Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Compadre and Komodo

I did another school presentation today - this one at Compadre High School in Tempe. Two classes with a half-hour break in between them. I don't know what the reason was, but I had an off day. Maybe it's because I've had such a rotten week. Maybe it's because the first class consisted solely of teen mothers - not pregnant girls, but girls who are single moms. Maybe it's because I slept so poorly and for so little time last night. Whatever the reason, the first class was brutal. I didn't know what to say to those girls that wouldn't make them think I was judging them or trying to convince them to place their kids for adoption. It sort of threw me. I did a terrible job. I kept stuttering, my tongue catching on simple words. I don't think I helped at all. I probably did more harm than good. I was glad to be done.

I cried a little bit after the first class. Just buried my head in my hands and let my eyeliner run. It wasn't like this was the first time I'd ever presented. I could do this in my sleep. Why was it so hard today?

I pulled myself together a bit for the second class, but I felt a little more comfortable with the audience - all pregnant girls. I don't know if I changed any minds but I kept them entertained at the least. They all looked so young. One or two of them were sophomores. Sophomores! Fifteen, sixteen years old at the most. I looked around the room and I didn't see that any of them looked particularly prepared to be mommies. I hope they are, if that's what they choose. I hope they have good families who care to help them out. I know what it's like to feel alone and like no one's excited about your baby. It's a terrible feeling and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hate the thought that any of those girls might feel that rotten. I never would have had that kind of compassion before this experience. I've changed a lot since I had Roo and since I placed her.

It was strange not seeing all of my Roo things in my bedroom last night. The room felt too big. The walls were in the right place, but there was an odd sense of spatial distortion, like there was more space than I could see. In one sense, it's nice to have everything packed away neatly. It kind of makes things easier. But then, it kind of makes things harder, too. I miss seeing Roo's toys and jammies and blankies in my room. They were familiar things and they made me think of a sweet, lovely time in my life. I am more keenly aware of their absence than I could have predicted.

Maybe that's part of why this morning was so hard for me. It can't have helped to have my familiar surroundings packed up. I don't mean to keep obsessing about this morning but it's a worry for me. If I can't figure out why today was so hard, I might do poorly again the next time I present. I don't want to risk that. Today was bad enough. I'm just glad the second class went easier.

I still felt strange after the second class, though, so I went up the street (and up and up and up) to the zoo. There's nothing quite like the zoo to put things in perspective. It was a beautiful, clear, cool day, and the air was invigorating. I headed immediately for the new Komodo dragon exhibit, but the weather was a bit too cool for them. One of them (the male, I think) was on display in a little warming room. Komodo dragons are amazing creatures. They are so large, so powerful. They are capable of running around 10 miles per hour in short bursts. This one wasn't running. He didn't need to. His movements were slow but deliberate (except when he snatched a white mouse from a dish). If he'd run around his enclosure, he might have slipped on a branch or a rock. But he took his time moving, assessing his surroundings and very purposely placing his claws on sticks and sand. His movements were slow, but sure.

The glass was a bit foggy (it must have been warm in his little room!) but I spent a good 20 minutes watching him anyway, and taking a few pictures. I decided there is a lesson to be learned from the Komodo dragon. My life seems to be going nowhere at the moment. I am moving forward so slowly, I hardly seem to be moving at all. But I am trying to make progress. And I think that as long as my progress is deliberate, careful and planned, I'll be okay. I won't make any missteps. I won't get hurt. I'll be cautious, placing my metaphorical claws on sturdy objects. I might not get where I'm going very quickly, but if I'm patient, I'll get there. It's only a matter of time. And if there's one thing I have in spades, it's time.

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