beMUSEd Thoughts

Shit. Time Flies When You’re Falling into a Depression

What’s up, amigos?

Long time no blog! I have about 37 drafts but they’re all mediocre and so here I am writing to catch up for the last three months.

As the title suggests I am 1) confused as to how it is almost December and 2) just now coming back out of a really shitty and pretty extreme depression.

It has been a lot of things. It was work, a break up, work again, general loneliness, etc.

Mostly work. Why? you ask? Well, because work is fucking hard.

So why don’t you quit if it stresses you out that badly? All you ever do is complain.

Yeah well fuck you I get to complain because my job is hard. And it isn’t that easy to just quit. I can’t leave these kids. Not when I’ve finally proven to some of them that I’m a white person that gives a shit about them. One of the first adults to give a shit about them.

That’s important. I’m sticking around at least for this year. Because it is important for these kids and it is important for my career as a teacher.

But how did I fall into a deep, deep depression? And how am I crawling out little by little every day? Well, that’s a longer story. Strap in, amigos.

I was pretty depressed when I wrote my last post about my first few weeks working at school. Not much has improved since then except my abilities to roll with the punches (both figuratively and literally…punches) and my rep with the kiddos is getting pretty solid. Most of my homeroom boys are loyal to the end and are fiercely respectful when they’re just with  me. We’re now working on being respectful to everyone even if they aren’t me. I think we’ll get there.

I got over the initial shock and depression from work by getting pretty heavily involved with this dude. Guys, he was everything anyone could ever want. Gorgeous, hilarious, kind, communicative, honest, and just amazing.

He said all the right things at exactly the right time. (cue Vertical Horizon)

A week into our relationship he let me know that he had broken things off with another girl he was sleeping with because he wanted to see where things went with me.

He knew about and witnessed my hella anxiety and would do his best to stand by me and make sure I was okay. We had amazing sex. We communicated effectively. One month into us dating we both said “I love you.” Not because it was rushed and we needed to say it but because from day one it seemed like love was bubbling under the surface. And guys, love is a GREAT anti-depressant.

The night we said “I love you” I picked up on a red flag in our ‘ship because he took me to a work function of his. He was all dazzled by how gorgeous I am when I try to dress up, and then introduced me as his “friend” to his friends. You coulda left that out, bucko. If girlfriend is so scary you could have just been all mysterious and said “this is Jess.” BAM. No “friend” bullshit and no “girlfriend” anxiety. But nooooo.

Anyway, things got sorta weird after that because he bailed on me three times in a row that weekend after telling me he wanted to meet my dad. At every opportunity he came up with excuses or tried to get me to change my mind about inviting him instead of just telling me he didn’t want to fucking meet my fucking dad.

So I went over to his place the second-to-last night that my dad was visiting and spent the night. It was bomb. He’s so great. Aww yay love.

I asked him if I could stay the night again, since it had been a few days since I had seen him and because I was leaving the next day for a week. He said he would love to see me. In fact, he went so far as to say “nothing would make me happier than seeing you again tonight”

We set a time for me to go over to his place earlier in the day (Me: how is 10? Him: perfect, like you) and while I am waiting for my uber to arrive at 9:45 he texts me that I should stay home- don’t I want to spend the last night with my dad? Won’t I feel bad? blah blah blah.

Motherfucker, I want to see you. I will be home early to make my dad coffee. Wtf.

“I’m just not trying to chill tonight”

Jesus. Okay. Could have said that ANYTIME IN THE LAST 10 HOURS but no it’s cool. So I go on vacation and want to talk to him about the bullshit that is bailing on me over and over again but he won’t fucking talk to me. “Go enjoy your vacation. Don’t think about me” Right. Because I can do that.

I did my best to do that. When I returned shit hit the fan. I went to go see him and we got to talking. And he told me that I should have just forgotten about him and done whatever I wanted on the vacay. Make out with whoever I wanted, sleep with random vacation strangers, etc.

So I asked him if that was what he would want if he went away for a few days. Would he want to bang random ladies and forget all about me? Well, it turns out that yes, he would want that.

I let him know we were on very different levels of our relationship. I asked him how I could have gotten so confused about where we were. He could think of nothing. He thought I was batshit for even thinking we were in something monogamous.

I don’t know, dude. Maybe because you told me you broke up with a girl so you and I could see where our relationship would go. Maybe because you TOLD ME YOU LOVED ME.

But you “aint tryna be anybody’s boo” so I get it. I must have gotten my signals crossed.

