“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
If it’s good enough for Cinderella (the original sugar baby); it’s good enough for me. And, for the first time since I was 10- and finally allowed to stay up to the magical hour -I felt a spark of enthusiasm about the new year that I usually don’t
feel acknowledge. Something about the new-ness and the opportunity to just begin again sent my mind racing. This excitement lasted all of 15 minutes before I realized my mind was running through a list of 365 possibilities faster than I could find post-it notes to write them down. So, I took a nap instead. And, by nap I mean I went to bed. I awoke the next day no less eager and giddy as I had floated off to sleep the night before.
That’s the text I sent to a friend around 8 am on January 2nd. I used caps lock and everything. About 2 hours later she finally responded with this emoji as if to say, ‘no harsh feelings but, we aren’t 12/there’s nothing exciting about 12:00pm unless you have super exciting news like a pregnancy and enjoy climatic news releases.’ I was almost offended she wasn’t as excited for 2014 as I was. So, I took my ideas (and my wounds) to the place of louder than life laughter and emotional band-aids…..the Scholar Factory (AKA my classroom).
“It actually came and brought a whole new year,” I exclaimed, bursting through the doors of my classroom Tuesday morning. “Yes! It did. I woke up and it was just, like, here,” shouted an 8 year old in the front row. He got so excited he stood up. Two other kids followed suit screaming, “Miss, did you know now we don’t have to be the 2013 us, we can be the 2014 us?!” I smiled, filled with relief. Finally, I had found a group of people that felt as excited for the new year as I did. “You know why I like the new year Ms. A?,” asked a little girl with two pig tails and glittered Uggs. “I like it, ’cause it’s NEW! You don’t get new things all the time but, when you do, you need to stop and think ‘hey, this is NEW!'”
While my students may lack the refined articulation of Audie Cornish they are on par with the passion of Richard Simmons and the sweet intentions of Mother Theresa.
Glitter boots is right!
It’s not everyday you get something new. And it’s definitely not every day you get 365 new days to spend however you’d like. So in honor of the fact that 1- it’s 2014 and brand new and 2- I get to write a list (which is a personal pleasure of mine) I present:
Let’s acknowledge the white elephant in the room, I haven’t posted in a really, really, really long time. But every now and then, I come across something (or someone) that is truly breathtaking and impossible to ignore.
That something is this video.
If I ever have girls, I will teach my girls to love the fact that they are alive. And, with that very realization, beautiful.
Day 3: “Resources.”
Not to diminish the post below but, my phone was off for less than 24 hours before I encountered a situation that made me rethink the whole ‘I don’t need a phone; it interferes with my potential happiness’ hypothesis.
In summary, I was hungry. And, I needed Jimmy Johns.
Luckily for me I have a roommate, who I asked to place the order on my behalf. I did this feeling absolutely certain that I had outsmarted the system. Of course she responded as any responsible roommate in her 2o-somethings would… She began mocking me. “What happened to I’m stronger than an iPhone/I don’t need it to make me happy,” she whined. “This is different.” I started to explain, “I don’t need my phone; I need your help!” We both smiled but, I quickly followed it up by shooting her a look which hopefully reflected hunger and impatience.
I’m guessing it worked because she gave in. And like a Jedi mind reader she tossed me her phone adding a quick, “well, technically you’re aren’t cheating.” In an effort to further justify my innocence and pacify my guilt I chimed in, “yeah, exactly. I’m just using my resources.”
They’re something I didn’t fully consider when I made this decision to go wire-less. But, the truth is my iPhone is so much more than a device that allows me to connect to a person with a similar device. It’s my compass, calendar, alarm clock, handheld meteorologist, weight-tracking, little black book reminding, social media guru.
And it’s a hell of a lot less expensive than an assistant and less annoying than a significant other. For over 5 years my phone is what’s been keeping me on track and ready for potential disaster.
