Text Me, Wait, Call Me!

23 Nov

When I was twenty-three years, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me via text message.  It said:

“I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”

He was on tour with an acting company and I was trying to find myself professionally.  Needless to say, I missed him tremendously and called him frequently and texted him just as much.  I remember calling him back and saying:
“Are you seriously going to break up with me in a text message?”

He back tracked saying that it wasn’t like that and he was just having a bad day.  I didn’t buy it and hung up on him in anger. This was when I had a flip phone and hanging up could be done with passion by slamming the phone together.

You see text messages have had a dark history in my life.

Three years ago, I purchased my first Smart Phone.  Aside from getting used to typing without a keyboard, I also became addicted to checking all social media in a triangular pattern.  This is when it began.  I started texting my friends more than calling them.  Well, I had my what I called “real friends” whom I called still when I felt like it, but then I started to add new friends who were more texting friends than calling friends.

At first, I did it to get close to people whom I liked but didn’t feel ready to have that phone conversation, but then it became the only way I communicated with these friends.  Texting slowly went from an easy way to contact someone to needed to share everything via text.  There are a handful of friends whom I still call from time to time just because I still believe in the importance of hearing a person’s tone whilst talking, but most of my communication with friends and colleagues and the parents of my students and even my co-teachers is via text and email.

Each night when I begin my addiction of contacting and talking via text, I wonder have we as a digital generation gotten so used to having to express tone via emoticons/emojis?  I remember how fulfilling it is to have a phone conversation with a friend.  Most recently I talked to my friend who moved to Ohio recently and after the conversation I was satisfied, like someone gets me fully.  Texting although it is communication, doesn’t allow for that intimacy that a phone call does for me.  Although, I have discussed personal matters, I have trouble transitioning with a person whom I spoke personally via text message to real life.  Now, I’m completely aware this may be a Dream2write problem.  Perhaps most people are able to develop real relationships via text message, but it feels a little superficial to me.  It doesn’t allow me the truth that a phone conversation does.

Even with all this conflict, I continue to maintain a few relationships solely or mostly via text messaging.  Are they less than or equal to my other relationships?  What stops me from picking up the phone and just calling this person?  Is text messaging a way to have intimate relationships without showing your vulnerability?  Would all the things that were shared with me in a text message have been shared with me if we were talking over the phone or in person?  I don’t know.  I know that text messaging allows me to contact someone and share a quick I care for you or I miss you or I love you without having to set aside more time to have a longer phone conversation.  I do know that it allows for a certain safety.  Typing or texting words seems less personal in some ways than saying them out loud to said person.  Thus allowing for people to say more than they might over the phone.

 

Sometimes, I look for support!

Sometimes, I look for support!

I guess my stance for now is texting with certain friends is necessary while phone calls with some just as necessary.  I do draw the line with my parents texting me one sentence of a conversation at a time, however!

Teaching as a Performing Art

23 Nov

Last week a work friend informed me that the Concert of Valor was to happen in DC for free.  Then said, we should skip school and go.  We laughed and dreamed.  After our long faculty meeting, I drove home and she went there.  On her way texted me to DVR the concert.  That night after dinner, I sat down comfortably to watch this concert, zero expectations in mind.  I caught the last hour or so and reminisced about times when live music was oh so important to me.   Just when I thought Rihanna was the finale, Eminem strolled on stage.  Watching him perform, I noticed the love he had for what he was doing.  When musicians are on stage, they are so immersed in the experience.  Passionately performing from their hearts.  I wondered about myself.  I have performed many times in my life and there are few things that compare to the rush and excitement and fulfillment of performing.

But am I passionate like that about my job?  Do I need to be?  If I’m not, should I find something else that I’m passionate about?  Can teaching be as fulfilling to me as performing is to Eminem?  Does Eminem have days that he is annoyed by his job like I am or so exhausted that he dreams of a simpler life?

The glamor of musicians can cause reality to disappear easily.  There are so many tasks that happen in any artist’s life behind the scenes that may be annoying or frustrating.  What I see, however, is the glittery finished product.  Is my job as glamorous as Rihanna’s or Beyonce’s?  Okay so I don’t have a stadium of fans that cheer me on each day, but I do have a classroom of 28 students who miss me while I’m gone, who laugh at my jokes, who stop and listen to my stories about my childhood.  I do have an audience.  It’s not a stadium chanting my name, but it may be a student who came up with an endearing nickname like Ms. Chin-chin.  I smile and it’s easy in that moment.

