Sunday, June 4, 2017

A day in the life

I’m a teacher.

Today I woke up late.

It’s my day off, and I had a lot of things that I wanted to get done. My hair is greasy and I need a shower. I have several errands to run. I have things around the house that should be cleaned. I have dishes that need to be put away, and clothes that need to be washed. I have a dog that needs to be walked, and a cat that needs its litter-box cleaned. I have sheets that need to be changed and washed, and a bathroom that could use a good cleaning. I have a floor that needs to be vacuumed and laundry that needs to be put away.

I’m exhausted. I’ve only been up for five hours, and I feel like I need to go to bed. I’ve had two cups of coffee, breakfast and a snack, and I still have no energy. I haven’t gotten a single thing done, and I’m too tired to do anything more than sit on my computer and go through Facebook, or read, or write. And the latter is me trying to accomplish something, today—anything to feel as though I’ve been productive.

I just consider myself lucky that I made a large dinner last night, running on the adrenaline I’d had shooting through me from my earlier work-day; because of that, we’ll have dinner tonight. That’s the only reason we’re not ordering out or making a random (and probably unhealthy) meal for ourselves, just to have something to sustain us until tomorrow morning.

I feel like a failure, but at the same time, I know this is my body’s way of telling me that I have been too busy this week. I need to slow down or I will make myself sick. Or in some cases, I have already made myself sick and I need to rest to keep myself from getting sicker. This one time, I listen to my body. I’ve got a raging headache, anyway, and my chest feels like something heavy is squeezing it from the inside, making me feel even more tired than before.

I manage to walk the dog and clean the catbox, because they are something beyond myself and need to be taken care of on a regular schedule. But everything else can wait. I have something prepared for dinner, and that’s really the only life-or-death thing that should be taken care of (besides the cat and dog, of course!).

But even as I sit here, writing (reading) this and feeling more tired than ever before, my brain is still working at a mile a minute. I am thinking about work and all the things that go along with it. I am thinking about my family, and what I want/need to do for them. I am thinking about all the things I probably should do but am too tired to do. I am thinking about all the things I should do and won’t, simply because.

I started writing this on a Saturday, but finished on a Sunday, because I was too tired (read: distracted by thoughts I wouldn’t act on) to finish on Saturday. I’ve finally taken a shower; or maybe I haven’t. I’m sure no one will notice at work, tomorrow, either way.

Now go back to the beginning, replace “teacher” with your own job, then re-read to the end of the paragraph above. Because in the end, I’m sure we’re all the same…right?

Darn it. Do I really still have three days of work before I get a real vacation?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A few false things the World has told me, that I’ve actually believed (however briefly):

Lately, I have been thinking about what I’ve seen on the news, and heard being said on social media and by my friends and myself. I’ve found myself complaining a lot, lately, and I started looking deeper into why after having a long conversation with someone much wiser than myself. Finally, I started writing down things that bothered me, thoughts I had about issues I’ve heard of or experienced, and pulling apart the complex emotions that go along with it.

I am a flawed human being, I will be the first to say that. But I’d like to think that I have a strong moral compass and a solid Faith. Sometimes, however, that is all buried under the worldly worries that I have in my life. I have started trying to identify why that might be, which led me to remembering many things that I’ve been told over the course of my life. Some of it I didn’t believe, but most of it I have believed without question, for at least a small amount of time. These things compiled up, and I am realizing now that they have led me to becoming quite conflicted in certain areas of my life.

And I know that I’m not alone. Through conversations with many people, I’ve come to realize that this is a wide-spread problem. Most of the time, we complain about things that we’ve been told or overheard, without looking deeper to find out why they offended us so much. I have a theory that we are bothered by what we hear mainly because at some point or another, someone has stated that very thing as fact, and we’ve believed it.
So the following is a list of things I have been told, that are in no way true but that I’ve believed (even for the shortest moment). They are things that offend me, and that I complain about now that I know they’re false. These are vastly simplified, and hardly a complete list (I’m sure we could all come up with hundreds), but it is a good start.

A few false things the World has told me, that I’ve actually believed (however briefly):

1.      I can’t be happy if I’m not in a relationship.

2.      If I choose a career, I need to stick with it despite everything, or I am a quitter.

3.      I shouldn’t travel alone, because I am a woman and it’s not safe.

4.      I should be afraid of and avoid all of the dangers in the world, but I’m not truly living if I don’t place myself into situations where I encounter those dangers.

5.      I’m not worth anything unless I have people recognizing and praising me for accomplishments that I should do anyway, because it’s my responsibility.

6.      That I’ve given up if I “settle”.

7.      I am indecisive and a quitter if I find myself unhappy in the career I thought I would love, and want to leave it.

8.      That I won't really know myself until I have every piece of my life lined up in perfect order.

9.      I should lower my expectations, because I am being unreasonable.

10.   I can’t share my Faith because I might offend someone, but I need to listen when others share their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, because it is polite.

