I just deleted the whole post I had started (and almost finished) here because of how whiny it sounded when I reread it just now. I’ve been crying a lot. That’s it. Don’t know why (maybe job-change, house in boxes for upcoming reno, band seemingly slowly dismantling, treadmill isn’t working, watching Call the Midwife, allergies, lack of sleep, being 40, maybe.)
In the meantime I blamed everything else imaginable. I know it’s not my husband’s fault, or lacrosse’s, or his band’s, or anything else I accused. But I can’t really fix any of the likely culprits. So I’m going to stop whining. (I might not be able to stop crying, but I can stop whining.)
That’s it. Short post. If I keep going it’s going to turn into whining. (And probably crying.)
So, if you’re one of the few, the proud, who have followed my journey into figuring out what I want to do now that I don’t need benefits – aka, my mid-life crisis – you’ll know that I’ve recently resigned my “coveted” (ha!) position as Curriculum Specialist and taken a job back in the classroom. I guess I’ll call that Step One.
I’m mixing reality shows, but somewhere between Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and The Biggest Loser, I know that at some point, a failed contestant has to look at the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader,” and Bob Greene says to the kicked=0ff contestant “I’m sorry, but you are NOT the biggest loser.” I feel like when I walk off this job on June 14th, I’ll gladly look into a camera and say “My name is Angie, and I am NOT a curriculum specialist.”
And that makes me proud right now. I want to be a teaching specialist…A kid specialist, a learning and reading and thriving specialist, but not a curriculum specialist. Sure you have to have a curriculum – even though I managed to be a successful teacher for many years either without one or without paying attention to one. But I understand you have to know what you’re supposed to teach, and by nature, you need some measure of your and your students’ success with those goals. And since there are thousands of teachers in Texas – hundreds or more of which are not naturally good – there has to be a common assessment.
I don’t want a common classroom, though.
My treadmill broke last week, and it’s been stressing me into a depression. I’ve learned to do my running and walking in the comfort of my pollen-free bedroom while watching Keith Morrison lay out the details of murder after riveting murder. There is no way on earth I’m going back outside in the dark where the mosquitos are and it might be humid and there aren’t – fortunately and unfortunately – any murders to be solved. So I’ve done no running or walking, just cursing a lot at my treadmill and the scales.
So here’s where I’m going with this: The scales are how I measure and celebrate my hard work on the treadmill. But without the treadmill, I am stubbornly content to just watch that number go in the wrong direction and bitch about the broken treadmill – as if that’s how to fix it. Tests are how we measure our hard work in the classroom – Is that the way I’m going to measure and celebrate my hard work with kids??? Of course not! Never have, why start now?!? I want to find alternative ways – aka “the right ways” – to sneekily achieve what our advantaged students achieve – without the moaning and dread and copy machine. I know this is possible. Dear friend, colleague, mentor, in a conversation with a Resource teacher, flailing a STAAR practice workbook and bitching about the broken copier, reminded her that what kids really need to is to be reading. Resource teacher said to friend, “It’s not what your kids need, but it’s what my kids need,” (paraphrasing) to which friend replied, in her head, “My kids don’t need that because they REEEEAAAADDDD!!!!” I know these truths to be self-evident.
So translate, brainiac! (me to self) – If you can find alternative ways to facilitate a learning environment that achieves the same (or better) measures of success in the classroom, why are you so uncreative and unwilling with the running?? You ran outside for decades when it was all you had, but you’ve been spoiled. Would you be complaining about your kids scores if you had given up on them too?
Not sure what the challenge here is, but I think it’s along these lines: You know what the goal is, and you know what your resources are, and you know what you have to do…Don’t blame a broken treadmill for your lack of activity. And don’t ever blame a set of broken standards for your lack of creativity.
This next self(ish)-improvement challenge is way less selfish than the rest. And it’s not one I planned on assigning myself when this A-Z challenge month started: I’m going to stop drinking.
I know…it sorta feels like I just started! I didn’t drink in high school – Not (only) because it’s illegal, but because I hadn’t met a drink I liked yet. And in high school and early college, you kinda just have to accept what someone else is willing to illicitly provide you. I did, however, learn to hold a drink in my hand. I would accept a beer or a Bartles & Jaymes so that I didn’t have to go through the complicated turning-down-a-drink exchange, and then I would just hold it. I might take a teeny tiny sip and try not to wince if I thought someone was watching, but that was it.
