Today, I almost got into an argument with my 15 year old, Tavie. When I came home, she had the music blaring while doing her homework. I sat down next to her and just couldn't understand how she could concentrate on her math homework. She actually is not doing that well in math but I associated it with her love of writing. She's more of an artistic personality verses science type of person. I'm sure there are those who enjoy both but Tavie doesn't. She loves to write, loathes figuring out math formulas, kind of like me. There was only one point in my life when I loved math and that was in 8th grade (around the same age as Tavie). I was the only one who got an A+ in my class, and I was so proud of it. I was actually cool in Junior High. So it was unexpected that I did so well. It was actually the only class where the teacher really cared about teaching his students.
My math teacher was this tall stern looking black man. He was super strict and a no bullshit type of man. All of the kids respected him and never got out of line. He knew his shit and he knew how to handle his shit. I mean he was dealing with rough kids. 1994 in Oakland was a very tough time. But somehow, he was able to get all of his kids respect and attention.
Anyway, one time in class, he wanted us to create patterns using blocks similar to Tetris. But he wanted to pair us with our "match" to compete against each other. Each pair was given a card face down with a particular shape on it. Then we were given various shaped blocks to create this shape. When we flipped the card over to reveal the shape whoever created this shape first, won. Sounds easy right? Well maybe for some but there is a lot of fast thinking and strategy to this game. By creating the shape with the least amount of blocks and moves would be the best strategy, I figured. The problem was, since I was the only one with an A+ in that class, my teacher couldn't pair me with anyone. So what did he do? He paired me with someone who had the same intelligence as me. He paired me with the notorious drug dealer at school.
When my teacher did this, I did't know if he did it to teach me a valuable life lesson of never judging a book by its cover and seeing that although this student may be a "thug" he was smart as hell? I don't know. But what I do know, is that I already knew this motherfucker was smart. So smart to the point it was scary. I'm not an ignorant or gullible person like some people like to label me as (for whatever assumptions they have about me). Maybe my teacher thought that about me, that I was just book smart. But I grew up in the hood too and knew all about the hustle. Or maybe he wanted to humble me and make me understand that a grade is not who I am. I don't know. All I knew, is that as soon as he paired me with my classmate, I knew this guy was all about strategy and would kick my ass. And sure enough he did.
My teacher tried to make it more interesting and added another rule to the game after I got my ass kicked 3 times in a row. This time he wanted us to make a particular shape with the least amount of moves. I lost again. I wasn't frustrated, mad, or upset. No, I still wanted to play. Play to win, right? I wanted to challenge my mind and learn from him. I had fun and it was a cool experience. I was too young to articulate my appreciation for getting my ass kicked and learning from him but I still remember that exact moment until this day. However, I always think if I didn't predict my outcome so negatively could I have kicked his ass? I don't know because I didn't give myself a chance to win. I predicted my own defeat unfortunately.
Oh, so going back to my daughter (sorry guys), today we almost got into an argument because I tried to suggest what works for me when I need to concentrate, and she got really upset. I told her sometimes it's difficult to understand anything when your music is blaring (you could hear her music outside on our porch). She told me it actually helps her concentrate better, and she made sure to say this to me with a fucking typical 15 year old attitude. I had to literally tell myself not to take offense. Because my initial reaction was to get upset and ask her why the attitude. Instead, I decided to offer her understanding, and that I offered my suggestion as just an idea. She may not like my idea and if so, don't take it into consideration. That's all. I told her that in life, people will always offer their ideas, she should be respectful of them and hear them out but she doesn't need to listen to it. I also said that sometimes we are given so many ideas it can actually inspire us. So don't ever discriminate an idea. Just take the ones that sound good to you and fits for you. When I calmly presented this to her, she actually took it into consideration and stopped being such a little asshole to me =) I forgot how difficult this age was. I went through this stage twice with the two oldest. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being more patient with them but again, I have to remind myself, we did it and it turned out all good.
Before I end this blog, there was something else I learned about my job today that I wanted to share. This week was particularly tough because I am overwhelmingly busy. I have to do a lot of patient assessments which means a lot of writing from a nursing and social work point of view. For example, one of my assessments would say something like...91 y/o English speaking widowed male, who lives alone in senior residential community...dx of DM2, HTN, HLD. Mbr is an ESRD pt and attends CBAS MWF. Some boring shit to that effect. Anyways, I was struggling and my direct manager is no joke. She's a smart Type A woman. She knows her shit, and she knows she knows her shit. She is very direct and to some may be intimidating. I appreciate her because she cuts to the chase which saves me time. But she's also hard.
Before I'd enter my assessments into our shared electronic system, she wanted to edit my assessments first. Fine, I thought. I'm a good writer, this should be cake. But nope! Nothing is ever as we expect it. All of my assessments came back with numerous edits. My assessments came back with so many marks, I had to completely rewrite them. I remember coming in to work and just wanting to give up and fall down this spiral thought of negativity. Instead, I constantly reminded myself that there's a valuable lesson in this. Yes, she's hard but she'll make me into a better writer. I appreciate that. Yes, it's not the style of writing I like but it exposes me to diversity. There are so many forms of writing, it can only benefit me even if it's technical. It's more knowledge I'm gaining is how I see it. And guess what?! I came into work today expecting another assessment that I turned in yesterday, to be marked up and it wasn't! She actually drew stars on my assessment lol. She said I'm getting better. I realized whenever we learn something new, there's always this challenge we need to get through before we become better. But once we do, it's smooth sailing (well kind of) from there.
Good night friends, and have a beautiful evening.
A little about me...
I'm learning how to look at everything with love, even if it seems impossible, like rush hour traffic. I want to share my journey of self-love so that others may want to emulate and pass it on into the universe. Ohh...and sometimes people call me Suzie.