Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

The Low Spark Of A Newly High Heeled Girl

I tend to add soundtrack music to my day. It’s not an intentional or a conscious act, it just happens. Something occurs and I think of a song…and honestly, it doesn’t make much sense most of the time. So, after I bought my first real pair of high heeled shoes, it was only natural that Traffic’s epic song, “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys,” came to mind.

Yeah….totally natural.

I have purchased high heeled shoes before. A pair or two for weddings, my proms, but beyond that, the rare high heeled shoe was purchased not because I wanted them, but for what I thought they would help me with.
THOSE heels would help me be more attractive, sexy, wanted, enter adjective of choice here.
I truly believed that the problems I was having with my relationship, and with my self image, would totally be fixed by THOSE shoes.

Crazy…right? Not really. People project on to things all the time. To me, THOSE heels, were what attractive women wear. Women who are sexy, wear THOSE shoes. It never dawned on me that I was just so desperately unhappy with myself, my situation, that I was throwing out any kind of line to anything I thought would help. Hindsight..am I right?!

So, THOSE shoes obviously didn’t do what I thought they would. They were worn once, and I didn’t feel any better. THEY didn’t work. I threw the shoes into the closet, got rid of them eventually, and didn’t buy heels for a long time.
During that “long time,” I made some changes, learned some things about myself, gained some confidence, and have finally gotten to a point where I truly feel more like me – as cheesy and cliché as that sounds.

I wear pop culture t-shirts with skirts. I like dressing up, playing with makeup, and watching football. My Chuck Taylors are my work shoes and I will write some pretty explicit things because I think it’s fun.

Too much information? Did I mention I will over share because I like being straight forward and don’t particularly like, or understand, the games men and women play with each other.

What does all this mean? It means that the high heeled shoes I purchased Friday, the shoes I have been practicing walking in, are MY shoes. THEY don’t cause me to feel more attractive, or wanted, but are an accessory that accentuates how I already feel the majority of the time, which is not half bad, but not always great. I have many moments during the day when I question myself, where I wonder why I’m alone, or what role I’m acting out in this world. Still, thanks to lessons learned, I can get past those doubts and keep moving forward because that is what I, and I believe most people, do.

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t feel I am anyone special…I’m just me…and I happen to want to rock these blue, faux suede, high heeled shoes. I want everyone to rock that thing – that dress, that coat, that haircut – that thing they are afraid of making them stand out when all they want to do is stay hidden because they aren’t sure about themselves.

image

Hard to get a good pic when you don't have a dressing mirror.

The shoes don’t make me anything in particular, but I make them pretty awesome – rather, I will make them awesome when I learn to walk in them and not look like a baby horse stumbling around.

Let’s See Where This Goes

An exercise in free writing and a needed outlet.

It’s so easy to give out the pieces
Of a heart worn on one’s sleeve
You can’t cover it up
The outline is too obvious
Generosity is confused for weakness
Trust mistaken for being naive

Still, I’d rather believe than be cynical
Fill missing pieces with patches
And have hope that there is something
Hopefully better
But something

This Has Potential To Get Dark

I do believe it’s only fair to warn you, hence the title of this, the first blog post in a while. I believe it brightens up quite a bit at the end, but…just be prepared.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write. I have two, maybe three drafts that are incomplete or, really, just garbage.
Forced attempts when there really was nothing to say.

Today…today I find myself full of things to say and, with any luck, these words will work their magic – taking thoughts plaguing me and expelling them; making sense of of the jumble that is how my brain works.
To understand the process, let’s start at the root of the issue: a date.
More

What IS the “Catch”

Last night, I chose to drive from Cincinnati to Pond Creek after the Reds game (which they won, Go Reds!) – but more on that adventure in another post. Normally, I sing my guts out, but last night I did more thinking than distracting myself. Yes, folks, it was a thinking weekend, which isn’t so bad, but that’s what happens when I’m left with only me for company.
The day had started out rough due to a dream in which I was told/shown by all involved how I have missed or messed up everything. Ab-so-lute-ly everything. Breakfast and Free Comic Book day helped to reduce that nagging feeling, but it was always there, lurking under the surface.
This thought/fear of my dream being prophetic, came to the forefront as I drove the nearly empty highway along with another thought. What is my “catch” and do men worry about that?

