Don’t Do What I Did!

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You can totally do what I did just don’t expect a different result.
I don’t regret many things but I regret not being able to tell my high school sweetheart that I wasn’t happy.
Being able to communicate when I was 19 would have been great.

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Some people think communication is overrated. Some people are wrong. What more important thing is there than being able to effectively communicate with those around you. If you don’t believe me hang out with a toddler for a few days.
I’ve traversed the toddler stage four times and let me tell you, they are angry little creatures when they don’t get what they want. Yes, part of it is from their budding personalities but much more of that anger and frustration comes from the fact that the majority of the people whom they have daily contact with cannot understand their cute little mush mouth.

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We adults aren’t so different. When our communication falls on deaf ears we act out much like a toddler. We will stop short of screaming and flailing our arms about if the cause is just. We want to be understood, we need to be understood, and sometimes we even demand to be understood.
It would be easy to pass the blame onto those in our life who didn’t put the needed effort into deciphering our mush mouth communication. It’s much harder to look at how we failed to get our message across.
So how did I fail at getting my message across… Well I didn’t relay any message to my beloved. I just slept with another guy.

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Nothing says I’m not happy like  banging a random from the bar right?
Here is a brief story of how communicating effectively would have saved me a lot of heartache.

If you’ve read my other blogs you know I went off to college in 1999 with my high school sweetheart. We were the typical small town cheerleader/football player combo. He was a mans man. He was a former skate punk turned frat boy. He was focused on living life to the fullest. He was having a great college experience without me for the most part.
Our specific Greek organizations didn’t really do a lot of functions together. He was involved with the most popular fraternity and I was on the opposite end of the popularity ratings in my organization. It worked fine for him, probably because he had no idea how I felt. Why? Because I didn’t talk to him. For the love of god I wish I knew why but I don’t…I just know that I was hell bent on these mind f*ck games where I just got an attitude and made him spent hours trying to guess why I was being such a bitch. I made passive aggressive comments and expected him to understand what I was talking about, I was angry after I gave him my blessing because he didn’t realize I didn’t really mean it. I was crazy, obviously.

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Maybe not full on bat shit crazy but I was certainly delusional.  My husband of 12 years still can’t keep up with my constantly changing feelings, I don’t know why I expected a teenage boy trying to live his life too….but I did. I became so resentful of the fact that he couldn’t read my mind I started looking for a way to get his attention. To really drive my point home. I started looking for trouble.

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It should be noted that we had some other petty teenagers in love type issues and some big world view issues that would have eventually led to the demise of the relationship…. It was a dying horse but I finished the motherf*ucker off in style.

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Like most other sorority girls in my college town we all went clubbing on a Friday night. I was angry with my beau because… You are going to love this…. He wasn’t upset when I called to tell him I was going out with my sisters.
He was back home and I could only imagine one reason why he wasn’t upset that I was going out without him…he didn’t really love me!

I can’t speak for him, I assume , based on his actions that he did in fact care deeply but to what extent…only he knows.

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The story goes just like so many other stories like this…. I went to the club. I drank enough to justify my choices. I found a willing participant. I went home with him and f*cked him. He wasn’t special. He wasn’t a good lay. He wasn’t aware I had a boyfriend.

Like a nice respectable frat boy (different fraternity) he drove me home the next morning and we parted ways, awkwardly now that we were both sober. He didn’t promise to call. I didn’t expect him too.

In my comp class, later that day, I realized what a waste of time my little excursion would be if he didn’t even know what I had done? How could my transgression hurt him like I wanted with out him knowing? For some reason the idea of talking to him finally made its way to the front of the class and made a good enough argument that I decided right then and there that I would head straight to his place offer class and tell him just what I had done. I would get to see the look in his eye when he realized how capable I was of hurting him… I was so stupid.

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I can’t bring myself to relive the words we spoke just yet. He had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, they turned black. I didn’t realize the scope of my actions. I didn’t realize the blast radius would be bigger than me, him, us, the other guy….

He left me standing in the hallway of my dorm. I must say for a few moments I felt pretty good about what I had just done but it didn’t take my brain long to remember the last question he asked me…
Does he live at… He named the guys apartment complex.

He knew where the guy lived because I told him the guys name.

When I caught up with him at the apartment complex across town he was already handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car. He was furious. He looked like a crazed serial killer. He was covered in blood. He wasn’t injured.

I noticed the ambulance right about the time he slammed himself into the side of the backseat and shook the entire car. I don’t know if I recoiled from the sight of the paramedics rushing in and out of the apartment or if it was the rage I could feel coming from the back seat of that car less than 10 foot away.

