Category Archives: Promising TMIs and Confessionary Tales

I had a dream the other night about how we only get one life

Midnight.

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.

MIDNIGHT.

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).

MIDNIGHT!!

“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:

14 resolutions worth conquering in 2014

  1. Send more brown paper packages tied up with string (snail mail)
  2. Be a grown up and start saving money in my savings account (as opposed to saving up  and then treating myself for saving up and then immediately spending it all.)
  3. Obtain more general brain knowledge via reading, google, and curiosity
  4. Call people I love, instead of snapchatting them sad faces of me missing them.
  5. Write (and blog) more.
  6. Sometimes wear heels.
  7. Get a passport.
  8. Quit it with the humblebrag.

    If I do something awesome, I’ve earned the right to celebrate said success in an adult/less obnoxious social media way.

  9. Lose weight. It’s a “I miss-my-old-clothes-type” thing, not a “I’m-the-size-of-an-Orca-type” thing. The real game plan includes dropping 35lbs by June 15th.
  10. Enjoy my life (specifically meals) without worrying about #which #hashtags #to #use on Instagram.

    #yet #another #obnoxious #20something #habit

  11. Look into how to become apart of Family Feud and/or pitch the concept via Powerpoint to my family
  12. Completely pay off IU (so I can actually receive a diploma I can hold)
  13. Clean my iTunes Library.
  14. Do more things that I love doing.

    I’m always the repinner never the pinee..

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.It’s compromise that moves us along.

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.”

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.

We adapt.

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.

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We all want the same thing; we all want love

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.

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I’ve got a right to be wrong.

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.

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Same Love

A secret very, very, very little people know about me, is that until I was at least double digits I thought that I was gay. This wasn’t caused by a persistent thought about the same gender in a uniquely sexual way but, rather an appreciation for the opposite gender. I related to males more than females and thought that perhaps G-d made a mistake in my gender cocktail.

Around this time Ghostwriter was my favorite show, I detested anything any shade of pink, and always considered it a compliment when I was referred to as ‘one of the guys.’ I was 9 and rocking a side pony tail like it was my day job before I could fully understand that I had been filled with falsely preconceived ideas of what love was, wasn’t, and that this emotion must only ever be shared between a man and a woman.

“That’s it.,” I thought.

There was no way I was straight.

My parents didn’t give me ‘the talk.’ In fact, they avoided many talks including the one that started and ended with ‘just because you are not attracted to anyone in your 16 person 1st grade class doesn’t make you a lesbian.’ But, the lesson my parents did give–perhaps unintentionally–was that there is a necessary beauty in allowing a person to come into their own, on their own. This is a lesson I carry with me every day and am continually grateful that I was raised–in whatever accidental way it was– to take and love people for who they are, NOT  who I want them to be.

I bring this up now because,  Colorado recently passed the civil union bill.  I couldn’t be a prouder resident of this state and only hope that this bill, and those like it, continue to be passed nation wide. While I may not rock side ponytails anymore and I definitely know that I’m not gay; that’s not important. What matters is that gay or not, people are people and deserve those rights and liberties entrusted thousands of years ago. So I say, no freedom till we’re equal; damn right I support it.

#Samelove

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But they told me a man should be faithful and walk when not able and fight till the end. But I’m only human

Life was a lot easier in my firefly-catching days.

Of course, times were different back then. Success meant winning the Skip-it competition in 4th grade, love was being told you were ‘pretty enough to be a Spice Girl’ and beauty was determined by the number of perfectly positioned badges I had earned at Girl Scout camp in the fall of ’94. Concepts like bills, heartache, and inferiority didn’t exist.

But my favorite thing about elementary school was the purity of everyone’s actions.

When my friends and I argued we’d always say ‘sorry’ and we’d always mean it. Hugs were in no short supply. If you needed something, anything–from a pencil to a slinky–and especially when you forgot your lunch at home, everyone at your table contributed perfect portions of animal crackers and fruit roll-ups, without be asked. It’s what we did.

