Monday, September 25, 2023

Where Have I Been?

 This is the question that I am asking myself.  I have been... transitioning.  I have been transitioning to another life and now I find that I think I need to develop another dream because the dreams that I have had in the past have not served me well.  Let me recount them: 

When I was younger, I thought that I would be rockstar.  There didn't seem to be any doubt in my mind that I would be an entertainer.  I would take those personality quizzes only to find that I would be an excellent teacher.  I ran from teaching with every fiber in my being.  I entertained teaching for a brief time in high school when I thought I would revolutionize the world ala "Dangerous Mind." Alas, I nodded off the idea.  It would come back to me later.

I thought I wanted to be a child psychologist when I was in elementary school.  I thought it would be great to work with children in therapy.  I don't know when this dream left me, but I get to diagnose children, in a way.  

When I went to college, I flirted with the idea of being a teacher again, but I shook my head, and I ran away from teaching.  I felt that God really had to hold me down and leave me with no other resort in order to be an educator.  This year is my 18th year teaching.  This is my second year working in the particular setting I am working with.  If I'm honest with myself, I will tell you that I am tired.  Teaching, this noble profession, wears on the soul.  I find that I am tired of convincing younger students to invest in their own education for their own good.  My motto is, "So that it will go well with you."  Pay attention.  Listen to the lesson.  Do your work.  Be respectful.  Follow instructions.  So. That. It. Will. Go. Well. For. You.  They want what they want regardless of what I tell them.  I don't know how to reach them this year.  I'm praying.  Teaching has become harder somehow.  

And so, I'm marinating in what this harder season is leading me to.  I find that I pray more.  This is always a good thing.  This summer I struggled finding the voice of the Shepherd.  I am reading the Bible more.  I need to find my center at all times.  I need to remember what is important in this short life. 

I feel like I'm coasting and as I'm coasting, I feel the need once again to write.  After all, writing is what makes me happiest.  Maybe that is what can be next.  Maybe I will write the next great American novel.  I'm not sure that I have that kind of story in me.  A student of mine asked me how many stories I had inside of me.  I didn't know what to answer him.  He mentioned that I would do well to write them all down.  Maybe I will... Maybe there is yet more work for me to do.  Let's see what is next. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

End of Year Check In

Today I have spent some of my time emptying the files on my old computer and preparing to end that chapter of my life.  I'm strangely sentimental and I recall all of the memories on a computer.  I bought it and now the life of this electronic mascot is done and somehow, I am sad about it all.  I was explaining the process of emptying my computer almost like moving and preparing for something bigger.  I think it is for this reason that I have not really been writing.  The other thing is that I had a really hard time logging into the blogspot program from my new computer and now that I am officially writing on my new computer, I feel like I can move on.

Last week, I finished my last class.  I remember submitting my last assignment and thinking about how it was my last day as a student.  My sweet husband took me out to dinner to celebrate my first day in 8 years that I am not a student.  Already the stress of time is upon me.  What will I do now that I am not where I thought I would be?  How do you reset your goals and dreams after this semi-setback?  I'm not sure.  I know that I have spent some days resting and catching up with myself now that Christmas is over.  Am I the only one that needs this?  I need to become reacquainted with the me that I actually am.  I think it is funny as I'm writing this but I also think that these internal conversations need to happen in order to be mentally healthy.  

I went to the doctor and I am preparing for 2023 to be a year of health.  I'm excited about preparing which is important to me.  Strangely, I have been taking it easy.  I am trying to fall back into the things that I used to love.  I used to love to read.  I love to journal.  I love pens and I find that I have started coloring.  I'm thankful for the opportunity.  

I am also finding that my children display things that I tend to like.  My son likes to shop, just like his momma.  My daughter loves books and writing and the race is one to see who will be published first.  Now that there is a little more time and a little less stress about having to do too much, I need to readjust to it all.

I am hopeful for a good 2023.  As a rule, odd years have been kinder to me than even years.  I am hoping and praying for a great 2023 for me and my family.  I hope you as well have a great 2023.  I am thankful that you are with me on this journey of mental health and happiness.  As always, Praise the Lord!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Ducks in a Row

 I got a new computer.  Right now I am not using it.  I am looking at it while typing on my old one.  I look at how broken in the old one is.  This new one isn't even heavy!  How is it supposed to hold all of my thoughts?  It has no weight to it!   There are not a million and one things on the home page that I don't need.  When did computers get so streamlined?  I feel like a dinosaur looking at this thing.  It didn't take any time at all to load up.  I find it now that I have to get used to new things.

