The Catharsis of Summer

Generally speaking, the more I am feeling (any emotion counts), the stronger the impulse to write.

In the past, as I’ve written about before, I would almost automatically think to myself after an emotional word dumping session that perhaps someone else out there was going through something similar. And that thought lead me, nine times out of ten, to copy and paste whatever I had written into a blog post and hit “publish.”

Again, I’ve already written about how the publishing piece is no longer automatic. It’s quite the opposite more often than not. I’ve written A TON this summer, but you’ll never see it. That being said, I’ve been told my blog is missed. I have even missed it myself, occasionally.

Now, this post is likely going to defy the following confession, but I have been asked quite frequently as of late “but why aren’t you writing more? Why aren’t you doing what you’re best at?” As flattering as these statements are, and as effective as they have been to get me to put together this dumping ground of loosely organized words, I think the truth is that many of my experiences this summer have been either so surreal or too-damn-real to accurately display in a basic blog post.

Let’s Do This

This summer has been full of feelings. I can start out the explanation of that statement quite specifically, and I promise a specific tangent will follow. It’s going to end a lot more abstractly, however.

I’m going to write about my feelings, and I don’t want any of you to think that you missed something if you find yourself surprised. Life is busy and full for us all and all concerned parties know of the feelings and circumstances surrounding the more abstract words and all is as well with me as it is with any person.

When summer began, I think I expected that juvenile freedom that summer break always brought to us as children. A burden lifted, a heart lightened, a mind ready to be refreshed. And in some ways, that was true, but it wasn’t a clean break. I missed my students. A lot. Plus I was still haunted by lingering stresses and pressures from work responsibilities.

I was angry, too. In fact, I was angry for a lot of the school year. Angry and hurt. Looking back on my first year of full time teaching, I want to remember mostly the joy and overwhelming fulfillment I experienced because of the 86 wonderful young adults I was lucky enough to spend time with each day. They will always be my babies, my firstborn kiddos, if you will. And like children (or so I’ve heard), they were worth every single moment of pain and hurt brought on by other aspects of the job that I could never have prepared for.

A Rant to Expand on the Anger

Two major events took place in my school last year. One in the fall, another in the spring. The media covered both, but not at all well. In the midst of each crisis, I found myself consumed with emotions because of the nature of them. I needed to talk about these events. I needed to process them, a lot. I needed to know others knew and ultimately that they cared.

But so few did.

And it angered me. It infuriated me that a community like ours would point fingers or, possibly worse, ignore my school in times of need. My kids needed me to be strong, and outwardly I was. I knew they needed support and I gave it. But who was there to give it to me and my fellow teachers and administrators?

Maybe mine is just one of many schools in our area, but if you know that I work there – care. If crises hit Nationwide or Principal, Wells Fargo or one of the hospitals, I know now that I will reach out to each of you that I know works at said institution because I know now how maddeningly isolating it is to see one’s place of work (which at least in my case is the same as myself) defamed, threatened, and rallied against.

So, coming out of my first year into this summer, I planned on writing a post exclusively about those first year experiences. It was too jaded, however. It wasn’t angry, it wasn’t accusatory, it was accepting of the fact that support just isn’t there sometimes. I’m glad I didn’t write that post, because I don’t believe that is acceptable. I believe we should support each other whatever our industry. That we should be much more mindful of what’s happening in each others’ work worlds instead of just “and what is it that you do again?”

End Rant// The Rest

So there was anger, as evidenced by that rant. But there have been other feelings, too.

There has been happiness.

Confusion.

Clarity.

Heartache.

Fear.

Caution.

Recklessness.

Exhaustion.

Elation.

I have had  long summer nights filled with music and laughter. With new friends and old and with thought-provoking conversations.

There have been plenty of both heated discussions and companionable silences. There have been nights in homes, in bars, on drives, and out under the stars.

I’ve had mornings with Edgar and Parenthood. Almost daily trips to the Y or the streets for the clarity only exercise can bring. Privileged time of afternoons with Mike or my mom. Scads of naps and laughs and the freedom to run errands before the masses leave work.

Lots of time spent sitting quietly, absorbed in the cacophonous silence of deep thought preceding and following a variety of heart-to-hearts, over many different matters, with many different persons…and I think in the best way possible those conversations have broken the heavy spell normally relieved only by solitary writing.

There have been countless scattered writings on napkins, in notebooks, in emails and text messages to myself that, although not borrowed from, certainly flavor this culmination.

Dreams came true, and reality hit home. I’ve run the gamut like a mallet on a xylophone.

But I needed to. I had shut down too much for too long just trying to survive that aforementioned first year of teaching, plus.

My days of summer break are numbered, and there’s anxiety as I look ahead to diving in to the 5 AM wake up calls instead of rarely setting an alarm. To being ready to roll at 7:35 when the students walk in, plans in place well in advance for each unit. Evenings crammed full of chores, exercise, grading, planning, and maybe socializing (the very real opposite of priorities from these languid summer nights).

Yet there’s also a sense of anticipatory escape, as real as the one preceding this break. Routine and being busy bring a certain anesthetic to feelings and over-thinkings.

Maybe I’ll blog more going forward, but I’m not making any promises. To those of you kind enough to look forward to my words, I can always point you in the direction of those that I ghostwrite for extra cash. I can also unhelpfully say that I have been writing quite a lot of fiction, but, sorry, those words just aren’t ready for all but a select few of you yet. :)

So, here’s to feelings. To experiencing life so closely that even when it’s burning at its most beautiful, it just might hurt (and that’s okay).

2 thoughts on “The Catharsis of Summer

  1. Dad

    As per usual, I am first and foremost, proud – mostly of you, a little of myself (I helped a little in the making of who you are) – to read your amazing words. Well, they’re all of ours, but you string them together so well! You are both a gifted wordsmith, and a gift, to me. I am also provoked. I’ve never written a jornal, one of the ways we differ, but I think I see the value, at least for you. I am somewhat chagrined to learn the depth of my ignorance regarding some of your feelings, and feel blessed that you’ve shared some with me that are not here. Thank you for that trust. I love you and welcome the opportunity to read your post.

    Reply
  2. Linda Ruppert

    Emily, you are so beautiful inside and out. You have so much to give, both to your students and to the world with your unique expression of perception. I love you lady!!

    Reply

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