So what now…
That’s the question I terrifyingly continued to ask myself as I struggled to fall asleep on night 1. My fear was that I would get fired because I overslept because I didn’t set an alarm because I don’t have an alarm to set because I turned my phone off because I felt overwhelmed.
Then, I just felt stupid.
This thought spooked me so much that I actually considered walking the 3.5 miles to and from Super Target at 2:52 a.m. just so I could buy a clock so that I wouldn’t oversleep and get fired. But, instead I got so overwhelmed that I fell asleep anyways, completely forgetting about the route to Target I had just mentally mapped out. And guess what? I woke up, without an alarm clock, on time.
And, I didn’t get fired.
Since as long as I can remember, my cellphone has always been my alarm clock. But, it’s only since yesterday that I realized it’s been that way because I allowed it to be that way. Humans are naturally programmed to survive. We adapt when necessary, making changes and adjustments so that we don’t fail. It’s who we are; It’s what we do.
We survive. We keep going.
The problem is we’re human. We want more than just to survive. We want love. We want success. We want to be the best that we can be. We get overly emotional and swear off electronics for a week just to be able to breath again.
So, if turning my phone off for a week meant losing out the on 54 resources that my iPhone provided in order to gain the 1 that it didn’t, I’m glad that resource gained was me.
Day 1: “I hate the way Maury sounds.”
At 12:00 am last night I entered into what was destined to become one of the most intriguing (and maybe a little idiotic) ideas I’ve ever suggested. I promised all of facebook and my roommate that I was going to go on an “iFast” in which I abstained from using my phone, personal twitter account, and facebook for the next week. After the initial laughter subsided an overwhelming and general reaction of annoyance and confusion emerged. The amount of “What the hell, this isn’t cute” text messages that followed were equally unsettling. But, as the sun begins to set on day 1 I could not stand more firmly by my declaration of electronic abstinence and here’s why…
I had several “best friends” in elementary school. In fact, I think I went through 12 in the 8 months of schooling that was the third grade–but few of these bff’s were as outstanding as freckle-faced Hannah. Freckle-faced Hannah had long blonde hair and a toe touch I would kill for. We cheered for the same squad for two years and played soccer together for four years. Our mothers were on the PTA together and our fathers would barbeque on Sundays as though they were long-lost brothers. For the most part our families were carbon copies of each other, and our lives just seem to fit.
Everything except for Eli.
Eli was Hannah’s spunky and super inquisitive younger brother. He would hide whenever Daisy’s from our Girl Scouts troop would sleepover and wave at me from time to time. He would also write me LOTS of letters about all kinds of things and, on occasion, gesture for me to come watch “Zoom” with him after school but, I almost never heard him speak.
Turns out Eli was deaf. My parents held this conversation with me about Eli around the same time Hannah’s parents talked to her about Ramadan–but that’s another story. This is the story about the day I went to Hannah’s house and everyone was in tears.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Hannah gripped my hand super tight and instructed me that her family was in a “fragile” place. I whispered, “is everything ok?,” concerned that I may have been unintentionally involved in making what appeared to be a bad situation worse. Hannah looked at me with her huge almond shaped eyes and explained that today was the day Eli would hear.
I couldn’t have been older than 11 and was completely naive on the process of regaining hearing after years of being deaf and what a monumental moment this was for their family. In summary, I was annoyed and frustrated with Hannah so I threw down her hand exclaiming, “that (Eli getting an implant) is a good thing, duh!”–my vocabulary was clearly as sophisticated as I was at 11 years old. Her mother (and perhaps the whole block) heard the less than satisfactory job we were doing in attempting to whisper on the staircase. We were on the staircase in an equally failed attempt to hide so we could get a closer look at the process of Eli gaining hearing. Hannah’s mom stormed towards the staircase and grabbed us both by our ears.
She took us into Eli’s room where he sat in a corner clawing at the implant and begging to take it out. “I HATE THE WAY MAURY SOUNDS!..I HATE IT..I HATE IT..I HATE IT!!” is all he kept repeating. With each screeching plea my heart sank lower and lower, shocked and a little afraid. Sensing my confusion Hannah went to hold my hand again and said, “He means morning. He hates the way morning sounds.”
