Dear Diary

I am being super risky and living big! This is very very big. So big that apparently, I can’t be eloquent about it. I just want to say that this is possibly one of the turning points of my life. I’m going through a sea change. Every day, something eventful and different has happened. I am living fully with my fears, dreams, past, and future, all existing within and around me.

Some of the things that have happened just this past week:

  • I jump started my car, by myself, with my parents’ car
  • I then took my car to the dealership to get a new battery (bye $170)
  • I went on two interviews at an architects firm
  • I got a job! As a receptionist covering for a maternity leave
  • I resigned from my teaching job, after months of indecision, sickness, and anxiety
  • I took Gulu on a walk around the lake and out for a drive~
  • I completed a few jigsaw puzzles (This is all thanks to Britney Barnes)
  • I talked to my therapist and make my own doctor’s appointments
  • I have been by myself, with just me and Gulu
  • I went to a Valentines’ card making workshop!

As you can see, I’ve been through a lot! I feel like I need a vacation after all of this. BUT! Alas, the hustle continues and I start my temp job as a receptionist tomorrow.

One thing I like to do whenever I end a chapter of my life, whether it’s breaking up, quitting a job, or moving, is to try to live better and more fully. I feel like if I end something and I go on to waste my time and not do anything differently, it dishonors the choice I made and the people/things I left behind. So, since I am leaving teaching, something that has been super important to my life, it is time to start living really fully. I think how I felt that month/summer with Ray, is how I can live now. 100% since I have my life back from teaching. I have no excuses! Some of the things I want to do:

Classes I can take (These are pretty expensive and a luxury. I love taking classes!) :

  • Cooking classes @ Hipcooks
  • Craft workshops @ Paper Source, Michael’s
  • Tutoring w/adults @ OC Reads
  • Walking Gulu (not a class, but it gets me out of the house and exercising!)

Things I can do at home (Let’s face it, I love being home. I’d probably stay at home all day if I could):

  • Yoga @ YogaWithAdriene
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Reading
  • Playing viola or ukelele
  • Journaling/writing

I am sooo, so very excited to live my dream! Of course, all of this is contingent on my health. Without a healthy body and strength, nothing is possible.

Happiness, Sadness. Turmoil, Peace. This is the story of my life.

 

 

 

 

Dear Diary

I feel, for the first time in a long time, happy.

It is so strange and freeing and difficult. It’s difficult to be sick with pneumonia and anxiety. It’s freeing to be by myself, with only Gulu and without my family. It’s so strange that I am writing my own story, just like I did that very very special time two years ago in Menifee.

I. Love. It!!!!!!!!

I am reading. I am talking to a therapist. I am making my own doctor’s appointments. I am taking care of Gulu. I am jump starting a car by myself. I am taking my car to the dealership for a new battery. I am looking for work. I am waking up every day embracing life, even though the day is difficult. I am doing things that are scary but powering through. It feels amazing! (I am also taking my pills but I’ve always been good about that.)

I really do love and embrace this because in a way, this is what I’ve always wanted, to be away from my family, my dad in particular. He has been such a negative person in my life that without him, I feel so much more MYSELF! There is nothing greater than to be yourself.

In my mind, I am also healing and forgetting the people and things that have hurt me. It is hard work for sure and I have to remind myself to breathe. It feels a lot like ascending on a drop tower, and anticipating the drop any moment. But the thing is, I know I will be alright.

Coincidentally, I just finished reading this book called Secrets of Worry Dolls. Basically, it is a book written just for me. I am Lu! I am also Mari. I feel exactly like Lu. She lost her twin sister, her dad, and although her mom is living, she lost her a long time ago too. She has been left behind and abandoned so many times. Her mother’s story is a lfe of tragedy and at one point, she said

Disappeared mother. Dead baby. Tragic marriage. Lost lover. We never really had a chance but she tried her best. I forgive my mother.

I felt so much sadness and it is the same feeling I apply to my own life. Despite all the people who have left or the different ways that life tear people apart, life does go on.

I love the ending when Lu became Blanca’s guardian. It was so satisfying and after all the caretaking that has happened, I feel like I could be a guardian too. I love that Lu is a social worker! And I love Mari’s life. Her life is beautiful even if it was full of loss and tragedy. I think, her original and final form is like an orchid- beautiful, hearty, and rare. I love Mari. I am Lu. And it’s time to start living life.

Dear Diary

I am on the fence about whether I will go back or not. There’s a lot of feeings attached to it. On the other hand, I feel so safe, calm, and peaceful. There is no one hitting me or touching me. There are no micro-aggressions. The more I am at home, the more I realize how the chaotic environment at school and in the classroom really stresses me. It’s not that I don’t like being around people because when I worked at the mall, I sort of enjoyed it. But being around children is different and it triggers the chaos I felt in my childhood. I wonder why that didn’t surface when I was going into teaching. Definitely my first two years were chaotic and it hurt me. But this year, because of my students and the population, it hits closer to home than ever.

This is how I know, I really cannot go back. Now that I have recognized why being at school puts me in survival mode. It literally is all I can do to breathe and make sure no one is dying in there. I crave calm and peace and love. All the positive and healing things.

