Rainy Morning Motivation

As I’ve written about in previous posts, I did a lot this summer. Or rather, I got a lot of stuff done. However, because of all of the things I had to handle, I haven’t really gotten to lesson planning for this school year. I have about three more weeks until school starts, so I’m making most of this time to get my act together. So, while searching for some classroom decorating ideas, I came across a fantastic YouTube channel belonging to a high school English teacher in Philly. He tells stories about teaching, does classroom tours, and gives motivation for the creative teacher in a restrictive environment (Although you’d think schools would promote creativity, most are actually way more concerned about numbers than student satisfaction and enjoyment). So, while watching one of his videos this morning about why he decided to become a teacher, Mr. Reynolds said something that really hit home:

“Don’t be afraid of any of the things that you are.”

Including my love for teaching, I think that this quote encapsulates a lot of what has been going on with me for a long while. My parents had pushed me to become a teacher for all of my life, so I wanted to reject that. And I wasn’t completely sure if I’d be good at it. Then, I survived my first year of teaching and realized that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. No teacher knows exactly what they’re doing, and if you have the inspiration and drive to keep your priorities in order (students’ happiness over everything else), you’re going to do great things for these kids. I recently was on a break from my long-term relationship and, although I don’t want to sit and spend my time diagnosing the past instead of living in the present, I was definitely afraid of being a support system for another person. For years, I was afraid of lying outside the gender binary and figuring out what that meant to me. I thought that a label meant I had to dress a certain way in order to be myself– even though I was even less comfortable than before. I really want to get to lesson planning, but I just wanted to take a little time to reflect and explain that I’m really not afraid anymore. Life is far simpler than I thought it should be, and I’m instead learning to find comfort in my fears, just enjoy, and make other people happy. It really doesn’t have to be much more than that. Here’s to feeling good and getting shit done.

 

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Is My Optimism Working Against Me?

Hello, hello! My name is Michelle, and I’ve officially accomplished nothing today. Partly thanks to my optimism. I’d hope you would know by now that I’m forever looking at the glass half full (for the most part). So today was a day like every other. I had my list of goals, I got my shit together, something came up, I spent time fixing the problem, and then I was tired and stressed and gave up on doing anything else. But the thing is, I still felt good about it. I handled that annoying challenge that came up. So then I did accomplish something…right? I have a ten-page paper due in four days and I start teaching in about three weeks. I’ve started neither of these tasks. And I’m. Freaking. Out. But day by day, when I go to work on these things, something that needs to be handled immediately comes up, I take care of business, and then I’m so relieved that I don’t do anything else (or don’t have time to do anything else). Looking at my summer overall, I took two grad courses, two teaching exams, five education seminars, and worked a lot on myself. And I feel good about those accomplishments. Maybe I feel too good? Because I still need to go over my lessons from last year and make new units for the new novels I’m going to use. And read summer reading. However, my pride is making me feel so accomplished that I deserve a break. But these breaks are becoming too often. I’m not sure what to do. I just wanted to let it out and maybe this will realign my goals and today can be more productive. Here’s to getting shit done!

On Memory and Identity Consistency

Hey, friends! This weekend, I saw a concert and it was incredible. I lost my voice (and went pretty deaf) from singing along, but I adored every second of it. I also saw some of my best friends and did some karaoke! So lots of loud scream-singing and dancing. It felt amazing. Usually at concerts and karaoke I’m super shy and self-conscious but I really just took to enjoying myself and I feel good. Anyway, a topic I really wanted to explore (and thought a lot about this weekend) is the concept and pressures of memory. We love memories; memory is crucial to our human experience. Not all memories are kept fondly, but they all shape us into who we are and help us maintain our daily lives (such as remembering where we live and who we are and where we put our car keys). However, I’ve started to think a lot about the pressures memory places on us as well. This could be something just I feel, and that’s totally valid. But I feel like the memory bank accounts that each of us create for every person we know rely on consistency. Stay with me for a second: if you know someone as Lucas, that’s the title of the account. In that Lucas account, you have his love for tulips, Diet Pepsi, and baby ducks. You know these things about Lucas because he’s told you numerous times. He reinforces his place in your memory as this individual because he’s this person every time you meet him. If you met Lucas one night for dinner and he ordered Coke and said he never liked Pepsi, and also orders a duck entree, you’d wonder what happened to Lucas for him to change. If he kept up this behavior, being sure to stomp on every tulip he sees, you may even say he’s not the same person anymore or, “not the Lucas I know.” Well, to Lucas, he’s still Lucas. It’s your memory of him that’s not being reinforced anymore. How do you think Lucas felt when he tried duck for the first time and loved it? I know this example is weird and the “new” Lucas sounds like a horrible human being, but I hope you kind of catch my drift. I guess what I’m saying is that we base our impressions and memory and knowledge of people on their own behavior, which should be relatively the same every time we see them in order for us to feel like we still know them.

