Gentle and patient. That’s what I said, and that’s what I went with out into the world.
I took some time choosing my clothing. Brushed my hair and teeth. Washed my face and applied some moisturizing lotion. The weather’s cooled off and it feels like spring again rather than summer. I wrapped up warm, not caring that other people were walking around in hoodies or lighter clothing. Get sick if you want; I’m staying healthy.
Language class. …I know my teachers are babying me a bit. They used to be a bit tougher on me – right up to the point where I broke the tooth and told them it was from stress. Now, they emphasize the positive. Um…is it okay for me to say I like it? I like the support and the positivity. I like the assurances that I’m gaining ground and getting better. I like feeling like it’s okay for me to speak up and ask the definition of a word I don’t know, or to mess up and make mistakes or draw blanks on answers I really should have down. Doing those things more and more now, and my learning is improving because of it.
Remembered to take my book to class to read over the break, and I had the occasion to be damned happy about it. Total shut-out, and there were only 5 of us in class so it was pretty damned obvious. Once again, people were willing to speak to me before class but not during the break. Difference? One of those two women who seem to be spearheading this ‘ignore her during the break’ movement walked in a bit late to class. She wasn’t there before the lesson. But she was there for coffee. I hesitantly tried, choosing a seat next to their four person table that was full. I half turned my body towards them and dithered around, pretending to check my phone and sort thru my backpack. All things to give them a chance to turn their chairs slightly and include me, say ‘hey! come join us’. They didn’t. So I took out James and the Giant Peach and began reading. Only took two sentences to fall into the story. Then I was reading for real, at my regular pace. I smiled to myself, enjoying the language, the story, the jokes. It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t talking. Let those people with their pidgin Dutch talk about homework or their husbands or children or the immigration process. I want more.
Ach! And one woman had the gall to complain to me that all the reading in class was ‘too childlike’ for her. This from the person who’s lived here twenty some years and can’t speak properly or read with any great comprehension. My response was simple and un-confrontational: Oh. I have noticed a great difference between myself and the other students: they are still grasping at the big words thinking they’ll have the language if they learn all the 36 letter long shit that stumps me, while I am concentrating on those pesky little words that pop up over and over in every sentence knowing that’s where the real communication lies. It’s not in the big words; it’s in the small words that color every sentence. I know I can look up a long word, or ask what the hell it means. But it’s the ‘just’, ‘only’, and ‘yet’ words that everything tips on. Even, maar, toch, al, nog… The words that seem, at first, easy to fly by in reading – yet when you get them, you realize it’s precisely what you need to fully understand the message.
Have the option of coming in next week, a scheduled holiday, for an extra lesson. Of course I said yes, and of course the teachers weren’t surprised. Three or four of us said we’ll come class. More one on one with two women I respect the hell out of! Oh, they intimidate me. I sweat in class, trying hard to do my best. But I know they hold the keys to learning, and I am so hungry for that. They see it.
I’ve finished the first viewing of the third Twin Peaks event. Wow. Got off into a discussion of alternate realities and time loops with my bro. He thinks Cooper and Laura have jumped into an alternate reality, one where Laura never existed. I think they’ve time travelled to earlier, before Laura’s family bought the house. I need another viewing. And another. But I recognize the tight loop Lynch created and hats off to him for it. It’s a great nut to crack.
Chop block today: wear in that new pair of shoes again. Back to the gym, more movement. Work on Dutch; I’ve a pile of homework. Work on tech notes. Find time to take care of me – something I’m doing without bitching and moaning. Been working on my cuticles, applying some moisturizer late at night while I watch tv and can I say they’ve never looked better! Nor felt better; those pesky fly away pieces of flesh that often bled and hurt seem to be a thing of the past. Didn’t realize with a little perseverance I could help myself so much.
And there we go, because I need to learn to persevere with being gentle and patient with myself. Somehow being gentle – and particularly being patient – seems to be at loggerheads with persevering. Patience seems passive to me. You patiently wait. You have patience with a tantrum throwing child. I am only aware of working on being patient when it becomes difficult to maintain, when I must persevere with patience in the face of whatever the hell is setting me off. …In other words, I feel I need to practice being patient. Is that even possible?
The gentlest and most patient answer I can give myself is: I don’t know.
…I can accept that. Admitting your ignorance is the first step to learning.
And I be so ignorant.