor teacher who I’ve decided is going to be an actual friend if she’s really as nice as she seems to be. She told me she liked how bohemian I was, and when I talk to her about things going on in my class, she’s asked me for lessons a couple times already, because she likes what I’m doing. And she teaches English IV, so I must be doing something right! Well, it must at least be rigorous if the English IV team wants to steal the lessons that I had made for my freshman… although the vocab was over the head of my freshman.
And in other news, in just the past week I’ve had two fairly large fights with the Boy, and yet I’ve also had 2 fairly awesome pseudo-dates with him as well. I say pseudo because I’m not allowed to say we’re dating because he keeps telling me that’s not what we’re doing, but some of our interactions still feel date-ish. I don’t have my hopes up anymore that it will ever become an actual dating situation… or at least I don’t think I do. Where he’s concerned my emotions are hard for even me to read.
The first fight was because he basically told me that this whole Aspie thing was me using the title as a crutch so I didn’t really have to figure out what was wrong with me.
Wait, let me be honest, that’s how I perceived what he was saying because I’ve gotten used to reading between the lines of what people say. Admittedly that is counter the Aspie thing, but I’ve studied English and theater until sub-text is almost easier for me to read than actual text. On the other hand, it is when I mis-read the subtext that I end up having serious problems communicating, and the Boy rarely uses subtext, or if he does, he’s never saying what I think he is.
What he actually said was that he didn’t think I should be self-diagnosing the Aspie thing, and I shouldn’t go around telling people that I self-diagnosed myself as autistic. For the record, I haven’t done that. I mean I put it on here that I think I do. But that’s not really the same thing.
And I did tell a couple of the ladies at work because I was very overwhelmed, and I was very uncomfortable with the way they were kind of staring at me. It was right after I’d signed my paperwork, and they were giving me the very briefest of tours, and they asked me if I had any questions, but I hadn’t expected to go into the building until the following day, and I hadn’t met them before so didn’t know how to interact with them yet, and they were looking at me, and I could feel that I had an expression, and I was afraid it was one of fear.
So I finally just blurted out, “I’ve recently discovered that I might very well have Asperger’s, so I have to be honest with you, I am extremely overwhelmed right now and feel like I have a deer in the headlights look on my face and I don’t want you to think I’m frightened or that I can’t handle this job, but I am very very overwhelmed at the moment. But I will be ready in time.
In hindsight, that may be why they don’t really talk to me that much. It was my team leader and her long-term friend and seemingly the second in command.
The second fight with the Boy was literally the very next day. I was tired and I just blew up about having to beg him to do stuff. It was an old argument that I have often with the men in my life: the one about needing to know when I am going to see them again, and to have them actually set a time or make the effort to fit me in their schedule. It was the big fight with the Artist, about him blowing me off. And it was the reason why I kept trying to set stuff up with Superman. And it’s why I get frustrated when I have to be the one to schedule outings.
And now that I am aware of the Aspie traits, it makes sense: I need a schedule because I am actually terrified of the unknown sometimes. And if a person is important to me, it is important that we schedule time to see each other. And if I am the one constantly making the effort to schedule, it makes me feel like they don’t want me around.
The Boy and I go round and round about that particular thing. I’ll try and try and try to schedule something, to the point that I feel like I’m begging him to hang out, or that I’m the one chasing him, and when he just says “No,” with no suggestion of an alternate plan, I begin to feel like I’m bothering him and that he doesn’t really want me around. Then a few weeks later, I have to ask him if he really wants me in his life, because I don’t understand how he could if he never wants to do anything with me. And I get my feelings hurt, and I’ll cry. A lot. And then he’ll be uncomfortable with me again, which means he actually won’t want to hang out with me for a while.
Then the whole cycle starts up again because I try to schedule stuff and he says no with no offer of alternate plans, which makes me feel like I’m begging/chasing him, which makes me think he doesn’t want me around, which causes a fight, which makes him uncomfortable with me, which makes him not want to spend time with me… and further and further down the rabbit hole we go.
I had tried on at least one occasion to tell him that if we just spent more time together, I’d be less stressed about our interactions, but he wasn’t comfortable with that because something about our interaction was making him uncomfortable. I figure it’s the fact that I ask often to see him… which I know I’ve talked about on here before, and about how it makes men think that I want a serious commitment, or that I’m trying to trap them, but in reality, it’s just that when I like a person, I want to spend time with them, and I don’t always want to be the one who schedules the stuff.
