Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hell Week & Gratitude

This week has sucked. (pardon my French.)
I usually at least attempt to have some sort of logical flow to my posts, but this week... I really just need to get this all down, some sort of cathartic exercise or whatever, I guess, but here it all is, all disorganized and messy and whatnot. 

  • Have you ever walked into a situation, knowing that it would potentially be a bad situation, but optimistically tried to persuade yourself it would all be fine? Have you ever felt that amazement as, for the first few weeks, everything is actually fine? Have you ever had that knot of unease begin to form as things start to change? Have you ever sat in complete disbelief as the situation exploded beyond even your wildest realm of expectation? Have you felt the pieces come raining down on you as you try to pick yourself up and put it all back together--don't cry, don't cry, don't think about it, and don't cry--knowing that you've only begun your day? Have you ever tried to fight down the wave of anger and guilt and personal "told you so" while merely attempting to keep your head above water? 
  • I really hate crying in front of people. I hate it. Mostly because I also hate any sort of pity. Hate it. (hate hate hate, hate Smurf hah) But man have I done a lot of it lately (the crying, I mean, not the hate-smurfing or pitying). 
    • Monday: cried in front of one of the counselors--but that was mostly her fault, because to be fair, I was overly tired and the easiest way to make someone cry is to keep asking if they're "okay" and insisting that you know they're not. 
    • Tuesday: cried after I got off the phone (not technically in front of someone, but I'm counting it)
    • Wednesday: almost cried before my kids came in the room, cried when I saw the pic of my little brother outside the Temple all big kid and what not, cried when I talked to my principal, cried when I rehashed the whole bloody mess to Jeremy that night at youth orchestra, cried when I got home and thought about everything all over again. (Wednesday was a bad day to be a Kleenex within my reach).
    • Thursday: ...I just remembered, I didn't actually cry this day!! Go me. 
    • Friday: almost cried (again) in front of my principal, almost cried (again) on the phone to JP. 
  • If I haven't lost you already, I know how ^that^ looks. "Yeah yeah, blah blah blah, why do I care that she's been a human water fountain this last week? My word, that's a lot of boo-hooing." But I guess I do have a point. The first being that this week really has been incredibly hard. Nothing I've ever done has been this hard, this emotionally/mentally/physically taxing on me. 
    • You know when you're completely physically drained, and you can feel your eyelids all heavy and you literally don't think you can hold your head up any longer, but the second you lay down and close your eyes--your brain wakes up? And the thoughts tailspin from one awful potential to another, and your heart is racing from the anxiety, and you toss and turn and try to count sheep or listen to soothing music or force yourself asleep, but nothing works? 
    • Someone took my parking space Wednesday afternoon. I almost flipped out. Over a stupid parking space. I was angry. Over a parking space. Completely mentally unstable. 
    • I think I've probably lost 7lbs since Wednesday. My stomach's been all sick and tense and nothing's sounded good and I think it was probably around 9pm Thursday night when I got home for the first time that day that I realized I hadn't eaten anything since my granola bar at 6:45am. Lesson learned? Stress & anxiety can do wonders for your diet ;) 
  • The second point being I am very grateful for some of the people I have in my life. 
    • Person #1: My mom (and dad, since I'm sure he's getting all the drama secondhanded from the mama) has sure been incredibly patient with me. I know how much it drives her crazy to not get the full story on things, but she's been very understanding of the fact that if I try to explain all of the details right now, over the phone, it'll completely wreck me. 
    • Person #2: My baby bro. Wednesday night, I got home from all the mess to find a message on my voicemail from the Home phone number. I'm not sure what I expected it to be, but I'm pretty certain I can't describe how much my heart melted when I heard the 7 yr old voice introduce himself, his purpose, and then begin to sing a song, just for me--the sad big sister. God bless that sweet little boy. 
    • Person #3: JP. I could probably devote an entire post to how grateful I am for his friendship and support, and before that sounds too weird, I better explain who he is and why he matters. JP was my assigned mentor teacher when I began this crazy Las Vegas adventure. Though our bonding wasn't necessarily immediate, once I got over my intimidation and worries and we got to know each other better, I knew that I had found a friend for sure. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor. Constantly supportive and informative, he perfectly walked the fine line of letting me try and learn for myself-- and swooping in to save me before all hell broke loose. We weathered plenty of storms together, our discussions ranged from music to religion to politics and beyond, and when all was said and done, we essentially discovered that our personalities and senses of humor matched up pretty well. He and his wife have become like family to me--my own little branch of Vegasian family, people I know I can call for almost any trouble or worry. With that said,  I hope it doesn't sound strange to say that I spoke to JP every single day this past week. From our Monday conversation about private teachers and not letting snotty little 8th graders get to you; to the Tuesday heads-up and advice he gave me before everything exploded; to Wednesday night when he let me soliloquize and cry and complain and seek reassurance for 45 minutes before Youth Orchestra; to Thursday night when, in between worrying about the concert and other directorial duties, he kept me laughing and constantly helped smooth my ruffled feathers with more counseling, rants, and support; to finally Friday, when he took not one, but two phone calls and a text to hear me worry about my life and troubles all over again. I know I couldn't have made it through this week without having him as a sounding board, a cheerleader, a defender, protector, and personal comedian. The Lord is ridiculously mindful of not only what we need, but also who we need in order to survive our trials, and having him as a Someone who thoroughly understands my situation and all the tiny details involved has been an incredibly tender mercy. 
    • People #4: AJA, NP, RMik, & M. Principal, Dean, Counselor, fellow teacher, respectively. It was a huge thing to hear my principal reassure me that I was competent, tough, right and that things would get better. It was a relief to know I have both the dean (who had gotten the full story from her husband--see above--the night before) and one of the most influential counselors fighting the good fight on my behalf. I was remarkably fortunate to have a fellow teacher who understood the situation and was willing to alleviate my trouble in any way he could. Even if nothing gets resolved as quickly as I would like or in the exact manner I need, it's enough to know that I have these good people in my corner, on my side.
    • People #5: My kids. All 240 of them. Even the ones I want to strangle. The only reason, somedays, that I can even want to do this job. The only ones who can bring me up out of the pit of self-pity and anxiety and make me laugh hard enough to make my side ache. The precious little spirits that are just trying to find their way through the horror that is middle school, and have already decided that my room is a sort of safe haven where they can come to just "hang out." They are the reason to keep this teaching stuff up. 
  • Never, not even in my wildest dreams, could I have created the storyline that unfolded itself over my life this past week. Like I was told by both JP and AJA, at the very least, I'm "learning an awful lot this first year." 
I'm grateful for the people in my life. I'm grateful for church and the gospel and the subtle smack-upside-the-head reminder that I'm not alone, and that I need to give more attention where attention is due. I'm grateful for music, hot chocolate, good pizza, lame 6th grade jokes, warm sweatshirts, old TV shows, and the incredible power of text and email. 

