Sunday, November 23, 2008

Homeward Bound

I have a problem with going to work in the morning.  The problem is: I don't want to go.  Now, I know that most people don't want to go to work (see last blog), and that most people would rather stay home.  However, what I'm not sure about is how normal or abnormal the sick-to-my-stomach feeling is -- the one I get when I leave home in the morning, where five pairs of legs and varying degrees of smells and hairiness remain.

But I guess I should start at the beginning, where my retardedness (and by retardness, I'm going to steal Sarah Silverman's definition of "I can do anything") begins.  See, back in the third grade (my default grade for whenever I can't really remember when something happened), I had some issues with going to school in the morning.  My family and I had just returned from spending a couple of weeks in London together, and I was used to spending every minute of every day with them.  For some, going back to school might be a welcome relief.  For me, it was cause for tears every morning before school.  I was just too homesick to leave home in the morning. 

This homesickness carried over to issues with sleep-overs and stuffed animals.  For years and years, I could not do sleep-overs.  I would get as far as, oh, say 10:00 p.m., and then, inevitably, I'd call home, claiming "sick" to my parents and my poor friend.  I thought I'd never be able to go away for college, let alone the one-nighter at Camp Timberlee in the fifth grade (and, yes, it was actually the fifth grade).

With stuffed animals, it was similar feelings about leaving my family...except...right, they were stuffed.  animals.  But I felt bad leaving them in the morning, and I so looked forward to winter and summer break when I could spend all day and night with them.  Yes, I could do anything.

So, therein lies my early weirdness, except I did go to Camp Timberlee and I did make it to college.  And things seemed to be going along just fine.  Until I got the brilliant idea to become a high school English teacher and no one stopped me.  That's when my trouble with going to school in the morning began all over again.

Of course, there are many reasons to dread teaching, and that sick-to-the-stomach feeling, I think, is not completely abnormal when you have to perform in front of teenagers.  The thing is, though, it never got easier.  During my second year of teaching, I occasionally needed to call a lifeline on the way from the L to my school, just to get myself to go in.  And then, by my third year, I needed anti-anxiety medication to get myself to go to school.

So, I switched schools.  And I went off the medication.  However, I still spent too many before-school minutes sitting in my car in the school parking lot on the phone with my mom or Willie, sniffling away tears, and hoping for some kind of miracle encouragement.  Every morning when I locked my car, all I wanted was for it to be 3:15 so that I could return to my car, unlock it, and go home.  (By the way, if you feel any pity for it, I have no problem with that. Please, pity away.)

So, I switched careers.  And two weeks into my new job, I'm definitely not crying in the morning.  The wishing it was the end of the day is definitely less than it was with teaching.  (That was one of the reasons I got out of teaching: I wanted to stop wishing away my days -- hoping and praying that it was already 3:00 or June 15.)

And yet, although I don't need to make a call or ingest small white pills, that homesicky it's-time-to-go-to-work feeling has not completely gone away.  True, the job is still brand new and so I'm still dealing with nerves and anxiety.  And Fonzie's face at the window, which I can see all the way from the car, definitely doesn't help.  

I know that, ultimately, I should feel very lucky that I have had and continue to have happy homes that I don't want to leave.  And maybe, as I get more comfortable with the job, my morning homesick-y feeling will get better.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I'm just a weirdo (who can do anything) with separation anxiety who will always want to stay home and play with her stuffed animals.  

Well, at least I got the sleep-over part down.


Joan said...

I think you are related to Anne Lamott. I mean you offer the live intense,honest, delicious and excruciating lived and absurd moments with such generosity and presentness. And how many people honor the power and importance of stuffed animals in this world of ours? And yes, I continue to wonder about my strange state of mind required for me to make an attempt to do what I am supposed to do, am expected to do, and what my more idealized vision hopes I will do, moment to moment at school.

I'm so gad you are blogging (though I think there my be a better verb)

Tricia said...

Naomi, I love reading your blog!! I feel like I really get an insight into your life and that we are sitting at a sidewalk cafe and you're telling me all about your adventures!! Also, thanks for your encouraging comments on my blog!! Can't wait to read more!!

Claire Just Claire Like Cher said...

Oh yes, the fan club is right -- the blog is THE BOMB. LOVE IT. Okay, here's my stuffed animal story, which adds another drop to the bucket of why the WTs are the WTs. I used to line my stuffed animals up in my room and then take the animal that was first in line to be the one to sleep in the bed that night. The theory was that this animal would then go to the back of the line and the next one would have a turn, etc. So it would be fair. But then, first of all, the stuffed animal always ended up on the floor by morning, producing feelings of regret and emphathetic sorrow and I'm a bad stuffed animal parent, etc. And I wouldn't stick to the system and plan, as I wouldn't with most plans my whole life long?!

I also had these pillowcases, loved them, that had a dog on one side and a cat on the other. Very cute cartoon ones. I'd mentally mull and wrestle with whether or not to switch them every night, or whether to just admit and accept that I'm a dog person and not a cat one (Scout and the Mainers excluded, of course!). And whether my favorite dog was better off facing the top with me sleeping on it, or would it be kinder to keep it from that and let it peacefully sleep on the bottom side without drool or whatever...and so it goes.

Outside my grade school (I can't usually remember what happened in which grade either, only certain stuff), there was a gravel path we had to walk along to get to the school door. I hated doing it, felt bad for those rocks being just one rock among many, being walked on all day. (I empathize greatly with the voiceless victim?!) Don't even get me started on blades of grass facing the lawn mower...Oh well, I can do anything. (Just saw that movie today, SO strange it would come up now on the blog for me.)

Anyway, love the blog, LOVE the WT. It's okay to be homesick. Why not. I used to be campsick, I hated when camp ended and I had to go home. Indeed. Better to have a good home -- jobs are just jobs, after all, even if they're good jobs or even great ones we choose and love. (Good) homes usually inspire much better adages than work. (Home is where the heart is vs. take this job and shove it, as an example) :-) XOXO