Why I Love Fall and Other Random Updates

 

img_0338
Photo was taken by me in Aspen, CO

 

I know it’s pretty cliché to be a fan of fall right now, but I do not care. It really is my favorite. I love cool mornings and afternoons. Mornings where you can sip coffee for hours and it tastes so great. I love when the leaves change colors. I also get a spark of inspiration and motivation around this time of year. I’m not sure why but it has always been the case. Currently, a lot of shit is falling into place (no pun intended…or was it?).

Recently, I was accepted into the Breathe for a Change program which I’m really excited about. I applied to them on a whim. They kept coming up on my Facebook feed, I’m sure because I’ve been searching for mindfulness trainings for educators. When I talked to one of their directors, Laurie, I knew I had to make it happen. I loved our conversation and it felt like what I was meant to be doing. So, I am undertaking that. It’s a pricey training but I think it will definitely be worth it. I will be able to help my students develop some social-emotional skills and hopefully, I will be able to do some wellness trainings with other teachers to help prevent burnout among staff.  I have a Donor’s Choose Project up (here) for this if you want to help support, but also in general just check out Donor’s Choose and help any number of teacher’s who are trying to get supplies and curriculum for their own classrooms. It’s a great website.

The condo hunt is well underway. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a REALLY long process. With Denver’s market the way that it is, I often find myself competing with cash investors, which, in reality, means I’m not even an option to most sellers. It has been an exhausting, stressful and at times humorous process (more on that in a different post). However, I’m seeking and ready when it comes along. I’m adulting real hard these days.

Finally, I’m also applying to grad school. I’m applying for the leadership and policy degree at the University of Denver.  This is terrifying for a number of reasons, but they are offering to waive my application fee so I figured what the hell. I’ve been wanting to get into public policy for a while so this will be a good starting point. I feel like there just aren’t enough teachers making decisions about education as there should be.

I’m hoping it’s not just the pumpkin spice lattes and leggings talking, but holy shit this past month alone has been filled with a lot of potential. I’m really excited to see where the next few months takes me and man oh man is 2018 going to be something else!

Advertisements

Creating Peace

So I don’t typically ask for anything from my readers or much from even my friends or family. However, I currently have a large donorschoose project out there to fund a professional development for myself. I have been researching mindfulness and its effects on kids and I want to take a 200+ hour training on mindfulness and yoga for teachers on this subject next summer. It’s a bit pricey but I believe it is for a great cause. If you can contribute or share my link I would very much appreciate it. My project can be found here: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/creating-a-peaceful-environment-for-stud/2813577/?rf=page-siteshare-2017-10-project-teacher_2666576&challengeid=20519180

I believe that if there is ever a time to try to bring more peace and mindfulness into a classroom that time is absolutely now. Thank you all for your support ❤️❤️❤️

The Time I Might Have Dated a Murderer

2194435613_ac937565e0_z
https://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/

Several years ago in my first stint in online dating, I met a man I’ll call Tom. He lived in a town roughly an hour away from me so we met halfway in between for a drink. Our first date was very awkward. He was a tech nerd and a nerd in every way. He talked excessively about wanting cats, but how he couldn’t just get one cat but needed two for various reasons and with my friends he became “Cat guy” because of this ridiculous story. Seriously he talked about how he wanted cats for a good 20 minutes. He was nice enough so I stayed the whole date….and then 5 more months of consecutive dates. Let’s just say I hadn’t quite mastered the art of “hey, this isn’t working for me.”

Tom had a very good job and owned his house. He was very nice but seriously had no social skills. I remember a number of occasions I brought him out with my friends and people wanted to murder him because of his social quirks. He was kind of a know it all (even when he was wrong) and just obnoxious. He was overly affectionate with me too and if you know me, you know that I don’t need someone touching me constantly. In fact, I’d rather you not.

Anyway back to my point. I’m pretty sure Tom was a hit man or a murderer. I remember one weekend I was at his house and we were cleaning something so he opened a closet nearest his room, one I had never been in before. In this closet, which was actually a small bedroom, were shelves of bleach, paper towels, various computer cables, and duct tape. To me, this says “here is my kidnapper supply closet,” but I could be wrong.

