exhaustion.

Things in my life are sort of falling into place this year.

I bought a condo, guys. It’s the most adult thing I’ve ever done in my life! And I also discovered that inspiring podcasts will almost completely make my road rage go away.

I also learned that being a first year teacher is extremely lonely. When you finally are free to hang out with people, it’s not like you have anyone to hang out with, since you are usually covered up to your ears in exams you have to grade. So you usually just end up settling for another night in on the couch with your cats.

Thank god for my cats. Now that I am (finally) living alone, for the first time in my life, I think I would go crazy if it weren’t for them. Usually, they both greet me at the door when I get home from work. My younger one doesn’t like it when I leave in the morning and often will try to follow me out the door. At least they make me laugh. Everyone should have a pet. They are therapy.

But what all the yoga classes, trying to go to bed early, foot baths, and kitten therapy can’t cure is this weird permanent exhaustion that I’ve been feeling lately. The time change was pretty recent, and that week when it happened, I was a total and complete mess. I feel as though I haven’t recovered from it yet.

Is it normal to feel totally exhausted when you get home from work and then just spend hours aimlessly scrolling through the internet or social media websites? Is it normal to be so forgetful that you remind yourself to do something and then you don’t do it until like a week later when you finally actually remember? Is it normal to feel like you are losing your mind a little bit at a time? Is it normal to hit snooze 500 times every morning?

How do people stop hitting snooze? I want to do research on it but I am afraid I’ll get dragged into scrolling through 100 more websites and finally realize it’s like 1 am and I have totally wasted my entire afternoon/night on the internet. I want to know how to heal myself completely. I really do want to know how to stop hitting snooze and feeling so damn tired all of the time.

HALP.

That is all….

***

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skin.

You should get better at being in your own skin, they say. You should be comfortable spending time alone. What if you despise the skin your in, can’t stand to be alone with yourself for another minute?

What if your skin is old and tired and in need of something new?

Your skin makes you uncomfortable because it’s the only thing, besides work, that you get to be around.

You spend time with other people, but its fleeting. When you’re around others, nine times out of ten you’d like to be alone. When you’re alone, you’re craving being with others, feeling so stuck, so desperate to escape.

There are deep scars on your skin. Wounds that may never heal. Time can’t even begin to heal them, even though that’s the only recommendation people can make when you wonder how on earth it’s ever going to get better.

Time heals squat. Time doesn’t have any sort of power other than it makes you forget some of the stuff that they did. You’ll never forget all of it. You never will forget trusting someone with your heart and soul and how they let you down. You’ll never forgive yourself completely for putting your trust into someone else. Let’s face it, sometimes the only person you can trust is yourself, and sometimes you can’t even trust yourself.

Sometimes your skin is all you have, and someone telling you to figure out a way to enjoy it is like stabbing you repeatedly in the heart, and then ripping off a piece of skin, one layer at a time.

No it’s not okay to be lonely, they tell you. It’s not okay to be depressed or anxious, they tell you. It’s not okay to crave travel when all you do is sit at home by yourself, they tell you. Learn how to enjoy your alone time.

I tell you that it’s okay to tell them to fuck off. It’s okay for you to stand up for yourself and tell them that you’re depressed, that you have anxiety, that you don’t know what the hell is wrong with you. You can tell them that the problem isn’t that you need to enjoy your own company. It’s okay to be lonely and desperate. It’s okay to feel completely and totally lost. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s not okay to feel what you feel. To make you feel like there’s something wrong with you.

Don’t ever forget that you are you and that’s a wonderful thing. You are amazing just as you are. You will move mountains, when you are ready. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You don’t even have to feel comfortable in your own skin yet. You will someday.

***

inspiration.

When I was moving into my new condo, my mom brought by my yearbooks from elementary school. Now, I didn’t even remember that these existed let alone that we had kept them all these years. I guess that the hoarding gene paid off this time.

You’d think that something like that would make me happy; you’d be completely wrong. Instead, looking through those yearbooks made me incredibly sad. I saw people in the yearbooks that I don’t even remember, their existence completely erased from my memory. Then I saw people, people who were once friends, that I never kept in touch with when we moved away. And I wished that I had. My early childhood was before Facebook, before any social media made it so easy to connect with people. I was a naive ten-year-old, not realizing how sad it would make me feel as a 29-year-old adult that I had lost touch with so many people.

