“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2009, if I can offer you one piece of advice, it would be this- wear sunscreen.”
It would be all too easy for me to simply quote the commencement speech-turned-song from my graduation, but you deserve better than that. So here it goes.
Thank you. I came in as your advisor last year, and you opened your arms to me (even if I did squash your idea for live flames on the walkway at prom). You, my dear class, were one more way I became a part of the PCHS family, and for that I am forever grateful.
You have made me laugh until I double over in tears- in religion class, in the halls, during prom decoration.
You were a sacrament to me- a tangible sign from God that I was exactly where I should be, even- especially- when I doubted this was the place I should be.
You have shown me your hearts- in a thousand little ways, and especially in the way you refuse to forget the classmate you lost.
Your smiles, laughter, and joy (along with a fantastic photo of the paint-splattered group of you from prom) will always be with me.
So, now, as we all embark on new journeys, here is the advice I can offer you.
Always put God first, your family & friends second, and everything else third. With God first, all other things fall into place.
Take time to meet your friends for coffee, or send something besides a silly forward or Facebook survey to say you care.
Follow your heart. Even if it means leaving your comfort zone. Especially if it means leaving your comfort zone. Follow it to new countries, new people, and new paths in life.
Make your own decisions. Declare them loudly and proudly.
Find at least three people whose advice you trust and who will be there to listen to you.
Be you- silly, adventurous, shy, searching, outgoing, intelligent, loud- whatever it is, just be yourself. You are amazing, all on your own. Don’t let any person or institution take that inherent power from you.
Most of all, know you are forever a part of my heart. You have changed me for the better, and I am forever in your debt for the wonderful time we have spend together.
It's SPRING!!!!!!!! Today at 7:44am in my little corner of the world, we ushered in the spring equinox. I wish I had been able to stay up all night and drum in the sun with my favorite pagans, but I'm kind of doubting they did that anyway. Where ever you are, think warm thoughts- spring is here!
I know, I know. It's been ages since I've really posted. I'm just feeling a little... stuck. Nothing extraordinary is happening. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing the right thing by moving from WV. I'm a good teacher, and I like it, but I don't love it. And I'm pretty sure teaching is one of those jobs you should love if you're going to do it. It's not fair to my students, and it sure as hell isn't fair to me.
I haven't set foot in a church since I left St MM. I attend mass at school, and still firmly believe in the presence of Christ in each person I meet and in the bread and wine, but I can't keep up the charade for much longer. I sat through MILK with Bob and shook for half the movie, knowing the religion- the social construct founded on the basic beliefs that I know to be true- I have devoted my life to was the shelter and excuse for the hate that continues today. How can I put my energy into something I see as flawed, yet necessary for some people? I guess I'm having a bit of a Luther experience- wanting desperately to change the institution from the inside, but feeling helpless. Soon, I'll break away- not from Catholicism, but from the entire construct. I still see the divinity of the structure. I see where it started and the goodness of men's hearts who simply wanted to be able to touch, taste, hear, and see faith. I don't hate the system. I simply choose to unplug from it.
For now, I'm in neutral, trying to accomplish something great and getting... nowhere. I find myself counting down until my real life can start, the life I'm supposed to live, surrounded by people who love me as much as I love them, and show it. It's not that I don't love my friends out here, and I know they love me, I'm just not as important to them as I'd like. Facebook is a priority. Other things in their life take precedence. I don't blame them. I'm leaving, with the promise to return once a year and meet up at Dragon Con, but still leaving. Why should they put massive amounts of energy into our relationship? In a few months, I won't be around for get-togethers at the Mountaineer or movie nights at Rob's. So what does it matter if they forget to call or don't show up on time?
The great thing is, this isn't depression talking. For the first spring I can remember since I was a sophomore in high school, I'm not depressed. There isn't some great beast clawing at my soul, scream hateful obscenities at me. All is quiet.
There are good things. Jokes over Chinese takeout with the ladies at work. New methods and inspiration at the center. Being a line cheerleader for Biggest Loser auditions. And, best of all, a message last night, when I was spiraling into anger: a cute little voice singing "In Heaven There is No Beer." A tiny reminder of the dear family in DC I miss, and will go to see very soon.
It's official. There's no backing out now. My checking balance is $70 lower, my inbox now has a confirmation and receipt waiting for me. On October 18th, I'll be joining the crush of people at Nollen Plaza to run the Des Moines marathon. I'm running for Wags- to honor the man who taught me more about self-respect and personal honor than anyone else I've ever met. Running won't bring him back. But the money I raise for cancer research will insure in the very near future that no other family has to watch the one they love lose the fight.
If you live in Des Moines, I better see you along the route. I may not finish fast- but I will finish. And when I wake up again, we will raise a glass to Wags.
I do not like this one bit. I still have work keys. I feel like I'll never be rid of that damn place. And my one saving grace, that tiny little silver lining that kept me saying "no, really, this is a good thing"? Gone. Today, I feel like the entire world is against me and everything- from polar ice caps melting to students flunking- is my fault.
One week. There's only one week left of classes. One week of the purgatory of office work. One week until I can set this all aside for a time and simply be.
Parkersburg as a whole is driving me straight past crazy and right to the white jackets. The entire city feels stuck in passive-aggressive indecision. The weather doesn't know what it wants to be- a gorgeous snow fell Monday night into Tuesday, in those great clumps of flakes that make the whole world look like a post card. For the first time, it felt like Christmas. I hunkered down at home for the better part of the day, baking banana bread and cleaning, putting together presents and setting aside things to pack. Last night, I was consumed by the idea that I would be driving through Illinois in just a week. I could almost hear my cousins' laughter and feel my grandma's arms around me.
Today, the beauty and magic have faded. It's just warm enough to send drizzle down instead of snow. The white blanket that embraced the city yesterday is fading, revealing dead leaves and brown grass. Even the snow that tries to stick it out it grey and dull. The Christmas lights strung throughout trees and wrapped around porch posts seem out of place. On lawns throughout the city, 8 foot snowmen and jolly santas lay discarded, shells of what they were meant to be. Always winter, never Christmas.
I want so desperately to lay all these burdens down. I want to find rest. I've found peace, but I'm stuck pretending to be something I'm not anymore. I just need to be in a place I belong- and this is no longer it.
I can get through this. The universe will not hand me more than I can handle. I just have to make it through the next two weeks. In fourteen days, I'll be running around Grandma's house, half in a daze, sleep deprived but so content being in my family's arms. I can make it that far.
After that? I'll figure something out. The universe didn't just kick me in the ass for nothing.
I've decided in order to get serious about this next great adventure, I need a home to document my travels. So, if you want to hear all about my walk with metaphysics and holistic, healing, check out the ride at http://zenergies.blogspot.com/.