Thursday, June 14, 2018

My school's focus is on Leadership. That seems to be a buzzword flying around in other places as well. To me, it's a little meh.

I guess part of the issue is, I am not seen as a leader there. When I have asked for more responsibility it has been a no, along with a weird glances of why can't I just be satisfied with what I have been given. Don't I see how lucky I am to be allowed to work there?
Okay maybe that is more of a feeling, but yeah.

So I stumble through all this jargon, knowing I am being held down, because I am that touchy-feely woman who has a bazillion kids and gets emotional and cries a lot. Well, I really don't know how people see me.

And I find myself FRUSTRATED. Because Yes, I am emotional. No, I am not a principal on the inside. And with this focus of leadership, leadership, leadership, well, it's sort of hard not to feel like a loser.

And I get so...disgusted with people who go into admin. I *know* someone has to do it. But I know I don't want to control others that way. I can't help but be suspicious of those who do. And just because I don't want to control that way, doesn't mean I want to be controlled.

And I feel this frustration. Nothing is real. I know now that evaluations are not real. That number has nothing to do with what is happening in the classroom. So why do I still care? Why did I sweat like a lunatic when the summer school principal evaluated me today (maybe because it was my worst class? And two or three just don't respect me). She was super positive, said I did the right things, I just need to get tough with one or two of them and make them sit out and if they cry, they cry. And she is right. They have to learn to respect their teachers, but I can't help but feel like that little girl that I was, rebelling against the unfairness of the world, and why can't I talk, and why can't I say what I think, and...but it did make life harder. So I get it.

And I feel jealous of those in admin, not because I think I have the answers and want to control other teachers, but because damn it! I want to make some money. I don't mind long hours, I just want to pay my bills and have nice things and a little respect.

And then the idealist in me cringes because that is so evil and we all know the only acceptable way to nice things is marrying well, or truly wanting to make a difference and being a doctor ONLY out of the kindness of your heart (sarcasm, folks, with a hint of true feeling). But I got tired of studying and only got B's in General Chemistry, which I took mainly for fun, anyway, in college. And let's face it. Missouri State Chemistry isn't like MU or Wash U chemistry (at least that is what I heard from an MU dropout--and he was cool and I believed him). And it is summer.

Summer! Summer is when I am really sucked into those memories of intense summer classes. I remember the one huge poor choice I made in college. I was flip-flopping, flip-flopping (it's the P in me (perceiver)), and after transfering to MSU with the intent of double majoring in history and political science, and maybe geography, in order to get a master's in some international security job or something, I don't remember now), I read a book.

Go ahead and click the link and buy the book. You know you want to. You are getting very sleepy. Buy the book. Very sleeeeeeepppppy.

I loved this book. I mean the last quarter dragged a bit, but I LOVED this book. And the character, so delightful. I was pulled into the imagination of the author and I was this character and I lived her life, and still was slightly drawn into the science shared in the book. I took Basic Astronomy and loved it. The labs, driving out the observatory, fascinated me. Now, looking back, it was clear I wasn't going to be a scientist. I am more the social sciency type than anything. The majors I spoke of above, were absolutely me. And I keep learning over and over I am not an English major. There is something different dancing in my bones.

But I was drawn. I transferred, but upon further thought, I was sure my future was geology. AND I SHOULD HAVE STUCK TO THAT. I wouldn't have been the type to work in oil fields and make a lot of money, but I there were so many aspects that fascinated me. There was a girl and I chatted with her about geology club, and later I saw she went to Colorado, got her master's and was working at some Earthquake place in the rockies. And I swayed with jealousy. Ice cores on the poles. Volcanoes. Freaking soil samples to test ground for highways. It was all appealing. But that is the romantic in me, romanticizing.

But. Astronomy had dug his claws in me, and geology meant not taking astronomy. And that seemed a bit weak. The Geology professor had jumped at having someone sign up, and I even as I made the choice to switch to physics, my stomach rocked. There may have been a young man involved.

