Being human. 

Today was not the day I was expecting. I walked in expecting to teach a roomful of students who are ready, excited and willing to learn and for the most part they were. But today was one of those days when they were human and I was human. The kind of day that our state and federal legislatures need to witness and get a better grasp at what it is that myself and my fellow teachers face every day. 

The kind of day where kids make mistakes, or worse yet I make mistakes. The learning that took place was the kind that teaches compassion, forgiveness, survival and the kind of skills we all need to exist outside of class. The skills that make us human or in the least make the world seem a little less harsh. But we can’t prep for these lessons as they usually come out of nowhere and you can’t predict when they will start or where they will end. 

And yea it wasn’t perfect and likely won’t warrant an upswing on a state standardize test score. But what it will do is be a memory for them and for me of a day where we had to stop, take a deep breath and get through the next moment. We were human in very real moments that no textbook teaches. Moments that are hard to describe or explain in any sort of manner that gives them the justice of their enormity. 

When you set up a classroom with your inspirational posters, books, expo markers and your daily schedule with date on the board it all seems so easy. That stuff is easy. Even the testing and data is easy. It is the humanness that makes it hard. Some compare it to dancing or playing an instrument and those comparisons aren’t that far off. But they still don’t come close to describing what it is like to be with 20-40 humans in your classroom including yourself and the lack of predictability that exists in that humanness. 

The reality when dealing with humans is you have human moments. The kind where you just sometimes sit in silence and you just let them know that though we are in silence you are not alone. Also teaching them that silence isn’t bad and that sometimes to be human means not trying to understand the silence and just letting it exist. I am adult and I need that exact same reassurance. Sometimes the world seems unnecessarily hard and cruel and in order to survive we have to laugh, or cry or just sit in silence. These moments require very little from us other than just for us to be still and be present and be human. 

MR- On the importance of being human

Advertisements

My Bliss.

“Your bliss is what your supposed to be doing- the thing you’re meant to be do, the thing that nourishes you the most, the thing that harmonizes your inside truth with your outside life, the bringing together of who you are with what you love doing.” ~ Nancy Slonim Aronie 

It is so funny…this was a quote that I read as I was working on my bachelor’s degree from the book, “Writing from the Heart”. My guy and I were broker than broke, but I finished up what would be several classes with a writing professor and she recommended the book to me.

I took everything she said at heart and knew I needed to save for the book, so I did just that and I purchased it. I have dog earred pages and underlines and markers and talking back in the margins from myself.

But when I saw this particular quote that I circled, underlined and highlighted I knew it meant something. It was funny too as I read it because I remember the precise feeling I had when I read it the first time. Specifically, when I read this line….

the thing that harmonizes your inside truth with your outside life”

Gosh, don’t we all need that in our lives? That moment was the moment I decided I would be a writing teacher in a high school setting on my circumstances…not a state dictate, not a university dictate and not in a traditional manner. I had no idea how I would end up there, but I decided then it would happen on my terms. My terms were working on a BA and MA in writing.

cff99f5a82aba7b1a277c1028071d752

This fall I have been trying to place a finger on what is missing. I didn’t know what what missing or even if something was wrong. I just knew life was not feeling entirely right. I chalked it up to new students whom I have never really had. Then I chalked it up to losing my motivation with my fitness & nutrition. Then I thought maybe this is just my fall mood adjusting back to my teacher mode.

Guess what…it was never really all of these, but it was each and everyone. But for me writing is as important to me as my fitness and nutrition, my family, and my students. Balance has always got to be in play.

But my harmonizing my inside truth with my outside life sounds about perfect right now. I haven’t written other than a few measly blog posts and most felt a little whiny to me. I have been working on a novel for years, so I could easily dive back into that. Then my guy and his TN ignited a wish to create awareness via the written word and that worked for awhile. Then my weight loss and fitness journey. That all kept my writing soul nurtured.

But now I sit wordless often at a blank screen wondering where I go. What do I say? I want to write and say things I feel need to be said, but there is fear there. Fear of what that truth out there looks like and I am not ready. I could work on my novel and get lost in those characters. I could just blog more.

Honestly, at this point I am not entirely sure what I am even ready for. It will happen. I know I need to write. I have something to say….I just need to find the words.

Finding my words, MR 

A 3 year dip.

