Exhibits. 

You label exhibit A as obscene 

Because her fleshy curves do not fit into the slim box that you have created 

Identical for every woman to be placed in: Dolls

You write exhibit B off as inferior 

Because her shade of brown is mixed too dark 

And does not match the pale prototype that signifies supposed beauty in a woman: Ivory 

You classify exhibit C as unwieldy 

Because she will not harness her brain 

And stay reined within the academic areas that you deem appropriate only for women:   Cookie-cutter copies

You tag exhibit D as deformed 

Because her androgyny frightens you 

With its inability to give off the lilt and angles of femininity you desire in women: Mannequins 

You brand exhibit E as blasphemous

Because her dream is not to mother carbon copies of you

And her choice of childlessness goes against your beliefs of a woman’s purpose: Assembly-Line 

You flag exhibit F as dangerous 

Because she will not submit to act in the role of the lesser sex 

And her inability to exist on a level below you threatens your role as the leading man: Performers

The corridor of exhibits meanders long, 

Winding far into the dark recesses of history.

Shadows cloak these forgotten warriors armed only with their bodies 

Who sought individually to break each and every unwanted mold created for us – Yet the factory has not been destroyed. 

We wait here… frozen… naked and bereft of life… hoping that there will be one voice loud enough to unite us to burn the concept of patriarchal stereotyping down to its very foundation and lead the mass of unwanted out into the world not as Exhibits but as Women. 

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Addict Journals cont’d 

Addicts can be so predictable at times. Since much of their addiction is cyclical, if you live with one you can see signs before they go on a binge. 

I find the predictability of my addict pathetic to be honest. It’s the end of the month so time for pension and once hea about to get money you know he’s going to go on some kind of binge. 

I could already see the signs for this latest stint since yesterday morning. She was going to buy something from the shop down the road and he tried to start an argument about the top she was wearing – as in why are you wearing that to go to the shop. 

My addict is a combination of things because aside from being an addict he’s also a typical abuser in that he’s been very good at separating her from friends and family over the years. She has no friends that she goes out with or talks to on a regular basis. Anyone that she happens to talk to he will find a way to start an argument about it. 

This morning he started with another argument that the men who we hired to come to do work on the house stole some things that belong to him. These men work whole day and within your sight at all times and they’ve done major work on our home three times – one even within my bedroom because I had my bathroom redone – and nothing was ever missing. 

But really these are all arguments he’s trying to start to find an excuse to disappear for the day and do what he really wants to do which is to drink / probably use crack. It’s so obvious it’s passé. I think I rather you just say I gone and go and skip all the preamble. 

It’s almost a decade now of exactly the same behavior over and over. Every time they go on vacation or do anything in fact on a day to day basis she has to pay because he doesn’t have a cent. All of his money goes to the people he owes for alcohol and drugs and he’s waaaaay up on his internet right now and I’m sure he’s racking up another bill today. 

As more time goes by I just see a pathetic, little person…  I can’t even really say “man”. I suppose I should feel sorry for him but I don’t even feel that… maybe because I know he’s too smart and I don’t believe he’s wholly in the throes of his addiction. He knows WHAT he should do – call people from a meeting, find a sponsor, go in to a rehab. He knows what all the readings have to say about addiction and what an addict could do to get a handle on their situation.  

A lot of it is that he does what he WANTS to do because he knows there aren’t any real consequences. When he’s not using it’s really because he just has no money TO use. He’s selfish and has no regard for what his actions do to anyone else and thats really why I have no respect for him. 

Mirage 

You study her methodically –

Examining every strand of hair, memorizing every curve of her features, searching every pore of her being.

But inexplicably… she remains a willful mystery. 

Her shadow beckons you into its black, limitless pool to traipse behind her – a willing worshipper. 

You take a deep breath and wade into the darkness, allowing yourself to be consumed by her overwhelming maelstrom. 

Into the quintessence 

You touched her with the intent 

Of molding her into a version 

Of herself that only you envisioned…

And so she broke from your grasp 

Vanishing into the aether

Where she could roam – forever free

To be. 

