I’m Not Sorry

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I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry I love learning so much that I listen to history podcasts and share facts from them at weddings. I’m not sorry I think education is a misunderstood career and I know what I’m talking about when I discuss it. I’m not sorry I am obsessed with the Cleveland Indians and get passionate when I talk about them. I’m not sorry I choose to look on the bright side and approach challenges in life from a positive perspective. I’m not sorry I’d rather be proven wrong than be proven right. I’m not sorry I like beer and that drink my coffee black. I’m not sorry that my dog is my best friend or that I take and share lots of photos of her. I’m not sorry about my values and beliefs. I’m not sorry I enjoy cheesy books, Top 40 music, or Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I’m not sorry I forgive too easily. I’m not sorry I love my hometown and college. I’m not sorry that most the time I’d rather spend a night in rather than out. I’m not sorry I act honestly when I have the option to do otherwise. I’m not sorry I prioritize safety, spending time with my husband, or doing right by my students. I’m not sorry I’ve never done drugs and I’m not sorry my wedding was untraditional. I’m not sorry for my tattoos, my student loans, or my anxiety. I’m not sorry about my early bedtime, my sense of humor, or my singing voice.

I’m not sorry about being me.

my life + musings: finally a new post!

 

 

It goes without saying that I haven’t updated this blog recently, and when I was updating it wasn’t frequently.

All I can say is I’m not made to be full-time blogger, I suppose. I love the blogging community and I’ve dreamed of working from home and blogging full-time like every other blogger out there, or at least of having a blog that reaches many people and creates  a mini-community itself. But my life isn’t fit for that. Blogging semi-regularly, in ways that enrich the activities I already engage in? That encourage me to be a better person? Yes. But full-time, scheduled, disciplined blogging? No, at least not right now.

I think a hard part of growing up, at least for me, is letting go of expectations. Specifically, expectations I have for myself. I was that kid in high school, and I guess in college, who wanted to do everything, be everything, and do it super well. Not be a jack of all trades, master of none, but a master of all trades attempted. I still have been attempting to do that in life. Be the best daughter, fiancee, friend, coach, teacher, blogger. Be good at cooking, cleaning, working out, being on top of things. I can do it all and I can do it all well.

This is a stupid, obvious thing to say and I’ll probably come to this realization over and over again in my life: “I can’t do it all and do it well. I can do some well and I can do some others decently. Other things, I just don’t have time to do in a positive manner or plain just can’t do. I definitely can’t please everyone. I can’t achieve all I want. I will fail. I will let people down. Things I want will take time. Everything will be okay. Most things are not as big of a deal as everyone makes them out to be.”

My life is fit for a unique sort of rhythm, and I have to find ways to make it the strongest, most beautiful rhythm it can be – not alter it. Change the tempo, change the volume, sure. Change its basic make-up? No. And that means realizing what is most important to me in life, and not apologizing for it: my family (fiancé, his family, and our dog included) and our all-around health; my friends and my career; pretty much everything else. Unfortunately, highly time-consuming hobbies? Turns out they are not a great fit for what has become the natural rhythm of my life the past several months or what I currently anticipate my life will be like…and blogging is definitely a time-consuming hobby.

So the past few months, blogging was toward the bottom of my daily agenda. I was hired as a long-term substitute for at my alma mater, an urban high school in a suburb of Cleveland, where I taught and cotaught U.S. Government. Though it took up every ounce of my time that wasn’t reserved for eating, sleeping, family and friends, and then some, I was thankful just to have such an opportunity. Little did I know how much it would truly impact me.

It was stressful. I am highly knowledgeable in my content area, and due to my participation in a special program during my undergraduate studies, I do have more experience in the classroom than the average first year teacher. However, having control of your own classroom for the very first time is so much trial-and-error, especially when you work with students who are not always very motivated or organized. I learned so much every day. Was there ever a second where I didn’t feel like the stress was worth working through? Absolutely not.

If you have read this blog in the past, you probably know I have anxiety. When I get overwhelmed, I try to reason with myself if what I am worrying about actually matters. When I would worry about my job and ask myself that question, the answer was always YES. It did matter, because it would impact if a student understood something about the government of the nation in which they live. It did matter, because it would impact grades in a class required for graduation in the state of Ohio. It did matter, because it influenced young adults’ attitudes toward learning, responsibility, and themselves.

Instead of overwhelming me, it empowered me. I can’t let my students down, so I better suck it up. They are struggling, so I better show them what a product of this school can grow up to be. They may not remember me, but they are as sure as hell going to remember the lessons I teach them.