However, this can also be a challenge.  We’re faced with a difficult situation. Are we afraid to experiment and change because it feels good to be known and we know it feels good to know someone? If Lucas is important to our lives and reinforces his love for ducks and Pepsi, we feel like we know him. And it feels great to know someone. I think to walk down the street and see someone you know– and you know them better than the strangers around them– is a really beautiful thing. But it also feeds our ego a bit, no? Knowing people means we’re good people. If I know Lucas well, that means that I’m a good person to get to know as well, because Lucas wanted to share those details about his life with me. Likewise, it feels good for others to know you. If Lucas knows just how obsessed with chocolate I am, and maybe surprises me with chocolate for my birthday, that makes me feel good. I’m known. Nevertheless, we face a problem when we feel like we need to change. To make this a bit personal (this is hard for me but I think it’s the best way to explain my thoughts), I’m struggling with my gender identity. However, I do like playing with feminine presentation. Therefore, you wouldn’t really know what’s going on with me if I didn’t outright tell you. And I’m entertaining ideas about my future from a distance, such as possibly seeing a gender therapist or going on testosterone. But I find myself being extremely concerned and worried because I feel like I’m taking on the role of tinkering with others’ memories. Even not telling people that I’m questioning and definitely not cisgender is hard for me– hard for me to verbalize but somehow also hard for me to contain. (Hence this blog.) But anyway, I wind up feeling very manipulative and very much like the Fates from Hercules (the three witches that share an eyeball and cut people’s lifelines). I feel like, in the change that I’m experiencing and would like to divulge to others, I have to also take into consideration the stress of a change in memory. (This probably sounds super insane and conspiracy-like– and probably really anal.) I guess the clearest example would be if I changed my name and went on T (not saying I will, just a clear example). By presenting slightly differently and asking for others to call me by a new name, I feel like I’m “not the person they once knew,” and that worries me. If they liked me then, am I still good enough to be known now? Do I have the right to change the memories of others? It feels very much like choosing (as in choosing to come out) to be born. All of us are born when we are babies. At the same time though, many of us are reborn (I think we’re all reborn multiple times in life, but I’m talking about something arguably “bigger” here) in a similar way, but as adults. If I became reborn under a different name at, say, 25 years old, I have to do all that socialization all over by myself. I have to introduce myself, address the new birth of myself, and socialize myself. (Edit: Upon proofreading, am I saying that a core part of identity is passive??? Maybe??? That’s a thought to ponder…) My parents can’t push me around in a carriage, introducing myself for me. And it’s a terrifying, crippling thought– to be responsible for your own introduction to the world. And I definitely recognize that this fear is holding me back. If I were to be more masculine in some way, or even address my not-cis-ness to a group of my female friends, it changes everything. Do I not get included in ladies’ hangouts anymore? I even almost came out to my friends as bi yesterday and couldn’t do it. I wanted to spill my guts and tell these super close friends of mine about everything going on with me. But I was too afraid of changing their memory of me. They’re fond of that person–so do I go on being that person? I know the answer is no, but I also can’t deny the weight of the world that is upon my shoulders when considering major questions like this. I definitely wanted this post to sound more intelligent than it came out, but I just wanted to confront and digest a concept that is pretty much taken for granted by most. You’re you. You were given a name, you were assigned a gender, you were socialized as to who you would be. When the opportunities then become endless but solely your own choice, it’s a lot to think about. And everything becomes a Domino effect. You didn’t choose to be born; but open rebirth is. I’m not saying that it’s a bad choice– it’s a choice for happiness and self-acceptance, for sure. But it’s not done for you. I definitely want to read more trans narratives and see what I can learn about memory and compromising memory, because it’s a concept I think I might want to research or write about in the future. I’ll keep you updated as always. (Also, don’t we love all these posts lately? Summer vacation is just incredible for letting words flow and figuring shit out. I love it.)

