Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning...

Oh Insomnia!  Oh how I wish you would just go away.

I've always been a bit of a "night owl."  My poor mother (an early bird) would try her best to stay up with me, but couldn't do it.  There was something magical about the ten o'clock hour--it would put my brother and mother asleep while reawaking everything within me.

I never understood.  My mother and brother could simply go to sleep and then awake me with their annoying happy sounds first thing in the morning.  It was pretty irritating.

For me, sleep has always been different.  I can set the mood.  I can wear myself out to the point of exhaustion.  I can take warm baths, drink tea, and make my room a place of no light and no electronic devices.

It doesn't work.

On a good night, it only takes about 45 minutes to go to sleep.  I consider it a blessings.

But most nights, it's a mental struggle.  I review the day and think of all the things I did wrong.  I worry about the upcoming day--Is everything ready?  How am I going to mess up?  what didn't I think of before hand?

So many regrets and worries fill my mind each night.  I know the answer--if I could just sleep, I could handle things better.  But my overactive mind just won't let this happen.

How do you fix this?  How do you shut off your mind?  How do you tell your brain that all those thoughts are relevant, even important--just not in the middle of the night?

I'm on medication to help me sleep, but it's not working like it is supposed to work.  The meds are supposed to be fast acting/short term.  For me, they are slow acting, long lasting.  It figures.

So, here we are in the wee small hours of the morning.  I can't sleep.  I'm tired and exhausted, but I can't sleep. 

What is a girl to do?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Half Year!

For some, it's that awkward period between Christmas and New Years.  For me, it bonus week!  I'm trying to convince myself that there are things I should be doing, but the relaxation (ok, lazy) factor is winning.

A new year is certainly a chance for all of us to start over.  Make a fresh start.  But this year is different for me.  It's a celebration of the last six months.

In June, I took big steps to figure out and "fix" what was wrong with me emotionally, physically, and mentally.  I wasn't in a horrible place.  I was just ready be feel happy again.  And it's working.

I let go of resentment from my past.  I take responsibility for things, but I also know that other's took advantage of my need for approval.  They were able to tell me I couldn't do things, or that my decisions were not okay.  They were able to manipulate me to do things when I didn't want to because I didn't want to upset anyone. 

I learned what it means to be assertive, but not mean.  I learned to listen to myself first.  I learned that other people's opinons should never dictate my life.  As Iris in The Holiday (my signature movie said) "I should be the leading lady in my own life!  I symbolically made this happen by standing up for myself and going on my first solo vacation.

I went through a lot of testing and medication to find out what is going on with my body.  A syndrome that there is no cure for, but it's not life threatening, especially if I take steps to follow a gluten free/low glycemic diet.  It's been tough but not impossible.  Now I have add the dreaded exercise aspect of this......

But I learned that I wasn't crazy.  I learned to listen to my body even when no one knows what is wrong.  I learned that some of the health/body issues I've been so frustrated about really are not my fault. 

Learning about this syndrome also helped me mentally.  Knowing that some of those body issues I struggle with are not my fault has gotten me one step closer to accepting myself and dealing with those body image issues. 

I learned to dress for the body I have, not the body I wish I had.  I've learned to start looking in the mirror again.  I can only do it for very short periods, but it's a step.  And I've learned that the only thing holding me back in finding confidence in my appearance is me. 

I'm still working on all of these things, but I have come a long way.  So as we get ready to change the calendar, I'm choosing not to think of it as a new year.  My new year happened one day in June.  I made "resolutions" for myself and I've kept them.  But my work is not done.  I get another six months to work on those resolutions.

So I will go and help celebrate the changing of the calendar, but my New Year's Eve will be in June. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Homemade and from the Heart

I have three nieces and a nephew ranging in age from eight to sixteen.  While every gift I give is important to me, the gifts for these four are what matters most.  As their aunt, I don't want to let them down.

Many years ago, I used to go crazy with these expensive, impressive gifts.  We're talking the kinds of gifts that Santa should bring, not your aunt.  Did the love it?  Absolutely! 