But whatever. What would I, a divorced mom of 30ish, have done with that? We will never know. It is a degree, like most degrees, for the young. And I met so many great people. Most of them have slipped out of my life, but I won't forget them, or their great minds, their artistry, their friendship and our travels, and their fun, and the just interesting people to know. Those times have slipped into the not quite real zone. But on summer nights I remember. I remember the kids at their dad's for summer. A mango for breakfast, walking to school for chemistry, then walking back home.There was something else? A music class?  A lunch of fresh salmon, a salad. A simple dinner. Last time I was not overweight, too! And the next year. Calc 3, Algebraic structures, familiar faces in rather easy classes (not bragging, my math abilities stop right there!).

And my reading and dreaming and hopes. Ha.What was I writing about? For years, I stumbled, depressed over these regrets, but not now. I have never met people like that since. Oh I probably have. But our conditions weren't conducive to forming relationships, even temporary ones. Everything is different.Things are as they should be, except...

I want more than I have. And I feel the pang of ungratefulness, but I can't seem myself doing what I am doing for the next 16 years. And I don't know what else there is. And everyone else, who didn't get their dream realized, probably feels the same damned thing. So I am not even unique. Maybe
I can lead the lost, middle-aged on the path to fulfillment.

I think of my various readers and what they are thinking. Most would say I need to pray and do the work before me.

Some would say, oh Jill, same old same old, others would just think. Wow. She is so weird.

And they are all probably right.
I am where I need to be for now.
But there must be some way out of here.

I love summer.

We Were Part of the Dream

I am up too late. I had a cup of coffee, past seven, and must pay the price of sleeplessness now. I already have taken tomorrow off in order to take Gabe for a well-child checkup and to get his Kindergarten shots, so it isn't the end of the world.
Otherwise, catastrophe, destruction, general chaos would ensue. Or I'd cry a lot. I tend to get angry and cry when overtired. Maybe everyone does.

This evening, as Alec and Gabe and I enjoyed the quiet library (currently living room), I watched Shetland, and on a whim flipped through a photo book. Oh the 70s. So ugly. Everything was so ugly.
But we posed in our photos, smiling with the hope of naivete, and gripping the material goods of whatever holiday was being celebrated. And my parents smiled back, young and still hopeful, and I realized then-we were part of the dream. They dreamed a dream, maybe different versions of it, as my dad wanted my mom to work and my mom wanted to stay home. My mom compromised and babysat out of the home. But we were envisioned in that dream-maybe not the same version of us-I think I was supposed to be more compliant (surprise!), but still, desired.

And that is a nice, warm, fuzzy stomach feeling.

For Memories on a Throwback Thursday...

Getting older

Sunday, June 10, 2018

It isn't as bad as I thought. It is funny. As I watch the lines deepen across my forehead, and the skin sag on the backs of my thighs (my belly was ruined with my first pregnancy, thanks Tierney), I would think I would feel great sorrow. But I don't.

Sometimes as I watch more opportunities fall to younger people, I DO feel sorrow. People love to please young women. And that sort of pisses me off. But at the same time, it is a relief, because let's be honest, the energy at 44 is not as abundant as the energy at 24. It is sort of a compliment to not be expected to do as much. Because I know I have 20+ years wisdom on them. Let 'em toil.

There is something relaxing about not worrying as much about how you look, because THEY AREN'T LOOKING AT YOU anyway. It is a comfort you aren't afforded in your 20s and 30s. Someone is ALWAYS looking. I can't even imagine what is like for the beautiful. I mean, I am sure it is nice, but it has to get old sometimes, too.
I even go out without makeup now. Noone notices.

