Letter to Younger Me

9 Nov

Dear Elle,

There is so much to tell you, but what I really want you to know is that everything you believed you’d be in the future is so very wrong. You are going to make some really dumb choices. Choices that you should have made with your head, instead of your heart and hormones.

I want to let you know that one day you’re going to be 33 and totally unhappy due to your choices.

If I could, I’d tell you to participate in more activities in high school, meet more people. Ask that guy you have a crush on out on a date; he’ll probably say no and maybe even laugh, but you need to be bold now so you can be bold later. I’d tell you to sneak out of the house once or twice and rebel a bit; Mom actually won’t kill you and eventually you’ll have to leave for college, so grounding would be temporary. I’d tell you not to cut off your long hair at 17, because growing it out sucks and flat irons don’t exist yet. I’d tell you to put forth more effort in your classes, of course you did better than fine, but if you really put forth your full ability, you could’ve gone to a much better college.

If I could, I’d tell you to go to college and don’t go home every weekend first semester. Yes, the girls on your floor will be bitches, but you are so much smarter than they are. Defend yourself, don’t hide. Oh yes, kiss Bill. Kiss him, just do it. Yes, he is different than most guys you are attracted to, but kiss him. Mary will get mad since she has a mad crush on him, but she’ll never make a move. You need to be bold here. I’d tell you to stick it out at that school; you really do love it there and you will survive.

If I could, I’d tell you not to get so fucking drunk on that first date with Eric. Just be his friend, not his girlfriend. That relationship is something that will twist your mind and abuse your self-worth. His family won’t like you for whatever reason. He isn’t good for you, really. He isn’t even attractive. You aren’t that lonely, Elle. Seriously, you aren’t. That phone he will place a few years later, just before you get married will simply piss you off. That relationship is three years of your life you’ll never get back.

If I could, I’d tell you to keep writing in that journal. Everyday. I’d also tell you to spend more time with Grandpa. Ask him about his writing. Talk to him about the war. Find out that he was a badass before he isn’t here anymore.

If I could, I’d tell you to not enroll in cosmetology school. It is a toxic environment and you’ll feel yourself getting dumber. Stay in medical school. Please, for the love of yourself, stay in medical school. Stay in medical school, even if it means you don’t get married at 23. The marriage is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, honestly. You’ll get lost and you may not be found. I don’t know how this plays out yet.

If I could, I’d tell you to be nicer to Stacey. You were a bitch of a big sister until Allyson came along. Why? Oh, because you are a bitch. Yes, I know you never asked to be a big sister, but suck it up, buttercup, that wasn’t your choice. She’ll need her sister, not a judge. You’ll need a sister and a friend too long before Allyson comes along.

If I could, I’d tell you that nothing lasts forever unless you let it.

Always You,

Elle

Bye Bye Facebook

2 Nov

I waste a lot of time and make a lot of excuses in regards to that time. Most of it is wasted on Facebook. Facebook has turned me into a voyeur of sorts and I’m not fond of this title. In light of this realization, I have decided to take a hiatus from the aforementioned social media site for an undetermined amount of time. Sure, this probably means my time suck will be shifted to Twitter, but I really learn more over there anyway.

In order to continue digging myself from my present rut, this is something I need to do. The holidays are coming up as well and they are a special kind of hell for me, and being away from the inordinate number of stupids on the internet, I must vacate Facebook. I will still maintain my page accounts, but that’s going to be it for a while.

I hope to spend this extra time writing and working on my house and my life. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but I am going to give it a shot. I will still be here and on Tumblr and Instagram, so don’t fret. You won’t miss me that much.

Your Life is Yours

29 Oct

I am sure by now you’ve heard about a young woman named Brittany Maynard. Brittany has terminal brain cancer and she has decided to die on her terms, not cancer’s.

She is brave.

Brittany is well-traveled, she is educated, she is loved by her husband, mother, and friends.

When it was clear her prognosis was terminal, Brittany and her family moved from California to Oregon. Oregon is one of only six states in which a person with a terminal illness can end their own life on their own terms through a doctor prescribed prescription.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Brittany’s decision and I really don’t understand why. Genuinely, I don’t understand how someone feels they have the right to have an opinion on another’s life and death.

I am not a religious person, and quite frankly all arguments claiming “God says we will suffer,” and “Jesus doesn’t want you to end your own life,” are sickening at best.

Here is the thing about being an adult: you can do what you want with your life. Brittany is doing just that. She spent a few days last week at the Grand Canyon, an item on her bucket list.

Brittany is young, but she is wise and logical. She doesn’t want to spend her last days lingering in agony. She doesn’t want her family to watch her struggle to breathe or be writhe with pain. This makes perfect sense to me. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to end their own pain, on their terms? Why is this illegal in most of the states in our union?

Do not try to argue the “Do not harm” clause of the hippocratic oath. Doctors know when someone is suffering without need. Allowing someone to suffer endlessly with no relief is cruel and inhumane. We do not allow animals to carryon this way. We shouldn’t allow humans either.

Humans are conscious beings with free will and we should be allowed to exercise our will to its fullest extent when it comes to our own bodies.

Brittany is nothing but brave. It is beyond awful that she has even been put into this situation, but she has made the choice that is right for her. The rest of us can only love her and respect her choice on this journey. Choosing our departure, having control of that final moment is actually quite a beautiful and empowering prospect.

Brittany, you are brave, you are courageous, and you are so very loved. May you and your loved ones find peace.

Now

28 Oct

“There are just some kind of men who—who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to living in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” ~Miss Maudie Atkinson, To Kill a Mockingbird

Most of you know I am a high school English teacher in an American public school. Each year my freshman read and analyze Harper Lee’s social and literary masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Like many human beings with a conscience, I love this novel, and would strongly consider giving a hypothetical daughter the name Harper in honor of this woman who gave us the moral and ethical guide that is Atticus Finch.

