Friday Night’s Alright for Writing (#6) History Lessons

English: George Santayana, a Spanish American ...

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.- George Santayana

I started my World History lessons this week with that quote – one of my favorites, something that I actually remember from high school, and a great “why” for my students who seemed less than enthused about the subject at hand.

I don’t generally do teaching in a traditional setting so this week was a bit of a change-up for me, and while I was nervous during my first “lecture”, following my lesson plan to the letter, I got more comfortable and was able to relax into it.  In fact by the end, I actually really liked what I was doing, especially the unexpected dialogue with my class on the various topics we covered.  They surprised me, and I love that.  Although at one point, I did find myself quoting Ben Stein‘s character from Ferris Bueller‘s Day Off…

“Class? Anyone? Anyone?…Something d-o-o economics”

I’m pretty sure only 1 kid in 10 got it, but I was NOT about to pass up the opportunity to use that line.

Anyway, that’s just the setup.  My point is that as I led my students to find how this quote applied to their lessons, I started thinking about how it applied to my life.

There are certain things I need to remember about how I felt about myself at certain times in my life, things I need to remember about situations that I’ve gotten myself into because my head wasn’t on straight, or I was acting out of fear or worse, boredom. Why? Because if I don’t remember them, I can’t examine them. And if I don’t examine them, I’m going to make the same damn mistakes all over again…and I would really rather not.

What am I talking about?  Well, for instance, in the past I have had a tendency to push my feelings (more like discreetly shove with a lot of force) down and away so that I didn’t have to deal with them or their repercussions.  Which feelings? Anger, for one.  That started at a really young age, as I was deathly afraid of my father’s wrath.  I became really good at “stoic”, at least when I was in his presence.  It was better than crying because even at a young age, I realized all he wanted was attention from me and stoicism was a good sort of revenge for his emotional persecutions.

This had at least two unfortunate consequences – 1) I internalized all of that anger and began to hate many aspects of myself and 2) I started not allowing myself to feel other types of emotions. Positive ones, such as love in some forms (thankfully, not all), appreciation, happiness, patience and trust.

That’s a pretty crappy thing for a young kid to have to deal with, yes. And looking back now, I realize those consequences led the adult me to make many choices that were not really good for me.  I accepted behavior from others that was less than I deserved. I didn’t hold myself in high enough esteem to hope that I not only deserved better, but if by chance I did get something better, then I was unable to receive that situation with gratitude. I felt undeserving. I became a perfectionist in many ways, hoping somehow that would prove my worth. With some people who showed me love, I became clingy and co-dependent because I didn’t trust them to continue to treat me well. Or on the flip side, I didn’t allow myself to get close to people because I was afraid of what they might do. I didn’t feel enough many times.  I didn’t trust myself, and therefore didn’t trust many others.

What do I do about all this then? As I’ve stated before here, the last several months have had me more introspective, so I’ve already had some of these things on my mind.  But now, I’m more determined than ever to heal from within, so that I am not condemned to repeat any of the aforementioned negativity. I’m learning to release those negative feelings when they come up (and they always will, I’m human after all), and expand the potential for the positive.

I will continue to meditate to quiet the negativity that springs up in my mind. I will continue to run and to practice yoga to remind myself how strong and beautiful I am despite negative messages I might receive from myself or others. I will be grateful. I will love. I will be patient and kind and appreciate those who show patience, kindness and love to me.  I will trust again. I will be happy.

Lessons (hopefully) learned.

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


  1. I was reading this out loud to Ed and when I got to the last sentence I couldn’t speak. All a parent wants for their children is for them to be happy, whatever that may mean to each of them. xo

  2. LOL I’m a corporate trainer and yes, I will do Stein too… “Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Fry? Fry? Fry?”

    I’ll also quote songs and movies too… whenever I get a rhetorical question about how assinine our computer system is, I always reply “because that’s just the way it is and some things will never change.”

    I also compare new hire classes to my favourite film quote: “First there’s oooh’s and ahhh’s but then there’s running and screaming and shouting” – I also tell them the quote can equally be applied to pets, children and marriage.

    I do this to gauge my audience… wellll… partly. I mostly do it for a laugh. But I also get to see who my potential geeks are, the ones who get the slightly obscure references and who, hopefully, are on my wavelength.

    But more seriously…

    …I think I internalised a lot of anger too… I was angry for feeling as though no one was listening, so I stopped trying to make them listen. And then I just felt ignored.

    When I was about 16 or 17 and at college, I actually went through a phase where I literally shut off my emotions. I reacted to everything in a very robotic, Spock-like manner. Disassociation, basically. It was interesting, if nothing else. I’d like to say it was part of my “angsty” teenage period… but honestly, like many, *most* of my teenage years were angsty and yes, black was a favourite colour LOL

    I shut off my emotions because I honestly felt they did more harm than good. I still go through periods where I think that, even now… but I soon talk myself out of it. In the end, I found it very difficult to deal with anything and I became depressed.

    I eventually realised you simply can’t escape your emotions. If you don’t express even the positive emotions, they’ll eventually turn sour and poison you.

    Anyway, I’ve only been reading your posts for a few days but it’s clear to me you’re a very self-aware, intelligent, sensitive and wise woman… and “wise” isn’t a word I use lightly. From your replies on my own blog, i can tell you’ve given things a *lot* of thought and, honestly, that deeply impresses me. Not many folks look as deeply into themselves as you or I and you inspire me to improve myself.

    Clear skies to you, my friend 🙂

    1. You’re a doll. I mean that truly – thank you for all the accolades. I take them to heart. And…you’re not so bad yourself 🙂

      1. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. People come into your life for a reason and I’m pretty sure I have things to learn from you.

        For starters, I’m already 20% into that book you recommended LOL It’s funny how sometimes you can be reminded of things you already knew!

    1. Hey Joy… don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ll have to reply to my original comment because otherwise I don’t get a notification to say you’ve written something LOL

      And yes… I’m liking the book so far… we should discuss 🙂

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