He also had a basement with an entertainment center in it. This was his man cave. He had two roommates who were not allowed down in said basement. Off the basement was another door, with a keypad entry lock on it. One day I was privileged enough to get taken into the secret room. He told me he didn’t trust banks so he kept it all in this room (uh what?). Inside this room was a giant server, like one that was used for a large office. He told me he used to run an “internet security company.” This part of the basement was also unfinished which gave it a very creepy vibe. Sure enough, he had a large safe with money, but also in this safe was his friend’s gun that he was “keeping because this person wasn’t supposed to have it.” Again, what? I only ventured into that weird basement room once, in fact, any time Tom needed to go down there I said I’d wait upstairs.

After 5 months, I finally ended it after multiple tries. Again, he was a very nice to me and he cared for me very much so it felt a little like kicking a puppy to break up with him. A puppy who is a potential murderer that is.

Polar Bears and Waterfalls

22746138876_b5224e624f_z
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cmichel67/

The other night I had the most incredible dream. I was walking on a very narrow and rocky path along the mountainside. I know there was someone else with me but I can’t remember who it was or if it was anyone I actually know. I was very scared along this path because I was afraid of falling off the edge. After a few turns along the path, I saw the most beautiful waterfall. The width was several miles across, it was massive. The road I was on was slightly above the top of the waterfall so I was looking down on it. As the road started to descend toward the top of the waterfall there was a small polar bear cub playing near the water. He was playing and ran up to me and start walking with me, almost like a puppy would. As we rounded yet another corner there was another bear cub who was also playing. He also began following us. At this point, unfortunately, I woke up. I was so curious about the symbolism of my dreams that I had to look up the meaning. According to one source “Seeing a waterfall in your dream is symbolic of letting go. You are releasing all those pent-up emotions and negative feelings. Alternatively, the dream represents your goals and desires. In particular, if the waterfall is clear then it represents revitalization, regeneration, and renewal.”

To see polar bears in your dream signifies a reawakening. The Inuit also have many legends around polar bears that are powerful. They believe that a polar bear is a “super soul” and that they embody a lot of human characteristics and emotions and therefore the Inuit have a great appreciation for the polar bear. There is even a polar bear god named Tornaurssuk. He is the initiate god which means when someone is in a period of great transition he helps them through the process and through a ritual (which I won’t get into because it’s weird) helps bring them back into the world renewed.

So that is two symbols of renewal and transformation in one dream. Sure, if you are in the camp that dreams mean nothing, then you probably stopped reading or think I’m trying to find meaning in something that isn’t there. That’s fine, that’s your belief. However, I do believe that dreams help you work through waking situations or give you signs. I’m a huge believer in that. I do believe I have been in a huge transition lately.

I’ve had some great people in my life really helping me move past some negative shit in my past (mainly old relationship stuff). I’ve had some incredible healing take place over the past few months that I didn’t know I needed. Man, did I have some emotional baggage that I wasn’t letting go of.  Luckily for me, I have had a wonderful human being come into my life who has no problem letting me know when I am holding on to something that I need to let go of. This person is also the reason that I’m learning to be more in the present and let go of some of my anxiety. Every time I start getting anxious about anything in the future he kindly says to me, “hey get back here.” The first time he said it I laughed because he was so right and it was the simplest thing anyone could ever say to me to make me refocus on what is “right now” and not future problems that haven’t even happened yet. This is now how I face most situations if I’m focusing too much on past or future issues I gently remind myself to “Get back here.” I think that has played a major role in my “waterfall” and letting go of negative and pent-up shit. The process of acknowledging my stuff and moving past it has been huge.

As for the polar bears, I think that I’m starting to get to know myself better than ever. More importantly, I am starting to really love the parts of myself I thought were quirky and eccentric. I’m really starting to own who I am, which is why I can write stuff like this and put it out there. I’m really excited about this “transition” period and cannot wait to see what comes out of it.

What is an Empath?

IMG_0243.JPG

In previous blog posts, I have mentioned that I am an empath. I wanted to give a brief overview since many people do not know what that means. I’ve been researching this topic for a few months now as I have been trying to gain a full understanding of myself.

What is an empath?