No one stopped me when I walked into the apartment. The EMS guys looked at me in a way that made me believe they knew I was the reason for all of this.
His bedroom was in complete disarray. His TV was smashed through his bedroom window. His walls were littered with holes from fists and thrown objects. His mattress was covered in blood.
I found him setting in the bathtub with a paramedic holding a large towel on his forehead and face. He was bleeding a lot.  I asked him if I could do anything. He asked me to leave.

My boyfriend was now my ex. He was arrested and faced assault charges. I was asked to resign my office in my sorority. He was surrounded by his brothers. I was alone for real now.

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What possessed me to believe that he could read my damn mind I’ll probably never know. But I do know that being able to tell my husband this very story is a great reward for this hard lesson learned. I found my voice finally. I voice that can now use to tell my beloved the very deepest darkest parts of my life  and share the highest aspirations that  I hope to see revealed.
I know that he understands. I don’t have to act out because I don’t expect him to read my mind. I talk to him. I scream at him in anger and in the throws of passion. I text him and I sext him. He married me because he loves all of those pieces of me and I don’t want to hide them from him.
I learned a hard lesson one of the hardest ways imaginable all because I neglected a little skill known as communication.

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As I sift through my memories I ask myself why communication is on my mind. What am I learning from this memory? What is the takeaway here?
I think its that communicating a story to an audience is different than communicating with myself. Why?
What do I want to be? Do I want to go to school? Do I want to teach again?  What if I answer no to all? What if my answer is yes…

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Don’t Worry… I’ve Got This!

I started this journey to find my personal happiness again. I always wanted to tell stories. Now it’s time for me to tell my stories.

It has been hard for me to decide what story I want to start with. I feel like I have had so many experiences that are so vastly different its hard to pinpoint a time I was happiest but I know my first year of college has to rank among the best of times.

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In high school I was fairly popular. I played sports and was also a cheerleader. Looking back I didn’t know anything about myself really but I knew that there was more to the world then my little single stop light town.
At some point between three way calling girls I didn’t like and boys whom I did and cruising town on the weekends I decided that it would be quite the accomplishment if I filled up the letter on my letter jacket.

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Something like this, but this isn't me

Small town Americana worships the Letterman’s Jacket.
So I did every sport I could, joined every club that would take me, and gave some crappy speeches to get into student government. I was #winning at this little game. I had played golf for one season, managed to hide in the back of choir for one year,and I even lettered in track because of field events.
My little selfish adventure into Letter Jacket Stacking had not only given me a sweet jacket I had also made a ton of friends.
What more could a teenage girl ask for right?!? I felt pretty famous in my own little town. I had friends, I had a sweet letter jacket, I was dating a football player… Not to mention my rocking pre-child bod.
Graduation was glorious. The summer after was as well. I was headed off to live in the dorms and be free and happy and all the other great things you think right before your freshman year of college.
It was great. I made a few friends the first few days but mainly stuck with the group of girls from my high school and my beloved boyfriend who had come to the same school. (Cue the bad country song written about two small town lover birds) We had all decided to go through rush recruitment and “Go Greek” as they like to say.

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The week was fun. I wish I remember all the skits but I don’t. I only remember an overwhelming feeling of being a nobody. These girls didn’t seem like the type to be impressed by my letter jacket or my former football playing boyfriend. Not to mention that he has gone through recruitment the week before and had pledged the most popular frat on campus.
The pressure was on!
Who was I? Just a girl from a small town.
What did I want to major in? I wanted to be a writer.
What were my hobbies? Ummmm… Stacking my letter jacket and exploring my sexuality with my boyfriend… Neither seemed like good options so I went with READING.
I felt like things went well. The girls all seemed to like me and seemed to want me to join. I remember one girl in particular who really seemed to like me, I knew I was getting a bid card from her sorority.
If you have never experienced formal recruitment, or maybe they are all different, here is how it worked.
Monday: Tour all sorority houses. (There were 4 at my university)
Tuesday: Attend skit party for all four sororities.
Wednesday: This was the night we had to all go and narrow it down to three for the next night. You were supposed to cut the sorority that you had the least amount of interest in. You were not supposed to discuss this decision with the others. I didn’t know that I was one of the few who followed this rule. I didn’t know that most of the girls had agreed to all cut the same sorority that night. Essentially leaving anyone who didn’t cut it ranked high on a interest scale for that sorority.
Thursday: This was called info night. Basically they laid out all the facts about their organization. After attending those three parties you had to narrow it down again to your top two choices.
They tell you it works like this. You rank your number one and number two. Sororities rank the girls in order of want according the the quota set. So if 100 girls pick sorority A as number one the top x amount (whatever quota is) goes to that sorority. After that it gets tricky. You pretty much get placed as high as you can. If not your number one choice then your number two but it gets weird when you have a majority all cut one sorority in one night. They have to try and distribute the girls as evenly as possibly.
Friday: They call it preference (pref) night.  You get all dressed up in a fancy dress and they turn out the big guns to real you in. Songs and speeches about sisterhood. One sister takes you to a quiet area and tell you all about how you can be apart of this amazing bond and you cry because….hell I don’t know you just do, probably because you’re parading around trying to sell yourself to a bunch of judgmental girls who remind you of characters off a bad Lifetime movie. But you leave the two parties feeling like they love you, they want to be your sister, like you belong.
Friday night ends up going late and I couldn’t wait to tell my boyfriend all about who I had marked as my first choice. I just knew that Saturday morning I was going to go get my bid card with those letters on it that I just knew I would get to wear. He was a typical 18 year old boy and not all that interested but if I remember correctly he listened.
Saturday morning: I was up and dressed extra early. I spend extra time perfecting sorority girl hair and makeup. I was ready!
Its basically like running cattle through a shoot. You have a few hundred girls lined up around the student center waiting to go into a room, stand before two women at a desk, and read your bid card. There is no discussing, no questions. Only accept or decline the bid.