Have you ever heard of the three year dip theory? Don’t laugh at me, but yesterday I was watching Felicity (one of my favorite shows from the 90s and early 2000s) and one of the main characters talked about every three years your life takes a dip. I guess maybe that is where I am. This three year dip is way better than the last because my guy was having surgery and what followed was a year of depression and coping shortfalls. 

I think that is why I have struggled so hard admitting I am struggling because that was honestly the lowest I have ever been in my life and I definitely don’t feel like that. I think what happened is my work life balance is seriously displaced. I work too much and need to be more centered with my family. I let my general responsibilities take away my joy from the process and demand I placed on loving myself. I lost my footing on the balance and now I am just trying to regain it. 

What happened in that is I lost my way. I put all of my responsibilities ahead of myself. My REVOLUTION (less of me) fell by the way side and I know very well the consequences of putting myself aside means I can’t take care of those I love as good as I should. But the guilt is overwhelming on what I am pushing aside to take care of me. I just need a brain shift to the benefits of taking care of myself an how it allows me to take care of my people. 

What you saw in my vlog yesterday was that coming to a point. I recognized it and I spoke it. I am telling you right fitness and nutrition is so mental. Your head space has to be clear and I can tell you that I am addicted to caffeine in the worst way again. I have been struggling with digestive issues and stomach pain again. I hate taking the time to workout despite continuing to do it. All signs that I have placed myself on the back burner. 

I am not exactly sure how I got here again…but I am there. I am on a precipice of a health failure or success because of where I am at. I have got to trim down the caffeine, find my passion for exercise again so it doesn’t feel like such a chore and find a way to love the process instead of constantly looking for gains and losses. I am focused on the wrong parts and want to skip the process when I know damn well the process can’t be skipped. Loving the process is loving myself. 

If I don’t do these things, I run the risk of losing myself again. I can’t and won’t. I have worked too long and too hard. I just need to remember grace. Giving myself grace and finding grace and being patient gracefully. I may be busy with my family and my job, but that doesn’t mean I need to be last. Ever. I just need to keep reminding myself of this. 

Less of me or, MY REVOLUTION, never started as a race to see a number on a scale or looking perfect. I am afraid somewhere along the way I lost that. It was about love winning and loving the time I gave myself. I started it slow and with purpose and I didn’t weigh myself down with the particulars of the process. I just felt it and went through it and tried to love myself through it. One day I must have stopped and became tired, so I grabbed for another cup of coffee and another and then I convinced myself that my house chores or grading were more important than what I put in my mouth and I rushed through my workout. 

That is a damn dangerous game to play with my health. I know it is and I know where my addictions lie. They lie in calories, carbs, and caffeine. All of the things that in moderation are fine, but in stress and excuse run the risk of changing my best destination. So I am sitting here hoping that my revelation yesterday is a new starting point AGAIN. I don’t want to be setting lofty goals that I can’t reach. I want to show up for me AGAIN. I want to admit I am there AGAIN and in desperate need of loving myself AGAIN

Here AGAIN. -MR

I really don’t know everything.

8a9cdb7ef0b2f9ce2cf0bc14af787914

Can I tell you I learn every year the importance of being authentic with your students. True to yourself. Some may call it vulnerable. I know there are teachers who have taught for years in the don’t smile till December mode and that is great. I don’t judge them. Teaching like parenting for me is don’t judge it because we are all in the trenches trying to figure out what works for us.

But for me it is to be truly, authentically myself. That means if I feel silly that day and I sing and dance in front of the class I will. That also means I have grumpy days, my feelings get hurt and I don’t feel well and above all education for me is a gateway to who I am and truly long to be. It always has been and always will be.

In my speech class I model a lot. I don’t mean my latest clothing styles. I mean I publicly speak. I purposefully place myself into situations where I also become the student. This is my third year teaching dual credit speech and it was to be my third year modeling the same advocacy speech about TN. And yes much advocating needs to be done where TN is concerned…but my speech was tired and easy. Guess what…that isn’t modeling if you are comfortable. I changed it to a completely different topic and that was advocating for taking care of our Hoosier teenagers. I made it relevant by connecting it the Semi-colon Project.