Invaders

Hey, friends! I think today’s post will be relatively short, but I just wanted to rant a bit about all the invasive thoughts that have been haunting my brain. Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of them, and they seem to be multiplying every day. (I mean gosh, haven’t they heard about protection?) But in all seriousness, I’ve been having more and more negative thoughts about myself lingering in the back of my mind. Some of these I know to be untrue, some not so much. However, all of them have been egging me on to having pretty negative thoughts about myself, and that’s not cool at all. I think a list form will best help me organize and confront these thoughts. Now, just a few things to remember before I begin. This isn’t meant to be a depressing post. I’m not wallowing in my feelings; I’m confronting them. If you know me, help me. Even if you don’t know me, be happy for me. This is part of my process. Secondly, some of these may depend on how I current identify (or identities I’m grappling with). I may not pass, or “look the part.” If you need to, read this list with a suspension of disbelief. Believe me that this is what I believe.

1. I have nothing to contribute to an intellectual conversation. I often stay quiet during conversations because I enjoy listening to others, but my tendency to listen has turned into the idea that I wouldn’t have anything significant to say anyways.

2. I know relatively nothing in my field. I specifically pursued English because it came as more of a challenge to me than anything else and I loved that I saw potential in myself to grow. However, sometimes it feels like everyone chose this because it was their strength. I’m the odd one out because I love math and science, which doesn’t make me a true English nerd™️, but I also don’t know even half of what my classmates know. This affects my attitude in classes, at work, and even my motivation to pursue higher education in my field. I play with the idea of going for a Ph.D. in English, but thoughts like this one significantly discourage me from making an embarrassment of myself.

3. I suck at my job. I see time and time again that this is untrue. My job is so SO hard, but I adore my students to no end. However, because of my age and lack of experience (and I guess general approach to teaching?), I’m an outcast at work and often get scolded by my coworkers. Therefore, I start to feel like my students may be comfortable in my room, but maybe aren’t actually learning anything. (I think, above any other invasive thought, I can see through this one the most. I have tangible proof that I’m good at my job. At least in the long-term, most-important-to-life-as-a-whole ways.)

4. I am not *actually* nonbinary/trans. Oh man, oh man, oh man. This one’s a biggie. Note that my biggest insecurities also revolve around the things that I love the most/are the most important to me. My education, my career, and my identity are crucial to me and have been for the last few years. So it really hurts when these invasive thoughts are attacking the very core of me. Because my identity may not match what people may think when they imagine my identifiers, I tend to think that maybe I’m not as valid as I think. [Cue heavy stuff.] Maybe this is me trying to belong, or maybe this is me ignoring some other major issue going on with me. Maybe this is me trying to be a different person to escape something, or trying to find a “quick fix” (even though it’s not). Because I don’t look the part, people won’t believe me. Because I’m questioning, people will get tired of me or refuse to believe me when I do figure things out (I particularly worry about this if I eventually settle on identifying as cis, even though that’s completely okay and even though I’ll always be at least a little “not cis.”) This is why I’m so hesitant to talk about it, especially in person. I just don’t feel good enough, and thoughts like this don’t help.

Well, enough of the depressing thoughts! Again, this isn’t meant to depress you or make you worried about me. This blog is my therapy, writing is my safe space. It just so happens that some people can peek into that space to see what it’s like. And I like that. So just look at this as a first step–me being able to vocalize (in a way) my challenges. Admitting them is my first step to being able to tackle them.

Take a look at the hurdles in front of you. What’s holding you back? Think about them. How can we climb this mountain together?

(Un)limited

In my class today, we read a lot of stuff by William Wordsworth, and this quote in particular captured my interest: Wordsworth calls books “poor earthly caskets of immortal verse.” This is such a sad description of the things that bring stories and information and history to life. However, here Wordsworth is talking about how books only transport the written part of a text. And even that word (“text”), according to Wordsworth, is limiting. These stories and poems are so much more than the words printed on a page, limited by form, price, and narrator. According to Wordsworth, and even Blake, the oral tradition is the ultimate form of literature. When poetry and narratives take on performance and avoid the barriers of grammar and format is when true imagination takes hold and we can experience just a tiny bit of heaven.

