We are the problem

I feel like as a society we are constantly asking why children “these days” have such little respect for authority or peers. I believe it stems from a lack of respect that they themselves receive: in terms of their ability, their wants, desires, but most importantly their needs. Instead of being granted the respect and opportunity to explore their environment based on their own terms, children are instead being put into activities full of structure and teacher guided activities. Adults do not allow children to learn solely baed on intrinsic motivation any longer because how could children possibly learn anything if we don’t give them a sticker(…). We kill children’s curiosity from an early (depressingly early) age.

“No, you cannot go play in the dirt because I don’t have time to scrub your grass stains out.”

“Don’t worry about throwing away your food and rinsing your plate off because its easier if I do it.”

“Wear tennis shoes with velcro instead of shoe laces because I don’t have time to help you learn to tie them yourself.”

We have started treating children and their needs as a chore on our “to-do” list, another thing to take care during our daily regiment. What we (and by we I mean parents, teachers, everyone in our child-filled society) are forgetting is that this living, breathing, thinking soul on our bullshit daily checklist is actually a tiny being that is somehow shaping the world with each breath he or she takes and when we treat this living, breathing, thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing being as a check box, we (again, everyone  on planet earth) are not providing he or she with respect. So how can we possibly expect any form of respect in return? We (operationally defined previously) constantly discuss discipline strategies, parent un-involvement, women/mothers working more so but in my opinion, respect is a two-lane road. And for me, respect is automatically given and revoked when it is no longer deserved. Children are born dependent on adults for just about everything and in every domain of development. This is a form of respect and trust in itself. It is as they age and ask to see/explore the world and are denied the opportunity to do so, that the trust and respect they have for adults is lost and is represented through what some may call “unacceptable social behavior” or just basic courtesy.

Children are active, engaged, and curious from the very beginning of their lives and they similarly offer a level of respect for everyone they encounter from the start. It is when they ask to learn and seek to test their naive knowledge about the world and receive demeaning, sarcastic responses from the adults they trust in return that their behavior begins to change.

SO how do we start changing nearly two decades of disrespectful behavior? Start providing a positive model of what respectful behavior is. Pull your two year old out of summer math courses and let your seven year old pick one sport instead putting him in four different clubs to keep him busy. Not every little girl wants to do ballet and young boys should have the opportunity to play dress up. Provide a variety of exposure. Don’t choose a child’s destiny before they are even conscious of the immensity of their options. Respect children by respecting their curiosity and their naive thoughts about people, love, and pain. Respect children by letting them play without structure, whistles, wins or losses. Let little boys make guns out of legos and let the marker scribbles hang on your fridge. Respect children by respecting their individuality and unique desires and needs. Discipline, figures of authority, right and wrong are things children need to understand and acknowledge but I honestly believe that if children feel respected, discipline becomes easier, authority is granted and right and wrong are learned through experience. Respect is mutual and little people deserve so much more than what they are being given

Swing Life Away

Kick forward, pull back. Kick forward, pull back. Kick forward, pull back. It’s easy. Back and forth, up and down. There is something about sitting on that black leather seat and grabbing hold of those two rusty chains that demolishes every fear and every worry. No matter your profession, your stresses, or your pride, walking toward the swing set, letting your hair down, and kicking off your shoes liberates you from the life you live, the responsibilities you have. We were once on the same playing field, all of us. It didn’t matter what car your parents drove to the park that day or what you were eating at the picnic table, we were all kids and that old rusty swing set was the heartbeat of the playground we crawled all over.

It’s the place where we all figured out what kind of person we were. For me, I was fearless. I wanted to be at the top. I wanted to go so high that my butt bounced off as I came back down. I wanted to be above everyone else and when I jumped off, I wanted to be further than any other kid on that playground. I wanted to leave my mark. Some days.

And other days, I wanted less. I wanted to have my feet in the sand, I wanted to be closer to the ground where I knew it was safe. I wanted to lean backwards and know that I was taking a risk but not one that could hurt me.