See? I’m STILL MAD about that. I’m still hurt by that. He said all the right things all the time and I think it was out of him dating girls that just wanted to hear the excuses so they could feel like he loved them. I am all about honesty and when his stupid asshole actions didn’t match with his slimy manipulative words I had to call him on that.

And his ass had the effing audacity to say “well we can still hang out and have sex, right?”

NO, MOTHERFUCKER. WE CANNOT.

So that kind of influenced my depression to go another way. It is a really terrible feeling to realize that most of your happiness in the past month was based on another human making you feel wanted and valued when in reality all they were doing was trying to get their bang on.

I got sad again. And just a few weeks ago a huge change happened at work and they didn’t adequately prepare staff or students so I got my 4 girls ripped away from me and I got a whole new class of boys who hated me as much as they loved their last teacher. One who I look up to. One who literally coaches me. A better teacher.

They got stuck with me and I can’t hold onto a boyfriend. I can’t have ONE human love me how can I convince these kiddos that I am worthy of their respect when ONE person can play me like a fool?

Illogical thought process, I know. But I still had a fucking breakdown at school and took three days off with a weekend in-between.

Because I had to think about some shit.

I needed to sleep. That was one thing. And I needed to get my shit together with planning for my classes. And I finally, finally needed to go see a doctor about getting medication for my anxiety.

When a classroom of 9 eleven-year-olds can send you into a panic attack, and you’re going to have those same 9 children every single day for the rest of the year….you probably can’t handle your anxiety on your own anymore.

I also finished my free therapy sessions that were allotted to me from the DC Rape Crisis Center from the sexual assault in August 2015.

No therapy, stressful job, worsening anxiety, slipping into depression, shitty break up.

Let’s go talk to a doctor.

She was amaaaaaaaaazing. And we chatted for a while about my fears of medication and whether we should treat the anxiety or the depression, etc.

I got a prescription for my anxiety. And the first few days were hell and I cried ALL THE TIME and I wanted to puke and then eat and then puke and then eat and it was weird.

But holy shit. Even in just the 3-4 weeks I’ve been taking them my whole mentality has shifted. I feel ready for work. I feel determined to work hard to improve my relationships with the kiddos. There’s a lot going on and I think I can make it.

Also, fuck that guy. I see him all the time at the bar we both love and frequent. Yesterday was the first time I saw him and didn’t cry. Because he cannot have that hold on me anymore. I am my own damn woman and I will go where I want to go and I will laugh when I want to laugh and I will be happy without a man or a woman by my side because my happiness and my control over myself is what is important. Fuck everyone else.

Thanks for reading. #sorrynotsorry it turned into a rant.

This is where I am. Stay tuned for hilarious and/or weird and/or sad posts about my life at work. Because I basically live there now. But it’s cool.

Until next thyme, friends! (haha, Thanksgiving pun!)

 

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Grateful

December has begun, thus ends November, the Month of Thanks.

But, as usual, I’m a little slow on the uptake of trendy things.

Here is a short and definitely not complete list of the things I am grateful for. In honor of the passing of November:

I am grateful for my mother, who has instilled in me a strong sense of independence and resilience.

I am grateful for my father, who has taught me how to enjoy the small things in life and how to make incredibly strong friendships by being 100% unapologetically who I am.

I am grateful for my sister, who reminds me to stay disciplined and who, at every turn of her life, is an inspiration to me.

I am grateful for my brother, who has taught me that moving away from home, although tough, can be so worth it. He has shown me that being far away doesn’t mean you are forgotten.

I am grateful for my sorority. A large group of women who Give No Fucks and who love me and embrace me as the woman I am, not the woman they wish I were. They were my only support at school when I came back from Spain, broken and afraid.

I am grateful for my amazing support system in the people I live with in DC.  I somehow managed to move in with some of the greatest humans in the world. They teach me every day to stand up for myself. They show me that I am worth love. They make me feel safe.

I am incredibly grateful for that shitty fellowship program I moved to DC for. I learned soooo much about myself and what I will/won’t stand for. Even though the program was straight bullshit, it brought me to DC. It brought me my non-housemate best friend in DC and she rocks my world.

I am grateful for my job that brings me so much joy. And the coworkers at that job that feed my joy with their amazing selves.

I am grateful for DC’s beautiful Crime Victim’s Compensation program that reimbursed me for the clothes I had to give to the forensic team and that is providing me with 24 free therapy sessions at the DC Rape Crisis Center.

I am grateful as fuck for all of the support I have in my life. Without the amazing people I am lucky to be surrounded by, I would not be nearly as resilient. Having the ability to embrace life after trauma is directly related to all the people and things I am grateful for. I can bounce back because all of these people have taught me that I can bounce back. That life is absolutely worth living.