But things changed and so did my gifts.  But their excitement never has. 

I watched as the 16 year old opened the books she didn't ask for but I got for her anyway.  She loved it.

I spent the afternoon with the 14 year old who after lunch and a basketball media guide that I got for free said he didn't need anything else.  His Christmas was complete.

I watched as the ten year old leapt to her feet so she could hold up the blanket I had personalize for her using felt.  The bonus was getting to snuggle with her under that blanket.

I listened to the eight year old tell me thank you for the little necklace that said "I love you to the moon and back."  I told her, "You know that's true.  I do love you to the moon and back."  She said, "I know.  I love you, too."

I enjoyed those days of the expensive gifts, but I enjoy these days even more.  In a world where so many people feel entitled, I am thankful for kids who are truly grateful for everything.  They would rather have a personalized blanket for $15 than some big, expensive thing.  They actually ask their grandmother for socks and underwear as gifts.  And they still say thank you and give hugs at the end of the evening.

These kids--they are my greatest blessing.  They have had my whole heart since the day they were born.  They are far from perfect.  They are sarcastic, argumentative, and sometimes challenging.  But they are also sweet, smart, wonderful people who are not materialistic and have the ability to see beyond the physical gift. 

I would like to take credit, but let's face it--their parents are doing something right. I'm just honored to be a part of their lives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Changes

Christmas is upon us.  It is, perhaps, the most bi-polar holiday I can think of.

Low:  Self induced stress of trying to make the holiday special (dare I say perfect?) for those we love.

High:  Smiles from those same people when they open the gift.  Even the little ones have figured out that it's not about the gift, it's about the person behind the gift.

Low: Stress of the impending family gathering.  What can you do to make it all go smoothly?

High:  Knowing that no matter what, you get to be with the people you love most of all.

And for some of us, there is that unknown.  The unknown of what it will be like when you wake up on Christmas morning and your Christmas is already over.

I'm lucky.  I have done this for many years.  After this tremendous year of growth, I'm am beyond ready.  It may sound completely absurd, but I'm in such a new place.  I've had my share of concerns about getting gifts finished, but I'm in the middle of such a place of total calm that I'm actually looking forward to my Christmas day filled with emails and text messages.  But I'm also ready to really celebrate this year.  I can't even explain it.

At the same time, my energy is going to a place across town.  My mom and the man I think of as my dad lost a very special person.  My dad's mom passed away a few short months ago.  I don't get those moments of picking her up and taking her back to her apartment this year.  I missed shopping for her four pack of champagne that I always got her.

But this is so minor.  For the first time since I have known him, my dad will not be going to the retirement community for Christmas dinner with his mother.  My mom will not go and have her traditional prime rib dinner on Christmas day.  This has been their tradition since my mother met my dad when I was in junior high.  What do you do when all you have known is gone?

Christmas Eve, I will miss her.  I will miss the comments on Christmas lights as we drive to and from her son's home.  I will miss the sarcastic comments on life that really had a compliment or sweetness if you just really listened.  I will see her image in the rocking chair to the right of the fireplace and to the left of the stairs where she sat observing her great-grandchildren and reacting in surprise when she opened her four pack of champagne.  I can honestly say I loved that woman. 

But I know my dad and my mom will miss her even more.  They will wake up and do their present exchange.  They will do their own thing.  But I also know that around noon, their will be that moment where they feel like they should be getting ready to go somewhere else, but this year, there isn't anywhere else to go.

So much blabbering.  So much rambling.  Isn't that what a blog is for?  Please allow me to wrap this up.

There was a wonderful, sometimes difficult, but always caring woman named Marnie.  She had three kids.  One of her kids married a woman with two kids.  She accepted them.  She accepted the woman who married into this crazy family.  She grew to love them all, even the four great grandkids that she referred to as wild on multiple occasions. 

