I Couldn’t Hate Them If I Tried

Something I’ve learned many times before but continue to learn every day is that nothing in education will turn out as expected. The “solid gold” lessons won’t be received as you imagined (or hoped), the “total crap” lessons will hit some just right, and the emotions and break-downs and fights you expect will not happen when you expect them.

My first term as a high school teacher just ended in December and nothing went as I expected. Kids I thought would throw fits over failing didn’t, kids I thought would fail pulled it out at the last second and some that I thought would pass lost their momentum too soon.

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Overwhelmingly though: I am continually floored by how much I love these kids. How much I want to hug them when they cry and tell them it’ll work out even though it feels terrible right now.

I push them hard every day, nobody is allowed to take the L. I expect greatness from everyone, no one is mediocre. I don’t hand out good grades until they’ve been earned. I get called mean on the regular, I’m always “extra” and “doing too much.” I get mad sometimes because CAN EVERYONE STOP TALKING OVER ME?

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But still, when they celebrate, I celebrate. Nothing is better than seeing that smile they tried to hide when they find out they passed.

And when they cry, I cry. Nothing is harder than seeing the despair they’re trying to hide when they find out they won’t pass.

There was this small part of my brain that thought I’d feel justified and righteous handing out failing marks to those kids that have blown off the work and made bad choices. Because I’m teaching them lessons in social studies but I’m also teaching about consequences and professionalism. I thought somehow it might feel good to give a well-earned failing mark.

I was surprised at how much it hurts me when they hurt, even when the pain is necessary.

I’ve known these kids for three months, but something clicked in the hall with Elle while I held her and let her cry through my sweater. Something clicked when Steven laughed out loud at the news of passing my class and couldn’t stop grinning. Something clicked when Kam came in late to study hall and begged me to let him finish his work and pass, and his relief when I let him.

These kids are magic. And I am forever honored to be connected to them in even the smallest way.

Best of luck.

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An Open Letter to People Who Ghost

***Ghost: verb (ghost, ghosting; past: ghast) The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. See: being a douche.

Dear Crap Weasel,

You. Yes, you. You suck. Alright, that’s out of the way, that was very important and you should remember that, but let’s get down to the details.

Why did you feel it was appropriate to disappear off the face of the planet after days, weeks, months of spending time together? After binge watching a new TV show together – one I will have to give up now. After telling me all of the things you love about me – my laugh, my eyes, my sense of humor, my brain, my blahblahblahyousuck.

Hem. Sorry.

Why did you feel you could walk away without so much as a peep after we went to that sketchy looking Chinese buffet and spent two days throwing up in front of each other? After getting drunk together and crying to me about your relationship with your dad. After telling me you never wanted to leave my side, that you’d never stop loving me.

What compelled you to go, dear Crap Weasel?

The thing that kills me the most is your words. You had so many for me before: love, together, forever. And then one day you lost all your words. There was no more love, no more together, no more forever. Suddenly you were gone and I was nothing to you.

What made you wake up one morning and decide I wasn’t worth your words? Forget love, what about goodbye? What about sorry? I wasn’t even worth an emoji?

I’ve been sitting in my room for three days now. I drank whiskey-sodden ice cream and cried over you, I texted you too many times and let my words turn sour, and then I took a shower, I listened Lemonade and danced around in my underwear, and I remembered that I was me before your words and I am me without them.

You, my dear, you’re nothing. No words, no love, no nothing.

You’re just a ghost.

Sincerely,

The Living

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Let’s Talk About Motherhood

I am a great many things.

Some things I’m proud of: being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a graduate fellow, a teacher, a blogger. Some things I’m less proud of: being a tooth grinder, fighting a sometimes epically failing battle with Anxiety and IBS, my propensity to burn food when cooking.

I am a lot of things and I plan to do and learn and become many more things in my lifetime. One thing I’d never really considered an option or a desire in my life was being someone’s mom. Until two days ago.

