no one said it will be easy

Sometimes I wish you read this blog. Not all the posts are great, but isn’t that what best friends do? Support?
Every time you post, I find time in my day to read. You just keep my blog open, a tab among twenty, forgotten.
I know you’re busy, but you’re the one who pushed me to put my writing out there. I say I write for myself, but I like knowing you’ll be reading too.
But you aren’t and I don’t know how to tell you to. Isn’t it something you just do when it’s your best friend? You’re supposed to know what matters to me and make it priority in your life.
I learn about your favorite games and favorite albums, but somehow my desire to make you happy has overwritten me in our relationship.
I don’t ask for things because that’s not who I am. I can live without flowers and chocolates and surprises. I’m so happy just spending time with you. But I surprise you with gifts and give you what you need – you can’t write me a short love letter?
You tell me one day you want to get me a puppy. You tell me that you’ll sing a song for me. Your words are just open thoughts. That’s okay. I like one day because it makes me think we’re on a wonderful journey together.
Maybe. For my first dating relationship, I expected more romance. You’re one of my best friends because you’re a great conversationalist and a challenger of my comfort zone. I love that we’re more; when we are walking side by side you naturally grab my hand and you always kiss my lips and my forehead when we part. When I prattle on about my students, you listen wholly. You tell me you love me and those are my favorite words.
I just wish you read my posts.

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loners and holidays don’t mix

I love Thanksgiving food. I love Christmas trees and presents. The overwhelming number of people who suddenly want to be festive together? Not so much.

At work, we had a Friendsgiving yesterday. For weeks, I hesitated sharing what I was going to bring. I like eating by myself in my classroom; it’s the ten minutes of calmness I have in my day. But I worried about others not having enough food. Caving, I made thin mint cookies.

We ended up with enough food to cover us for at least three meals. There weren’t enough chairs for all of us to sit, but in the autumn decorated room, the pork chops and egg salads and samosas served wonderful variety for our taste buds and made the atmosphere homey. I stood in the corner of discussions about relationships and what we should drink at the holiday party at my boss’s house. I tried to chime in, but in retrospect I don’t know if my voice didn’t work or it was too loud to be heard.

The first ten minutes it was nice to be a part of the group, to be a work family. But as the clock ticked forward and I sat with my plate empty, full, I got restless to do more than just sit. Especially when I had nothing to vocally contribute. So I took my leave.

This Thanksgiving is the first one my mom and I are cooking the entire meal. She got up before me, and I jumped in helping to cook since 6:30am. I need a nap. More than that, I need quietness.

My idea of fun is eating good food, finding good articles or shows to read or watch and doing it with people I love. The people I love are people who are actually a part of my life. Not family who comes by during the holiday season and ask me how’s work and after my response be weighed down by dead silence.

In 8th grade I was told it was quality that mattered over quantity when I wrote. But that philosophy can be applied here too. I would rather have a small close-knit family than an extended family I have a surface relationship with.

As I hide in my room before their cars and vans begin to arrive momentarily, I find solace in knowing the dinner will be greatly appreciated.

what do you do when a distant cousin contacts you?

My family and I are a simple power of three. We have family around the world and sometimes we travel to see them. Mostly it’s just us.

My parents are old school; they contact their relatives by phone or WhatsApp. For them it makes sense to be in touch; they’ve grown up with them before they moved here. But I’ve never met so many of them. Shy, self-conscious and uncomfortable, I make sure I’m not around when the calls are made. I have to answer the same questions: what grade are you in? I graduated! When are you coming to visit? Um…*awkward laugh, look at my mom for help*

With the access of Facebook searches, I’ve had cousins add me. I cross check with my parents to make sure they’re really my cousins before I accept their request. It’s how I see posts from my cousins from different countries. Yet, I can’t find my voice to establish a direct communication line with them. Just as a genealogy paper, we just appear to be family on the web.