Then I discovered the good drinks. But you had to get out of your house and go somewhere where they make them. And then you have to pay for them. So that was rare.
Then I got a divorce and had lots of time and nobody keeping track of my finances (including me. another story.) I went to Greek Bros. an average of two weekdays for Happy Hour and usually at least once over the weekend with friends or my band.
Then I moved here and stopped all that nonsense. I married a man who makes the best drinks and is happy to make them. And he gladly does a couple of times a week.
Then I learned how to make them myself. Not a good thing.
Last night, at a 40th birthday GNO, I had too many. Yada yada yada, I woke up this morning knowing what I needed to do…Just stop.
I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, and I’m not setting an end date. But I do know that it’s easier to be the one who says Thanks But I Don’t Drink than to only have one.
It’s a perfect storm right now, really…trying to clear my mind, get into shape, practice all this self-discipline I’ve never had before, save money, and I’m not stressing about my work like I was since I know I’m half-way out tha do’.
So here’s to tea and all the money and calories I’m about to save. You margarita drinkin’ hooligans can have ’em all to yourselves. Cheers!
I’m not talking about “dieting” in the American twenty-first century sense…I’m talking about diet. I’ve been eating and drinking a lot of crap lately.
Today was my first day of my fourth round of the formerly-popular Insanity workout. My hott husband (then hott boyfriend) and I bought a used boxed set of the DVDs off Craiglist in 2013 and started on April 1st. It was also an all-important English I STAAR testing day for me, and I worked at the high school which required my arrival by 6:45a.m., and I was just coming off a ferocious tib-fib break that had birthed a titanium rod in my left leg, screws in two places, and a cut open and stitched back together knee-cap. Thinking back on it now, I was one tough cookie that year.
But it was all about the challenge then. I was out to prove something.
The next year was good too…it was nice to feel like it was a little bit easier. Last year I was such a slacker. I was scheduled to have surgery at the end of the first month of the two month program, so I knew I was only going to get in one month. I didn’t even do that month with any real vigor.
This year needs to be different. I have added 10 solid pounds to my “normal” weight, 13 since the wedding. I’m forty now. And I’ve made the career decision for August that puts me back in the classroom where I’m happy and know I can feel my best. My motivation has never been weight, and it’s a good thing because Insanity has never made me lose any. But it needs to this year.
So I’ve been announcing to anyone who will listen (my hott husband) that everything goes into high gear today…Insanity in the mornings (second Craigslist boxed set since we wore out the first set), healthy eating all day, walking in the evenings, and alcoholic beverages only for special occasions. It’s only 8:03a.m., but so far I haven’t fallen off the wagon. I have accepted yet another great challenge geared toward self(ish)-improvement. Insanity will work on the outside, but diet has to be the focus to feel better on the inside.
I’m prepared to dress in pin-up fashion this Friday evening for the Art Car Ball. Even if it’s only in my head, I want to feel better about my body from the inside out…and then I’m going to walk out the door with the confidence of someone who doesn’t judge (see yesterday’s post).
I’m also considering whether or not to provide myself some extrinsic motivation…thinking of registering for a half-marathon in some fun place – maybe San Diego?…Pretty sure hott husband wouldn’t mind a surf weekend soon 🙂
No gimmicks, packaged foods, or calorie counting…just good ol’ fashioned common sense and junk-food snubbing. Here goes…
Confidence is a funny thing…it comes and goes, and not at convenient times. I have been told many times – after dates, interviews, by friends and co-workers – that my confidence is one of my strengths.
It only makes sense that I’m an amazing actress, because this idea that I have confidence, much less enough to be admired, is one of the more bizarre things I’ve had to get a grip on as a human person.
I know the things that I am good at – I’ll even be so bold as to say that there are some things that I feel I am one of the best at…in my field…in this area…during this time period…but still. Piano, art, teaching, all areas I feel truly confident. I make bold choices for my home and I don’t worry about them or question what anyone else will think about them. That’s confidence, right?
