Too much stimulation, too much input (and no, that's not from my abundance of stuff), too much to do, too much to stand up and fight for or against, too much noise at times (this morning the living room was grand central station loud).
Too much. I have 96 emails from students to read, respond to, and mark in the grade book (and I've already handled at least 70 or more this week). I have lectures to put together for this week class, so have been reading critical analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five all week, trying to pull the gold out to read and discuss with students (and somehow that ties into this book:
Yeah, so I'm totes reading this kids book to my students this week if I can keep from laughing hysterically that Jerome Klinkowitz seriously and effectively compares SL-5 to a Sesame Street book and Vonnegut to Grover. Sometimes, the English world is completely awesome and fantastic. At least this helps to bring me back from the edge of skin jumpy some and focuses me, but seriously, I feel like the dog in Up: squirrel!
I am overwhelmed, I think, and it's week 2 of the semester, but seriously, seven comp classes, 175 students...three novels plus films and several essays to read and analyze (and present). I mean, it's a good overwhelmed, and it's an overwhelmed I did to myself, but holy crap on a cracker.
And we're still sorting things here, putting things in their proper place, working at reframing things, trying to figure out where we are and where we want to go and how we're going to get there.
There are things I have to do that I don't want to do, like take all three kids to the dentist Wednesday morning. And bigger things like filling out the paperwork for this year's guardianship. I don't like those papers. I like them less each year. When will my role as mother and protector and provider for my three children not involve defining them in terms of their "deficits"? When will my interactions with the school, medical community, and bureaucracies not involved this deficit-based model?
Isn't it more important that Bobby's cooking skills continue to improve? That he loves to dress up the plates, garnish with tomato slices and pickles? That he delights in experimenting with seasonings? Isn't it more important how he and his sisters are entwined in each other's lives, sharing the same interests with the same obsession and that they can spend hours wrapped in those obsessions together?
At any rate, that paperwork won't fill itself out, and I recognize that it does have to be deficit-modeled. I just don't like it. I hate it and it's the one thing I don't let Bobby look at. Yes, we've talked about what guardianship means, but that doesn't mean he needs to see that paperwork.
Too much on my plate, and yet a lot of it I put there. I'm still in the process of shedding some of those excess commitments that are don't-want-tos and don't-have-tos. It feels better with each one I let go. Too-much becomes not-as-bad.
Shedding things in the online autism world continues, as well. Figuring out what battles need to be fought by me personally, what things I can ignore, where lines in the sand have to be drawn and when they don't have to be, that is a continual process. Figuring out where our family fits in the scheme of things that are important but divisive in the online autism world is absolutely a one-woman show in this house, as the kids and Rick have weighed in for years that it's drama they don't care about.
Our home life, our interactions with each other, well, yeah, autism is in the mix because we're BAPpy or autistic here, but it's the background music that plays, not the focus of our attentions. We're our own normal, and we like our home, our lives, and who we are together as a family.
It's this kind of reframing, refocusing, that helps to pull me back from the too-much, that places things in order.
Letting go of the flotsam and jetsam of online drama, redirecting my attention to my family and my friends and letting people argue over each other online without weighing in directly, that's reducing the too-much to the just-right.
I can't let go of all online things because so much of it is important in teaching students about how people think, how they structure their arguments online, how they interact with each other, how critical thinking often is absent: those are important things. I'll continue to separate the necessary from the ridiculous and look to my kids and their wisdom regarding the online world: block and delete--who needs made-up drama?
And I'll breathe deeply and look at the positives.