Category Archives: Because I Can!

This is where all of my possibly off topic posts will live. These are my stories and other fun things I find that I feel I should share.

My Water Bottle Won’t Email Me


 

“I wish my water bottle would email me when the battery is low like my watch does,” is the exact phrase that I said today while getting out of my car to go running.  I wasn’t thinking about the oddness of these words as they came out of my mouth.  I was disappointed and very serious about the problem, which my friend pointed out was really ridiculous.

“Five years ago, that would have sounded very strange,” she told me as we walked to the track to stretch.  I agreed and stated that even two years ago it would have sounded odd.  To which she replied that she wanted to “travel back in time and tell my slightly younger self that these words would come out of my mouth at some point.”  I laughed.  She is not a fan of my water bottle, and despite her heavy use of technology she is not a huge fan of all of the tracking which all of our devices are doing these days.

We both use the GPS on our phones to track our miles while we run, but I also use my awesome new Fitbit Blaze to track my running, walking, sleep, and heart rate.  She wants one for all of those things, but she doesn’t take the next step I have with my daily tracking of my life.  I track my food, my fluid intake, my mood, and anything I can find a free app to use with my phone track my daily everything.  I don’t do this because I think it is fun to input my calorie intake or because I am in desperate need to lose weight.  I do this because of gastro paresis.

I decided last month, after taking control of almost every part of my life again that my health was the last step I needed to get under control.  For my anxiety and short bouts of depression I found an app that actually got me interested in running.  (“Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.  And happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”) It is the Zombies Run app and I have been recommending it to everyone I know who is both game oriented and wants to start getting active.  I also tell my gym rat friends if they are into Zombies—which means all of my friends have been told to get this app.  If it gets my friend to run, then it can get anybody to start running.  It is super fun, especially if you are a gamer and in any way into Zombies.

I started with the other tracking apps because I wanted to see what foods might be triggering my stomach flare ups, as well as noting whether it was food or anxiety that might be contributing more to them.  So far I have only had one really sick morning since I started tracking, and that was today.  I also forgot to put in what I ate yesterday, so I am not sure of the exact causes of this morning, but I recovered by third period and just kept going.  If there was an app that would remind me to record what I ate as well as the app to put it in I would probably use that too.  I just don’t think they can create an app to know when I am eating in order for my phone to yell at me to scan the barcode.

With all of the crazy in my life right now, the tracking of my everything seems pretty mundane, but I have health reasons I use to justify it.  If I didn’t have my stomach problems I would have to monitor my food.  If I wasn’t prone to kidney stones, I wouldn’t need a water bottle to tell me to remember to hydrate and keep drinking.  You would think that after 16 years of having to monitor my fluid intake I would be better at it now, and I was until I started teaching.

While I love my job most of the time, I am drinking less during the day than I used to before I started teaching, and this is something I can’t have.  Kidney stones suck and if I have to buy a fifty dollar Thermos to remind me to drink more while teaching Greek mythology this makes sense to me.  Fifty dollars to save me pain and the expense of doctor’s visits as well as potential hospitalization, this is a reasonable expense for my life.  It isn’t like I need more than one.  I just need it to email me when it’s battery is low, just like my watch does.

The face of depression


When every smile is a lie– just something you put on because something you intellectually understand as good or funny but you can’t feel it emotionally. This is the face. 

Every expression a lie.

The outside showing what everyone wants to see– what they expect.

Well guess what, I’m sad. I feel like I have no reason to be. You cannot fix that. In fact the harder you try, the worse I will feel. Because what I really want is to quietly and slowly disappear. I am already invisible you don’t see me, not really. And it’s laughable that even now you think you do.

Everything I do is to try to make myself feel again. Feel deserving of the life given to me. Feel deserving of my child. The truth is that in this space, I cannot feel. Don’t try to fix me. You cannot fix the problem which you cannot see. You cannot see a problem you don’t understand. If you don’t understand just admit it and respect how I feel in this moment. It could pass. 

