reasons why my ex is not Satan…

It is sad-making as well as appalling the number of women who broil their ex-significant others online, be it in their own space or on any number of social media websites. The irony is that as adults, we all know that once we put things out there, there can be no guarantee or privacy, and while I do understand the therapeutic quality of letting go once and again, am curious to what end these rants accomplish. Is it to feel empowered, to feel safe, or simply one-upmanship?

I am not speaking of people who endured abuse, regardless of situation, but of those who are getting a fair sum of money, support for their children, and in some cases, even a birthday card or two. WHY do humans delight in mudslinging over acts of kindness? In shrieking with laughter at the discomfort of others, when we know how painful discomfort is? Why must the collective WE continue to disappoint, wallowing in the base reactions of humanity instead of finding ways to uplift us all?

I am writing today about my own Hubby-no-More. He will not see this post, so it is not self-serving in this way, but in another, one for just me, and those of you who decide to grab a coffee and read my meager words. I am here to say that despite our differences, discomforts, and even down-right fights, my ex is not the enemy. Sure, he stands for a life wrenched from me, but one I also willingly mentally vacated years before his courage brought us to a sad goodbye. Without further ado, here are a few reasons why he is not Public Enemy #1, Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, or any other manner of wretched human being that so many claim to have shared part of a life with.

1. He willingly gives me more, by a good percentage, than the court requires.
2. He pays for ALL of our foxling’s medical care, including insurance, co-pays, therapy, meds, and everything else, literally, leaving me with a 0% liability.
3. He does these things so I can stay in school without working, thereby allowing me to qualify for scholarships not otherwise available to me, as well as allowing me to keep the near-perfect GPA.
4. He encouraged me to re-sign my lease for another year, at an increased cost to himself, in order to give me weekly access to our child, even though said child is almost​ 17 and really couldn’t care less if I resided here or on Mars. =)
5. He responds to my texts usually within 24 hours, even when he pulls a 12-hour​ shift at the hospital. This is better than my school advisor, mother, and several friends. ​
6. His girlfriend invited me over to meet their new kittens, because I do not have any of my own, and we visited all morning without weirdness. Ok, this one really isn’t him per se, but it was his house, and his kittens​, so it counts in my book.

I could go on, but have classes this afternoon, a presentation, and working on an independent research proposal for next spring. My point? I realize many people, both men and women, have an ogre for an ex. BUT… not all of us do. Not every human in possession of a dick is a dick. And for us to air only our dirty laundry instead of our blessings is to perpetuate the stigma surrounding divorce and parenthood under less-than-ideal​ circumstances. I am tired of reading only about the negative, so thought I would​ share some positive vibes. Please chime in if you have something​ to share. Thanks as always for being there, peeps… Have a lovely!

a sad realization​…

Try as I might to blog on a more regular basis, school has really been ramping up and when looking for ways to squeeze extra minutes from the daylight hours, small spaces like this one get pushed to the back burner, then the broom closet, perhaps put in the trunk with the clothing donation I still need to drop off…

Applaud if you can relate…! =)

I am enjoying my cross-cultural education class, as well as the inquiry-based technology class this term. But I have a small seed of unease growing in my tummy, right nest to the watermelon seed I accidently ate last summer… As I turn further away from the mechanics and beauty of the written and spoken word to focus on hypothetical classroom scenarios that will apply to, at best, 10% of the graduating teachers who land sought after spots in affluent districts, I realize a little more of my spark is extinguished each day. I am most emphatically NOT looking for that cushy job with a Keurig in each of the 4 teacher’s lounges; instead, I am searching for the poorest school, the one in which the children desperately need every moment of instruction that I can dole out, until I finish the Doctorate program, after which I can live my passion by relocating and working for a Tribal school out west, where my heart resides and is whispering to me still…

Here is a statement that is going to break the internet… but I need to say it, because I am exhausted by the now-familiar undertone that my professors and classmates alike have when speaking to my specifically. It is not my fault I am white…

