Stop Motion Existence

I posted a couple of days ago about participating in NaNoWriMo. I am stuck and I don’t know what to do. It is ONLY day 2. DAY 2!

I spent most of yesterday avoiding writing. Every time I sat down, I would think of a thousand other things that I could be doing that I would enjoy more. Usually I wake up early, spring from my bed, and race to my laptop, ready to unleash the beautiful words that have been dancing around in my brain. My fingers rush on the keyboard, trying to keep up with my brain, sometimes just typing phrases and dependent clauses that I will go back and flesh out.

Yesterday, my novel didn’t want to come out. Heck, I don’t even know if I have one in there. I am so disconnected from myself right now. It is not really a comfortable place for me. I feel like one of those characters in a stop animation video, each movement jerky and planned out by someone else. I have no control.

 

 Stop-motion lego

 

It scares me because it seems to be getting worse each year. I know that I should go back to the doctor and get my meds checked and rechecked and then checked again. In order to do that, I have to have a job that allows me to take the time I need to do all the things I need to do. Unfortunately, I don’t have one, and that makes me sad.

My hours are set, which doesn’t really bother me, but they are from 9-6. With no flexibility. That means I have to take time off (in 4 hour blocks) in order to go to any appointments. I don’t have the time off to do so. I know that getting to the right balance of medicine is going to take a while. Any doctor’s appointment that I get will take 2-3 hours (time with doctor: 15 minutes or so). I can’t really take that much time every four to six weeks until things are balanced.

The first time, it took about a year and a half to find the right balance. I’m terrified that it will take longer this time.

I know I need to get another job. I want to go back into the classroom. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I really miss the interaction with the kids. I miss their smiling and sad and cranky and lost and hopeful faces. I miss interaction with them. I miss making a difference in their lives. I miss creating relationships with them and letting them know that I am proud of them and have faith in them. I miss them. I need to be with kids. I feel lost without them.

I’ve already started the process of finding another job, but, once again, the inflexibility of my current job paralyzes me. The idea of getting the time off for interviews and whatnot shuts me down and puts me in protective mode. I don’t want to deal with the confrontation and the lying by omission. I know it is necessary, but it makes me feel inauthentic. I hate feeling like a liar, liar, pants on fire.

For now, I’ll continue my stop motion existence, moving forward, pushed by forces that I feel I can’t control. Rest assured that I am trying to break away and regain some control. I just have to remember how.

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National Novel Writing Month

That’s right. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Isn’t that exiting? I’m going to track my progress on my blog so I can stay accountable. Wish me luck!

If you’ve never done NaNo and you enjoy writing, you should try it. The first time I participated, I decided on November 1 to do it. It helped me to become a better writer because I wasn’t terrified to let the words out to play anymore. I didn’t second guess everything that I put on the paper.

pantsher_badgeI don’t really have any sort of a plan when I write. I am what is known as a pantser. I fly by the seat of my pants, usually starting out with nothing more than an idea and a belief that everything will work out alright. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

This year I have a little bit more than just an idea. I’ve got an idea and a character! She came to me this morning at 5:00. I was very pleased to meet her and look forward to our adventures together.

One day I hope to be more of a planner, but I don’t know if I will ever succeed at that. I know that a huge part of writing is outlining, but my brain resists it when it comes to writing fiction. Or maybe my brain just does it while I sleep, waking me up at odd hours to tell me to write stuff down.

Here’s to the month of November, the month of less sleep, more coffee, and wild abandon. This year I WILL succeed at writing 50,000 words and my character’s story will get told. As Chris Baty said, the world needs my novel.

Plus, I love the winner’s shirt. MUST. HAVE. IT. (Here’s a link to it. It’s awesome!)

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Captain, shields are down. We cannot survive another hit.

This week I had one of the worst anxiety attacks that I’ve ever had. It was horrible. I had to take a day off of work after it happened because I was so drained. The worst part about it was that it was in public. I usually can get to some place where nobody sees me melt down. I couldn’t this time.

I am terrified of having another one.

I’ve been trying to figure out why it happened. Why did my carefully placed, meticulously tended shields collapse? How in the hell did the photon torpedo breach the hull and cause a meltdown of the warp drive?

I have had so much change these last two years, from finishing my Master’s degree to changing jobs. Even though they are good changes, they are still changes.

