What If?

I’ve spent a lot of time this past year confused about how I feel, often times going from happy to sad in a matter of seconds.

But as of lately I have had a change of attitude. I’ve gone from caring way too much about what other people think, and over thinking absolutely everything, to not caring at all about what other people think and refusing to over think everything. It’s been odd for me, completely different from my normal personality of staying up halfway through the night reliving every word I’ve said all day long.

I’m not sure why this sudden change in myself has happened, but I’m honestly glad for it. I’ve been saying for forever how I need to focus more on being well rounded and happy, that I need to focus on the positives in my life and not try and control every waking moment of my life. And now it’s actually happening.

I’ve noticed lately that happiness comes in many different forms. In lazy Sunday’s filled with pumpkin bread and dinner in the crock pot. In the smell of autumn and leaves that 10686863_10152799227198184_5115016237390853490_n-1are as big as my face. In a sweet letter from a parent at school, saying that I’m doing a fantastic job and that her child loves me and can hardly wait to go to school each day. In visiting with people who know me better than I know myself, but haven’t seen in forever. In weddings and Lifetime movies. In Netflix, Apple Cider mixed with Vodka, and in hearing someone tell you that they’ve missed you, and knowing that they mean it.

Happiness is a new shade of nail polish, a three day weekend, looking at someone in a different light, and having someone make time for you, reconnecting. I’ve been there lately.

Happiness is a text asking how I’m doing, and knowing they actually want to know. Happiness is in colorful gourds, carving pumpkins that come out absolutely terrible, and the suspense of knowing that Peppermint Mocha Coffee comes out in less than a month. Happiness is online Christmas shopping, the Christmas lotions coming out at Bath and Body Works and the smell of a brand new (to me) car after weeks of insane car drama and car accidents.

Something that I’ve noticed is that these things have been here all along, I just didn’t notice them. Now I do. Last year at this time I wasn’t able to see these things. I was angry and bitter and I completely dreaded the coming of the holiday season, which is typically my favorite. Now I can’t wait. My life isn’t murky anymore, it’s clear. It’s clear that I need to stop saying, “what if” to new opportunities and just sit back and let things happen and for the first time, I am. I’m just letting things happen.

So, for right now I’m not going to say “what if?” or over think or create insane scenarios in my head about my life. I’m not going to think of the negatives. I’m only going to think about how lucky I am to be exactly where I am at this very moment. And if things are supposed to happen, then they will.

It’s Like We’re Invincible

So, this weekend was incredibly great and incredibly horrible.

I went home to visit my parents and also to attend a family members bridal shower. I was really excited about it, especially since the bridal shower was taking place at my old University garden, which is a place that I love. It was kind of sad and completely nostalgic driving through campus, and I felt old looking at buildings that I have never seen before. But the garden was still the same, and the feeling was still the same.

It was a beautiful shower, and it was great to see family who I haven’t seen for a while. This past weekend was gorgeous, you would have thought we had gone back to July with the weather.

Yesterday morning I saw my Dad really struggling for the first time. I watched him try to tie his shoes for about ten minutes before walking over to help him. I knew he needed help but I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed, because he shouldn’t. It’s something about the part where you cross the laces, I guess people with Dementia can’t do it because that part of their brain has been infected. I need to do more research about it, but what I do know is that I need to buy my father a new pair of shoes; ones without laces. I went shopping with my parents in Belfast a little later on and we drove to the ocean to eat lunch on the bridge. I got a sunburn and hung out by the ocean and wished I could have bottled the smell of the final days of summer leaving us.

On my drive back, I was driving on the highway when a moving truck pulled out in front of me without looking. I swerved the best that I could, but I ended up turning multiple times in the middle of the road and landing right in front of the Northbound lane on the other side of the highway in a ditch. It was terrifying and I honestly don’t remember much of it. I had my windows open and when I finally landed in a ditch, and got out of my car I was covered in dirt. I remember thinking that it wasn’t real.

