Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Am Being Held Hostage By My Emotions!

I feel like I need to stand up to my emotions and holler "YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!" - because I sure have let them play havoc with my eating for the past two days.

And it's funny how it hits you.  The decision-making process is either non-existent or is so quick that it flies by your brain without notice and then next thing you know - you've crammed all sorts of crap into your mouth.  

For the past two days, I have spent my mornings at Mountain School, the elementary school where I worked for six years.  Two years ago, I quit working as a guidance counselor at Mountain because, in order to be on the public schools' district seniority list,  I needed to be employed in the field that I am licensed in (social work rather than guidance counseling). 

But I loved Mountain.

I loved the school.
I loved my job.
I loved my coworkers.
I loved the parents.
And I loved worshiped the kids.

I think I was made to be an elementary school counselor.  I "get" little kids.  And they "get" me. 

Working with elementary-aged children was a good fit for my personality.  I am a nurturer.  I like to hug.  I like to hold hands.

I don't mean that weird.  I believe that we impact people, not through what we say, but through relationship with others.  I had relationships with the kids at Mountain.

And, I'm not saying that I don't at the Middle School where I work now, but it is different.  It's not as good of a fit with my personality.   Middle school kids like cool and hip.  They like edgy.  

I'm more roly-poly than edgy.

I'm old and fat and soft and cuddly.  I'm -- oh, fuck it! -- grandmotherly!

Elementary-aged kids like grandmotherly more than middle school kids do. 

Developmentally, middle school kids should be separating and individuating from the adults in their lives.  They need less hugs.  They don't tend to want a hug from their school counselor; and they definitely don't want to walk around the playground holding their school counselor's hand.

And that's what I got to do for the last two mornings at Mountain.  I went out at recess and spent the whole 20 minutes with 4th grade girls on both sides of me, holding my hands, and telling me everything that had happened to them in the last two years.  I walked into various classrooms and was met with "Mz Neil!", "Mz Neil!".  I walked down the hallways, stopping every few steps to share a hug with a student.

(Sigh).            I've missed that.                 I've missed them. 

I love my current job at the middle school.  I adore the people I work with.  I think the world of my principal and assistant principal.  I like the kids.  I am committed to the kids.

But they're not my little Mountain kids.

It's just not as good of a fit.

So.  For the past few days, my emotions have been all over the place.  I've grieved not working at Mountain full-time.  I've felt overwhelmed with trying to do my job at the Middle School and do my temporary job at Mountain.   I've felt sad and worried about the clinical counselor who normally works at Mountain who has been seriously ill.   I've felt happy being with the Mountain kids.  I've felt frustrated that not all their emotional needs have been met by the person who took my place.

And how these emotions have affected me?     I've. Felt. Hungry.

No, that's not true.  I've not felt hungry.  I've told myself that I was hungry, starving really, but I've just been feeding my feelings.

Thursday, after working the morning at Mountain, I went to Sonic for lunch and ordered my usual grilled chicken sandwich without dressing.  That was OK.  Then, as an afterthought, I ordered onion rings.

And, it was really crazy...  This is how it went:
Disembodied Sonic Voice:  Can I help you?
Me:  Yes.  I want a grilled chicken sandwich, no dressing on it but jalapenos added, and a large Diet Cherry Limeade with real cherries and no cherry syrup.
Disembodied Sonic Voice:  OK.  That will be a grilled chicken sandwich with jalapenos, no mayo, and a large Diet Cherry Limeade with cherries but no cherry syrup?
Me:  Yes, that's it.     andanorderofonionrings

It's like it snuck up on me.  And onion rings are not even something that I get when I eat at Sonic when I'm not watching what I eat.  Normally, I would get tater tots.  Or possibly french fries with spicy mustard.  But, not onion rings! 

After lunch, I went back to the Middle School and immediately went into my coworker's office and said "I need chocolate".