An empath is different than someone feeling empathy. A lot of people feel empathy, but not all of those are empaths. An empath feels extreme empathy and can usually sense how someone is feeling even if it is unsaid. Then, the worst part (sometimes the best part) of all of that is that we absorb what everyone is feeling, which can be exhausting. For example, the other night when I was at a function with a close friend one of the speakers knocked over a large sign/poster when he stood up to speak. I turned bright red and had to cover my eyes. My friend looked at me and said, “Did you just get embarrassed for him? You know you didn’t just knock over the poster in front of everyone right?” Oh yeah, I felt that embarrassment though. I then had to go on and explain how that happens with every emotion, real or even in films. I must be careful about who I am around and what I’m watching because it can send me into an overwhelming place.

I have always been this way. As a kid, I was highly sensitive. As an adult, I am highly sensitive, but have learned to manage it better.  People who are negative or loud really bother me. Again, not in a “man that person is super annoying,” kind of way but in a way, that causes me exhaustion or physical pain.

The other piece of this which is extremely important for people to understand is that I get exhausted after being around people all day. On weeks, like this one, where I am around people for extended periods multiple days in a row, I can hardly function. My whole body hurts and I can barely keep my eyes open. I love my friends but on days like today, if they want to see me, I physically cannot do it even if I want to. I must sit in silence and try to recharge. Sometimes I need a whole weekend in absolute silence to ground myself after a particularly exhausting week. I won’t make excuses, “no” just has to be a sufficient enough response if people want to go do things.

Empaths are also extremely sensitive to sights, sounds, and smells. Living with other people is difficult, living with other people who do not understand that you need silence is impossible. I remember when I was living with Jon, he worked from home, I did not. I would come home from work, exhausted from being around children all day and needing silence. He had been at home alone all day and needed someone to talk to. It was a lot for me and I would become grumpy. It was too much for me to have conversations immediately once I got home. He also needed tons of background noise and music all the time. He didn’t like silence. This was also a struggle for me. This happened with Jacob as well, he loved having background noise and I desperately needed silence. I couldn’t blame either of these men, they were not empaths and they certainly didn’t understand my needs. I certainly didn’t communicate them well, mainly because I didn’t understand my own needs.

My reason to tell you this is to create a little more understanding around people like myself and to call-in any people who have ever felt a little like this to maybe do some research of their own and find out if they are in fact empaths. Understanding myself better has also change the dating game for me. I know what I need and the person who I choose to be part of my life needs to be able to understand that and be sensitive to some of my needs, specifically, alone time.

The Time I Used A Dating App- Part 1

When you go on a date with someone online you are risking two major things: 1.) Your life and 2.) Your sanity.  While I have had many successful dates from the dating apps and honestly have had a few relationships come out of those dates, there are a lot of bad eggs out there that you have to get through first. Here is one of my “favorite” stories:

About 5 years ago…

I remember one of the first dates I went on from an app was a man who was very attractive in his pictures. We texted for a bit and then we talked on the phone. He came across as a bit arrogant, but I mistook it as confident and let it slide. We went to meet at an ice cream shop. I was on the phone with him as I searched for parking and as I drove by I saw him. It was truly one of the only times I considered continuing to drive and not stop. He was shorter than me (I’m 5’3”), which in the grand scheme of things isn’t bad, and he very much did not look like his pictures.

When I found parking and walked over to meet him, he was every ounce as arrogant as I could have imagined. After we got ice cream we walked around for a bit and he wanted to walk down an alley, which I felt uncomfortable with but he insisted. We came across a group of homeless men who started making inappropriate remarks about how if “he didn’t have sex with me tonight they would.” Obviously, I wanted to go back to the main street immediately. Afterward, he told me he couldn’t believe I had reacted in the way I did and that I was being ridiculous, those men were just “complimenting me.” Umm, what in the actual fuck? Needless to say, the date ended pretty shortly after that.