But these were different times.

Now, I work for an organization that I love beyond what a few characters on a screen will allow me to express. I have amazingly bold, gifted, and talented co-workers who each come with their own set of pros and cons. But, I just finished a week where people weren’t willing to say sorry when it needed to be said and when I metaphorically got hurt on the playground, no one asked  if I was ‘alright.’ The bottom line is, we’re older now and protect our egos over each other. We’ve become more concerned with judgments and insecurities, fearing what we don’t know rather than enjoying what we do have. We think about ‘potential shortcomings’ and assume the worst of one another as opposed to using our strengths to shield others’ weaknesses. It seems like my team has gotten to a place where we operate on the defense forgetting that no points can be scored without an active offense. Part of me wishes I had the strength to describe everything awful that happened this week and just how hurt and offended by the whole series I am, but I don’t. What I do have is the strength to explain the conversation I had with a coworker (from another team) last night and how he corrected what I once saw as weakness.

With tears hanging from my eyelashes in a dimly-lit Chiptole I stared down at the table ashamed to admit I was a part of a team that was hurting. I started off by rationalizing  everything that everyone did that was wrong. I created excuses and hoped for a different outcome to a story I already knew the ending of. And after 12 minutes of talking in circles and avoiding naming names I took a deep breathe and sighed, “I wonder if the problem is me….”  I struggled all week in deciding who was to blame. I only wanted to know where it all went wrong, so that if I was in the wrong I could correct it. Things got quite and no one spoke until I blurted out, “The real problem is I have to go into work everyday to face a group of people who have said they have no problem hurting me. And, I have no choice but to either accept it or reciprocate their emotion.”

In an unexpected twist the co-worker started to smile. He looked at me and said, “But, what if there was a third option?” Annoyed, with his whimsical thinking I rolled my eyes and dropped my head. He said, “Now, hear me out. What if you loved them–whoever they are– in spite of the hate they show?” Intrigued by the concept I cut the melodramatics and opened my heart to the possibility of loving something I knew might hurt me. He continued his theory by explaining that I wouldn’t be the first (or the last)person to have to work with people whose intentions appear impure.  He reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fact that he died loving in spite of hate and then finished his lesson by saying to me, “you aren’t sacrificing who you are by loving in spite of hate–you are being who you are by loving in spite of hate.”

I won’t lie; this doesn’t solve all of the harm done on our team. But, this does change things. Because now, when someone metaphorically forgets their lunch at home, loses their Lisa Frank binder, or breaks their pencil I’m going to share mine regardless of whether or not they would do the same for me.

And I’ll do it, because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

I pledge allegiance to my Grandma

I just deleted this whole blog post because I realized after re-reading it that no amount of eloquently typed words on a screen can express how funny my students are. But, just imagine 23 innercity HS students reactions once they heard me explain that Jesus’s being born in Bethlehem makes him Arab….not Mexican.

and if that didn’t work then watch this.

I took my turn and I will state my case But I could be wrong

A few weeks ago I was a guest blogger on my company’s website. I wrote about the “best  day of my life.”  [Spoiler alert]: I conclude that there are many ‘best days’ and we have no control over when or how they occur, which is perhaps why they are so beautiful, because they just happen. This is important because I believe that certain days shouldn’t be celebrated just because they have been celebrated before–and with that I’m sure I am at least 25% more attractive to anybody who has ever forgotten an anniversary. But, I digress.

Celebrations should be held out of a genuine desire to congratulate and honor the event/person and if it’s not for that reason, then it shouldn’t be celebrated. Go big or go home. I figure ‘Why fake an emotion to cause a mediocre memory?’