More

Memories….I Have Them

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how memory works. As I get older, I am intrigued by what I – and others – remember.  I want to hold on to those memories and keep them safe.
I am terrified of losing them.

More

Classic Rock Thoughts

‘A love struck Romeo…”

This has been the first real winter some of the kiddos have ever had.  Snow falls in large, fluffy, flakes, covering the ground with the promise of adventure.

I am inside cleaning, fighting an internal battle between what makes sense (finishing projects, including laundry) and the absurd (running outside with a camera or driving out into the mess just to do it).  Through the cable box, the classic rock station plays.  Songs that I skip on my iPod because of the memories they encapsulate are allowed the freedom to be heard.  Why don’t I delete them from the playlists?  Well, it’s not like I dislike the song.  Its the memory that becomes the problem.

“Play your love songs all night long for me…”

It’s a haze of white outside.  The pull is stronger now.  I would love to call my friends and see who else wants to be ridiculous.  The voice in the back of my mind, the worried looks from loved ones, stops me.  You dislocate one kneecap….you almost dehydrate and have to be put in the hospital…. you are involved in a car accident….when you live too far for those loved ones to help, and their fear seeps into your thought process.  It’s not just their fear though.  It’s also the fear of the pain you felt, the worry of the possible result that you so narrowly missed, that keeps you in as you get older.

I just couldn’t bear providing any more pain to them. 

Still, you have to take a risk sometimes.  It gets to a point where the itch is too strong and a reaction is needed.  Newton had it down pat – you can only pull back for so long before it has to flip the other way.

The nice thing is, if you are lucky (and I am lucky) you have the support system that just wants you to be. 

“Gimme three steps…”

Here I am, being me….now, where are my boots?

I Used To Be Nervy…

But ice changed that.

My time as an employee of Bath County Schools was pretty amazing.  I worked with some wonderful educators, great kiddos, and made fantastic friends.  It is also a timed marred with sickness, accidents, and the downfall of my personal life…but, you know, stuff happens.
Anyhoo….

More

Just….Just Let Me Wallow For 5 Minutes

I hate feeling like such a drag.  It’s not like I’m not used to being a third wheel, or the single friend to a group of couples.  They are my friends!  I love being around them and sharing jokes and good times.  Doesn’t make you any less the odd man out.  Last night was a blast!  Rang in the NewYyear with great people, saw a fantastic – impromptu – firework show, talked to a friend about life and Doctor Who, had dinner with my uncle/best friend (yeah, he’s my best friend – what of it?!) – what more could I possibly ask for?!

More

And Now For Something Completely Different?

“When I was in school…..”

“When I was in school, my parents would have NEVER come to Varney to jump on the teacher.”

“When I was in school, we were allowed to have recess all through elementary, kindergarten through 8th grade.”

“When I was in school, I never knew my grade until the report card came home.”

“When I was in school, even the “bad” kids weren’t THIS bad.”

“When I was in school, it was very, VERY, different.”

Going into Education as a profession was one of my best decisions by far. After floundering in the Electrical Engineering program at UK, taking a random Art class (you know, to balance out the science/math heavy course load) set me on a path that has been been rewarding and, at times, frustrating. Now in my 6th year as an Art teacher, I really can’t see myself in any other field and I’ve never really tried to see myself as anything but “Ms. G.”

After what I saw today, I’m becoming more willing to broaden my outlook.

