stealing time for myself

Here is a question: How can I take time for myself while having a job that requires me to give all of myself away?

Possible current answer based on a small amount of experience: I can’t give all of myself away. I have to keep some of myself for myself. And doing that feels bad. It feels like I am being selfish and like I am not as good at my job. I have to do it anyway.

What does that look like? It looks like staying late at school for thirty minutes (not three hours) to make the bare minimum of copies for the next day. It looks like not opening my backpack to get work done as soon as I get home. It looks to me like caring less. I know I don’t care any less than I did when I was getting home, chatting with Jonny for 15 minutes, and then working until I fell asleep at 9 so that I could wake up at 430 to get more work done.
The work I need to get done will never stop being there. There is always work to get done and there will never be a point where the work is complete. Never. So I need to focus on today, maybe I could focus on tomorrow a little bit. And when I think about anything beyond today or tomorrow, it is with a team of people I am working with to get to that future date, so it isn’t as much of a burden.

I cannot carry this by myself, so I am going to stop trying to.

This is my most recent lesson since beginning this teaching endeavor. Saying this job is difficult doesn’t really paint a clear image. Saying this job is traumatizing is a bit dramatic and rude sounding. So, I just tell people it’s interesting. It is interesting. I am learning so much about myself through the eyes of 130 teenagers, most of whom think I am full of shit.

Everyday I ask myself the question, “what the fuck?” Let’s be real. I ask myself that question at least every hour. I cry pretty much everyday, which I have concluded is not totally the norm for a first year teacher, but Jonny has reassured me that I tend to feel my emotions as soon as I notice them.

I am exhausted and weirded out all the time. I think that’s sort of how this thing goes. Maybe I just need to get used to it. One thing I know for sure is that I must focus on what I need to do for today. When I think about tomorrow, and the next week, and the next year, a sense of dread and terror washes over me. It’s overwhelming.

For now, I just need to get done what I need to get done for today. I need to let go of everything else so that I can have the space that I need for myself. So that this job does not swallow me whole.

Letters to dead friends

Dear Trevor,

Three years feels like such a short time. I haven’t let go of all the questions I have. What was your last day like? Did you know that it’s suicide prevention week? Did you think of me?

I keep wondering what happened after our last conversation. We were so on the same page. You wanted to make a change. You wanted to get better. You knew it would be hard. You were ready for that.

Maybe I didn’t support you enough. Maybe I didn’t follow up in the ways that I should have. I haven’t felt closure. I talk to you all the time. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel at peace with it all. Grief, I suppose.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t gone to that hotel. If you’d maybe tripped and broken your leg on your way, or if you’d made a phone call. I daydream about what job you would have. I wonder what your favorite store would be. H&M sort of sucks now, to be honest, so I wonder what you would recommend. Maybe Zara.

So many questions, no answers. I take a deep breath, and I keep moving.

Life is just like that. It continues to weird me out that so much has happened in the last three years. I’m getting married. I have a job. I bring you with me everywhere I go.

At first I was really sad because moving on felt a lot like leaving you behind.

I still get depressed sometimes and I fear that someday depression is really going to fuck up my life again. I survive for you and the other friends we’ve lost to suicide. I love that I can still hear your laugh.

I imagine that in your very final millisecond, you felt peace. I imagine that you felt whole. I imagine that you felt what you were looking for. Relief. It’s how I sleep at night. Imagining it any other way makes me feel sick.

I don’t believe in angels, but I believe in you. Your sister is such a beautiful young woman. She amazes me with her life and her smile. Instead of thinking, “he would be so proud,” I tell myself, “he is so proud,” because you’re here. You’re with her, too. And I know you’re proud.

You are nowhere and you are everywhere, all at once.

I love you like crazy, Trevor. Forever.







Wow, my first birthday post on this blog was for my 21st birthday. And this one is for my 25th birthday. What a cool thing.

My birthday was amazing and in true sim fashion, I had a number of “woah” moments. On my way to work, two of my sisters called me and made my day before it even began. Then, I got to go to my job! My dream job! And I was excited to work all day! On my Birthday! Crazy. Amazing. Wonderful.

Everyone was really nice to me, and my students were super awesome. Not everyone is into birthdays, but I still get super excited for my birthday and I give myself permission to do that. I felt like my students gave me permission, too, and that was very nice.

I stopped questioning why my life is so good. That’s really what I want to talk about. I don’t know when it happened. And it’s not all the time. Sometimes I think, “Oh god, something horrible is going to happen. My life being a good is some sort of glitch in the matrix and the universe is going to correct this soon.”

Most of the time, lately, I just think, “yeah, my life is good, I am very grateful for the stability I have been provided in some strange turn of events.” And it’s not really a strange turn of events. I work really hard. I practice gratitude everyday, even when friends die or people get upset with me or when I feel like I have no friends. There is always something to be grateful for.

I had a good talk with someone recently about taking ownership of life. I think that is what has changed for me over the last four years. I took ownership of my life. Because of that, I feel totally responsible for myself and for my happiness.

I really like being 25. I feel super young. I wonder if that ever goes away. I don’t think of myself as grown up. I think of myself as just trying to figure it out. Because of that, I am in a constant process of self-forgiveness and self-love. Forever gentle with myself. Forever grateful. Forever moving forward, even if I need to move backwards to do that sometimes.

When I opened my very first classroom, I looked around and saw carved in some metal the words, “be nice. work hard.” and that has become my mantra. Be nice. Work hard. Simple. Doable. Be nice. Work hard.

I set a number of goals on my 25th birthday, mostly around self-care and continuing my education. In October, I’m going to get a massage. In December, I’m going to take the GRE.┬áBe nice. Work hard.