Saturday, March 21, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons…

There are two things you can do:

1. Fall down into a hole of despair, or
2. Make lemonade

Folks, it’s been a bumpy ride around here. The ups and downs have been extreme. From the highs of riding the momentum of some good press, being inspired to expand my work in multiple ways, listening to Obama in town rallying for the people, combined with the sweet victory of our collective voices delaying the firing of all elementary school Assistant Principals across LA, we were feeling empowered. I was riding the wave of possibility, of transformation, of inspiration, of conceiving the formation of a collective ‘alliance’ of like-minded folks across boundary lines and neighborhood council districts, the feeling we will overcome, be invincible, create our new reality, more autonomy...we can DO this whole use your voice for change thing...We the People...rah, rah!

And then the reality hits, startlingly, like a punch in the face. Thousands of our fresh new teachers face potential pink slips. The AP job, while not eliminated completely, is still on the line. The downtown admins will always have seniority. The Fed Stim money is being held up at the state. (And when you consider how long our legislators hijacked our state budget, we have reason to worry!) We may never see that Stim money that's supposed to save teacher's jobs and support our schools. The special interests are already up there scrapping over it. And ludicrously we can't hold our school fundraiser until we pay district fees. Fees to the district to use our own school site for a fundraiser in order to raise money to pay for the things the district doesn't fund anymore. Hello!

I am also in a mother-daughter, my needs-her needs, guilt-ridden conflict. In my heart I know she's not getting what she needs, from me, from the school...and I never seem to have enough time.

What am I doing?
How can I sustain this?

How do we pay our bills?

My daughter’s not happy

I’m overworked and exhausted

It is never-ending, this uphill climb
I need supports, fresh supplies, a life!

At the core it is ugly. It seems they will always prevail. They always have more power, more money, more control. We are ants scurrying around under their footsteps as they wipe away the crumbs. Yet we keep building. Castles in the sand.

What we do for love. For our kids.

We have been bleeding over here, holding up the barracks.
Doing, in spite of.
Creating, without knowing how or if it will work.
Holding out hope.
Rallying for our position.

Yet I know it is just the beginning of a maelstrom. I have been in the boardroom, seen the inner-memos. I get the conflict of interests. The power of the unions. The gaping financial shortfall. The problems with the existing laws. The haves and the have-nots, the social services aspects, the immigration aspects, the middle class aspects, the big business consultants and lobbyists and the overwhelming bureaucracy of it all, each desperately trying to save its own livelihood.

We need the sword of Gryffindor. Excalibur. Cut the multi-headed dragon free. The beast intent on destroying itself and anyone in its path. But the children, our children, are in the belly of the beast!

Today, reaching my breaking point, the wind sucked out of my sails and figuratively down in the dumps, I’m not making my usual lemonade. Nor my adult version here. No, today I'm in need of something stronger. Something soothing yet packs a punch. Today I’m bringing out the big guns.

I'm muddling the Cuke.

Excuse me while I drink myself through this pickle I'm in!


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I was going to suggest a lemon drop.

Or three.


Go Mama said...

Yeah, the old lemondrop...a staple of mine through the years. But I also like the soothing aspects of the cuke, and it's surprisingly tasty. You really ought to try it.