What makes me the most upset is that the guy didn’t even stop, he kept going. I called 911, and I felt stupid explaining what happened because I was the only one at the scene, which in itself is amazing. I can’t believe when my car spun I didn’t hit anyone. I also can’t believe that I’m okay, I walked away with bumps and bruises and that’s it; I’m just really sore but I can deal with that. I know I’m really lucky. I had to stay and search for my front license plate, which I never did end up finding. My car has a lot of front damage, a broken wheel and a flat tire, and a lot of fluids leaking. But besides that, there was no broken glass or windshields, and my car was the only one that was damaged. I hate to think about what would have happened to me if I had stayed on the road and hit me head on.

I have no idea what the damage is, and in fact, I think the most damage happened when the tow truck was taking my car out of the ditch. I’ll find out tomorrow, and am pretty worried that I won’t be able to make it to work since I don’t currently have a vehicle and I’m too young to rent a car. I borrowed my sister’s car today and went to school to create lesson plans for tomorrow when I’m out.

It’s weird when things like that happen. Things that you think won’t ever happen, like you’re invincible. And when they do it’s terrifying, like you can’t believe it’s happened to you. That’s how I’ve felt. I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up around 2am reliving it all, spinning and spinning and spinning and landing right there in front of the guardrail, over and over and over again. And I was all alone, and everyone just kept staring at me like I was some kind of animal in a zoo but nobody would stop to help me. I’m hoping tonight that it all finally catches up with me and I just crash.

But not before I find a new pair of laceless men’s sneakers online and listen to “I Need You” by M83 at least a dozen more times.

Even Though The Moment’s Passed Me By, I Still Can’t Turn Away

Lately I have been feeling really out of sorts. Basically I’ve been bitchy. And I don’t like it, and honestly don’t like myself very much when I get into these moods and then can’t pull myself out. I haven’t been feeling well lately, I’ve developed a Fall cold, and it blows. Literally, I’ve been blowing my nose nonstop. And as much as I can relate to the stereotypical girl in yoga pants, flannel shirts, and boots who is also ordering a pumpkin coffee with a stupid smile slapped on my face, I still don’t feel like myself.

I don’t know what it is, I really don’t. But yesterday, I had finally had enough. I had a long weekend planned, and maybe I was dreading it. But I guess I’m just so sick of my bad attitude, that I had a long chat with myself in the car during a particularly loud rendition of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman while I sang along at a volume I didn’t even know I was capable of.

I can’t change my past, I can’t reach back and change thing’s that I have said, things that I have done, the mistakes that I have made. I just can’t, even though I’ve been spending half of my days wishing that I could do exactly that, and it doesn’t matter how many times I say that I’m sorry or try and pretend that nothing ever happened, because it did happen.

But the truth is that it doesn’t matter how many times I blast “Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls. It doesn’t matter how many times I look at the moon and suddenly am back in college, sitting on the rock wall next to the river in the middle of February, so cold it hurts to breath. But I can’t move because I can see every single star and it’s so, so beautiful. I can’t go back to college nights around a campfire, walking down the mall strip, making Buffalo Chicken Wraps night after night at the dinning hall but being with my friends who I thought the world of so the work didn’t even matter. I can’t go back to these times, no matter how many times I wish I could.

And it’s not just the guy in my life that I love, it’s also my friends who will always have a place in my heart even if I’m no longer in theirs, I will always love them too. Maybe that’s the thing about life that is so sad to me, that sometimes just breaks my heart because I can’t go back, I can’t change things, I can’t take things back even when I would do anything, anything to do so. I can’t make them love me again. And yesterday I drove for a long time, which is sometimes what I do to clear my head. And I cried. Maybe it was my way of saying goodbye, or to say that it might look like I’m okay from the outside but I’m really not that okay.

