Don’t have a good Day…

Have a day that makes a difference.  I have been caught in the whirlwind of the experience I refer to as my life.  I’m not good with rollercoasters (as some of you may recall from my un-released would have been chart buster “Rollercoaster”) and yet I find myself, not unlike all of us, caught in the ups and downs of life.  The last month has been jammed with trainings in which I was the one trying to stretch others to realize their impact on the world to trainings in which I am the stretched.  I have not been this exhausted physically and mentally since…well, since my last day of school.  I happen to love it!  Except for the part where I have no time (I mean zero) to do the things which recharge me.  I have not thought more than briefly about my blog, I haven’t sat under the stars, I’ve not been camping for weeks (I promised this would be my summer of only tents) and writing this tonight, being awake after 9:00 is a luxury.

But I needed to write and remind myself, and you who read my intellectual puke, that, WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  Whether you teach, are a healer, drive trucks, or sell insurance.  Embrace your divinity and your force in the world.  We matter.  With all of the legitimized hate that has crept out from under the double-wides, goodness and compassion prevail.

My field trainer had me sobbing on Saturday, in a good way.  She saw past the mask I put on  to portray someone in control.  She appeared not to notice the elaborate armor that I wear to protect myself from possible harm.  This young, competent, confident old soul essentially called me out on my limiting beliefs.  She saw me.  It scared me.  What scared me was not that she called me out.  What scared me was the passion with which she cared enough to be brutally honest.  In an outwardly appearing boring job such as selling insurance, she reminded me this:  Absolutely everything we do is a chance to give love.  I am humbled by those people who have figured that secret out, especially the 20 somethings.  Maybe it’s not too late for us.

“There is magic everywhere all the time and when you’re having a hard time seeing it it’s usually because you’ve already decided that if it really was magic, it’d look like something else.”  Brian Andreas

Good night, give love in what you do.  Don’t have a nice day.  Have a day that makes a difference!  You can do it.  It’s why you are here.  Kim

I have seen this place before….I recognize it all to well

The beginning of a song I wrote a lifetime ago.

I have seen this place before, I recognize it all too well, standing on the edge of life I look into the depths of hell…No one here is gonna save me from my self…

I don’t know why this song has reared its head.  I think I wrote this about 25 years ago as I tried to figure out my course, my path, my true north.  I had just come out to the world (and to myself) and begun to realize the wonders of the world at my fingertips.  It’s still a little personal to share with my diverse group of friends and readers.  Suffice to say, I felt alive but scared shitless.  I knew  then that my life (as I knew it) was destined to be changed forever.  I want to reach back to that younger self and say, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remember, it’s all small…except for the big stuff.  But that will be too obvious to miss.

So the song was about facing fears, (about the small stuff) and embracing imperfections which, as it turns out, are imperfectly perfect.

So I sit here tonight, in early August, without the angst of impending back to school too early doom.   Dreading the end of summer and returning to school only to get older and become a teacher…that irony is not lost on me.  As I walked away from my (short in comparison to many) teaching career last spring/early summer, I have only briefly experienced regret when paying full price for my prescriptions necessary to prevent further possible strokes.  Beyond that I have mostly been living joyfully.

Part of that joy rests fully on the unbelievable opportunity to consult for Harley-Davidson as a trainer.  I am humbly cognizant of the fact that I get to do what I do purely as a result of being at the right place at the right time.  I refuse to diminish my further my skills as a facilitator however.  I may have lucked into the opportunity but my abilities and talents kept me moving forward.  In either case, I am humbly grateful that I get to travel the country, meeting new people, seeing new places, and creating ripples in the lives of others and in the world.  Very grateful.

This past weekend, as I sat in airports waiting for connecting flights and rehashing the last days of training, I realized for the 155th time (give or take a hundred) that I was living a fantasy life where I get to see the world (okay, I’ll count the flatlands of Indian) and stay in great hotels, eat outstanding meals on someone else’s dime.  And there are hundreds lined up to take my place.  Not today suckers!!!