So I was sitting in class today, all of this knowledge and more swirling in my brain, and something hit me. For a short time now, I’ve been writing a private blog post just for myself, summarizing everything about how I feel with what’s going on with me. I’ve been keeping track of every day and time I work on it, to prove to myself that these thoughts are regular and I’m not a phony (a common intrusive thought of mine). But I was sitting in class, reading this quote, and came up with a sort of rebuttal against it. At least in our day and age (or at least in our current recognition of privilege and difference), if we prioritize the oral tradition, are we not limiting the stories that are told? The only proof I have for this is my own experience. I’m struggling with my gender identity. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a trillion times–on this blog and in short conversations with friends that I often shut down (sorry, guys, working on it). However, going back to that friends thing, I can’t really get myself to talk about it in person. I’ll say things like “I don’t want to speak it into existence” or I’ll cry before the words can escape my lips. I just can’t physically spit out the exact details of what I’m going through. AND IT SUCKS. This is really the first major problem I’ve suffered that I haven’t been able to share completely with anyone. And so I’ve turned to writing. To be honest, I haven’t even journaled in my personal journal in a while. This blog (between published and unpublished posts) has been the place for me to tell my story within my realm of comfort. If I had to tell my story face-to-face, especially a few months ago, it would’ve never been told. Because I can hide behind this screen, these words, but still know that my small audience (some close friends and myself) are audience members of my storytelling, I can still be the storyteller. I enjoy putting myself in a frame because it gives me comfort. I can rant and communicate my thoughts without having direct contact or questions. At least in the small circle I’ve exposed myself to (mostly YouTube, although I really want to learn more about the queer literature community), there’s a lack of questioning narratives. People come out and they’re out. They’re certain. And then we see their life from that one grand emergence. But we less often see the years of questioning and self-doubt. And that’s my story right now. I’ve been questioning sexuality-wise for six years now and gender-wise for about three. And I think that’s partly why I’m more comfortable writing my tale too. This isn’t a popular narrative. My characterization is also my conflict. It’s a lot. But, nevertheless, I want to tell my story. Partly for me. But partly for other people. People like me and for my friends, to keep them in the loop in a way that’s comfy for me.

And so, I ask Wordsworth, is the book really dead? Or can its life be bestowed upon it by the unnamed author? Can a story be told if not to a crowd? What about the stories that go untold, the ones that live in our hearts or between kindred spirits? My story is certainly untapped territory. But I like it that way for now.

Revisited

Hi, everyone! While procrastinating and watching YouTube, I randomly felt the urge to read some of my old writing. This is what I found, and so I wrote a response to it, like a sort of update. Enjoy!

“The American Female at Age Twenty”

Michelle couldn’t love chocolate any more. Well, she couldn’t love chocolate any more than being afraid. She ties her blonde hair up into her signature ponytail (with few variations to avoid being too similar each day), stuffs a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich into her mouth, and listens to any and every Broadway track that has something to do with fear or crime. Unusually enough, she studies English in college, after a change from studying Elementary Education and realizing that she just couldn’t handle teaching a little bit of everything and instead wanting to learn everything about just one thing. She has always loved detective fiction, and used to write her own when she was a child. Today, she writes an exercise for her college summer class and dreams about her next meal. She’s not quite sure what it is yet, but that makes it all the more exciting. Michelle tries to eat salads and refuse food, and often gets embarrassed when she orders a huge bacon cheeseburger while her boyfriend simply eats soup like he did on Friday. She tries to be typically feminine (at least how the media portrays femininity), but fails miserably at it. She also dreams of graduation, especially after seeing all of the recent graduation pictures from high schoolers and college students that she knows. She’s not quite sure what she wants to do in her future, but she knows it involves English, fear, and moving far enough away from home. She currently spends a few hours each day studying for all of her graduate exams, and reading as many novels as possible that are equally important and spine-chilling. She looks forward each day to going home and spending time with her cat, newly a cancer survivor and not-so-newly affectionate when she wants to be (or when she’s hungry). Michelle and her cat have many things in common, constant hunger being one of the characteristics that stands out most.

“The American ??? at Age Twenty-Two”

Michelle couldn’t love chocolate any more. Well, they couldn’t love chocolate any more than their students. Given that it’s summer vacation, they still tie their blonde hair up, but have progressed to a low bun. It feels artsy. They’ve forgone peanut-butter-and-jelly after having it for lunch since kindergarten and eat leftovers instead. Normally enough, they study English in graduate school, as they earn their MAT and work as a high school teacher. They adore writing so much so that they’re actually looking into the process of writing, and finally learned that reading is necessary to the balance. They’re very private about their life, not telling the parents who listen to their keyboard clicks that they are indeed writing creatively and not messaging their friends. They understand why they were uncomfortable with femininity, but have learned to embrace traces of it while still experimenting with style. Michelle refuses to refuse food, eating way too many meals and snacks each day, but finding solace in the kitchen and peace in the bowl of noodles or fresh gnocci. They dream of graduation, when they will finally be ready to pursue the degree that feels as right as declaring their English major did. They’ve given up on reading everything and instead read what they want to, realizing that quality and passion will trump quantity every time. Michelle knows what’s in their future and couldn’t be more stoked. He misses Jackie, but welcome Mellie’s love with open arms and a bandaged heart. Mellie too is constantly hungry, the love of preparing a meal always filling the air of Michelle’s home. And Michelle is indeed home.

