Friday, February 3, 2012

High School - Revisited...Ugghhh!

FYI~ If you "like" Gleaning Grace please share me or suggest me to your friends. Google "Friend Connect" is going away, so if you "follow" my blog, but aren't connected through Facebook or RSS Feed, please "like" me on Facebook or scroll down the right hand side of my blog and enter your email address. This way, you'll be notified of all updates and posts! Thanks, ~Leslie~

In an effort to get back on the "blogging wagon" I thought I would participate in the writing prompts for the first time in forever!

Of the options, I chose:

What were you like in High School?

This question, when first read, elicits a groan...maybe an eye roll or two...and eventually a deep breath!

I am one of those people who looks back on a lot of my childhood and adolescence with no small amount of regret.

And you know what? I'm coming to terms with that in a lot of ways. 

I know I just need to let myself off the hook!

God made me who I am for a reason.  And, for some reason, I have always held myself to some insane standard of perfection and beaten myself up over every mistake.

But, I'm working on it!

Back to the question about high school...

Here are some things about me in HS:

1.) Not popular, but not an outcast either.

2.) Good student; focused and with good grades. I was, and still am for the most part, a responsible person.

3.) Teachers liked me (a least I think they did).  Some people might call me an "old soul." I always tended to worry about things more serious than the average HS aged girl did. 

4.) I never went long without a boyfriend (there are lots of problems with this fact)

5.) I was VERY involved...I did a little of everything: Air Force ROTC, Marching Band, Choir, foreign language, Drama Club, Drama Productions, 4 Spring Musicals...and somehow managed to work a part-time job for at least 2 of those years. Not to mention being active in church youth group and attending both church and academic camps in the summers. 

So there are the reasons (mostly) why I wouldn't want to go back and do HS over again!

Yes there is a mixture of positive things and challenging things there, but in the recent past, I have learned that all life experiences (good and bad) form us into the person we are today.  If you went back and just changed one tiny thing, it could alter the entire course of your life!

Do I wish I had spent more time by myself figuring out who I was rather than depending on the approval of others (mostly boys) - ABSOLUTELY!

Do I wish I had appreciated the ability to do so much with my time and be so well-rounded back then? FOR CERTAIN!

Did I take advantage of a great memory and near perfect recall that helped me test well and get good grades? UNDERSTATEMENT of my life (and I learned that lesson first semester Freshman year - trust me)!

BUT, I think every one of these situations made me who I am and helped me become a stronger person.

I also see a lot of myself in my daughter who isn't even 8 years old yet.  If there is anything I know about guiding and helping others, having lived the experience oneself is certainly a great foundation for helping someone else through the same.

So, while I don't look back on "High-School-Me" with ALL fond memories, and I pick at myself about dumb mistakes I made, in general, I can now think of the experience as a whole.  The good and the bad together as one collective growing period.  

And isn't that what HS is meant to be?

What were you like in HS?

I'm Baaa-aack!

OK, so yes, I know it's been forever since I've written.
Contrary to popular belief, I did not fall off the face of the planet! Truth be told, I miss you- all of you!
I miss writing!
The whole point of starting this blog last year was to provide myself a safe place to share my thoughts, preserve my know- cheap therapy!

Anyway, I do think about writing everyday; I WANT to write everyday.  And everyday, those blog posts just float around in my head and never make it to the blog.

So here are some updates:
I have been super busy for the most part.  Did you read this post? It started that long ago and I still haven't really gotten things under control but they are better.

For the first time since before Thanksgiving, the "visible" parts of my small house (i.e. the living room, eat-in kitchen, and childrens' bathroom/ guest bathroom) are actually clean.

Well, for the most part; our house is so small that even when clean and organized, it still looks cluttered to me - sigh!
AND, small miracle, they have been that way for nearly two weeks now.  Hubby and the kids helped me clean up two weekends ago, not only because it was overdue, but because his parents were coming to visit for the day:-)

Thanks to that occurrence and the fly lady I have been able to maintain it.  The biggest feat for me? EVERY night, when I go to bed, my kitchen sink is clean! My stove is free of dirty cookware and baking stones waiting to be washed.  The kitchen is, CLEAN, no matter what.
And as hard as I thought this would be; as difficult as I thought it would be to maintain and be consistent about? IT. IS. SO. FREEING! So much less stressful to wake up and walk into a clean kitchen, rather than a cluttered one. I figure if I can keep up with the rooms I have already cleaned, I can gradually catch the others up too, till I have an entirely clean house! One that hopefully only needs spot cleaning for visitors rather than an entire overhaul; know what I mean? The absolute greatest thing about all this? It really doesn't take that much time!

