Sunday, August 10, 2008

This Is How It's Gonna Be

Posted by Lara at 10:39 PM
Picture this:

You're standing in a group of friends, everyone chatting together. Someone remarks to another, "Wow, where'd you get that big bruise?" The person's eyes grow wide with excitement, ready to tell the tale. "Well, I was putting some boxes up into the attic storage and I slipped and banged my arm really hard against the ladder steps. Isn't the color ugly?" Immediately, another friend chimes in: "Oh, that's nothing. Look at this cut I got the other day while trying to fix one of my kitchen drawers..." And before you know it, a full-blown competition has begun, with everyone breaking out their cuts, bruises, scars, and general war wounds.

You know the people I'm talking about. Maybe you're one of them, or maybe you're married to one of them, or maybe you gave birth to one of them. Whatever the case, you know who they are - the ones who will always try to one-up the people around them in terms of, well, suffering really. If you're not one of these people, chances are good that you usually roll your eyes when these people really get started. But really, what's the harm? It's all in good fun.

Can you tell that I'm one of these people? Yeah, I totally am. Of course, with me, it tends to show up less often in physical suffering than in mental or emotional suffering. I am the quintessential "never too busy to tell you how busy I am" person. When you come to me talking about a tough deadline you have, I will talk about how lucky you should count yourself to not have my upcoming four deadlines. When you come talking about the stack of paperwork your boss just handed you, I will respond by listing my three separate piles of ungraded essays. And when you talk about having to work overtime three days in a row, I will tell you how many Saturdays and Sundays I spend in my classroom preparing lessons and classwork.

I don't consider this a positive quality, really, and it's something I'm working on trying to improve. It comes across as insensitive and self-centered, which is pretty accurate. I'm focusing on myself and how much worse I have it than you, instead of listening and empathizing. That said, there is something to the idea of commiseration and the camaraderie that comes along with a group of people all suffering similar plights. So, really, it's a fine line to walk.

Where am I going with all this? Just a warning that you should prepare yourselves for a heap of complaining over this next year as I deal with my first full-time year in the classroom. But I also think you should all know that I LOVE my school so far. I LOVE all my colleagues so far. I LOVE the classes I'm planning so far. I'm excited, in spite of my fear, in spite of the knowledge that this year will be very challenging. So yes, you'll read, "I'm so tired!" or "I work all the time!" But I'll try to remember to balance those with how happy I am to be overtired and overworked.

What do you complain about? Do you complain too much, or just as much as you need to "vent your spleen"? And, most importantly, will you roll your eyes at me when I complain?

That's what I thought.

26 comments:

Maggie on 5:21 AM said...

I think that to a certain extent everyone is like that. Misery loves company isn't a phrase that someone just made up one day...it's true. Although I try as hard as possible not to complain -- but I am not really sure why. I would like to say that it is because of some really lovely reason, but I think in the end it is just because I don't want people to think I am a wuss.

Well, that and because I think I have a pretty great life.

Good luck in your first year -- you're going to be great!

Mayberry on 7:03 AM said...

I am bad about that, but very aware of it, so I try not to do it.

Vent away this year, this is your space to do so!

Mayberry on 7:03 AM said...

Ps your word verification just called me a "deemyn."

Jerri Ann on 7:06 AM said...

I do it with my "omg you should what my kid done". I did it just this morning telling how my 18 month old was standing in the window once holding on with his tiny toes and fingers.

And, I taught school, my first year was horrible so when people wanna compare horror stories or even when they don't, I can give you some horror stories of a first year school teacher

Jody on 7:10 AM said...

Yeah I think its human "nature". Trying to one Up each other in our suffering or our joy lol.

If you're aware of it tho; you have a pretty good chance of at least stiffling it somewhat lol.

Enjoy your hard work this year!

Ry on 7:50 AM said...

I work similar insane hours like you and it's pretty normal for me and my co-workers to get into pissing contests.

It's also normal for me to spend most of my time griping when in the midst of a month with no days off. Go for it girl, let it all out!

Maria on 7:57 AM said...

I think to a degree, everyone is a "one-upper." It's the people who make it their way of life that are annoying, see that SNL sketch, Penelope, I think.

In other news, good luck with school. You're gonna rock those kids!

paulette on 10:10 AM said...

Since I'm also a teacher in a Christian High School, I can't wait to hear all of your stories of the first year. ABOVE ALL...be flexible! There are days when you start that lesson you spent hours planning and it just doesn't work. Be prepared to do something else, quick. Know this...teaching is the most wonderful job in the world!

Also, on the suffering issue, wait until you are pregnant. You will hear more labor room HORROR stories than you could ever even believe existed...makes the upcoming birth so exciting.

Mrs. Chili on 10:23 AM said...

