panic.

****

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am in a panic right now. Anxiety is very, very ruthless when there is so much uncertainty in the world.

For starters, before all this coronavirus stuff happened, I was beginning a job search for the fall. I am extremely saddened that I could potentially have to wait another year to make such a big change, and obviously none of that is guaranteed. It would’ve been hard to find a new job, regardless of this pandemic. I feel like because of everything that’s going on, the goal I had set and planned out for myself is totally impossible. Now I am applying to whatever jobs I find, but I am really having no luck.

That being said, I am absolutely terrified about returning to work in the fall, at my current school. The state has said that distancing 3 feet between teachers/students/other students will be fine. My classroom is way too small to have all of the students there and still follow this rule. I usually have around 30 kids per class, and I teach two classes. I am terrified to switch back and forth, and I am not even an electives teacher who would need to travel between many more classes. Kids are germ-y. I love them, but they spread germs like wildfire.

When I got the flu February, the doctor told me NOT to go back to school for a week, and that was only because I braved urgent care.

When I got back to school, several kids told me they had fevers and their parents STILL sent them to school. So I was exposed to possibly getting the flu AGAIN, after missing a week of work! It was very frustrating. Now I know that the flu and coronavirus aren’t exactly the same. I didn’t fear for my life with the flu. I am a pretty healthy adult, with no underlying health conditions. So I bounced back quickly from the flu, with rest and taking care of myself. But I am an adult. I made the decision to not strain myself.

You know there are adults out there who work when they feel sick. I am one of them. I have definitely pushed myself too hard in the past. The scary part is, someone who has coronavirus might not even feel sick! And not everyone gets a fever. So there’s no way to tell if someone has the virus without the actual test, and not everyone can afford that, has access to it, and let’s face it, wants to put them through the torture. Not only that, but tests take time, and by the time you get results, others might have been exposed to the virus.

Kids touch everything. There was a camp, in Missouri or Mississippi, I think, that just reported 82 cases!! Now those kids and staff will go home, infecting their families and friends, when it was totally avoidable. First of all, I don’t understand why they were even allowed to open in the first place! Is summer camp fun and an awesome experience? Absolutely! Is it an essential experience for the kids to have in the middle of a pandemic? NO WAY. Second of all, the parents who made the decision to send their kids there must be feeling very uncomfortable with their decision-making, at least I hope so! Third of all, let me restate that this was totally AVOIDABLE.

All the teachers/staff I have talked to, regardless of where they live and work, are absolutely terrified to go back to work. I need my job. I really do. And I love kids, but I don’t love kids enough to watch any of my students get sick or die. I don’t love it enough for a student to spread germs to a teacher who gets sick or dies. We simply have never had the funding for something like this, or the basic things we need, how is now going to be any different?

I strongly believe that there is no reason to open schools in the fall. I don’t feel that it’s worth risking ONE person’s life, a child, a parent, a staff, a teacher, an administrator, a family member. Nobody’s life is worth the risk. We are all precious human beings who deserve to feel safe when we go back.

Someone made the argument that teachers and students are already at risk with school shootings. That person should be ashamed of themselves. We shouldn’t have to be at risk of any of these things, especially things like pandemics and shootings, which can be avoided if the right protections are put in place. Our children should not have to feel that school is an unsafe place.

If one parent pulls their kid out of school, then that shows that there is a risk. I know parents are doing that everywhere.

Now, I obviously have mixed feelings about online learning. I don’t know how it is effective for ALL students’ learning in the long-term. Right now is not a time where things are normal. We know it’s a short-term solution. However, if it keeps my students from dying or getting sick, then I am all for it.

These are just some of the things I am feeling as I panic about going back to work in the fall. Please keep our children safe.

****

last.

****

It was the last day with my kids. All I can say is, I am lucky to have been lucky enough to feel this much love, even once. They didn’t want to leave.

We played Kahoot for all of my classes. They love Kahoot, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s something different or they get to compete with each other. They just absolutely love it.

One kid was happy when I said I would miss him so much because he is going to a different school next year. I felt my heart break a little bit, but I was glad he left feeling happy.

Some of the kids were probably too emotional to even say anything and left without saying a word. I’m sure they were deeply sad. Especially with how this school year ended up. I realized we haven’t seen them in 3 months! But summer will only be about 2 months. We are more than halfway. They spent more time not seeing us due to online learning, then there will actually be in total over this summer.

I am going to miss these kids though. It was definitely harder than usual to say goodbye. There was no desk cleanings, no end of the year prizes, no selfies, no class pictures, no extra recess.