That swing set helped me understand that there is nothing wrong with aiming for the stars, for taking a risk, and letting loose. But it also taught me that you can be low key too. You don’t have to be on top of the world forever. In fact, you can leave your mark just as well from home base as you can a yard from the swing. Either way, your mark was left. I am still very much that same person today. Some days, I have no problem hopping on life’s swing set and kicking my feet as hard as I can, maybe leaning backward while I’m in the clouds. Some days I need that thrill in order to know that I am alive and that God put me on this Earth to make a difference. And some days, I want to put my hair up and draw lines in the sand. Some days I want to fly so far off the seat that it rocks back and forth until the next kid comes along. And some days I want to be able to just stand up and walk away still knowing that at least the next person who has a seat will see my footsteps in the sand and know that I was there.

When we wake up in the morning, we have to decide which way we want to approach the swing set of life. We have to decide which strategy will make the most difference. Will leaving a thrilling legacy change the world or will one simple mark inspire someone? It’s impossible to know so for now, we have to approach life as we each do the playground centerpiece: kick off our shoes and enjoy the ride. There is nothing wrong with having your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

Blood > Water

I read the other day that the quote “blood is thicker than water” was originally used to reference the blood shed during a war compared to the blood we share with family. So in essence, we’ve been getting it wrong for decades- giving the words the exact opposite meaning that they  were intended for.

The words become stronger this way. They solidify that sometimes our family- our own blood will let us down. Boy, have I learned that lesson recently. But those that shed their own DNA as they struggle through the daily battle of life right along next to us, they are the ones we reach to for help more often than not.

As we move into older childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, we surround ourselves not by family, but by peers of our age, experience, and goals. We interact with those we have similarities to and who can provide support academically, financially, professionally, emotionally, etc. Because of the similar trajectories of humans we surround ourselves with as we grow, we tend to experience similar triumphs and similar disappointments.

We climb similar mountains and refer to others fighting the same battles when we can’t support ourselves entirely. We shed blood, sweat, and tears daily trying to navigate through life and the obstacles within it. Our DNA will always remain part of the fight but it is the reliance on others who are fighting the same war, overcoming the same challenges, that help us persevere through life as we do each day.

So which interpreation is most meaningful to you? The blood within us or the blood we help to clot from wounds of the fighters next to us each day? Blood certainly is thicker than water but what do you mean when you say it?

 

 

*my reference is a Wikipedia article which should not be taken as a reliable source of information but nonetheless, an intriguing interpretation of a well-used phrase I wanted to share*

 

Scared Straight

I’m young, maybe a little naive. I make choices with limited acknowledgment of potential consequences. I understand that the world is filled with risks and ramifications but I have chosen to live my life pushing them both. And so far, I have been blessed with adventures, stories to tell, lessons learned, failures, and successes.

There have been numerous close calls, nights on the street, drug use, and pain that is not poetic. But I have never considered any of the experiences life-altering. I have always been confident in my ability to protect myself or trust my intuition and know when to leave any given situation. I have always felt invincible; that I would learn from a mistake but not be changed eternally by it.

Until I got that phone call. Until a medical professional deemed me breakable and fragile.  My choices, my risk-taking finally got the best of me. It took crying in the middle of an empty parking lot at two in the afternoon, the embarrassment of waiting for a pharmacist to refill my meds, and waiting by the phone hour after hour to hear if my future was forever altered for me to acknowledge that life is short.

I have taken my entire life and the blessings throughout it for granted.

I am so blessed that this particular life lesson came in moderation. Life-changing but reasonable. I was able to see from a distance how close I came to a life-altering mistake. I may be young and even naive, but for the first time I was scared that my life may never be the same again. For the first time, I took a look in the mirror and reflected on my choices and the implications of them. I am sincerely apologetic to every individual that has been affected by my decisions-especially within the last week. And I am sorry that it took me learning this particular lesson to realize that my decisions, my risk-taking, my invincibility, cannot always go without consequence.

This is the first time I can say that a decision I made has forever altered the way I will address an opportunity presented to me.

Life is so beautiful and I have taken it for granted for too long. I’m taking this lesson in stride and learning from every step that got me to where I am right now.

Count your blessings. And stay safe.

Why I Quit My Dream Job

I can remember standing in my parent’s basement smothered in wood panelling and orange shag carpet with a dry erase board and my second grade math homework. I can remember lining all of my stuffed bears and hippos and whatever else into a strategic seating chart so they could all see the board and I could walk around “the classroom” to ensure each student was on task. I assigned homework and stayed after school to plan for the next day or at least until dinner was ready. Teaching has been my dream since I was cognizant of the fact that a career was possible for me.