Yesterday and today I attended the NCTE Convention for the second time.  Attending the sessions at this convention, meeting the authors whom I teach, who taught me how to be a teacher, brings back that passion.  It so easy to lose it and think about the shitty expectations and the daily grind.  Staying focused on the belief that I am doing something just as important as Beyonce; one that requires just as much skill and hard work is simple and hard.

I may envy the team of beauticians that make Beyonce look so powerful.  I may envy her choreographer.  I may even envy the fan that is always in the right spot on stage to make her hair powerful.

However, I, too, am worshiped by my students.  I walk into my classroom and there is a line of students waiting to tell me about what they did last night or how much they love my dress or that their essay went from 300 to 1000 words over the weekend.  It’s different; an extremely small scale only– in comparison to Eminem.  I guess the truth is I am doing what I love.  Some days it is easy to see my passion.  Some days you have to squint to find it.  I guess that is okay with me.

 

If, Then

22 Nov

1.  If a student goes to your desk and picks up tape or  a stapler without asking you like it’s his desk and not your personal space,

2.  If an administrator cancels a professional development the day before and it was scheduled on a day before a holiday,

3.  If a co-teacher busts into your lunch and attempts to plan an entire unit in the last nine minutes of your 20 minute lunch break,

4.  If a student emails you over the weekend about why she received a D on an essay that she didn’t in fact finish and the quarter has ended,

5.  If a student tries to share a super long story right when lunch has begun and you’re on your way to beat the line at the microwave,

6.  If a substitute teacher takes pens, your grading pens with her,

7.  If you have to teach multiple days with no paper in the copy room and thus, have to ration the color paper you have and feel guilty when another teacher comes into the copy room envying your ability to make copies,

8.  If someone has left a multiple step paper jam in the copier for you to fix,

9.  If a parent demands that her child should receive full credit on an assignment that was never turned in, but she believes was turned in,

10.  If each new school year, you get handed a new innovative, better way to write your mandated lesson plans,

Then:

stop,

breathe,

and walk

because someone is trying to pull you into the abyss that can sometimes open up in public schools.

I Panic

19 Nov

Tightened jaw

I panic

trying to release it, them, you

I unhook my bra

searching for a moment of that freedom

 

Tightened jaw

I panic

 

I close my eyes and breathe

I hit play to that playlist,

the one that heals

hoping for a moment of kindness

 

Tightened jaw

I panic

 

find a comfortable position

close your eyes

meditate

breathe

stop thinking

stop comparing

stop punishing

 

Tightened jaw

I panic

 

tilting my head back

breathing steady

I try

to

get

it

them

you

out

of

mind.

 

Yet you remain

your roots thrive

growing faster with each breath

traveling into the cells of my bones.

 

Tightened Jaw

I panic

 

believing that you will never release my mind, my body, my soul

to live free, light, sweet.

Do Not Disturb

17 Nov
thirty on paper
in truth, it's twenty 

it's all I have
yours, ours, mine

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
and then--
twenty 
to eat, rest, talk--
reset

right in the middle 
community

for twenty
I get to be me
the whole me
the part that curses
and laughs boistrously

connections

twenty a day
it's all I have, 
we have

for 10 months
twenty: perfection

Do not disturb
it's our twenty!

Triple It for a New Me

16 Nov

Soft orange.  Deep, silky flavors graze my tongue and fill it with sweet, roasted squash soup.  Few soups have the depth of flavor.  Few soups have the soft comfort.  Few soups have the love and Autumn in a bowl as this Triple Squash Soup.  I purchased it at Whole Foods on a Sunday trying to comfort my body who was fighting a cold.  I sipped it hoping it wouldn’t end.  At the inevitable end, I stared at my bowl longing willing it to materialize more.  Most dishes I eat that have this effect on me usually inspire me to attempt it at home.  However, something about not having access to it everyday made this special moment that much more heightened.  Whole Foods only makes this soup in the Autumn and once or twice a week at that.  Having the limits on when I can eat it gave me the freedom to lust after it and indulge when I saw it.

Whole Foods Triple Squash Soup, I Love you!