There are other things I realize too.  When I first started training, I would be consumed by sadness when the trainings were over.   I know now that I fell in love with the people I met, over and over and saying goodbye was hard.  I still fall in love with people.  Not romantically (in general) but platonically in love because we’re living the same experience.  I have learned to embrace the sweetness of the leaving though.  I know I will see my tribe again, and if I don’t,  it wasn’t meant to continue.  How can I explain the shared journey?  If you have experienced this personally, I don’t need to explain.  There are fellow travelers that come in and out of our lives.  Some will stay longer than others.  The length of time we travel together is not as important as the experiences shared along the way.

Perhaps I am missing the company of my Kiehl’s family.  Even as I write this they are riding as a family through the mid section of the country, raising money and holy hell no doubt.  The Universe gifted me with the chance to become as one with people I would otherwise not ever have broken bread with.  Of course, me being me, I fell in love with all of this group of marvelous people out to rid the world of bad.  I love them still and have pangs of sorrow and envy as they spend sacred time together on another ride through life.  Yet I am with them as they have been with me despite separation of time and distance.   And I confess unabashedly, I have loved.

Most likely my current melancholy is rooted in feeling as if I have missed out on loving as of late.  That, my reader/friends, is a blatant lie.  I continue to fall in love with the souls I meet, the strangers I cross paths with, and that love encourages me, sustains me and, tonight, as I sit pondering the vastness of it all (philosophical over achiever that I am) I want nothing more than to reach out and love more.

I thank the universe that love rather than dread is what I contemplate on this beautiful late summer night, the cacophony of summer resonating around me.  I am not going back to school!!!  I can embrace the onset of fall and the impending changing of seasons.  I can anticipate, enjoy and slide happily into the next season.

No one here has got to save me from myself.

Caution. Pondering ahead.


 I don’t know completely what it is, but being back home around family has made me ponder the totality of my life.  I am starting to feel old.  I swore I’d handle getting older with dignity and calm.  I didn’t think it would happen overnight!

I wonder if I’ve done enough so far.  I try to predict what my regrets will be so that I can reduce their numbers.  The ones I can’t change:  Taking so long to know my authentic self, but I’m glad I got there at all.  Avoiding risk and vulnerability, thinking I could prevent heartbreak, failure and disappointment.  Taking serious things more seriously and the little things less.  Dance more freely, without being so concerned about how I looked.  For that matter, be concerned much less about how others may have or did view me.  Like many folks in the last half of life, I wish I knew when I was younger whatI know now.  Well, not all of it.  

When I write these blogs, I know, and am humbled, that many people read them.  I have family, close friends and complete strangers who read this mental upchuck.  I regret that I didn’t start writing earlier but I suspect my songs and music filled that void up until the stroke.  I know that all that I am is a result of all I have and have not been.  Had I done things differently, I would be a different version of myself.  That’s hard to get my damaged brain around.  When I start to feel sad, I try to breathe it in, knowing it will become me in a more complete way.

If there were a “How to” manual for life, I bet it would be much simpler than we think.

Rule #1:     BE THERE.   In everything.  Look around.  Breath it in.  Thank whatever higher power you believe in for the chance.  The chance to live it and be a part.

Rule#2:      Don’t worry so much about Why.  Spend time on the How and live.   The Why may come.  Or maybe it won’t.  Or maybe, you get to see slight glimpse now and again.  Like seeing something in your peripheral but when you turn to focus

on it, it’s not there.  Or if it’s there (it is), it blends in with everything else, making it impossible to see it alone, no matter how you focus or squint.  Perhaps those are the moments when we are given glimpses of Why but fail to recognize it is made up of many things, and is elusive and provocative so that we must refer back to rule Number 1.

Rule #3:       Make connections, with people, places, ideas (careful with that one) and invest in them.

Rule #4:       Make your OWN rules.  Then break them occasionally to remind yourself that rules keep us from taking risks.

Simple enough.    I know.  Living with reckless abandon is irresponsible.  It bothers the rule followers.  I think it scares them.  Or makes them envious, or guilty, or ashamed.  That’s okay because they have their own story.  You get to write your own. 

