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September 15, 2019

I've written blogs in the past. I always treated them like diaries and I was a diary-writer for years. I had several of them, especially in junior high and high school. I wrote a lot about boys and heartache and loneliness. If ever there was a champion of unrequited love, it was me. Always loving from afar. The best friend, never the girlfriend. And since I wasn't so stellar at social situations, never wore cool, trendy clothes, and didn't land the hair straightener until my mid-20's, I wrote a lot as an antidote for my solitary, melancholy heart.

When the popularity of blogs soared, I figured I'd give it a try. I've had several different websites over the years. Each one reflected whatever situation or theme presented itself in my life at the time, as blogs often do. But like my many diaries, when I moved out of a difficult situation, or filled the space with everything I needed to say, I deleted it. I threw my diaries in the trash, ended subscriptions to web addresses. I've a tough time looking back, especially since I've written about a lot of painful memories. I realized this behavior is mirrored in my personal life. I tend to delete people, remove relationships after someone has wronged me. I'm not keen on trust or forgiveness. Second chances are a hard pass. I want to believe that people are naturally good, brimming with integrity and compassion, but I've learned difficult lessons about choosing the right friends to keep in my inner circle.

Despite my reservations, it's time to step outside of myself a bit. Take in the world around me, move in my environment and take in my community. And you, dear reader, are part of that community. I'm glad you're here.


September 16, 2019

I'm a high school English teacher at a Title 1, culturally diverse campus in Texas. My ever-fading lunch period is swiftly coming to a close and in a few minutes, there will be 15-20 students waiting at my door. In the brief time alone, I re-introvert and listen to Pandora, typically while also working on lesson plans or other tasks. At the moment, Holocene by Bon Iver is taking me back to the first cold front of the fall season, September 2013. Perfect, overcast clouds, a strong, cool breeze billowing around me as I listened to the song on repeat. It doesn't matter what's going on in my life, the moment I hear that song, I'm back in Texarkana, Texas, avoiding an unexpected September shower and pacing up and down the sidewalk. Music is a tremendous part of my life.

Music is my time machine.

I like to listen to the Wallflowers' 1996 "Bringing Down the Horse" album every October because it reminds me of a night I spent with friends, eating the Monte Cristo at a Bennigan's restaurant before touring haunted houses. And I listen to John Mayer's 2001 "Room for Squares" album every December because it fills me with the nostalgia. George Strait's "Amarillo by Morning" is a cornerstone of my childhood. Hell, most of his early canon is. My dad and I jam to "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger whenever it comes on the radio, but when I'm alone in the car, I cry my face off singing it...because I know a day will come when my dad isn't walking the planet with me anymore. The song will remain even after he is gone because music is forever.

Songs to live, breathe, and remember by.


September 22, 2019

Sometimes I want to curl up and get lost in a book for a while.

September 28, 2019

I think a lot about the future. I'm a planner. I also have far too many interests to remain idle or committed for an extended period. As an undergrad, I changed my major six times. Part of the inconsistency was due to an array of intrigue I experienced when the world of educational and professional opportunities opened before me. The other part was not really knowing myself or feeling comfortable in my own skin. I gravitated toward what other people were passionate about. Their social justice causes became mine. Over the course of the last twenty years, I've studied medicine, law, art, language, education, psychology, literature, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Buddhism, meditation, spirituality, and so many other subjects. I've dabbled in jewelry-making, oil painting, drawing, farming, writing, editing, and publishing. In addition, I've also explored the country , occasionally searching for different places to live in once my daughter graduates high school. Every place I travel becomes a possibility. I can't quite sit still. I've hiked the Redwoods of Northern California, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, the Pinal Mountains, Prescott, and Jerome, Arizona, numerous areas of Colorado, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, southern Pennsylvania... I'm currently planning an exploration of Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada, as well as Banff National Park in Alberta.

Even now, four years (back) into public education, I'm planning my next career transition. I never imagined going back to school for ANYTHING after I earned my masters degree. Once a perpetual student, it felt GREAT to not have homework. But I'm a teacher, so I still have homework, I still have to read required texts. The learning never really ceases, nor should it. Teaching in the public sector doesn't suit me anymore. The administrators sit on a hill ordering directives and initiatives that are both unrealistic and unnecessary. All the people making the rules haven't been in the classroom in twenty years. Seems fair. My colleagues and I teach to a standardized test and feel the undue pressure of pass/fail rates. We become substitute parents to the massive number of students whose parents are either in jail, working four jobs, or absent entirely. Our classrooms are busting at the seams, which makes it more difficult to adequately meet the needs of our diverse learners. To say nothing of the gross incompetence of some of the faculty managing curriculum and training. I'm a faculty coordinator. I on-board and train new teachers. It's voluntary, mostly because I received the love and support of specific mentors and realized it was time to pay it forward. So many teachers leave the profession after a year or two. The demands outweigh the benefits. Not even the holiday schedule is enough to entice retention. I'd rather spend my days mentoring and training educators, but with all my schooling and experience, I'm not qualified on paper. Instead, the task is left to those who are far more effective in different professions.

I'm looking for a mobile career. ASL Interpreter is high on the short list of options. I've always wanted to do it, but never pursued it. Who the hell knows why... Too busy doing, doing, doing, and paying, paying, paying the goddamn never-ending bills. Just trying to stay afloat and make sure my kid survives and thrives. I'm a nomad trapped in the concrete jungle of the suburbs. The only perks of my residential status are really great neighbors, friends for my kid to play with, a good school for her to attend, and proximity to relatives. But I'm very ready for the countryside, fit with a tiny home, a host of farm animals, and a vegetable garden. A quiet life away from the hustle and demand of Western Society and its expectations for success. Perhaps if I had my little place of adventure at the base of a mountain, I'd be more comfortable letting the boredom settle in. However, today is not that day. The work and research continue.


September 29, 2019

I struggle with loneliness. And I don't mean the occasional bout of lacking the company of others. I'm talking a chronic sense of abandonment. A void of close interpersonal relationships that causes an ache so deep and so vast, sometimes it feels like it would rival the Grand Canyon. The friends I trust the most live hundreds of miles away. If I were a jet-setter with an abundance of frequent-flyer miles, it wouldn't be a big deal. But I'm lucky if I get to see these friends once a year. We depend on video chats and any rare in-person visit is typically rushed and crammed into two or three days. We all have jobs, lives, families that can't be put on hold for too long. I wish I had the privilege of indulging in a three-hour afternoon coffee date on a Saturday or happy hour after a shitty Thursday. I have all of these relationships and acquaintances scattered across the country, but few who know me well enough to communicate on a level that doesn't require words. And damn, do I long for it.