Morning.– It’s a sound I never really considered.
The landscapers lawn mowers must’ve been like being in a giant garbage disposal, the birds chirping must’ve felt like piercing needles pressed into his ear drums and I could only imagine what Hannah and I’s creaking on the staircase felt like. It was in that moment that I realized, we were “morning” and we were painful.
This weekend I experienced my own version of “Maury.”
I woke up Saturday and felt overwhelmed, overstimulated, and generally ill-prepared for the future. I tried pinpointing when someone metaphorically turned on my implant when I wasn’t ready but, I couldn’t seem to figure it out. I went about my day as usual and nothing superbly out of the ordinary happened but, ‘morning’ seemed to be getting louder and louder.
So then Sunday morning happened. I had hoped to wake up and experience life as it is but, was instead greeted by an obnoxiously vibrant alarm, an equally obnoxiously vibrant roommates’ alarm, apartment maintenance staff vacuuming, dump truck backing up, 12 text messages and 25 snapchats all before 6 am.
I was like Eli. I just wanted for morning to stop.
So last night, before I said my final prayers, I reached over and turned ‘morning’ off.
A recent study was conducted in which 250 men and women were asked to draw what love, fear, joy, sadness and anger felt like in their bodies. These are the combined results.
I care about this kinda of research and these seemingly-random-hipster-approved type of studies because at their very core, they are humanity. Race, religion, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, etc. –none of those things mattered.
Inside, we all feel the same.
My grandmother used to do this thing.
Back then I called it getting on my nerves although now I would probably classify it as wisdom. It was simple really; she would ask, “Are you ready yet?” This phrase was almost always heard echoing down the hallways of our summer house in Tyler, Texas where one of us grandchildren wasn’t getting ready when we pinky promised we would.
There are not enough fingers and toes between the 4 of us grandchildren for me to count the number of times I answered, “yes” when I should’ve said, “no.” I would brush my teeth under my bed, sneak breakfast I hadn’t finished into the car, and my mothers’ ultimate pet peeve–continue to exclaim, “Nobody told me I was supposed to be getting ready.” I would do everything within my power to push the responsibility of me getting ready and my lack of such onto everybody else. But, no matter what tactic I employed my grandmother would never play into it. She would always respond with a very level headed, “Alright.”
I hated when she did that.
What I needed in those moments of “I can’t find my socks/I haven’t finished my juice yet/and can I watch the end of Recess?” was an empathetic ear. But, no. No matter how hard I pouted or how many fake tears I mustered all I ever got was an “alright.” And even though I was only about 12 and wasn’t allowed to say the words; I knew that this game she was playing was absolute bullsh*t.
So one day, I did something she hated.
I hid one of her shoes, turned up the stove so that the biscuits would burn (thus ruining breakfast), and unplugged her perfectly heated curling iron. I destroyed her routine. Meanwhile, I finished my breakfast (which had also burned–something I, for some reason, didn’t consider), brushed my teeth, and put on my perfectly pressed Sunday dress. Then, I stood in the hallway with my hands on my hips and screamed, “GRANDDOT- ARE YOU READY!?”
She came around the corner in her gown, hair still undone, make-up only half completed and said, “No—But, you are.”
I was defeated– and mostly just annoyed that I had missed half of “One Saturday Morning” trying to sabotage my grandmothers plans. I collapsed in the hallway and crossed my arms. My grandmother began laughing. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed until eventually she started to cry.
I hated that moment.
She watched me sulk for about 5 minutes before she grew bored with the charade and asked what was wrong. I explained that I just wanted her to feel how I feel when I’m rushed and not ready. I wanted her to know that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I’m just not ready. Then, like a true grandma, she leaned down and said, “I know. And, that’s alright.”
So for those of you wondering how work has been since “the week from hell” and if I made good and forgave my coworkers the short answer is no. But, that’s because sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make nice.
And that’s alright.