While looking through my Facebook news feed, I came across a friend’s post defending teachers. Her post was in response to a video posted by a student/student’s parent of a teacher at a local school jumping on to her class. Being a teacher, I was immediately interested. I read her statement, agreed with her, and proceeded to read the comments. Among the comments was a link to the video itself.
Normally, I wouldn’t view it. If it’s not Star Wars/Doctor Who/Bradley recommended, I don’t watch it – mainly because I know I’ll get upset. Knowing this video had to be of a teacher I am friends with, I wanted to see what had caused all the fuss. All the teachers I worked with at that school are great, love their kiddos, and go above and beyond the call of duty – this teacher is no exception!
The video, really audio, of the teacher calling her students out for not working, is not the worse thing I’ve ever heard. Based on the comments, some people heard a woman, in their opinion, unjustly addressing her students for their poor scores. I heard a woman frustrated at her class and trying to find something, anything, to motivate them.

I’ve been there and I sympathize.

Part of me wants to rail against the world judging this woman. This woman I know works long hours, dedicates so much of her own time to helping kids, and, like many of us, tries to instill some sense of self-motivation in our students. I also recognize that my righteous indignation won’t matter to those too ignorant to see beyond the “no one talks to my baby that way” attitude that teachers see more often than not.

Teachers are, in fact, people. They have breaking points, frustrations, and bad days like everyone else. Except, unlike other people, we are expected not to have those days. If we have a bad day, we are somehow bad teachers/people. If you don’t believe teachers feel that way themselves when a day goes south, you are talking to the wrong teacher….or a teacher who has given everything only to be disheartened.

When I was in school….

I love my job. I love working with students and seeing them grow as artists and as people. Seeing a kiddo get excited about learning – glob! – nothing beats that. It’s amazing to watch and be a part of.

Daily I worry that I have not hit the right balance between understanding and stern. Some days are harder than others, and I have, at times, mentioned to students that their lack of effort is how they earn the grade they get, whether it’s an A or a F is all on them.

It’s hard to see students not care as much as you do. It is frustrating to say the least. Add on to that the threats to your career by angry kids/parents, the constant fear of having what you do in school twisted or taken out of context, and the fact that the standard you are held to as a teacher is so high, yet we are one of the least respected professions. It feels like you are always on the defensive and I can be a bit much.

All it takes is one word and that is it. Pitchforks out, set the torches alight, off with their head – let’s not ask the real question: why aren’t we concerned about students willfully bombing a class and not being shamed by the fact that they were called out on it?! Another question to address is why, if you felt the teacher was in the wrong (an opinion you are entitled to of course), why post this video on a social media site? Why not take it to the school, talk to the teacher and administration, and deal with the issue instead of posting it without the context of what brought it on – because, let’s be honest, something did. Why are we okay with a student taping a teacher when that student is obviously in class AND does not seem to be paying attention at all?

No wonder she is frustrated! She’s trying to strike some chord with them, and a student is more concerned with taping her with the obvious intention of hurting her career. Granted, I could be wrong about the intent , but posting the video to a social media site doesn’t really seem like the most legit way to deal with the situation if you didn’t want to embarrass/professionally harm the teacher in question.

This incident is just the latest of several that have made me worry about my choice of profession – something I never thought I’d be concerned about. I worry not because I think I made the wrong choice or because I think I’m a bad teacher. Completely the opposite! I KNOW teaching is what I should be doing. I KNOW that I’m good at what I do, but I’m always willing to learn and grow in my profession. I KNOW that I mess up, but, in my work and in my personal life, I can admit to, and learn, from my mistakes and move forward. I KNOW I’m exactly where I need to be, doing what I need to do.

I would just like to do my job to the best of my ability without constantly stepping on eggshells.

I can’t make people like me. I can’t force students to work. All I hope is that, at the end of the day, I make a positive impact on my students’ lives. That is it – that makes it all worth while and why, despite my fears, I will teach.
I will do my absolute best, and give it all I’ve got. I will do this because it is totally worth it for those kiddos that get something from it.

“You know, when I was in school, my teachers didn’t worry about the same things I have to.”

As a student, I am so thankful for that.

Previous Older Entries