It was a lot of “DON’T GO”s and trying to convince them it was time to hang up once and for all. It was getting a surprise poem from that one amazing kid that made me cry. These kids are loved and show me love and for that I am so lucky!

I can’t wait to (hopefully) hug most of them in the future, once all of this fear and worry and disease is behind us!

It will probably hit me in a few days when I don’t actually get to “see” them virtually. Then I’ll probably be super sad. Until then, I will try to hold this loved and happy feeling in my heart for as long as I can.

Have a good summer, my chicken nuggets!

❤ your chicken wing

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proud.

****

I am so proud of my students today. I guess they are now technically 5th graders… It’s crazy to think about how much they’ve grown from the baby 3rd graders they started as at the beginning of the year.

Today I had an awards ceremony for them. Last year, the administration did one, but not every single kid got one. The awards were for behavior, attendance, and grades. I felt that not every kid excels in those areas, especially when I saw some of my kids sobbing because they did not get an award.

This year I wanted to recognize all of them. ESPECIALLY because of the mess they’ve been dealing with in regards to Coronavirus. I was proud of each and every single one of them for being positive and exceptional role models. I think about how when I was in fourth grade if I would have been able to handle this. I mean, we barely had internet back then, so it would have been really different. Over all, I feel like they’ve handled it so well.

I was so proud of them to begin with, but then, I was even more proud of them during and after the ceremony. They were so positive. They clapped and cheered for each other. They said positive things to each other. And they were patient as 58 students got awards all in a row.

They even played soundbites of people clapping and cheering when their hands and voices got tired. It was adorable.

Seeing these kids be such positive role models gives me a little bit of hope for the future. If these kids can be encouraging to each other, despite numerous differences and amidst major challenges, than so can us adults.

I am so proud of them today and enter into the last day of school tomorrow filled with smiles and hopes.

****

messy.

****
This country is a huge mess right now. I mean that in the most loving way possible. I love the United States. I love being an American.

However, what is happening all over our country is NOT OKAY. I hate talking about politics, honestly. I get all red in the face when I try to argue with people who have different views than I do, mostly because I am stubborn and other people are also stubborn.

I tend to identify as a liberal or democrat or whatever you want to call it. I find our current president to be blatantly evil. My students cried when he was elected. They CRIED, worried that their families would be deported, or that they would be stuck here and their parents would be sent away, never to be reunited again.

I’m sorry but presidents are supposed to make this country a BETTER place. I don’t think that he is doing that. We’ve known about coronavirus for how many months now? All I see is the trickle down effects our our fearless leader doing nothing. I see long-time major businesses closing, families who can’t afford to miss work so they are exposing their young children to possible covid germs, I see people afraid of someone who sneezes at the supermarket. I hate to break it to you guys, but it’s allergy season. Even on allergy meds, I am gonna sneeze.

I shouldn’t have to apologize for sneezing, especially when I am careful and sneezing into my elbow. I most likely do not have coronavirus, but you really never know. That’s the scary part. Anyone could be carrying it, not showing symptoms, and you’d be none the wiser.

We are seeing cops killing people. We are seeing people risking their safety just to protest the horrific treatment of the Black community in this country. We see people all over the WORLD protesting it. I am sorry, but NOBODY deserves to die by being suffocated. That’s what murderers do. That’s what cowards do. I don’t want murderers and cowards as my policemen, thank you very much.

We are seeing so many families struggle. We are seeing teachers being fired, when in reality, there are no jobs for them to apply to. They will have to collect unemployment. Guys, the kids aren’t going anywhere. Kids will still need teachers to teach them in the fall. So WHY are we firing teachers? I get it. People didn’t plan for a crisis like this in their budgets, but isn’t it time to work together and give a little leeway? The people who lose their jobs now will most likely have an even more difficult time finding a job for the fall. The struggles will get worse as the educators who are left have to pick up even more slack than ever before because nobody planned correctly for a crisis like this.

My school just told us we won’t be having our pay increase meetings because we don’t know what our funding will look like. The meetings have been postponed. Does that mean that there won’t be any funding? We don’t have any of the answers, at the moment. Our kids, who are still our future, deserve better. They deserve role models who aren’t going to panic in this state of emergency and fire their beloved teachers.

Our kids deserve to see people who don’t judge each other by the color of their skin. Our kids deserve to feel SAFE when they leave their homes because a policeman won’t KILL them in the streets while other people watch. Our kids deserve to not feel like their families will be deported. They did not choose to come here. Our kids do not make these adult decisions, and they shouldn’t have to. Our kids are only the witnesses, and we have failed to protect their innocence and we have failed celebrate their uniqueness.

