What’s In A Name?

I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t feel a twinge of sadness in losing my last name when I marry Greg this October. For 32 years, I’ve been a Schatz. That’s a pretty substantial amount of time! Yeah, my last name gets butchered all the time, but it’s fairly unique, speaks to my heritage, and is a big part of my identity.  I’ve also got a pretty big feminist streak that makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong in taking Greg’s last name of Brown.

The thing is, as strong as a woman I am, and as attached to my last name that I am, I still have a streak of traditionalness running through me. (And yes, I know that “tradionalness” isn’t a word, but I really think it should be, so I’m using it!) I plan to spawn a few minions with Greg, and I’d like us to be a family unit with the same last name. Hyphenation could solve this issue, but the thing is, I actually, kinda, sorta, don’t like hyphenated last names. I’m pretty sure my hippie card is being revoked at this moment. For one, if Greg and I were to hyphenate our names, we’d be the Schatz-Brown family. Let that sink in for a moment, pronouncing it the way most people do: “Shats.”  Reversed isn’t any better.

While I like the unity of the two names, and even IF we had compatible last names, I just feel that it would then leave my future offspring (especially a female) in a conundrum when they got married. Growing up in a family of blended names, they might want to blend their names too.  So would we be breeding a Schatz-Brown-Johnson  for  instance? I doubt anyone would want to have 3 last names, so we’d basically be forcing our female child to either keep her name and be different from the rest of her own family, or give up her name completely; something her mom (me) was trying to avoid. It just doesn’t seem fair that I would get the choice to blend my name, but my daughter wouldn’t.

I know, I think too much.

Besides, Brown is a nice, traditional name. If I ever get to teach again, I won’t constantly be asked how to spell Schatz, or get a note from a parent with some letters missing from my last name. Brown was a first grade spelling word, so I can imagine the kids would LOVE the freebie for the spelling test, assuming I taught first grade again. And I’ve gotta admit, I’m actually kinda giddy over the whole becoming a Missus thing. I love Greg with all of my being, and I’m so excited that we are going to become one and start our own little Brown family.

We joke that we’ll become a mixture of the two names: the Bratz family. It MUST be said forcefully with a heavy German accent.  The more we laugh about it, the more normal the name sounds, but I have this thing about genealogy and it’d be a shame that my ancestors couldn’t find anyone before us because we created a whole new line. That, and I’m sure we’d regret naming ourselves after big, fat, sausages.

When my mom married my dad, she made her maiden name her middle name, and I’d like to do that too. Except, I want to go a step further. I share a middle name with my Grandma, and I’d hate to lose that part of me, so I’m going to ask the state of California if I can have two middle names, and cross my fingers they don’t tell me I can only have two first names or two last names. I’d like to be Erica Jane Schatz Brown. It might be a pain in the ass to sign on legal documents, but really, it’s not that often that I have to sign my entire name. On a trip up the coast a few years ago, I ran into this dude in a Santa Barbara thrift store:

If Fire Panda could do it, so should I.

Another Time I Peed My Pants

I wish I could say that the marathon was the only time I peed my pants as an adult, but sadly, it is not. Since I’ve been a child, I’ve had this problem where I do small leaks of urine when I’m having too much fun hiding or being mischievous. Let me put it this way: when I would play hide-and-go-seek, I’d be silently laughing to myself so hard, that I’d ever so lightly pee my pants. I never grew out of that. Which makes me wonder if it’s not necessarily bladder issues, but just that I’m perpetually six years old.

In any case, I had more than a slight leak one time back in college. (I think of college students as kids now that I’m old, but technically, college students are primarily legal aged adults, so I’m still counting this as an “adult” experience.) I was hanging out with two of my Cross Country buddies, Leti and Mike, in Mike’s dorm room, which happened to be just one floor down from my dorm. For some reason, Mike left Leti and me alone in his room for a decent amount of time. Noticing that he had hardly any clothes hanging in his closet, we thought it’d be brilliant if we stole his clothes (and his Nabisco cookies that also happened to be in there) and trudged them up to my room.

