Smitten. The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind, and I could not be happier. My face is plastered into a ridiculously cheesy smile, and I am completely smitten. It is so refreshing to be honest and open, to not play games. I have a good feeling about this guy, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
Life Lately. Life has been busy, busy, busy! I have so much going on that I feel like I can’t think straight most of the time. I’m trying to stay organized, but I always feel like there is something I’m forgetting. I just keep reminding myself that in two months it will all be over. In fact, in three more weeks things will lighten up considerably where work is concerned. In three weeks, work will be a breeze and I can focus solely on finishing my grad program. But for now, I’m trying to take one day at a time. If I try to think too far ahead, I will lose my mind.
Valentine’s Day. I love Valentine’s Day. I am definitely not one of those single girls that spends the day wearing all black and complaining or feeling jealous. Instead, I try to focus on all the love that is in my life regardless of whether I have a significant other. Every year I get spoiled by my kiddos at school, and this year was no exception. I have about 10 pounds of Reese’s that will last me until next year. But the best surprise was from my co-worker’s husband.
At the beginning of this school year, I moved to a different area of Houston. I went from the Southeast side, which is near my school, to the North side of town. I made the decision for various reasons, and it has been the best thing I could have done for myself. The one downside would be that I extended my commute by quite a bit. People are always in shock when I tell them where I work and where I live. They can’t believe I drive as far as I do. But my response is always that it’s actually pretty awesome.
The reasons for the awesomeness are my co-worker & her husband. They live even further north than I do, and the both work on the south side of town. I have been carpooling with them ever since my move. They pick me up every morning. Her husband always drives. I guess it’s a man thing, but I’m not complaining. My commute consists of talking, laughing, sleeping, or getting work done. I don’t even notice if we hit traffic. I’m always having too much fun to care. Sometimes we’ll even stop for dinner on the way home, and co-workers hubby always treats. I try to protest, but he won’t have any of it. I’m very spoiled.
Yesterday was no exception. My co-worker had 2 dozen roses delivered to the school which was no surprise, but when he came to pick us up there was a gift bag sitting on my seat. I pushed it off to the side assuming it was for their daughter, but he said, “No. That’s for you.” I was shocked. I opened it and found lots of yummy chocolate. And then he motioned towards the cup holders. He had picked up shakes for all of us. He said it was Valentine’s Day and he wanted us to feel special. It was so incredibly kind and thoughtful. I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know them better. They are wonderful people, and I truly look forward to our daily commute.
Understanding Addiction. After hearing the news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death, I found myself researching addiction. PSH’s death is the most recent in a long line of celebrity deaths caused by an overdose, not to mention the thousands of “normal” lives lost to addiction over the years. As always, when a story like this hits the news people jump at the chance to give their two cents on social media. I’m always shocked by the amount of people who say things along the lines of, “when will people wake up and realize that drugs kill,” or “it was his own fault,” or “serves him right”. These statements fill me with rage. Like mental health and suicide, I feel that addiciton is something that is very misunderstood, and people should not speak out on a topic that they know nothing about. Instead, people should do some research and understand all the facts surrounding addiction.
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. [National Institute of Drug Abuse]
It’s also important to remember that addicts are people… people with families, friends, and loved ones. And as I tell my elementary students, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
100 Days. Today is a big day for me. One hundred days ago, I made the decision to remove alcohol from my life. There was a lot of anxiety and tears involved in this decision. I sent a letter to my family and close friends explaining my decision and asking for their support. Since that day, I’ve had good days and bad days, but overall, it’s been really great. My family and friends are amazing. They have supported me every step of the way, and I know they will continue to do so. I still crave a beer or a glass of wine from time to time, but it is getting easier. In the end, I know that I’ve made the best decision for myself, and that is great feeling!
Shopping Challenge. Around Christmas, I started to think about how much stuff I have. My closet is full of clothes, shoes, bags, and all kinds of accessories. No one person needs as much stuff as I have, so I made a decision to make a change. For the entire year of 2014, I have challenged myself to reduce my shopping and spending habits. These are the guidelines of my challenge:
- No new shoes, unless a pair I already own falls apart. This includes boots, flats, heels, sandals, even flip-flops.
- Under no circumstance will I buy a new bag/purse.
- I am allowed one clothing item per month. If I don’t buy something before the month passes, I lose that item. Use it or lose it.
- No jewelry, scarves, or any other accessories can be purchased.
At first, I thought that this challenge would be extremely difficult, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The month of January is over, and I didn’t buy a single thing, and better yet, I wasn’t even tempted! I’m proud of myself for sticking to my self-imposed rules, and I’m looking forward to continuing throughout the rest of this year. I think this will be a good experience for me, and will help me to reevaluate my spending habits even beyond 2014.
