Becoming an Alpha

As I journey further into the deep dark cave of adulthood, every day seems to be an exercise in struggle, confusion, and second-guessing. I have tended to shrink away from the unknown, waiting for someone else to go first down the new path. In times of conflict I’ve tended to shrink away from the fight. In fear of sounding self-obsessed, I’ve tended to shrink away from announcing good news or congratulating myself on a job well done.


I have made myself a beta.* Oh and don’t be fooled, I had logical reasoning: I’m an introvert. I’m moderately shy. I dislike conflict.

But I’m coming to realize that none of those things have anything to do with me becoming an alpha. I can be a powerful and unwavering, shy, introverted pacifist. I can be the wind and the leaf.

A couple of weeks ago I officially accepted a job as a High School history teacher in Brooklyn. I was one of the first in my department and it’s a school I’m in love with. A week later I was offered a job at another school and even after I turned it down, they continued to fight for me. I honestly believed that both of these were somehow wrong, not for me, how could anyone push so hard for me?


I was afraid to tell people. I hesitated. I was scared it would make me seem conceited. What happened instead was that my colleagues, friends, family, and classmates were purely joyous for me and the stress that lifted off of my shoulders has allowed me to help those around me in their struggles.

It took a while but eventually, I defied what I believed about my abilities. I didn’t think I would be able to find a job at all; that I would be the only fellow in history to fail to find a job by fall. But that didn’t happen. I got a job, just like I got into grad school and pulled straight As first semester, just like I did Peace Corps, because I am an alpha. I just had to believe it.


I felt powerful in that moment. I felt big, and for once that wasn’t a negative. I was this force, and I still am. I don’t want to hide anymore, behind fear and logical reasoning (coughexcusescough) and worry.

I will stand, big and tall over my fears, and be an alpha.

Best of luck.


*Not the fish, please don’t be concerned that I’ve climbed into fishbowls and hidden in the dorms of college freshmen. I haven’t lost it yet.

Motivation Monday: Adventure

When was the last time you did something for the first time- (1)

Adventure scares the hell out of me.

It is, by nature, the exact opposite of me curling up in my comfort zone and ignoring the world. Adventure is inviting the world in.

I can’t think of a single adventure I regret. Even the ones that turned out badly taught me enough to avoid regret. So I know adventures are good. And still I hesitate every time.

Let me explain it this way: one time I went bungee jumping…

During Peace Corps, I took a vacation to Lima with my awesome pal, Jeannie. One day we found a company who did bungee jumping off of a bridge in the mountains and signed up. The next morning we got up early and rode on an old bus through curving hills while I tried not to vomit due to car sickness.

The entire ride up I was calm. Am I going to jump off a bridge? Hell Yes I am! When we arrived, I stepped out of the car, listened to instructions, put on my harness and helmet. I felt good. Am I going to kick gravity’s ass? Hell yes I am!



We took photos and waited for the gear to be checked and rechecked. We walked out onto the bridge and lined up. I watched the first person jump, flying downward with grace and giggling all the way. I turned to Jeannie and simply said “nope, can’t do that.”

Am I going to plummet from the edge of oblivion? Hell no, are you kidding me!


We had to option to jump or be thrown and let’s just say I had to be thrown.

I’ve had to either be thrown or throw myself into most new adventures, because damn it if I’m not a big old chicken. But the thing about adventures is; it doesn’t matter how much you kick and scream before you do it, it only matters that you did it.


What was your latest adventure?


Best of luck.

Lessons Adulthood Taught Me

I’ve learned a lot of things in my adult life; how to apply for (and actually get) jobs, how to BS my way through classes, and sometimes learn, how to parallel park. It’s been a journey. It’s what this blog’s all about.

Here are a few lessons that have recently jumped out at me from their hiding places in my brain.


When trying to decide if you should buy something, walk away for a while, distract yourself with something else for a few minutes, hours, days. If you still want it, go for it.

Men’s shirts button the opposite way from women’s shirts.

It’s always a good idea to keep important items in your purse and/or car. I keep febreeze, tweezers, floss, deodorant, chapstick and (my favorite) a snack, usually nuts or granola, in my car. I have used all of it several times.


Boiling water can get candle wax out of fabric. Just dip the garment in the water in 15-20 second intervals until all traces are gone.

Rarely is it a good idea to completely wash something out of your life. Harsh cleansers pull all of the good oils out of skin, traditional shampoos do the same for hair, forever gut cleansing without a single french fry can hurt your soul, and cutting out a loved one entirely is a bold move, that should be given proper thought.

The general idea that money doesn’t matter is solid. However, money is always going to be needed in exchange for goods and services. So, hope to win the lottery  or marry rich all you want but maybe also have a backup plan in case you don’t.


The amount that virginity matters depends on the virginity holder. No one else.

If you are worried about health issues, WebMD will destroy you. Go to a doctor, ask the professional. Because chances are it’s not cancer but even if it is, I’d want to hear it from the doctor, not Dr. MacBook.

Try not to hurt the people who always love you. Try not to love the people who always hurt you.

If you dislike something and need a situation to change, talk to the person/people who can change it. Have I ever been passive aggressive? Absolutely not. Ok maybe a few hundred times. But, as I get older, I feel more and more like there ain’t no time for that sh**.


Best of luck!

Patience for Dummies

A Moment of Patience in a Moment of Anger Saves You a Hundred Moments of Regret (1)

I have a temper.

A road raged, frustrated on hold with customer service, heart banging, head pounding sort of temper. A making up entirely new curse words, throwing things, biting my tongue to avoid a yelling match sort of temper. A kaboom, bam, pow, did I just tear my own hair out for betraying me, sort of temper.

I’d like to think I’ve gotten better over the years, but I’ve got a long way to go. I suppose it’s all about pausing to breathe and thinking about your words and actions before saying them, rather than seeing red for a while and coming back to a list of apologies to make.

Anyone else out there have a hot temper (or know someone with one)?