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I was sitting in a lecture about the connection between the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Lives Matter movement. Surrounded by in the very intellectual, my uterus whispered in my ear yeah ok, I get it, you’re a scholar blah blah blah, but what about…BABIES? 

Ladies and gentlemen, my uterus; causing problems since 1999.

2112013212753I have never wanted kids, in fact I have very adamantly and openly not wanted kids. It’s always been “maybe one day I’ll consider adoption” for me. But in that moment I realized not only a possible, tiny, very very small desire for a child, but the terrifying closeness of my 30th birthday. Yes I know it’s more than two years away but time moves fast, y’all*.

It might have been a hormonal moment. It might have been stress, a desire to be doing anything that is not grad school for a moment. A better conclusion, brought up by a friend, is that I like winning. I’m getting to a winning place in grad school, close to winning the career I’ve wanted for so long, so naturally I now must win family! Maybe it’s all three or just a weird case of whispering uterus.

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Sitting here now, I still don’t know what I want, I’ll need some time to figure that out. The point of this post, if there is one, is that I got a little crazy, got a little emotional, and then decided the best way to deal with the crazy and emotional moment was to talk to Boyfriend about it.

In my experience, sitting on a possibly irrational but definitely emotional moment rather than talking about it, doesn’t work. Early in our relationship when I immediately assumed every un-responded-to text signaled a breakup, I told Boyfriend. When I was certain that New York would squash our shot at happiness, I told Boyfriend. When I was convinced that he was mad at me because I stayed out late with friends, I told Boyfriend.

Talking about that irrational monster in my brain is like turning on the light and checking under the bed. Yeah, there might still be a small fear that the monster can turn invisible, but for the most part it helps.

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So I said the awkward and annoyingly tearful words to him. We talked for a long time about everything that could impact this decision. He was, well, exactly who he always is, rational, kind, loving, and smart. There was no perfect answer that fixed everything because life is riddled with complexities, but I no longer feel alone in this.

Just saying it is important, even if you sound a little crazy and you cry on the street in front of your neighbors because I don’t know why I’m crying I’m just, it’s a lot. Whatever you’re not saying, stop holding on to it; a good talk can work wonders.

Best of luck.

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*I really hope this isn’t a mid-life crisis because I’d like to live to be at least 60…and I just learned to spell Renaissance

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

Facebook has taught me several things: your birthday will bring everyone out of the woodwork, when profile pictures uniformly change its time to check the news, and stalking your ex is a mixed bag so you should be prepared. More pertinent to today is that people have some feelings about Valentine’s Day.

So many feelings.

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In the last 24 hours I’ve seen some pretty combative hashtags, hoping that my #celebratelove friend wouldn’t go head to head with my #corporateholidaybullshit friend. It’s been tense.

I love Valentine’s Day. And I don’t care what you think. I love for the holiday it wants to be, and I love it for the holiday it almost is. I love it.

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When I was a kid I used to get up on Valentine’s Day and find a card from my mom. I shared candy and flowers with my friends all day. And when my dad got home from work he brought potted flowers for my mom and me. Valentine’s Day was about showing love for everyone.

Is it a corporate holiday? Sure, probably. I’m not going to yell at you about St. Valentine and the fact that this wasn’t a random greeting card holiday because Hallmark and Cartier makes billions so sure its corporate.

But you know what else has gotten pretty corporate? Everything. Welcome to capitalism. But whether or not there are bobble heads and chocolates* to celebrate a holiday doesn’t determine its significance.

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No matter what you do today; staying in or going out, single or not single, presents or no presents, just remember all the people you love and all the people who love you. That, my friends, is a long list of people and a lot of non-corporate love to consider.

Also, there’s discount chocolate everywhere.

Best of luck.

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*chocolate bobble heads? Mmmm…

15 Things that Happened in 2015

I apologize for the lag in posts, I am finally packing myself up, moving myself out of Seattle, and moving myself in to New York City on Friday, so time and motivation have been lacking. I promise you’ll get a play-by-play of the adventure soon.