Most importantly, she raised an incredible man.  A man who is smart, kind, generous and compassionate.  He wasn't afraid to love a woman with two rather outspoken, perhaps obnoxious, kids.  And he wasn't afraid to love those kids, the daughter-in-law, and the four grandchildren he gained.  No surprise, we all love him right back!

So this year, my wish is this:  while my dad is facing his first Christmas without his mom, I hope he feels the love we have for him.  I hope he knows that we are missing her just as much as he is, just in a different way.  And we are incredibly grateful.  Without Marnie, I wouldn't have the man I consider to be my dad.

Christmas is about family.  Our family changed in a big way this year, but we are still a family. A strange, loud, sarcastic, caring, odd family.  But a family none the less. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

That Moment

There comes a time when reality hits and you finally accept that the people that you love most of all will not live forever.  It's a horrible feeling, but it's not like you can change things.  But you can ask for "that moment" that will stay with you forever.

My first "moment" was with my grandfather.  He was a quite man who always had a twinkle in his eye when ever I saw him.  For a long time, he was the man I could depend on in my life.  I remember the final time he went into the hospital.  As I drove to see him, I prayed for one more day with my real grandpa, not the shell he was becoming.  And one day, I got it.  He was happy, talking more than I had ever heard him talk, and full of life and peace.  I remember as I was driving home thanking God for honoring my request.  After that day, I continued to visit the man, but the person was slipping away.  But that day, the moment I asked for, has never left me.

My grandmother, on the other hand, has given me many moments.  That moment where she is near death and you feel special to be part of that moment.  But this woman has a mind of her own.  I have said goodbye more times than I can count, but another "moment" always seems to be in her future.  But it doesn't make it any less precious--because I never know when it might be the last.  Our most recent moment was my favorite.  She has long suffered from dementia.  She doesn't really know who I am, but she looked at me like she knew she was supposed to know me.  She didn't know me, but she asked if I knew "her Kasey."  She told me stories of "her Kasey" and let me know how special "her Kasey" was.  Of course, I was "her Kasey."  Somehow hearing her talk about me as if I wasn't there was even more special.  And when she talked about the angels that were in the room and the friends that were above her bed waiting for her, well I thought for sure this was my final moment with her.  She was discharged from the hospital the following day.  I guess we have another moment still to make.

Today was another moment, but with a different grandmother.  Some would consider her "just a step-grandmother" but she was a grandma to me.  She is a tough as nails, no one tells me what to do kind of woman who has a soft side that you can see, but only on rare occasions.  It's been a rather rapid downhill slope.  But I also believe that's what she wanted.  I went tonight to say goodbye.  But I got another moment.  A moment where she couldn't really communicate, but I felt like she understood me.  She understood me when I told her I loved her and thanked her for being a grandma to me.  I held her hand.  She seemed to calm down.  I even thought I heard a laugh here and there.  I stayed at her bed until she went to peacefully to sleep.  Then I kissed her and told her to do all of this the same way she lived her life--do it the way you want.

I'll go back and see both grandmothers, but it's greedy to ask for more than what I have already gotten.  Because in each of these moments, I am granted moments of complete and utter peace.  And while I am trying to be there for them, it's really these people that I love comforting me in their own way.  And these moments will live in me forever.

May I always have the strength to be there for those I care about when they need me most.  If I can do that, I am the person receiving the gift.  I get those moments that change my heart and make me want to be a better person.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Little Steps, Big Changes

This summer, I changed.  I learned to listen to my own voice.  I learned to recognize my own strength.  I learned to let go of my past.

But I had set up my little world for success.  In some strange way, I was like an alcoholic or a person addicted to drugs.  I removed the most challenging elements, those that continuously kept me from being myself, for three months.  I worked a little each day taking baby steps toward the goal of accepting myself for who I am.

And just like someone out of rehab, I came back to the real world.  Challenges presented themselves, but I handled them.  More than that, I took pride in those moments of success.

My biggest challenge came today.  The past came at me and tried to drag me back.  But I wouldn't go.  I stood on my own two feet, said what need to be said, and put myself first.  It was pretty incredible.

