Abide: Slice of Life 21/31 #SOL20

I am struggling.

I am struggling to find something to write about. This is ridiculous because there is a very obvious thing to write about. But I am petulant and angry and frightened and I don’t WANT to write about it. Yet not writing about it seems unfathomable. Everything – everything – is touched by the thing I don’t want to write about. It is Voldemort in disease form: that which must not be named.

I am struggling to do the work for the course I am taking. Ten days ago I was interested, but now writing about assessment & evaluation in English courses feels ridiculous. I usually dive deep into research and learning, eager to improve my practice and my students’ experiences. Now it seems silly. Who cares how we assess listening when I cannot even see my students? Who cares about grades when we need to be reading the world?

I am struggling because we don’t yet have direction from our school board about how we are going to proceed Monday when our March Break ends. I mean, we know we are not going back for at least the next two weeks, but what then? Online learning? For how long? In what form? I miss my students (which is odd because it was technically March break). I want to give them some sense of stability, some sense that we are learning and moving together. 

I am struggling because so much of my family lives in the US and I live in Canada. And these two countries are not responding to the thing I do not want to write about in the same way. And I am frightened for the people I love. 

I am struggling because my parents are not reacting to this in the way that I wish they would. I want them to stay home, stay safe, stop working, have others do their shopping for them. I want them to understand that *they* are in the high-risk category. They want to make their own decisions, to weigh the risks themselves. I am struggling to remember that I am the child, not the parent. I am struggling to accept that we will all make our own decisions.

I am struggling because I am making choices for my own children and the child of another family who is staying with us this semester. I have just told the 18-year-old that he cannot go stay with his girlfriend. I have told the 9-year-old and the 11-year-old that they cannot play with their friends. I have told them all that they must take walks, find projects to keep busy, stop complaining. I have told them that they must follow rules that I used to tell them they could challenge. 

I am struggling to be kind to myself. To eat well and to exercise enough. To recognize that I am overwhelmed. I am struggling to focus. I am struggling to find the happy medium between acceptance and fear. 

Online, an old colleague used the word “abide.” The word felt calm and solid. I wanted a touchstone, so I looked it up. Bear with me here:

Definition of abide (Merriam-Webster)
transitive verb
1a: to bear patiently : TOLERATE
b: to endure without yielding : WITHSTAND
2: to wait for : AWAIT
3: to accept without objection
intransitive verb
1: to remain stable or fixed in a state
2: to continue in a place : SOJOURN

Calm and solid, yes, but not easy, this word, this abide. At first I thought that abide was nearly the opposite of struggle – and I am struggling. I despaired a little: I cannot abide. Then I realized that, in fact, the opposite of to abide is to give up, to quit, to leave. One can struggle and still abide. I can struggle and still abide. 

I want to write about moments and memories; pleasures and problems; issues and ideas. I have all of these things to write about. For today, however, I will abide. For today, I will acknowledge that, for me, to abide I will have to struggle. 

And I am struggling.

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15 thoughts on “Abide: Slice of Life 21/31 #SOL20

  1. Wow! I love this slice so much! I feel you in your word choice and pacing. So much of what you say echoes my thoughts and feelings. We will be ok. Keep on struggling, girl!

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  2. Oh, Amanda, I could feel and empathize with you. Thank you for sharing so honestly. You listed so many valid reasons that you are struggling…who wouldn’t be? Sometimes, it helps to simply get it out. Sure hope this was the case for you. Today, I wound up calling my BFF and sharing my anxiety and also irritation at my husband for a minor issue. After all, we’ve been together for 10 straight days! I have to give myself and him a break. I felt so much better when I got it out. I took a walk and feel like we are back to normal (whatever that is in this crazy world). Glad you used this forum to vent. Breath deeply…it will get better. Good thoughts going your way!

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  3. I think that many of us are struggling in so many ways. You absolutely had me at this paragraph: “This is ridiculous because there is a very obvious thing to write about. But I am petulant and angry and frightened and I don’t WANT to write about it. Yet not writing about it seems unfathomable. Everything – everything – is touched by the thing I don’t want to write about. It is Voldemort in disease form: that which must not be named.”

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  4. I feel your struggle and applaud you for abiding and writing about this Voldemort. The lack of control we all feel about this situation is unparalleled. I’ve been working on being in the present with my son and spouse because you are right, do lesson plans and assessments really matter at this point?

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  5. Amanda, I so know how you feel. Your first paragraph is me every day when I sit down to write. I can’t believe how beautifully you captured it. I wish you peace and positive energy. Your post is so important and meaningful. Hang in there.

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  6. You write so eloquently about what so many of us are feeling. I, too, have been resisting writing about the current situation and really resent how hard it is not to do so. It has invaded every facet of our lives. For now, I’m trying to focus on each day and make it the best it can be. It absolutely is a struggle. Sending hugs.

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  7. Today I saw Carol Jago tweeted she’s having trouble reading. I mention that because not being able to read in this time of stress is a struggle, too. I hope your not writing about that thing you don’t want to write about is cathartic. And know you are not alone. None of us is alone, even though we all feel alone.

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  8. There is a beautiful hymn, “Abide with me.”
    “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.”

    I love the word. My One Little Word is embrace which kind of is ironic now that we cannot embrace anyone. Abide is better. A calm word for a trying time.

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  9. “But I am petulant and angry and frightened and I don’t WANT to write about it.” Me too, me too, and yet, I can’t stop. It’s all I see, as much as I want to see and think about other things. It’s consuming me and making me so tired, and it’s pissing me off. I really loved this reminder of the meaning of ‘abide’. I am petulant (love this word too!) about the fact that so many will not ‘abide’ at a time when it’s necessary. I agree that the things that mattered in education don’t seem like priorities right now, especially after a week of distance learning. And, I need to remind myself to ‘abide patiently’ instead of abiding ‘anxiously’. Thank you for sharing your struggles.

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  10. This slice is raw and authentic. We’ve all been there or still are there. With so much out of our control, things are scary and overwhelming. “It” dominates our thoughts and our lives. I hope you can find some solace in that which you cannot control.

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  11. Oh, I love the authentic voice of this piece in the searching to make sense, the vulnerable exposure of worries and the unknown. The defining of “abide” feels philosophical and reminds me that we need to enrich our students’ vocabulary for exactly this reason – so they can make sense of the world and themselves.
    In the meantime, dear friend, abide with me.

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  12. We see you, Amanda. I feel you and your struggle. Your closing insight that you can struggle and abide is also a help to me. This feels like the slice you urgently needed to write, perhaps because so many of us needed to hear it.

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