Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Thorn in my side. . .

You gave me such a bad time
Tried to hurt me, but now I know. . . 

Have you had such a bad time that you wondered how you got to be in that space?  You might have ended up there without really thinking about it, when you reach that plateau before you realise you're right in the thick of it.  It sometimes happens like a car crash in slow motion, you see it unfold right before you but the momentum is just strong and you know what's coming and can't stop it so you try to twist and turn to minimise the impact somehow.

Thorn in my side, you know that's all you ever were
A bundle of lies, you know that's all that it was worth
I should have known better, but I trusted you at first
I should have known better, but I got what I deserved

Have you been a thorn in someone's side?  And then they in turn have become a thorn in your side too?  I guess that would be quite a common place for academics to find themselves, particularly when you challenge their thinking or their life's work.  You might even pose a threat to years of painstaking metareflection and countless articles that they would have written in order for them to establish their academic clout and to become the leading authorities in schools of thought, in their respective fields so you can't just come along, Ms Joanna-come-lately and dismantle that, even if that wasn't your intention.

To run away from you
Was all that I could do
To run away from you
Was all that I could do

Running away may be a useful thing to do.  It helps to distance yourself from a situation and allows for space to think carefully about how you will recover from a situation, an altercation, to lick your wounds or pick yourself up.  There's nothing like being able to build and foster your resilience.  The more times you get knocked down by people who don't believe in you and like to make you feel small about things that you know you're making a difference in - purely because they don't understand you or value you, says more about their unwillingness to hear you out or respect what you have to say.  So what will you do?  Go and cry in the corner or stand up and prove them wrong?


Thorn in my side, you know that's all you'll ever be
So don't think you know better
'Cause that's what you mean to me
I was feeling complicated
I was feeling low
Now every time I think of you
I shiver to the bone

I don't think there is such a thing as knowing something better than someone else.  This is because it implies that people know more than others, which may be true to one extent if we are considering knowledge in terms of acquiring content knowledge for example.  I know that other people value the ability to have critical thinking skills that leads to the acquisition of abstract knowledge that requires deep thinking that not everyone can do, only because 1) some are naturally deep thinkers and have a sense of wonder about the world or 2) they have trained themselves to be deep thinkers so that they can make sense of things that are important, as defined by other important people who decide what is valuable information to know.

I think over time I haven't so much, enjoyed being a thorn in someone's side.  I think when I was a member of Komiti Pasifika for PPTA (I was in the Pacific Committee for New Zealand's national high school teacher union for a number of years) I would have been considered a thorn in many people's sides because I was advocating for teachers' rights in schools, particularly those teachers of Pacific descent and even teachers of Pacific Island students so that they felt well supported in their professional knowledge of how to connect with these students during biennial Pacific conferences.

To run away from you
Was all that I could do
To run away from you
Was all that I could do

I hope that if we have to run, that we don't need to run for long.  I think as I age, I don't run away from people, but I'm actually running towards myself and thinking more about what matters to me and how I can use my strengths to be more of use to society, to make a contribution and to help as often and wherever I'm needed.  It kind of sounds like I want to be some kind of superhero right?  But I think everyone can be a superhero - the ordinary individual can perform extraordinary feats that may seem impossible or unbelievable.  Who says we can't achieve what is beyond human comprehension?  Who says we can't do the things that we can feel and comes so naturally to us, like breathing, crying, smiling or laughing?  I know I won't be running away anymore, in fact, all I can do, is run towards myself and never look back again.  The more times people tell me I am inadequate and can't possibly do things, it says more about their own limitations than my own.

If I become a thorn in someone's side, so be it.  My OMG moment will always be to "own my greatness", even when people try to tell you that you aren't.  So, believe in yourself, because that's all that I could do :-)