I work with amazing people. They are kind and funny and playful. Sometimes I laugh so hard that I lose my breath. We challenge each other to go above and beyond and we do it with humor. We check up on each other. That means so much when you are starting something new and you have no idea how to do it. *shout out to my peeps who won’t read this because they don’t know I blog and, quite honestly, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with them reading it but whatevs*

Collaboration is encouraged but not forced. That’s right… we are encouraged to work together but we aren’t put in a situation where we HAVE to. It’s crazy because there is a hell of a lot more collaboration in this situation. We actually get to work with people who actually want to work together. Our informal meetings don’t turn into hour long bitch sessions about how we hate to be forced to collaborate and about how stupid, irresponsible, lazy, disrespectful, etc., kids these days are. I can choose to work with positive people instead of those who choose to see the bad in everything.

My principal is one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. He truly has his teachers best interests at heart. He works so hard to make things better for us. Unfortunately, he is stuck in the confines of an educational system that is broken. He tries to provide us with as many tools as he can in order to help us get around the system.

On the other hand, I haven’t worked a 9-to-5-in-an-office work schedule in 13 years. I worked more than 8 hours a day when I was a classroom teacher, but I got to spend at least a third of the time at home, on the couch, with my family. I miss sitting next to my daughter, snuggling, as I grade essays. I don’t get to do that anymore. Instead, I sit in my cubicloffice (it’s like a classroom, only much smaller and only one desk and it’s in a cubicle… I actually kind of like it because it allows me to THINK without interruption.) and grade.

I am stuck with a curriculum that I didn’t create and that needs some serious tweaking, in my opinion. I am a firm believer in the idea that, it doesn’t matter how great a teacher is, if the curriculum stinks, students don’t learn. It really, REALLY bothers me that my name is tied to something that I see as faulty.

I have class roll-over every six weeks. That means as soon as I start to get to know my students, I lose them. I know that I will adjust to this, but it’s so hard. I’m so used to having a whole school year to get to know them so I can tailor my curriculum to their needs. Of course, that just brings me back to the curriculum issue.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. I know that I will adjust in time. I’m worried that it will take too long, though. Right now I have to focus on building my shields back up. I’m worried about how long that will take and whether or not I’ll be able to survive that long.

Mostly I’m terrified that the medicine that has worked for so long has stopped working.

Circular Reasoning

It has been a while since I’ve been around. It isn’t because I don’t have anything to say. I think it is because I have too much to say, and I am having problems sorting it all out in my head.

There is so much going on in the world and so much going on in my life right now. It’s really quite intense.

Then, of course, my brain gets irritated because I should write, but I don’t. My perfect-worm syndrome kicks in and causes me to

seize up. No words come out. They remain “safely” entrenched in my brain, unable to do any damage by not being the absolutely perfect words.

Stupid brain.

It hasn’t helped that I am so completely and totally exhausted. Depression is so annoying. When I am tired, I never know if it is because I’m actually TIRED or if my brain is swirling in a chemical bath of “meh.”

Then, of course, my anxiety kicks in. Oh no! What if I’m going back to the way I was? I can’t handle going through medication changes again. How do I know if I need to contact a doctor? Does my new insurance even cover this? 

Then my brain starts twitching. Seriously. I can feel it wiggling around up in my noggin. It’s definitely off-putting.

I often wonder what it’s like for people who don’t have depression and anxiety. What is it like to know that, if you’re tired, it’s because your tired? What is it like to not worry about whether or not you’re spiraling down simply because you want to sleep more? What is it like to not have to second guess everything that goes on in your brain?

Or  maybe everyone feels like this and I have a skewed view of the world because of my depression and anxiety.

Do people without depression and anxiety think of these things?

And the cycle continues.

seems legit

seems legit

 

Connecting and Disconnecting

WARNING: Contains Sad

 

It has been a really rough June for me, and I am very ready for it to be over. I know that there is only about a week left, but that seems too long.I have been so incredibly busy finishing up my degree. I am taking two grad summer classes at the same time. One is a 6-week class and the other is a 4-week class. I spend so much time doing homework that my back aches from being on the computer all of the time. I will be done with my classes on July 1 and will have earned my Masters. While this is exciting in the abstract, it isn’t real enough. When June is over, it will be real.

