Bright eyed and bushy tailed in '91/'92
Once when I was in the 1st grade, I had a question for my teacher, Mrs. Stevenson. I don’t remember what the question was, but it was important enough to take time away from my recess, seek her out, and ask her. Anything that important must have been vital.
I found Mrs. Stevenson in the hallway near our classroom talking to Mrs. Forester, the other 1st grade teacher. Whatever they were saying was of no importance to me, but by the way they didn’t so much as glance at me, it was obviously very important to them. So I gave them a couple of seconds, and then tried to interject my question. I barely got out a peep before they continued talking, not even noticing my attempt to disrupt their conversation. So I stood and kept my mouth shut a little longer. No way whatever they were saying was going to take that long to discuss, right?
But they kept talking,
I kept my mouth shut because I knew if I didn’t I would surely get in trouble. But even knowing to keep my mouth shut wasn’t enough for me to cease attempts to interrupt. I would let out a peep, only for it to be dismissed again and the conversation to continue. So I stood there, mouth shut, waiting. And waiting. Recess slipped away. Kids walked by me with jump ropes and kick balls.
The doors would swing open to the playground and I’d hear talking, yelling, and laughter wave into the silent hallway, only to be cut off by the shutting doors.
I still waited.
They kept talking.
My legs started to squirm. I bit my lip. I twitched my fingers. I stared at Mrs. Stevenson’s face. My heart beat faster. Maybe if I stared really hard, maybe if I swayed back and forth, she’d realize what I had to say was important?
They kept talking.
I stared. My pulse raced. The clock ticked.
They kept talking.
The door opened and laughter came in and out. I bounced on my toes.
They kept talking.
It felt like electricity was rushing up my neck,
like words were trying to kick their way out of my mouth,
like my head was going to explode if they
wouldn’t stop talking,
wouldn’t look at me,
wouldn’t listen to my question,
and wouldn’t let me go outside and play.
And then finally, Mrs. Forester walked away, and Mrs. Stevenson looked at me.
“Amanda,” she said in a commanding voice.
“Yes?” I bit my lower lip (I am sure I did, because it was a bad habit of mine then). My stomach sank as I waited for the ensuing lecture I was sure to get for attempting to interrupt with my little peeps and my squirmy body parts.
“Thank you for being so patient. You did a very good job waiting for us to finish our conversation. Now what do you need?”
I was shocked. That was the first time I remember being told I was patient.
Today, I am outwardly a lot more patient, but on the inside I’m still the same six-year-old trying to keep her head from exploding. I’d like to think I’m a lot better than some people, but there are still many things that I want to happen, and happen now.
Maybe it’s my generation or the way society as a whole has become. We want everything faster, better, shinier, and good damnit, in fact, fantastic. Instant downloads, instant pudding, instant gratification. We want it all so much and so fast, we cnt evn spel it out.
I wonder how many people started this blog and after seeing the length decided they didn’t have the patience to finish reading it?
Patience has always been hard. That’s why it’s a virtue. It’s as if our society has so many conveniences that our idea of patience is a little skewed.
Right now, the thing I’m most impatient about is where I’m at in my life. I want to be in so many different places doing so many different things that I feel like I’m ready to jump out of my skin. I want to be in South America, I want to be in Spain, I want to be writing and traveling, I want to be learning new things, I want to be in Boise with my friends, I want to be here in Corvallis with Justin. I want, I want, I want!
But, I can’t. At least not now, or not all at once. So I have to pick and choose and be mindful about where I am now, who I’m with, and what I’m doing.
Since I can’t be a globe-trotter, a travel writer, a language expert, or international gluten-free food connoisseur, I am taking time to do the things I never got to do. Things I've wanted to do but never had the time or took the time. I am finally making myself sit down and learn the guitar. I always felt like I couldn’t do it on my own, that I had to have a teacher I went to every week. But after some pushing from my brother (who is a music teacher and excellent at the guitar), I am taking time everyday to practice chords, or even just press my fingers on the strings to form calluses. I am not a natural at the guitar, and I am terrible at memorizing notes and chords. I may not have someone giving me lessons every week, but at least I’m starting what I felt like I couldn’t without someone instructing me.
I’ve also taken up swimming. In Challis, the closest thing to a pool was the hot springs. I learned how to save my life, but not how to swim a lap. My boyfriend is taking the time to help me with my breathing and swimming technique at the OSU Recreation Center. It’s been hard, and I feel inadequate next to the girls who do their fancy-flip turns and swim really fast while I use a kick-board or a flotation device to keep my hips from sinking. But, I’ve had a lot of fun and I’m already getting better just after a couple days a week for the last three weeks. Justin and I now swim, run, and bike every week. Although I may not be signing up for a triathlon anytime soon, I feel better about myself and like I’m accomplishing something.
Some days, I still feel like I’m doing nothing and getting nowhere. I have to step back sometimes and realize I’m actually doing quite a bit. By taking up these hobbies that I’ve either never had time for, or have given up on time and again, I’m taking up the practice of patience. It takes time to learn new things, and it takes patience to stick with it. I have to stop expecting myself to appear at the finish line when I haven’t put the work in to get me there, or even signed up for the race.
I think I will always be an impatient little girl on the inside; squirmy and unsettled. But it doesn’t mean I don’t know the good things in life take time. It just means I will be pushed to do more. I will try to turn my impatience into determination, and maybe in the end I’ll gain a virtue that so many of us need, but have a hard time waiting to receive.