My husband was talking to me about the plans that we have for after this last class occurs and I find that I have to be honest with myself.  What would it be like to come home and not have to do homework?  I find that I miss the research and the worry.  I find myself thinking of looking things up.  I won't have to feel guilty about reading any more.  I could go on walks and work out.  My husband has already claimed my work out time after work.  Who will I be if I'm not an academic?  

I have been dreaming dreams again.  I forgot that I was a dreamer.  I loved making plans and attempting new things.   As I get my ducks in a row, I can remember who I am again.  I find myself reading books.  I buy them and will bring them home with the hopes of reading them.  I look at crochet and knitting projects online.  I have a hobby again.  I can start stretching and working toward my yoga.  I have time and great need for this, especially as I grow older.  Is it too late?  Am I too old to dream dreams again?

I'm dreaming anyway.  There is still a lot of life left in me.  I am learning from my cat, Midnight.  He was at death's door and now I am thrilled to see him fighting every day.  Every day I hug him and I love on him.  Every day with him fighting is a precious gift.  I am committed to loving him for as long as he is on this earth.  He has taught me to fight for each day as well.  This means reading the Bible more.  This means praying more.  This means loving more.  God has a plan for me.  It didn't go according to my plan but according to His plan.  For that, Friends, I am grateful.  Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The End of an Era

 It started a few months.  I was getting notices on my computer.  I really didn't pay attention.  I would shut down the window ignoring or just glancing at the notices.  That is until I really looked at what it said and it told me that past January, Windows was no longer going to provide updates my my computer.  The notice, brash and intrusive told me that it would be best to get a new laptop.  What!!!

It's true that it is old and it runs slow  The other day I was not able to upload a power point to one of my classes.  But this piece of machinery has been with me for a long time.  It is bulky and the battery lasts for 10 minutes but this is the computer I would do my research on.  On the front, Santi, my first husband, my late husband, lovingly bought the computer sticker and arranged it on my laptop for me as a surprise.  This man who is no more, touched areas of this computer and his touch is sealed within the sticker part.  His fingerprints can still be found.  I am sentimental about this computer.

I find that I have a lot of sentimentality.  I was an only child whose parents died when I was still young.  I would make inanimated object my friend all of the time.  I got it into my head that the things that I touched were somehown alive but unable to communicate and here I was abandoning them in the garbage.  I think I just revealed all of my inner turmoils and trauma in one sentence.  Suffice it to say, I have sentimentality as a side affect and this means holding on to things that no longer serve to help you.  The computer is literally telling me that I should get a new computer.  It is the end of an era.  

So I am looking for a new laptop.  It no longer has to do a lot of heavy lifting.  After this year, I will no longer be a student.  I can focus on writing and surfing the web.  I can't imagine being able to take a less bulkier computer with me to the coffee house to write for a while.  I bought something for the meantime because the other day I couldn't turn it back on and I was afraid that it was gone for good.  However, it seems like this computer took a bite of whatever my cat with a straddle thrombosis has and has decided to stay with me for the time being.  

To say a last word on sentimentality, it is, underneath it all, a fear.  We fear forgetting a past that we once had.  I know people who have suffered loss develop a habit of taking pictures just to hold on a little more.  This is what we are doing, we are holding on because our brains don't always remember  all of the stories.  I believe that this is at the crux of people who tend to hoard.  I knew a few hoarders in my day.  I need to let go of things and remember that God has called me to live my life not to live in the past with people and things who are no longer.  I have my future to face and my present to attend to.  I need to trust in God.  To this I say, Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Remembering Different Seasons

 There are some days that are brilliant and light filled with goodness and joy every second of every day.  There are days that are tiring and hard and each tick of the clock brings you closer to the grateful end of the day.  There are seasons that are dark and heavy.  There are seasons that are colorful, bright and warm.  As I sit here writing, my heart is thankful.  We are in a season of thankfulness.

I was scrolling on Facebook and a picture from 4 years ago popped up.  Even as I looked, I could see the sadness peeking out from within my eyes.  I flinched looking at the hard memories.  I could remember the pain and loneliness only to flash back and be where I am.  I remember the goodness of the Lord.  God has brougnt me to where I am right now.  I am not living in the same place.  I am not working in the same place.  I don't have the degree I thought I would have.  What am I going to do with a degree in Leadership?  I am married when, for a while there, I thought I would never marry again.  God is in control.  

I'm writing these things not to complain but just to say that things can keep on changing.  I am not who I was last year, never mind who I was when I was much younger.  A social media person was dancing to 80s songs and I was brought right back to who I was when I was a teenager.  Now I have teenagers living in my life.  Life goes by too fast.  Here's the thing, things will continue to change.  