Once upon a time……..

And the Universe has spoken!

I refuse to back down.  It’s a strength.  It’s a flaw.  I’m grateful for both.  Challenges inspire me.

Lately I’ve heard from several people that I inspire them.  I am humbled.  But I am not super human or special.  We all have challenges.  We all handle them the best way we can.  I was reminded lately when I was poo pooing (I’m making up that word, yes) someone’s traumatic life.  Oh, you have a cold?  A hangnail? A bad day?  I had a Stroke!  But the reminder which was gently delivered poked me right in the self-righteous eye:  Everyone’s trauma is still trauma.  It’s not a competition.  Trauma without compassion for others is a lesson wasted.  And I hate to waste a good lesson!

But about challenges, and the point of this rambling:  It has not been an easy 3 years.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had joy, I’ve had fun, but I’ve also lost many things with which I have used to define myself.

This is a hard post but I am counting on the unconditional love of my friends now.  The stroke, and the deep, dark abyss in which I was sucked took a toll.  I can admit this now.  Going through it I was much too proud.  I knew I was depressed.  I knew I felt hopeless most of the time, but not caring about feeling hopeless, twisted as that sounds, was a convenient coping method.  Convenient but not very productive.  Finances became my nemesis.  I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t bring myself to care.  The result was loss of my house and safe place.  As I started to crawl out of the abyss, I realized that losing the house meant losing the place where I could have my two dopey and terribly vicious dogs.  With wrecked credit and dangerous dogs, Finding a place to land is nearly impossible.  Not caring was easy but not productive.

Last summer, I returned temporarily to Pennsylvania to be with family and my dogs who have been graciously offered housing with my parents and my sister.  Louis “this-is-why” has stolen the hearts of my parents, while simultaneously stretching them (literally) with his pathetic (my fault) leash manners.  I realized that summer, despite years of insisting that, although I love my family, I don’t need to be in their backyard, I really do enjoy their company and love the east coast.  (That part I never denied)

Hang in there, we are getting there…..

The stroke showed me that life is precarious:  “Not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or collapse., 1.1 Dependent on chance; uncertain.”  And still I woke up for years after, dreading my days, longing for weekends, summers, Friday nights.  While the longing brings sweetness of rewards of the time living fully, I fear we have it backwards.  We trudge through our days, putting in weeks, days, hours, minutes, waiting for the short periods of time when we will enjoy our freedom from captivity.  When I was not working, Fridays and weekends became like every other day, but now, they bring the ecstasy of reward for enduring the work week.

I’m not convinced.  I desire to live each day fully, not with dread or regret.  Alas, it has not been so for the last few years.  So I am inclined to change that.

After much thought and consideration, listening to my logical grown up self and my adventuring, daring soul, to my family, friends and other minglers…

I have decided to return to the land of my childhood, to the place where my birth family lives and thrives, the place my canine family now calls home, to the safety and security of familiar.

I have given it a good run at being a Midwesterner.  I have endured negative double digit temperatures in the winter, and that one day of summer.  I’ve acknowledged a football team that wears green and yellow (not yellow and black) and I’ve tried to acclimate to bubblers.  I’ve hung in there.  I have not embraced the Midwest as fully or as gracefully as I wished but it has given me more than I expected or perhaps deserve.

I am, for the first time in a long while, excited, encouraged, hopeful.  Shoofly pie and chicken Stolzfus  call me.  An ocean within a short drive.  A real ocean with the smell of salt, not smelt, and the sound of waves crashing, seagulls laughing (at the gulls that think the great lakes are big…)

Mountains and actual hills.  Uber drivers in horse drawn buggies.  The air thick with cow and pig shit nourishing the dark black earth that will grow the farm to table vegetables on every corner country block.

Yes, it is time.  My adventure is pawing at the gate like a thoroughbred on Derby day.

Let the Games begin!!!!  I am coming Life.  Save me a spot.  I refuse to back down!  I am Kim!!!!!

Any additional details can be found at  Did I mention that I love all of you?!!!