The beginning of the month my aunt in Colorado passed away. It was a complete surprise. Two weeks earlier, I was sitting at her dining room table laughing and realizing how much she meant to me, how she was a huge part of my life growing up. You forget things like that when you live 10 hours away and always have things to do that don’t involve visiting other people. I left there, promising myself that I’d get out there more often. I still plan on doing so, but it will have to be to visit other family. She won’t be there.

I was there with my cousins and my uncle as they prepared everything for the memorial. It was bittersweet watching them comb through photographs, remembering and sharing stories. I was a part but also apart from them. They were my close family when I was a kid. We spent pretty much every weekend torturing each other, but we always knew that we had each other. When we moved away between my freshman and sophomore year, we lost touch. We all were wrapped up in our teenage lives, learning who we really were, and preparing for adulthood. Now, 25 years later, it is pretty much impossible to get back to that closeness, especially living so far away.

I miss that sort of connectedness. I need it desperately. I don’t know how to find it. I really don’t know how to keep it. My heart aches because I don’t have it.

I realized that, if I were to die today (knock on wood, pour salt over the shoulder, horseshoes, and luck rabbit’s feet that I don’t), there would be few people who would mourn me. I’m not saying that I don’t have people who love me, and I am not trying to say that the people who love me don’t matter. It’s just that I have so few people in my life. My immediate family would be unconsolable. I don’t make friends easily because I don’t trust people not to hurt me. The friends that I do have seem to move on. In my brain, I understand that it is normal for people to outgrow each other, but my heart still hurts when they withdraw.

I am sure this macabre thinking has a lot to do with exhaustion and the grieving process. So much of my life is uncertain right now. So far, I’ve been able to face it with optimism. Right now, though, I am just tired and wishing that I had a big group of friends and family to take my mind off of everything. I want to be connected.

I just don’t know how to make it happen and that scares me.

Embarking on my New Adventure

I have been a teacher for 13 years. It is a huge part of my identity. People ask me, “What do you do?” and I answer that I am a teacher. There is no explanation required. Even though they don’t really understand all that being a teacher entails, they still have an ideal of what I do. It is a known entity. For 13 years, I’ve labeled myself “teacher.” I know who I am because I am a teacher.

Now that I’ve decided to leave the profession, I am not sure who I am anymore.

I don’t have the crutch of pointing to my teacher label when I meet new people.

Hello

 

I have to rediscover who I am. It is exciting and yet completely terrifying.

I don’t know where I am heading. Will I be able to find a convenient label for myself? If so, what will it be? Director of Something Something? Project Management Specialist? Will my new label be one that people understand, one that I don’t have to explain? My husband’s title at work tells me nothing about what he does. In fact, for the first few years of our marriage, people would ask me what he does and I would just answer with a jumble of words that I’d heard him say (sorry, love). I have more of an idea now, but we’ve been together forever.

Do I even need a label anymore?

I am at a point in my life that makes me want to give a one-finger salute to all the people who want me to conform. For most of my life, I’ve done the conventional thing. I went to college, got a degree, got a job in a respectable career, got married, had a child, etc. I’m so glad that I did all of these things. I have been blessed with stability and support from so many people.

Now, I am not sure if I want as much stability. I don’t want a contract tying me to a position for nine months. I am not even sure I want a go-to-work-from-7-to-330 job. Those of you who know me personally understand how much of a stretch this is for me. I’ve thrived on consistency and stability.

I want to take risks. I want to do things that I was afraid of doing, like working freelance or going on occasional day trips by myself. Heck, I want to go on spontaneous weekend trips with my family. I want to have no itinerary and just drive until we get somewhere interesting and stop there. These are things that I could not have done two years ago.

My heart aches for adventure and thrills at the thought of embarking on this new journey. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.

~E

Bully For You by Amy Durant

Amazing.

- as Others -

I can’t watch movies or television shows where someone’s being bullied. If there’s bullying going on, I either hide my eyes, or steel myself, sitting very still, frozen, waiting for it to be over; not over for the character, but for myself.

It may end for the character, but it never ends for me.

Nowadays, they teach kids about how bad bullying is from a very young age. There are classes, starting with the primary grades. How not to bully, how to handle being bullied, how to handle seeing someone being bullied. The psychology of the bullies. The psychology of those bullied. The psychology of those who silently go along with the bullies, afraid, if they don’t, they’ll become one of the victims themselves. Reports I get from people in the school system are mixed as to how well these programs are working. I think it’s good the awareness is…

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