I am grateful for the knowledge that even though the world isn’t safe, it is beautiful. That even though I must be cautious, I needn’t be afraid. And I am grateful for my little wins that I am experiencing each day. My little wins that tell me my therapy is helping, that I am learning to love myself and take no shit.

I am grateful for the word “no” and my new found ability to use it.

I am grateful for this cathartic-ass blog. And super grateful for all of you incredible people reading it. Because your encouragement keeps me going. It keeps me sharing my story.

What are you grateful for?

Thank You for Dumping Me

Yeah, that sounds weird, I know.

A few weeks ago I went on a date with a guy-we’ll call him Ben- and I had an incredible first experience.

For the first time seemingly in my adult life I was fully respected for an entire date. He was kind, interested in the things I had to say, and there was never any pretense to our date. We both just wanted to get to know one another and relished the time we were spending together. Add another date, some time, and countless flirting texts and I was fairly smitten with the man. He was cute, incredibly kind, and gave me hope again for the world’s dating pool. Date three was this past Friday. We spent some great time together at the National Arboretum and then he drove me home. I told him in the car that I liked him a lot, more than anyone else I’ve gone on multiple dates with since being single. When we got out of the car, he told me that I was amazing, cute, kind, and all sorts of other sweet things. Then, in an incredibly respectable manner he told me that he just wasn’t that into me. He could tell I liked him a lot and he just couldn’t find the “spark.”

And so goes the story of my first time getting “dumped” as an adult. And I have some things to say to Ben.

First and foremost I want to thank you for your unfailing honesty. You have been nothing but respectful and kind from the get-go and I admire the hell out of that.

Ben, thank you for messaging me on that dating site. Thank you for conversing with me, teaching me, and sharing yourself with me. I enjoyed getting to know you so much and I am so grateful that our paths crossed.

I’m grateful because you showed me what it was like to be respected by a man. You showed me that I am valuable because of my kindness and intelligence before my body. You taught me that I deserved someone who would listen to me and not just pretend to care.

Thank you for ending our fleeting relationship the way you did. You were honest, forthright, and so damned amazing. You did exactly what every person should do but often chooses not to because of fear or some other reason. You communicated your feelings and validated my own. Thank you.

You are an incredible man. You are funny, kind, intelligent, and so charismatic. You are going to knock the socks off of an incredible lady and y’all are going to dive into life together.

Thank you for giving me no reason to be angry or to resent you. I can’t argue with the fact that sometimes that (ridiculously phrased but totally applicable) “spark” just isn’t there. I’ve felt the lack of “spark” before and have never been able to communicate it as effectively and painlessly as you did.

Thank you for teaching me how to have that conversation with future dates. And thank you for showing me that dating can be relatively stress free if both parties effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings.

I am happy to have known you and am refreshed knowing that there are men out in the world like you.

Best,
Jess

Stories

Hey friends!

Two posts in one week! What is this magic?!

So. I want to kind of give an introduction to the next series of posts and also explain the content of my last few a little bit. Because I like to talk about this shit. In a strange way, I really like to tell my story even if it brings up feelings I haven’t felt in such a long time thanks to my incredible ability to bury the hell out of my responses to trauma.

TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE 

I love stories, guys. I love listening to them, watching them, reading them, and recently I’ve found out that I love telling them. My story, to be exact. It is cathartic for me to tell my stories. Whether they’re about my day or about the trauma I’ve survived, I love it. And the best things that has come from my posts about my trauma are all of the stories people feel comfortable sharing with me. Women and men who I have never had a real personal connection with have messaged me on Facebook to thank me for my story and to share theirs. And that is amazing. Because I hope people share their stories in any way they can. Write a book, paint a picture, sing a song- whatever. The fact that I have been able to help even one person share his/her story makes the difficulty of sharing mine completely worth it.

Aaanyway, I’ve been to three sessions with my therapist, now. And we’ve gotten through the preliminary talks and we’ve done the “easy” homework. Now we are going to shortly begin what is called my “trauma narrative;” AKA My Story. We have discussed how I am going to do it and I’ve decided that I’d like to blog about it. Because I want to share my story with the world. And because I want people to see that it is okay to share your story.

