A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings

It’s Like a Bad Relationship

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It’s been craft-city in my apartment for the past couple of weeks.  My roommates, both crafty, creative young ladies have caught a serious case of Christmas-fever, and because of that, they’ve been hand-making Christmas cards.  I don’t just mean handwriting a nice little note on pretty paper.  I mean – they go to Hobby Lobby, pick out an array of Christmas paper, then sit for hours at the counter or on the floor cutting out words, letter by letter.  They’ve wrapped my and each other’s Christmas presents in fabric, topped off with little fabric bows.

What am I going to contribute?

I’m of course going to give the girls and my friends Christmas cards.  And I will of course wrap presents.  But I will either create a Christmas card online or buy one, and the presents will be in a cute Christmas bag filled with tissue paper.

The other day, I walked by Brianna and her projects as I was going to the kitchen.  She asked, “Holly, do you even like crafts?”  I said, “No.  I can’t stand them.”  Her response?

“… And you were going to be a teacher?”

When I was very young, my grandma gave me a package of thin-tip markers.  I distinctly remember sitting at my grandparents kitchen table drawing a field of purple flowers.  My grandma leaned over me and told my parents, “We have a future artist on our hands!”  Oh, she was so right!  That was what I was going to be.  And then I got to Second Grade.  My art teacher taught us a lesson on the Point of Perspective – the tiny dot that you put in the middle of your paper and make everything that you draw go towards the dot. That dot was the death of my artist dream.  I could never get it right.  My teacher told me so many times that I had it wrong that I gave up art forever.  My clay frogs looked like demons.  My collages looked like an exploded pinata.  I desperately wanted to be in Brownies, got in, then wanted out once I realized we would never camp, canoe, or practice archery.  We crafted.  We sat on the floor in a feel-good circle.  Crafting.  It was awful.

While talking with Brianna, I had a revelation.  My decision to be a teacher is kind of like being in one of those awful, regrettable High School relationships.  All the warning signs are there, but you don’t want to get out of it because you’ll be alone forever.  You can’t help but go through the long list of unfortunate qualities about your significant other without trying to justify why it’s all okay.

“Well, so yeah, he would rather listen to Linkin Park than The Beatles.  And it’s true that he does cry every time his team loses a soccer game.  And it’s definite that the guys in our class are going to TP his house during Junior/Senior wars because they think he’s a tool.  And yeah, he’s known throughout the High School for crying in Spanish class when he didn’t get an A on his test.  And he may turn completely red when he’s mad and punch the nearest locker.  But, but, he’s just… uhh… He’s… unique?  No… um, different?  Well… Shoot.”

Don’t ask.

So with teaching, I did the same thing.  I knew full well that I despised crafts.  I knew that I would be required to attend PTA meetings.  I knew that I would have to control myself during a Parent-Teacher conference with a “Well my child…” type parent.  I knew that I’d have to talk about feelings on a regular basis.  But, if I leave, I’ll have nowhere to go!!!  College-life crisis!

That boy from my Junior year and I broke up on the first day of our Senior year.  I was sad, alone, then rejoiced, for he was meant to be with someone else! (who later gave him a restraining order)  Am I a happier person because of it?  You could say that.

That teaching major and I broke up as well, and I can tell you that I’m a happier person, and those craft-Christmas cards are happier too.  There’s nothing worse than a bad relationship.

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Author: Holly

Vienna-based American wife/mom/expat.

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