I wondered what happened to my 4th grade teacher. She was awesome. But the school where she once taught us is now closed. Did her and her new husband (well, new at the time) have any kids? Is she still a teacher? She’d be pretty close to retiring by now, I’d think. I wonder where my 2nd/3rd grade teacher ended up. She was definitely near her retirement age at the time. I think of how when my great aunts died their past students had come to their funerals. I wish I had the information to find these wonderful teachers I once had.

I try to find the boy that I once loved. Does he remember me? Do the girls that I went to sleepovers remember me?

Sometimes I feel like I barely remember my childhood, some of those memories are lost forever. In general, even as an adult, I feel like a lost soul.

I am a homeowner now. I finally crossed that huge milestone before I turned 30. I don’t have to wash the dishes right away if I don’t want to. I can grade my students’ exams from the comfort of my own couch, nobody in my way or turning on the news.

And yet, I don’t feel quite at peace like I had hoped.

I went to yoga class tonight, hoping it would help me relax. Instead, all I could think about whenever she said “be present” was that I was totally distracted. They tell you just to acknowledge it but I realized that I am distracted all of the time.

I am distracted by what other people have, by what I want, by my past memories that won’t go away, by the hurt that is still inside of my soul. I am haunted by what could have been and the opportunities that I lost along the way. I am distracted by the fact that I am not writing more, that I am not taking advantage of all of this alone time to work on my goals and do more self care. I am distracted by the fact that I am mentally exhausted so much of the time, and I still don’t know why.

I am distracted by the fact that people who’ve hurt me are still in my brain, almost as if they are laughing at me, beckoning me with their ghostly fingers that they still have a hold of a part of my soul. This pain envelopes me, preventing me from enjoying my new-found freedom.

This week, it has been excruciatingly painful to get out of bed in the morning. It wasn’t like that a few weeks ago, it was finally getting better.

So as I am sitting on my yoga mat tonight I began to think. I guess distraction can be a good thing if it starts to lead to productivity. I began to think how something still feels missing, despite all that I already have and have accomplished.

I think what’s missing is inspiration. Maybe the point in my life I am at right now is a stepping stone, maybe I am where I am supposed to be. I have no idea. Maybe it’s this frigidly cold weather and I will slowly get better as the sun comes out more. Maybe I need to stop worrying about the future so much and just try to find something that inspires me to get out of my lazy habits, out of my own damn self.

The trick is to find this inspiration. I think it’s out there, smiling at me, ready to push my demons aside for me. I think when I am actually ready, inspiration will come along and make the possibilities of my journey seem more clear to me. I just need that inspiration to make up its mind and come along. I am ready for it, as ready as I’ll ever be.

Inspiration, come at me bro.

***

thanks.

I have a lot to thank you for. Because of you, I am in a much better place than I have ever been. Since you left, I have been able to move mountains. BIG ones.

Thanks to you, I have now owned my own condo for a month.

Thanks to you, I worked harder than I ever have, despite insurmountable anxiety, a devastated and completely broken heart, and not believing in myself, and I finally have my dream job.

Thanks to you, I didn’t get the apartment in Boston I wanted, because it was too close for comfort, and I moved into my parents’ basement for over a year.

Thanks to you, I found the energy to eventually save the $10,000 I needed for the down payment for my new home.

Thanks to you, I finally reconnected with yoga again.

Thanks to you, I left my dead-end job and started my career.

Thanks to you, I experienced months of barely being able to get out of bed and go to work, but I still went to work despite what you did.

Thanks to you, I applied to 7 jobs a day in the summer and refused to get stuck.

Thanks to you, I reconnected with high school friends I hadn’t seen in years.

Thanks to you, I finally had a real date to a wedding. (not you!)

Thanks to you, I realized I am stronger and more important than you could ever make me feel.

Thanks to you, I found podcasts and books that have actually changed my life.

Thanks to you, I’ve slowly started writing again.

Thanks to you, I got irreplaceable extra time with my family.

Thanks to you, I have a real man in my life. One who buys me dinner. One who treats me equally yet opens doors for me. One who tells me how beautiful I am, randomly. One who is immensely supportive of me and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. One who encouraged me to get my dream job and my own house. One who is better to me and more supportive of me than you ever were.