So here is blog number one, I think. A general introduction to my narrative. I don’t know how these posts are going to unfold. I never really know until I write them- which is totally my favorite part of blogging. Having a conversation with myself a little bit and being egotistical enough to assume that other people want to read it 😉

My Story is a long one. It is pretty intricate and it involves so much outside of the actual incidents of rape and sexual assault. My Story starts with my childhood, really, and the fact that I was always pushed to be beautiful. I remember really shitty talks with my mom about how I would be beautiful if I lost weight or how I could solve my issues of boys not liking me if I could fit into a smaller size. Now, my mom is not a bad mom. She just doesn’t word things the best sometimes. And I don’t blame my mother for anything that has ever happened to me- because my mom is fucking amazing and she now knows how much those conversations hurt me and has apologized for saying things that didn’t help my self-esteem. Of course it would have been better to be told “your problem isn’t that boys don’t like you- it is that you don’t like you,” but maybe she didn’t know that. I know it took me a while to learn that. And, all-in-all, I’m a pretty okay human now. She (and daddy-o!) did a pretty good job making me not an axe-murderer.

I digress.

(Next up: my first traumatic experience. Skip this if you’re squeamish) 

Anyway, my story unfolds into a night with my best friend at the time. I was allowed to spend the night at his house because he seemed to be a good kid, my mom knew exactly where he lived, and his parents and my mom were friendly. They weren’t friends, but neither party had a problem calling the other if the kids got into shenanigans. So it was a Friday night and I was spending the night. We got into our usual shenanigans of playing videogames and cussing like we had just discovered those delectable words, which we sort of had. I was fifteen. As I began to get tired I complained of a headache and he got up, went to his medicine cabinet, and came back with two blue pills. He told me they were Tylenol P.M. I thanked him and then took them. We went to bed- I on the futon in his room and he on his bed. I remember tossing and turning and not being able to fall asleep. After what felt like hours of electrified muscles and crazy physical sensations, he asked “are you still awake?” And I said yes. I couldn’t sleep. I felt weird. He sat on the edge of the futon and asked how. I explained that I felt as if my body were turning to silly putty and I just felt fluid and restless. So he got into bed and began massaging my shoulders and told me that would help. I don’t remember the next transition…

Then he raped me. I remember feeling physically good but mentally uncomfortable and I tried to push him off I don’t know how many times. I said “no” often and the only thing I remember him saying during the act is “your cherry is already popped, I might as well keep going.” It seemed to last for days, but I’m sure it was only a few minutes. He got back into his bed, leaving me alone, confused, and terrified. He said “you’ll come down in a little bit and sleep like a baby.” I went to bed thinking that at least I was pretty enough for him to want to have sex with me. I am so sickened now when I think about how, in some fucked up way, that made me feel good. It made me feel wanted. What the shit.

It didn’t hit me until the next morning when my mom picked me up that he had drugged me.

He fucking drugged me! I was no longer sad, I was furious. My mom asked what we did and I told her about the videogames and the going to bed. I never told her about the other half of my night. I never told anyone (except my bff S) about that until after I came back from Spain.

(Retelling over, you can resume. Still TRIGGER WARNING for the rest of the post. I don’t know your triggers)

Losing my virginity to rape set the stage for my sex life. And I’m still trying to recover from the fucked up notions it gave me about sex. It told me that all I was good for was my body and how well my body could please someone else. It told me I was only worthy of love if my body was worthy of sex. It said that I couldn’t make my own decisions about my body, that I had no rights to my body. It seriously fucked me up.

I never saw a therapist for my trauma. I never acknowledged the trauma. I just decided the best thing to do was to push on and pretend it never happened. To focus on other things so I wasn’t bogged down. Which is so freaking unhealthy. After seeing a therapist for other reasons I realized that I really needed to do some work on my self-love.

Which opened lots of more discussions and thoughts and realizations. But I’ll leave this for now. This thing is long enough as it is and I can’t tell my whole story in one go.

Plus, I have a date to go on with this awesome dude. 😀

Until next week, folks. Let me know if this made you feel uncomfortable or sparked a new line of thinking. But ESPECIALLY let me know if it has made you think about sharing your story. I would love to hear from any or all of my readers. Thank you!

No Excuses

Buenas noches my darling friends!

Today began my journey to taking my life back. I’ve been coasting these last few months and I can’t allow myself to do that any longer. I’ve been ignoring pain, evading responsibility, and giving up on my physical and mental health. And in no way do any of those things ever make you feel good.  So I (and my new therapist) have decided that I should probably get my shit together at least a little bit.

Last week I told you about the goals I had to do for homework in therapy. They were: Start creating once a week, stop making excuses, and change how I prioritize decisions and remember to make sure I’m accounting for my feelings.

Today I’d like to talk about my stop goal. I need to stop making excuses for myself. “Excuses are the nails that build the house of failure” is one of my favorite quotes by my favorite college professor. She’s right. Excuses allow you to cut corners and get lazy. They insult you and the expectations of those around you. They say “yeah, I could do that, but I simply won’t.” And that’s silly. Because I should work hard every day to be the best fucking me there is.