However, my long term sub position ended due to some reassigning of teachers within the district, and I was hired as a district substitute, meaning I work every day at various schools in the district as a sort of “teacher on call.” While this is a wonderful opportunity that does provide for more free time outside of the work day, I greatly missed my students, so I added this new cache of unused energy and time to my coaching efforts. So after time with my family and friends, and career efforts, I haven’t had time to blog. I’ve barely had time to plan my wedding, get a good night’s sleep, make it to the gym. Do I want to live every year of my life like that? No, of course not. You have to take care of yourself if you are going to effectively take care of others. But will I ever regret or resent sacrificing for students in my classroom or on my team? Never. Learning how to balance all aspects of life comes in time, especially once you have a firm grasp of what those most important aspects are.

Since graduating from college, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, including about what is important in life – what’s worth worrying about, what you should cherish, how you should approach situations. But the past few months deepened these lessons. They filled in the details and hardened the roots. This year was pretty hard at times, but it was also pretty darn great. It taught me so much – how great the people in my life are, the power of staying positive and focused on moving forward, how to take better care of myself, how to take balancing life demands day by day, the importance of relaxing and enjoying life, and that working and waiting for a full-time classroom position is 150% worth it.

Hence the lack of posts. I still greatly enjoy blogging! and I hope you still enjoy reading my blog when there is new material, and that you will continue to do so. I just wanted to share why it hadn’t been updated much and why sometimes there might be lulls in my posting pattern. Because despite my best intentions and efforts, I can’t be a master of all trades attempted. And I’m okay with it : )

Here’s to a great 2013, full of all the things we love and cherish. I hope it’s even better than your 2012 was.

 

 

musings: each day is an investment

Hello, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was filled with hot days guarding at pool and plenty of relaxing and trying to stay cool at home.

Today was a rough day for me, full of ups and downs. While I definitely had little beautiful moments of laughter, family, and friendship, I also was super stressed and had two anxiety attacks. In one day. That hasn’t happened to me in a long time. By the end of the day, I was just repeating to myself what’s basically become my life mantra over the past couple months: keep moving forward.

Then, tonight, while on Pinterest, I found this:

 

I really like this idea. It’s not saying, “You only live once! Do crazy and wild and extraordinary things every day to make it count!” It’s saying, “Assume you’re going to be around for a long time. What do you want from that long life? Is what you’re doing today going to get you there?”

I’ve seen a simple quote similar to the sentiment above before: “What you do today is important because you are exchanging your life for it – (unknown).” But for some reason, the idea of exchanging my day for something didn’t stick with me. For me, the idea of exchange seems fleeting, like, “I’ll trade you my cherry lollipop for your grape one.” But the idea of investment – what I do day is building something certain in my future – really is staying with me.

It seems like a really obvious idea: “Yes, if I work today it will put more money in my bank account. Yes, if I eat well and work out my health will improve.” I know those things, and I’ve often thought about life in that manner. I’ve read things about living life with purpose, and while it did motivate me to be more conscious of my choices, it seemed like such an all-encompassing idea, such a weighty word. So if I’m not being productive, I’m not living with purpose, right?  Am I working hard enough? Am I using my time well? But the idea of each day as investment doesn’t mean each day is necessarily productive in the idea that you are knocking things off you’re to-do list and meeting goals. It means you are determining your future, for better or worse. If you aren’t concerned with your health, you may invest your time in eating badly and sitting around. If you want to be happy, you probably invest your time in a hobby that makes you happy.

The words above say, “The clock is running. Make the most of today.” I think that’s a wonderful thought, to make every day as positive as possible, and when the day runs out, you get to start over. Every day you get more time. Invest it. Build your future. Keep moving forward.

 

my life: keep moving forward

 

I graduated from college with a degree in 7-12 social studies education in May 2011. I spent all last summer applying for jobs and not getting one (since my degree is in an oversaturated licensure area for my home state of Ohio). I accepted a job outside of my licensure area at a charter school based on promises and pure panic of the unknown. The job turned out to be a bad fit for my career aspirations and my strengths and passions. Add in family issues, and I quit two months later. I’ve been coaching and subbing the past school year, and I truly loved it. It was really hard, but I felt like it was what I needed my first year out of college.

