Ready to Ripen

Blink 182 taught me long ago that nobody likes you when you’re 23. Today, as I turn the ripe age of 23, I wonder what validity was in Blink’s statement. Hopefully people don’t like me less. In fact, I would hope they like me more as I prove to them I can survive another year in this chaotic place we call the world.

Yesterday I had a visit from a friend. He came by shortly after my parents left (they so graciously took me out for dinner for my birthday) and I’m not sure what time he left, but it was after a swarm of people came to celebrate before going downstairs to the bar. 

We sat for a while. No music playing but we were full of ideas. He’s convinced we’re going to change the world, he doesn’t know how, but he knows it’s going to happen and, honestly, he has me convinced as well.

I’ve never been one to really plan things out. I can plan a party, plan a road trip, and plan a dinner, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t usually have any idea what my future really entails. Lately, however, I have sort of developed this “three year” plan. Maybe it’s because I’m getting closer to graduation. Maybe it’s because I was forced with the reality that I’m not going to be living here next year and my residency will be elsewhere and I’m not sure exactly where that is yet. Maybe it’s because I have started to see life without school as I come to the end of my final semester of classes. Whatever it is, I can see the future. I can feel the freedom to choose – to have a total choice of what I want to do and when/where I want to do it. 

As I sat there with my friend, who is turning 23 in June, we talked about how it just feels different. Every year people ask me if I feel older on my birthday. I always say, “not really…” but this year I do feel different. I do feel older. I feel like I’m growing up again in the same way I did when I left High School, left my home town, and became “independent” in college. It’s another one of those vital time periods in a persons life. We chatted about how we feel 18-21 is a time within itself that we develop in so many ways but it’s only minute compared to what we have to do to prepare ourself for the “real world” or whatever there is to come after we graduate, after we don’t have guidelines for every assignment and we don’t have assigned readings. We talked about how scary it is that we have to be our own motivators and we agreed that we are going to be the chains that separate one family link to the next.

Like me, my friend dreams of other places. He said, “If I don’t like it here, I’m gonna go here…and if I don’t like it there…I’m gonna go over there.” All the while he stressed that his mother and grandmother would be in the same house they grew up in. In the same neighborhood, same city, same situation. There’s a sense of guilt for continually moving. There’s a sense of wonder of whether or not that relationship between family and friends can still exist but I think the basics are always there. If I know that I can travel wherever it is I desire, but then I can turn around after however long and my family will welcome me back into their house with open arms, then that’s how I know a relationship won’t fail between them. Experiences separate people but they also give everyone a reason to share and come together.

I feel old when I talk about family. Because I talk about it like it’s something that has been existing for so long but now the outline for “family” is changing. I’ve made friends that are family. I’ve had family that turned into friends. It’s all relative. But I know whoever I call family will welcome my new year with a smile. I don’t think my family will hate me when I’m 23. I’m 23 and I feel just as lost and just as found as I did yesterday or the day before. I feel older in a sense that the age gap between me and my younger friends is growing. I feel older in that I have to think about graduation and living situations. I have to somewhat plan for my future, and I’m actually looking forward to it. 

As my friend said last night, “We’ve been growing, now we’re ready to ripen.”

 

Sunday

It’s Sunday morning
And from the looks of it,
It’s sunny.
From the sound of it,
The birds are happy,
Chirping,
Singing even.

I haven’t been outside since Thursday morning. Not really by choice but by necessity. An illness came my way when I woke up Thursday with a sore throat, head ache, and foggy mind. I didn’t mind leaving the middle school I tutor at early, but I did mind not being able to swallow. Uncomfortable is cold sweats and frustration is sleepless nights spent turning from one sore side to the other.

Some people blame the change of weather for sickness.

I blame my excitement for spring.

I haven’t been sleeping a lot. Not because I can’t, but because there’s better things to do. I stay up late because my friends do and I like to be around them. The bars seem to be filled with spring-eyed drinkers and summer-plan thinkers like me.

It’s the sun staying out past 7 that makes me long for an unexpected night. Right now I want uncertainty. I want clarity, but certainly not consistency. I want days to pass and nights to last.

Four days in bed and I’m about ready to run out my front door, down the street, and meet the sunshine with open arms and an open heart.

I’m eagerly awaiting summer. I would say spring, but spring is already here. It’s been here since blue skies became a regular and birds became my alarm clock. It’s been here since the snow piles decreased to little mounds of almost unidentifiable brown sludge. I can’t stop thinking of everything I have to look forward to.

I passed my elementary education test. I’m going to Denmark with two kick ass professors and a group of exploring students like myself. I return to the states only to wait a week then drive back to Rocky Mountain Village summer camp. I can’t say it enough. I can’t picture it enough but I’m so pumped for the future. 

Spring always makes me want to get into things. Explore things. Create things.

Spring is always new.

Confession:

I feel invincible in sun glasses
Like no one knows I’m there
And I can conquer sidewalk grand canyon cracks
Or used-to-be-snow puddles
I can pass by people like the wind
They only feel my breath as I cool their neck
Then disappear
I feel invincible in sun glasses
Like the sun and I are the only ones around
Spinning around
Like I’ll never fall down 

 

Spring time is always full of new leaves, new trees, new roots. I’m feeling particularly sky bound today, glued to the clear blue above me. I see sweet summer time around the corner and hear those spring chirps from birds who are defrosting their winter covered wings. I’m set to thaw and I can’t wait to spill into warm air.