So today, I re-started my journey to fitness. But this time I’m not going to focus solely on my physical fitness. This time I’m going to remember that my emotional and mental fitness are just as (if not more!) important.

So, no more excuses. No more “I’m tired,”  “I walked an extra mile today,” or “but it’s easier to not think about.” No more “Chinese is more convenient,” “I woke up late,” or “I deserve to feel this way.” No. No more of that. Because it is bullshit and I need to call myself on it.

Basically, my biggest excuse is that I’m really just afraid. I’ve been getting really anxious these past few months. For my entire life I have been fat. I have been able to hide behind a screen of stereotypical unattractiveness. I have been able to develop a rapier wit and charming personality so everyone who got to know me did so on a basis of them being a relatively awesome person and actually getting to know me for how awesome I am. I had good friends and anyone who pursued me romantically did so because they liked who I was. Guys. I hated myself every day for waking up and being society’s opposite of defined beauty. Because society also told me that beauty was all I could ever get.

Tangent aside- I have been able to shield myself for a long time and the people who I didn’t want in my life sort of weeded themselves out before they actually met me. In all actuality- it was pretty awesome. But since my journey to fitness began last September, I have chosen more often than not to love myself. And to put work into myself. As a result, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and I look damn good. Add a hair cut, great friends and family, and a solid year of feeling like I was being a successful college grad and you’ve got yourself a hot-and-ready confident lady.

The thing is, that confidence shows. And it makes cat calls happen. And it makes general harassment happen. And it has opened my eyes to the fact that when I walk out and about in the world I am 100% unabashedly me and that makes me feel so damned vulnerable.

So I’m afraid. Since I was assaulted again recently all rules for my fitness have flown by the wayside. I guess I figured that if I just stopped caring about my food choices or working out that I would just get fat again. And that would help keep me safe again.

But hey… then I remembered that I was assaulted when I was 15 years old and I was the fat kid in my high school. I was bullied daily for how ugly I was- but somehow I was desirable enough either in lack of self-esteem or in body to attract a rapist. Then I remembered that I was assaulted again when I was 16, in the same context but at a different high school. Then I remembered that when I was in Spain I was almost at my heaviest weight and I still managed to attract an asshole with no regard for others.

Then I remembered that no matter how beautiful or ugly you are, how skinny or fat, how tall, wide, fit, or weak you are, you are always vulnerable if you don’t love yourself. My fat never saved me, it only gave me the illusion of safety because it gave me slight anonymity. Loving myself is the best protection I can give me because it tells most people “hey, fuck you. I won’t stand for any of your bullshit.” And that is a better safety net than a plus size.

I didn’t expect that to get so deep. Sort of sorry. Also I don’t know how to conclude this post so it’s probably just going to be continued.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, gorgeous humans!

P.S. I worked out for forty-five minutes today! And I did 30 burpees! THIRTY! Even if I don’t wake up early and work out tomorrow morning, I’ll definitely work out again after work like I did today. I feel electric. 😀

Stop. Start. Change.

Hey folks!

Holy shit, it has been wayyy too long. I’m sorry for that. I’m not sorry because I imagine you pining away the hours until I drop some more me into your life- I’m sorry because I find this blog very cathartic. It helps me dissect myself and my life and the world around me in a way nothing else does. And I’ve been feeling very unfulfilled. So here I am.

News!

I got a new job! I teach at a private Christian day care in Arlington, VA. I’m in a toddler Montessori classroom. It has its quirks. The kids are amazing and I am learning so much. There’s some not-so-great stuff I might get to later.

I have an interview for a new job! Tomorrow! Because where I work right now is actually pretty awful when it comes to how they treat me (and other employees that aren’t related to the main group of administrators).

I went on an awesome date yesterday! So awesome that I was completely unstressed all day today!

I got a therapist!

That last piece of news was actually the inspiration for this post. I had my first session last week at the DC Rape Crisis Center. My therapist is male. He is amazing. And he gave me homework! My homework was to come to this week’s session with a list of goals. Something I want to stop, something I want to start, and something I want to change.

And, to hold myself accountable. I figured I’d write about those goals in a post.

Stop

I want to stop making excuses for myself and my body. Every morning I snooze past my 6AM alarm because I’m still tired, or I got to sleep late, or because I hate my job and don’t want to get up. Instead of just waking up and working out. Like I did for a year. I am making excuses and that is making me lazy. I’m not happy with myself. This will be my hardest goal to meet. Because I am really good at making up excuses.