This, however, did not deter him from trying to get a 2nd date. Unfortunately for him, I had recently been on a couple of amazing dates with my soon to be boyfriend shortly after our first date. When I told this douche bag that I was not interested he kept insisting that I was. I then told him I had met someone who I really got along with and I wanted to see where it went with him. He informed me that I didn’t really want a nice guy and that I wanted him. When I told him that I did want a nice guy and that I really did not ever want to see this man again, this was his response:

 

14478_959650032203_154939776_n.jpg

 

In case you were wondering that feeling of missing out with him never occurred. Ever. This did not keep him from trying again though, 4 years later. About 7 months after my boyfriend and I broke up I was back on the same dating app and guess who messaged me? Yup Douche Bag himself. Don’t worry everyone he was still available and if I ever wanted to go on another date, he would be willing. No, no, no.

I wish I could remember his name so I could put him on some sort of “do not date list” so no other poor soul gets stuck on a date with this guy. But alas, that is just one of the many adventures in dating and again why I’m a likely spinster.

Why Driving is the F***ing Worst

 

3032026027_ca3ba75660_m
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kennysarmy/

I feel that some kind of dark magic takes place once you put yourself into a car. People think they are invisible, invincible, and just turn into flat out assholes.

Driving is easily one of the most terrifying things I do all day. That’s saying a lot considering I teach 5th graders.

I think there are clear categories to put drivers into:

The aggressors- These people I bet are assholes in all aspects of their lives. They probably unapologetically cut people off in the grocery store just as much as they cut people off on the highway. They feel they have the right of way all the time. They are the people who rear-end you going 80 in a neighborhood and try to blame you for that accident.

The “peaceful” aggressors- These people are aggressive, arrogant drivers…but they also have “coexist” bumper stickers or “green peace” or my favorite the Christian fish. They are assholes in the car but are probably obnoxious with their peaceful viewpoints outside the car. So, in reality, they are just straight up assholes who try to hide it.

Subaru drivers-  I mean wtf? Why are they the worst?

Jeep drivers- Your car doesn’t make you anything special Mr. “It’s a jeep thing you wouldn’t understand.” Let’s not pretend you actually use it to go off-roading or anything remotely adventurous. The most adventurous thing you do is drive 90 on icy roads thinking you’re invincible and I, inevitably, pass your car later after you’ve spun out.

The Scarily Passive driver- I’m looking at you lady who I’m merging onto a freeway going 10 mph. At this point, we are all going to die because we can’t go from 10- 65 mph in 5 seconds. Start speeding up before I get crushed by a semi, please…thanks!

The super-aggressors- While it has never happened to me I have watched these crazy-ass people get out of cars to scream at people at red lights. What is possibly so bad in your life that makes you that angry? Seriously, take a breather, grab some Starbucks or something before you drive among the people again.

Vanity license plates- Entitled…that is all.

People afraid of indicators- These people NEVER use their indicators. Maybe they don’t know they exist. Someone should probably point this out to them. Indicators are meant to INDICATE where one is going to go with their car. When you use those, people are more inclined to let you over because they can predict where you want to go. This also allows people to not have to slam on their breaks causing a 10-car pile-up because you suddenly decide you want to be in the middle lane.

People who forget their indicator is on- You know that annoying clicking sound? That’s your indicator and it’s been on for the last 4 miles. I will only wait so long for you to come over. I give you a 2-minute window, any longer than that I stop believing you.

California license plates- Really, there’s nothing to be said here you know what’s up.

For all of our safety, fingers crossed on self-driving cars but in the meantime, just don’t be an asshole.

A Note on Love and Hate

I have written a lot about how hate and bigotry really bother me. I think in part that 1.) it bothers any decent human being and 2.) I’m an empath so seeing these types of hateful behaviors really has a physical impact on me.

When I tell people I avoid the news, often they tell me I’m being an irresponsible citizen or they continue to fill me in on every horrifying detail of a news story. Here’s the thing, I stay informed with little snippets sent to my phone from NPR, but I cannot fully immerse myself in a news story. Anyone who has known me for an extended amount of time knows that I’m sensitive and feel all emotions very deeply. All emotions, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m a very empathetic person and if I fully immerse myself in these stories or follow everything Trump does constantly, I would not be able to get out of bed.