My coworkers, friends, and family however do not agree. “Throw a party!, It’ll be fun!, Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate you?” were all questions/comments posed when I insisted I did not want to celebrate my most recent birthday. But, ‘you have to!’ they persisted . So I gave in and held a party to celebrate a time in my life I don’t think needs to be celebrated on just one day. I celebrate the victories when they happen, as they happen. And I know Hallmark would be disappointed but, I can’t be convinced that you should celebrate being alive 1 out of ever 365 days. I think it’s selfish to all the other days that led up to making you, you.

But, I work with students who mean  the best so I held my “mis quince” balloon bouquet with pride. I  said “thank you” with every wish granted on my birthday and tried my hardest to mean it because punishing the best of intentions is far worse than celebrating a birthday that’s already been celebrated.

Let’s file this under: Fake it til you make it and call it a day.

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She had found what she’d been looking for. And, I knew it wasn’t me

Today I cried at work. I cried for approximately 22 minutes and 15 seconds in the stairwell that separates my company’s office and the Colorado Democratic party headquarters. I cried from the stairwell to my bus stop, from the bus stop to my door step and then my door step to my bed where I continued to cry for another hour. Unfortunately, this extreme display of emotion captured the attention of several coworkers who began to question both the validity of my tears and the male coworker seen talking to me only 20 minutes earlier. That –the confusion about who to blame and why– I regret.

The conversation should’ve been simple, an agreement to disagree. What the conversation turned into was a blame game between him and I, in which we pointed fingers and cited unrelated incidences as evidence to back us up. Our goals got lost in the emotions of trying to be right and that’s where it all went wrong. We forgot what we were fighting for. The truth is we were both right and we were both wrong. We let our egos guide our mouths and my heart suffered the consequences. He said a few coworkers thought I was arrogant, over-bearing, and disrespectful, that I felt my opinions were more sacred than theirs. The word bit*h came pouring out  and it felt colder than usual. I tried turning to leave the conversation when he turned his body blocking me in to explain that by walking away I was proving everything that everyone thought about me- true or not- correct. That’s when it hit me.

As much as I’d like to write, “haters gone hate” and move on with my life the truth is there is a part of us all that wants so desperately to be both loved and accepted. And at my job I don’t feel that way. I feel liked and respected. This  is nice when it comes to projects and data because it’s black and white. I can quantify the effectiveness of my ideas. People like what I have to offer. But, life isn’t black and white. And, we aren’t always working on projects. And if I am by chance arrogant, over-bearing, and disrespectful to my coworkers, even if it’s only the 5 he mentioned, I humbly apologize. That is never the person I want to be.  I realized that I wasn’t mad at him, I was mad at myself. So I cried.

Dream a little dream of me

screenshot

You read right.

After racking enough hours to write a dissertation on frames, mattresses, and back pain my prayers have been answered. I got the text (above) from a co-worker who let me know that there was a full mattress set (mattress, frame and boxspring), with free delivery, up for grabs. The catch was I had less than 36 hours to decide whether or not I wanted it and I had to pay completely upfront, in cash, at time of delivery. Normally, this would be no problem except I wasn’t budgeting for a bed this month. So, there I sat in the middle of my floor (where all my best thinking is done) trying to decide whether or not to get a great deal (at least 75$ cheaper than any other deal I found) but, suffer the fate of being broke until October’s pay check.

[SPOILER ALERT] I bought the bed.

The good news is, I got a bed and it was everything the seller described. The box spring was still in the plastic and the mattress looked almost brand new. The bad news is the mattress is just cheap. It’s pretty thin and offers little support. The frames’ dimensions are off … so it’s  useless. The boxspring- which you can buy anywhere for pretty cheap-is the best part. In summary, the bed, as cheap as it was, isn’t worth much at all.

The upsetting thing is that I knew better than to buy a large ticket item without previewing it first. It’s my fault it’s not what I wanted. On the plus side though I’m glad I did buy the bed. Why? I needed one.  And, needs > wants.

I’m going to buy a new frame and make this bed exactly as I imagined it.