Spelunking…

She didn’t want you to fill the abyss in her soul… 

She wanted you swim in its dark waters… explore its dark caverns… feel life pulsing within its shadows. 

Understanding it was to understand her. 

My life as an educator? 

My role as an educator is something that has become more … important ? … apparent? … definite?… as the years have gone by. I started teaching English Lang and Lit at 21 years old and now I am 34 so this is my 13th year teaching 15-19 year olds. 

It is not easy being a part of the education system here because I do not agree with a lot of what takes place. Meaning… it is a purely academically driven system and everything is a straight paper based test. While you “hear” about the obvious merits of teaching across curriculum or to different learning abilities or to engage different styles of teaching – the end result is that they are all tested exactly the same way. 

Students here are funneled into a system where they begin to take lessons from as early as age 8 to be able to pass all the different examinations that they are faced with and they are overwhelmed by the workload and and often burn out. Students that appear to be clear scholarship candidates at 15 burn out by 17 and are often fed up and frustrated and no longer interesting in learning. 

Parents are made to feel that their child won’t accomplish anything in life unless they pass these exams and only if they are interested in a job pertaining to the sciences. There is scant regard giving to the Arts and Humanities and with an average of 400 scholarships a year only 5 are allotted to Arts/Hum subject areas. Students are therefore dissuaded from doing these subjects despite their having a possible love/ passion for them. 

As the years have gone by I know I teach differently to most of the teachers even at the same institution that I am in. I stopped giving homework years ago and by that I mean written. While their first practice essay they may take home to work on everything after that is written in class. All they have to do at home is literally pick up the book / poem/ play and read it. 

My class also tends to be a bit more relaxed. While it is extremely hot as we have no air conditioning in my class and temps do rise to 34 -35 degrees Celsius as of late, the room I use is on the far end of the school away from much of the noise and distraction. Since I painted the class myself with a few students years ago (we all put up money to buy the paint and I supplied the KFC for lunch) we chose the colour which differs from the usual pastel – yellow or blue and happens to be more of a mint green but there is an accent wall where the whiteboard is that is a darker green. 

I try to give them a different “feeling” due to the colour and where the class is situated to break up the usual monotony of the rooms they usually go into daily. Round tables also help with this as no other classroom in the school has this type of furniture. There is no “sitting alone” as you have to sit with three other people wherever you are. You want quiet yes but you also need them to interact with each other at times as well. 

Children tend to be “children” at any age. Even though they are not tested on it in any exam I still make them draw at times to see how they visualize what they read. They had to write their own poems which I do not mark based on content / what they write about moreso I give guidelines as to what they should have them in – devices, rhythm, a theme and I mark based on whether they meet those requirements. (Colour whether it eh pencils or paper = excitement) 

Coloured paper or Bristol board sheeting pages are not supplied to me by the school I buy it myself and I have them use it. It takes away from having them just use folder pages all the time and gives even myself a bit more incentive as well to mark the work).  I probably learned best through visual imagery – concept maps / colours/ diagrams/ tables. Therefore this appeals to me still and is a major technique I use in my classes. 

In a class of forty there will always be a top ten who will excel regardless of your being there or not, twenty who can do well with a push from you and a remaining ten that feel like lost causes – not all will remain that way but some of them will. No matter how much you repeat or fix or comment or test some students will not necessarily “do well”. This could be based on ability or interest and regardless of the answer it’s always hard when a student doesn’t do as well as you would like them to as rare as the instance might be. Even when they all do exceedingly well you can’t help but still want to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to improve what you did or change or add. 

It is also very tiring though. Tiring and frustrating. Syllabi change almost on a whim with clearly no conversation from the top down… whatever students don’t do well in regionally seems to be eliminated so as to improve scores overall as opposed to finding a way to get the regional scores to improve WHILE bettering the student. Thousand of students writing exams means that papers are often lost/ not marked properly and the overall grade that is made to seem to determine your future is really not a true reflection of the student at all. People drill or cheat to make sure that their students excel on paper but it still begs the question what caliber of student is really created at the end of the day. 