With an armful of jeans and shirts, we bolted out of his room, slammed through the staircase doors, and laughed wholeheartedly as we climbed the stairs to my floor. That’s when it happened. I began urinating, and it wasn’t just a tad. I instantly dropped to my knees in the hopes that I could withhold the flood that was trying to pour out of me. Leti thought I tripped, and I didn’t correct her. Instead, I urged her to continue, reassuring her that I was okay and I’d be right behind her. Fortunately, I was able to control my bladder, but when I stood, I knew that the damage was done. The dampness I felt between my legs was mortifying, and I was grateful that the door to my room was right next to the staircase. I deposited my armful of clothes on my bed next to Leti where we continued laughing and catching our breath. I caught a glance of myself in the mirror, and saw that my pee soaked pants weren’t noticeable at all. However, even without having a sense of smell, I knew the stench of urine could creep up at any moment, and I had to get out of those jeans! I quickly grabbed a pair of shorts and underwear, and ran to the bathroom without explaining where I was going or why. I came back clad in shorts and shamefully muttered something about being hot from running up the stairs and wanting to change into something cooler. Luckily, Leti completely bought that story, and I was able to toss my stinky clothes in the back of the closet.

I never did tell Leti the truth. At the time, it was entirely too embarrassing to confess, and as time went on, it was hard to come up with reasons to ever bring it up. I can just imagine: “Hey, you wanna hear about the time I peed my pants with you? Well, not that you peed your pants, but there was this time that I wet myself and you happened to be there…”

Yeah, that wasn’t gonna happen. But exposing my shameful secret a decade later on a blog? Now that I can do!

Hate to Phone

Finding a venue for my wedding is proving to be frustrating and stressful. At one point last week, I truly thought it was going to be impossible; however, I’ve recently been able to shorten the list and highlight places I’d like to visit based on information I’ve received…information I’ve received solely through email. One thing many people don’t know about me is that I do not like talking on the phone. And I don’t mean that in a personal preference sort of way. I mean it in a I get mild anxiety over the thought of making a phone call sort of way.

I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. Though I was a shy and quiet child, I did not have a problem picking up the phone to call my friend Sarah to inquire as to whether or not she could walk down the street to come over and play. I did, however, have a problem calling her if it was just to chat. We actually used to talk on the phone quite frequently, and though I can’t physically remember, I’m almost certain that those phone conversations started because Sarah called me, not vice versa. It’s not as though I didn’t want to talk to her; I did. It was the build-up in my mind prior to the phone call that would prevent me from calling in the first place. What if she doesn’t want to talk right now? What if her family is eating dinner? What if she wants to come over, but she can’t because my brother’s friends are already here? In the end, I usually just didn’t call.

As an adult, I’m wrought with the same worries and anxieties; the difference being that I actually have to make certain phone calls—like to doctors. Before I make the call, I dialogue in my head exactly what I’d like to say to the person I’m calling. Once I figure out my phrasing, I grab a piece of paper to write out verbatim opening statements, along with bulleted points or questions I would like to bring up during the conversation. I guess my worry is that I will forget what I want to ask, or come across as a bumbling moron. Even when I have my “script” written out, I will put off an important call for days until I work up my nerve and find just the right moment in my day to phone them (aka I need to be completely alone with the windows and doors shut tight). Yeah, the thought of anyone overhearing an important call scares the crap out of me because I feel as though they will be thinking that they could have made that same call a lot better and with more finesse than me. And that’s not even because I think that I’m surrounded by “judgy” people; it’s simply a self-confidence issue within myself.

Making a phone call to a friend is a whole other story. For those…well, those just usually don’t happen. It bums me out that I can’t just pick up the phone and call a friend, but unless I have some major news to share, I get all my old hang-ups over calling. It’s been months since I last called…what if they give me a hard time about that? What if she’s busy and she’s only talking to me to be nice? What if I run out of things to say?