I am one of them

I am one of those kids sitting, tired, hunched over at my desk.
I am one of those students being assessed and graded but never truly learning.
I am one of the “get your book out” comments.
I am the lull before the forced test.
I am the agony of another redundant task.
I am one of those middle schoolers that can’t seem to grasp it.
I am motivation spiraling, lost, down my thought-filled brain.

I am trying to study. I have an exam in a little over an hour. I’ve made a few note cards. Filled in the parts of the study guide that I could off the top of my head or that I could find effortlessly in the text book. I used to be convinced that if the topic related to my interests I would be, well…interested. I’ve learned that this isn’t the case. I’ve learned that I can continually hear about intellectual disabilities and teaching every kid differently in classrooms all while day dreamed about dancing around a circle of people in wheelchairs at summer camp.

I’ve learned that, like the middle schoolers I’m tutoring, I have to be told to take notes. I have to be told step by step to write this answer down, to read this section, to answer this question. It’s not that I don’t know how. It’s not that I don’t know I should be doing these things. It’s really that I have a hard time holding myself accountable when it doesn’t seem to benefit me at that exact moment. Like those teenagers in that middle school, I have other things on my mind. I have other content I would rather read, songs I would rather memorize, poems I would rather write.

But here I am. Sitting alone in a study room, pen sandwiched between my notebook and text book. I haven’t written a whole lot. I actually took an accidental twenty minute nap. 

I’m still tired.  

I’ve given up on worrying about this exam because, like all my teachers always told me, cramming will not give me great results. The thoughts of someone who procrastinates goes a little something like this,

I can do it later. I still have time. I’ll do it tomorrow. I can do it later. I still have time. I need to do it today. I’ll do it later. Exam is in an hour? I guess I’ll open my book…screw it, I can’t learn anything in an hour.”

The struggle is real.

I am one of those students scrapping everything in my mind to get by and pass these classes. 
I am, on average, an A or a B.
I am losing steam and I have lost my motivation.
I am the students I get most frustrated with.

Over and over again I tell my students, “Just do these problems…” Internally I feel so pushy because I see that they just have to circle answers. Their teacher pretty much gives them a play by play of the EXACT answer she wants but they were never taught effectively how to write it down in their own words, to think critically, and to pay attention.

But I have been taught those things and I still don’t do them all of the time. So maybe I am just like them and maybe they are just like me. I couldn’t help but crack up when one of the boys locked himself in his locker today because he “could fit” and wanted to see if he “could unlock it from the inside”. Personally, I thought it was hilarious when he finally did get let out and his face was beat red, his face covered in a grin. The teachers, however, rolled their eyes, the principal gave him detention, and I wanted to go up to him and ask him if for one second he almost shit his pants when he couldn’t get out himself.

I didn’t ask him.

I am trying to be more professional than my inner being wants to be.
I am trying to become influential in a classroom.
I am trying.

Almost everything in me doesn’t want to try anymore. Mostly because classes are redundant, content crosses over from year to year, and instruction is usually the same: put up a powerpoint and “discuss” the key points all while teaching us how to be effective teachers.

Borrrrring. I see no effective strategies in the classes I attend. Where are the examples?

I’m bored, really, and that’s where my lack of motivation comes in. Why is it taking so long? Why have I been here five years but am just now assessing students and just now implementing my knowledge in a classroom. Shouldn’t I have been doing this all along? I am, and forever will be, curious as to who sets up the requirements for each major and minor. I am curious as to why general education teachers have to take one special education class but special education teachers have to take a whole year of general education cohorts. Isn’t the system trying to push for inclusion? Aren’t those general education teachers going to have special education students in their classrooms? If I can manage a kid’s behavior who has severe autism, don’t you think I can manage the behavior of a “typically” developing child? 

I am one of the many students here at CMU that have been coming to the EHS building for five plus years.
I am a summer away from student teaching.
I am feeling the senioritis kicking in.

I am going to be a teacher soon according to my diploma, but personally, I think I’ve been a teacher since long before this year. I’ve been a teacher since my teachers would pair me up with struggling students in elementary school. I’ve been a teacher since my roommate couldn’t catch but I could. I’ve been a teacher since my friends learned what debates are and I learned my own opinions. I think being a teacher is something that is engrained in some people, but I think the setting of teaching can be changed and the style of teaching can most definitely be different. 

I am going to do only okay on this exam.

I am okay with this.

Procrastination Problem

Things I would rather do than study:

-scroll mindlessly through the internet
-check my phone…again
-tap my feet
-stare at all the cracks and holes in my wall
-walk to the kitchen
-light a candle
-sit down
-stand up
-play my drum
-listen to music
-take a shower
-eat a grape fruit
-drink some tea
-check my phone
-scroll through the same internet posts
-make my bed
-clean my room
-have a beer
-arts and crafts
-make a list of things i would rather do than study
-count how many pens i have
-text someone
-put my shoes away
-change my socks
-go to the bathroom
-turn on my christmas lights
-look in the mirror
-drink some water
-check the internet
-think about studying
-stare at my study guide
-turn the page but not read
-lay on the couch
-lay on the floor
-vacuum
-pet my cat
-browse the internet