Additionally I teach only girls. Teen girls. I could go on ad nauseum about all the issues that come up daily outside of what we have to get done in class. If all I had to do WAS teach my life would be easy but as a teacher you don’t only “just” teach. You can’t let any teachable moment pass you by… whether it to be to enlighten them about something historical, political, local and the list goes on. If it’s not a meme or viral it’s likely they haven’t heard of it. The age of technology has changed the way in which children learn and in turn respond to the world in which they live – and it is scary… Scary because of how easy it is to acquire information yet how little they actually know. 

I’ve had to explain what was no man’s land in WW1, Brexit, why does the drop in oil price affect us – Segway into what is OPEC, sing a Whitney Houston song (I will always love you), the Greek myth Narcissus, sing nursery rhymes and the alphabet, explain why the last US election was such a big deal – Segway into why the refugee ban was a big deal, the issue in Syria, laws of our country, talk about sharks (as an apex predator) and the list goes on… and on… and on… half of these topics came up on the last week… whether it be related to English language or literature or nothing under the sun… the goal is that they know SOMETHING MORE walking out of class than when they first walked in and sometimes that means filling in the most random gaps when a topic comes up. 

Yes I know I am good at what I do but I don’t know if I can do it for another 22 years. The system increasingly seems to be concerned with only performance / results and not whether we are helping to mold students with an all rounded school experience, hungry for learning and interested in new and creative ways of being productive members of society. I feel like I am swimming against the current, always in a daily battle against the system that is supposed to be working alongside or with me…

On a side note: There is a little spoken word poetry club that I oversee and when I can I try to put a drawing on the board for them before they begin their sessions… I’m no artist but I try. 

A quick visit 

My boyfriend visited after four months. The long distance really was getting a bit hard in the last month, moreso for me than for him, but his visit came at the right time. 

Although he was only here for a week we had a lot of fun and I realize just how much I really missed having him here. I took him to a couple different places on the island like a nature/ conservation bird watching site which he really enjoyed. 

He met one or two other family members as well, including my addict- which was not planned on my part it just happened because we all ended up in the same place at the same time. 

I suppose I don’t really feel the need to “introduce him” to the “clan” because … they don’t matter to me and their opinion doesn’t matter to me. My mom’s opinion is the only one that probably matters and she thinks he’s great. I did wonder though if he thought I was “hiding” him but really it’s just…. I’m happy… and the time is so limited with him I don’t want to waste it spending time with people who just want to be up in my business and not really interested in who he is. 

I’ve also not wanted him to have interaction with or really be known to the addict because I know the addict too well and don’t trust that he won’t have something to say about the relationship  at some later date that will get me damn vex. So to me the less he knows the better. 

My boyfriend is not really a social media person either. At this stage I don’t feel the need to put our relationship out there in that realm I like it just how it is. I know that’s strange to a lot of people and they keep questioning me because I suppose to them it’s not “real” because it’s not all over the Internet as “proof”. But I just don’t feel the need for people to give an opinion on “us”… long distance is hard enough already without people wanting to tell you HOW you should go about it. 

People seem to think that because it’s long distance you Skype sex and that’s it. We don’t not because there’s anything wrong with that but… we are generally just happy messaging and maybe throwing in a face time here and there. Everyone seems to “know” what works for a long distance relationship but I think it’s like any relationship – you know what works for you… and so far we have been working fine without any help from others ! 

The goodbye this time was extremely hard… even I don’t think I had been prepared for just how sad I was going to feel. The first goodbye last year was sad yes but manageable but this one… this was really rough. I am hoping that we don’t have to do too many of those before deciding what we want to do in the long term because I know it will only get harder as time goes by and I don’t know how many of those I can take. I hope that I can go visit him in the summer and spend some time seeing what it’s like where he lives…

Meanwhile here are some pics from the nature reserve –