I’m trying to keep that positivity rolling and it’s actually working fairly well. I can’t say if it’s just because a majority of the stresses in my life have dissipated or if I’m just getting better at handling everything; it’s most likely a combination of both. I wanted to take some time to reflect on what’s working well without dwelling too much on what isn’t. I’m hoping this doesn’t cross too much into my old habits of repression and bottling my emotions up but I don’t think it is. It feels different, I feel different.
I have always had a bit of a habit as a teacher of constantly evaluating myself against my colleagues, or rather my perception of my colleagues. Working with a group of teachers who are not only freaking brilliant and dedicated but who have also been in the profession a hell of a lot longer than me you can probably imagine that this hasn’t been the wisest course of action. As a new teacher I guess it was the only point of comparison I had but I’m not a new teacher anymore.
I’m finally evaluating myself by my own standards and comparing my growth to where I have been previously and it’s so liberating. Without the personal dramas I was experiencing at this point last year (basically the worst my mental health has ever been) I have really been able to commit myself to my students. They have become one of my top priorities and I’m feeling really good about it. It’s a positive feedback loop, a symbiotic relationship; I give more and I see the increased success of my students as a result. I’m not sure there’s another feeling that compares to how rewarding this is. Their enthusiasm is contagious so I commit myself further, I head into work a bit earlier to make sure I have everything set up just right; the cycle continues. I don’t feel like I’m letting them down as a result of my mental health anymore.
My personal relationships are stabilizing. Sure, there are several people who I was close to a year ago who I either no longer see or who are less prominent in my life but I truly believe shedding incompatible attachments has been for the best. I have set some clear boundaries and become much better at expressing myself. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word ‘cull’ but it seems so apt, well, except for the fact that a cull is deliberate. I guess I’ve been culled. Those who had unrealistic expectations of me put me out to pasture. Oddly enough I once again have a sense of liberation knowing that those who are in my life accept me as I am and have my best interests at heart. It may seem contradictory that being deemed worthless by former loved ones has strengthened my sense of self worth but now I only have positive influences in my life.
Speaking of which, I have fallen head over heels in love. That crazy BPD attachment you hear so much about. Someone I think about constantly when they’re not around and I want to spend every minute with. This sounds hazardous but I figure a Chihuahua can’t break my heart the way a lot of my former friends have. It’s ridiculous the impact that a creature who undoubtedly weighs less than my left butt cheek has had on me but the routine, fulfillment and socialisation that comes with my new furchild has profoundly bettered my life.
Even just being spurred to get up at a decent time and go for a walk has made a significant difference, no lounging around in my pajamas until noon watching Star Trek anymore. Did you know there are meetups for dog walking? I mean, of course there are, but it’s a really great way to get out of the house and meet some new people… and dogs. So many dogs. Overall, she’s cheaper than my meds and I feel like she’s made more of a difference. Not that my cat hasn’t been a constant source of positivity, I just can’t smuggle her into cafes.
On that note, I leave you with some pictures of my two favourite girls. Thanks for being total gems!