There’s not even a word, however, for how I feel about other things…inconfident, unconfident, nonconfident? It’s not the same thing as self-conscious, though I definitely suffer from that curse too. It’s more that sense of being judged, being talked about negatively by the popular girls, being measured up against. I can put on an outfit I love, fix my hair and makeup perfectly, choose accessories that I know people will compliment, feel fabulous about myself, and still as soon as I step out of the car to walk up to a place, I’m as close to panicking inside as a person can get without a diagnosis. Does everyone feel this way? Was my maturity stunted in junior high by some traumatic girl-incident that I’ve blocked out of my memory?
Yesterday, my hott husband and I had a chance to take advantage of the perfect day and go out on the motorcycle. We had been wanting to ride up to The Heights and cruise through the cool old revived neighborhoods and eat at BB’s to get our Cajun fix. Since it was 70ish degrees outside and likely to cool down as the night wore on, I wore a Nike jacket, running tights, and my new snow boots since they are warm and cover my legs where they need to be covered to serve as protection. We parked and started walking toward the restaurant where, I must say, I immediately noticed that everyone was dressed as if it was an occasion. Standing in line to get a table, I heard a guy behind me say to his date, “those are some awesome shoes, aren’t they,” and I swear he was pointing at my shoes and snickering. Granted, I would have been the person in line behind me thinking “What was that girl thinking? It’s April in Texas – put the Uggs in the attic, or better yet Goodwill,” because yeah, sometimes I’m that mean. Oh. My. God. That’s why I’m inconfident…It’s my own fault.
What the person behind me should have thought, which was what I was screaming in my head, was, “THERE’S A VERY GOOD REASON WHY THIS INTELLIGENT GROWN-ASS WOMAN IS WEARING SNOW BOOTS IN TEXAS IN APRIL!” And now, as I preach to myself, I must remember the same.
That tattoo might be weird and not make sense to me, but I’m sure that’s not how the recipient felt about it when they got it. That shirt might be buttoned up two buttons too high, but she or he chose that number of buttons to button and who am I to judge? Or CARE, for that matter?
I think what I’ve learned here is that I may never know true confidence in these areas until I learn to stop worrying about other people’s choices. Accept it. There it is. Just accept it.
Actually, I’m thinking about the things I don’t understand about some people and I’m realizing how hard it’s going to be to just accept certain things. So, I’m going to learn to accept without understanding. That’s better. It’s like agreeing to disagree, but better because I’M going to be better for it in the end.
Ugh…this is stressful already. But I want confidence so badly – the kind that a forty-year old should have earned by now. I’ll let you know how it goes…this might take some falling down and getting up.
I don’t like it. So far, not so good. On a personal level, my life is still awesome. Hott husband, adult daughter who is proving to be more and more mature every day (or maybe more accurately, more or less mature every day), a job that allows me to do the things I am passionate about (even if there are facets of it that make me want to hide in bed), younger kids who are pleasant, smart, and healthy, finances are in order, book is being published, etc, etc, etc.
Body-wise…ick. Oh, people told me, “just wait until you’re forty”, “you can’t lose weight after forty”, “your eyesight goes after forty”, “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” In my mind, I always thought they were just super grumpy people who finally found something on which to blame their afflictions. Not me – no way. Why on earth would, one day – suddenly – my eyesight, health, AND metabolism all decide to abandon me simultaneously?
Guess what has happened in the two months since I’ve turned forty… I can’t see a thing up close without cheater glasses on. I’ve gained five MORE pounds – totaling 10 since the school-year started. I’ve developed panic attacks, acute occasional anxiety, vertigo, my first back-ache, and a whooshing sound in my right ear that sounds like a baby’s heartbeat in an ultrasound sounds, except it’s mine. My heartbeat. Now projected through my right ear so loud at times that I can’t pay attention to what people are saying. Nice.
Had my hormones tested. Normal. Had my ears checked. Nothing. Got off the holiday junk food kick. Gained five pounds. W.T.F.???
Every day I just want to come home and get in bed. I want to watch tv and scroll through Twitter and drink Prosecco. I have to get over/through/past this, but suddenly it feels like that would require going backward in time, and that hasn’t been invented yet.