Thanks to you, I’m finally well on the road to recovery.

***

moody.

Lately, I’ve just been getting into these dark moods. Sometimes they last a few hours, sometimes they last all day. All I know is I feel like I’m really stuck. It feels impossible right now.

I feel lonely but then I don’t feel like being around people. I feel like I love my job but I hate my job. I feel like I’m always messing up.

I keep looking at apartments that I can’t even come close to affording and just pray that a miracle will happen and I will make just a little bit more money so I can afford to move out of my parents’ basement. I feel like a failure. I feel like what was the point of going to grad school and getting a teaching job, just like I wanted, because now I’m covered in graduate debt.

I wanted to move to Boston but I didn’t want to be stuck in my parents’ basement…. I wanted to be a teacher but I wanted to have enough money to support myself… If I get an apartment, with how expensive the rent is, I won’t be able to.

I literally have to choose between my freedom or having enough money for food, and it’s driving me nuts. Nobody should have to do this that works hard at a full-time job and has a masters degree.

Sometimes achieving your dreams is still painful… I guess this is the price I pay for going back to school.

It’s so frustrating.

awareness.

I think that everyone should think about this before they speak because sometimes it hurts. In a world where it seems like everyone is all coupled up, us single people generally end up taking the hit.

We don’t have a default person to spend weekends with.

We don’t have a partner in crime to go to the grocery store with. We show up to parties alone, having sat around all day waiting for the party to start.

We drive alone to family gatherings and basically any event where we are meant to socialize with other people.

And then it’s especially hard for us single people who don’t have a lot of friends nearby.

And then we reach out to married friends, who happen to live nearby, hoping to connect and always always always end up feeling like shit.

If you’re married and super busy, please don’t complain to your single friends that you are too busy. Like damn. I wish I had real problems to complain about, too. I am not trying to sound mean or full of myself, but nothing cuts deeper than someone who’s happily married, independent, out in the world, not living in their parents’ basement complaining about how being so busy sucks.

Here’s the thing, if you’re happily married and busy like that, you have the ability to say no to people. If you’re the awkward, lonely, single person, then you can say no, but it would only be to your detriment.

You basically sit around waiting on other people to invite you to stuff. Maybe if you were married then it would happen more. It’s bad enough to watch friend after friend find their soulmates, over and over. And then to be made to feel bad about yourself because you don’t have life.

Just be aware of your single friends, married folk. They need TLC that sometimes you overlook. They need to feel like they are part of your life. If you claim someone is your best friend, then don’t make them feel bad about being single because chances are they are already miserable and don’t need your help to make it worse.

If I ever get married, I’m holding myself accountable for this. I want to be that friend that if I ever have my own place again will make sure that no one I care about ever feels alone like I have been feeling lately. I never want anyone I love to sit around and wish they had someone to spend time with. I never want anyone I love to feel so incredibly left out all the time.

I finally had friends to do things with this weekend, and then someone had to complain that they are too busy. I’ve been waiting for months to feel busy. Married people, be aware about your single friend’s feelings. It’s super important.

scream.

Today I am feeling super frustrated. I am frustrated at the amount of tests my students are required to take. I am frustrated that if students are absent, my school expects me to have them miss their recess/lunch time to finish their exams, on a day that is already super long.

I am also frustrated that my school requires us to stay for after school tutoring/helping with parent pick up. I have never seen anything like it, from all the schools I worked at. Students are allowed to come up to our classrooms at 8 am, even though the school day doesn’t start until 8:30. Our contract is 8:00-4:30, which is a really really long day. We get there around 7:30 because we don’t have any morning prep time in our classrooms since students are allowed up so early. Some of the buses are always late so we don’t usually get to start until 8:45.

We then work our butts off doing stuff, and then are required to spend our lunch (which is the kids’ recess and lunch) with them making up tests. We also are required to tutor for 2 days a week and help out at dismissal with the other 3. This means we are being forced to work from 3:50 to 4:30, not doing the things we need to be doing in our classroom. I usually have been staying at work from 7:30 until 6:00 pm because I have no time before or after school to get anything done if I don’t.

