Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Life In Technicolor

Is there a better song than Coldplay's Life in Technicolor? I think not. It makes me feel like anything is possible, like my life is edited together in a movie-cool montage of blurry bokeh awesome: the sun is shining in my hair as I run down the beach with a goofy, open-mouthed grin--but it looks good on me in the unconscious girl-next-door kind of way that only works in movies.

I want to live in that song. I want to build a log cabin in it and drink my hot cocoa.

I can't believe the school year is almost halfway done. Never before have I been so engaged in my own classes, so energized for the long term to do this right. Never before have I kept such a neat classroom, neat lesson plans and neat routine this far into the school year. Almost a decade in to teaching, I finally feel like I found balance. I found my groove, I found the confidence to say no to so many things that sapped my energy and my time like parasites. I learned to embrace the priorities that matter to me, everyone else be damned. But I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know, the I'm-too-tired-to-wear-makeup-or-grade-papers-or-put-any-energy-into-this-because-I-feel-run-down shoe. That old chestnut. But it hasn't hit this year. I am truly happy.

I don't know why. Is it a change in my own attitude about school? Was last year a training ground for discovering my own voice and what mattered to me as a teacher? Did the last two year's personal trials provide me with a herculean obstacle course that would strengthen me enough for this year? It sure feels that way. It feels like the last two years were crap and crap 2.0, and now I get to enjoy the fruits of those struggles. It helps that I see E so regularly. Our issues still linger--mostly silly husband and wife stuff, but truthfully tinged with the metallic taste of shards from our past--these seem so much more manageable when we have weeknights and weekends together. It still happens about once a month or so that we look across the car at each other while we're driving somewhere and I go "hey, you don't have to study for the Bar anymore. Ever."

Almost a year has passed since he took that test and I still can't get it in my head that he's not going to have to bail out of a Saturday so he can hit the books. It shouldn't boggle my mind but it does. I'm amazed at how naive I was--the kind of naivete that comes from intellectualizing something and trying, Vulcan-like, to ignore my feelings. In thinking that we were smart enough to make it work, we kept opposite schedules and never saw each other. Let me tell you how that worked out. Time in a marriage is like medicine. Retrouvaille helped us patch the wound, but time has been the antibiotic to keep the infection at bay.

We fought a rough fight a few weeks ago when he wanted to go out late at night with some friends. It instantly smacked of our separation and I couldn't do anything to get the hurt from my heart. Old feelings die harder than habits. An argument was unavoidable, but the method has changed. We were (and still are, honestly) at an impass between difficult feelings we can't ignore on the subject, but at least we are able to hear each other. We were able to agree that we need to settle it outside of the moment. That wasn't possible before. I can't help but think that kind of growth has an influence on my life at school. And that my life at school---now so completely calm and routine--has an effect on our marriage.

Last night I picked up a new pair of contacts at my stronger prescription. As is always the case when I get an update, life is suddenly in HD again. Or technicolor, I suppose. Too often I bog down in the day-to-day and I don't recognize how much things change. I'm almost a semester in to my year, and I'm realizing that everything is still clear.

 My heart has the same fresh perspective as my eyes.

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