When I was in middle school, I got this thing called the Patriot Award. Twice. 6th & 7th grade.
That said, I only received it in 6th & 7th grade.
The Patriot Award was this thing given out for being a model middle school citizen, essentially. I assume I was granted the insignia because I did my homework, said "please" and "thank you" a lot, listened intently when requested, offered enthusiastic classroom participation when otherwise requested, etc.
In 8th grade I didn't receive the PA. Now I don't know if there was some sort of cap on the number of times any one person could receive a medallion (other people got this too, by the way, I wasn't the ONLY award winner each year), or if I legitimately went from being a teacher fave to a teacher "Meh, she's okay."
I remember my dad asked me if I was a little bit sad not to have received it that third year, and I'm not sure how I responded--perhaps a shoulder shrug--but I do remember that inside I felt both upset and also like I knew I didn't really deserve it that year. It wasn't a great feeling--or, feelings--but it was legitimate and so it was.
My attitude hadn't been entirely stellar, I'm pretty sure I was late to school the day of the award ceremony anyway, and, well, I don't exactly remember being in a great mood toward the end of that year. I was pretty sure my family was going to be moving away that summer (we did), and I was feeling an overall combo of sincere sadness at the impending goodbyes to my friends as well as some disgust at the way some of their personalities were changing, adjustments of group dynamics that had previously been quite comfortable, etc.
A big chunk of this was also due to the fact that I was feeling less the center of attention than before, if memory serves.
All this is to say I'm feeling quite similar to my 8th grade self (well, I often feel similar to her anyway, but that's a whole other essay) right now.
This past week has been, in a word, (emotionally speaking), horrendous.
I have cried. I have cried some more. I have raised my voice, in a public place. After raising my voice, I began crying in that public place, left, continued to cry in my car, and did not finish up my crying until after I had been inside my home for a while.
Three days later, I found myself crying again in my car! About the same thing!
Don't get me wrong. Emotions are real, and they are meant to be felt. This is how we grow and strengthen, and just because you stop crying for a moment doesn't mean that you are somehow more weak, or didn't grow from your tears if somewhere down the road you cry again. I am all for feeling your emotions, crying, telling people how you feel (without intentionally and/or aggressively hurting them), etc.
This week has just been a little intense, even for me.
I feel like if my feelings aren't being hurt, I'm in the process of--or dangerously close to--hurting someone else's feelings.
I want to yell or throw up my hands dramatically when someone does something they didn't mean to do, but that somehow interrupted my life or cramped my style. I know I should tell people how they've upset me, whether they meant to or not (probably the latter), but I don't have the energy, or I don't know maybe I want to sit in my seething state a little longer. I visited a church today and kept thinking annoyed thoughts the majority of the time I was there, and sat in the parking lot for a while before telling myself to go in already.
Let me just tell you, judging people at church makes you feel like a bad person, quick.
So point being here is I know I'm not deserving of any Patriot Award right now, or Model Master's Student plaque, and even if I received something like Most Cynical or Most Sarcastic (I have actually already received that award, in elementary school, and I didn't even know what "sarcastic" meant), such a back-handed compliment would rub me the wrong way, no doubt.
I want someone to throw me a bone. I want a freebie, a pass, to just be mad and be a child about it and let that be okay. For whatever reason or big fat glob of reasons, I'm having a rough time. Several of those reasons are well-founded, others are more generic--like fatigue--but they're still legitimate.
I'm just having one of those grouchy hiccups in life where you want to get away from everyone, have someone in particular give you a very long hug, sleep, eat, exercise, be a good student, be a lousy student, all at the same time. You want to be unreasonable and have people forgive you for it, but you don't want to do the same for them, nuh uh.
Sigh sigh sigh.
Four days until I can flee to Kansas, precious cat cargo in tow, and sleep off at least a layer or two of this grouchiness before facing the other sticky veils of nastiness around me that require more complicated gusto (and, in some cases, the help of supportive family and friends, and always, the Big Guy) in order to successfully shrug them off.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Hebrews 12:1--the imagery of throwing off "everything that hinders" and the sin "that so easily entangles" to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" just so often nails exactly how I feel in this life. Tangled. With material things falsely promising peace, or a refusal to forgive others or buck up and be a little more adult about things. Whatever it may be, I think of that verse and just see and feel the heavy ropes of a net around me, making my steps slow, see my toes trip, feel my agitation increasing.
So hard to do, but what a relief! the image of throwing that thing off! Over your head and on the ground behind you. Shake off the corner with your shoe, and then take off for the open field ahead.