However, I’m back into the job search again now that it’s summer and schools are again searching for new hires. I’ve been rejected from the only three full-time positions I have received interviews for and have been crying my eyes out, doubting myself. I keep thinking: “Why did I choose this degree? It’s my passion and I’m good at it, but there aren’t any jobs in Ohio. When I was 18 and had never lived outside of my childhood home, I thought I’d be okay moving states away for a job. Five years later, everything is different and I know that’s not right for me at this point. But I have student loan debt! And I’m planning a wedding and living with my parents! What am I going to do? Should I completely change my career? My resume and references are so solid, why does no one want me?” And everyone – friends, coworkers, people I’ve just met – has some opinion on my life: “Why would you major in such a populated field?” “You know, there’s plenty of jobs in Texas.” “Why do you want to be in public education with the changes going on?” “You’d make a great lawyer. Have you thought about law school?” “You’re too young to be married.” “You have plenty of time before you need to settle down.” etc., etc.

 

 

I know, despite the stresses I’ve mentioned, that I am extremely blessed. My life is spared from incredible hardships that so many others have to navigate, oftentimes with less than ideal resources. But it’s hard, it’s so hard, to not get bogged down in a pity party. To look at what others my age have achieved and the life they’ve settled into and not feel like I must be doing something wrong if I can’t get there, too.

So I let myself have a pity party. I normally try to limit my moping to one day per bad news item/setback. Back-to-back bad news yesterday and Monday lead to two depressed days in a row – but that’s enough. Time to keep moving forward.

I’m going to practice gratitude and look on the bright side. I’m going to keep applying for teaching positions but (try) not to obsess over the whole process. I’m going to have faith that things will work out in a favorable way as long as I continue to work hard and pursue challenging opportunities that bring out my strengths, feed my passion, and bring me joy.

It will be okay. I am blessed. Life is good.

 

 

 

P.S. Special thanks to Daniel and my best friends for their kind words, as well as to favorite blogger Jess for this post. I needed a bit of a nudge to buck up and keep going : )

my life: today’s my 23rd birthday

 

 

After my sophomore year of and graduation from college (both major milestones in my life), I didn’t think I’d have another “milestone year” until my first year as a full-time teacher. Or the year I got married. Or the year I lived totally on my own. Something like that. However, while nothing like that happened to me this year, but I still consider my 22nd year – one in which I got rejected from jobs, accepted my first full-time job and moved, quit my first full-time job and moved again, got rejected from some more jobs, got engaged, became a high school head coach, and worked part-time as a substitute teacher (despite my need and best efforts to gain more hours), only to start the whole full-time job search over again just like last summer – to have been one of the most important years in my life. 

I learned SO MUCH. I learned how truly stressful all of life can be when money is tight and you are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I learned how to let go of the money worries, do my best, and trust it will be okay. I learned how very lucky and blessed I am to have supportive parents and future in-laws who are willing to help me out while the education job market is tight. And at swim meets. And planning my wedding. And pretty much anything I go to them for. I learned that $2.75 beers of the month and $1.29 Redboxes add just as much fun and memories to a night as $5.50 craft brews and $10.00 movie tickets. I learned I can handle almost every age group or subject in grades 7-12 and if a lane line breaks in the middle of a swim meet I won’t have a breakdown. I learned to always ask a question if you don’t know what you’re doing and never to apologize for it. I learned I missed the city of Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio even more than I anticipated I would. I learned how to be in a long-distance relationship with someone I used to be with for hours every day. I learned to say “no” sometimes and not feel (too) bad. I learned how to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do. I learned I’m going to screw up and mistakes are stressful but you just have to keep moving forward. I learned that just because life isn’t going the exact way you wish it was, doesn’t mean it’s not truly beautiful.

Yes, I’m working on getting my career where I want it to be, planning a wedding, and getting healthy, all while spending as much time with loved ones as I can. It can be overwhelming at times, but my life is so full of joy. I can’t wait to see what lessons and memories 23 brings me.

 

10 superpowers i wish i had

Source: comf5.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

  • Always feel completely well-rested upon waking up
  • Teleportation (or apparition, for all my fellow Harry Potter fans)
  • Learn through osmosis
  • Perfect hair days every day
  • Make banana peels appear and trip up mean people (or cause some other minor but entertaining mishap to occur)
  • Feel my own forehead with my own hand and accurately know my temperature
  • Make lines disappear when I approach a cash register (Or ice cream order window. Or roller coaster. You get the idea.)
  • Know what style of jeans and shoes will fit well and comfortably without having to try them on
  • Converse with animals
  • Think, “I want ______________ (movie/TV) to be on Netflix Instant” AND THEN IT IS
  • Snap my fingers and all the dishes are put away and clean
  • Predict, with 100% accuracy, if any precipitation will fall on any given day
  • Be able to create and then give great people “Good for one AWESOME day” coupons that actually work when redeemed
  • Oh, and maybe a traditional superpower. Like superhuman strength! Or maybe be a bender of some sort. Hmmm…this might be an entirely different question ; )