I went to church this morning, and it was ironic to me that the sermon was about people’s hearts. How you can’t just say things, you need to mean them and maybe this message was for me. I’ve always struggled with showing my emotions, and I mean really showing them. With talking about things that are personal, because I’m really private, and emotions are hard for me even though I know that that’s no excuse. Or telling someone that I want them, or need them, or that they mean the absolute world to me. Why is this hard for me? Why is it so difficult for me to tell people how I feel? I feel like it’s ruining a lot of things for me and I’m not sure how to change it.

My pastor said that people need to change their hearts, do whatever they need to do to make them be okay again. Because God can see right through you, and you might be fooling a lot of people but you’re definitely not fooling him. So, that’s what I’m going to try and do. I need to figure out some way to change my heart, and my life. To make it something good.

So, I’m going to do some things for me to help me, to help my heart. Like yoga, and spending more time with friends, late afternoon walks, and joining a Life Group at church. Because it doesn’t matter how many times I listen to the Goo Goo Dolls or Tracy Chapman, nothing is just going to change, and I need to do this.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Apple Cider

I feel like every single day is kind of a new adventure. Honestly, this year has been so much new, and it’s only the third week of school. I’m finally starting to get some of the routines, figure out how to use the super complex photo copier which for some reason requires a username and password, and have timed my morning commute perfectly so that I have just enough time to stop for a Pumpkin coffee. I had my first staff meeting today, and I actually knew what they were talking about, so that’s good.

It’s like I’m proving to everyone and especially myself that I can do this, I can teach and be successful, and I won’t fail and neither will my students. 

Besides work, life is really good. I absolutely love Fall, and am super excited to start looking through my neglected side of the closet that holds my jeans, keys, and sweaters. I’m thrilled to start wearing leggings and huge sweaters. This weekend I’m going apple picking, a true New England type thing to do, and I’ve been drinking intense amounts of apple cider. This past weekend was hot and muggy, today it’s crisp and Autumnish and I’m super happy.

And although I had to work late tonight, which I would rather have not done, I have obsessively listened to Ed Sheeren youtube clips since I got home, and am having an awesome dinner cooking which helps make things better. Pork, stuffing and garlic asparagus, which are the best kinds of Autumn night comfort foods. Now I need to go buy a giant apple cinnamon candle and all will be right with the world. 

So, life is great right now. It’s like something is in the air, a positive vibe filled with pumpkins and homemade applesauce and late afternoon walks in jeans and hooded sweatshirts.

Honestly, the only terrible thing in my future is picture day at school tomorrow.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

First Week of Teaching: Complete!

So, I have successfully completed my first week ever of teaching, and that feels pretty good.

The first morning on my drive in, I honestly thought that I was going to throw up I was so nervous. To make things worse, the heat was out of control and I could literally see steam coming up from the sidewalk as I was walking into the school. I will blame my sweat covered self on the heat, but we all know that’s not true. Nerves don’t bring out the best in me. I’m pretty sure that I blacked out until about 11am when the kids were going to recess, because I remember thinking, “Oh my god, I don’t know any of these kids names.” I ran around to each of their desks and peeked at their name tags that I had them all make, and got the general gist of it. It’s weird, but I think that I may have blacked out for part of the morning. 

I have to say that the end of the week went way smoother than the beginning of the week did, and remember consistently chanting to myself, “act like you know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing.” Because if I said it enough maybe my students wouldn’t catch on to the idea that I was scared out of my mind and had NO idea what I was doing.

By yesterday we had a decent routine going on, and I have a fairly decent grasp on their abilities. I did an awesome lesson yesterday on writing a Friendly Letter, and they all seemed to “get it” which was a great feeling. I introduced to them that they would be having pen pals and we wrote a class letter to them first, and they all signed on the bottom in marker. We have been reading the first Boxcar Children book out loud as a read aloud, and they absolutely love it. It’s a much older book, and different than a lot of what they are exposed to nowadays, so I’m really happy that they like it.