Until then here are 15 things that happened in 2015:

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I got into all three grad schools 

At the end of 2014/beginning of 2015, I applied for Masters in Education programs at Columbia University – Teachers College, University of Wisconsin, and the Evergreen State College. I crossed my fingers that I would get in to one, while planning to apply for more schools if I didn’t get in to any.

I got in to all of them.

Said I love you and moved in with Boyfriend

I got my electronic admissions letter from Columbia, my top choice, on a Tuesday and waited until I’d gotten to Boyfriend’s house to open it. Before I could bring myself to open the letter, I turned to Boyfriend and told him I love him, because I needed him to know that before grad school shook our whole world up.

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We moved in together several months later and now he’s casually running away to NYC with me.

Started this blog

Got an IUD

Went blonde for real

It was a brassy, brassy struggle, but eventually it happened.

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Figured out eyebrows

Became the boss and hated it

Deferred grad school

After much deliberation and a Skype conversation with the program director, I decided to push my start date from May 2015 to January 2016. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made but I needed time with Boyfriend and my family, I needed time to just live for a little while. I couldn’t be happier that I waited, I’m beyond ready now.

Went hiking

Got fired

After months of drama and unhappiness sponsored by the world’s biggest ass-hat of a boss, I was let go. I was not given a reason, I was paid incorrectly on my last paycheck, and I was gossiped about after I left. And still, it was such a perfect thing to have happen.

Getting fired felt like the universe finally saying ok, no more, you can’t be this unhappy anymore. After a four-day weekend, I started my new job and I feel like it saved my life. No more late night phone calls to cover, no more passive aggressive emails from previously mentioned douche waffle and no more emergency clinic visits because of “stress induced IBS.”

Sometimes the universe says “GTFO” and you best listen when it does.

Got a new job

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Lost a friend

A friendship crashed and burned this year that I knew was falling apart but didn’t want to let go of. It hurt like hell but I’m so much happier without the negativity.

To anyone on the fence about a friendship, I fully recommend letting go of anyone who makes you feel selfish for wanting to be heard.

Made wonderful new friends

Spent a holiday with boyfriends family

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Invited boyfriend to join my family for a holiday

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What were some important things that happened to you in 2015?

Best of luck!

 

One Year Anniversary

One year ago I had a tequila-sodden conversation with a lovely human being and went from calling that wonderful human “omg he’s not my boyfriend, shut up” to, simply, “Boyfriend”.

Fishing

In honor of my favorite person, here’s a list of 12 things* I love about him.

  1. When I text him that I’m frustrated, hurt or upset about something, his first response is something to the effect of “I love you and you are a beautiful, smart, strong person” and then a response to the issue at hand.
  2. He supports me in all my crazy dreams.
  3. When I tell him he’s amazing or wonderful or great he always responds “shut up baby, I know it.”
  4. Despite sharing my social anxiety, he’s always up for weddings, parties, and dinners with me.img_5193
  5. He’s unendingly patient.
  6. I can do or say basically anything in front of him and he still loves me. Even in my stinkiest moments…
  7. He’s a delightful nerd.img_4582
  8. He’s always learning. Being educated because you put years in at school is one thing, but continuing your understanding of the world through articles, books, and documentaries is something else. And boy, does Boyfriend ever love his documentaries.
  9. He’s polite and always respectful. Of me, of my loved ones, of his loved ones, of strangers, etc.image3
  10. When I refer to “the rest of our life together” or “forever” he doesn’t get weirded out. Also, when I get over excited at a friend’s wedding and mention our wedding, he doesn’t get freaked out.
  11. He genuinely cares about others. Boyfriend is that guy who holds the door open, and offers people help, and worries about loved ones.img_5131-1
  12. I aspire to be like him. As I get older I realize the value of loved ones not only loving you, but also challenging you. I want to learn from the people I surround myself with, and Boyfriend teaches me every day.

Best of luck.

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*I considering writing 365 things and could have done it but you would have gotten bored