So because of this quirky aspect of mine, I’m dependent on the wedding venues to actually email me back their details, which is not necessarily the preferred avenue of contact for some of the smaller places. Many have been great in sending me information in a timely manner, while others that I’d really like to know more about, sit overlooked on my list because I’m too scared to call. I know I’m going to have to suck it up and create my listed dialogue eventually, but what’s a few more days gonna hurt?

8 Glasses of Water

As some of you are well aware, I hate drinking water. The last time I attempted to drink large quantities of water, I gave myself hypothermia, so I’ve been wary ever since. However, I do realize that there are benefits that come with hydrating properly. A week before Christmas, in an attempt to be healthy, I decided to drink eight glasses of water a day. Let me backtrack a little:

While at Target with Greg to get water filter replacements for our sink (because one of us actually drinks water on a regular basis), I was drawn to the purple Brita water pitchers on the shelf. I casually mentioned to Greg, “ I think I might actually drink water if I had this. I mean, I only like water when it’s cold, and though I can achieve that effect through ice, the cubes just get in the way of my drinking, and it’s too much of an effort.” At which point, I’m sure he rolled his eyes, but also grabbed one off the shelf to bring home. We filled it that night and stuck it in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day, I began my morning with a small 8oz cup of water. I totally busted out a measuring cup too. I wasn’t about to drink more than needed. To my surprise, it wasn’t half bad. And? It didn’t burn my throat! Every hour or so, I chugged down another cup. And I mean that literally. I would take a deep breath, and finish each cup as if I just lost in a drinking game. The way I saw it, the longer I left the cup out in the open air, the warmer the water would become. It was better for me to drink it while it was still cool and refreshing. Kinda like the way it was with vegetables as a kid. If I stacked all five zucchini slices on my fork and shoved them in my mouth in one bite while they were still hot, it’d be over and done with, as opposed to pushing them around my plate all dinner, then gagging down cold zucchini. If I have to do it, I might as well make it as pleasurable as possible.

In any case, I drank 8-10 glasses of water for nine consecutive days! I was extremely proud of myself, and probably would have kept going, but Christmas day was the tenth day, and I was out of my home for almost the whole day. It didn’t help that at every other house I visited on Christmas, I was tempted with juice, hot apple cider, soda, and wine. With all those choices, there was no way I’d prefer water! Once I got off schedule, my motivation waned. Plus, my brother’s girlfriend is in med school right now, and when I was telling her about it, she said eight glasses isn’t necessary. The guideline is to drink when you’re thirsty. Which totally threw me for a loop, ‘cause Ryan Gosling said on Ellen that, “When you’re thirsty, it’s too late.” And we all know actors are always right. However, I’m going to go with the future doctor’s advice.

And, well, I’m never thirsty…for water.

Kinda Smelling a Fart

Partly because I can’t smell, but mostly because I’m gross and find farts humorous, Greg and I let the gas fly freely in our household. While folding laundry together the other night, Greg let a particularly stinky one rip. With each disgusted face he made, I laughed harder and harder. It’s always awesome for me to watch others suffer through horrid smells, and this time was especially funny because Greg did it to himself. He took a few steps toward me in anticipation for tickling revenge, and as he did, I inhaled and suddenly choked on a burning sensation in the back of my throat. I let out a soft cough, thinking I must have had a weird tickle or spur of allergies over some dust microbe. That’s when Greg went back to his side of the bed to fold and said something to the effect of, “Oh god it burns.” I paused over the wonder and realization of me actually experiencing a fart, so I promptly asked him, “Do farts really burn? Like, can you actually feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat?” To which he responded with a this-is-common-sense-tone, “Yeah. It’s methane gas.”

I must have asked him three times to clarify exactly how it feels, because I couldn’t believe that I may have actually experienced a real fart, but it’s true. I was ecstatic! I quickly walked into his fart zone in the hopes of feeling the burning sensation again, but a few deep breaths later, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Smells are fleeting with me, and usually entail less smelling and more tingling in my nose, tastes on my tongue, or currently, a burn in my throat. However, that didn’t dampen the initial joy of actually semi-smelling a fart.