To set the scene you have nervous girls in a line on one end of the building waiting to see their new future and hundred of sorority girls and all the frat boys with all their huge Greek letters on display. As a girl would exit the opposite end she would hand her card to a guy at the mike and he would scream with enthusiasm what sorority you now belonged. It was straight out of the movies and I was so excited.

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Ok the truth is I was nervous because I was one of the ones who didn’t join in the mass cutting of the sorority I was one of the few who was showing up as a match on their little  schematic they used. I knew there was a possibility that I could be a snap bid. That means your placed with your last choice because you didn’t make the first cut for anyone else and they have that whole quota thing.

As we waited the first girl came out who had accepted a bid from that infamously unwanted sorority. If accepting the bid was hard facing that crowd was almost impossible. He didn’t have any excitement in his voice. It sounded more like pity, maybe even a bit mocking. After that my heart began to race and all these what if thoughts came flooding through. What if I end up there!
It felt like I waited for hours but finally I was walking into this excessively large, especially to only house one long table, room.
The two women sat there stoic in expression. I wonder now if they knew. I swallowed my heart to keep it in my chest and opened my bid card.
When I tell you my vision went blurry understand that I thought I was going to die literally and socially. I was a snap bid! I had been placed with my last choice.
I guess I accepted because the next thing I knew a sad voice called out my new sisters name and they came running at me. The last thing I remembered seeing was my boyfriend walking away.

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For a while I had an overall negative view of my time in the Greek system. Now that I’ve decided to make it my personal mission to find my happiness I hope to find my love for my sisters that I’ve lost.
I got over the initial shock of the entire recruitment experience and immersed myself in my organization. I held offices. I found a group of girls that I felt at home with. I also found myself in a situation where I felt betrayed and hurt beyond repair. Because of that story I walked away from sisterhood and tried to forge a path alone.

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What stories have made me who I am? What stories will help me find my happiness again?

What Now?

As I walked away from my teaching job I was awash with emotions. Scared, mad, sad, relieved… Wow, the last one was unexpected. Could I really be happy that I just signed a poorly written letter of resignation?
Apparently, yes.
I knew I didn’t like the job but it wasn’t so cut and dry. I loved the students. I did everything I could to ensure their success so I couldn’t just walk away. Plus I’m responsible, or so I try to appear, and responsible mothers of four don’t just quit teaching. Nope, they just mess up and get fired instead.

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn’t be called research- Albert Einstein

I didn’t intentionally get fired, but I didn’t help my cause either. You see I have a problem keeping my mouth shut and taking one for the team. Surprisingly enough my very old school administrator didn’t find this character trait of mine to mesh well with his style of administrating so… I was sent packing with a nice monetary package (just what was left on my contract…no favors were done).
There wasn’t any use in waving my resignation letter around. No one believed that I just walked away. I was just going with the flow when I signed it. I don’t know why I didn’t fight for my job. I just sat in disbelief at the circumstances I found myself in. I think most people who know me would assume my fight response is stronger than my flight response and I would have to agree for the most part. That day might be an exception to the rule, I think it was because I was already done.

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I fell in love with writing in the eleventh grade. I had an amazing teacher who inspired me and gave me my first shot at reporting for the school paper. I was a natural at interviewing, I wrote amazing questions. I got amazing answers. I told dang good stories in my feature articles. By the time I graduated I had won several state writing awards and had landed me a spot working for the PR dept of my university. I had the world at my fingertips. I had promise. I had goals. I had ambition. I had a desire to have fun.

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Fun now is family friendly and often quite chaotic. I love that.
Nietzsche said we need chaos in our soul. I agree.
So where do I find myself now? How can the chaos that I love also be the chaos that makes me scream in frustration? 
I didn’t think I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I don’t like feeling like I’ve been reduced to a list of chores that I’ve completed.
The house looks great honey.
Thanks for washing my uniform.
Can you drive me to my friends house?
I don’t mind the task, I just feel like there is more to life. I love my crazy family. They have taught me so much about life. They have kept me sane when I felt like it was all falling apart.

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The hardest part of losing my job was how my resignation was going to affect my kids. Its not easy being the child of the teacher who was canned mid semester.

At the time I had three children in that school, the oldest in middle school. I took the youngest two out of school the next day and enrolled them in a different school in a different city. The oldest child, my Princess Diana for all her beauty and grace, stayed because of activities she was vested in and wanted to fulfill. She fought my fight when she shouldn’t have had too but she is strong and handled herself and all the negative comments she overheard with such maturity and grace. As a mom I wonder how these experiences will shape her. Will she remain the strong oak tree or will she wither because she has weathered so many storms.
It all felt so much like a dream. Was I really just fired? Did I really have to tell my friends and family that I was fired!?! I was. After the shock wore off I began to embrace that feeling of relief that I had as I walked away that last day tears streaming down my face.
So what now?
I’ve always loved writing and I have a deep desire to tell these stories. My stories. So, for now, I’m going to stop asking myself THAT question and start asking myself about my stories, the stories of all the things I have lost and all the things I have gained. The stories of the lessons I’ve taught and the lessons I’ve learned.

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Who am I?

I am a mother and a daughter. I am a wife and a best friend. I am obviously a bunch of adjectives that could easily be circled on a generic worksheet handed out on the first day of school.
I was a writer. I was a teacher. I was miserable.
This will be the beginning of my quest… This is the beginning of my story and the end of my story.

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As a new adult back in 99 I had the world at my finger tips. I knew this because EVERY person I knew insisted on telling me. They were right I did but I f*cked it up. I seriously f*cked it up.
I graduated high school during a magical time. Y2K was coming and we had nothing to lose because well, Y2K…
It started pretty innocently, a drink at a party, a joint in the bathroom, a line off the dash, using my tax refund to purchase a kilo of blow and try to become a drug dealer…. Told ya I f*cked it up!
As you can imagine it didn’t take long before the gig was up and I was caught, expelled from college, and headed back home to mommy… Not really, I moved in with a Mexican on a farm…
White privilege…. You were wondering why I didn’t go to jail right? Well, that’s my best guess.

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Eventually I got my shit together, was re admitted to college, married a great guy, landed a job teaching high school and popped out four kids. I was really becoming the adult that my parents had put so much effort into me becoming.  I had all the trappings of the American dream…a house, two cars, a dog, a swing set in the back yard, a few vices….
I was hating life. It wasn’t my kids. It wasn’t my husband. It wasn’t my job. I had no idea how to fix it. So I just existed for eight years.

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Teaching wasn’t ever in my plan until I had children of my own. I wanted to be a reporter, a documentary film maker, I wanted to tell stories, I wanted to see the world.  The next best thing was…. Well I had no next best thing so teaching it was. I could be home with my children in their off time and be a good mommy while I helped provide some income… Sounded great. It was and wasn’t.
Standing there on my first day awkwardly trying to hide tattoos with my newly acquired JC Penny’s career outfit. I knew this would be an adventure but I had no idea how hard it would be for me to find my niche. I plain and simple didn’t fit in and everyone knew it.
I was a good teacher. I was so passionate about my subject. I was so excited to inspire students and watch them grow. I didn’t mind lesson plans and I got along with the administration. I hated loathed the job! 
I hated that hats being off was more important than breakfast being served. I hated that having a pencil was more important than learning a new concept. I hated that kids told me how shitty their life was and I could do NOTHING outside of my classroom about it.

After eight years I walked out of the building on a Tuesday morning around 10:30 never having found my niche.

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So what now? I don’t know. That’s part of the reason I’ve decided to start this blog. A pursuit of happiness and self discovery.
I’m looking for stories to tell about myself that will lead me back to me. I’m afraid I may have forgotten who I really am. Hopefully I am more than just describing words.