Dear Diary

It is so rare to simply breathe and be. I was sitting in my car, in the warm sun, and thinking to myself how nice it is to simply sit and breathe.

What a pleasure it is to sit in bed and read.

How enjoyable it is to have a simple adult conversation.

How nice it is to be in calm and quiet.

Today was the second time that I talked to my therapist. It’s really helpful for me. She said my box of trauma/energy is filling up and wanting to get out. It’s time that I begin to process it, not only in terms of school but in terms of childhood trauma, so that I can move on from it. I never realized that the chaos in the classroom mirrors the chaos I experienced at home. Maybe that’s why it’s so triggering for me and I can’t stand it. 😰😞 It feels like reliving the worst parts of growing up.

I think, that is also why I so crave calm and peace because it feels like I get so little of it. My parents are always stressed and high-strung.

My therapist asked me what home means to me. Well, there are really two forms of home I’ve lived in– home with my parents, and the home I created when I lived in Menifee.

My parents’ home/the home I grew up in:

Tension, chaos, safe, anxious, uncaring, judged, obligations, disapproval, doubt

My true home/the home when I lived by myself:

Safe, calm, peaceful, nice, alone, loving, independent

For me to truly blossom, I know I need to live away from my parents. There is apaart of me that is also worried if I am making a dumb decision by quitting– it’s my livelihood and the best job I’ve had so far, and I really can’t go back to it. But another part of me thinks if I wanted to teach again, I can. There are so many types of teaching-subjects, age groups, environment. Teaching in a K-12 classroom is not the only teaching option available. There are so many doubts I have right now even though I am making the right decision for me. For example, I feel like maybe I’m not good at anything, that neither school nor the office is for me, and questions about how I am going to survive as an adult.

But the other part of me is confident because I have strong work ethic, I’m meticulous, I’ve always had a job, and I know I’ll be alright even if I’m not super successful and I don’t have a career. It’s okay to not be as smart or successful as other people. My parents do worry and maybe they see me as a failure. Even I feel like a failure and am wondering if I’m even good at anything. Once I get out of this turbulence, I think I will be able to see the bigger picture.

My takeaway is that

1. I need to live away from my parents in order to blossom.

2. It’s time to unpack that box of trauma, process it, so that I can move on.

3. This is not going to be a life-ending decision. Life does and will go on.

I’m so thankful that I have people helping me through.

Dear Diary

It is so scary how the money I spend adds up to a couple hundred dollars a month, even though I might not be spending more than $10-20 at a time :O. I really need to get better about my spending now that I am not going to be working anymore. I need to cancel all of my memberships to Pandora, Adobe, and Amazon. Also, I need to stop eating out because it just adds up T__T.

Looking at my bank statement, I basically spend on:

-gas

-meals, coffee, food

It’s honestly scary to go into the unknown. I don’t know if I got into graduate school, and even if I did (fingers crosses), it will start in September. What shall I do for 9 months?! Like my therapist said, I am entering a turbulent time, but there is no way to go through it than to go through it. It could be a really exciting and healing time for me.

I feel like I have fallen off the face of the Earth for 3 years and now I am getting back into it. I am not totally done with school yet because there is the medical leave and I still need to plan and prep. But I have taken one huge step toward getting out. I think I am burnt out not only from this particular job but from my commute and all the trauma I endured the past two years. This year just triggers a lot of that, with additional stress. I am physically and mentally not able to do it anymore πŸ˜₯ .

What I need to do:

-Find a temp office job: it has to be a low key job that is not too involved because I don’t have the mental strength to do a heavy job right now

-Apply for health coverage during this gap

-Finish planning and think about what I am going to say to my employer upon the end end of my leave

-Think about what I’ve wanted to do and heal from my experience as a teacher

I will embrace the unknown and because I know I am strong and I have help, everything will be alright <3.

Dear Diary

In the book Sunny by Jason Reynolds, the titular character starts each section with Dear Diary. I shall do the same! Since I have soo many different thoughts just like Sunny. (I love the Track series and I think Sunny is my favorite one so far.)

Dear Diary,

I love breathing cold air because my lungs are gunky.

My heart rate is always fast. According to my doctor, when I was at my sickest it was 112/minute! Today it’s close to 100. I’ve heard that turtles, which live very long, have slooooow heart rates. I wonder if having fast heart rates means I will live not very long?! No way. I must live!

I love freedom. I love wandering around during the morning, day, and early afternoon. I love it so so so much!!!!!!! Free time is my absolute favorite thing.

I started playing viola again! It is fun. I’m going to practice again. Left hand fingers, get ready to get callused!

I love my 3 devices πŸ˜› I love them equally. My iPad, my small iPhone and my larger iPhone. I use them for different purposes! For texting, journaling, yoga, Tsum Tsum, and reading in bed. Does that make me a weirdo?

I feel less alone after finding out that so many teachers feel the same. Not only that, I think the PhD program will be a good fit for me because I will meet other people like myself who were former classroom teachers. Education has been disappointing to me but it’s not the end. In fact, it is only the beginning! The best is yet to come. (Free time! Music, reading, art, sushi rice, sleeping in!)