I am a 40soemthing, white woman. I did not order this body or these life circumstances, but I am in possession of them, and like people of every other color out there, I am trying to live my best, authentic life within the confines of said life. Every suggestion I make, no matter if it comes robbed shamelessly from the professor’s textbook itself, is met with “Well, ok, but the kids REALLY don’t need another white teacher to go in and save them.” Ok, valid point, but I do not want to SAVE them, I want to EDUCATE them. Maybe then, with a solid background and degree, they can go back to their towns and teach their children in a way that I cannot because I do not share their cultural similarities. Additionally, I am not looking at a “me versus them” scenario, instead I see myself as a resource that ALL my students can utilize to reach their own, best potential. I have to say it just one more time, I am not white because I tried to be white, I am because I was born this color, and no amount of tanning will erase my Scots lineage. And I am exhausted beyond belief from constantly apologizing for myself, and trying to smallerize my big and happy self in order to appease other students, who are getting a mere fraction of my GPA. Perhaps if more time were spent in studying and pursuit of the A, and less time criticizing my innate desire to push forward equality, everyone would have the grades I work so hard for, and the opportunities and scholarships these hard-won grades have EARNED me. But today, these “perks” are not seen as my hard work, but as something I was handed, due to my skin color. What no one in class sees is my anxiety over how I am going​ to pay rent without working and thereby making myself ineligible for thousands of tax-free scholarship dollars, or how my insurance tax credits got revoked, cancelling my policy, because I earned $499 more dollars, for a total of $17,620 in 2015. Or the fact that I take care of my car because it is an affordable lease that I am trying​ to keep spotless so I do not pay damage fees when I return it, even though it has a smooshed front bumper from a trip to the grocers. They do not see that I am a part-time mother​ who sees her child on the weekends only, during which time I am frantically working to keep that GPA up in my 6-7 classes a term, while my contemporaries take 4 classes and live on campus. I do not wear fancy clothes or have a nice haircut not because I am “old and lazy,”but because I simply cannot afford​ them. Funny… were my skin ANY other color, I would be told I am being marginalized. But I am white, so I am merely complaining.

And this group of “peers” is the ones who I will be spending the next 3 years with. No, they are not the teachers and families I will be interacting​ with in South Dakota, or New Mexico, but it is a long, hard road to that point, and I am tired. So let’s just say that skin color has nothing to do with one’s​ ability to be exhausted by the bullshit that life throws our way in the form of small-minded people. And maybe, in the future, we can celebrate our differences, and when we see someone trying to help those who have been given less-than, we can support them, regardless of their age, color, or pant size.

in theory…

So we are aware that I am officially an ED major now, and as such am beginning to realize there are more questions than answers when thinking about education policy and procedure in our fine country… (snort).

Teachers and even professors are bound by myriad rules put in place not to harm but to ensure the leveling of a playing field as crooked as a politician during election season. Unfortunately, plans that often are sublime on paper fail miserably when one adds the imperfect human element to the mix.

SO… there are rules and regulations, and there are humans with many different levels of education and experience interpreting them. Add to the mix each instructor’s input, desires, quirks, and ulterior motives, and one sees it is damn near impossible to actually create any semblance​ of fairness or equitability in a single classroom, let alone when multiplying by each school district times county times state… gulp. A formidable​ task to say the least.

So how does a neophyte address these issues? I have been gleaning small tidbits of how and why to do things based on my own classroom experiences. Sadly, I report that I have more items listed in the “NEVER, EVER DO” column than in the “OOH, GREAT IDEA” one. But it is a start, and we must start somewhere…

One thing I am thinking of doing for “warm-up,” which we have as allocated time for our own resources, is 4 level sentence diagramming. One interesting sentence on the board, from classic literature, pertainings somehow to our daily work. We discuss, and if they write it in their comp book, which I supply, then the next day when we discuss another sentence, I walk around and put smiles or checks on the previous page. Simple way to motivate, and no actual grading. Can be added as points toward final grade, and has the added bonus​ of… wait for it… actually encouraging deeper reading and explication skills!!! In an ENGLISH class!! WOOT! =) =) I am learning it does not take moving mountains, but rather small insights, to create a better and more inclusive classroom. Thoughts by my more illustrious​ betters? Gotta go study not, peeps. Namaste, and thanks for being here. =)

hello, wednesday…

It does not escape me that I am an English major, one who has found a passion for the structured intricacies​ of form and function rules of our ever-adapting language, yet I insist on NOT capitalizing the titles of posts. Is this a quirk, an unconscious play on words, or simply a middle finger thrown at the thesis board committee? Probably a mix of the three, as we have already established I am rather a complex creature… =)

At any rate, I find another week half gone, January melting away faster than the disappearing snow from the filthy shrubs lining my Little House in the Big Wood. I was tempted to set aside my schoolwork today and chat here by an unexpected visit from an old bloggity friend. I realized last night that I miss the interaction with you all, the ones who have been around for the long haul, and the new ones who have such insight to share with yours truly.

