Loving Like a Cat

I like that you have to play games with cats.
You have to tease them by acting like your fingers are bugs hopping over the edge of your bed just to coerce them into cuddling you.
You have to have some patience first.
Strategy, even.
You have to know how to love a cat.
I love
Like a cat.
Strategically.
Often silently.
My reaction to love has been brutality.
Rub my stomach and I’ll bunny kick you.
I’ll cuddle on my own terms,
But beware,
When I’m angry…
Claws.
When I’m not in the mood, I run from it all.
Cats are peculiar.
Their moods are rapid,
But consistent.
They have certain behaviors.
Their body language shows signs of frustration or playfulness.
To know a cat is to pay attention.
To love a cat takes dedication.
It’s commitment.
For the rest of your lives together your blinds will not hang together.
They will be crumple and crooked,
Leaking the morning sun in all the right places to hit your eyes at all the wrong times.
Your cat’s head will be stuck while you’re shit out of luck trying to sleep at 4am.
4am, to them, is the perfect time to play.
And that’s when I hate loving cats.

All this time I thought she was a coyote.
A dog more so than a cat,
But I think I was wrong about that.

Her clock is set to rise when I’m saying goodnight.
My cat does that.
She naps all day, so cute.
Then when I want to join her she’s wide awake,
Ready to play the night away,
Getting her head stuck in blinds
And other forms of entertainment.

WORDS

I’ve never been a fan of words.
I prefer pictures.
Words can get lost in sentences too long.
They don’t really mean anything.
But they mean everything to someone else in completely different ways.
That’s why words get confusing.
Words have so many connotations.
I’ve never been a fan of words because meanings get lost in translation.
Actions show a lot more.
Show me your feelings in picture form.
Show me your thoughts in a sketch.
Take pictures from the internet, hell, if that’s how you can show me your memories.
I’ve never been a fan of words even though I’m good at them.
I can write a five page paper without a problem.
I can come up with a rhyme for almost anything.
I can perform poetry that I’ve written on stage.
I still can’t stage my emotions.
They don’t know when to take the back seat or when to take the lead.
I have a solo and I’m singing my own backup, too loudly.
When people give me words,
Actions need to back them up or else I act out.

Average Thoughts:

1. I’ve always wanted a fish tank.

2. My cat stares at me until I feel obligated to play with her. It’s kind of annoyingly adorable. The other day, at a moment of weakness at Meijer (picking up litter for the cats and food for myself), I bought a new cat toy. I’ve been feeling a tad guilty that they were enjoying their life being indoor/outdoor cats and now have to be stuck inside. One of my cats went on an adventure for longer than I felt comfortable with, while the other one got bit by something (probably a small dog) and had to be on pain killers and anti-biotics…so they haven’t been going outside lately…Well, I bought them a toy; a toy that requires me holding it. So now, I must play.

3. The phrase, “I’m spoken for” in terms of a relationship is messed up. I speak for myself, thank you.

4. I wonder how many times a day I say, “Out of your mouth, please…” while working in the preschool.

5. Yesterday morning I walked out of my house and it felt like Spring. Like we were coming out of winter instead of going into it.

6. Lansing is a bigger city than I’ve ever lived in and last night I took a walk downtown. It’s neat being close to such…bigness. But it also increases my anxiety while driving, that’s something I have to get used to. Now I just need to find some forests here with tons of trees.

7. I met a girl who likes babies.

8. If I could immediately know how to speak every language or how to play every instrument, I would have to choose the instruments.

9. My mentor teacher told me to apply for her job when she retires at the end of this school year.

10. The lady next door brought me no-bake cookies when I first moved in. This morning, I saw her walk out her side door wearing an apron. I wish she was making me more no-bake cookies.

A list of “F” words

Sweet hickory
Wood stove
Warm house
Big blankets
Hot cider in hand
Same color as the changing leaves
This changing season
Is leaving me with reasons to smile
Long drives
Solo
I’m the one and only smiling
Traveling
World-wanderer
Pre-school teacher
But still little kid myself
I’m dependently independent
Independently dependent
Tied down
But blown up
Heady mess
Who has nothing correct
But everything right
I guess I’m right where 23 is supposed to be
Fingerless gloves
Floppy hats
Fried eggs for breakfast
Fallen leaves collected
Florida day dreams
Face breaking out
Feeling like I own everything and nothing all at once
Once
I despised Fall for what came after
But I was reminded that moments move faster than I can count
So I don’t count on Winter chilling my bones
I wrap my fingers around my hot cider and bend down to pick up another fallen leaf
I’m collecting so many memories

The dad in me

I feel like my dad when I pull up my sweater to tuck in my undershirt.
The same way he used to before church
And family gatherings.
I feel like him when I lean over the steering wheel during long drives,
My mom’s fingers scratching his back as he stretched.
I feel like him when I play Tetris with furniture while packing a car.
Or when I pull my wallet out of my back pocket.
I feel like him when tensions rise as I run late,
Searching for green lights.
I feel like him when I lay on the living room floor,
Sweat dripping from my brow,
Cut blades of grass stuck to my ankles.
I feel like him when I can’t express anger.
Or when I feel like someone might be taking advantage of me.
I feel his eyes roll in my head when I’m victim to unnecessary rules,
And his heavy breath falls from my lungs.
I feel like him when I toss cereal into my mouth,
Crunching too loudly,
Like he did on mornings I wanted to avoid before going to high school.
I feel like him when I talk about beer,
Or laugh at my own joke.
But I do not feel like him when I sit in a brand new car.
I like things that are used.
He likes brand new.
And maybe my rightful ways are just a new version of his planned out days.
I don’t like time constraints.
But I need them in order to get anything done.
And I’m finally done trying to convince myself I am a lot different than my parents.
Because,
Truthfully,
I’m more like both of them than anyone else.