I attended an elite teaching school in Colorado, took college credits in high school, made every career decision and personal to match the teaching timeline of my life.

Most recently, I moved back home with my parents, back to the shag carpet and wooden panels, back to lesson planning and seating charts only this time for a real class with real students and real responsibilities for changing the world.

Only I felt like I wasn’t. 

I have spent the last several weeks in a fifth grade classroom (as well as semesters before in numerous other grade levels and school buildings) filled with eager to learn students, a passionate teacher, and all the resources a new teacher could ask for. But I quit today. 

And the reason I quit is because I felt my dream job wasn’t doing enough. Like it wasn’t living up to everything I have choked it up to be. In fact, I felt that I was doing more harm than good while standing in that classroom.

When it was my job as an educator to do everything in my power to make sure children were learning how to be successful in and out of the classroom, I watched as they slipped through the cracks. I watched as a young boy came to school hungry every single day and yet was expected to write the same five paragraph essay as the girl who ate cage-free eggs that same morning. I watched as a ten year old slit her wrist and laughed off the depression hours later: her social-emotional health being blatantly neglected but the “no blade” school policy being implemented in full force.

That is NOT okay.

As a teacher, I had to ignore the fact that these young, moldable minds were being neglected and rather focus on if they were able to recognize 3-5 important events in a National Geographic article from 2007. The thing is, I didn’t care if they knew how to sequence, or how to dissect vocabulary, I really didn’t even care if they knew how to add two-digit numbers (which all fifth graders should be able to do). The fact that most of these children were behind academically meant nothing to me when they responded to the prompt “how are you” with sad or hungry or upset. The rest of the day: manipulatives, graphic organizers, sentence strings…How could I expect them to learn through any avenue when their mind was clearly somewhere else, somewhere more relevant to them.

Children are so quick to get lost in the education system, some of them just squeezing through standards and expectations- literally being shuffled through the system like products on a conveyor belt. Names become test scores, emotions are lost amongst the constant transitions between word work, number corner, and homemade science curriculum.

It made me sick.

Teachers are absolutely doing the best that they can with the resources and the funds they are offered. I am not demeaning or attempting to disrespect any human who gives their life to the classroom. I respect each and every man and woman who is helping mold the young minds of our world.

But it’s not my dream job. Not anymore.

It’s back to the drawing board for me. And this time- with a child’s mental health, safety, and hunger status at the forefront of my passion.

30 Day Writing Challenge

Feb. 1 (10 things that make you really happy)

  1. My zen corner with lit candles
  2. Nash’s laugh
  3. Independent road trips with the freedom to explore every nook and cranny I come across
  4. that feeling of crawling into bed after a long day and sinking underneath my blankets
  5. reading in bed with a cup of coffee and no time constraints
  6. the physical touch of someone that loves me
  7. Bear
  8. Knowing that I am moving forward and accomplishing goals
  9. traveling somewhere new
  10. my growing book collection

Feb. 2 (Something that someone told you about yourself that you never forget)

One of the most meaningful things someone has ever said to me came earlier this year standing in the middle of the Maten’s kitchen. I’ve never considered this high school peer a best friend nor someone I would reach out to in times of trouble for reasons such as distance and lack of a personal connection. Even so, he was not afraid to call me out on being scared and therefore being out of character this last year.

“You’ve always been a person to put your mind to something and accomplish it. What is stopping you this time?”

He’s right. Halley is right when she says it. I’m not scared, I’m stronger than I give myself credit for and I can handle what the world throws at me. This time is no harder- just different. His words and his friendship are things that will forever fuel my fire and growth.

