7-31-18 7:45 AM, patio, Longmont
Today marks the #### end of my last full month in Colorado. Thirteen days in August remain. And I am moving steadily toward my departure from this great state — and a return to ground I had inhabited over a year ago.
8-22-17 8:32 PM — Wednesday, sitting in Cam’s kitchen
Today is Mom’s birthday. It is sad that she is not present to celebrate it. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for so long, and that Jeff and I have been w/o a mother for nearly a decade. Would she be proud of me — out here in Colorado, trying to create a new life?
Sometimes, writing with my Honors students was just plain fun. In this entry, I respond to one of their impromptu journal suggestions.
On this particular morning in June of 2012, one of my sophomores had challenged the class to explain in their journal why a classmate, Lexie, had arrived late. Lexie was (and still is, I’m sure) a mature, thoughtful, and outgoing young woman; therefore, she did not seem at all dismayed by this proposal which emerged unexpectedly from one of her peers.
Having heard the challenge, I dutifully responded — with the intention that I would read the completed entry with my sleepy-eyed students. And that is exactly what I did.
6-12-12 Reasons why Lexie is late:
- She works as a crossing guard, and is unable to get the little kids across the street fast enough.
- To enhance her cardiovascular performance, she runs to school — along M-24 — every morning.
- She sings every song on Queen’s greatest hits album in the shower, #### and is unable to leave the house until she finishes the last verse.
- She eats her bowl of cereal one flake at a time, and this slows her down.
- She feeds every pet at the #### Auburn Hills Humane Society branch each morning.
- [Her] household is in another time zone, so she is always an hour behind.
- #### It takes 45 minutes for her to attach all of her bracelets.
- Choosing a hair-band can be a very time-consuming task.
This entry was composed during my last year of teaching, while I was seated with a class of Honors 10 students who — like me — were immersed in a five-minute free-write.
5-1-17 Crafting our entry together.
One thing I won’t miss about teaching is the weight of the students’ eyes while I am at the front of the room. During first hour I had to introduce prepositional phrases, using FD’s narrative as a springboard. My students hadn’t been moving or talking, and I became hyper-aware of my vulnerability. This led to the approach of panic, a kind of claustrophobia of the gaze; I felt alarmed, trapped, embarrassed, incompetent. All because I could not control my anxiety. It was very disconcerting. My students began raising their hands, volunteering information, but I started choking up. I began to consider reasons why I might be able to leave the room. The wave passed, strangely, w/o my awareness. And then I was okay. Even stronger. Bizarre.
The Stake & The Rope
I wish I had a stake.
Not just a stake…but the stake of life.
A #### gigantic stake forged from raw courage, pride, and determination in a searing hearth deep in my heart.
A stake so massive and strong that it could endure endless years and a lifetime of struggle.
A state so heavy and rough that it could not be lifted or moved until the time when I must leave this blessed planet.
The stake would be red and black and gray and unchanging.
The stake would have a diamond tip so sharp that it could pierce the very depths of my conscience.
The stake would be driven into the very center of my mind where it would hold to the soil of my #### soul like a redwood grasps its earth.
Around this stake would be a magical rope.
A rope made of trillions of emotions and feeling[s] wound together by the minutes of time.
The rope would be magical and white and blue and flexible and warm and vibrating.
It would grow in length as each day passes.
I would hold onto this rope with all my strength as I explored every foot of life #### knowing that I could always pull that rope tight and feel its tautness, knowing that the stake was anchored securely in its place.
And knowing that I could pull myself back to the stake for safety.
I could tie the rope around my middle and feel secure and safe as I ventured into new places.
Life sucks (period)
Life sucks (period). It absolutely sucks shit. I have had #### an absolutely horrible year. Yes, completely, horrible. Life sucks so bad, I almost think that it would be easier if I were dead. It’s a terrible thing to say — but who in the hell gives a care. I sure as hell don’t. No, that isn’t true. I care. I wake up everyday [sic] slightly optimistic; I go to school; I go to therapy. Something, I don’t know what, is keeping me going. I feel like shit. No one understands. My life is shitty. I hate my life, school, Mr. Z., everyone + everything. I’m in an incredibly shitty mood. I have no real friends. I’m 17 fuckin’ years old, and I have no real friends. That really sucks. I don’t go to movies, plays, sporting events, people’s houses, parties, or out to dinner. Mr. Z is right. I am a “loner.” Yes, I am.
As a high-school junior, I began keeping my first journal because it was an assignment for my English class. Although I was initially resistant to the idea, I eventually found my journal — which was composed of loose-leaf sheets held in a 3-ring binder — to be a place where I could candidly express what was on my mind.
My teacher had explained the none of our entries would be read; they would only be counted. And thus I could write freely about whatever topics I chose. In this entry, I generated the transcript of a theoretical conversation between my first therapist at me. To the best of my recollection, I had been in counseling for several months. I was 16 years old.
Z / Brian dialogue
Z — How are you doing?
B — OK…things have been happening so fast lately.
Z — Yeah…well tell me about it and how you feel!
B — OK…well, I like using metaphors a lot.
Z — That’s OK.
B — Good. I wasn’t #### sure if you liked me using them or not. I guess it is because I have a rough time expressing how I really feel inside, and using metaphors helps me.
Z — Go ahead…write on.
B — Well, if life were a taperecorder, and everyone was a cassette, then most everyone I know, including my friends have been and are still in PLAY mode. Well, for the last couple of years, I have been in STOP mode. Now I feel that I’m in fast forward, kind of.
Z — Interesting.