But how can blood lines make up family? My parents and I are the nuclear family. They are a constant in my life. I have friends who are more constant in my life than my cousins. Blood does not negate family; they have to earn that title.

And that’s not easy. My parents are loners too. They are mistrustful of people’s intentions regardless of relation. Having seen their fair share of their parents’ gullible mistakes, when they do host dinners, they make sure the night is filled with cards, board games, movies and lots of food to keep everyone occupied from asking for handouts or weeping their woes to get my parents’ sympathy. Having witnessed this growing up, it takes me a long time to open up to people. I didn’t fully open up to my best friend Chit for two years! And I already called her my best friend.

Now as a pending message awaits in my Facebook inbox from a cousin, I contemplate how to address, “how you doing?” I predict the conversation to be short without details. But if I don’t give us a chance to warm up to each other, I won’t be giving her a chance to earn being family. Here’s to trying.

 

things that darken my soul

10. i warm up my food for a minute and thirty seconds and it’s still cold. damn the different microwave watts!

9. dress holes. when? how? where? why???? now i have to learn how to sew.

8. no one answering their phone. the one time i want to talk!

7. lack of property respect. don’t read my books then not put them back in its exact location on the shelf. I WILL KNOW.

6. put-down jokes. how are they ever funny?

5. prices. do they ever go down? how am i supposed to have a solid savings account when basic necessities are constantly increasing? when can i indulge?

4. name-calling. bones heal, but names are never forgotten. that’s how grudges are born.

3. burnt tongue. i’m just excited to drink my hot chocolate! if only the Keurig temperatures could be varied.

2. water clogged boots. weathered boots, my socks get soaked. my poor innocent toes.

1. traffic. bumper to bumper – so much time wasted.

with sleep, hopefully a whole new me

8. That’s the magic number of recommended hours of sleep. But what about the number of hours awake? According to the magic number, we’re supposed to be awake sixteen hours a day. That number is so big I feel tired just thinking about it.
The irony is at the end of those sixteen hours, I feel the daily crunch of not having done enough.
I have a scholar who walks into the class always a minute after attendance submission. He’s lucky he’s never counted tardy; our class is the furthest down the hall. He is considered on time as long as his feet crosses the primary threshold. But he takes his sweet time dragging his feet to class, his eyes half-lidded, back slightly hunched – you would think the zombie apocalypse has begun. Slumped in his seat, he barely lifts his head to greet me or Ella – or any of his friends! Breakfast would be a source of energy, but when given one, he leaves the food untouched. Despite sleeping at eight-thirty pm according to his mom, he doesn’t fully wake up until late morning – ten-thirty/eleven or so.

I wish I could do that! Just sit back and babysit my scholars and teach them when I am good and ready. But adults have responsibilities.

So do children for that matter. At our charter school, we push for core values to be learned and honored. With our scholar in much need for slumber, Ella and I were not sympathetic at first. The rest of the class slept and woke up at relatively the same time as him. We refused to lower our expectations; instead, since he is our resident hip hop dance star, we would start the day with a song to get everybody moving. It worked – except for him.
Finally, this week we stopped pushing him and started meeting him halfway. Lowering our tones like talking to a stunned rabbit who walked into a tree, to find demonstrate he understands us by repeating or arm gestures or to listen. He prefers the latter, but at least he makes choice by himself to bring a chair over to the learning carpet to remain a part of the whole class.

Kids need eight to ten hours of sleep. Why is it that adults need less? Sure our brains are developed, but if we are in charge of influencing others around us with our quips and tones, if we are to be the exemplary leaders ourselves, if we are to carry out tasks with excellent accuracy, we need our sleep today.

This comes from me at my 18.5 hours of being awake. The inner me tells me I’m a wimp; I’ve survived on four to five hours of sleep in high school and in college. But then my loner side wasn’t pleasant in high school and my choices weren’t rational in college – I’m beginning to see a whole new me.

Lights out, goodnight readers.