I even waited for the inevitable. That after the fact guilt, self-doubt, or anger.  None of it came.  I called my mom, released the thoughts, and moved on with my night.

Obviously, I haven't completely stopped thinking about it.  But I'm thinking about it in a whole new way.  All those little steps this summer changed me.  I'm so much better for those three months of growth and work.  I'm so much stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Joy of Cooking

Growing up, I didn't exactly have a chef in the kitchen.  We were fed, but cooking consisted of a few meals in a steady rotation.  (Pizza Hut and Burger King were also part of that rotation.)

And then I entered junior high where I was introduced to actual cooking.  For me, it was a whole new world.  All those random ingredients dancing together just perfectly could make magic! 

My poor brother.  He was subjected to my quest to create the perfect spaghetti sauce.  I still had no knowledge of fresh ingredients, but was convinced that I could make the recipe just a bit better if I kept trying.  He will not eat spaghetti to this day.

And my mother.  She had to contend with her night owl daughter.  She would go to bed early and wake up in the morning to find a filthy kitchen and many loaves of fresh made bread. 

I've grown up a bit.  I'm more selective of my ingredients, but the love is still there.  My favorite night of the week is Saturday.  It's my night to grab a glass of wine, turn the tv on in the background, and try a new recipe.  I fail more than I succeed, but that's not the point.  Its almost a form of therapy.  Just me trying to find that next combination of "healthy" ingredients that will impress the harshest critic--me!

So tonight, I made my first roasted chicken (Success!) and mashed cauliflower (Fail!).  But I was able to be creative in my own way.  I was able to "unplug" by leaving my phone in the other room for two hours.  I was able to just be and think.  How the food came out is secondary.  Tonight was a win.

Tomorrow, I will go back into the kitchen where I will prepare a couple of tried and true recipes to get me through the week.  And I have another week to try to find new recipes for next week's therapy session.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Calling?

I was recently diagnosed with a syndrome.  Nothing serious. Just one of those things that they can't fix but could possibly lead to additional problems down the road.

Among one of the many, many things they told me--having children would be extremely difficult. 

I'm 41.  The truth is that having kids of my own has been slipping away each year.  But when "they" tell you kids are pretty much out of the picture--well that's a whole new reality.  It feels like a loss.  No one really sees it that way, but it still hurts.

This past weekend, I babysat for a friend of mine I've known since kindergarten.  She had a baby in May.  She is my age and had a perfect, beautiful baby girl in May. 

But that will probably never be me.

I would have been a good mom.  I would have loved them and cherished them and completely messed my kids up like all parents do, but I would have been there to help them along the way.

But that doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.

And yet, maybe it already has.  Maybe I wasn't meant to be a mom to two or three kids.  Maybe I was meant to be a mother figure to hundreds of kids.  I love the kids in my classroom, even after they leave.  I love them even when they drive me crazy.  I give them every thing I have even when I feel like I have nothing else to give.  Would there be anything else to give kids at home?  Who would be short changed--my kids at school or my kids at home.

I know that my kids at school is not the same as having kids of my own.  The nieces and the nephew are not the same as having kids of my own. 

But maybe that's enough.  We all need so much love an support in this world.  Maybe I'm there to give that, and my heart, to all of "my kids."

And maybe, just maybe, that is enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Releasing My Heart