I need to feel obsessed with something healthy again. Tonight, we started a writing group at my house. There are five of us at this very moment. Five of us, sitting, writing, conversing with some one or some thing via hands and words. I don’t think we’ll change the world. I don’t think we’ll change our own worlds. But I do think this is the vehicle that has motivated me before, and it’s the method of choice for me deciding to whip my body’s ass back into the land of the living again. And I’m grateful for the time and kindred spirit that we all can share so that I’ll leave the tv off, stay awake, and write.
So as before, here are my professions: 1) I will eat right this week, 2) I will exercise with the enthusiasm of a model, 3) I will drink more water than alcohol, 4) I will pretend I’m 39 until my body stops acting like it’s 40, 5) I will write at least twice a week.
When President Obama speaks, I always seem get caught on something he said that just bugs me more than the vocal majority. During his executive order speech about gun control a couple of days ago, he stated something about the fact that gun violence in America has little or no correlation to licensed gun owners. Then the very next thing out of his mouth was a very stern, presidential, “I reject that thinking!” If he can reject a fact, then so can I! I am 39 and 14 months. Forty is for suckas.
I’m not sure exactly how many steps forward I’ve made this week (a lot), and I’m even less sure how to quantify the steps backward I’ve made, but I’m hoping through all of the efforts and disasters that I’m at LEAST one step ahead of where I started.
Much like in football, it’s difficult to measure and celebrate your successes when other things – in completely different areas – have gone so, so wrong. Let’s start with the positives:
I’M PUBLISHING MY BOOK!!!! Hallelujah, Praise Jesus, I’m doing something with this story after 10 years. I don’t know why I have these blocks up in front of some of the things that mean the most to me, but it’s been like the birth of a baby after a long, long pregnancy (I guess). I “purchased” a publishing team with a great reputation, particularly with the subject matter that I’m touching.
I FINISHED THE CAMPER BATHROOM! Not nearly as gratifying as the book, but it sure makes going to the bathroom fun. For me. It’s probably a little girly for the three males in my house, but I think camping is pretty masculine itself, and I get dirty and smelly like boys, so at least my bathroom will be pretty 🙂 And I’m pretty much the only one who doesn’t pee on trees anyway.
MY PIANO LESSON SERVICES ARE ON CRAIGSLIST! Again, not really worthy of ALL CAPS, but I’m sticking with a theme here. I realize that if I pick up four or five more students with this I will be a little busier than I like, but I can’t quit my job until I have everything ready to go in other areas so I can just slip the job out from underneath and it’ll be like, “whoa, girl, you’ve got so much going on, you really had to quit that job thing.”
It’s much more difficult to acknowledge the negative things that have happened (duh). (1) I think I’ve lost two of the piano students that I had just started the summer. Their schedule was funky, and mine’s been too funky to be that flexible…They haven’t said they’ve quit, but I know the signs. (2) I’ve gained a solid three-four pounds. You may laugh, but if you’re laughing you’re probably not 5’2. And I know exactly why – I haven’t woken up early enough to do much exercise, and I’ve been eating more carbs than a carbivore…I blame the Astros and allergies. (3) There is dust on most of the surfaces in my house, there is [folded] laundry on everything with legs in my living room, and the dishes in the sink might be from more than just last night.
Those things may not sound bad to some people, I realize that. But these are three things that I obsess about. Yes, I obsess. Compared to my hot husband, I obsess about everything. But compared to most, I think I am among the “normal”. I obsess about people I feel like I’ve let down – one of the biggest drag-you-down feelings I can think of. I obsess about my weight – I’ve been overweight before, and I don’t care what doctors say about the number on the scale…one pound quickly turns to two which quickly turns to thirteen, and thirteen is to a short person what fifty is to the rest of you. I obsess about my house because, well, I like it clean and picked up and I don’t like it dirty and messy. They say that the organization of your house/office is an outward display of the state of your mind (chaos vs. structure). But while I know my mind is waaaaay more scattered and disorganized than most, I find peace and sanity in a clean, organized house. [Cue Jack Motley’s folksong “Who the Hell are ‘They’?]
After further review, I’ve realized that my body feels too tired and carbed out to show how freakin’ happy I am about the book, the camper bathroom, the piano ad, and my hot husband. But just so you know, I’m stoked. The call on the field has been confirmed.