As grossed out as I’m sure most of you are by this point (if any of you are still reading), I’ve been trying to smell farts my whole life! In high school, my cousin would let a good one out on her mattress while we sat on her bed doing homework, and I’d immediately rush up, plant my nose firmly into the bed, and hope that I’d smell her alleged rose scented farts. For all I know, her farts really did smell like a beautiful rose garden, so I totally back her on that claim.

I am so intrigued with smells, and it’s so incredibly difficult for those around me to explain what they’re like. So please, those of you that read and are good with words, I beg of you to attempt to explain to me the smell of farts. Or just share a good fart story if you want. Your grossness is accepted here.

My idol, Jenny, The Bloggess, attempted to explain to me what blood smells like. Do you think she nailed it?

Zombie on My Mind…Still

With the return of The Walking Dead, I can’t help but constantly have zombie on my mind. I’ve already mused on my blog about what sort of zombie I’d become, yet still, the other day, I was thinking about possible scenarios that might play out in the case that I actually live through most of the zombie apocalypse.

Me: If we live through the zombie apocalypse, and it reaches a point where we are completely surrounded with no way out, I think we should just turn ourselves into zombies.

Greg: I like how this conversation started with, “If we live through the zombie apocalypse…”

Me: I know I’ve told you before to just shoot me, but now I have a better plan.

Greg: (smiles amusingly while getting up and walking into the kitchen)

Me: (follows him into the kitchen) Let’s say our apartment is boarded up, with zombies trying to break in. We could just stick our arms out, get bitten, and wait to be zombified. That way, by the time they get in, they won’t be able to eat us because we’ll already have turned.

Greg: Being you, if you stuck your arm out, it would just get torn off.

Me: True. So maybe I can just stick a finger out…

Greg: …to get bit off.

Me: Or better yet! When their arms squeeze through one of the cracks in the boards, we can stick our arms just within their reach so that they can only scratch us! Then we just sit back, and wait to turn into zombies.

Greg: Yeah, and be stuck in our apartment not eating brains.

Me: Exactly! So when they come out with the cure, we’ll never have ingested humans.

Greg: When the CDC finally busts into our apartment, they’ll find two zombies sitting down playing video games.

That’s why I love him. He gets me.

My Immunes! (A Story of Yellow Toenails)

I was told that while the stitches in my ankle’s tendon are holding, my tears have likely not healed. I did not find this surprising, as my body has competed against my desire to be healthy and normal my entire life. Next week, I will be undergoing a natural healing process where my blood’s platelet rich plasma will be separated and injected into my tendon in the hopes that those beneficial growth factors will speed up the healing process. In the meantime, it’s two more months of complete inactivity (besides regular walking, and thankfully, no wearing of the boot).

While grateful for an answer, this means that I will have to forgo the marathon I had planned to race in this coming Sunday. Being that I wasn’t able to train properly anyway, it’s probably more of a blessing. Also, surprise, surprise, I managed to gain not one, but two ingrown toenails over the last week and a half that has disallowed me from wearing any shoes. (I wore a pair for three hours last week, and I paid for it horribly that night.) My toes would not have held up for 26.2 miles anyway!

I used to get ingrown toenails frequently growing up, but never as throbbing or painful as the ones I have now. I believe this has to do with the fact that, up until a year and a half ago, my toenails were thick and yellow. (My guess: the thicker the shard of nail to dig out, the easier it is to remove.) When I was young, doctors said that nothing could be done about my nails because it was genetic, and so I endured years of embarrassing yellow toenails.

As a child, it was hard enough fitting in while being painfully shy, abnormally tiny, and possessing a nose that was far too big for my face. Unfairly, but fittingly, I was given disgusting, embarrassing, crumbly, yellow toenails to mix into my cocktail of ailments. I couldn’t do anything to hide my large, dysfunctional sniffer, and I took the teases in stride. But my toes; those I could control…or so I thought.