I would like to have some good moments every day.  I would like to remember the good times when the sad days, when the bad days get too heavy.  I want to lift up my hands and eyes and give thanks to God from Whom all blessings flow.  I can see that at my age, I am looking at slowly rolling down the other side of my life.  I want it to be an easy and happy trip.  In the meantime, Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 7, 2022

A Masters' Dedication

 Normally, there is an Acknowledgement and Dedication page at the beginning of a book.  I would have written a dissertation.  I will not now.  I am learning to be fine with this but I still would like to write a dedication as closure to this time in my life.

I dedicate this work that I am currently doing to my children.  I think that it was important for me to model education for my children and my students.  I believe in learning and I have invested myself into education.  This is a powerful thing.  I wanted to be one of the ones that didn't say, "Do what I say, not what I do."  

My children have watched me type and read and work late into the night.  They have lent me their rooms as work places.  They have left me notes inspiring me to keep on working.  When I first learned about not being able to finish my dissertation, I thought of them.  I thought of them being disappointed in me and this brought me shame.  I remember them.

I also want to dedicate the work that I have done to my parents, especially my father.  He came to this country from Colombia and it was he that believed in the power of knowledge.  He invested in me and in my learning  He sent me to good schools.  When I think of all I have learned in my formal education, I am so proud of the education that I was blessed to receive.  It was exceptional, even when I fought to not do the work.  I am thankful.

I think about my family and where I came from.  Did my grandparents envision an educated grand daughter.  Did they hope for a lover of learning?  I don't know.  I hope that I have made them proud.  It is true, "I am the dream and the hope of the slave."*

I have had two husbands while working on this degree.  I think of my late husbamd and his reticence for me to do this.  At the time, I was doing it to help us and our small family.  I was hoping to bolster my earning power.  Now, I think of my current love.  He is so proud of me.  He doesn't allow me to be mean to myself for my failure.  He assures me of who I am and how I am loved.  He reminds me that I am not my accomplishments.  I am thankful to them.

Finally, but God.  My dissertation chair called me the day that he died.  I was supposed to submit some chapters for her.  I imagine working on my dissertation while waiting for the police and then the medical examiner.  Regardless of what I may think, grief did affect my ability to finish, but I didn't quit.  I fought to write and then to present.  It's true that I didn't have the time.  I'm not upset, whatever my God ordains for me is good.  Praise the Lord!

*Quote from Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Loving Black Cats: Midnight

 I try to remember the year.  I believe it was either 2010 or 2011.  This would make Midnight either 12 or 11.  I have been calling him 13 years old.  No wonder he's upset with me.  In any case, a little boy gave him to me at the end of the school year.  I was working in South Phoenix in an elementary school.  He wasn't my student.  His mother didn't speak English.  "Do you want him?"  He was this tiny kitty.  The small boy told me that he was the runt of the litter.  When I brought him home, my husband at the time, Santi, told me that I had 9 days to get rid of him.  He has lasted so long already.  

Midnight was really my baby.  He loves to snuggle and be carried vertically.  He was the only cat I knew that liked to be carried.  He was so small and sweet.  He got along well with our oldest cat, Samson right from the start.  When we brought Barkley home, we were scared to introduce them.  Later, it was Midnight that would hang out with Barkley.  They were such good friends.  

One day, a window was accidentally left open. The kids and I went out, it was just after Santi passed away.  We went to church and when we got home, there was a dog and one cat waiting for us to arrive.  Samson was so upset.  It was almost like he was waiting for us to get home.  David and I went around the block looking for a black cat in the dark of night.  I was crying.  I just lost my husband, I was going to now lose my cat!!!  

The next morning I woke up and went to the backyard right away.  I was standing there drinking my coffee when I see a sly black cat climb back over the wall to the house./  I didn't wait.  In bare feet and pajamas I went running and picked him up.  I felt a little like the father running towards the prodigal son.  I was just so glad he was back.  When I put him down, Samson sniffed him and licked him.  Big Brother missed him.

When we brought home Luke, the lucky kitty, Midnight was the one who showed him the ropes.  Luke loves to mess with Midnight.  I can find them sleeping together and fighting.  They are just so cute.  Midnight is my social butterfly  He loves company but hates the doctor.  Right now, he is fighting.  He has a lot of life in him.  We are coddling him as much as we can.  Sweet cats are a gift.  We are cherishing him while he is with us.  Every day with him is another day of the gift that is his presence.  Yes, it can be stressful caring for a disabled cat but he doesn't complain... until it is time to give him medicine.  So far, it takes at least three of us to give him his medicine.  My Midnight is such a fighter and I am so grateful for him.  I am thankful to God who has brought him into our lives to love and be loved unconditionally.  He, like so many pets are such a gift.  Praise the Lord!