Feb. 3 (Top three pet peeves)

  1. People saying they will attend, participate, show up- and then bailing.
  2. Gum smacking, loud chewing, etc.
  3. The lack of intrinsic motivation I have left

Feb. 4 (Someone who inspires you)

With this prompt, I immediately thought of my mom. How strong she is for fighting for what she believes in, for doing everything in her power to make sure her family is happy even when it means sacrificing her own joy. I find it admirable and beautiful. But as someone who is searching for a career path and a life that is about making sure I am as happy as possible, I don’t want my life to become my mom’s. I am inspired by the way my mom has made choices in her life for the betterment of other people. However, I am just as inspired by those individuals who are not afraid to be selfish, who are not afraid to make every decision in order to ensure their happiness. I am inspired by the people who say life is short and respond accordingly. I am inspired by the people with massive dreams and who are accomplishing them- not afraid to steer off the beaten path.  I am inspired by the dreamers, the doers, the ones with broken smiles, and the ones that believe in magic. I am inspired by those who have seen the darkness in the world but who make the sunshine radiate. I’m inspired by it all and am simply trying to find my way amongst the chaos.

Feb. 5th (Five places you want to visit) 

  1. Greece
  2. New York City
  3. New Zealand
  4. Moab
  5. Jupiter

Feb. 6th (Five ways to win your heart) 

  1. Be appreciative of the little things like sunsets and coffee dates.
  2. Reply to sarcasm with sarcasm
  3. Sunflowers and candles at random
  4. Passion and a game plan to make those passions happen
  5. The desire to stay at home and watch documentaries over going out on any given night

Feb. 7th (10 songs that you’re loving right now) 

*in no particular order because my mind is a jumbled mess and lists are hard…

  1. All On Me- Devin Dawson
  2. Hide the Wine- Carly Pierce
  3. do re mi- blackbear
  4. The Way Life Goes- Lil Uzi Vert
  5. Train Wreck – James Arthur
  6. No Scrubs- TLC (always loving)
  7. I’d Be Jealous Too- Dustin Lynch
  8. 24K Magic -Bruno Mars
  9. Ophelia- The Lumineers
  10. Different For Girls- Dierks Bentley

Feb. 8th (something you struggle with)

I woke up this morning and was immediately struggling with my mental health. There are days I can roll over and face the day with a smile and all the confidence in my soul. Other days, I roll over and it takes every ounce of energy in my body to muster up the courage to step out of bed and brush my teeth. Today was one of the latter. Regardless of the professionals, adventures, medication and meditation I seek out, some days are just harder than others. But regardless, there are things to accomplish on both of these days. Today, I felt like I was moving slow motion, struggling with my ability to take care of the responsibilities expected of me.

Until I got that phone call. Then, the world froze. Now, I feel like I’m struggling with who I am as a person, my priorities, the decisions I have made and am making. I’m struggling to look in the mirror and take myself seriously. I am struggling to ask for help or talk to anyone close to me. That phone call turned a struggle into what feels like a defeat. I feel like I let the people around me down because of one mistake.

Feb. 9th (words of wisdom that speak to you)

“You have enough electricity inside you to power a 40 watt lightbulb for 24 hours, so why aren’t the firefly like embers in your eyes glowing? Are you really going to allow a person to steal your ability to light up your own life?”      -Nikita Gill 

*Any words written by r.h. sin give me chills

*Rupi Kaur speaks directly into my heart

Feb. 10th (write about something you feel strongly about) 

In my last blog, “Why I Quit My Dream Job,” I felt like I elaborated extensively about something I am passionate about. The answer has been and always will be children. More specifically, what it means to treat children with respect and give them the proper tools for success. Most recently this passion has been focused on a child’s social-emotional well-being and coping skills. Check out “Why I Quit My Dream Job” and “We Are the Problem” to read about my concerns and ideas <3.

Feb. 11th(something you always think what if….about)

Often times I think what if…happened or what if…didn’t happen. I think about it in terms of adventures and trips I want to take. I think about it as relationships made or people I brushed off and negated a relationship with. There is no doubt that I question what if’s…about the world and science and love and life. But most often it is my behaviors and decisions and how they impact my karma and vibes in the world. The what if’s have become who will be affected…how will this impact my life five years from, will I regret not going, will I regret  going? How will I feel if I don’t go for it or do what is best for me?

