I'm not sure when I officially "broke down." Was it the moment the student played the silly little prank on me that felt like a really big deal at the time due to how vulnerably I had laid myself before him? Was it when another student tried his best to slap, slap, slap a girl's wet painting out of her hand, and when she handed it to me, tried to slap, slap, slap it out of mine? Or was it when another student burped in my face while simultaneously shoving his self-proclaimed "horrible" self-portrait at me?
I don't take kindly to feeling taken advantage of, whether the human beings I am interacting with are little ones or big ones.
What I do feel, most times, is that there is a beautiful song playing out inside me, and I am more than willing to create my life under the spell of those internal notes. But sometimes it feels as though the song becomes background noise, tuned out by the overwhelming foreground action of jab, hook, punch, kick. In these cases I begin orchestrating my life on auto-pilot based on what I remember the last stanzas sounding like. It is as if I am going through rehearsed dance motions without realizing the song track has clicked forward.
Robert Henri says, "We would continue to hear it. But few are capable of holding themselves in the state of listening to their own song." He says our song is sensitive and "will not associate itself with the commonplace" so we "fall back and become our ordinary selves." Which of course makes me even more mad because who am I to be ordinary?
What follows after a "break down" is a noisy mind, processing what I could have done differently. Processing how I will protect myself from such ridicule in the future. Processing why I can't control people the way others seems to be able to control people. Processing why I am a doormat and others are true leaders. Processing about my terrible, horrible no good very bad day. Processing about needing comfort food and comfort clothes and entering into detached shutdown mode. Processing with dramatic flair all the f***you's warranted to all those nasty little inconsiderates I come in contact with in my day.
I feel INTENSELY ordinary in all this processing, and my song is in hiding.
Sometimes it stays in hiding for a few days, and I have to wrestle with the anxiety of standing before and facing another classroom. I have to work through the angry growls and grrs of do I even want to share myself with the world out there? Am I, as I am - soft and vulnerable - enough? Because you see, I don't want to toughen up or brace myself or change, I want to be me.
I have to wait for the I Will Do Something lines of my song to be audible again.
I wonder though, if the song - MY song - can actually be heard in the midst of silly pranks and SLAP, SLAP, SLAPPING and belches. Is it possible to tune in to MY song, to keep it the foreground noise? To let the other things be background noise? I have to wonder because today starts it all again, and I feel my song rising up as a means of getting me through. I want to see just how far the spell of my own magic can reach. I want to prove new things to myself about myself. How much can I expand? What If I am capable of even more? Now you see, my song is loud again. The melody "I am not commonplace," stirs up within me.
Don't you see? My song (i.e. my creativity : i.e. my magic) calls me back into my life, not out of it. It asks me to stay. To see beyond the usual - THIS is when Robert Henri says, "We reach then into reality." Let this sort of reality be my foreground noise. Let me learn how to let the rest fade. Or at the very least, let me be sure that when we get separated, my song will always return to me or rather, I to it.