I had to start my day in Sellwood again. There’s some construction going on at 28th and Woodstock that’s really obnoxious. There’s a weird amount of traffic there, and the worlds worst flagging crew, all for some construction that doesn’t seem to need a road closure. I talked with some of the other arts people to put together some plans for a kid performance at our annual fundraiser coming up at the end of February.
Wednesdays are my long days, so work was busy and long but mostly unmemorable. I got to take like 35 minutes helping a single kid who was having a bad day on the playground because he felt like his best friends were icing him out (is there ever an age when trio dynamics become easy?). Those experiences mean a lot to me: it feels nice to know that my presence, me specifically, was the difference between a shitty day and at least a regular day for this kid. It’s also nice to make real in practice my abstract belief that the biggest interpersonal and emotional disasters are really just problems to be solved with the right words given to the right people. Some days I have to take that as more of an article of faith than others.
I had another beautiful little moment: a 6 year old boy, I’ll call him RT, with a very sweet spirit and disposition had been hanging off of me all day. I always feel bad when it’s really busy and I have to drift around putting out fires and mediating disputes and cleaning messes, and I can’t take the time to give a child attention that they’re asking for. RT came up to me before snacktime and gave me a sheet of paper (in the picture above) with the handwritten lyrics of his favorite song and sang the song to me. I love these moments. It would be such weird and offputting behavior as an adult for me to walk up to somebody else and just stare into their face and sing them a song. But kids don’t know that, and I feel privileged to be the person to share that moment and to give the validation he was seeking.
There were other people in the waiting room at my therapist’s office, which has never happened before. It was really disconcerting, and they were two children, siblings, who quarreled occasionally and made my head hurt. I am very tolerant of children being children, but I learned yesterday what the circumstances are that lead me to have a children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard reaction.
I’ll keep what went on in my session to myself, but in short I came closer to speaking the truth about what I want for myself out loud than I’ve ever been able to, and I was able to find a pocket of sheer terror and vulnerability. I used to live my whole life there. Now that I feel much more secure, all of that panic and shame and anxiety lives in my dreams and hopes for the future.