Final Paper Warmup

Hey, friends! I’m using this post as a way to warm up to get started on my final paper. I’m so excited but so terrified to work on it. It’s a genrebending (trans-genre) piece that’s allowing me to look back on my first year of teaching in conversation with my struggles with identifying as nonbinary and with lacking scholarship surrounding gender coming-out stories for teachers. This is huge for me. I’ve been trying so hard to get to this point. It feels amazing. But I’m terrified to write. It feels to surreal. It feels like I’m going to waste this opportunity. Never NEVER have I had the chance to literally dedicate a day to writing. This is it. And I have endless intrusive thoughts stopping me from doing it. Thoughts telling me I’m an awful writer, that I’m not valid, that I’m pretending, that none of this is real. I feel nauseous just thinking about writing. But I want so badly to look at my finished product and feel like I wrote something beautiful. Writing has always been a kind of “when the spirit moves you” experience for me. I usually write something straight through, and it’s perfect the first time. I’m scared because I know the writing that I aspire to do (for this project and beyond) is hella laborious. It’s painful and tiring and sad and angry. It’s not capturing one specific emotion or moment– it’s literally analyzing an entire year of my life in fifteen to twenty pages. It’s evaluating myself using scholarship– but also recognizing that in this scholarship, I’m nowhere to be found. There are endless sources about gay and lesbian teachers, encouraging them to come out for the sake of their students. There is nothing about gender. Every article assumes you’re cis, and therefore there’s no relationship that can be formed. There’s this feeling like understanding gender requires educating everyone. And then, on top of that, you have to look and act a certain way. And also, while sexuality has a vital role in our lives, gender never leaves. Your pronouns, your presentation, your dysphoria, your hyperanalyzing of every single action you take– none of it goes away. You can talk about your girlfriend here and there, maybe contribute to some vital conversations. But questioning the very depth of who you are is crippling. Also, given the situation of where I work, I know I’ll never be able to come out. I’m terrified of coming out to graduates even though we’ve grown close. I have to deny my true self time and time again when students ask me about my life, looking for representation and a model. I can’t be that person for them. And it’s heartbreaking. I can’t know too much. I have to pretend to be a completely different person constantly. I have to don clothes that make me uncomfortable; I can’t even bind if I wanted to. I have to have a certain sounding voice, style my hair a certain way, use certain pronouns, be called a certain name. I feel like I’m stepping into a suit, zipping it up, and finally taking it off and being able to take a deep breath once I get into my car to go home.

On Realizing Your Dreams in The Real World

Tomorrow is my last day of work. TOMORROW IS MY LAST DAY OF WORK!!! Only one more day until I’m completely FINISHED with my first year of teaching. I’ll probably write lots about that soon, because it was such a huge year for me. I have some errands to run, but I just got hit in the face with reality and wanted to document it in case anyone else is feeling similarly. So, given that work is ending and there are some other personal changes going on in my life, I have decided to take time to myself to reevaluate my goals and hopes for myself. One of these, which I’ve written about for the life of this blog, is writing. I wanted to be a writer for a really long time when I was a kid, that desire kind of faded for a while as I grew older, and now it’s back, but in a different way. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to physically hold a hardcover version of one of my future brainchildren. That would be INSANE. And I really want to get there someday. However, I’ve realized that I should probably try to get into short stories and poetry to educate myself about publishing, get myself to write, and just get experience. I never liked short stories and poetry because I never felt like I had anything to say. With longer fiction, I could create universes that may have been coded to my universe, but didn’t have to have any similarities. I mean, fiction can be purely fiction, but I like kind of tying in some of my feelings. It’s like therapy. But cheaper and not as effective. Anyway, at the end of college, I fell in love with slam poetry, wrote some of my own stuff, and have kind of transitioned into regular poetry up until today. (I’m rambling, and this wasn’t my intent. Dangit.) ANYWAY, I haven’t done much research on places to submit my writing for publishing, but I did happen across one on Twitter. They pay and they’re super chill. I love it. However, I just started looking through their mission, and they’re primarily all about queer writers and queer stories. They accept all kinds of submissions, but that kind of hit me in the gut. On one hand, it’s so FREAKING exciting that one day a story of mine could be published. And it could be a queer story. And my author bio could disclose my gender identity. That’s SICK! When I was younger, I was very into stories about magic and mystery. I never pictured myself as that queer writer of essays and poetry and such (I had no idea what queer was, although I always felt queer in a super vague sense), but honestly? Now it’s all I want to be. I want to be a writer again, guys. But for real this time. And as myself. I want to write stories about people like me. I want to write poems and essays about my experiences and struggles. On the other hand, if I did get published while still living at home, how do I get ahold of a copy? How do I show my family? How does any of that work? I mean, my story doesn’t have to be queer and maybe the literary mag isn’t super obvious, but what if I want it to be? I’m at the age when I’m barfing rainbows and eating unicorn farts for breakfast. That’s where I am in my growth. It makes me sad that I see the person I’m becoming (and I love that person so so so much), but it’s not the person I can be safely. It’s a real bummer. I’ll probably submit anyways and figure everything out later because, if I’m learning anything, it’s that waiting doesn’t really get you anywhere sometimes. If you know, go for it. And I know. I hope to update you about my stories and submissions soon!