Besides going to the pool and curling my toes inward on my quick paced walk to the water, I was able to cover my unsightly feet with socks and shoes all day long! That is, unless you go to Sports Camp for the summer, and the gymnastics leaders force you to take off your socks even though you beg them not to, and plead with them to get your dad (the one running the gym at the camp) to vouch for you. Adults don’t always listen to kids, and those adults had the final say, so I slowly and reluctantly peeled my socks off my feet. I did my usual toe curl that I used effectively at the pool, but when it came time for tumbling, I just couldn’t perform the proper technique without uncurling my toes. This meant, as I came out of my roll and stood, feet together, hands held high for my “stick,” a mean, pretty girl was able to grab my ankle, hold it with a tight, zombie grip, and announce to the gym, “Oh my god! Look at her toes! Her toenails are yellow! Hurry, come look!” As you can imagine, tears of embarrassment sprang forth, and I wished that the blue felt of the mat covers would open up and smother me away from the gawking girls gathered around my feet. Of course, after the gym leaders were able to pry those girl’s fingers from off my ankle, they allowed me to wear my socks, but the damage was done. My dignity was lost, and I dreaded going to Sports Camp.

However, as most kids do, I grew to accept myself. I even learned how to manage my toenails with a 7-speed electric sander battery operated toenail file and some nail polish. A few years ago, I discovered that modern medicine had advanced, so I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor who prescribed me Lamisil tablets. Those pills worked wonders, and currently, most of my toenails are cured. However, I believe that as my toenails were growing into their thin, clear, beautiful selves, that they followed the thick, curled path of the old nails, and viciously cut their way into my nail bed like the knife of a surgeon. I’ve since dug them out (with twice the effort and pain as before) and have accepted that I will most likely always have ingrown toenails.

This entire story is to say that I’m unusually optimistic about my upcoming natural healing process next week. (I love long tangents, don’t you?) Yellow toenails might not sound like much, but trust me when I say that my body conspires against me, and if not for modern medicine, I’d probably be dead, or abandoned to some colony of misfits. My little platoon of “immunes,” as I like to call them, obviously couldn’t heal the tears in my tendon (even with the aid of stitches–poor little troopers), so I’m eager to witness all of my strongest immunes being clustered together into a battalion of health. Here’s hoping for the comeback of a lifetime!

Future Zombie

~Trigger warning for talking about mild self-harm. The meat of this entry is meant to be entertaining; I just want to be sensitive to others.~

Confession: When I get nervous or anxious, I eat myself. Literally. I pick at the skin around my nails and tear it away with my teeth. And when I’m trying to give the open wounds on my hands a chance to heal, I start gnawing on my bottom lip. For the most part, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I’ve drawn blood. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and because of it, I have callused thumbs and a permanent crater on my bottom lip. I can’t seem to shake this anxiety trigger no matter how mindful I try to be. I’m starting to think that this gross habit of mine predisposes me to becoming a great zombie.

Greg and I have had countless discussions about what would happen to us during the zombie apocalypse. Though I’ve instructed him to shoot me in the case of our apartment getting overrun, there’s a big small chance I’ll be bitten too quickly for him to help. The reality of it is that I would be eaten immediately (my hopes being that enough of me survived to become a walking dead). Greg would likely survive, and he may or may not come back to collect me and lock me up in a cage waiting for a cure.

We’ve thought about the different options for me as a zombie. Because of my passive personality and love for everything, it wouldn’t be so far fetched to see me sitting in someone’s front lawn eating daisies as opposed to the helpless child wandering the streets. Greg and I have laughed over the humorous prospect of me trying to convert my zombie friends to vegetarianism.

However, with relation to my skin biting, it’s likely that I may find brains delicious. My worry is over the execution of retrieving said brains. I’m a pacifist by nature, and I just can’t see myself hunting down an innocent human, no matter how black my brain becomes. It’d probably be more likely that I would just be softly growling from a distance and gnashing my teeth together ever so lightly in the hopes that the living would approach me.