However, as previously discussed, I am metamorphosizing at an alarming rate, and my wants and needs develop and shift seemingly with the wind. Of course, there is more to it that that… I am becoming something more, something new, improved, and focused. As it is with everyone, I must decide what I want, what I need, and where this space fits into my increasingly busy days. I can tell you that I am here to stay, even when it seems I have disappeared. =)

So what has this student been up to as of late? I am taking 5 upper-level courses this semester, with EDU designators, finally signifying my first steps toward licensure​ in my chosen field. I am also enjoying my Chaucer class, much to my amazement and delight​. It is frightfully hard, and my professor is so brilliant​ my head hurts after a convo with her, but after only 3 lectures I have already learned SO MUCH! While I am not going to take my grad degree in Medieval Literature, this does prepare me well for my Senior Seminar, as well as meeting ALL upper-level​ requirements for both school and state. So I was able to make a truly smart choice when registering, for a change. Feels good to be a bit in control, even if it is only the illusion of control and nothing like the real thing… I wonder how I will fit back into the “real” world once my degrees are done, and “all” I have​ to do is work, and not plan every decision 9 months ahead? ​My sweet Paul, 21 months into our relationship (how the HELL has it been so long already??!!), still does not “get” my need to constantly do so much ahead of time. His work as a lineman consists basically of putting out fires all day. Something​ breaks, he fixes it. Something blows up, he replaces it. Tornado blows away lines, he strings new. Drunk driver rams pole​ at midnight, his crew is there to dig a spot to plunk down a new one. All this while dealing with enough voltage to literally disintegrate anyone foolish enough to not be completely aware​ of their surroundings every moment of the obligatory 20-hour​ shifts… in other words, he REACTS. It suits him; he is great under pressure, calm in an emergency. But planning ahead? Not so much. Where he has spent the last 20 years trying to not burst into flames, I have spent the last 3 laying foundations for professional exams 2 years out. Ridiculous, no? How will I ever learn to live in the present again? I am hoping with enough homework-free weekends and cold beer, I will adjust just fine.

And here I am once again, not saying anything of real import, but blathering on in true Tish-fashion. But as you all know me so well, I am hoping you would not have it any other way. Namaste, peeps. Glad to be back, and glad that you decided to stick around. =)

personal responsibility…

Or lack thereof, as it were. I remember growing up and being instructed that for each right we claim, there is an attached responsibility that goes along with it. Yin/Yang, Sun and Moon, falling down and getting up. Opposite forces… get it? =) There was literally NO POINT in which the adults in my life stopped, looked around, and said “Ok, I’m here, now I can rest on my laurels.” Apparently, they were a dying breed and as I gaze at the confusion and pain around me, I realize how few people hold themselves to the standards that were imposed upon my childhood self, and that I happily impose upon myself today.

I will never be the rock resting in the sun, happy in mossy contemplation. Instead, I am a wave, constant motion and planning to get to the next shore. It is not good or bad, it simply IS.

I received an email today from a professor who is too sick over the election results to come to class. Of course, The Fates being the utter bitches that they are, this is after I spent 3 HOURS yesterday preparing for class today. Yes, 3 HOURS!! I did not leave material for the last minute, but you know how those Tues/Thurs lectures go… one can become swamped by a professor’s bright idea. SO… I prepared myself, took the requisite 2 pages annotations (both sides of course), read the book in its entirety,created study questions, entered the day’s work into my “grade book,” created the rubric… list goes on.

Get up this morning, PING… this professor will not be in attendance this morning. I still have to show up, check in with the TA, and then work on the group project. The one we were supposed to start NEXT WEEK. The one that concerns a book none of us has even OPENED, let alone READ. This will be a very productive two hours, I am thinking… sighs in frustration.

This leads me back around to the theme​ of personal responsibility. While I can understand disgust for the electoral process, I do not think this is a reason for him to check out for the day. I pay a LOT of money for this​ “free” education I am getting, and if I need to be prepared, can’t​ we ask the same of someone making $125,000. per annum?

