Turn the Page

Well, here we are. I am officially done with every part of the 2020-2021 school year. At the end of last summer, I had every doubt that I could make it through this school year in general without a full on mental breakdown. Every day challenged me in a new way, and forced me to look at my own life, thoughts, behavior, personal expectations, self-doubt. I learned who’s really on my team, and who wears two faces better than I thought they did. Most importantly, I learned that I can make it through anything.

It’s crazy how your own mind can work against you, convincing you with every fiber of your being that you are not worth the love and appreciation other people have to give; that you are not great at what you do no matter how many people tell you otherwise; that everyone would be better off when you’re not around.

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You Are Not A Burden

I have to repeat these words to myself on a daily basis recently.

I’ve been posting a lot of poems lately. Not every single one I’ve written, but a good chunk of them. It’s annoying because I want to save them and try and publish a poetry chapbook of my own, but I think there’s power in sharing an emotional struggle to ensure that no one ever truly feels alone in the battle with their own mental health. I feel that when we try harder to hide it from everyone, it’s when we feel the most alone and that we are a burden to those who love us.

I’ve uttered those words to my therapist a few times. “I feel like I’m becoming a burden.” It’s the anxiety/depression talking, I know. She’ll ask in response, “Who told you that you’ve become a burden?” and I have to admit that nobody has said it, that’s just how it feels. It’s crazy what a sick brain can convince you of.

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Relinquishing Control (Or At Least Trying To)

It’s hard for many to admit: you truly do not have control over anything except for yourself. I’ll be honest, this is one thing that has absolutely wrecked me over this last year of my life. I never considered myself to be the Type A control freak. I’m way too introverted to carry that title and position. Most “control freaks” run a situation, refusing to let others take over.

I, rather, let other people run the show while I watch from the sidelines as things fall apart because I knew better but was too afraid to stand up and say anything. What happens when things don’t work out as planned? Someone has to pick up the pieces and fix it. Enter me: the fixer. I have no issues with this role. Never have.

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When the Self-Doubt Holds You Back

So often – okay, literally everyday – I find myself making the decision to not do something because I don’t think it’ll work out, I’m not good enough to do it. No one is going to like it anyway, so why bother? I’ll be honest, hitting publish on blog posts many days is a challenge, and a great post will sit in my drafts for months and months because I fear it’s not good enough.

I have a hard time feeling good about anything if I don’t get validation from it. That sounds so bad and typing it was actually harder than writing it in my journal. If I don’t get likes and comments, I should just throw it away so no one knows it bombed. I’m a failure. Why am I doing this?

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Good Enough -a poem-

What is good enough?
Who sets the bar?
How do we know how much,
how big, or how far?

If I create the line,
then where does it stop?
Because I have so much trouble
with needing to be on top.

I struggle with lowering
the expectations I have set,
and if I miss out on something,
I’ll be stuck with the regret.

Everyday I find myself
more and more stressed out.
Everyday I’m closer and closer
to a full breakdown.

I never feel I’m good enough
for all the praise I get,
but I’m recognizing more
that it’s a flaw in my mindset.

I have to find a goal
that I can strive to achieve,
then NOT move the bar up again.
Only then, will I believe:

I am good enough.

If Your Mind Was A Mansion -a poem-

If your mind was a mansion,
who would you allow to rent the rooms?

Sadness? As you process
the latest loss in your life:
another family member gone too soon.

Anger? You’re mad at the world
for constantly cutting and cutting
you down until you’re two feet tall
and can’t take anymore.

Fear? That things will never get better
no matter what you do or try or
change.

Anxiety? The constant thoughts
taking over your mind, shouting,
“worthless; unworthy of love;
how can we make this worse?”

Depression? Because all of the other
roommates drag you down until
there is no more sunlight peeking
through the windows.

Happiness? Bullied into the basement
by the rest, wondering when
they can come back upstairs
to turn on the lights
and show you that

you –

you get to choose who rents the rooms
in the mansion of your mind.

NaNoWriMo: A Shocking Week 2 Update

It’s the end of week 2 of National Novel Writing Month, so you know what that means — time for an update on my students’ progress!

I promise this post will be shorter and much quicker to the point. You can recap all the information about our NaNoWriMo project in my first two posts! (One) (Two)

Once again, these is only the numbers for my students; I do not have data for the other 7th grade ELAR teachers’ students at this time, but hope that at the end I can share their numbers as well. I’m trying to figure out how to get those numbers without creating more work for my colleagues. 2020 is hard enough, am I right?

Ok, without further ado…

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On Being Hard On Yourself

After leaving a meeting that I joined into even though I had to take the day off today, I sat here at my desk recognizing that I am literally my own worst critic. Honestly, I already knew that, but I feel like I need to keep saying it out loud to fully accept it as the truth. It’s a mindset I do not wish upon anybody, because in my mind, I am never good enough.

I strive and strive to be the best at what I’m doing. Weirdly, this does not affect me in all parts of my life. I never strived to be the best in sports – I was okay with being good enough. I never strived to be the best in school – C’s get degrees, baby. I never strived to be the best, most successful sibling/family member/friend, etc.

For me, I strive to be the best in my career: I’m a 7th grade ELAR teacher who is struggling through every part of this school year.

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NaNoWriMo 2020 – Week ONE

Ahh, you have come back to see how my students fared in week one of National Novel Writing Month, I see. Well let me tell you, you are going to feel PROUD when you see these numbers. After a rough week in general, being able to put these numbers on the whiteboard at the end of the day on Friday made me forget some of the stressors I had faced beforehand.

This year, as I mentioned in my previous post, all of my students are participating in some way. Some are going full out, having set word count goals and are writing a larger story via the YWP website. Others are free writing, journaling, using my optional daily prompts, etc. through the month and have not set a word count goal.

My goal is just to get them to WRITE everyday.

So this year, all stats will be numbers only, no percentages. But these numbers – WHOA.

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When Your Main Character is Really Just You

Personal post ahead, but I think others will relate.

I started a project in 2018 titled “I’m Not Ok.” It’s been very slow going because it’s honestly very emotionally dense, as you would expect a novel by that title to be. The brunt of the words were written in the fall of 2019, when I was at a pretty dark time in my life. My anxiety was at an ALL TIME high, and I (self diagnosed) fell into depression. I blame my job (I teach 7th grade) for a lot of it, but it affected my life outside of work as well.

As you can imagine, teachers in the US aren’t sitting in a pretty position currently. I live in a current “hotspot” for COVID-19, and schools reopening (or not) is the hot topic in town. Starting remotely 100% reeks of privilege, but starting face to face comes at what cost?

Everything is changing daily. The district I work for makes a plan, we start to think in that direction, and then something changes. Be it by the state, the city, or just the district. You get so used to the monotony of things being relatively the same every year, that when it’s all up in the air, it’s hard NOT to be anxious.

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