356: Teaching the Teachers

I have been praying and asking for guidance regarding my future vocation and avenue of service, and the answers very much entered through slipstream full force this early morn.

At first, I was given the message (through my little knowing voice) that my husband would over-sleep his five a.m. wakeup call (alarm) and be late for work, unless I was awake to wake him up. Hmmm. That was troubling, as with my own dyspraxia/dyslexia, I had no idea how to reset my own alarm in order to wake him up, as he was sleeping in my son’s bedroom. (Long story why we were in separate rooms, but basically boils down to dinosaur snoring, if there was such a thing.) I could have retrieved my phone from upstairs I suppose, but I wasn’t awake enough to think of that. So I tossed and turned in a type of vision-state for a bit over an hour. Knowing enough I had to stay partially awake.

I was certain time stood still, as the leap between the time of four to five seemed to take the stretch of a day. During this time I was shown image upon image.

I revisited my time at the university, the place I chose to leave a little over a year ago, based on the way I was discriminated against for mentioning I had Aspergers Syndrome. I revisited it all, the whole of it—emotions, illness brought on by the stress, the mourning process, the wanting to prove my side of the event and expose the injustice, the sob-filled-telling to my therapist and her concurring I had been the victim of appalling behavior on said professor’s part, the anger stage of wanting to sue, the humiliation part of being set up in a mediation that wasn’t a mediation…and on and on.

How dare they, is what I thought, and I spun and circled in mind about pulling up the evidence—the emails from the witness who at the time of mediation froze up and remembered nothing, the notes from my therapist, even my therapist’s comment that this man had a reputation, hearsay or not, she knew of him well, the notes from the Dean’s meeting, the Dean of the department warning me not to ever bring up the word Aspergers in professional setting: “It’s not the appropriate place.”

I dug up so much old stuff: the confusion of being accepted into a Masters in Counseling program that didn’t even want to know who I was, who didn’t even want to know how my mind functioned. The confusion of being told I was creating my condition (Aspergers) and announcing to the world my son’s brain (who has Aspergers) is broken. The confusion of receiving lower marks on my papers after the mediation took place. The confusion of one professor offering unsolicited advice about me, once she found out I had Aspergers. The meltdown of my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love that dissipated much like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz into a molten black. Why was it I who had to undergo such pain?

I thought back to the high marks I received as an educator. Always the highest marks. How my college classes previously, through undergraduate work to my Master’s in Education program had been a place of safety. How the professors appreciated my input and intelligence. At times how I became the exemplary “one” or the teacher’s pet. I remembered how with every endeavor I’d ever set out to do, I had excelled, even exceeded others’ expectation. And here, in the span of little over a semester, with the hearing of the word Aspergers, the others, a set whom were supposed to be my mentors, painted me with their own muted greys into something I was not and am not.

Suddenly, all of me became what they saw. Suddenly, I had lost all I had built. With one swipe they knocked the self out of me.

And as I processed through the events and corresponding pain, I began to wonder what to do with this surfacing anger. A damaging letter came to mind: “Look at what they did to me.” And I let those thoughts come readily and steadily and tear into me one by one. I bled in my bed. I bled and bled, the tears of my soul seeking vengeance.

And then, with the passing of deep ache and hollowed out chance, I let the feeling go. I let the anger purge through me and erase the fear. I let the anger dance and take flight. I let the scenarios play out. I let the other me who wished to be free escape. And this shadow side, she wept more. Her screams the own echoes of demise and lack of rescue. For she had tried so very hard at this University, where her dream of being a therapist was going to come true. She read all of the “extra” books, did all of the “extra” credit, spent countless hours, setting aside her dyslexia and dyspraxia, in hopes of impressing her professors, and hopes they would see her, see her brilliance, see her mind, see the gift she so readily wanted to share with the world. This part of her less-ego than giving spirit. See me, see me, see me! That is all she wanted. That was all she ever wanted.

In receiving her diagnosis the world made sense to her finally. She wanted to celebrate. Four-decades of not knowing made sense in a split-second. Four-decades of intense suffering realized and ended with the blink of an eye. In the mention of a word. This gem of Aspergers had saved her, had brought her home onto herself.

And in knowing this, she wanted to share. She had to share. She had to let others know. “Look, I found the key. Look!”…….

And instead I was made to think I was broken. I was wrong. I was made to be pushed back into a hole and remain uncovered. Not one professor wanted to hear, wanted to know about Aspergers. Even in the beginning of the second-semester of my group-therapy class I was warned, we as class warned: Don’t share the diagnosis stuff here.

Really? I was so beside myself, how could I share in group therapy without sharing the essential element of who I thought myself to be and how I thought myself to function.

Could they not see I wasn’t broken? Could they not see that Aspergers was not a disease, not an illness, not anything beyond the way I saw the world?

And the questions came bubbling: Why would I be hushed, unless indeed I was entirely flawed? Why would I be told I created this, unless I was entirely unaware of my own self?

So much damage done, in so little time.

Today, before the sun rose, I wept in bed, the whole of my body sweating and seeping out the poison. And I turned and turned, half in sleep and half in agony. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons.

And then the peace finally came. Right when it was time to awaken my husband, I was awoken.