Of course, lately I haven’t had time for much of anything, but the Boy doesn’t live far, which makes it easier. And well, it’s the Boy. He’s the one unknown that I NEED to figure out. I don’t know why, it’s just a thing.
At this point, it’s almost just because of the challenge, because I’m not really sure I actually like him as a person anymore. He’s too fickle, which he doesn’t like me to say, but it’s true.
Either way, he might actually be coming around about the Aspie thing, because he was asking questions that suggest he’s trying to figure out how to interact with me given this new information. I am not going to ask, though, because after he said what he said about me not wanting to get tested so I didn’t have to give up my “reasoning,” I told him I wouldn’t talk to him about it anymore.
It’s frustrating since the whole freaking reason I started doing the Aspie research in the first place was so I could figure out how to interact with him because my mother was so very convinced he was the Aspie and not me! It would be nice if he would confirm or deny being an Aspie. Because if he is, I could actually ask him some questions about how he copes. Instead, he asks me questions, like “how do I mimic other people and what purpose does it serve?”
Most people I mimic their body language, but also their inflection and key phrases. He asked me what I mimic of him, and I had to think about it, because I’ve always felt like I was my real self in front of him… Then as he was asking me more questions, I realized I was copying his inflections. He has a very distinct cadence in how he talks. It’s soothing, yet very metered, almost like reading Shakespeare. And the shorter his sentences, the more pronounced it is.
When I am mimicking it, or rather when I’m aware that I’m mimicking it, I feel almost like he and I are the Binars from that one Star Trek: TNG episode; the characters that work and function in pairs because they are a binary people.
I’m not quite sure why that makes sense to me, but it does.
Side note, and to prove my actual level of nerdiness, seeing this picture devoid of the rest of the show, they look an awful lot like the aliens from another Gene Roddenbury show: Earth Final Conflict. I really liked the first 2 seasons of that show as well!
But anyway, that’s been my last 10 days:
- Awesome first week of school.
- Not a lot of sleep.
- 2 fights with the Boy
- 2 pseudo dates with the Boy (one of which was that damned museum trip we’ve tried for over a year to actually do)
- Learning to cope with Asperger’s Syndrome, or at least utilizing some of the coping skills in my life, whether I have it or not.
- Oh! And I was nominated for a Liebster Award (again)! Thanks to LeeAnn, my dating soul-sister from somewhere not Texas (I think). Seriously, her dating life could be a variation of my own! You should check her out.
So before I go on about my business for the day, let me answer her questions. I won’t be nominating anybody else, though, since I haven’t really been able to check too many blogs out since the Whirlwind began. The number one person I would have nominated is the same LeeAnn who nominated me… But I will answer the questions. They’re good ones!
1) If you were captured by cannibals, how would you prefer they prepare you? I think, if I had to be eaten, I’d want to be diced up and put in a stew. Then I know there’s no way of too much pain in the whole process. They’d have to bleed me out before they diced me up, so that, in theory, would be a fairly quick and painless procedure. I don’t know why I’m assuming cannibals would prepare me to kosher sacrificial rules, but yeah, I think they would.
2) What drew you into blogging? I started blogging because I needed a place to vent that offered me some anonymity. I wanted to talk about things going on at the school where I taught, and I didn’t want people affiliated with the school to find out, or sanction me for it. But then it became mostly about relationships because those are more interesting and harder for me. Occasionally, like today, I’ll include work stuff, but it’s not nearly with the same frequency.
3) Which blog have you written that you are the fondest or most proud of? Link it here!!! My favorite is always going to be the one about an Intellectual Alpha Male, because I think not enough guys value being the Intellectual Alpha. There’s still this idea that being intellectual makes you Beta, and I want to change that definition. But I’m also pretty proud of my poetry, and there’s a quote that I’ve used for years (an original by me quote) that I finally was able to incorporate into a poem. It’s the last stanza that I’ve quoted since college.
4) What is the one thing you would change in your life right now if you were capable of making that change just by snappin’ your fingers? I’d give myself more money! I just spent almost my entire paycheck in 48 hours to get stuff for my classroom, groceries, and paying bills. That’s not including rent, which I told my roommate I’d pay on the 10th, when I get paid again!
5) What are your favorite simple pleasures? Sleeping in, a good conversation that makes me think about deep subjects, a genuine smile, and Adam’s brand Pecan Pie icecream!
Now I have to get to work making next week’s plans functional for me. They’re just so damned vague!!