There are approximately a million things on my to-do list before Spring, 2020. That is when I graduate with the double MA and SEC Ed Cert. 3 years and a semester. Half-way there. Perhaps, as a very unmotivated person once whined to me, I should not hold others to my high standard. I argue that perhaps we could all put on our big girl panties and face the day, no matter how daunting the prospect. “Embrace the Suck” for all us ex-military types. “Just Do It” for all you runners out there. You get my drift…

Lest you think I am an unfeeling wench, I CAN sympathize with his plight. I simply cannot afford, mentally or realistically, to take time to grieve for what might have been. I decided to stay up late, work hard, maintain my GPA, contribute to the class in a meaningful way, and accomplish my goals. This, in turn, helps my entire group forge ahead, as we ALL decided to do what we were tasked with. Perhaps discounted college costs are my RIGHT for serving my country. But my RESPONSIBILITY is to show up, do my best, and make something of myself with all those tax dollars I (and you) have invested over the years. I owe it to myself (and my future students) to get the best possible education and be the best instructor I can be. Will​ I have a need for sick days in my future? Of course. I only hope that I choose to use them sparingly, and not on days when my students are counting on me to navigate them thru tricky​ waters of my own creation.

Go be your best today. That may not be your all-time best, but aim for the BEST you can manage​ today. If someone is counting on you, show up. If someone needs you, be present for them. I realize humans learn through trial and error, but we only have one life in our current form. Make today count. If not for yourself, for those around you. We do impact everything around us, like that proverbial butterfly. Go be excellent! The smile on your​ face at the end of the day will be reward enough. If not, treat yourself to some ice cream. “Just Do It” says Nike. I agree.

haiku…

Tuesday looms ahead,
Park, walk, vote, hurry straight away…
Exercise your right!

I know, way too formulaic and without a shred of creativity, but brain being utilized now with research pertaining to environmental history; not much else left in there.

I will not presume to tell anyone how to vote. I will not presume to know the path best for this country. I will not presume that I could do a better, or more inclusive, job. BUT… I will say that the citizens of this country have not only rights but responsibilities. I will say that even when we want to hide under the bed until December and hope this was all a bad hallucination, we are RESPONSIBLE for maintaining our current government until such time as we see fit to COLLECTIVELY change the status quo. I will say that if you hate the candidates PERSONALLY so very much, perhaps try to separate​ them from their stance on the issues. Make a spreadsheet, circle those opinions which align with your​ own, tally up the circles, and vote for that candidate. FORGET party lines, personalities, crude remarks, questionable attire, smiles that seem too sincere, or not sincere enough. THINK about what is important to you and yours. THINK of what you hold most dear, and how to either maintain or improve upon it. THEN… if you STILL cannot find a way to get yourself​ to the voting booth, understand that opting out is not an answer, and it might be time for you to put your money where your mouth is. To advocate for change, run for office, support third-party candidates… the list goes on. But by all that is holy and for fuck’s sake, peeps, DO SOMETHING! Because sitting on the couch in your pajamas, eating cheese curls and flinging them at the television in disgust while whining is simply NOT going to create a nation anyone wants to inhabit. Love to everyone, and much respect. Please remember your voice this coming Tuesday, and take one second to be thankful that while we live somewhere imperfect and broken, we STILL have a chance to create a better tomorrow. Namaste!

i’m gonna write this…

Ah, August… almost half over already… wtf??!! I need to accomplish SO MUCH more before Uni starts again on the 29th. Trying to cram in another few chapters of the “last maths class you will ever have to take,” but hmm… you know I’ve heard THAT before. Technology for the Educator text is 600 pages without binding… sigh. Comparative Lit and History all good, so there’s that. No new computer as of yet, but plenty of post it notes and highlighters. Not so bad after all, I suppose. Just wish there was more time…

So, I am going to write THAT post. You know the one, in which loyal readers disappear as fast as ice cream at a Weight Watchers meet and greet, else they eviscerate you and leave you for dead, gleefully shouting around your larger than desired crumpled form.

As an eventual Professor who needs to feed herself in the interim, I am also a Secondary Education major, doubling in English/Comp Lit and Sociology. This means I will likely spend a few years teaching at the high school level until I can get enough of the PhD completed to warrant a faculty position at an institution of higher learning. This means young adults. With me. In a classroom. Gods help me… how anyone can NOT grasp literature and comprehensively read anything thrown their way at that age escapes me, but THAT conversation is one for another day. I will be in the weeds enough here shortly without opening that can of worms…

So, young adult literature. In my day, when the earth was new and I had to fight dinosaurs to walk to school, uphill, both ways mind you, there was no such genre. We read Dickens, Dumas, Melville, Dickinson, the Bronte sisters, and all manner of others, from Vonnegut to Cather, Hughes to Kerouac and pretty much anything classical or intriguing in between. Sure, we sometimes had to battle the librarian and the principal in order to check out those books if not being read in class, but they only had our best and innocent interests at heart, you remember…?