Tomorrow begins a new school year.  I've spent most of the day reflecting on the past year.  Thinking what made me laugh, what made me cry, what did I do right, what did I do wrong.  I suppose you could say it's my version of New Year's Eve. 
I met a lot of challenges during this past school year, and I met them well.  But only a handful of people saw the toll it took on me.  Yes, the challenges were difficult, but it was so much more than that.  It was me.  I didn't know how to explain it.  But then I found this book in a children's book store.
The book was me.  It's a little girl who puts her heart in a bottle.  By putting it in the bottle, she is able to protect it from hurt, but she also loses so much of herself.  Once she realizes this, she tries to release her heart from the bottle but she doesn't know how.
I put my heart in a bottle many, many years ago.  At 12, was so determined to hide it so deep that no one could ever break it again.  I became the chameleon of sorts.  People liked me because I could morph myself into the version of me they wanted me to be.  And it worked.   For a very long time, I convinced myself that making other people happy would make me happy.
And then something changed.  It wasn't one incident.  It wasn't some person.  It was me.  I looked at myself struggling to be all things to all people.  But as the expectations of who I should be grew, it became too hard to keep up.  I was exhausted.
So this summer, I made myself my own priority.  I did many different things, but the most important thing I did was schedule an appointment with a therapist.  She listened and offered few words.  In our first session, she confronted me with the "What makes you happy?" question.  I didn't know the answer.
I went to her only three times, but she helped me find myself again.  She was the person who, just like in the book, helped me break open the bottle and let my heart out again.  She allowed me to say out loud what my roadblocks were and helped me see a way to go through them.  And what I found was, the ways out were not her suggestions, but my own. 
The best part is, I know the moment when my bottle broke.  I was on my first ever solo road trip.  No one was with me.  Almost no one knew I was going.  I had no one else's rules or plans to follow.  I got where I was going and I panicked.  What was I supposed to do.  As luck would have it, I arrived in time for Mass at a very small Catholic church behind my hotel. During his homily, the priest spoke of everyone's uniqueness.   Until we can truly embrace the unique individuals that God made us to be, we are unable to truly share ourselves with the world.  And that was the moment.
My heart has been released.  It will be broken a million times, but it will also ache with so much joy a million times more.  I am a unique, strange, overly excited, and sometimes just wacky person.  And now I am a person ready, really ready, to give with my whole heart.  It's going to be tough.  Some people in my life are not going to take this change in me well.  Some already haven't.  But that's okay.  I'm finally ready to live my life on my own terms.
So my New Year's resolution is this:  just hang on to what you've learned.  Like an addict out of rehab, you are about to return to the life you knew.  Don't slip back into those old ways simply because they are easy and what others expect.  Just be willing to have the courage to be yourself. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Best Part of Summer

So much for posting regularly this summer.  It's been an amazing summer of healing and empowerment.  But more on that later.

Almost seventeen years ago, I found out I was going to be an aunt for the first time.  Oh, the excitement I felt.  This little creature was about to enter my life.  In my mind, he or she would be this perfect little person that I could shower with love and spoil in a way that only an aunt could. 

Guess what.  It all came true.  Four times.

Now I have three nieces and a nephew.  Every summer, I try to spend one on one time with each of them on their "date day."  Date day is whatever they want it to be.  They love it because they get to do whatever they want.  I love it because I get those moments with each of them.  It's not so much the activity as much as it is the quiet conversations that pop up here and there.  It's a gage of where they are in their lives and what's really on their minds.

Little b was first.  Due to childcare circumstances, she actually got a week. Oh, what a carefree independent spirit she is.  She is just always bubbly and happy, but also needs that extra attention.  Most of her time was spent on craft projects where it wasn't about the outcome, but the process. 

Big B was next.  As the only boy in a world of girls, he doesn't get credit for the sensitive heart he hides.  He is in a place where he is trying to figure out who he is, but also seems to be content with life as it comes.  But he listens.  He listens when people don't think he is.  And, sometimes, he internalizes what he hears. And despite what he may say, he is the biggest protector of his little sisters'.

Miss E.  Oh, Miss E.  The perfect combination of spunk, sassiness, and sweetness.  The one liners she comes up with are hilarious! She looks up to her big sister in a way that touches your heart.  And her creativity measures up to no ones.  She could spend hours working away on projects.  She takes the time to quietly take in the world and is so appreciative of others.  I wish I could see the world through her eyes, even for a day.

