Although I wish my sole purpose in life was to write, I have a day job that can be quite demanding. I teach Language Arts Enrichment—a beautiful way to say arts and crafts with as much language arts as I can cram in—to students in a special education school. I am also the school’s testing coordinator. The entire student body of my school is made up of students with autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, multiple disabilities, and severe learning disorders. My “kids” range in age from five to 21 and since I am the one and only teacher of my special, I see them all. And I love my students. They are beautiful souls, whether they are trying to hug me, telling me where I can go in colorful language, or lashing out because they don’t have the language to tell me what they need. They are not their disabilities; they are just…themselves. Uniquely awesome.
Anyway, I mention my work life because yesterday I made a grave error in judgment. A grand mistake. I let these wonderful souls take possession of soft pastels. You know the kind, right? We all used them in elementary school under the careful eye of our art teacher. We drew patterns and then carefully blended the malleable, chalky, dusty pieces of pastel into a beautiful piece of student art. But my students are not like other students. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe my kids would create sunsets, or waterfalls, or ocean waves. They didn’t. They created a mess. Wait…that’s putting it mildly. They created an almost complete redecoration of my art room, as you can see by the photograph. The pastels were all shattered, there was dust everywhere, and all surfaces—including me—were covered with chalky handprints. But the best part may have been the floor. There were so many pieces of pastel and piles of dust on the floor that it looked like the remnants of the Indian Festival of Colors.
I am beginning to think of my life like this, especially when it comes to the ever-present issue of weight. Before—when I am a laser beam of eating well—I am organized, focused. All of my pastels are lined up and the canvas is clean and bright. After—when the laser has dimmed and I once again fall into despair that turns into eating and gaining—I am out of control, broken, and flung into chaos.
But, just as I will clean up my space at school when I get there today, I am now cleaning up my eating life again. I am down 17.6 pounds since I rejoined Weight Watchers in January, and I have to admit to being pretty proud of this. I am determined to clean up the mess I have made out of my weight, and I know I will succeed, just as I will succeed in turning my little art room back into a clean and organized space.
Ever onward I go, and today’s first fun task will be to turn the after in the photo back into the before. By the way, does anyone have a mop I can borrow?