Just let me see that I actually matter. Don’t tell me because in this space words like that do not matter, they cannot be heard. 

Don’t hug me. It hurts. Just help me in the way that I ask. Do not try to fix me.

Do not try to fix me. Just be there for me. Understand that I need support and that I need to vent and that I need to feel this way. I don’t know why any more than you do. Just let it be what it is.

My Absence


So it seems that there are a few times a year that i get back on here and explain why i have been gone.  We  here it goes:

I started working on my MFA in creative writing at the University of Tampa in January.  Then I got tendinitis.  The MFA writing would generally make it difficult for me to keep up with my space here, but the real problem has been my wrist.  I can’t type.  Well I can but only really slowly and that’s if I let my hand rest for a whole week doing nothing.

So I get to start using Dragonware.  I haven’t had great luck with it yet, but the good news for my readers is that I will be doing most of my practicing with the software on here.  So Please be patient with my typos as I learn to write with my voice.

Hurricane Shutters


There are times in our lives where we have a million options in front of us. We have all of the windows and doors of our lives open to see the possibilities. Then slowly things get tough and we start to close windows and doors. Then we take the next step and nail the wood on the outside of the windows in order to easily weather the storm. The problem comes when we forget to take down the shutters once the storm has passed, and if we do another one comes along and we have to board up again.

That’s where I am at. I have been living in a box of my own creation for so long that I didn’t think I would ever be able to see through to the light of day again. Then I got one job that started to open some windows. After that I got sick and the shutters were closed again. Then again I got a new job, and for the first time since I start college many years ago, that ii saw all the possibilities that life had for me.

Now, again my shutters are going up. Problems with work, not my students even when they are crazy I still love teaching, but other problems have begun to have me closing windows. The shutters started closing this weekend when I realized that while I want to get my MFA more than anything, I am terrified of the GRE and there is no way my job will let me take 10 days off at a time for a low residency program.

I am feeling like even though I can see options, I can’t get to them. The windows are closed letting me see all the things in my life that I could do, but I am too scared to. I am pretty sure that it is only a short time before I put back up my storm shutters and hide away from the world. I don’t want this to happen, but this is the path that I have started walking down.

I tell my students all the time that they have to be positive and that attitude is everything. I know this because I know that my own attitude and self-confidence is too low to go the distance that I want to take my life to. I don’t know if I am afraid to succeed or afraid to fail. I just know I’m terrified of everything most of the time, and that I have still not found a way to get past that.

I want to write, and refuse to sit down and do it. I want to date, but I refuse to take a chance with anyone who actually likes me. I self-sabotage all the time, and it is time for me to break that pattern. I just need to find a place to start. I need someone to help me take down the shutters, because I can’t do that alone (I am truly afraid of hammers). I just want to live a day without fear, full of options. Full of hope. Full of anything positive.

So while I am willing to embrace my crazy, I need to refocus it.

Thaknsgiving Student Fun


So my students all know that I spent my twenties as a singer/songwriter, and when they have heard my songs they ask why I’m not famous. This generally makes me laugh, I truly love their optimism, that talent equals success. However, today they got me to break out of my little folk singer mold and do something a little different, and in the end it was super fun.

 

My kids are mostly black students and they are really into new hip hop and rap music. While I have tried to stay up to date on this music, in a general fashion, I am truly out of touch with it. My kids however take their free time, what little they get, to practice rapping. I have no problem with this, because as their English teacher they are really just practice modern poetry. They have for several weeks been trying to get me to rap with them.

 

I would have remained immune from this, but I had to go and open my mouth to help them out. That constant teacher that lives in my head, heard a rhyme from a student that was good, but was cliché. I encouraged him to try to find new ways to saw old things, and that this is the way to get recognized and be good at what you do. They have taken this to heart and the rhymes are getting better, but since that day they have been trying to get me to rap with them. I sing folk music, so the idea of rapping with kids who don’t even remember the rappers I love terrifies me.