I feel like this part of myself became even more amplified when I start teaching. Suddenly, I was absorbing the feelings and thoughts of 30 little people every day, 8 hours per day. And as a teacher, you are told to not show your political affiliations. In fact, at my school, it is specifically stated when you sign your contract for the year and it is in the handbook. Normally, this has been very easy for me. This past election, however, has made it incredibly difficult. Every day I walk into my classroom which contains students from Mexico, Congo, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Somalia, and several more that I may not be aware of, and see and feel their fear every time something hate fueled happens in this country. They have questions and concerns that I am supposed to answer with “That’s a discussion to have with your family,” but they have not gone to their family they have come to me for help in navigating this scary time. A lot of times I cannot just try to pass it off, their parents are probably just as scared and confused as they are. They came to America looking for hope and freedom and now have been met with some terror. The terror that has been fueled by our own leader.

I realize now that my job is more important than ever. Every teacher’s job is. We must make sure that they feel smart, and loved, and safe every single day. We must be the face of peace and goodness to show them that it still exists and to provide them with hope. We are human, so this is not easy every day. We are tired and frustrated some days so, it is hard to be kind and loving all day every day. Yet we must try.

I would urge every adult, teacher or not, to really consider how they are presenting themselves to the children around them. It is more important now than ever to let your actions speak louder than words. Show humanity, love, and kindness in every interaction possible. Yes, we continue to see and hear horrible things but that is not the majority and more importantly, that was a learned behavior. I’m glad to have seen this quote floating around a lot lately, but I will include it here as well:

 

nelson_mandela
Photo Credit: quotestank

 

 

We are all teachers at this point. We need to teach love, especially to those who are showing love the least. Be an example to our children during this time. They hear you, they see you constantly. Be the light for them.

Bucket List Update

I haven’t spoken about my “year of single bucket list” in awhile. It is still a work in progress even if some things have changed slightly. I’m not quite ready to write publicly about some of those changes, but soon enough. Here are some things I have accomplished:

7.) Meditate daily. I miss a few days here and there, but I downloaded the app Simple Habit and it helps so much. Yes, sometimes I only meditate 5 minutes a day but that is alright and it truly does help. I noticed a huge difference a few weeks ago when we started the school year. Yes, there were work irritations, but I was handling them so much better. My first instinct wasn’t to grab a glass of wine and climb into bed. Anyone who works in a school knows this is huge. The obstacle I wasn’t anticipating is meditating with cats in the room. Has anyone ever tried this? It is borderline impossible. They have no idea why you’re sitting still and not petting them.  I mean look at this drama queen right now:

 

12.) Work on my vegetarian cooking. This is still an ongoing work in progress. I have tried and failed plenty of recipes, but also had some successes. I still haven’t figured out the art of a roasted Brussels sprout that doesn’t make me gag, but I’m working on it. Right now my focus is on my overall health and making sure my body is balanced and healthy. So yes, sometimes that still includes chicken. I’m at peace with that.

28.) Refurbish more stuff. I did do this quite a bit this summer. In fact, I have a set of nightstands sitting in my living room that need some work. I’m back at work so finding time is hard, but I do enjoy it so I need to make the time.

29.) Have a patio herb garden. I had basil coming out of my ears this summer. I would still like to add some more herbs and make it a windowsill herb garden as we move into fall and winter. I also have a strawberry plant that is crushing it out there. My jalapeño plants are essentially useless and I killed my tomato plant a week after I got it. I think I’ll stick to herbs.

30.) Practice listening more than talking. Another work in progress but I’m really trying. One area that I’m really working on is trying to avoid giving unsolicited advice or at the very least asking before I start telling people what I think they should be doing. It’s really hard once you become aware of how often you do it.

There are still other things that are ongoing but haven’t been accomplished. Buying my own condo, for example, is a big one. Luckily, I have a few people in my life really encouraging and pushing me to do it. Honestly, this is my new priority. I’ve realized there is a lot of old mental blocks in the home I live in (that’s a story and a blog post for another time).  I really do need a new space to create new memories in. I added a new bucket list item recently and accomplished it, but I will be posting about that separately.  I received such a positive response at the start of this from both friends and strangers and I really appreciate all of you! I even had some women reach out who started their own lists. I am still open to other bucket list options as needed as well or tell me about your lists, I love hearing about them.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