Feb. 12th (five blessings in your life)

  1. as I lay in bed for about the 16th consecutive hour thanks to 3 different infections and a lack of self-control, I can only feel blessed that I have my health. I often take it for granted and (currently) miss it when it’s gone but I know that it is there. I have strong legs to help me conquer each day even if it is just baby steps. I have a passionate heart that guides each of my choices and everything in between that helps me be the best person I can be. I am blessed for my body and my health.
  2. I am blessed with my mom. We do not always have the greatest relationship nor do we see the world the same way. But how she has handled my life and the decisions I have made recently with such poise and acceptance, I could not ask for anyone better. She raised me to be strong, independent, and passionate. As I have stumbled my way there, she has always been a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on. Her unconditional love is something I will forever be blessed with.
  3. I am blessed with a big-heart and a passion. To be a twenty-something and know what I want in life is a blessing many people around me do not have. This week has proven to be very difficult in that I gave up my life-long dream of teaching. But I still know exactly it is that I want to do with the rest of my life. I have a path, I have a dream, and I have the support to make every goal of mine achievable.
  4. I am blessed to live in the state of Colorado. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of how beautiful the world I live in can be. Hard days are can always be conquered by a sunset at Daniel’s Park and any unscheduled day can be spent climbing up a mountain or sipping at a brewery. Anything is possible in this amazing state and I am so blessed to have been able to call it home for the last twenty-four years.
  5. I am blessed with my beautiful puppy. She came into my life at exactly the right time. She is spunky and wild, has no care in the world except for the people in her life and adventure. Her days are about having fun and being active- a role model I need. Her friendship holds me together.

 

Feb. 13th (what are you excited about?) 

First and foremost, I am so nervous and excited to hear about my acceptance/denial into the Master’s Program for which I applied. It would really change my life course and be the first step into helping me succeed with what I really want to do. I am excited for the opportunity to live somewhere other than Colorado later this year. The journey of deciding to move has already been filled with so many fears and questions but also so much joy in knowing that I am moving to escape myself and the toxic environment in which I live. I am moving with the support of a boy who loves and supports me. I am excited about how well my blog is doing and how much positive energy I put in and receive out of writing daily for an active audience. Also excited for a possible children’s book in the works. I am genuinely excited about life, despite recent setbacks, and the opportunities that are being presented to me.

Feb. 14th (movies you never get tired of watching)

*not the biggest movie person but certainly a few classics that are irresistible

-The Breakfast Club

-The Lion King

-The Pursuit of Happiness

Feb. 15th (bullet point your entire day) 

I am going to have to pass on this one. Today was exhausting and did not go as planned in any way. Started off the day/spent the day helping a friend with his personal struggles and ended up in the emergency room. Just blessed to be home at the end of this day.

Feb. 16th (Something that you miss)

I really miss having my own apartment. I felt so successful and proud of myself everyday having a job with benefits, a place to call my own, and knowing that I was thriving being an independent, busy lady. I miss feeling like I am making a difference in the career that I am doing. I miss being healthy. I miss cuddling up to someone I love every night. I miss all my best friends living in the same state lines and all the fun that came along with that.  I miss having a goal to achieve. Sometimes I miss who I was before last year happened.

Feb. 17th (post something about your zodiac sign and if it fits you)

I am a scorpio and according to the stars, that means I am wild, passionate, and secretive. I once read,

     “The Scorpio is the most challenging of signs. She is highly emotional, jealous, and passionate. Her demands are great both mentally and physically. Her sexual appetite is often overwhelming and her dark sense of humor and sharpened tongue can be misunderstood. She is an intense woman, but if captured, will rock your world” (Author unknown).

I love reading my horoscope every morning and may be a little too vulnerable to it but I strongly relate to every characteristic I have ever read about a Scorpio. I am unbelievably passionate person with a desire to change the world. Sometimes relationships can be tricky for me because of my fearlessness about saying the truth and what others may find hard to say. I am certainly not scared of confrontation and I can be overwhelming to personalities who are more inhibited than myself. When I am in a relationship someone I expect the world as I am doing my best to give him/her the same. I can be a little crazy and push every boundary given to me and need to learn every lesson the hard way. It is a blessing and a curse to be as strong willed and stubborn as I am but I am super proud of my Scorpio status and all the characteristics that are said to come along with that.

