This last Friday, I was all excited. You could actually see the top of my desk.
Granted, for some, this may seem like a very small thing. But for me? It’s insanely huge! Usually my desk is about two feet taller than any desk ever should be. It’s piled with papers, office supplies, books, sticky notes, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, staplers… well, you get the idea. It usually looks about as organized as my students’ lockers.
Well, Friday I had the need to clean it. I was going to have strangers in my classroom for the UIL meet we were hosting, and while the people that see me every day can see that – I don’t want complete strangers judging me for the condition of my desk.
So I cleaned it.
It took a surprisingly shorter amount of time than I thought it would, and it looked great. (For the record, it’s still clean.)
When I was all done, I was excited, and went to go tell a co-worker, “Hey, you ought to look at my desk! It’s actually clean!”
To which he replied, “Yeah? Let me see inside the drawers.”
He was joking, but gosh-darn-it, he was right! The surface of my desk looked excellent, but inside the drawers was nothing but mess. I can close those, so I don’t worry as much about it.
And then I just got corny, but I think it fits in a way.
How many of us are like my desk? How may of us look just fine on the outside – polished, well dressed, happy – and then we’re an absolute mess inside? We mask our real feelings, or what is really going on at home, and put on a facade to show the world – either because we don’t want anyone to know we’re having problems, or because we think it is none of their business, or even because we are hiding something very big and do not want to get caught.
Goodness knows I’ve done it. I do it on nearly a daily basis. Even though my life isn’t really a mess, I do mask what I’m really feeling from my students, and even from some of my co-workers. Sometimes for their protection, sometimes for the sake of my job, and sometimes just for the sake of professionalism.
Everyone does it on some level or another – but there are times that it becomes dangerous. Bottling these kind of things in and not letting anything out can lead to violence, depression, and all sorts of other undesirables.
I have my own outlets. I have writing. (No, this blog isn’t the only thing that I write.) I have World of Warcraft. (You don’t know how good it feels after a particularly bad day to log in and beat the crap out of things!) I have my children – most of the time. Sometimes they’re part of the stress. (They give AMAZING hugs.) I have my television show vices. (Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, and House included.) I have my reading. (So, so nice after a bad day to curl up under a blanket with my Nook.) I have many ways to relieve stress.
But I know many people who don’t have ways to relieve stress at all, and they live their lives like bottles of soda that have been shaken to the point of explosion, and then put in the freezer for good measure and reassurance that they certainly would blow. I wish I could help them, but oftentimes, I can’t. It takes a special person to make anyone open up at all. Each of us have our special people that touch our hearts – and I hate to admit it, but I’m not the kind of person that everyone opens up to.
If you are one of those people that has difficulty with expressing, and instead bottles things, see if you can find some kind of relief. Explosions can make one feel better, but they also have the ability of making one feel much worse, depending on the kind of explosion that it is. It’s much healthier, and causes less ulcers, if a release can be found. Any kind of release.
Let people see inside your drawers on occasion, if you can find someone to trust enough to do it. It can be rewarding, and it is certainly more healthy.