Some other updates...
remember the friend issues I posted about in the second half of this post?
Well I was hoping for some advice...instead, I heard crickets.
So I was sort of left to figure things out on my own; and I did - sort of.
Remember how I told Sweetpea, she didn't need friends like that? Well that sort of back-fired on me! I guess trying to teach discretionary skills to a not-quite-8-year-old girl is harder than I bargained for.

Not only did she start trying to avoid Justine, she told another little girl, "My Mommy says I can't be friends with you anymore." YIKES! To be fair, this little girl was just like Justine, but 2 years ago when they were in kindergarten together.  Sweetpea is sweet, so likeable that usually everyone likes her.  Everyone wants to be her friend! And she, for the most part, likes everyone and wants them to like her in return.  This other little girl, I'll call her Carla, was just plain mean in K! She actually put her hands on Sweetpea and gave her a "snake bite" (some of you may have called them indian burns back in the day; essentially, you use two hands to "wring" the recipients skin the way you would wring a wash cloth; and it HURTS!).  Even after this and many other incidents, Sweetpea still wanted to be friends with this little girl.  I JUST COULDN'T FIGURE IT OUT!  I wanted to protect her, both physically and emotionally, and I didn't understand what was so great about this little girl.  Truth is, I still don't.

But anyway, back to the current issue...
I guess Sweetpea got confused between Justine and Carla, because really the situations were similar just 2 years apart in timing.
Carla's Mom contacted me about this.
And here's MY issue with the situation: condescension! Do you know what I mean? Her email basically had a "tone" and said this:
 "Carla says, 'Sweetpea said her Mommy told her not to be friends with me anymore;' tell me this isn't true! There must be some misunderstanding! Carla is so upset!"

Now before you think or comment about how judgemental that sounds on my part, hear this:
The email was very long! It said much more than the paraphrase I just gave you, and there was definitely a "tone." Usually I try not to "read too much into" an email or non-personal communication; I have been misunderstood on more than one occasion and seriously (really, I do) try to avoid passing these sort of judgements on anyone else.

However, I have had several interactions with this other Mom, and my analysis is based on an overall feeling she gives me.
She is like a Mama Bear on overdrive! ALL. THE. TIME! You know, I understand wanting to protecting your kids, but I think we do them a serious disservice when we fail to let them fail and/ or fight their own battles.  In this case, I understand why she contacted me, but her approach could have been a little more diplomatic.  Why not -GASP- pick up the phone and call me? Instead a FB message? I see that as passive aggressive! If you know me, you know I have a serious issue with passive aggressive behavior and comments!

So anyway, I did explain to Mama Bear  Carla's Mom what was going on.  I even went so far as to tell her about the snake bite incident in K.  I had previously kept this to myself and the teacher (just to make sure it didn't turn into physical bullying).  That year also had a lot of emotional bullying at the hands of this child: the "I'm friends with so-and-so and can't be friends with you both," kind of bullying.
SO, I laid it all out there.  I did apologize for the confusion and the fact that Carla's feelings were hurt, but made it clear I was looking out for Sweetpea's best interest in trying to teach her to choose friends who value her ALL the time and not only when convenient.

And do you know what her response was?
"I'm so glad that's settled! I am so relieved! And I am so sorry about the incident in K! I just can't imagine Carla doing something like that! It's just not like her!"

I hear this: "NOT my Sweet, Carla! Never!"
{Insert eye roll here}

Forgive me; like I said, my interactions with this mother have been less than positive.

On the flip-side; something happened that has allowed me to repair a relationship that I had walked away from.  In the aforementioned post, I spoke of a friendship that was becoming hurtful and asked for advice on when to walk away.

Well, long story short, an unexpected loss helped me and this friend finally talk about the real issue.  I was actually shocked because I had no idea I'd hurt her this badly and in turn she was lashing out at me.  I sincerely hope we are on the road to reconstruction of our friendship; I truly missed her!

All in all, I realized (yet again) that life is short! I'm trying harder everyday, to enjoy the NOW - live in the NOW! Not in the past, not in the future, but right here, right now.

How about you?
What have you been up to?