Feb. 18th (30 facts about yourself)

-I hate my toenails not being painted

-Love vans skate shoes (don’t skate)

-Iced coffee is my go to all year round

-I have a freckle on my right butt cheek

-I have a freckle on my left eyelid

-I have so many goals and dreams that have only just begun

-I will push an empty gas tank light for MILES

-Will always spend my time working with children

-Graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree with a 4.0

-Yellow is my favorite color

-Candles make me so happy especially sandalwood

-Dogs > cats

-I never wear makeup beyond mascara and eyeliner

-Definitely need to wear more sunscreen

-Night in on the couch > Night out on the town

-I take a lot of pride in my growing zen corner with plants and Buddhist art

-I have a matching scar above my right eyebrow with my younger sister

-I would spend every evening watching the sunset if I had the chance

-So stubborn- gets me in trouble often

-I am very jumpy and scare easily but I love laying in bed watching scary movies regardless

-Sarcasm is a second language

-Very sensitive to noise- especially noise that other humans make like breathing or chewing….

-I get colds, infections, sick, etc very easily. My immune system is weak as possible

-Addicted to caffeine

-I love carbs

-I love road trips and being able to go off course whenever to explore something/someplace new

-Can’t go anywhere without chapstick

-Loathe sushi

-Gray is my favorite color to wear any day of the week for any occasion

-I tend to make raptor or gremlin noises from time to time when I’m stressed out or thinking for too long

-Really just learning to live and love everyday with every up and down presented to me.

Feb 19th (Discuss your first love) 

I have written about my first love multiple times. This is an excerpt from a previous blog “We are made of those who have broken and built us:”

You. You helped me grow into one of the strongest versions of myself. I became confident in what I believed in, I had a dream I knew I could achieve, I woke up every single day happy with who I was and the way my life was going. You constantly told me how strong, motivated, and powerful I was and could continue to be. I believed you. I took the world into my own hands and accomplished everything I have ever dreamed to because of the strength you helped me develop.

My first love wanted me to have the world and did everything in his power to give me that. But he was also my first heartbreak but even by doing that, he offered me the world- my own version of it. I grew up understanding the world with him but when he left, I had to figure it out for myself. He wanted me to be proud of myself without him and I did just that.

Feb. 20th (3 celebrity crushes)

-Will Smith

-Blake Lively and her hubby Ryan Reynolds

-Chris Hemsworth

Feb. 21 (3 lessons you want your children to learn from you) 

  1. to be independent and fearless
  2. live outside your comfort zone but always have a safe place to return when you need a break
  3. never quit on a miss

 

Feb. 22 (music library on shuffle, first 10 songs)

  1. Hello- Adele
  2. Another One Bites the Dust- Queen
  3. That’s What I Love About Sundays- Craig Morgan
  4. Up, Up& Away- Kid Cudi
  5. Right One Time-Rascal Flatts
  6. Freckles- Natasha Bedingfield
  7. do re mi- Blackbear
  8. Check Yes Juliet- We the Kings
  9. Merry Go Round- Kacey Musgraves
  10. Love, Money, Party- Miley Cyrus

 

Feb. 23 (Letter to someone) 

I wish I knew what exactly happened between us. You left, that is the simplest way to put it. Then, you came back and instead of welcoming you back with open arms as I think you expected, I asked you to leave again. I finally had a sense of who I was without you. my entire adolescence had you by my side- I never questioned my life without you in it. But when you knocked on my door, you found that wasn’t who answered. instead, you found an individual who was scared, hiding behind a veil of strength and new opportunities. Regardless of the fact that this person was dependent, was offering the world to a person who was going to destroy it, I needed you to leave again. I needed you to give me the space to find who I was without your rescue. But you didn’t, you never left. You wanted to be a hero, my hero so badly. You wanted to avoid me being “the one that got away” so terribly that I ran instead. Your persistence, something I used to adore, was the fuel behind my fire. You never expected the word no- you were taken back by the idea I didn’t want a savior. And yet, you utilized every resource possible-searching for a weakness you could exploit. You cut off my resources, you limited the amount of people I felt safe to communicate with, you made me feel as though my life was no longer confidential or my own but that my decisions influenced your life as well. You tried your best to show me the beauty of love, of compassion, of friendship. You simply showed me what happens when two people who have loved each other whole heartedly attempt to forget the passion and befriend one another. This isn’t gonna work.

Feb. 24 (lesson you’ve learned the hard way) 

Every single lesson I can take credit for learning has been done the hard way. I learned that the stove remains hot even after turning the knob off only after putting my hand directly on the burner and sleeping with an icepack.

