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.


Relationships Are Like…

People are strange. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, just when you’ve read a really poignant article (or blog) about human nature and interactions, they do something unexpected.

I should say ‘we’ as I am including myself in this, don’t worry, I know I’m strange too.

As my 25 day blogging hiatus and enrollment in grad school have shown, I am living in a very high stress world, around a lot of very high stress people. Reactions are immediate and drama builds like forest fire. Fights that might take weeks to come to a head in normal life, turn into explosions in hours.


All of this has made me really consider friendships, relationships, and timing.

Time is such a strange thing. As a kid, I planned out my life many, many times and it always left room for me to fall in love, date that person for a few years, marry them, wait a few more years and then have children. Time was very important. More time meant a greater possibility that everything would work out. Relationship timing was like expensive whiskey, the more I let it age, the better it would be.

Friendships felt the same way; the longer I’d known someone, the stronger our friendship. Putting ‘one of my oldest friends’ or ‘who I’ve known since elementary school’ into a description of a friend felt like the ultimate achievement. As though in telling you I’ve known them since childhood I was telling you something about the quality our of friendship. Adulthood has found it hilarious to slap me in the face one that one, with old friendships crashing and burning because of opposite growth. But, it’s also thrown me a lot of great new friends who I grew with and loved faster than I’d expected.

The thing I’m getting at is: nothing is whiskey. Well, whiskey is whiskey…really, it’s that relationships are not whiskey.

Relationships are more like baked goods, each with their own unique recipe, oven and ingredients, each needing it’s own time to cook. Some come together in minutes and others take years, but there is no one equation.

Except…they also keep growing and evolving, so maybe they aren’t baked goods…they’re more like…people. Connections between people to be more specific, what’s the word for that? Oh, relationships…

Relationships are like…relationships.


What Happens When Your Soul Sister Visits

This weekend I’m lucky enough to have the love of my life visit me: BFF Jess. Don’t worry Boyfriend knows his place: directly behind my Jess. He’s cool with it.

In honor of this spectacular event, here are the stages of what happens when your soul sister visits.

Stage 1: The Planning


Everyone tells their friends they should visit, everyone makes superficial plans for a “one day” visit, but the real planning typically starts with a text.

“What does May look like for you?”

This is where the timing and the plane tickets and the time off work come into play. This is real.

Stage 2: The Countdown


Typically starting casually, this stage causes all conversations to end with a mention of the impending excitement.

“You’re going to be here in nine and a half months/two months/one week/TOMORROW”

For BFF Jess and I this usually comes to a peek the week of the visit, when we relentlessly annoy our friend by posting photos of us on Facebook and reminding the world that THIS IS HAPPENING SO SOON.

Stage 3: The Reunion





I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I’m off to forget I’m a grad student and an adult for a weekend of adventure with the greatest human I know.

Crazy Faces

Best of luck.

What Happens When Your Soul Sister Visits

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.


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.


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.


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.


*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.

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.

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.


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.


*chocolate bobble heads? Mmmm…

Thanksgiving in Photos

This past weekend I had the enormous honor of spending Thanksgiving with Boyfriend’s family for the first time. I’ll post more about family, relationships and a sense of welcome later this week, but for now here are the photos.

We spent a few days wandering on the beach, hanging out with family, hiking around the Southern Washington coast, exploring lighthouses and old bunkers, running away to Oregon for a second, enjoying the sunset, eating too much and just relaxing.


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10 Things Teaching Special Ed Taught Me

For a couple of months I’ve been subbing as a Special Eductaion Instructional Aid. Every assignment is different but I tend to spend time working with students with a range of special needs, from language issues, to physical needs, to behavioral concerns, it’s always an adventure. 

After spending my first days in a high school Special Ed classroom this week, I thought it might be time to share what I’ve learned from my students.


Comparison is not fair (ison)

Someone is always going to be better than you at something, you cannot be the best at everything. The good news is, you’re really good at some things and you can get better at others. The goal should always be to keep improving, not to compete with someone else’s abilities. Those are their abilities, you have your own.

Sometimes you need to yell or cry or run around


Sometimes sh** goes down and you need to just let yourself react. It might take a pillow scream or jumping around or crying it out and that’s ok. As long as you don’t hurt others, do what you need to.

Take a damn walk

It’s amazing what a walk around the block (or halls) can do for your mood. Removing yourself from a tough situation, taking a breath, getting outside and moving around can solve a lot of inner turmoil. Continue reading