However, I advocated that we wouldn’t have to talk about suicide, poverty and mental illness near as much if we [Adults] found better ways to listen and support our youth. I identified the issues as I see them in my home, my classroom and in relation to my own teen years.  For this speech building up your ethos is paramount and the must have part of the speech. Speak what you know so to speak.

And in my world I know it means a lot when my voice shakes, my eyes go to the floor, a lump in my throat appears. I have two sections this semester and I delivered it to one and I nearly had a panic attack. I started the speech and stopped and admitted in front of them I was so nervous. What a great learning moment that was for all of us. They begin reminding me of nerve lessening methods. I started and stopped a few times and each time was met with so much support. I took their criticism and admitted I would have given my own speech a D. Not an F because I got up there and did it and made it through. But a D. A you didn’t get it at all, but you tried grade.

But the way I felt when it was over was gross. I had the icky feeling of teaching things that are too personal. You know like why I can’t and won’t and refuse to ever teach Jane Eyre. This book is so personal and was such a life line to me in a time in my life when I needed a character like Jane Eyre. It is personal because it matters. It MATTERS BIG!!! I had no idea this would be my reaction, but then I realized it was a revelation of my childhood dreams of being a supportive and loving mother, a teacher, a leader in my community and my very reason for standing in front of a classroom full of teenagers. It truly doesn’t get more personal than that. At least not for me. I imagine the feeling I had is akin to one of those don’t smile till December teachers actually smiling in November and thinking, “Aww crap…I lost them. They know I can smile.”

The feeling though scared me out of repeating the speech for my second section. At least until a little more than two weeks later. I needed time and distance and I needed to admit I had a severe shortfall on this speech because I chose something too personal and something that mattered too much. I used it as a teaching moment and talked about why I couldn’t repeat it till that day. It was stigma, the lack of support, the fear of judgement and their own expectations of me. But I like students to see me like they see themselves and that is as a learner.

The second delivery still skirted on the overly raw emotion and a massive case of the stage frights. But they got to witness me manage my speech and I imagine they felt a little more ease at knowing they aren’t alone. And if they didn’t that is okay…What I truly hope they picked up from the speech is it is okay to be who you are even when it is scary.

Because yes I was scared, but guess what I did it and I survived. No tears shed and they know a little more about why I do what I do. And I would easily give myself an A- or B+. So yes my students see me smile. They see me mad. They see me care. They see me cry. In fact, I am quite known for crying when students deliver big on goals I set for them. In fact, I think we were the second week in and a junior whom I had only ever had those two weeks asked me, “Why do you cry so much?” I thought for a minute and quietly said, “Because it matters.”

So yes readers…it matters. The things we do in the world matter even if you aren’t doing it in front of a classroom full of teenagers. Your kids are watching. Your partners are watching. Your friends are watching and your enemies are watching. Show them it matters every single day by being you.

I am okay with not knowing everything and being the student. -MR

Less of Me is All Mental

I made a proclamation in September of what I am shooting for and if I am honest I failed myself and you. I wanted to get down another handful of pounds. And I think I still do. But I kind of don’t or can’t or won’t. That is just kinda where my head is at.

I suppose everyone goes through this phase, but it sucks. I always and forever hate what I meoctober1see looking back in the mirror at me. No matter the amount of mental work I put in I can’t ever seem happy with what looks back at me.

I overthink comments made to me or the looks that people give me. Truthfully, I haven’t gained any weight. It fluctuates between 1-2 lbs gain or loss which I know is water, but because I am not making huge losses like I did a year or so ago I feel gross and fat. And I hate that.

I see pictures of myself and I just feel like a failure. I get into a perpetual state of working out and disappointed because my extensive workouts don’t garner 10lbs weight losses every week. I know for me this is dangerous territory because eventually what happens is “Can’t beat em’ Join em’.” That means a slippery slope filled with unnecessary calories and food that isn’t good for my mind or body.

There have certainly been an occasional slip or two which immediately sends me to the scale as if a starbucks coffee loaded with sugars and chemicals will make me gain 10lbs in 2 hours.

Why this is all alarming to me is something happened to me. I fell out of love with the process. Somewhere my focus has shifted from the day to day to the end goal despite my knowing that we don’t get there all in one day the same way we won’t gain or lose all in one meal.