After reading Break of Dawn and Berlin’s story, I am super inspired. I feel like no matter what happens in my small classroom in a suburb in the SGV, life is so much bigger than that. I hope I am able to let go when we go back. (I mean, let go and not get in trouble 😜.) Everything will be alright.

Now that I know what I am passionate about, I can look at my job differently. I can perhaps take a risk and see it as a way to make income to pursue what I really want to do. I’d like to feel more detached from my job, and not lose sight of the fact that:

-Life is bigger than this school year or these particular students. Much much bigger!

-I will always remember the students who were understanding, who listened, and were kind. Thank you ❀ I am so glad there are kids like you and I hope you grow up to be just as kind adults.

-Have compassion for myself, so that I can have it for others.

-Health comes first! Don’t endure.

THAT, my diary, is what I need to stick to! Not to do an amazing job, but to forgive and have compassion for myself. It’s ok if I don’t get along with 1, 2, or even 15 of my students. But I do worry that it is going to hurt me to spend so much time around mean and evil children 😜😰. Perhaps what I need to do is to do the things I love that much more to balance it out!

I pray for patience and serenity this year. Thank you, I love you all!

The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” – Che Guevara

My Christmas

Basically I got pneumonia right before Christmas so I was able to read these! I loooooooved these books. It was such a blessing to be able to read freely and comfortably in my bed. I have one conclusion: Work is just getting in my way of reading and my bed! 🀣

It helps that this was an excellent collection of books!

The Mothers by Brit Bennett is one of my all-time favorite books. I have never read another book like it! It felt like all the characters were real- I can’t belive they are fictional. I feel like Luke, Nadia, and Aubrey were real people that are also 28 years old. She made Oceanside so real and the entire book was so full of sadness and longing. I felt so much hurt underneath all the characters. I related especially to Aubrey because I think she has been hurt and she was betrayed by her best friend and her husband. Despite making despicable chocies, Luke and Nadia have also been hurt themselves. This is a book about choices and our younger selves that I will continue to think about long after the last page. I think when people say they want the privilege of reading a book for the first time again, this is what they mean.

The Immortalists is another very wonderful book about choices! I looooved this book too!!!!!! I love Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya. I loved all of their stories and I would happily go on any journey with them. Thank you Chloe Benjamin for writing this very important book! I am so so glad that you did!!!!! It gave me so much to think about. Excellent writing! There are so many scenes that stood out to me. I loved this book.

A Very Large Exxpanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is also an excellent book! I loved it. Break dancing, Persians, high school, and love ❀ It was just such a healing and hopeful book despite the hate surrounding our main characters, Shirin and Ocean. ❀

NYR:

The Penderwicks – I’m saving this for a summer read too!

Sting-Ray Afternoons – I WILL finish this book! I will!

Fantasy <3

I love fantasy and warm books! This was a really fun collection of books that I started around Thanksgiving break.

The Firefly Letters is a novel-in-verse that is also biography and historical fiction.Very nice blending of genres! Poetry really lets you get inside a person’s mind. I love the multiple points of view.

The Prince and the Dressmaker was such a nice graphic novel! This is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. What a progressive and sweet story. you will find yoruself supporting both Frances and Sebastian. Spoiler Alert: The king is the most progressive of them all!

Zebra Forest is like a middle grade version of Eileen, sort of. Somehow it is fun to read short novels about a few characters in captivity, with mysterious and sinister motivations. It takes a masterful writer to pull off suspense!

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden is the sequel to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. I love Karina Yan Glaser! She is an inspiration and her book is just so sweet, realistic, and it makes me wish I was raising a family in New York City, a little bit.

NYR (Not Yet Read):

Forest Born by my favorite, Shannon Hale. I think I will save this one for summer or my next break! ❀

Thankful

I’m really super thankful for this break because it has been the best. I get to recover from my sickness and I also get to think about what I want to do. In particulat, I’ve thought about accepting my strengths and needs. When I became a teacher, I think I loved learning and I wanted the chance to bring Pinterest to life (don’t laugh! It sounds so naive now.) But now, I realize what I really wanted was probably to be a caretaker and volunteer, or parent. I love kids. All the students that I’ve had a hard time with (that’s like 70% of them, if not more), I would probably have no problem being in their company outside the classroom. I want to be nurturing and caring, but it doesn’t seem to help me. When I try to be strict or stern or whatever, it seems like I’m frustrated. All this is to say that…………………………..

I am happy I don’t have to be a classroom teacher anymore after June. I don’t have to hear anyone tell me to be “firm and consistent” or “establish expectations.” It’s so freeing to admit that teaching is not for me!!!!!!! At least teaching in a classroom. But I still really love children as people and my time as a teacher is not over yet!!!!!! I will volunteer or teach in my spare time. I think that is much more suitable for me. There are so many ways to teach such as in Sunday school, tutoring, extra curricular classes, volunteering. It is all pretty wonderful! I’m really glad for it.

I pray that in my remaining time as a classroom teacher, God gives me the strength and grace to teach these children. My students! I pray for grace, courage, and serenity. Thank you, thank you! I love you all.