The clarity seeped through me. I saw that I had detoxed the emotions. I finally released the torturous anguish. I finally set my self free and their falsehood to rest.

I awoke fully with a knowing. I knew what I was supposed to do.

I was to teach others, teach the teachers of the teachers, the educators of future counselors and psychologist, the parents, the caretakers, the women of tender-heart and soul like me. Teach them that Aspergers is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide away. Teach the beauty of who we are to erase the darkness that once pushed me into hiding.

Day Forty-Three: Sam Craft’s Lament

You know what’s great about this blog? Don’t think too hard.

Answer: You never ever know what to expect!

You know what? (Again don’t think so hard.)

I never know what to expect either!

Isn’t that fantastic?

Just nod.

For instance, I thought I’d be writing about the blustering Winnie-the-Pooh day outside, with fallen trees and cresting waves on the Puget Sound. Instead, I end up comparing my experience at the university with the impaling of a vampire. How cool is that?

Just to be completely honest, before I type on, I’ve been working very hard at out-witting my own dang rules. Having seen the dilemma of me against me, I’ve decided to lighten up some. Today, I’m quite gleefully typing in my pajamas and socks. Who wants to get showered and dressed to blog? Who was I kidding?

This is good, or rather beneficial, this rebel mood I’m in, because today is the big day I’ve been both anticipating and dreading, for around three or more weeks. I’ve lost count. And it’s not worth my time to look at the calendar. I’ve spent enough time and energy on this whole university blowup event.

That’s what I’m calling the happening: a huge blowup. Blowup as in filling up a balloon with so much helium that it bursts. Blowup as in a tire’s thread worn to the bone causing the tire to bust. Blowup as in a restless volcano blowing its top!

I’m pretty darn proud of myself that I haven’t blurted out all that transpired in black and white on this blog. I like the mysteriousness surrounding what I have offered, and the respect I’m giving the villains.

I’m feeling okay about calling them villains, even though I know we are all God’s (Universe’s, String Theory’s, what-have-you’s) creatures.

I know these people have taught me plenty; especially about how I don’t want to lead and teach like them. And I know these lessons will carry me far, that the experience has already given me that extra sheet of armadillo-layer across my soft-bellied-sensitive-tummy.

Still, something feels so delightfully good about calling them villains.

Some words for villain are anti-hero and contemptible person.

I picture a little ant with a small red cape that reads HERO going up against a grotesque giant in a huge white nappy (diaper) that reads Anti-Hero. And I envision the ant winning by some divine intervention from the Roman Gods.

I like the term beyond the pale, too. It’s a word related to contemptible and means an unpardonable action. I believe I am in the right to say the professor was beyond the pale.  He was outside the acceptable and agreed upon standards of decency. And dang it, if I have to constantly adjust my actions and phrases to make others feel comfortable, then he ought to have at least had decency.

A little word origin lesson, as I’m a teacher at heart, and always shall be: The pale means a stake or pointed piece of wood. Think vampire. I’m thinking a sexy vampire. Pale is in the word impale, like in the Dracula flicks. A paling fence represents an area enclosed by a fence; so to be beyond the pale is to be outside the accepted home area, or designated safety zone.

Fenced areas or regions were set up for people for safety, such as when Catherine the Great created the Pale of Settlement in Russia.

So the message is: “If there is a pale, decent people remain inside the pale.”

Look what Crazy Frog Found!

By the way, my professor, he jumped the fence.

Now I’m stuck on word origin again. I just reviewed the origin of flipping the bird, ducks in a row, and, you might be happy to know with all my rambling, I’m reviewing that’s all she wrote.  Okay, done.

Last night I dreamt that I parked my ten-speed bike in front of a quaint neighborhood house. When I returned to retrieve the bike, I found it broke into two (repairable) parts. I knocked on the door of the nearby house. An older man answered. (He looked like my professor but way uglier.) The man explained that he took the bike apart because I left too much of my bike sticking out in his driveway. I hadn’t. He then offered to fix the bike for a large sum of money. I knew he was applying trickery and trying to gain from my loss. I declined, and instead had him carry the pieces into my van. I drove away.

Hmmmm? I wonder how my subconscious is feeling about my dumbass professor?

Another thought: How in the world can I produce such deep felt all-loving, nonjudgmental prose like The Wounded Healer and On Leadership one day, and then turn around and have the audacity to call a professional a dumbass?

Oh! I’m raising my hand! I know. I know. Call on me!

Answer: Because I’m human (just like you’re human, I hope), and I refuse to act like I’m not human to earn some semblance of self-manipulated respect. Plus, who hasn’t wanted to call at least one teacher in their life a dumbass?

Okay, just so you know Melancholic Little Me is still around, and obviously Sir Brain (as I’m still rambling). Little Me is carrying an index card that reads:

My Authentic Self: “…caring, nurturing, kind, creative, intelligent, beautiful being who doesn’t wish harm on anyone and wants to be the most beneficial light wherever she is.”

I said those words aloud during a group therapy meeting (in the college course I’ve dropped) when asked by the professor, “What do you wish to share in this group?”

But I didn’t share what I truly wanted to share. I had wanted to say, in group, how my heart had been impaled by two professors and by my classroom study-partner. That would have been authentic!

 

Who is Van Helsing? A protagonist in Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula.