About Dang Time, Mrs. Taylor!

When I found out last year that I would be leaving my previous position, I was so torn. Sure, that place’s mission for children mixed with mine like oil and water…but I had part of me that wanted to stay so badly for my kids. For me, it’s always been about the kids…but I had a large part of me that needed to do this for my future students.

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If you worked with me at my previous job, I hope you know that the person you worked with is not the true me.  A select few there actually KNEW me.  They knew my passion for equality in education, and they knew my struggle. Southeast DC was my place. I didn’t want to leave my place.  My best friend and mentor was there (and still is.) My kids were there. My basketball team, my softball team, my sped office where we laid it out all day every day.  But, the person you saw who yelled at children, lost their temper, and impatiently waited for the clock to tick down until the end of the day EVERYDAY.  Truth is, I felt worthless. I was depressed more than I ever have been.  I got to a point where I doubted myself so much in this profession that I almost walked away from my passion.

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Through a lot of support outside of work, I was able to get to where I am now… I love my job, I love my existence as a member of a team, I feel like what we do at my school is always done with our children’s education in mind. I am teaching children how to be successful members of society, to question everything, and to be open minded AND I LOVE IT.

It’s taken me until tonight to allow myself to stop wallowing in guilt for the kids I left there and to trust my best friend to take care of my kids. I will also admit though, if any of you are reading this, know that you are still and will ALWAYS  be my kids.  I know I haven’t been able to visit. I know I haven’t kept in contact the best I could.  But not a day goes by that I don’t think of my girls basketball team and all you girls now in highschool, of my boys from last year, my two girls that put up with my boys, and of my TEAM that kept me alive, fed, and smiling between tears over the past two years. I came in every day not for the money, but for you guys.

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And now, its as if my family has extended. I worried when I left and came to my current school (which is extremely diverse) that I would not soak up the culture like I had in an all African-American school.  I shouldn’t have worried because now I’m soaking up new cultures. I’m developing my voice in education. I have kids here, and they are diverse, loving, open minded, and inspiring on a daily basis. They have their faults but I’m happy every day with my job. I walk into work excited. I leave work smiling. My co-workers are just as diverse as my students but I’m able to smile (and get a smile in return) from any staff member in the building. I feel appreciated, I feel capable.  I never felt those things at my past school. Here, I’m home. (Thanks, Carmen for pointing me home).

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Alright, enough of that sap. I’m waxing poetic over here, filled with nostalgia and new happiness all in one. I’m happy, though — truly happy. It’s been a rough road and I’m finally looking at a new path that feels promising. I owe so much to my family, friends, co-workers, and students for supporting me through all of this and not letting the changes that have occurred damage our relationships.  And most of all for helping me realize that I am making a difference around me.

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And that…that is why I teach. 

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‘MERICA

I was reviewing presidential candidates with my advisory when one of my students called out “Can’t we just vote for Obama again?  Change that rule that says we can’t!”  I found myself also asking the same thing; can we change the 22nd amendment and vote Obama in again?  America, you are really starting to scare me.

On one side, there is an overgrown oompa loompa and two dudes with the last names of Cruz and Rubio who jump the bandwagon of hating the “others” that the first guy warns us about. Idiots.  Pure. Idiots.  If we had a time machine invented, I’d kick them all back to the stone age.

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Guys!  What is wrong with you people that pay that unpleasant orangutan any mind?  Trump encourages this type of behavior! !

On the other side, there is Hilary (who an ex of mine once nicknamed Shrillary) who  has been blamed for the shoddy security at Benghazi and decided to share national secrets via email… It got me wondering: Bill was wreckless with his pants, why couldn’t she do that instead of being all willy nilly wreckless with the country’s security.  The only guy I kind of like is ole’ Bernie, but his age scares me a bit.  But, he’s passionate, he’s an activist, and above all he seems like someone I could share a good bourbon with and wax philosophical with. I like what he speaks about.  But, I’m afraid people look at him like a crazy old professor…like Doc from Back to the Future! 

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Then again….
Holy hell, Trump does look a lot like Biff.

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We’re screwed. Thanks ‘Merica…

The Guilt of a Catholic.

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I’ve been trying this new thing; see, I learned this new thing in therapy and my savior-of-a-therapist tells me to practice often.  Be present.

So, I’m giving this whole being present thing and I’m really liking it in some ways and not so much in other ways.
See, therapy (along with other supports I’ve learned along the way) has really pushed me to get through my past. My mother used to jokingly say that I needed to go to church with her best friend – a Catholic – since I had that “Catholic” guilt for no reason (it would explain my love for the pope.)  I always loved that about my mom… She has never told me I was wrong when some heavy emotion was weighing on me so much that I had to call her and talk.  She’s always said “Celia, you can’t make important decisions when upset, so just let yourself calm down and wait to deal with it when you’re in a better place.” Maybe I shouldn’t have used quotes but I bet over the years (in my mom’s infinite wisdom) she has said a mixture of those words on the same topic so we’ll just say it close enough! 

I digress….

BE PRESENT okay, I got back on track.  You may be asking “what benefits and side effects are there to this new thing called being present?” Well, let me tell ya…
1) benefit – I am calmer. I am able to rationalize a situation and understand that I am only able to control my actions, words, and ethos.  I am able to harness more of my feelings and hold onto it and not pull in the bad vibes around me. I’m not perfect with it and I still mess up and forget, BUT its getting better. It at least is helping me maintain a stable thought process and emotion when things around me are not always copacetic.  Not to mention, I have time on my hands to be passionate about stuff I’ve never had the energy to really act on.
2) side effect – when I’m calm and centered it makes me notice how much chaos and negativity are around me. It is also making me take an inventory of where I’m putting in the most work emotionally, only to realize I just need to let some things go and not let the outside world effect me so strongly.

Through being present, I’ve noticed that I’m more passionate about change…I can focus on being a voice for those around me who lack one.  I have time to be upset about the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, police brutality, deportation of undocumented citizens, and educational inequality based on SES.  Most of all, I get to spend my emotional energy in positive ways while at school with my students. I plan to take all the energy I used in focusing on other’s negativity and put it into my students education and development.

All of this present-ness (yes, I am making up words over here!) doesn’t mean I am

deaf to the bullshit

,” because stuff still happens and bugs me…however, I’m noticing a quicker bounceback in my mood.  If I can just get through the initial shock of anger from things, I might make it through and grow.