Start

I want to start creating once a week. I want to write a blog post, or paint a picture, or take a photograph that I’m proud of at least once a week. Because creating makes me happy. And because it keeps me in touch with my thoughts and feelings…and that’s pretty important.

Change

I’m going to try my very hardest to change the way I make decisions regarding people. To put it simply, I’m going to try and change how “nice” I am all the time. I will change the way I evaluate what is important to me and put my comfort and my wishes before others’ happiness. Because trying to make people happy and glossing over my dislike or discomfort toward a situation has gotten me into trouble before. And because I really need to make myself happy.

Soooo I finished my homework! And I am super stoked to talk to my therapist about these goals and about this date I just went on yesterday because I was straight-up respected for five hours straight and that has never happened to me before in my entire life. I am so thrilled.

That’s it for now. Super short update on my life. I’ll share more later about how Montessori is so strange to me and how my babies say the darnedest shit.

Until next time, friends!

Failure

Well, friends. I’m well aware that I’ve been pretty MIA for the last….two months. Let me get you updated.

I moved to Washington, D.C. to enter into a teaching fellowship- an alternative certification program through which teaching certification is available to those who pass. I moved down here the last weekend in May and settled down to ride the wave that my summer would become.

I got a serving job, because the fellowship was unpaid. I worked very hard at the serving job to make sure they knew I was worth the scheduling conflicts I had because of the fellowship. It worked. They love me….because I’m a great server.

I began my training… AKA teacher bootcamp. I entered so positive- I was so excited to finally be able to legitimately do what I loved to do! Through reading my posts on here, and through knowing me- y’all know I fucking love to teach. I love kids, I love showing them what opportunities are available to them through education and perseverance. It is 100% most definitely a deep passion of mine.

During this time I also became very close with my housemates and coworkers at Mexican Restaurant! They’re great. I also realized that it was going to be very difficult and taxing to train from 7a-6p everyday and then to work at the restaurant from 6:30 until close two weeknights and work double shifts every Saturday and Sunday for eight weeks. But I was ready.

I wasn’t too excited about the program after a few days…for some reason many of their ideals and standards didn’t quite mesh with me, but I brushed off the feeling because the program was a means to an end, you know? I wanted to teach, this would make that happen.

I met my co-teachers, my team, and my kiddos. And I was in the right place. I was in love. I showed up that Monday of the third week- our first full week of teaching summer school with a happy heart and so many ideas in my head about how I was going to bust ass and kick ass all summer long.

By the third day of that week, I was getting a bit drained. I had worked until close the night before and I woke up at 4:45 AM every day just to get to school on time. But I was hopeful. I was gaining skills in my lesson planning and instruction. We had our first evaluation that Friday and my scores didn’t suck. My housemates celebrated a week of teaching with me by having a 4th of July cookout at our house and a day at the beach. It was great to relax. I was still excited about teaching.

I can’t honestly break down the next events into individual days or weeks. It became a downward spiral/blur really quickly.

I became fed up with our bullshit classes after teaching. I became fed up with feeling as if I was on the outside of an inside joke that I wasn’t worth knowing. I became so incredibly sick of feeling as though if I didn’t meet these 3 points on a rubric that I was a terrible teacher and a terrible person. I was tired. I was tired of busting my ass only to get negative feedback with no plan of action to fix it. I practiced every single day and I got no validation.

I worked so hard to implement every single piece of feedback I was given. I asked questions, I asked for help. I worked 91 hours a week, including my time at the school and the restaurant. I was commuting 13 hours a week. I was sleeping maybe 30 hours a week. That left me with 34 hours a week, the majority of which were spent lesson planning, cooking, eating, and crying. I felt as if I were at the bottom of a deep, spike-lined hole with a rope, but the rope only started halfway up. There was an end in sight, and probably a way to get there- but no help.

I felt helpless, hopeless, and entirely unacknowledged.

I kept showing up for the kids. They were so bright. They were so intense. I taught in Southeast….what is known as probably the most “urban” or “disadvantaged” neighborhood. Basically it was rough, unsafe, and underdeveloped. Walking to and from the metro, I was probably one of maybe 5 white people in a mile radius. I stood out.

My kiddos didn’t have the best home lives. Some showed up without being bathed, some without being fed, etc. My heart broke for them. I showed up to make sure they knew that someone cared for them and had high expectations for them.

My scores got better. My attitude got better.

I got attacked on my way to the metro from school one day- a group of teenagers threw rocks at me, spit on me, tried to pull me to the ground, and claimed “you aren’t welcome here, snowflake.”