11.   That I should not be offended by other people’s opinions, but that they have every right to be offended with mine.

12.   That I should just keep my mouth shut and smile pretty.

13.   That I am being unpatriotic when I say that I want to live in another country.

14.   That I cannot share my political views, but I need to listen to others’ because they know what they’re talking about.

15.   That you can leave your responsibilities as easily as you drop your shoes, and you will be praised for being “brave” or “following your heart”.

16.   If you stay and work on hard relationships, you are clinging to something unhealthy.

17.   That I can do anything, but am limited to what someone else believes I am capable of.

18.   I am a failure if I don’t receive positive, external reinforcement for every little thing that I do.

19.   That it is alright for me to judge others, and it is fine if I get offended at them for doing the same to me.

20.   That I am justified in my complaints against other people, but their complaints against me are all lies.

21.   That I am the victim, no matter the situation or the evidence against me.

22.   That everyone is out to get me and the only person I can depend on is myself.

Again, this is only a small list of things that I am sure we've all been told at one point or another (replace the word "woman" with "man", if you need to). Some we might even still believe.

Just think about it, and add onto the list if you have something that you feel deserves it (whether in your own mind, or in the comments).


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day

As we near Father’s Day, I find myself reminiscing about the men who helped me to become who I am.

My entire life, I’ve been surrounded by strong men. My dad’s father had two sons, fought in a war, and had an unquenchable interest in anything relating to up-and-coming technology or advances. My mom’s father had four daughters, was a mechanic and woodworker, and taught each of his daughters to shoot a gun as well as any professional. My great-uncle who had two daughters, was a money-savvy barber and forever active, and cared more deeply for those around him than anyone I’ve ever met. My mom’s step-father was a war-veteran trucker with a weakness for dogs—especially tiny ones—and was a tough-as-nails giant who adored all of his grandchildren.

Then there is my dad. He had three children, works in the computer industry, has a major love and respect for nature, and was probably one of the best examples of what a dad should be, to his children as we were growing up. He always made time for us before and after work, and the weekends were special days that he’d set aside to spend exclusively with his family. These were the days that he’d make dinner, take us to the beach, play with us for hours on end, and make sure that we knew we were his first priority.

I consider myself lucky to have been surrounded by these men growing up, even if I can see now that they weren’t as perfect and infallible as I believed them to be as a child. They all made mistakes, and they all have had vices that they struggled with, but I never once doubted that they loved me and would have stepped in if I ever needed them to.

That said, I’ve also been lucky enough to have the extreme opposite examples of manhood around me, as well. You might find it strange that I use the word “lucky”, but hear me out. I consider myself lucky to have bad examples of men around me, because it gave me a very clear picture of what I did and didn’t want around me in my adult life. Having negative examples, mixed with the great examples, gave me a solid foundation once I grew up and started befriending men and women alike. It gave me insights into the types of people I wanted to be around and wanted influencing me.

Nearing this Father’s Day, I look back on all of those examples of fathers that I’ve seen in all of my years. Some were true dads: men that gave everything to prove to their children that they were the priority and they were loved. Others were fathers: they provided everything for their children, but the emotional bond just wasn’t there. And still others weren’t present at all—and really don’t deserve the title “father” at all. Sometimes I wonder what makes the difference between a man who decides to step up and be a positive factor in his child’s life, and a man who cares more about himself than the life he helped to create. 

Then I realize—does it really matter what causes the divide? There are “real” dads all over the place, if you care to look. There are men, like my step-grandfather, who step in when they don’t have to and become a positive male figure in impressionable lives, making a world of difference. There are grandfathers who step into the role of father whenever they see a need. There are men who gladly adopt children who otherwise wouldn’t have parents, simply because they have all that extra love to give. Then there are the men who are amazing examples of fatherhood to their own children’s friends. There are many other wonderful representations of “fatherhood” in this world, if you only care to look.

I think that too often, we (children) are all too happy to look for only the negative examples of the male gender, and forget that there are so many positive ones (and vice-versa when it comes to women on Mother’s Day).

So this Father’s Day, remember the positive examples of fatherhood—whether they are your own or someone else’s. Thank them for being such positive influences in your life or the lives around them. Acknowledge what they’ve done, and show them how much you care in return.

Because you never know how long you’ll have with them, even if their influence lasts for the rest of your life.

Dad, thank you for being my dad, loving us kids before anything else, and instilling in me a wonder of nature and a respect for the things around me. Grandpa K, thank you for sharing your knowledge, always making me laugh, and showing me that girls can be tough too—even when wearing skirts. Grandpa S, thank you for loving me enough to record/buy every movie that I said I liked, letting me run my fingers through your hair as we chatted, and sharing your love of technology and the South Pole exploration with me. Uncle Wally, thank you for always believing the best of me, giving me squeezes whenever I needed them, and spending one-on-one time with me so I knew I was valued. Grandpa B, thank you for being my granddad and loving me, even when you didn’t have to. I will never forget your bear-hugs! 

And to every other man in my life (my brother, uncles, cousins, friends, etc.) thank you for being there! I will never forget you!