I don’t think this is a political issue at all. We are failing to protect our kids. We are failing to protect our future. As a nation, we need to do better.

Make better actions. Say kinder words. Spread love. Be a good role model for our future leaders. They are depending on you.

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together.

****

The world is a sad and tumultuous place right now. It’s hard not to be ashamed of all the horrible things us humans have done to each other over the years. It’s hard not to feel completely lost right now.

I see people risking their own safety out in the world to stick up for the rights of others. It’s a hard thing to watch, but I know the people who are doing it for the right reasons truly mean well.

It’s hard to see people complaining that their high school student wasn’t allowed a graduation ceremony, but that people are being allowed to risk their safety to protest. It’s messed up.

It’s messed up because if the world were actually the place it should be, then nobody would have to be risking their lives right now.

If the world were the place it was supposed to be, and we worked together, I doubt this disease would have spread as far and as wide as it has. We wouldn’t have a “president” who promotes fear and hate, but we would have a true leader; one who was willing to work alongside other nations instead of against them.

If the world were the place it was supposed to be, then children wouldn’t have cried when he was elected, fearing that their families would be deported back to horrible situations in the places they had risked their lives to leave.

No six-year-old child should have to watch the world mourn her father who was murdered by someone whose job it is to protect our children.

No child should have to be scared that leaving the house could get them or their family members exposed to a deadly virus.

My heart weeps with all the heartbreak that is going on in this world. I just wish people could work together.

Let’s work together to get rid of the racism that has spread like wildfire, worldwide, for hundreds and maybe thousands of years. Let’s work together to make our children feel loved and supported and that they can become wonderful leaders someday.

Let’s be role models for our children. Let’s work together.

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love.

****

Yesterday I saw the following post from the website Thought Catalog: “This Is Why You’re Afraid Of Love, Based On Your Zodiac Sign” (I absolutely love you guys, by the way!).

Sometimes, I honestly feel like Facebook may be stalking me because the ads or suggestions I suggest are incredibly relevant. I really hope Facebook isn’t stalking me, because that would be a little bit creepy. I noticed that when I scrolled farther down, without actually opening the article, this is what it said

“Aries: Letting someone else into your world is also hard for you. You are impulsive and have fallen in love fast in the past, getting involved with someone before you really got to know them. You’ve known smoldering heat, that only ended up burning out quickly, so now you don’t get attached easily, and in fact, have developed some commitment issues, out of fear of committing to the wrong person”

It is exceptionally creepy because this is something I am struggling with a ton right now. I am absolutely terrified of thinking about the future, in regards to my love life, or making plans, or moving forward in any way. Part of it is because we simply disagree on some major life choices and other issues, and that is terrifying to me, in itself.

The other thing is, I am pretty sure I forgot how to love another person. I have been trying to focus so hard on forgiving and loving myself that I simply forgot how to care about other people. It’s nothing personal towards anyone that I care about, it simply has not been my focus for a number of years. I have also completely closed off my heart to the outside world, as a way of self protection.

I am concerned that I won’t be able to open it. As a stubborn Aries, I have created a complete and total barrier that is making it hard for me to feel anything for someone else.

My past is very tainted when it comes to my love life. I have been cheated on, I have been lead on, I have been lied to, I have been used, I have been abused, all of the above. I don’t trust well, anymore. I also realized I haven’t said “I love you” to anyone since the Russian fiasco.. which was literally years ago.

The last person I loved was my ex who totally blasted my heart and destroyed me when he broke up with me out of the blue, said we maybe only needed a break, and then was a total asshole to me saying that he had meant we were over for good. There were so many times where I wanted to say it to him, but was so terrified that he would not feel the same way, that I kept my mouth closed.

I am now paying for my silence. My years of hard work and often times avoidance are making it very hard for me to focus on the future, or honestly, even the present. I know I have work to do. I know what resources I need to seek out to deal with this, but I also wonder if I am broken beyond repair. I feel like something is missing and I don’t know if it can be fixed. I spent so much time trying to avoid love that now I have one hell of a hole to fix.

I wonder if I am alone…?

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talents.

****

I recently was listening to a podcast or audiobook, or something, and they pointed out that I should think about my talents and use them to my advantage.

Actually, it might have been asking me to think of my talents as a way to make additional money. Now, if I could think of a way to do that, I probably would have by now. I do some tutoring on the side, but let me tell you, getting home at 8 pm at night after working an over 8-hour work day and then tutoring after that is just plain exhausting. Right now it’s great because I get to tutor from home via zoom, so I am not sitting in an hour of traffic on my way there. I can keep getting whatever it is I need to do done at home, or just relax while I wait.