If nothing else, this week has showed me that I really can do hard things. I've got the Eye of the Tiger, dang it, and I can survive anything!!

..But, all that being said, I'd be very appreciative of this week going much differently than the last. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Complete Exhaustion: September

The Little Things

  • I watched 8 seasons of Supernatural within a 4 month period. No regrets, baby.
  • SEASON 9 premiered this last Tuesday. Sooo excited I got all caught up so I can experience this show "as it happens" for the first time--ever. And if Tuesday night was any indication, this season is gonna be one of the best in a while. :)
  • I have a class of 68 students. 68 sixth/seventh/and eighth graders with instruments made of wood and wire that love to slip out of tune when you're not looking. 68 little angels that love talking. 68 different ways to hear "Ms O! Ms O!" throughout a 50 minute period. 68 names and faces to memorize. 68 children to remember to love.
  • My favorite number of late has been 67. (no wonder that ^ class period is so hard...I'm one off..)
  • I don't know which I prefer dealing with: my students--who frequently guess that I am ancient--or my students' parents--who frequently comment on my "youth" with slight disbelief. 
  • At this moment, I have a Hershey's Chocolate pie sitting in my fridge, 2 packs of Sour Watermelons in my cupboard, 2 bags of mushroom-flavored instant rice, and a gallon of Simply Lemonade. The #obsessions continue.
  • I have been to the dentist more times in the last 6 months than I have for the last 2 years. I hate the dentist. And these visits have given me no cause to break that streak. 
  • I am consistently drained by those that inhabit my life. 
  • Now, I've been called many things before, but I have to admit that a "condescending ingrate who treats people disrespectfully" was a bit of a new one. 
  • My taste in music is apparently "eclectic." 
  • I am so grateful for music. For all kinds of music. The Classic Rock and the Folk, the Classical and the Score, the Country and the Pop. 
  • Hey cellists: ever had your endpin slip inside your cello itself? No worries; I know how to fix that. Not only is it hilarious, entertaining, and mood-lightening; it's also quite the work out ;)
  •  I'm quite amazed with the human body in general. Even when there is no good reason for going on--and thousands of reasons for breaking down and curling up to nap for a good season--it keeps trucking on. I've found myself in a semi-constant state of wonder that I can accomplish all that I have, when running on insufficient amounts of sleep, nourishment, and brain power :)
  • I know now what it's like to dishwasher shopping.
  • I got to have the first "I don't drink." "Yeah right" "No really, I don't drink" conversation with some of my kids. I'm not certain their surprise at this fact quite equals mine in the moment they gave me "because it's what you do" as a response to my question of "Why do you want to drink?"
  • Sometimes the things these kids have seen and experienced and learned breaks my heart
  • Jake from State Farm, Coconut Jose Sharkbait, Hardunkichud Casper Fried Chicken. Sometimes I just can't explain how much I love my 6th graders.
  • Wagner is a beast; but so incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable.
  • There are few things as fascinating as apathy and feeling numb
  • It's getting cold here. I can't tell you how nearly ashamed I was at shivering in a sweatshirt when the weather app read "65," but, well...there you have it. 
  • General Conference was absolutely wonderful. It means so much more to me now that I'm older than it ever did before. It's kinda fun to look back on that sort of character development ;)
  • 3 of my kids made it into the Clark County School District Honors Orchestra. I was a pretty proud mama hen. 
  • #NewObsession: Pumpkin Spice lotion
  • I don't think I've gone to bed before 11pm since possibly my sophomore year of high school. It's happened over a dozen times since I began my grown-up life. 
  • I'm so tired. That's the only answer I can give when people ask what's wrong or how things are going or try to dig for details in the bags under my eyes. I'm just tired. Complete and total exhaustion. 
  • But thank goodness for the 240 reasons I have to keep going. 


I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Idaho's capital. Counting occasions and not separate...