Snow Day. School was cancelled today. This is our second snow day in a week, and I use the term ‘snow day’ loosely. As someone who spent my college years in Iowa, I experienced my fair share of winter weather, and it always makes me laugh when the entire city of Houston shuts down over a teeny tiny bit of ice. But I won’t complain for two reasons. Firstly, I have a 45 minute commute, and I’d rather not be out on the roads with my fellow Texans who are very unexperienced with icy roads. Second, it gives me the opportunity to stay home and get some much needed work done. For one of my assingments this week, I ‘have’ to watch a movie from a provided list. Thanks to my professors orders, I’m about to enjoy a viewing of The Help with a giant cup of coffee and warm blankets. The best kind of homework if you ask me.
Full Load. The next few months are going to be extremely busy for me. I have two major performances to prepare my students for. One takes place on Thursday, March 6th and is a district wide music event. I am working with a small group of fourth graders on a swing dance routine and choral performance. We have before & after school rehearsals twice a week from now until the performance day. The other performance takes place on my school’s campus on Friday, March 7th. It is a school-wide event, and I am in charge of preparing a musical performance for each grade level. This program is extremely important to my principals, and the superintendent of our district usually makes an appearance. It’s kind of a big deal and takes a lot of preparation and planning. On top of work, I recently started my final semester of grad school. The workload is intense and time consuming. There is so much to be done, and I don’t feel like I have enough time. I know that I am not the first person to go to school while working full-time, but I don’t know if I can do it all. I keep telling myself that if other people can do it successfully, so can I, but what if I can’t? What if after all this work, I fail? I’m terrified and am at a loss for how to ease my anxious thoughts.
Hidden Truths. Here are some truths about me, truths that most of us keep hidden: I am 29 years old. I have only truly been in one serious relationship. I am in debt, between student loans & a credit card, it is a considerable amount. Until very recently, I lived beyond my means in order to fit in. I am materialistic, but am trying to change. I have abused alcohol in the past, but have recently made the decision to remove it from my life (93 days and counting). I am single and often times very lonely. I suffer from depression and anxiety. My biological clock is most definitely ticking. I believe in God and Jesus, but often wonder if my prayers are heard. My father took his own life when I was 22. I often worry because I am a lot like him. Some days, the only ‘people’ I talk to are my dogs, and to me my dogs are ‘people’;). I am sometimes jealous of my baby sister. Most days, I’m an excellent teacher, but some days I totally suck. I often wonder if something is wrong with me. When I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful person with a good heart. It makes me wonder why I’m so alone. Other people must be seeing something else.
These are my hidden truths. I share them not to gain sympathy or kind words of encouragement. I am choosing to share them to get them off my chest, and because I think it’s safe to assume that we all have hidden truths that hold us down. We all compare ourselves to those around us, but we often times only see the perfect, sugar-coated life that people want us to see. Under all the sugar-coated perfection, we all have our own struggles and demons. These are mine.
Directions. I have found myself coming and going from this blog over the past couple years. I’ll pop on for a few weeks, and then disappear for a few months.
When I started this blog, it was an outlet for me to share my life in a way that forced to me to get out and live. For so long after my father’s passing, I was not a participant in my life. Instead, I sat on the sidelines while my life passed by. By having a blog, I was forcing myself to become an active participant in the world around me. For a while, it was a wonderful experience, but then it changed. I found myself becoming worried about how many followers I had, purchasing the next ‘big’ tumblr item, and making my life appear to be perfect. I didn’t like what this blog had become, which is why I stepped away initially and have stepped away several times since.
Since my last step back from this space, I have craved an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings. Writing is therapuetic for me. I don’t claim to be a good writer, but it is something that helps me to work through things. For this reason, I’ve decided to come back to this blog. I need this outlet.
For those of you that have followed me in the past, it won’t be what it used to be. This is going to be a place that I write honestly and truthfully. You won’t find cute outfits or item wishlists. You won’t find me pretending that things are perfect and wonderful all the time. Instead, you will find the truth of who I am. If you wish to unfollow, please do. If you continue to follow, I hope that you can enjoy and gain something from my sincerety and honesty.
Renaissance & Rest. My weekend was spent with good friends & sweet puppies. I channeled my inner flower child at the Texas Renaissance Festival, where I saw a little fairy being painted from head to toe. I wish I would have thought of that when I was a kid! The Renaissance Festival is one of my favorite annual events. It’s an opportunity to eat anything & everything on a stick and enjoy some excellent people watching. This year did not disappoint.
A good deal of time was also spent cuddling with my furry babies. They kept me company while I sat on the couch and enjoyed my newest purchase, Apple TV. I had been thinking about getting it for a while, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s the perfect investment for someone who canceled their cable in favor of Hulu & Netflix. I ended up spending a good chunk of Sunday flying through season one of Sons of Anarchy. If it weren’t for work & having to be an adult, I’d probably still be sitting on my couch watching season two.
Missing you. It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since my phone rang. The moment I answered, I knew something was wrong. As soon as she said your name, I knew you were gone. It’s been four years since I’ve seen that smile, that wonderful infectious smile. It’s been four years since you gave me a big bear hug. It’s been four years since I heard your voice & your laughter. I miss you, dear friend. We all do. But although it’s been four years, your memory is still alive inside all of those who love you. Rest in peace my sweet friend. I love you.