Or, maybe I’ll just end up resorting to this:

Zombie Erica eating a chicken nugget.

Hope Relay

There’s a blog relay going on during this Olympic season started by Melanie Crutchfield where she began blogging about hope, and passed the torch to other bloggers who then continued passing that torch of hope, and so on. She will even be conducting a “closing ceremony” with excerpts from this relay. The torch of hope has been dangling in front of me from many fellow bloggers, and I desperately wanted to write on it, but inspiration was failing me. That is, until today.

This morning, I woke up from a bad dream. It consisted of me being upset with some sort of thing Greg did or said, but whenever the action was completed, and I began to reason and argue with him, he morphed into my ex, and my past feelings of entrapment and desolation crumpled in around me.

For those of you new to my blog, or unfamiliar with the details of my past, I was in a detrimental relationship for 6 years that I finally found the strength to get out of during the early summer of 2009. I told myself that I never wanted to blog in any great detail about my ex, and that he didn’t deserve any mention or acknowledgement, since I’m still recovering from the scars he left. However, with the way he haunts my dreams, I know I will feel better writing not about him, but about my struggles with him, the hope that was lost while with him, and the stronger person I’ve become without him.

It’s still too shameful to admit to myself, let alone the public, everything I endured while in that relationship, but suffice it to say that I was verbally and mentally abused, as well as threatened, frightened, and physically harmed. It wouldn’t be fair of me to call him a “beater,” though I bore many a bruise due to his anger and myself being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At one point, I think I was crying out for help by wearing shorts while visiting my family after receiving a softball size bruise on my upper thigh, but when my dad inquired about it, instead of telling him the truth of my ex’s anger, I told him it was just that: a softball getting batted into my leg. For some reason, I kept getting sucked back into that relationship despite my wanting to get out. I knew it wasn’t a good relationship, but I didn’t know how to get out of it, and thus, lost hope that I’d ever truly be happy, and resigned myself to the fate of dealing with him and living unhappily for the rest of my life.

I sunk into a depression that swallowed me and pulled me into myself. I rarely left the house except for work, and turned down outings with my friends and family. Much of that was due to the dark funk I was in, but just as much of it was out of my distrust of him. Though I never had solid proof of his cheating, I did have proof of his flirting through texts and social networking, and even proof of a dinner date he took with another woman. (He was good at manipulation and lying, but horrible at covering his tracks.) I thought that if I was always home, he wouldn’t be able to follow through on his plans with other women. Constantly being around him, drowning in his negativity, and my creeping depression was slowly killing my spirit, and I was stuck in a vicious cycle where I saw no way out.

It wasn’t until our final days, that I overheard him making plans to get away for a weekend with another female. For some reason, even this wasn’t enough to make me want to immediately break up with him. It was when I heard him confidently tell this woman while chuckling, “Don’t even think about telling my girlfriend about our this. Alex[andra] tried that years ago, and it didn’t work.” Which was true, and hurtful to hear out of his own mouth.

It’s probably hard to understand my rationale without knowing all of my heartbreaking background, but his evil laugh, and his cocky demeanor, as well as finally getting my solid proof of him sleeping with Alex was the final straw. I had finally found my courage and built up enough anger to exit that relationship. When it was done, there were no more tears. I had never felt so free in my entire life, and as surprising as it was to not cry, it also made sense. For the first time in years, I was truly, and utterly, happy. All at once, my black cloud of depression lifted, and I started to recover my old self.

I suffered a great deal, but came out stronger. I never understood why women stayed in abusive relationships until I experienced it myself. In hindsight, it’s easy to realize how dumb I was, and tell myself how easy it could have been to get out, but at the time, it was the hardest thing in the world. My hope is that other women (or men) feeling trapped in their abusive relationships will find their strength sooner than later, and that they can find support from others to assist them. For me, it took the love and encouragement from two very special cousins and one irreplaceable best friend. I don’t know that I could have done it alone, and I am eternally grateful to them for not putting me down, but constantly lifting me up and accepting my decisions no matter how harmful they might have been to me.