Each year, I reread the novel along with the students and each year I fall more in love with it and each year I look at the novel on a deeper level.  This year, it has affected me in a much different way. This year I turned 33 and in the months leading up to my birthday I have been stuck in a deep valley of the stickiest, most shoe ruinous of Bubblelicious one could imagine. So many of my favorite figurative shoes have been ruined, and it’s completely my fault.

I am in a place I never thought I’d be. At no point in my alternative rock loving, argumentative, rule following, parent pleasing youth did I ever think I would be where I am at present. I was going to be a well-known and successful political speech writer, or a movie star, I was okay with either one. I was going to live somewhere other than Missouri.  I was going to be married to a doctor or fellow movie star. I was going to have a couple of toe-headed children who were brilliant and adorable and so well behaved people would complement my parenting in public.

At 33, I am married. He’s not a doctor, though sometimes he plays one, and as a former firefighter, paramedic, and a combat veteran he does have a nice foundation of medical knowledge. However, the combat veteran part of his identity is the part that has most colored mine, and as it turns out, I look absolutely terrible in olive drab green.  It was in the black aftermath of the olive drab I lost my sense of fashion and direction.

At 33, and married for ten years, we have no children. If you would ever like to feel like you are from another planet, please try being a married military wife in the Midwest without children. The look of sheer pity and the “what kind of monster are you” expression are faces with which I quite familiar. We don’t have children for a number of reasons, none of which are anyone’s business, regardless of anyone’s incessant insistence to the contrary.

At 33, I am a teacher. It is not where I am supposed to be. I know this on a cellular level. I spend my days stressed, not because I am intellectually taxed, but because I am emotionally cashed out. I get home and I have nothing left for my husband and nothing left for me. I know I am supposed to be doing something that feeds my brain, and teaching just doesn’t. I am not entirely sure what my particular brain diet should contain yet, but I am working on it.

At 33, I am tired of feeling stuck. I am tired of not living for me in this life. Upon some serious self-introspection, which is awesome and completely painful, I have come to begin to understand what I need. I need intellectual nourishment: books, art, lectures, museums, architecture.  I need to create: books, essays, cakes, cookies, meatloaves, and perhaps life too. I need to challenge: my mind, authority, friends, family, my body.

I have realized that I have been stuck because I stuck myself. I made choices, some good, some not so good. I gave up living just so I could survive the suck that was my existence. In other words, I got lazy; I quit fighting. That was a poor choice for me, but perhaps a temporarily necessary one at the time.

Now, I am scraping the gum from my soles in order to move out of existence and into living now. So instead of continuing this subsistence diet of procrastination and putting it off and simply not doing, I am much more conscious of what goes into this body. The payoff for this kind of diet isn’t something that will come later, it’s right now, it’s the doing. It’s the choices I make, it’s the preparation I do, and it’s moments that the beef burns, but the broccoli is perfect, and the cake is beyond incredible.

Finally, I think the meal is coming together.

People Say Life is Funny

14 May 20140514-095250.jpg

It isn’t.

Moments in life are funny. Life itself is not. Life is hard and no one comes out alive.

There is always a struggle of some kind. Those with stars in their eyes may say that is what makes the funny stuff so much funnier. I think those people are blind and in severe pain from all of the stars in their eyes to know what the hell they are talking about.

It is true that some folks clearly have an easier go of it in life than others, but it is also true that no one is happy 100% of the time. We all worry about something, some of use worry more than others about things we probably shouldn’t worry so much about. Anxiety is’t funny. It isn’t fun. The only good thing that potentially comes from it is weight loss.

I have a job where funny things sometimes happen. Usually though they are stupid things and we laugh at them anyway and then I want to cry because I laughed at something so stupid.

I have a puppy and she is funny because her personality is developing and she is still clumsy and trips and falls a lot. Sometimes I feel bad for laughing because she is just learning and then the “I’m a fucking wretched person” guilt sets in.

Amy Schumer is funny. She is funny because satirizes real life bullshit that should not have to be satirized to draw attention. Rape should not have to be a joke to have proper attention paid. Sexism should not have to be satirized. So on. So yes, Amy Schumer makes fun of these things to give them the serious attention they deserve.

Life isn’t funny. It’s really just one big shit show where we try to avoid being hit with the name sake event.

For Real

27 Feb

20140227-142816.jpg

Okay?

Calm the fuck down!

26 Feb

Mother Nature is in control. Seriously, she is. She always is.

As unshocking as this revelation may be, people need to understand it. Also, not breaking news, I am an amateur weather nerd. I love it and I find it absolutely fascinating. I am fortunate enough (most days I think fortunate is the appropriate adjective) to live in a part of the world where the weather experiences actual, defined seasons. Usually four of them per year.

This winter has been full of average temperature days, mild temperature days, and frigid temperature days. In the Midwest, this N-O-R-M-A-L. This is not a pattern we have never experienced before. This is okay. The world isn’t ending yet.

If you have lived my area for any length of time, you know this. You know that extremes are possible and not uncommon. I understand that you don’t like the frigid temperatures, and few people really do, but if you make them the bane of your existence, you have two options to change that.
1. Suck it up and put on a sweater.
2. Move away.
Before you say, “It isn’t that easy to just move away,” I will tell you to shut the hell up. If weather is truly making your life miserable every year, and you bitch about it and make those around you into thoughts of your homicide, then yes it is. Boxes aren’t hard to pack. Admittedly, unpacking sucks though.
As we descend into our 13th or 14th Polar Vortex, calm your tits, light a fire and quit your bitching. If you can’t do those things, I’ll bring you some packing boxes.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.