I love the scene in the Lethal Weapon movie (I think it was the third one) where Mel Gibson and Renee Russo are comparing battle scars.

I can't stand it when someone feels compelled to tell someone else their horror stories. DON"T tell expectant moms about how you tore from your chin to your low back! DON'T tell me, just before I'm going in to have my wisdom teeth out, that you were sick for a month from the anesthesia, and how terrible it was to vomit with such excruciating pain in your mouth. If you don't have anything nice to say to someone staring down the barrel of something you've already been through, I say shut the hell up (or, at the very least, couch it in as gentle terms as you can...)

Lindz on 10:53 AM said...

I think everyone is guilty of one-uping its just that we all have different topics with which we do it.

I was actually going to blog about something very similar today as this weekend I had an experience that made me realize sometimes I need to just keep my mouth shut.

CityStreams on 2:11 PM said...

The teacher across the hall from me is notorious for story-upping. I tease her about it all the time!

Hope you have a fabulous first year. Believe me, it gets better and better from here. Experience is the best teacher for a teacher.

Corina said...

Good luck on your first year. It is hard, but rewarding work. The work load, (grading papers, lesson planning, discipline, IEPs) do get easier once you are familiar with the assignments/students/your own personal style. Good luck, and let us know how it goes..... (or if you need to bitch..... or if you need advice.....)

Z on 3:36 PM said...

hm, I don't think I'm a one-upper injury wise, because usually when I tell my stories, they silence the room. And not in a good way. So I try not to do that. (Except I just did, huh? Hmmm...)

But for the working-so-hard bit? Yeah, I totally play that card. And I need to stop.

BetteJo on 4:21 PM said...

Some of the best blog posts are big complaints that lots of people can relate too. So complain away - anyone who ever feels in a similar way (mostly everyone at some point or another)will enjoy the heck out of it!

Anissa Mayhew on 5:05 PM said...

You think THAT's bad? Well...oh ahem...riiiight. LOL Everyone does it to a degree, and that you're aware you do it will help you break that habit. Don't sweat it though, you're loveable as is. Trust me, in the world I live, we LIVE to NOT one-up the next guy's misery. We learn to just shut up and be thankful it's not us.

Betsy on 5:46 PM said...

Oh, you're one of the people I call a "one-upper". No matter what, one-uppers always have it worse.

Word of unsolicited advice- keep it to a minimum around staff. After 6 years of teaching, these are the people I avoid like the plague.

However, here on this blog, complain and one-up all you damn well please!!! That's what it's for!

Lisa on 6:38 PM said...

I totally believe that teachers are the biggest complainers. I think it comes from interacting with so many different people and having to work so hard...there is just always something to complain about! I'm excited to hear your stories-and your complaints- about your first full time year in the classroom! Then again, I'm a dork like that....

Jody Reale on 9:05 PM said...

I've been thinking a lot about complaining, ever since I was introduced to the Complaint-Free World Movement. Do you know it? http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/

It's turning out to be surprisingly difficult. Not that I'm complaining.

Lara on 9:07 PM said...

jody - i hadn't heard of that, actually. interesting premise, though...

redcloud on 1:18 AM said...

When you can have compassion for your own suffering, it is easier to comfort others, rather than one-up them. 39 years old here, and I'm still not good at it myself, but I'm coming to believe more and more in it as a truth. Don't wanna preach, just giving my perspective.

Profesora de español on 6:31 AM said...

I complain about everything, although I've tried to tone it down (for the sake of my few friends). As a first year teacher, you'll have plenty to complain about, and no, I won't roll my eyes at you because I've been there!

Have a great first year!

Kaza on 7:16 PM said...

Oh my lord, I am like the engine of the complain train, girl. I am a big ass whiner, as anyone who reads my blog will attest. I am a firm believer in venting. The good part of this is that I'm always willing to listen to whining, so please, have at it!

Damien on 9:45 PM said...

Congrats on a new year, contract, all that good stuff. You need a jacuzzi for those days you come home destroyed. Other than that, go knock em dead it's gonna be a great year of teaching for me. I teach 4th grade and have been doing it 7 years.

Ali on 7:24 AM said...

this is my mother.
to a T.

Issas Crazy World on 8:08 PM said...

Well my brother is one and I have one kid who is so like that. It's cool with me if you complain, it doesn't bother me a bit. I may just complain a bit back.

How's this to start: My feet hurt all the time, I want air shoes for my swollen feet. I'm tired when I get up in the morning. Oh and my fingers hurt from my nails being too long, but I'm too lazy to cut them.

nomotherearth on 11:41 AM said...

I'm totally a complained. It's a problem really. Something I'm working on...

 

Life: The Ongoing Education Copyright © 2012 Design by Antonia Sundrani Vinte e poucos