I’m kind of bummed that this four day weekend is going to kind of get in the way of everything I have worked so hard to accomplish this week. But not bummed out enough to dance for joy when the final bell went off yesterday and drove home completely ecstatic of the four days of freedom in front of me. Thank GOD for Labor Day weekend.

Some things that I have learned so far:

1. Not all of the fellow teachers that I am working with are excited that I’m there. I think with these people it’s best to just keep my distance and prove to them that I’m a great teacher.

2. Teaching when it’s 100 degrees outside and roughly the same temperature in my classroom is incredibly miserable AND unflattering.

3. My hour long commute has forced me to drive by countless trees with their leaves changing colors, and I’m not sure how I quite feel about this yet. I have spent my entire summer so anxious about school starting, and now that it’s here, I wish I had spent a little more time appreciating my favorite season. I absolutely love everything about Fall, don’t get me wrong. But after Fall is Winter and well..I hate snow and being cold.

4. Nobody taught me how to unjam a photocopier in college. Or a stapler. And they should have.

5. I have morphed into a child again. By around seven at night lately I look at the time thinking it MUST be at least ten, and therefore a socially acceptable time to go to bed. When I see that it’s only seven, I get a little embarrassed for myself.

6. At least for right now, I am definitely where I’m supposed to be as far as work goes. And that’s incredibly reassuring. 

7. Eating during the day is just not going to happen.

So, naturally, now that I have four days off the weather is cold again, and all I want to do is lay in the sun and relax. It SHOULD warm up, and I’m going to take advantage of this and spend the last days of summer outside as much as possible, drinking way too much iced coffee and being as lazy as possible. And go and see If I Stay at the movie theatre and eats lot of popcorn. 

 

Emotional

New jobs always start the same for me. I always psyche myself out, make myself nervous, think of all the possible terrible things that could happen. But yesterday was slightly terrible and overwhelming, and so this time I didn’t just psyche myself out for nothing. At least I was prepared.  

I started my day off my sleeping through my alarm. I wasn’t too late, I still had time for a shower. I knew that I needed to shave my legs, but only completed one before realizing that I was out of shampoo and needed to get my new bottle out from the cupboard under the sink. Which was really far away when you’re soaking wet and naked. I sprinted from my shower, tripped on the bathroom floor and almost gave myself a concussion against the side of the bathtub. No worries, still alive!

I forgot to shave my other leg.

I left my phone on the kitchen counter, and didn’t realize until after I had already made the hour long commute into work. I didn’t have time to stop for coffee while I was leaving the city, so I stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts which looked to be in the middle of a cornfield, and they gave me a stern response of, “sorry, pumpkin coffee isn’t being served until September 1st.” Bitches. I couldn’t even send whiny text messages about my pathetic morning to people. Now, isn’t that just pathetic?

This is why the city is way better.

The schoolday went fine with it just being New Teacher Orientation, even though it was made quite clear to me that I have zero clue what I’m doing. The good thing is that neither did any of the other new staff. I was given way too much information, and almost hyperventilated around hour five, and fell asleep around hour seven. They had me meet with my mentor teacher afterwards who clearly didn’t want to be there, and thought that her iPhone was cooler than me. I was supposed to attend a literacy conference today and tomorrow but ended up telling the school that I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed and could use these two days to further prepare for when the students will arrive next week. And I am feeling very, very overwhelmed. I came home from work and sat on the couch and sobbed for a good twenty minutes before calling my mom and crying all over again. 

I know I’ll be okay, but there are about a hundred different assessments I’m expected to give, and know like the back of my hand and I just don’t. I don’t know the other 500 acronyms I’m supposed to know, the way to upload grades onto Infinite Campus, or what the hell the Cafeteria Plan worksheet is that I’m supposed to fill out. I’m frustrated because I’m supposed to have a mentor teacher to go to about all of this and I do have a mentor but she doesn’t want to help so I feel stupid asking. So, I have skipped the literacy conference, which thank God wasn’t required, so that I could stay home and lesson plan and all I’ve really done is watch Bones, deep clean my apartment, and online shop.