Now we are inundated with not 1 or 2 or even 4, but 6 shelves of these brightly colored (or vampire and wraith adorned) books in the local library. Out of necessity, I checked out a slew of them, in preparation for the YA Lit class I will be taking this coming January. Anticipating a glimpse into the inner workings of the adolescents I know, you can imagine my surprise at content, story line, and vocabulary level staring back up at me in defiance…

I KNOW, many of you love this genre. I KNOW, many of you would rather your kid read these books rather than comics. I KNOW, some of you are secretly applauding your suspicions that I was an elitist all along, but just listen for a sec, please. I chose them completely randomly, simply by shelf and alphabet, bottom to top. I came away with 14, and have gotten through 8 of them. I may be making correlations where none exist, but I was left a little stunned. Has anyone else noticed that a large percentage of the subject matter seems to romanticize problems such as cutting, anorexia, or pregnancy? One could offer that these books provide a safe space for a child to feel not alone, and to gain hope for themselves. BUT… I saw some alarming trends toward the reinforcement of the “Broken is Best” ideal that this generation seems to be clinging desperately to. One book in particular read like an instruction manual for eating disorders, including calorie counts and purging cycles that best help one attain one’s goals. WTF??!!!

I am also deeply disturbed by the racial implications, surely picked up by this impressionable age group. In three, yes, THREE of these random books, middle class white girls binge and purge, slice happily away at their taut skin, proving to the world, and therefore themselves, their inner strength is immense. The books I read by African American, Latina, and Native American authors had no such subplots. Including the 16 books I read last semester for SOC class on this exact topic, not one eating disorder to the bunch… maybe that is because for the most part, in the books I have read, they are already hungry. Sherman Alexi famously says, and I paraphrase here, that “Indians already have eating disorders… that’s what happens when you can’t afford food.”

So White Privilege rears its ugly head once again… and yes, I am aware that people who scream “ALL Lives Matter, not just BLACK” will take me to task over this. I am just wondering why, when from a cognition standpoint, morality is a social construct and we literally and collectively create the world around us and what we deem acceptable, WHY these themes persist to SUCH a degree in the literature designed for an age group who already is struggling to develop their own identity? WHY does it seem** that we are encouraging our kids to embrace the nasty bits of life, where I was encouraged to break the chains that bound me and FIGHT for every shred of self respect, decency, and moxy I could muster so I could just fucking get on with my life already??!!

**seem to me, and several educators I know, who are of varied racial identities**

I feel the need here to iterate that this post is NOT meant to marginalize anyone struggling with anything I mentioned above, or any other issues. I have my own child who is struggling greatly with identity, and I found out recently that a specific behavior that he and 3 close friends were exhibiting last year came directly out of a book they had to read for health class. Upon reporting that to the principal, I was told that this is “what kids do at this age, they copy behavior that is interesting to them.” Sigh.

I have spent 2 weeks debating the posting of this one, and discussed with 5 professors in 2 countries the trends of what we purposefully expose out youngsters to. Additionally, that is NOT to say there are not great series and single books out there for this demographic. The “Wrinkle in Time” series, for example, or even Harry Potter, that flawed and still great Boy Who Lived. Betsy’s Wedding, To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon, The Book Thief, and Thirteen Reasons Why specifically come to mind. Don’t forget anything by Tolkien, John Green, Douglas Adams, S. E. Hinton, L. M. Montgomery, and Scott Westerfeld, off the top of my head. So why on earth am I even writing this, if there is so much else out there? Because you know as well as I that flash is what gets the attention of adolescents today. And If one small group of girls whisper that this or that certain book “srsly changed my life, kwim?!” and sends the title to a couple thousand of their twitter BFF’s, then by next week Facebook and Instagram will have exploded under their praises…

But I digress. All I wanted to say is that this genre has a collective power rivaled only by the GOP’s. And if we want our young adults to know there is more out there, we have to find a way to entice them with it. And I don’t think Charlie and the wonder-mouse will stand a chance against ways to exert power over adults, get away with bullying, or even how to lie more creatively. Thoughts, peeps? Thanks as always for keeping it real, and if you have a series or book that is exemplary within the YA genre, please chime in… I am already creating my Grade 10 Eng/Comp book list. =)

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