I am just not sure how to proceed. I want to lose a little more. But I gotta find a way to handle the process mentally, so it isn’t a chore. I work out daily with one rest day. But I usually moan, groan and complain through it. I am glad when it is over. I get easily bored with my go-to foods.

img_2862Those two things combined make it just feel like another bullet on my to do list. It can’t be that to get where I want to be. I knew getting here and moving past it or maintaining would likely be the hardest part because I am forced to look in the mirror and love what I see without the changes being so drastic and obvious. The work now is on the inside to change the outside.

But for some reason. I can’t. I am not ready or I am not willing and truthfully I am not even sure where it is my head is at when it comes to it all. Running would be my way to work through it, but I am a fair weather runner. I hate running in the cold. Which really just serves as an excuse. And do you want another….I can go to the gym and run on the treadmill, but wahhhhh it is boring. Excuse. Excuse. Excuse. See my problem.

Where oh where did my love for the process go? I gotta find it and find a way to be okay with what I see looking back at me. In this picture all I see is all the stuff I still need to work on. Sad thing is I know no matter how much others tell me the changes are there, they see them…I have to see them myself.

Losing Weight Sucks. Once overweight…I feel like you are always overweight.

This sucks. – MR

I am the face. 

Today is National pregnancy & infancy loss awareness loss day. I am the face of this sad and terrible loss. My guy and I lost a baby sadly between #1 and #2. We both were so eager for our second one that we tried for five months and nothing. Doc told us it was normal to and relax.

In a strange twist of a blood test I showed up pregnant when I thought I couldn’t be.  From the moment of the positive test I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be okay. I shared that concern with the doctor so I had a follow up blood test that confirmed my fears.

I decided to go through the loss at home naturally with medicinal or medical intervention. We were both devastated. My innocence of the careless pregnancy I had with #1 would never happen again. You don’t get reasons why and no one wants to talk about it. The doctor told us to wait 6 weeks before trying again.

God had other plans though. I was pregnant four weeks later. My due date with our lost baby was June 3rd and my #2 was born June 25th. She was and is our rainbow baby. The term didn’t exist that I knew of back then, but she was our sign of hope. Her middle name Faith to commemorate the Faith we had in our future.

Pregnancy loss happens so much more than we acknowledge and it shouldn’t be treated with shame and silence. I had as many hopes, dreams and future plans for that small baby as I do my girls. We did name the baby with our A name and we bring the baby up on occasion. I won’t ever forget.

Time to stop saying, ” It will be okay.” 

In my experience of this world I know fear is a great motivator. It creates an adrenaline burst and motivates forward movement. But sometimes it is also meant for us to take a pause and make a change. 

The last two weeks of multiple global amber alerts, mothers taking their babies to the park and then taking their lives, clowns, violent recorded for social media shootings, politicial scandal. Good versus bad and bad versus good. Another school shooting, a call to a grandparent that he couldn’t take it anymore, so he killed his dad. Guns and violence. Sex scandal and lies. 

Then email after email in my inbox of my daughters Istep results. Her NWEA scores. Points in the grade book based on RIT scores. BOY. MOY. EOY. This score decides your future. Decide what you want to do with yourself at 7. The college you like, a goal for your PSAT. 

My goodness make it all stop. Why do we adults keep saying this is all okay? Am I the only adult left sitting in shock with each one of these earthly revelations? The emails to my daughter that include me talking to her about RIT scores? Are you kidding me? Hell yes I am jolted. Hell yes I am mad. And I know what these words mean. What a crappy assumption for a parent who is struggling just to get home in time from work to hug their kid. 

And why are we not up in arms when another child dies in a school shooting? For real, is our society so far gone at this point that a young elementary school boy is shot while on recess and dies and you barely even acknowledge it? And video after video after video after video after video after video and still it happens over and over? And over. 

The culture that makes me teach my daughters how to defend themselves and be aware of their surroundings. In a movie where we plan our escape. That same culture that attacks our first female presidential candidate about the way she looks and acts and in the same manner is disgusted that we have a candidate that thinks women are there for the taking. A reward for hard work or money supposedly earned.

None of this okay. We have to stop saying it is. I could put them in a bubble and protect them. Or I can teach them how to mauever this strange place responsibily. All the while hoping they never become so oblivious to the world around them that these things don’t shock them they dismiss them as okay. None of this okay.