 

Then today while we were having a free day, and the teachers and students were bouncing from class to class something clicked. I think it might have been that my coworker from Africa, who can’t rap at all, was in it with the kids spitting terrible rhymes and the kids didn’t judge because he tried. So I jumped in and it was perfect. It wasn’t a more than a few lines, but it was perfectly timed and witty. I was really proud of myself for jumping outside my comfort zone, plus the kids loved it.

 

I love listening to them find their voices in their rapping, just as much as I love reading their essays and stories as they try to find a voice for that. For them the music is more honest, and for a long time it was for me as well. So today was great! I broke outside myself and did something fun.

 

So embrace our crazy, let go of your fears, and bust a few rhymes. You might find a new part of ourself that you didn’t know was there.

Dear Early Morning Jerk


Dear Early Morning Jerk,

I do not know exactly what the four teenage boys who were walking to school did to make you think that they were breaking into your truck.   The best guess I have as to their actions is that they were admiring your vehicle, as you are new to the neighborhood. However, assuming that they are breaking into your truck, only shows that you picked the wrong neighborhood to move into. Furthermore, if you again chase a child into my yard at 7:30 in the morning, I will call the police on you, not them.

If you did not know this, there is a high school two blocks away from both of our houses, and just so you know it is a predominately black school. So screaming and chasing kids as they are trying to go to school, because they looked at your car makes you they bad guy. Again, I did not see them at your car, but since it was clear of marks and nothing was stolen, I continue to hold you at fault for this altercation.

You sir chased a teenage boy into my yard and threatened him bodily harm while he did not yell back and in fact said nothing at all to you. You probably took his silence as guilt, well watch the news. If you were a young black man walking to school and a crazed white dude came running out of his house screaming at you, I am positive you would run away too. I teach predominately black students and I will say this, they will defend themselves if they think they stand a chance, and this kid was terrified. So were his three friends who you did not chase.

I am only thankful that I am not as willfully ignorant as you are. I also promise to watch out for these kids as they walk to school during the week, because you sir, should not be in this neighborhood if you are going to harass children for walking to school at the time which children walk to school. Also, I hope that you do not ever have children, because they will be in this school district and you will be raising them with hate towards their peers and that is not okay.

So, in the future do not scream at anyone who is not committing an actual crime regardless of color. Also, do more research before you buy or rent a house. And just in case, if I find you in my yard again, I will be reporting you to the authorities. You have a problem, not the kids trying to walk to school. These days, those kids are rightfully scared of you, and you need to chill the f@#$ out!

Sincerely,

Your extremely pissed off neighbor.

 

Embrace the crazy, not the hate!

Split Down the Middle


Today I asked my students to respond the quote: “Experience teaches only the teachable,” by Aldous Huxley. Only the high school class decided that they were both teachable and not teachable. Then my best middle school student said that she was not teachable. I have to say this made me laugh a little. Mostly everyone misunderstood the meaning of the word teachable, which is fine, but created an interesting array of answers from the classes, so far.

Now during my third period class I have my students quietly reading the short story ‘Split Cherry Tree’ and with that there have also been mixed reviews. Mostly though I have discovered that they are listening when I teach them about grammar, and that you aren’t supposed to write the way you speak unless it is in dialogue. They, in the first line of the story, found a point where this didn’t happen, and they all spoke up about it.

While at first I was annoyed with the 6th grade class all speaking up saying “Ms. Flynn this is written wrong,” but then I realized that they understood something I had been fighting to sink into their brains for 12 weeks now. It was a great moment. It reaffirmed me, it is a reason to be here and that has made my day.

And the update on the other teacher who is insane.  She has continued on her awkward war path against me. She is fighting harder to find fault with me and interrupting my class to track down student who have not yet come to my class today. She will eventually go away, or get into trouble for this. In the mean time, I’m going to bask in the brilliance of my students who have learned despite the fact that they have pretended not to.

Embrace the crazy, sometimes it surprises you!