I showed up because my kids were worth it.

I kept working at Mexican Restaurant- which took up my entire weekend of potential lesson planning time. I lesson planned on the metro, the bus, at every turn you could see me scripting that shit. My housemates can attest to the fact that I practiced my lessons on them- they hated it.

I got punched by a student. I got bitten by multiple students. I, very literally, got stabbed with a pencil by a student.

I showed up because the four minutes that they sat in their damn seats and fucking listened to me made all of that completely worth it.

I kept practicing. I began to practice more than my lessons. I was practicing my smile, I was acting my attitude. I got really low. Really fast.

I felt alone, useless, and helpless. The program began to make me feel as if it were designed to squash the originality and creativity out of individuals. It began to seem as if they didn’t want us to be us. That was disheartening as fuck.

I began to contemplate stepping in front of the metro every morning.

I began to wonder…. if I could just get shot, or hit by a car, man… I would have a legitimate excuse to not show up and I could get some goddamned sleep. 

I wanted to die. Every. Single. Day. Because I didn’t feel like me.

But I showed up. Because the kids made me forget that. The kids brought me life- through their terrorizing behavior and incredible endurance.

My scores plateaued. Information was withheld from me. I was blatantly ignored.

Today I was informed that I failed the program.

At first I was incredibly upset. I was so sad that I couldn’t just pass the program. I must be a terrible teacher. I obviously will never be able to teach, etc.

And then I became angry. I did everything they asked. They counted arbitrary things against me.

And now, I say fuck it.

I didn’t fail.

Those kids learned this summer. They learned content and character. I did my job.

I learned this summer.

I may have moved to D.C. for this program, but I’m now staying for the relationships I’ve built and for further opportunities. I will not let this wreck me.

I may have failed a rubric, but I really don’t care. I grew a lot from this experience, and I still know that I want to teach. I succeeded in pursuing my passion, and nothing is going to stop me.

Be A Considerate Restaurant-Goer

Okay, dudes. I just have to rant a little bit. Bear with me here, please.

If you go into a restaurant where a host or server seats you, let them fucking do their job and seat you. Unless you have a legitimate need to be in a specific place, and you tell them about itthen deal with where they put you. Chances are there’s a system in place to keep the servers from becoming overwhelmed and to keep seating fair between the sections. When you request to sit somewhere other than where they’ve already started to take you, you’re wasting their time and you’re probably going to be viewed as an asshole. Because, more than likely, you are.

Mars must have been in freaking retrograde or some shit tonight because every other table we got requested to either be moved or to sit in a section other than the one we were taking them. There was one baby on one half of the restaurant, and three freaking tables decided that the actually quiet baby was going to absolutely ruin their dinner so decided to take it upon themselves to let us know how to seat.

One table decided, after being seated, that they liked the look of another booth better. What. The. Actual. Shit. I’m sorry, did I hear you correctly? That table looks better? What is it? The identical upholstery? Were the salt and pepper shakers in better alignment? Fuck off, dude, and sit where we take you.

Also, if you know when a restaurant closes, chances are when you go in fifteen minutes before that time and order full-on dinners, the server (and the cook!) kind of hates you. Then, when you order dessert 24 minutes after close, they really just want to stab you in the chest with the ice cream scoop. Then, when you tip them 12%, they never want to see you again.

So please…be courteous. You can have preferences, just communicate them early and effectively. Please. And don’t be that guy and go in one minute to close and shout upon entering “I have a reservation for one minute to close!” Because that’s actually happened before. And because thems fightin’ words, asshat.

I have been thinking about this blog post all night. Hopefully it wasn’t too intense. Kind of not sorry if it was.

Until next time, folks! Love to you all! (unless you’re shitty to your server!)

Two Years

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I am spending the night at my mom’s house tonight, and I took the opportunity to go through all of my clothes in storage to figure out what I still wanted to keep and what I was going to donate. I came upon this dress. I wore this dress two years ago to my sorority formal (left photo) and I decided to see what it looked like on me tonight (right photo). Needless to say, when put together, these photos are pretty shocking.

This post is about how beautiful, forceful, and rewarding time can be.

Two years ago I looked like this. Happy (ish), yes… but unhealthy. I ate (mostly) well but ignored my body. I was a typical 20-something who didn’t really worry about how I treated myself.

Today I am continuing on a path that was started almost a year ago. Every day I have to put effort into my body and every day my body rewards me by being stronger, healthier, and happier. Only time has allowed this progress.