This means that it takes me 30 minutes to get to school and over an hour to get home since I hit such bad traffic. I am at my wits end. I usually do about an hour of work after dinner each night. I spend 4+ hours on Saturdays preparing for my lessons for the following week. And this week my supervisor said I need to include more games in my lessons, when I don’t have time to do anything anyways already?

One of the classes I teach has horrible behaviors. One of the classes is talkative, but I am slowly gaining some control (maybe?).

How do I teach 30 kids in two classes? How do I balance my life? I want to go to a yoga class on a weeknight… I don’t see why this is such a problem. I don’t think I am asking for much.

I feel weighed down because I am not making enough money to move out of my parents basement and potentially make the commute easier. I don’t have enough money saved up to buy a condo or something. All I do is work. Is this going to change when I am no longer a first-year teacher?

I graded 120 tests this week. Next week I will grade 60 writing exams. The week after that will be 120 again. When do the kids get a break? When do I get a break? Is all of this testing actually making them successful human beings?!

I am angry at the world today.

weddings.

Man oh man, I know weddings are about the two people getting married and all but I don’t understand all the drama behind them. I guess because I’ve never had one of my own, but I’ve attended a lot and worked even more weddings (from when I was a dj assistant). I know this isn’t about me, but it’s kind of hard not to feel that way.

Let me explain… I have a close friend from college, 11 years to be exact, that I consider one of my best friends, even if we don’t talk that much. Apparently that view is one-sided. I asked months ago if I was invited to his wedding, since I know his bride too, since we all went to college together. He said yes. Except I asked him when I was drunk and then forgot. So sober me asked again and he told me of course!

Don’t tell someone that they’re invited when they are not. It’s tacky and hurtful and downright insulting.

Anyways, time goes by and of course, no invite or word on what’s happening. So I ask again, and he asks for my address… nothing comes in the mail. I don’t think anything of it, thinking it’s maybe a late fall wedding or something.

Then, I get an invite via Facebook to go to the bachelorette party. Then I start getting suspicious that I’m not invited because I haven’t heard a damn thing. So then I ask the girl who’s putting on the bachelorette thing when the wedding is. September 30th. So, not a late fall wedding but less than 2 weeks away.

The GROOM texts me and asks me if I can make it to the bachelorette but doesn’t say anything about the wedding. I’m starting to get super annoyed and confused. They change the date of the bachelorette to TWO DAYS before the wedding. I am still invited. They are sending me messages to see if I can drive down 2 hours away, on a FRIDAY, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING.

Anyways, I asked the groom again if I’m invited. He says that I can probably go to the reception but the ceremony is small and reserved for family and he will let me know. A few more days go by, the wedding is less than a week away, and I still haven’t heard if I am invited to the damn wedding. I text again. No reply. I text the next day, and he finally replies that he has too many family members and there was nothing he could do. My heart breaks into a million pieces and I start sobbing in my car as I am driving home from work (which really isn’t all that safe).

I cried for the fact that someone could do this to another human being. If I say you’re invited to something, especially something as important as my wedding, you’re invited. Unless we have a huge falling out and you sleep with my future husband and stab me in the back or something, you are still invited.

I cried because it made me feel awkward to nag him about being invited to his wedding if I wasn’t wanted there.

I cried because it made me feel like our friendship was over and that I didn’t matter to him (or her).

I cried because it was super awkward to be invited to the bachelorette thing but not the wedding. I also felt that since I hadn’t heard directly from the bride herself that I wasn’t wanted at the bachelorette party either.

I cried because time goes by way too fast sometimes and I just can’t handle it.

So basically, this week hasn’t been my favorite week. I just spent the entire day alone instead of at the wedding of two people who I really care about. I just realized that I probably don’t matter to them as much as they matter to me.

I hate having feelings, guys.

***

PS. I didn’t go to the bachelorette thing. I was feeling too sad and awkward and didn’t want to deal with being uncomfortable and stressed out the whole time. I don’t know if it was the right decision, but it’s what I did.

Typical.

Let me show you a typical scene from a day in my classroom so far….

Mind you, we are just starting week 5, but this is the kind of stuff I have to deal with lately….

We only have 45 minutes to take a rigorous social studies exam on chapter 1. The kids were extremely behind in social studies due to all the chatting and arguing, which was making lessons take super long. I have pushed their exam a week later due to being so behind. Mind you, if the students had been paying attention during social studies… but it doesn’t seem so simple when you are a 9 year old.