And finally, C.  She is where this all started.  At 16, I left the door open for date day but I prepared myself for the reality that she may have outgrown it.  Imagine my sheer delight when she suggested it to me.  She had nothing specific she wanted to do.  Just a hangout day.  My giggly little girl has grown into a beautiful young lady.  She is that typical teenager, but I see her heart, and it is big.  She has and very outgoing personality, but she also revealed some of her hopes and fears.  This girl is amazing and completely capable of anything she wants to do.

These four kids have captured my heart in a way I didn't know was possible.  They have so many, many people in their lives that love and care for them.  I feel fortunate to be a part of their lives. 

After all, no one loves them like I do!

Friday, May 30, 2014

I Have No Idea

So many thoughts....  I'm not sure where to begin or where I will end up....  Sometimes it's best not to think, just write....

I've finally started the end.  Or, maybe more accurately, I've started the new beginning.  For years and years, I've tried.  I've tried to let go of the parts of my past that impacted me in such negative ways.  I made a ton of progress.  I had even reached a place of contentment in my life.  And after the ways I had been feeling, contentment felt like a victory.

But over time, I have realized that I deserve more than contentment.  We all do.  The difference is, I think I have the power within myself to move to that next level--the level of possible happiness.

I've taken the next step.  I met with someone who could help me find that power.  I've had the conversation with the person/people who are preventing me from that next step.  I've even packed away memories of times that seemed like happiness, but were not real.

It's been a hard day, but one that was needed.  I gave into it.  I cancelled my plans, I did what I needed for myself, and I relaxed.  I took a moment here and there to mourn what I have always known.  And while it caused me to feel sad in unexpected ways, I know that what I am doing is for the best.

And tonight, I sit on my deck.  I'm alone, but I'm surrounded by flowers and lights.  And that's the way it should be.  You see, I have discovered that I can be my own light.  My own inspiration.  The knowledge that while I need people in my life, I can be my own source of strength to keep moving forward.  And the flowers, well, they are the beauty of my world.  They are the reminder that beauty and grace and life are all around me.  I just need to remember to look up once in awhile. 

I've reached the end of this post.  Normally, I have some idea of what I might say as I send my thoughts through my keyboard and put that in my title. Tonight was different. Tonight was just a moment where I allowed my fingertips to take me where I needed to go.  I won't reread it.  I won't edit it.  I'll just send it out knowing it is the unedited and honest version of myself and where I am in this moment.

And in this moment, I am content, but optimistic....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Through My Own Eyes

Warning:  Those who love me most should not read this--that includes you, Mom!

Many, many changes happening in my heart these days.  From the outside, every thing is exactly as it's always been.  Hard working,  dedicated to those I love, willing to do all I can to help others.

But inside, I'm changing.  It started with a trip to the doctor's office where she and I agreed that I needed help.  Just something that would help me sleep and help me enjoy life again.  It took several trips and some tears before we got it right.  But I was blessed with a doctor who understood me and even told me she had the same struggles.  She listened without judgment. She didn't look at the clock even once as I was telling her my story.  She made me feel like the most important patient of the day despite having many others to see that day.

So I left with the medication.  And it did what it was supposed to do.  But it had a side effect that wasn't on the warning label--clarity.  The clarity to see all the things I had successfully hidden from myself.  

Most of the issues were no big deal.  Yeah, my dad left me and filled me with empty promises, but I had my moment of closure on that not so long ago.  And it's true I spent way too much of my life trying to become their image of me instead of who I am, but I've turned that around, too. 

But it's the mirror that is my biggest struggle.  I avoid my reflection because I don't like what I see.  And I know in my heart that it's ridiculous.  One's outer image should not reflect who they truly are, but, for me it's hard. 

I'm not some hideous creature. I know this.  But every glimpse in the mirror causes those feelings of....well I don't even know how to say it.  Just tremendous self-consciousness I guess.  Those feelings of not being enough..  Those feelings of just not being enough. 

I would like to blame society,  but in all honesty, there is no one to blame.  At some point. I just became so uncomfortable with myself that it was easier to hide behind the ideas of what others thought I should be.  I chose that.  I allowed that. 