I never do that.  She handed me two Reese's peanut butter cups that I crammed in my mouth before a student came up for his regular appointment with me (because I didn't want to share).  But the insane urge to stuff my face was still there.  I asked my student if he wanted a s'more's granola bar.  I gave him one and stuffed two into my mouth before he even got his open.

And I'm not done.
* After my student left, I went back into Dawn's office and got another Reese's peanut butter cup.
* After work, Barb and I went back to Sonic where I got a HOTDOG and crammed into the hole.
* That evening, Kara came over and brought dinner - rice, beans, sour cream, cheese, avocado, and wine.
* After Kara left, I ate THREE 100-cal granola bars before bed!!!!!!!

It was insane.  And with all my self-absorbed self-reflection, I still can't figure out exactly what I was feeding!  I know the emotions I was feeling, but why did I need to stuff them?  Was I trying to "stuff" down the feelings of missing Mountain?  I really don't know.

Yesterday, was no better on the feeding front.  I felt happy to be at Mountain, was loving seeing the kids - but every time I walked into the front office, I took a HANDFUL of  - get this - CANDY CORN - and stuffed into my mouth.

Candy Corn.   No one over 12 likes Candy Corn.  I don't like Candy Corn.

But I probably ate three handfuls.  And some Snickers bars.  And some other little candies that I couldn't even identify - except to recognize that they were chocolate.

Last night, was Trick Or Treat On Mainstreet - a wonderful family activity in Los Alamos.  I walked around town with friends, asking Middle School students for candy.

WTF.  I'm an adult.  I should have been giving candy.  But instead, every time I'd see a Middle School student that I knew, I'd ask if they had any Reese's peanut butter cups to share.  I was given three peanut butter cups, one tootsie roll, one tootsie roll pop, and one toothbrush (Ann Marie is such a little caretaker).  I ate everything except the toothbrush. 

Then, I went to dinner with friends - to a restaurant where "my usual" is a bowl of beans and lots of salsa - and had chips, a beef and bean stuffed sopapilla, potatoes, and a sopapilla and honey for dessert. 

I came home and fell into a carb-induced sleep.

Today, I'm OK.  Three pounds up, but OK.  It's Saturday.  I don't have to work at Mountain today, though I am working at the Halloween Carnival there tonight. 

I've got three more weeks of working Thursday and Friday mornings at my favorite school in the whole wide world.  I've got to figure out how to do it without stuffing my feelings.


217.5 weighing Jenn


  1. for the record this "I've felt frustrated that not all their emotional needs have been met by the person who took my place." is putting it mildly. she all but dismissed the issue that Nate was having with pulling all his eyelashes out. even after we had spoken to her about it and were assured that she would meet with him and get to know him and be there for him if he needed it. she met with him exactly 1 time, for 5 minutes, said, "i don't see a problem." when he saw her again and said, "we need to have a meeting." (in his oh-so adult way.) she took that to mean that *I* needed to meet with her so she called to set up an appointment. i told her, "that was HIM asking to see YOU. not me asking." i was pissed. still am. and we miss you terribly. but we also know where to find you. and if he really needs to talk to you, i know we can make that happen. because i know he is important to you, no matter where you are. and i hope if you are still at the MS when he gets there, that he won't hesitate to give you a hug because that's the kind of kid i think he is. (so much more sensitive than most of the kids i know.)

    i am not saying this to make you feel worse about leaving because you had to do what you needed to do for YOU. i hope, someday, maybe you can go back to the place that makes you the happiest, but for now, you are where you need to be. accept that. accept working at mountain temporarily as the gift that it is, not as a bad decision.

    i love you! and i love that you love my kids. :)

  2. Jenn - I totally get the eating thing - I often blurt out the 'andanorderofonionrings' when I'm finished ordering what I want. Also, yesterday we did the grocery shopping and I ripped open a packet of sweets at the checkout to have one - yes, sweets that were purcahsed for my local kids trick or treating!