So Many Firsts

The first time I rode in the front seat of a car was when I was on the way to get stitches.
Thanking my older brother for the injury, my mom reclined the front seat.
Bleeding from your face is never a good thing,
But getting to sit “shotty” before your brother does, is.

The first time I ate a deep fried Oreo was a few days ago.
My date paid for them.
We were both surprised by the softness of the cookies.
They were served with vanilla ice cream and She let me take the last bite.

The first time I realized my friends were not always friends with one another was in middle school.
I was forced to choose lunch tables.
My friends from elementary school called me a trader,
But making new friends was fun and exciting.

The first time I got bit by a kid I worked with was two years ago.
I reached across his body and his personal space was intruded.
I didn’t yet know that you’re supposed to push into the bite rather than pull away,
So I walked away with a bloody bite mark on my skin.

The first time I stubbed my toe I don’t quite remember.
And I don’t remember every stubbed toe since then,
But I can recall the feeling-
-That feeling of your gut churning,
Your body tensing,
Your face wincing,
And your mouth dropping.

And I remember that that feeling isn’t only given by stubbed toes and bent fingers.
Your gut can churn out of stress or hunger.
Bodies can be tense without knowing why.
Your face can wince in the morning sunshine because, sometimes, things are just too bright.
Your mouth can drop from mouth-breathing due to allergies.

And when that all happens to me,
I remember the first time I ever got to ride in the front seat.
I picture my date’s handsome face as she pressed her spoon into the Oreos, ignorant to their softness.
I forget about have to choose friends and remember that I have many friends who have chosen me.
And I remember that sometimes pushing into the problem is better than pulling away.
I remember this is the first time I have had so much responsibility for kiddos in a classroom,
And I realize that stress comes along with the job…

But so does joy.

Now I Get It.

Now I understand why grocery shopping was a task and not a treat for my mom. My mom works in the schools as a speech therapist. Recently, I’ve started student teaching in a special education pre-school. From  the time I hit my alarm in the morning to the time I get home, my life revolves around those little kids and all of the adults and lessons that come with. By the time I get to the school (around 8:15) I have already chugged coffee, tried to eat breakfast, and contemplated how wonderful a nap sounds. When the children arrive, my day gets flooded with legos, story books, imaginary play, and my personal favorite, sand tables and play-doh. A short break for lunch is filled with exchanging toys for more developmentally appropriate ones for the afternoon class, getting visual signs ready, preparing paperwork, and making any copies or filling out any form necessary for my seminar class wednesday nights. After those kiddies load onto a bus or into a car at the “end” of the day, it’s my job to tidy up the classroom, prepare lessons for tomorrow, and talk with my wonderful mentor teacher. It’s not the end of my day yet.

I get back home around 4:30 usually, ready for food and a nap, however, when there’s no food in the fridge and I have a packet due for my seminar class tomorrow night, neither one of those things are possible. Unless, of course, I go grocery shopping. 

I never make lists. I walk isle to isle picking up anything that seems like it might go along with anything else I have in my cart, wait in the always-too-long line (why don’t they hire some more employees instead of using those dreaded scan it yourself machines?!), pay, and drive home. Then I must unload the groceries, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up the mess I made during dinner, and then sit down only to realize I have to print off sheets to have my mentor teacher sign, start an intensive project for my seminar class, and shower.

Showering will probably be the thing that waits. Who needs personal hygiene when you’re working with 3 year olds?

Right now, it’s not even 9:30pm and I feel like my eyes are ready to close and seal up until morning. Right now, I can fully relate to my mom, passed out, mouth open, snoring on the couch at 6pm before we even ate dinner. The tiredness is real. The workload is real. My life is about to get real.

There’s no more of the downtime between classes or classes on monday and wednesday and that’s it. There’s not more coddling or holding my hand as I rush to finish projects. The procrastination I tend to love and rely on will finally bite me in the ass hard enough for me to not get a degree.

Spending everyday in a classroom these last few weeks, gaining respect from the staff around me, and taking more of a lead roll in that environment has made it set in: this is going to be me. This is me. One day, I will be the one creating the welcoming pictures and activities for the little kiddos as they walk into the open house with their parents and meet me for the first time. I will be the one coming up with disciplinary actions for kids with behavior issues. I will need to cut, print, paste, and set up all of the classroom posters and signs. It will all be me.

I always knew I was going to end up being a teacher after all this schooling, but it hasn’t been until now that I started actually picturing myself being one.

Up until now, I said, “Pfft. We need food on the table, grocery shopping is a must!”

But ya know what? Sometimes days are too long and there’s too many things to do and your eyes get too heavy to stay awake. So, sometimes, grocery shopping can wait and left overs will have to do. That’s what happens when the teaching kind of tired gets ahold of you.