Last night I went downtown and at a restaurant on the square outside tables sat half-dozen groups of the young and beautiful people. Mostly women. And I mean beautiful. They did not look like Springfield, Missouri people. It was as if the restaurant had imported a dozen gorgeous blondes from Hollywood or New York for the evening. Where are these people? Private schools? Hiding in those big houses I don't know how people afford? I don't know.
And they sat with these bored expressions, and I knew they had to know they were beautiful. What was that like. Karl gawked. I don't blame him. Gorgeous people.
But even they will age. Their hair will start to lose luster, their bodies will  remain trim and toned, but their waists will still thicken, their creases will deepen. The beautiful will turn handsome, and I wonder what that feels like.

But aging isn't bad. I can admire those silver foxes (as Karl puts it), those older men, with their own wisdom and peace of mind, and confidence, without it being creepy. Unwelcome, maybe, but not creepy.

And I sit back, as my flesh gets a little more tired, a little too much, and I think of the pain and the heartbreak, and the joys and the simple, quiet pleasures, and I don't mind so much. As a plush sofa is meant to be used, a body is meant to be lived in. The stains and tears and wrinkles are part of the history.

On the Edge of Together

Or an INFPs journey through life.

I can feel it today That feeling on the edge of my skin resting lightly as a cape over my shoulders-togetherness. I feel almost as if the pieces of life are falling into place.

I know it will pass. Just as these urges to do something and these ideas swirling around never quite come to fruition it will pass.

Sometimes it is embarrassing. For example, when I pitch an idea and it doesn't come about, or I just lose interest or energy. I know to the world-the *J* world (sorry, I am drifting into mbti/myers-brigg's pseudoscience here), that is flaky. But to me, just playing with the idea, talking about it, and tasting it, is often enough. But then I wake up in lowered esteem in others' eyes, having never really DONE anything.

I am going to stop trying at work. That is not as it sounds. I don't mean stop trying with the students. I am just going to stop trying to belong and be involved. Teaching at a high school is a lot like being a student at a high school. There are insiders and outsiders, and you know what? As much as I crave to be on the inside, my stubborn nature and privacy and unwillingness to compromise who I am would push me right back out of the circle. And that is okay. Because my path, whatever it is, must be on the outside. Maybe somehow all this processing of feelings I am compelled to do, will lead me where I need to be. I don't know.

I need to make money. Like about $2000 a month. I get that I might have to start smaller, but I don't want to spend my whole life locked in a school. So I am praying and trying things out-I need freedom. Freedom. I strongly desire to homeschool my kids, but not at the expense of travel and new experiences, and thus, I need an income. I struggle with practical and technical know-how. My life is in my mind, and I struggle bringing it out to the world.

But I feel it. Sitting there, waiting for me to jump. Oh, open my eyes, Lord. If there is something else, if there is a reason for this craving, beyond the desires of the animal nature to be free, help me find it.

I am trying to write a book. It is funny. I think I have a lot to write about until I sit down and try to write tens of thousands of words. It becomes challenging then.

Monday Musings

Monday, June 4, 2018

I had interesting dreams, and woke up with the hope a Monday can bring. I was so stressed last week. I hate it when I am stressed. I hate the messiness, the uncoolness, and just the general sense that I am along for a ride I don't want to be on, and everyone else can see my falling apart because I put it on Facebook, because I have to share.

But stepping back, working less, breathing more usually helps everything to fall back into place. I didn't accomplish much this weekend, but in doing less, my emotions which were bubbling over were able to settle themselve and just relax into the newest normal.

I am a little lonely lately. I suppose that is summer. I see people having a fabulous time on Facebook, and I am happy for them. Life can be hard and whenever a little fun can be found, it should be grabbed and drunk in. Because, well you know the cliche: ain't none of us getting out alive.

I am feeling better about summer school. I am still a little concerned because I didn't have all the supplies I needed as of Friday, and I couldn't figure out how to print and they said the printers were changing anyway. And I *did* check the box saying I would be okay with Makerspace and Coding, I just thought the training would be a little more than it was. It was a quick powerpoint and a "just look at the curriclum and let me know if you have questions." Most of the people had done it before, so I understand them not wanting to sit through the presentation, but I am a newbie. Eh well, I will figure it out.

