Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Update 05/28/2014

Just another update if you're interested.

I just, perhaps 7 minutes ago, submitted an application to become a flight attendant for a mainline, non-legacy, airline.  Basically in the past week I decided that it'd be pretty neat to be a Flight Attendant so today marks the first day I actually started in on the process.  "But, Coléa, what happened to the whole 'moving to Chile' thing?' you may be asking: well I sent in my application packet two weeks ago today.  Two days after I sent my application in I received an email from the Chilean Consulate in DC saying that I don't qualify for the temporary residency visa I applied for.  The email was a generic rejection one so it didn't tell me why, only the kind of people that visa was for and that I could be a tourist in Chile for three months on my US passport.  I sent an email in response asking him what I need to do to qualify for said visa and explained that according to what he said in the generic rejection email I'm the exact type of person who this visa is meant for.  I haven't received a response from him yet, which doesn't make me feel too optimistic.  So despite searing disappointment and a bout of devastation I am choosing to move forward as if I am not either of those things and trying to seek employment elsewhere (live everything, right?), assuming 'the whole Chile thing' (plus some people who were all for it and even excited for my move didn't seem to care or be disappointed) really doesn't work out.  I was thinking of jobs that I thought I'd be good at that would allow me to travel (read: not be stuck in a cubicle under florescent lights) and becoming a flight attendant seems actually pretty cool. So wish me luck as I continue to apply everywhere that will let me.

The end of the school year is eight (school) days away and I am freaking excited.  It's a strange feeling knowing I'm not coming back to teaching after summer.  It's scary, but exciting.  There are lots of factors and soap-boxy reasons that I'm not returning to education (at least as a teacher) but here's an abbreviated version: tired of the US education bureaucracy, tired of NC politicians degrading educators, tired of my school administration, and tired of being broke every single month of the year.  At this point I want ONE job that I like, that pays all my bills, that provides insurance (and dental).  Please don't misunderstand my reasons for discontinuing my teaching career, it's not the kids.  It never was the kids, even the really terrible kids who I rejoice when they're not there.  Yesterday I was watching my kindergarten kids watch The Wiz and I just looked at their faces and reactions and dancing and couldn't help but feel adoration for them.  I love them sooo much, I'm almost in tears about it.  All my students are so, so special to me and even on our worst days when I don't have a hint of like towards them, I love them deeply.  I will miss the connection a teacher has with their students, and I will miss the onslaught of compliments I get from some no matter how crappy or average I look, and I will miss students coming to me with their lives and asking me to help them with it, and will miss seeing their faces light up when they see someone who looks like them being phenomenal because representation matters, and I will miss them trying to hug me even though they just came from outside are soo sweaty and gross, and I will miss their terrible jokes.  I will miss it all, I will miss them all.  Being a teacher is easily one of the most gratifying things I have ever done and I am grateful to have experienced meeting and shaping our world's future.

I got a haircut last week and I freaking love it.  It's the shortest it's ever been so there's literally nothing to doing with it but wear it.  


Sunday I went to my first Bikram Yoga class!  Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga, is like doing yoga in a sauna; the temperature in the studio gets up around 102 Fahrenheit.  I had been wanting to try this for years now, but something always stopped me; I found a Groupon for hot yoga classes down the street from where I'm now living and went for it.  I've been to two classes and have 18 more.  The first class was a breeze, but yesterday's class was a beast, upper body strength isn't my forte. If you're looking to push yourself hot yoga should be tried!

Last week I finished the book, Invisible Ellen, and my conclusion is that it's a feel good book.  The ending was tidy and mostly inconsequential and I finished not wanting more, but being completely satisfied with it.  Now I'm (barely) working on a new book by Ann Brashares, the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, called The Here and Now.  I didn't realize this was a young adult book, so now I'm less thrilled about it, but the plot seems pretty good despite.  It's about a teenage girl sent from the future to live in the here and now (*wink*) but she must follow some rules to avoid problems...then she falls in love with a person from the present, which is against those rules.  Anyway, we'll see.

That's pretty much it.  I hope enjoyed.  You are loved and wonderful.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Updates

It's been a while since I've written a blog post, so I figured I could update y'all on my life recently. I'd say a lot has happened. 

Two weeks ago yesterday, I moved. I'm now about 30 minutes south of where I was before in the city I grew up in instead of living in a surrounding city. My roommate is a generous nurse who I know from church. I've never lived on this side of town and I LOVE it. It's only about 15 minutes from the school I teach instead of the 45 minute minimum commute I had before. Now, my commute is a dream and I don't have to wake up nearly as early as before so I don't feel resentful or like shit first thing in the morning. It's great how close I am to the things I love about this city; I never realized how isolated I felt when living in Concord.  I'm quite grateful to be where I am for the time being, even if only for a few months. 