Two years ago I was in a relationship with someone who I let define me. Someone who unintentionally held me back because of the love and comfort I felt with her and of the love and comfort she felt with me. I  allowed myself to believe that I had found the best partner I could, because I wasn’t that great of a catch, anyway, so she had to be it, right? I found myself defining my worth by my relationship status. I was worth more in a relationship, even a bad one, because it proved I was desirable.

Today I have been single for almost two years. Time has healed the wounds of our messy break-up and time has taught me that I can love myself without having someone else to love me. Time has shown me that I can be happy, fulfilled, and confident without being in a relationship. Time has taught me that dating can be fun, that it can suck, and that it is entirely up to me what I get to do in my life. I am making decisions based on my ideas and feelings and not factoring in a partner’s, and that is a very liberating feeling.

Two years ago I was less than six months removed from the most traumatic experience in my life. I was broken. I hid behind a relationship, classes, Greek obligations, and two jobs. I hid behind a smile and alcohol. Two years ago I didn’t see a road to recovery, I saw a road full of mediocrity leading to possible salvation from the absolute horror that was my daily life.

Today I can say that I am truly happy. I get frustrated sometimes, I get sad sometimes. But I am happy. I am confident. I love myself, and time has taught me that only I have the final say in what happens to my body. Time has taught me that not all men are monsters. I have learned that with love and a little help from family, friends, and the college therapist, time really can heal wounds you never thought would mend.

Two years ago I was a junior in college. I had a year left of school and I had one last summer on the campus staff. I was wily and rebellious. I had just been elected president of my sorority. I was on the verge of a major success or a major failure. I was afraid of making decisions and terrified to write a research paper that decided my final Honors grade.

Today I have a bachelor’s degree in History. Today I can look back on my three incredible summers and the work ethic they instilled in me (that’ll make my boss laugh if she reads this- but it is totally true). Today I can call one of my very best friends and he will answer and talk to me about nothing… or anything. I can thank that summer for his friendship and our bond. Today I can thank my presidency (and my sorority) for instilling in me a sense of responsibility and accountability I had never experienced before. I have taken these two years to reflect on my experiences and adjust my personality and decisions based on my final year in school and this past year of soul-searching.

Two years ago I didn’t have a clear goal in mind for what I wanted to do. I didn’t have much confidence in myself or my abilities. I had friends and relied on their, and potential suitors’, opinions of me to validate my feelings and myself in general.

Today I have a job that I am moving partially across the country for. I know that I deserve that opportunity. I know that I am smart. I am hilarious. I am kind, caring, and determined. I am a stubborn asshole and I am honest. I am proud of who I am. Today I know that I am beautiful. I have a great smile and a bomb-ass haircut. I have biceps (kinda) and abs (kinda) and that’s freaking awesome. Today I love myself. And that I owe to time and all of the wonderful people that I have decided to keep in my life and spend that time with.

Spend your time doing the things that bring you joy with the people that bring you joy. Time is so precious- you can’t get it back. Invest in yourself and your happiness and you will see that time will reward your efforts. Spend your time wisely and reflect on your time spent regularly.

Oh, and I’m totally keeping that dress.

Time-Traveling State of Mind

There’s some famous quote that says something like “Depressed people live in the past, anxious people live in the future, and peaceful people live in the moment.” While that sounds all beautiful and simplistic, I think it’s a little bit bullshit.

Let me tell you why…

Sometimes depressed people hate the present moment. What happens to them every day- day in and day out- is shitty and makes them depressed. They might have a perfectly “normal” past without trauma or tragedy- they’re just depressed. They could also be super depressed about something that might be happening in the future…. just about anything can cause (and perpetuate) depression, it’s not necessarily the past.

Anxious people can be anxious about the present moment. Plain old existing can be enough to make someone with anxiety upset. It’s not always a “what if” scenario that’s freaking them out- they could be publicly speaking or in a room with a hundred people, or in any sort of situation that currently makes them feel anxious. Anxious people can also get super caught up in that one time that one thing happened and feel anxious any time they’re in that situation again- which is crazy ’cause that is living in both the past and the future- apparently people with anxiety are time travelers in my mind.

Peaceful people totally know where it’s at, though. Peaceful people can remember the past and not let it affect their present state of mind. They can live in the moment and let it wash over them like a soft wave at the beach but can wonder and dream about the future while allowing it to carry them in its current. Peaceful people have developed a way to cope with past experiences and worries about the future- it is not that they don’t dwell or worry- it is that they understand that life will happen whether or not they try to let it. Sometimes bad shit happens and sometimes incredible shit happens. You just have to be at peace with yourself and your life choices and allow your path of life unfold before you step after step.

Peace out, friends. Until next time.