I’m feeling sad. And terrified. And wishing that I had some kind of distraction. I’m hoping that in my current state of disaster I don’t do or say something stupid, like I usually do, and make my life even worse. I should probably just stay home and watch old Heath Ledger movies, order takeout, and work on my nonexistent lesson plans. I guess that with all of the new going in my life, I’m really missing the old. Those people who read my blog regularly know what I mean by that, I just don’t want to say it. 

So, yeah. I’m feeling a tad bit emotional. All I want is chocolate and pumpkin coffee and maybe a BLT, so you know it’s THAT time, and I would love nothing more than to curl up in leggings and a giant sweater and read a brand new book cover to cover. With you know, a couple glasses of vodka here and there.

Even just a, “Liz, you’re going to be okay, you’re going to be great.” would help me. It would.

Pumpkin Looooove

So, this is my last day off before I begin my new job tomorrow. I’m so nervous and feel like I’m going to throw up. I also can’t sit still. In fact, I’ve started this post about four other times this morning and have managed to find something that needs to be done this second, like going to Dunkin’ Donuts, that I erase it and leave and then come back and start it again. 

The good news is that my classroom is ALMOST ready, and the students don’t start 10418319_10152646950778184_6601712550158628511_nschool until next Tuesday, so I still have time to do some of the smaller things that need to get done in between orientations and meetings. Like put up my synonym and antonym bulletin board for overused words, and tape down my book genre labels and put the students names on everything. 

The bad news is that I don’t have a lot of lesson planning done. My first day of school planning is completed, but other than that I have kind of blacked out from nervousness. Is this possible? The important (and lucky for me) thing is that our literacy and math programs are very strait forward and if I turn into a zombie at least I can be a zombie who follows the strait forward directions.

Yesterday I spent the day in my room organizing, filing, and getting rid of the 50 or so UHaul boxes that other staff have so graciously put in my room since they don’t want them. I got so much done and now I’m so sore I can’t move, and also managed to completely tear off one of my toenails in the process, which in case you are wondering, is absolutely disgusting.

10577126_10152646951938184_5049366068951046550_nMy goal today was to do something calm and relaxing. Either lay outside on my lawn with a new book and an iced coffee or lay outside on the beach with a new book and an iced coffee. Unfortunately for me it’s currently 64 degrees outside. So, now I’m sitting inside with a delicious autumn-in-cup Pumpkin iced coffee, and a new book and I’m wishing that I was outside instead of inside. Because I’m thinking too much.

That’s a lie, I’m actually playing fetch with my cat and watching my neighbor chain-smoke shirtless on his front porch. But trust me, you don’t want to see that.

So, I know that I’ll be okay. If anything, this new opportunity has kept my mind so busy that I’ve forgotten about everything else going on in my life, and that’s honestly a good thing. I’m so grateful for this job, for the hour long commute that will allow me to enjoy the morning before a lot of the world awake, which is also my favorite time of day. I’m grateful that I have a Monday-Friday job with weekends off, a luxury that a lot of people aren’t lucky enough to have. I’m ecstatic that I get to spend my days teaching children, which is something that I love. I’m grateful for the nameplate outside of my classroom, for no other reason except that it makes me feel official. I’m excited that I get to read classics in my class as read aloud books; Hatchet, The Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, 6th Grade Sugar Babies, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, Holes, and Harry Potter.

I’m also very, very grateful for Pumpkin coffee and for Taylor Swift’s new song, “Shake it Off.” Seriously, big fan. Maybe I’ll even get lucky and it’ll get warm enough for me to bust out my swim suit and camp out on my front lawn, but only if the shirtless cigarette lover leaves the premises. Cross your fingers.