While contemplating licking the bowl, it occurred to me that this time of year is full of just that:  comfort.  Once we put our clocks back an hour and darkness arrives sooner and sooner and I have to force myself out of bed pre-sunrise for five months, all I look for is comfort.  I want to sleep more.  I want to lay around watching television for hours.  I want to sit in front of my fireplace ignoring all responsibilities.  Leisure is all I desire in a time when I have so much to accomplish.  This season is the toughest to stay motivated through.  Yet, it’s the most important to stay motivated in.  You see less sunlight equals less uplifting moods for me.  It’s annoying and I wish it wasn’t an issue, but is it is.

For years, I have coped with Winter by lying around watching and re-watching my favorite TV Show, Northern Exposure.  I have coped by eating tons of comfort foods.  I have coped by allowing my body to hibernate just like bears do and even said exactly that to myself.  I grasp at all things cozy during these five months of mostly darkness.  It has been my only strategy to live through Winter aside from moving to a place where Winter doesn’t really exist.  It’s this mixed up ball of cozy, comfortable, and sad.  I want it and can’t wait till it’s over.  In true Dream2write form, internal conflict remains.

This year, I am taking a slightly more proactive role in planning for the upcoming winter.   I researched a few items about Winter Sadness or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Aside from the ironic acronym, I learned that there are a few ways to cope with it that don’t include watching Twilight on repeat which has also become a favorite strategy.  According to the Mayo clinic, there are three strategies that can help you cope:  1.  Get more sunlight when it’s available 2.  Exercise Outside 3. Exercise Regularly.  One of those I innately do; I am drawn to sunlight and it’s healing energy.  In addition to these strategies, I have decided to get a Sunlight lamp and take Vitamin D supplements regularly.

One might question why this year? Why have I decided to attempt new strategies when my former strategies have gotten me through so far?  Well, the truth is although I love eating more and vegging out in the Winter, I don’t like the shift my mood takes.  It’s hard to start each day and end each day feeling so low and unmotivated.  It’s not how I want to live my life–anymore.

Comfort comes in many ways.  Sunlight is my most favorite form and I mourn its loss all Winter.  I don’t know if this Sun Lamp thing will give me what I need, but I’m at a place where I have to try.  Grateful for the Triple Squash Soup and its comfort, I move towards the cold armed with new tools in hopes of a different outcome.

Plan Assilimilate: Holiday

15 Nov

As a ten-year old in a new country, all I wanted was to be part of this new culture and its customs.  We arrived in late October 1990; one week before Halloween and all the holiday magic.  My first Halloween was confusing and thrilling.  We went trick or treating with my cousin which I didn’t know what it was and thought trickortreat was one word that meant something abstract and new.  To learn about the new land at hand, I picked up two novels:  The Babysitter’s Club series and The American Girl Collection.

The latter collection is where my dreamer self was born or least one of the places.  I remember reading about Autumn and Winter and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Enamored by colonial times, I completely romanticized the era.

I hadn’t eaten Turkey or stuffing or green bean casserole for that matter.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas and Halloween since that first year, I try to top the experience and make just a little more cozy, magically, dreamy, memorable.  During my high school years, not knowing any better, we made mashed potatoes from the box and green bean casserole with canned beans, and Stove top Stuffing mix to stuff the turkey.   Then in my late college years, I learned how to make real mashed potatoes and borrowed my friend’s grandmother’s sweet potato casserole recipe.

Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas.  The trio slowly became mine.  Each with its own traditions that I owned just like Kristen from American Girl.  Now that I’ve achieved that American Dream discussed in all my lit classes: a family, a house, a glorious yard, this year feels full.  We threw our first Halloween party in our house; a total success.

As Thanksgiving nears, N and I have started researching and narrowing our options for the dishes we will make for our first Thanksgiving in our own home.  It’s exciting, and surprising because I never thought I’d be oh so American.  I never thought twenty-four years would fly by so quickly and seamlessly that I would struggle to remember my mother tongues.

Half American; Half Indian.  Yet, my identity has easily become more American.  I have fallen for this country and its traditions in ways that I couldn’t dream; especially, that first year when homesickness filled me to the core.  I don’t want to admit it because it feels like a betrayal to my mother land; the one that gave me everything.  However, I do feel this is where I belong.  More surprising than anything else?  America has become my home and India a past home I’ll always miss and visit.  Complicated and split in half, I allow myself to prepare for this all American tradition.

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