I have learned that letting go is so much more valuable than given credit for. The most toxic times in my life occurred when I refused to release the weights pulling me down. Whether it is people/relationships, a job, an idea, or a place- I have caused myself more harm by gripping with both hands than by opening my palms.

Feb. 25 (Think of a word, google an image, and write something inspired by the 11th image)

I chose the word evolution. The 11th photo on Google Images is one of an ape becoming a man- the 5 step progression that is representative of the idea of evolution. But, it has a 6th step in which the man is sitting in a chair with a suit on with 5 arms- each with a different gadget.

Titled “The Evolution of Stress,” this photo is creating the argument that we as a species have devolved. We have become so overwhelmed by the amount of stress in our lives that we can’t manage one at a time. Multi-tasking is the new norm and along with it an unbelievable amount of (dis)stress. We have done it to ourselves, putting an amount of pressure on our well-being expected of no one to be able to handle and succeed.

working on a poem to finish.

Feb. 26th (an area in your life where you would like to improve)

Saying no, turning people down, being content with what I have and not worrying about always missing out on something. Sometimes I feign for adventure and new experiences so much that they overwhelm me. I feel like if I don’t go out to eat, don’t go meet with him/her then an experience is lost and I would regret it. But it has gotten to the point where I am becoming complacent in my choices. I am scared to leave a memory behind in this city that I am not choosing how to live my own life.

Feb 27th (an area of your life that you are kicking ass at right now) 

My personal confidence. These past few weeks have been a test of my professional choices and doing what is best for me and my future. I quit teaching which took a hit but everyday when I wake up, I know that I made the best decision. I am proud that I stood up for what I believe in and am taking steps to make that happen. I am proud of the interviews I have had with Teach for America and my application for graduate schools. I stood up to my father when I thought that his thoughts and beliefs were wrong and going to hurt people around me. I have gained so much confidence in standing up for what is right and making choices to get me to a place where I know I can make a difference. I’m proud of myself which is more than I have been able to say ever before.

Feb 28th (5 things that make you laugh out loud)

  1. children- their naive sense of the world and how innocent their love for everything this world has to offer. I laugh because its so beautiful and it prevents me from grieving at my loss for that same attitude. Children’s laughter because the genuineness of it, is my biggest trigger.
  2. A good slam sesh between my best friends. There are seriously few things better than knowing I can rag on my best friends for their flaws and them the same about me in the most loving and happiest of environments. It can be such a stress reliever to be sarcastic about some of life’s hardest moments or biggest stressors with people who you know are only there to help.
  3. Giving someone a word or a phrase and asking them to respond with the first thing that comes to mind. You really get to know someone when you hear their thoughts without time for them to be filtered. Phrases within old school rap lyrics are my personal favorite. Ask someone to respond immediately to the phrase “No scrubs” and you can determine whether they’re a keeper or a goner immediately…
  4. game nights/ get togethers with best friends. Literally nothing better than a drunken game of Cards Against Humanity or Speak Out.
  5. Listen… I kinda hate to say it but I make myself laugh so freaking much. Made a Pavlov joke the other day and it was GOLDEN. I’m seriously sorry for those of you who missed it but I definitely put myself and my sister into blue-faced, crying thigh slappers begging for oxygen.

March 1st (goals for the next 30 days) 

-write daily

-read daily

-limit spending on every aspect of my life except adventure

-go skydiving (see above reasoning)

-manage my financial situation into a comfortable set-up (consist income and a savings account)

-eat more veggies

-meditate or yoga daily

March 2 (highs and lows for the last 30 days) 

My lows have been mostly physical. I have been fighting numerous illnesses, colds, etc, and all of the emotions that come along with not feeling your best. The fact that being sick and having some of the symptoms that I did because of poor choices, made it a little more frustrating than any old cold.

Similarly, my physical location has been a source of lows. Living with my parents, student teaching, being in Denver in general- I have felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. But my highs have come from how I have handled my lows.

I feel like I have learned more about myself in the last 30 days and the choices that I have had to make than any other time in my life. I realized I was on the wrong path and I had to choose whether or not I wanted to make a difference or settle for what I’ve always known. I made some hard choices and I am so beyond proud of myself of what I have achieved and conquered in the month of February.