So, when I look at the mirror and cringe, I know it's a part of the process.  It's so much easier to look at myself through the eyes of others.  Facing myself in the mirror hurts, but it hurts because I'm truly seeing myself for the first time.  And it's scary.  It's understandable that the process of seeing myself through my own eyes is going to take time and is going to hurt for awhile.  And it's going to take time. 

But today, I know this:  I am truly awesome at what I do and would sacrifice all that I have for the kids in my classroom.  I have the four most amazing nieces and nephew that somehow see what I wish I could see in myself.  And I have a body that society doesn't appreciate but allows me to do all that I wish to do.  I can play on the floor with five year olds.  I can haul sets and scenery with middle school students.  I can make it through a day where I encounter 120 students without giving up and sitting down.

And while I'm still struggling with those self image issues, I have started on the path.  My brown eyes that I thought were inferior to my brother's brilliant blue eyes, are actually pools of warmth and hidden wisdom.  It's not much, but it's a start. 

And I know this has to be my process.  Those that love me simply love me for being me.  And that is important.  Let's face it, most of those people think that I'm pretty close to perfect.  I just hope I can see myself the way they see me--someday.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

If She Only Knew

Many, many years ago, an elementary education student took the path less traveled by those in her major and signed up for Advanced Techniques in Composition.  She soon found herself in a room full of English majors.  It was intimidating to be sure, but things just got worse.  Due to sleep issues that made punctuality a challenge, the professor advised her to drop the class.  Most of her opinion papers represented the opposite of her professor's point of view.  And then there were the page requirements.  It didn't matter what the minimum page requirement for an assignment was, chances were Miss Elementary Education Major was going to be one to two pages short. 

And somewhere along the way, she swayed the professor.  The professor was surprised that she kept showing up to class instead of dropping the class.  The professor appreciated that she could support her argument even if the professor didn't agree.  Most shocking, Miss Elementary Education Major had a meeting with the professor and was told that the minimum page requirements didn't apply to her.  Apparently, she had the ability "to take subject matter and put it into its simplest form without losing its complexity."  Furthermore, Miss Elementary Education Major should consider becoming and English because she "would never use her talents in an elementary school."

Well, Miss Elementary Education Major is an elementary teacher.  She had written countless forms of communication for a variety of reasons and is currently trying to write three plays involving kids fourth through eighth.   If that professor only knew how much those skills get used....

And while I'm looking her up, maybe I'll have a talk with that history professor who tried to convince me to become a history major as well....

Friday, January 3, 2014


When one starts a blog, they typically spend time considering the name of their blog.  It should have some kind of meaning.  I went a different route.  I typed in the first thing that popped into my head.  I didn't think about it.  I didn't give it a second thought.  I just typed and off I went.

Who knew the meaning of my blog title would come to me years later.

The Shel Silverstein poem found me.  I wasn't reading a book of poems.  I wasn't looking for inspiration.  I was bored and trying to find reasons to avoid the work I should be doing.  And this appeared. 

That's when it all clicked.  I have always had voices in my head.  Many, many voices.  They have been the voices of people I loved.  They have been the voices of people I respected.  They have been the voices of authority.  And, more times than not, they have been the voices of those who have judged me and pointed out all of my flaws. 

I listened to all of these voices.  It became a constant battle.  I tried to silence the voices by becoming what they expected me to be.  When decisions had to be made, I searched for the "right" voice to guide me. 

And one day, I realized I was missing the most important voice.  My own.  In an attempt to keep people happy, I listened to the other voices.  I had done this for so long that I wasn't even sure I could hear my own voice anymore.

After so many years of listening to the voices in my head, it's hard to listen to my own.  I make decisions and am immediately met with questions from the other voices.  But I'm ready to find my voice.  There will be mistakes.  There will be people who think I'm wrong.  And that has to be ok.  Because it's time for me to "just listen to the voice that speaks inside."