Caution: Knowledge of my previous blog, makes this blog make a lot more sense.
It’s crazy to think that the last time I wrote a blog post was over a year ago while I was sipping a coffee in Bali, Indonesia. I wrote about love, in perhaps one of the highest, free-est and most “open-handed” points of my life.
It’s ironic and perhaps even humorous, that I am currently sitting in a coffee shop in Colorado Springs, recovering from one of the most difficult weeks, at perhaps one of the hardest, non free-est, and “non-open-handed” points in my life. I am sipping an Irish coffee, because I quite literally do not know what I need more- alcohol or caffeine.
I’ve noticed that I tend to blog when I am the happiest and when my emotions are the highest. It is a way different perspective to blog, when my emotions are high, but not in the way that I am used to.
It’s really not funny, but there’s perhaps something comforting about the fact that amidst everything, I can still sit down (or Skype) with good friends and laugh about it all…even when it’s not funny…at all. There is a saying that goes, “if you can find humor in a difficult situation, you win.” While, I don’t feel like I am winning-at all. In fact, I feel like I am failing, every day, in way more ways that I am used to, at least I have made friends who can laugh with me through it.
For those of you who don’t know, I am currently a Teach for America Corps member, teaching fourth grade at one of the lowest income schools in Colorado Springs. Aside from being one of the least prepared teachers who is serving some of the highest needs kids, I am learning how to deal with bosses who are not so kind, administration that claims to do what’s best for kids, when really it’s about test scores that bring in money, as well as being far away from my strong support system and the people who I love the most. I am learning that not all people want what is best for you and that you have to find your voice to not only advocate for yourself, but for the young minds that you are educating.
It feels unreal, to say the least, when you are freshly 23 and trying to navigate and figure out, well, your own life… love AND your own pursuit of happiness, to be given the responsibility of 4o plus other human being’s lives for a large majority of the day.
It is a whirlwind of a hot mess.
I have always been the type of person who works hard for the things that I want, perseveres until I am good at them, and then once I have accomplished them, reaps the benefits, admittedly, rather quickly. Thrown into a situation, where I work so hard every single day, and have almost every single day feel like I have failed anyways, is so frustrating, hard, and emotionally and physically exhausting.
I have always preached, whole-heartedly, that I would never have a job where I counted down the days, and then to find myself in a situation, where I count down the days, almost every single day, is everything I said I was against.
Then there’s the whole preaching happiness idea. It is frustrating when people ask you if you are happy, and you feel like you can’t say no, because you are usually that positive person, when right now, you are honestly just trying to survive and not quit.
Happiness is an interesting concept. I have recently discovered that there is a difference between happiness and joy. While happiness may not always be present in the moment, I think there is an underlying joy and gratefulness for one’s life, regardless of how happy or not your circumstances are.
While I must admit, I am not at the happiest moment in my life, I do feel an underlying joy and gratefulness for my life. I am joyful because I have strong relationships. I have people who love me, unconditionally. They help keep me strong, when I don’t feel it. Despite crying or wanting to cry almost every day, I am learning at an exponential rate. A friend once told me that, “You know you are growing, when it hurts.” It hurts, ok? Badly. But, there is still an underlying joy.
I have learned that I am not happy when I am called the “mean teacher. ” I do feel joy, however, when I see my kids are writing five paragraph essays and doing long division, when they didn’t know their basic math facts, nor could write a simple paragraph when they entered my class. While I have vertebrae in my spine that are literally out of alignment because of stress, when one of my kids comes up to me and gives me a hug or passes me a sticky note (which they shouldn’t be using to pass notes on at all) to tell you that they love you, that you are their best friend, or that they think you are the best teacher, I can say that I feel joy. While I am not happy when my heart hurts, I do feel joy knowing that I have finally allowed myself to be vulnerable enough and let my guard down enough for my heart to hurt.
While I don’t even quite know where I am going with this blog or my life, I do know that writing it is in ways cathartic for and helps me. It reminds me of the joy that I do have in my life, even when yesterday I did not want to get out of bed.
Life is a vulnerable, yet a joyful adventure. While I have definitely not figured it all out, nor have I learned how to master the hard parts, I do know that I am trying. I am working hard to achieve my dreams, even when it is hard in the moment.
I want to see the whole world, and experience as many experiences as I can, and it’s not just the happiest of moments that inspire me, but the hardest of moments that inspire me as well.
I have come to learn that giving up on the hardest moments, would also rob me of some of life’s most beautiful ones.