I kept trying to come up with some ideas of how I could do some side gigs at home, and I really struggled with it. I think the hardest part for me is the first step. I really struggle at identifying my talents. I think this is why job interviews are also hard for me, I am definitely not a bragger.

When I listened to this person list all of her talents, I just simply continued to feel inadequate. I mean I don’t really know what my talents even are. I enjoy writing, but I don’t know if I am actually necessary good at it. I enjoy being around kids, but I don’t know if “enjoying helping kids” is an actual talent, or just something I enjoy doing.

Anyways, I just felt lost. I think about all of the people I’ve met over the years who have some sort of amazing talent. Like they are a skilled musician or songwriter, in college they were an amazing basketball player, or they know how to be a captain of a boat. I think I have a lot of skills that I am adequate at, but I am not sure of myself when it comes to something that I am exceptionally talented at.

I wonder if other people feel this way? I have always felt that I was never that great at anything, especially that one defining thing that it feels like other people have. I enjoy singing but I don’t think I know what I’m doing when it comes to actually writing a piece of music. I know I am definitely not an athlete because I am super jealous of people who can say that they are. I’ve never been truly athletic, but I do enjoy being outside. How does one come up with the things that they are actually good at? How do we separate what we love and enjoy from things we can actually do well?

I wish I knew what my talents are, so that maybe I can start making a little extra money. This living paycheck to paycheck thing is getting old.

****

bike.

****

Guys, I have some very important news to share with you. I literally still can’t believe this actually happened…

After at least 15 years of not doing something, I was able to do it. I think it was basically a miracle. For years now, I have wanted to do this, and I always wished that I had never stopped.

I rode a bike.

I didn’t think I could do it after a miserable fail the other day. The other day, I tried to do it, and there were people around me, and I couldn’t do it. I felt like crying. I took deep breaths and told the tears to get away! (Luckily, I didn’t cry that day, because that would have been even more embarrassing).

My boyfriend has been really amped up during all of this quarantine and working from home stuff and not being able to go places and do stuff- stuff. He kept asking me to go for bike rides with him and I was thinking boy you are crazy, I don’t even know how to ride a bike. It’s going to take time, it’s definitely not going to happen overnight you crazy pants. I kept telling him that I just needed time by myself to try it out. He said that maybe at the end of June we could go for a bike ride, and I said maybe. But I was certainly thinking OF TRYING even though I didn’t think it was going to even be possible.

Well that bike I tried the other day just didn’t feel right I guess. We got me a bike at Costco over the weekend and that bike feels a lot safer to me. He came over last night and was like OKAY LETS DO THIS and I’m all panicked and not sure how to get out of it… I sat on the bike and didn’t expect anything good to come out if it. I expected to totally freeze and almost cry like I had the day before. My boyfriend held onto the bike and told me to get on it and try. I started pedaling and realized I sort of remember what to do…

I didn’t cry, guys!

I mean, I almost cried tears of happiness because I DID IT!!

I rode a bike! I rode it after that for 20 minutes, slowly, in a circle in my neighborhood. My neighbors probably thought I was NUTS because I kept going in circles. I didn’t even care. I wasn’t embarrassed anymore because I was too damn excited to be embarrassed. I wanted to tell them THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE RIDDEN A BIKE IN 15 OR MORE YEARS but I kept my cool.

Internally, though, I was screaming with excitement.

You know that saying? The one where people are like it’s just like riding a bike? Well, yesterday, that saying was literally true!

I freaking rode a bike! If I can ride a bike, I know you can do anything.

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project.

Dear Random,

This is your project reaching out to you. I know, I know. It’s been years. You’ve been thinking of writing me for ages. You even have tried to start a few times. Or, you wake up from a dream with a new idea burning from your brain, and you decide it’s time to finally write said dream. So, you write it in a notebook or on a post-it note to save for later. Sometimes you even write it as a note on your phone. Then you get up, start your day, and go to work, and the dream is totally forgotten.

I wanted to let you know that you are perfectly fine just the way you are. You struggle, just like anyone else, and sometimes you feel like you feel emotions more strongly than other people. It’s okay. You are doing the best you can despite any challenges or fears that get in your way. I also wanted to let you know that there is nothing in the way of you writing and achieving your goals except yourself.

You do your best work when you have a to-do list and you formulate a plan for yourself. You do your best work when you are making yourself do habits. Forming habits is hard, but keep in mind you didn’t think you could start each day with drinking a glass of water and reading a daily meditation, and now you are. The more you try to form productive habits like this, the better you are going to do.

