Here’s what happens when I break a chain – it falls apart! I got sick, then I got lazy, then I got busy, then I got discouraged. The good news is that I’m starting again. 15 minutes.

I had a really crazy day out in Quartzsite. That class is so unruly, I haven’t been sure what to do with them. There are serious problems there and I know it – seriously dysfunctional families wrestling with substance abuse, domestic abuse, lack of opportunity, poverty, you name it… and it all plays out in the classroom. There are about 28 students in that class. If 6 of them were gone, the whole thing would be much smoother. I’d be taking the red light kids out of the yellow and green kids. The problem is, the red light kids are probably the ones who need me the most. And it drives me crazy not to be able to spend the time to crack them open a little.

My dad keeps telling me I can’t save them all, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from trying. How will I know who to give up on? Seems like the best strategy to just keep trying and then not get discouraged when one or two slips through. I dunno. But the little buggers got a taste of my irritation today. I would say I think that’s a bad thing, but actually, it wasn’t. I’m proud of how I handled it – I made them sit and listen, stated the problem and then asked them what we could do to fix it. And do you know, those kids had some good ideas. Ideas we’re going to try next week. And one wrote me a very heartfelt and responsible letter of apology. I had impromptu individual conferences with three of them and I feel like they went well. So frustrating as it was, I think it ended up being a very good thing. Time will tell. There’s two kids in there I’m pretty sure I won’t reach, but I’m not gonna quit trying. I have 5 more sessions.

I’m taking a personality class. It’s so interesting. I mean, much of the info is quite redundant, but then each author kind of puts his or her own spin or adds another little piece of information and I learn more each time. I freaking love it. This particular text is really taking a integrative approach to personality theory, which is awesome. As I’m in the beginning I’m starting with Freud and Jung. Coincidentally, I started listening to Tara Brach’s “Radical Self-Acceptance” on my way out to Quartzsite. It’s sort of a combination, so far, of Jung and Buddhist/mindfulness psychology and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been thinking that my two most used (abused?) defense mechanisms are reaction formation and intellectualization, and that I’m also pretty proficient at all three of Brach’s defense mechanisms (she calls them something else, but it’s very much a similar concept), particularly escapism.

I left Quartzsite acknowledging feeling kinda crappy about how today’s class went down. I was pretty focused on the fact that I wasn’t “nice”. I wanted an ice cream. And a glass of wine. And then I started thinking about just sitting with how I was feeling. Somehow that led to me being much more real with myself about how I handled things. I wasn’t perfect, but y’know, I think it was actually pretty good. I can’t believe they responded as well as they did, and I think my honesty around how irritated and frustrated I was feeling with them actually helped because I did not blame anyone or point fingers. I just stated what wasn’t working and asked for them to discuss it with me. I could focus on what I think I fucked up, but I’m not inclined towards that anymore. It’s just a lesson for next time. And somehow I’m okay with skipping the ice cream and wine too.

Not that I’ve somehow fixed anything, but I’m feeling pretty right with myself right now. And I don’t think it’s just the Prozac.

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