Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Big Whiny Baby

Photo: Lel4nd, Flickr Creative Commons

Something came up recently that happened indirectly because of one of my personal failings. I'm not going into the details here. That would be unfair to those involved and quite unethical considering my relationship to these people. True, it's also unfair to even bring this up without letting you in on the details. It makes me a tease, one of those Twitterers and Facebookers who post vague references to personal drama without any details. You know they want the attention, but they don't want to give up any dirt. As for my issue, let's just say that I'm not a good disciplinarian. My strength as a leader always been in getting respect by showing others respect first. This made me pretty successful as a teacher with the worst of the worst when I was at an alternative school. I didn't antagonize them and they eventually behaved for me and not because of me. I've never been one to escalate a conflict and my ability to empathize and hear what's really being said keeps me from making some of the mistakes that I see other teachers make at times.

The problem is that Mr. Touchy Feely isn't the right person for every job. Sometimes I just need to suck it up and tell a kid to shut the hell up, in a respectful manner of course. It's for their own good in the end. This time I let something slide in the past and it recently grew into something I never should have let happen. It's actually settled now. No one was hurt or made any life-altering decisions, but if I'd done my job before, maybe it could have been prevented. I was too busy being happy before and I got to pay for it this week.

I don't even think of this post as being about what happened, though. I think this post is more about the fact that as I was lying in bed last night mulling over what I could have done and should have done, I had the urge to post everything here. I knew instantly that I couldn't, but it made me wonder why I so felt that urge. Was I actually one of those exhibitionists like those Facebookers I mocked earlier? Did I want to post here for some feigned sympathy from my commenters? Did I secretly desire to draw attention to myself by using the unpleasant experiences of others?

I really want to think that this blog is my way of getting my thoughts in order, but if that were my only reason, you'd think I would have just written it down at home and kept it private. That just didn't feel good enough. In fact, as soon as I realized I wouldn't post any details, my desire to write it down faded. Maybe I just needed to vent, to know that I had an ear or an eye that would just listen or read as I wrapped my head around it and learned my own lessons from this. Yet I told my wife the whole story and that apparently wasn't good enough. I hate that. She's always appreciated my ear. I'm a good listener. I've always been there for her when she needed to talk. I usually seem to be able to know what she needs to make things better for her, but I've never allowed her do that for me. Part of it is that we process these things differently. I turn inward. I want to process anger, frustration, sadness, and grief on my own. I want to be in control before I start to share. By the time I'm willing to talk, I've given her no chance to return the favor of what I do for her, and I think that hurts her. It's another character flaw to add to my list.

In the end, I'm still left wondering if I wanted to post here for less than honorable reasons. I've always thought of myself as a good guy. Maybe there's something else a little more exploitative, a little more voyeuristic in me than I'd like to admit.

I didn't even lock the comments to this post.


Courtney said...

It's called expressing yourself, and we all do it, whether it's through a blog, or graffiti, or carving "X was here" in a desk, or writing a song, or whatever. I know exactly what you mean here. There's plenty of stuff I'd love to write about on my blog in great detail, but I know it's not smart to do that, and so it never gets out there and that eats at me sometimes. I don't think that makes your reasons for writing less than honorable. Something about having an audience makes me organize my thoughts a little better, and I don't think that's exploitative at all.

Chris said...

I understand what you mean about not sharing openly with your wife. It's true of me with Meaghan, as it probably is of lots of men. For me, I feel much more in control when I write my thoughts than when I speak them. I can never quite get it right through speaking, whereas I have much better success in writing -- even if it's on the fly as in an e-mail or instant message.

I don't think you have anything to feel bad about it for wanting to work through your thoughts on the blog. It's good to share your experiences, and you obviously have plenty of character about you to decide when it is best to leave out the details.

Julie said...

I tend to beat myself up in my head over and over and over when I make a mistake and from what you've said, I think you do the same. My guess is that you thought if you could get it out there early, you could start a discussion about the incident. Perhaps a discussion would mean you could think through it logically instead of just hating that you didn't do the right thing. It was worth a shot.

Mickey said...

We still don't have any idea what the hell you're talking about, but it seems like we can all relate to what you are feeling.

Sometimes I think about starting another blog, this one completely anonymous, so that I can share the thoughts that I don't even want the people who know me to read.