Freedom is Near!

Hey, friends! MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: I have four days left of work! In FOUR DAYS, I can say that I’ve survived my first year of teaching. Phew. This year flew by and it was definitely stressful, but it made me happier than I’ve ever been. All my life, I’ve been questioning my identity and my purpose. My identity is always morphing and I’m getting a firmer grasp on it every day, but I know my purpose for sure. At work, I know I belong. I know I have an important role in this world. My students mean the absolute world to me. This year was incredible. I’m so proud of myself. I never thought that I’d make it, really. So, now that work is almost done, I finished 2/3 major assignments for my English class, and only have my other class later this summer two nights a week, I’m finally starting to figure out what I want to do with my time this summer.

Because this whole year (and really the last three years) have been focused on “finding myself,” I wanted to further my search by finally going after some of my fears and dreams. I’d been thinking about this for a little while, but watching Queer Eye (Best. Show. Ever.) today really moved me to write about it. In Season 2, Episode 4, the client Jason talks about his fear of success because of his fear of failure: “I haven’t failed much, ’cause I haven’t tried much.” I immediately recognized the same fear in myself, and that I really haven’t done much in my life; meanwhile, I have so many dreams. I honestly felt that they would just come, someone would walk up to me and say, “Hey, you look like a writer. Here, let me publish what you’ve written.” (this also assumes that I’ve magically written something without any time or effort). Nothing is going to happen from me sitting around. Therefore, I kinda of want to take time this summer to explore my interests. My parents and I went to the city today (nothing’s better than coming home after being in the sun and feeling the dry warmth and tiredness from summer– not even being sarcastic), and I picked up some pamphlets of free resources. There are some great free classes and workshops going on that I really want to go to! I’m definitely nervous to do things on my own (I also really want to go to the movies on my own and see a Broadway show by myself), but I’m also really excited because I need this growth and individual development. I need to learn what I can from writers, I need to explore the world around me, and I need to have some fun! I also want to take time this summer to write some pieces and see where I can submit them for possible publishing opportunities. I want to learn more about tarot cards and crystals and set up a little spiritual area in my room for them. I’d like to learn (or at least start learning) to play the acoustic guitar. I want to read more, and maybe even volunteer a little. I want to work out, too, and cook for myself more (I especially love cooking vegan for myself). I have this time to better myself and enjoy, so I really want to make the most of it. This is really my first summer free. Although I might have to do some lesson planning, it won’t be anywhere near as stressful as it was last year. I can dedicate time to it each day (I’d like to plan pretty far ahead into the school year), but I also can separate that from my own time to just enjoy. I’m really excited, I am.

The other day, I wrote in my journal. It had been a rough day for me. I wrote really unpleasant things on the page and colored the entire background black with my pen. None of my entries look like that. None of my journal entries (save a few from childhood that I don’t have anymore) look like that. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I knew I had to make some changes. I had to remind myself that I’m valid and of who I want to become– and of the steps I need to take to get there (and to enjoy the process, because there’s no end product). I know who I am, which is something I’m proud to say (and have been waiting to say for an extremely long time). Now it’s just time to let me be me, and to enjoy it.