The period starts off with one of my students repeatedly banging his fists on his desk because an hour ago some random girl touched him in the hallway and he didn’t like it. Needless to say, he had responded by making some very strange noises at the girl instead of asking for help, making himself look equally guilty. And he’s not just lightly banging, he’s banging so hard that I’m wondering why more kids aren’t furious at him.

My next kid becomes furious… and I mean furious. He begins screaming at me and the other kid. He screams how he needs help and nobody is listening to him when I tell him to be quiet because the other kids need to focus.

Meanwhile, my one kid who’s off his meds right now, and can’t help himself, is rolling around on the floor and talking to himself. Anytime he comes across a new question, he says “I can’t do this” and then proceeds to wander around the classroom until I can corral him back to his desk for another 5 seconds.

My girl who talks out a lot begins to yell at me too, because she is frustrated because everyone is talking. So instead of being quiet, she adds to the noise. Halfway through the test she realizes her yellow pencil sharpener is missing and yells at me across the room that someone stole it (in the middle of half the class still taking their exam)… Then begins to pull all of her stuff out of the desk, loudly, throwing it on the floor and making miserable grunting noises, looking for her missing pencil sharpener.

Meanwhile, another girl who can’t read at all, and needs to have the questions all read to her, is pulling on my sleeve asking when the special ed teacher is going to show up to pull her out. The special ed teacher somehow misses the memo and doesn’t show up for the entire testing period.

Meanwhile, the other kid is still yelling at his desk about how no one will help him, and the other kid is still banging on his desk. I finally get the one kiddo to stop banging on his desk, and then the other kid begins to scream louder and cry. I eventually call the office to ask for an administrator to talk to him because at this point it has been 10+ minutes of listening to his nonsense while the other kids are trying super hard to take their tests.

When I walk away to deal with something, the girl who can’t read gets mad and throws a different kid’s books on the ground and goes to storm out of the room. I call her back to her seat, but now the other kid is crying. I tell her it wasn’t fair to take her anger out on the other kid, make her apologize and then read her the next question on the test. I then go between reading her the next question, checking in on the wandering kid, and answering any of the other million questions from the other kids.

This is what happens when you have 31 kids in a tiny classroom that was an office last year… This is what happens when our school systems aren’t regulated and students aren’t given access to the hands on curriculum that they so desperately need. This is what it looks like when you send 9 year old kids to a school that has a test-based curriculum.

This is what it looks like when you have a first-year teacher trying to give a social studies exam to 31 kids.

Survive.

Well, I did it guys! I survived the first week of my first teaching job EVER! It was very difficult and strenuous, and the temperature was 95 degrees the entire week, but I made it. Here are all the things I managed to do this week…

During my first week of being a teacher ever I…

– made the same kid cry two days in a row
– made myself cry pretty hard
– had to go to urgent care because of a UTI (which symptoms initially I just thought was from all the stress, so, my bad)
– yelled at my kids, even though I am not supposed to
– made a mistake but then blamed the kids, who probably were thinking how their new teacher is an idiot
– made a girl run out of my classroom because I gave her a warning
– got a big, squishy hug on my third day
– correctly sent a kid to the nurse (he had a 99.5 degree fever and she sent him home!)
– kept an explosive kid moderately calm during two days of 45-minute dismissals in 95 degree heat
– was repeatedly followed around my classroom by multiple kids simultaneously, whilst actually trying to teach a lesson
– caused a huge argument by assigning two kids to be the line leader (I had figured they could just take turns but a different kid couldn’t handle it).
– got called “rude” when I told one kid he couldn’t interrupt me in the middle of a lesson
– pulled multiple kids away from my window (because we do have the best view in the whole building but it is super distracting)
– read one class Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing due to having extra time but got behind in the other section
– spent a lot of time talking to my partner teacher instead of actually getting work done
– continuously forgot to tell my kids to label their textbooks and forgot to do it myself
– forgot to give my kids snack :/ (sorry guys)
– survived my first three days of my teaching career!! 🙂

I would say all-in-all, just being able to get through such a hectic week was pretty miraculous. I couldn’t believe how much work teaching 30 kids simultaneously could be, but I somehow made it work…