I woke with this longing-still unsatisfied. It will fade. Just the vividness of the dream world, bringing people and events closer to me than real life. Satisfying this desire, and then whisking it awake when consiousness returns.               

Can one ever be uncharitable in the green vibrance of June? Clarity  has descended upon my brow and all those lessons I have struggled with suddenly clear. What is most frustrating is how the clarity doesn't stay. Pride and exhaustion and envy and even a little jealously fog my vision and the lessons fade away. I wish I knew how to make it stay. I wish I could remember it isn't about what I get out, but I put in. I wish I could remember to smile and chat with people instead of hiding away in a corner to think about things. Because I am so lonely, and yet I hide away. I wish I could remember that when I am not well-received it has more to do with the other person and it doesn't mean my light has to be hidden.

My heart feels fragile today. Clarity with fragility is scary. Because clarity means you know what need to do, but it isn't blind confidence. Clarity is aware that some people strike back and don't play fair. Clarity knows that I am guilty of that, too. But clarity also knows that life must be lived anyway, and hiding away, thwarts one's purpose.

Clarity is wise, too. Clarity knows in writing this I have focused too much on my emotional state and the tide is rising in my chest. And it is time to take a deep breath and shake it off. Because while awareness is important, sometimes you have step out of the ocean and towel off and walk across the shore.

Triumphant Tuesday

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I thought Tuesday would be a great day to highlight the things going well in my life.

I am currently working on a business plan. This is bigger than my etsy items, but since I am waiting on someone else to help with the online technical part, I am buying time creating a little this and that. This past week, I have been making jewelry. This process for me has been trial and error. Too much glue, bubbles under the glass, epoxy bleeding through, etc. I still run into these issues from time to time. I STRUGGLE with hands-on activities. But struggle isn't enough reason to stop.

And so I wanted to share a few of my little creations. I may put them on Etsy or try to sell directly on Facebook while I await my Web site, I haven't decided. Since summer school training begins on Friday, I feel as if time is slipping away from me!

This first one was one of my favorites! Unfortunately after a couple of days, it started to bubble, which means starting over! I wouldn't wear this, and certainly couldn't sell it, so it is rather disappointing.

Ugh! Bubbles!

This has messy edges, if I can't clean them up, it will just be mine.

If you like mine, I *might* start selling them on my second Etsy page:

Teacups &Treasures

Or maybe directly on my facebook page

Teacups & Treasures

Rather try making your own? There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube for making glass pendant jewelry. Here is a list of the supplies you will need:

1. Pendant trays

2. Glass (included in the kit above)

3. Chains--Aren't these ribbons pretty?

4. Clear adhesive

5. Epoxy

6. Scissors

Note:  You will also need cardstock or photo paper for printing images. While you can use regular printer paper, or even papers you find around the house, I have found thicker cardstock to work better when wet glue is involved. Additonally, I have more success with inks printed on my laser printer, rather than an inkjet printer. My current printer (only one week running!) is this one: 
 We will see how it holds up. Printers can be such frustrating, finicky things!

Sorry, Mom

Friday, May 25, 2018

I am sorry for all the times I gave you unsolicited dieting advice, as if you hadn't read the same articles I read. They were your magazines, after all.

I am sorry I was every judgemental about the dieting plans you tried, as if my 18 year old self with the metabolism of an 18-year-old had any idea what it was like in your 40s. What? Ate a donut? That's two pounds, Mrs!

I am sorry I ever rolled my eyes at your clothing choice or lack of makeup when you were working full time and raising kids. As if you didn't have better things to do.

I am sorry I ever said I would have to shoot myself if I weighed 200 pounds. While I don't, I am not that much thinner, and...it isn't worth dying over.

I am sorry I was ever an arrogant kid, sure I had all the answers, and I thank you for playing dumb and humoring me, as if I did. It's a hard thing to smile and nod when someone else has all the answers. I know this now.