What superpowers do you wish you had?

a letter to those who are hurting

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

A lot has happened these past couple weeks that have reminded about how blessed my life is and how much I love everyone in it. The Chardon High School shooting was in the northeast Ohio area, and while I didn’t know anyone involved, it moved me deeply as an educator. Three students from BGSU, my alma mater, passed away in a car crash at the beginning of spring break – making it six students this year that the university has lost. I hear of other losses, of health problems, of pain, among people I am close to or people that I have once met. It all breaks my heart. But at the same time, it makes me stand up straighter. It makes me take a pause and a deep breath. Then it makes me keep going. It makes me go forward trying to be stronger than before, motivated to make the most of the abilities, opportunities, and love in my life. It makes me want to do all I can to make others’ lives easier.


The frequency of tragedy does not ease its pain. It does not make it more understandable to me. I will never understand how one second someone can be here and the next second, they’re gone. I will never understand why great people, who treat others with warmth and work hard, go through such trials. When I first lost someone very dear to me very suddenly, during college, I felt broken. I remember, shortly after learning the news, I went to the church just off campus that I attended, which was unlocked and open 24 hours. I sat in the dark. I cried. I lit a candle. I prayed and cried. I went home. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day and looked at the window. People were walking to class. I somehow got dressed and ready. I went to the union to get much-needed coffee. People were studying. People were laughing. I didn’t understand how the world could keep moving forward when it felt like it should be standing still.

I know people who are loved are lost everyday. I know people receive terrible health news or diagnosis everyday. I know people are hurt and taken advantage of and neglected everyday. I have known all this for quite some time. For some reason, I have been feeling the truth of it more and more lately. It sits heavily in my heart. I just wanted to say, if you are going through pain, if you feel broken, if you don’t understand why the world isn’t standing still, you’re not alone. I won’t say it’s okay. It’s not okay. But I promise: you’re not alone.




my life: becoming brunette

my brown hair

I have been a natural blonde my whole life, until a week ago. As I’ve gotten older, my hair has gotten darker and darker blonde, and highly dependent on the sun to lighten up a bunch in the summer. This was no problem since I did sports and worked outside for the past several years. However, two years ago I began to chop my hair off: a couple inches at one point, a few more inches a few months later, and even more inches several months later. It got to the point where all my really blonde, sun-induced natural highlights had been chopped off and I was left with dark blonde hair, just light enough in places to be considered blonde but dark enough elsewhere to be mistaken for light brown.

I have been dissatisfied with this dark blonde state of my hair. I was so used to having clearlyblonde hair, that I felt weird with this in-between state. I started debating dying my hair brown. Not really dark brown, but a light brown. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, though. I’m a blonde! I’ve always been blonde! I need to take pride in and embrace my blonde-ness! It’s part of who I am!

I chickened out. It will get blonde again in the summer, anyway, I thought. But it didn’t. And I still felt stuck in a rut. That’s how I found myself in front of the hair dye aisle in Rite-Aid a week ago, holding a blonde highlighting kit in one hand and a light brown hair dye box in the other. I bought both and went home. I sat on the couch, still holding them, debating. I talked it over with my mom. I told her how I was thinking about dying it brown for a year, and how this was just a light brown, maybe a shade or two darker than the darkest tones in my hair. My mom said, “If you been thinking about it for a year and you bought the dye, just do it!” I was still scared, so she said, “You have to take risks in life.”

So I did it. I took the risk that’s not that big of a risk anyway. I dyed my dark blonde hair light brown. It’s a subtle difference, nothing drastic, but noticeable to those I see on a frequent basis – and most importantly, to me. I feel more put-together. I feel neater. I feel more confident. I don’t feel like I’m hovering in an in-between state.

About two years ago, my sophomore year of college, I went through a lot of different, difficult situations in a short time span. It was unlike anything I had been through before. I recently realized I’ve spent the past couple years attempting to recover from everything that happened. I feel like I lost key parts of who I am and who I was becoming, and I’m still working hard to regain them, if it’s even possible. This past spring and summer I got really complacent about my life, so to speak, and this past fall I think I finally started to regain the motivation and optimism for life I used to have. That I finally started to prioritize, organize, take action, and move out of the in-between state I was in.

My hair color doesn’t define me. My anxiety doesn’t define me. My grades don’t define me. Over the past few years, I’ve learned so much about what really defines a person, about what matters in life, about what I want from life and what I have to give. I’m not the same person I was when I started college, but I am confident, optimistic, and stable-feeling again. I was blonde. I was in-between. And now I’m brunette.