If you are in a relationship that is ultimately damaging your happiness and ruining the person you used to be, my hope is that you look to others to help you find your inner strength. Surround yourself with love, and don’t lose sight of your self-worth. And those of you watching a loved one suffer; I hope that you will be the non-judging stronghold that they will need to pull themselves out.

And now I pass the torch. What is your hope? It can be a hope for you, a hope for a friend, or a hope for humanity. It can be anything you dare to hope for, so hope away!

Unemployment Benefits

When my school district first laid me off, my initial thought was that a Director of Education position at Sylvan would be a suitable alternative, so you can imagine my excitement, last week, upon finding a similar opening at a center nearby. The day before I left for camp, I sent them my resume, and on Monday, I had a phone interview with the Sylvan franchise owner that went extremely well. I was told that the next step would be another Sylvan employee contacting me within 24 hours to schedule a one-on-one meeting/interview. I was never contacted. After the first day passed without a call, I initially felt myself sinking into my worthless funk, but now that a few days have passed, I’m actually starting to feel relieved.

I understand that if I really want the job, I should call the franchise owner again to follow up, but honestly, I’m not sure that I want to. While that job will bring me around $100 less per month than my unemployment gives me, it comes with benefits and the potential to turn into a salaried position as the economy improves. And yet, I don’t feel the need to fight for this job. This could be due to my passive nature, but I really feel that it is due to the fact that I want to teach. Period.

I’m fairly certain I could excel at Sylvan; even with the managerial demands the position entails. I might even find some happiness working there; especially once the afternoon hits and the kids arrive. But ultimately, I know my heart will be longing for that teaching void that this job would not fill.

And honestly? Besides the waves of worthlessness that wash over me every now and again, I’m actually kind of enjoying my unemployment. Due to all this free time, I was able to start this blog last June. For as long as I can remember, writing has been gratifying to me. I have volumes upon volumes of journals that span from 5th grade to my college years. I used to write 13 page letters to my best friend on a regular basis before snail mail became outdated. Writing calms me, and fills me with a sense of accomplishment. If I hadn’t lost my job, I don’t think I would have found the time to start this blog, and I think that’s what worries me. I don’t mind putting my writing on a backburner for teaching. Working with children is my number one passion, and I look forward to the time when I can be back in the classroom. But to give up my love of writing, for a job that is not where I ultimately want to end up in life, does not sound like an enjoyable alternative.

Many may look at this decision as selfish, or even idiotic. Believe me, I wrestle with feelings of guilt and laziness over being unemployed on a daily basis, and not aggressively going after this Sylvan job is taking it’s toll on me (the chewed, pink, raw skin around my thumbs are physical proof of that). And while my intentions do have a dash of selfishness thrown in, I know I have to make happiness my number one priority. If I start working a job that ultimately, does not leave me happy, and prevents me from continuing to write, I think I will only live to regret it.

I’ve always strived to look for the positive in things, and I truly feel that my unemployment was a blessing. Besides the fact that it gave me the opportunity to write and express myself, it allowed me to move in with Greg, and realize that, despite always being around each other, we still have the most amazing, rock-solid relationship. It is a love and respect that I’ve never experienced before, and I’m so grateful to live with him and experience what a loving relationship is supposed to feel like. Moving back to my hometown after twelve years away also strengthened and renewed my relationships with my immediate and extended family. I’ve always been close with my family, but this proximity has been pleasant and uplifting for me. I’m thankful for the chance to pop in and visit my grandma in the early afternoon hours, or to meet up on Saturdays at the park for a game of Ultimate Frisbee with my siblings, cousins, and friends. If I were still teaching in Adelanto, none of this would be possible.

Judge my decisions if you want, but until I’m teaching again, I’m going to make the most of my unemployment and push my guilty feelings aside.