My new place doesn't have cable or internet (yet) so I've been finding other (better) ways to use my time when I'm at home. That means I've been reading a lot.  Reading is literally one of my favorite things to do on this planet; it feels necessary to me like sleeping and eating. A couple nights ago I finished a phenomenal book called Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Chimamanda.com). She says things in this book about race and the USA that I wouldn't dare to say out of fear. The main character is an amazing, intelligent woman who I would love to be real life friends with. Coming off of a high from such a great book, I'm always scared the next book is going to be a deep disappointment, so I decided to read a book that I was already not too interested in. I haven't even officially started Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck, but my interests are already surprisingly piqued. The dedication page reads as follows "This book is for anyone who has ever felt they didn't count. You do. Your spirit shines as strong and as pure as any other." How lovely, huh? Maybe I won't be disappointed in this book. 

Yesterday, I actually received a requested letter from my doctor saying that I am healthly as of my last visit with her. It was for the temporary residency visa application packet for living in Chile for a year. The whole process has been a lot of hurry up wait but I almost have all the paperwork required to send off the packet to the Chilean consulate in DC. My hope is that once they receive my application, they quickly decide that they just have to have me in their country and they graciously grant me a temporary residency visa. I don't imagine there's a lot of people in this region trying to get a visa for Chile, but who knows (well, actually the consulate knows and holds a lot of power). I've been saving for several months now, to be able to buy a ticket and still have some money when I move down there. Sometimes it's been easy, but other times I have to tap into those savings to pay bills and live. It's a battle to save when I already don't make enough money as it is, but I'm trying. So if you're feeling generous, toss some money my way, I won't say no. I've requested to be able to enter the country the first full week of July, which is quickly approaching. I had a really great job teaching English lined up, but that ended up not working out, so I'm also trying to find a job down there. None of it feels real because there's still a lot of uncertainty, but I'm trying to stay optimistic and motivated. 

To tie back into the book I'm reading, Invisible Ellen, I've recently, within the past month or so, realized that I have been a person who has shrunk, who has inadvertently tried not to count. I tried to make myself small, tried not to take up space. This is not literal space; it's the kind of space one takes up when around others and although they care for those others they still make sure they are getting what they need and want. My whole life I've been taught, either explicitely or inadvertently, that I'm to put others' needs and wants ahead of mine, that my needs and wants aren't as important or urgent as others' around me. I've been taught to hold others in higher esteem than myself. I've been taught that I don't deserve the good stuff that others deserve. I've been taught I'm not as valuable as others. This is sadly a fairly common thing for women to do in a patriarchal society like ours; women will shrink and contort to the whim and comfort of the men around them. They'll make themselves fit into the cracks of the men's, both strange and familiar, lives. But I do this for the men and women in my life. So while I was still making myself small and inconsequential for those around me and realizing that I was calling myself un-valuable to myself and those around me, while I was trying to take up as little space as possible always giving up my space for others, I was losing myself. I was suffocating and being crushed under the big wants and needs of everyone I love around me, I wasn't fighting back. But there were a few times when I did push back: I asked (having to gather the strength and gumption) some people close to me to be considerate toward me, to let me know when..., to not push your will on me when..., to let me say 'no' when... And every time I was met with annoyed glances, 'the silent treatment', meetings (that felt like ambushes and left me raw) in which I was cornered while they told me all the ways I had hurt them, and other hurtful retaliation. Their responses made me recoil back onto my tiny island which was losing its space. They were no longer safe people to be in relation with because they wouldn't let me take up space, so I tried to minimize our crossing paths and interactions. But even then I was attacked for doing so, I was called childish and passive aggressive. But allowing oneself the space to heal and become isn't childish or passive aggressive it's important and necessary. And it's what I'm doing, now. Countless times a day I remind myself that "you deserve to take up space" "are you taking all the space you need" "have you factored yourself into this equation?" It feels both exhilarating and terrifying and I like it. I don't want to be/feel small, I don't want to be on the periphery of people's lives. I'm either in your life or out of it, but I will not be on the outskirts looking in occasionally invited to a get-together. I'm either all in or all out. So if you want me and will welcome me with all my space (including the space I'm regaining), then invite me for coffee or food, or something. I'll probably say yes. 

That's it folks.