The reason

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This week I was very happy to sell the first two pieces from my new Cultivation series, as well as a couple of oil paintings, including this one, Compass.

one that sold

And I was continuing on full steam with the new backgrounds.

new Cultivation background

But then a few days ago I discovered my daughter is getting targeted by an unhappy kid at her school.

I hesitate to call it bullying, because they are 5 and bullying can be much worse than this, but this boy is actively looking for opportunities to criticize her and, when he thinks the teacher is not watching, is saying he hates her and/or wishes she were not in kindergarten, etc.

My daughter is pretty tough, and she hasn’t taken any of this on as her fault, which is part of why we are only now hearing about it. She was just handling it and brushing him off.

Although I had a moment of wanting to throw this mean kid off a cliff, mostly I felt sad for him and gratified at how capable my daughter is. And then, of course, I got engaged in contacting her teachers to create a united front to be sure this stops immediately.

So it is being handled, but phew, this stuff is emotionally draining, so I changed work plans and found some good grunt work to do.

work table

Many years ago I typed reports for a vocational rehabilitation counselor who would evaluate people coming out of prison to determine what kind of job might be a fit for them. It wasn’t surprising that most of them were not so great at dealing with the public (“low frustration tolerance”), but I was interested to learn that the best jobs for them also had concrete goals that could be met in short periods of time, so they could feel a clear sense of accomplishment multiple times a day.

I’ve always kept this in mind, and it has come in handy many times when I needed to create a little therapeutic work for myself.

So this week I took the disks of wood with silhouettes that were leftover material from the Cultivation pieces and finally added the jump rings and fish hooks that I had gotten at General Bead a while back.

I also weeded out a few that didn’t work. Like this guy, who looks way too much like he’s peeing. There is probably a market for earrings featuring people peeing, but I have no interest in being part of it!

bad earring

And then I sanded and stained this next round of earrings, trying a darker finish.

darker finish

I also signed, dated, and wired up this painting, one of the ones that sold, so it is now ready for pick-up.

before wire

after wire

When I think about it, there was another great benefit of working for that vocational rehab guy. Unlike my daughter, I was pretty good at taking on other people’s issues as my own when I was a kid. So many kids are.

Spending years typing and reading reports of people who acted out, often striking out at strangers or mere acquaintances without provocation, and reading those people’s personal and family histories, it was like an intensive course in why some of my own experiences were not my fault.

But if you could read those people’s histories, you would agree with me that by the time you’re done reading, you almost can’t blame them. I don’t mean their crimes are okay. But there was always a reason for what they did. It just had nothing to do with the victim most of the time.

I’m sure the kid bothering my daughter has his reason too, and I am hopeful that his parents will heed the alarms he’s setting off, trying to get help with it. In the meantime, I am grateful for the way my daughter so effortlessly has the resilience it took me years of work (and not a little therapy) to develop.

That, too, seems like a concrete accomplishment to me.

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