I know you are lonely and I know sometimes you feel like it’s never going to get better. It will get better, slowly. It already has. You need to keep writing. It was what you were born to do. Even if you never even publish an article, or a single book, you need to force yourself to have a creative outlet. I am your project and I will always be here for you. I will always be ready for you to write me, even if you are the only person who ever reads me.

I believe in you.

From,
Your Future Project

self-help

****

Lately, as in the past two years or so, I’ve been on a self-help book kick. I think I just continuously seek answers or some sort of knowledge to try and improve my life, but honestly, the small improvements I have made haven’t come from reading or listening to a book.

A lot of the small improvements I have made have come from myself. I have found that the following steps can be helpful in regards to combating all kind of obstacles, from forming a new beneficial habit or to making major life changes. I try to be realistic. I know if I do ever get myself to write a book, I won’t become famous overnight. I also know that if I make a career change, I am not going to make a million dollars. I notice that many of the books I read are hard to relate to because they are all about people who start their own successful businesses, or write books that become famous movies, or authors who start in extreme poverty and end up as world-reknowned best-selling authors.

I know, most likely, I will never have my own multi-million dollar business or publish an award-winning book. I do know that some things I have done or wanted to do are more realistic. In fact, some of the things that I put year ago on my “List of 100 Dreams” I have actually already achieved, I mean, only a few of them, but still. I achieved them by being realistic and working hard, even when I had major obstacles that got in my way. As I try and make it through these strange and difficult times, I figured it might help me to be more methodical in how I think about the changes that I have been able to make over the years, and how I might want to make further changes down the road. So, here it goes….

1. Step One: Look yourself directly in the eye when you’re in a rut. When I have been at my lowest of the lows, facing challenges that seemed insurmountable, nothing changed until I was honest with myself. When I was doing something I did not like, when I treated others terribly because I was feeling terrible myself, when I did not like where I was career-wise, I had to start by having a brutally honest conversation with myself about the things I did not like about myself.

2. Step Two: Small habits and changes can make a hell of a difference. For example, writing this blog for me was LIFE CHANGING. It gave me a place to vent. It gave me support in small ways and had me connect with other people. The habit I am trying to form is to drink a glass of water every morning when I wake up as well as reading a short daily meditation from “Cherokee Feasts of Days.” I wanted to read this book for ages, and when I finally forced myself to do it, I couldn’t believe how this small habit improved my day. It was just a little jump-start but on the days when I actually remembered to do it, I felt less down and woke up easier. At one point I was also able to form the habit of running multiple times each week, something I never thought I’d be able to do. The first time I ran a mile, I was so proud of myself that I cried, so I kept doing it.

3. Step 3: Move on to bigger and better things After I ran that first mile, I knew I could run, so I ran three 5ks. I am not a competitive runner, by a long stretch, but I enjoyed the comraderie so much that came from these 5k events. I then applied to grad school after years of putting it off, moved to a new city, and started my dream job of being a teacher. It took years to achieve all of this, but by being realistic and honest with myself, I was able to meet myself where I was and push myself a little bit at a time to make more of the things I wanted happen.

4. Step 4: make realistic, adult decisions. I am not gonna lie to you. There have been some major hurdles even when I started my career. I didn’t graduate on time, due to some pretty heart-wrenching issues I was having in grad school. I did not get hired as a teacher my first year after graduation. I almost gave up. However, when I was offered a teaching job the following year, even though it wasn’t my dream school or anywhere I thought I’d ever end up, I took the job. Sometimes I had to make some realistic decisions along the way. I bought a condo instead of renting, because financially I could not justify living in the city. I took a job that I didn’t necessarily want, only because it will hopefully push me in the right direction in the future. The hardest thing I did though was give up my dream of attending Columbia University in NYC. I was offered a place in the master’s program there as well as a scholarship, but I knew that living in NYC would be too expensive for me to justify later on.

5. Step 5: set future goals that are realistic and achievable. I guess I really like the word realistic. I always try to be nice to myself, even though I definitely need to work on that and I need to start being less critical of myself. I found that the biggest improvements I’ve made come from me starting over again. If I lose a habit that I want to get back I need to be nicer to myself about getting that habit back again. I also need to think about the future in a realistic way. What are some goals that I want to do next and what are things I will actually, realistically be able to achieve? How do I get there? If I make a plan, starting back at step one, then I can make things happen. For example, I am now working towards improving my teaching career, getting more physically active (hey, running! I’ve missed you over the past few years), and actually committing to writing a book. I know there are steps I need to take and realistically that it won’t be easy to do all of the things I want to do. If I am honest with myself and always keep myself in check, I might just be able to get there.

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