Stand up. Fall over. repeat.

As I struggle to get back my voice (figuratively), I have joined Toastmasters international. I have met some wonderful, terribly funny folks. The chapter I’ve joined focuses on humor so it’s a good fit. I am starting to gain confidence again. Enough so that I have decided to participate in a standup routine for our spring membership interest drive. I’ve been trying to decide how to proceed comedically. Typically I am just a spewer of random stuff that is sometimes perceived as funny. To have an actual monologue though is slightly more intimidating. I figure I will joke about a familiar humorous topic in my life, my stroke recovery. I started to jot down some ideas and got tripped up on the idea of stroke “survivor” . I know that it didn’t kill me (Sorry…spoiler alert) but the idea that I’m a survivor makes it sound like I won immunity voted someone else off the stroke island, and visited my dates’ hometowns. (Wrong reality show, whoops). If waking up each morning for the last three years and 1 month being pissed off at my brain failure is surviving, well, “guilty”. But there are more courageous folks out there who have experienced health scares and are the real survivors. I mean, think of all of those flu survivors. Badasses. And the mumps, measles, polio, malaria and all those other diseases easily prevented by vaccine unless science scares you, that have experienced a recent rebirth. You go, childhood illness survivors.
I am , in my head, not a survivor as much as a stubborn maintainer of status quo. Bite me stroke. I have the immunity idol and will continue walking and falling until it’s too much. I survive a bad attitude is all.
I’m not trying to be humble, I just don’t see that I have struggled much compared to many others.
I might still get my own survivor buff and form alliances with the hot women on the island. If you have come back from a really bad paper cut, I will vote your butt off of the island. That’s not surviving, that’s just dealing with life.
The finale will have me flown by helicopter to the studio where I’ll meet up with the other Team Stroke members and reminisce about the unfair challenges designed for the stable, balanced, two sided folks. Survivors or whiners? You be the judge.
This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands. perhaps it would be a funny stand up routine? Who knows. Stay posted for date and time of stroke survivor, coming to a city near you!


Showing Up!

Balanced stones in water

I love when the universe delivers additional confirmation of my beliefs.  I believe we are here to share our unique gifts and to connect with other beings doing the same.  I believe that the connections we make help to support the impact we make during our lifetime.  I believe that love is bigger than we can fathom.


This past weekend I had my soul lifted (just in the nick of time) and my fire lit (figuratively that is) and after pondering like I do, I realized some things.


I am not alone.  I have many tribes to which I belong.  They sustain me, encourage me and challenge me to be the best version of myself.


When I wonder if I’ve had an impact, I only have to meet with my motorcycling tribe and marvel at the connections.  When I started the journey in the motorcycling world nearly 17 years ago, I had no idea what a thrilling ride it would be.  I have met wildly wonderful people, seen wildly marvelous parts of the country and gotten to travel places I normally wouldn’t or couldn’t have.  But that’s how I was changed which is cool, but not nearly as exciting as the other side.


I have taught people who have taught others who have become teachers of others all across this country.  If I were a pebble and you threw me in a pond, the ripples would go on endlessly.  And I’d get wet.  It’s hard to get my head around how far out the influence of one of us can go.

Now you think I am talking about motorcycle safety but that has only been the conduit for a greater thrill:  seeing people gain confidence, inspiration and self-love.  I have gathered in my damaged brain, a collection of stories and memories of lives I’ve influenced. I don’t say that without tremendous humility and honor, believe. I have no idea how I got to share some of these things, to share these experiences.  Let me give you some examples.


Many of the stories are as simple as a change in confidence.. People discovering tha they can accomplish something that seemed impossible, something that they dreamed about for a long time and finally jumped in.  Though the story is simple, it makes me tear up sometimes when I think of how many mornings on the second day of range exercises, students showed up thinking it would be the day they failed.  I would find that people, particularly women (we are culturalized not to take risks like riding big, powerful machines) on their second day of riding, would start having doubts about their skill.  And how many times I would remind them that they showed up for this.  While we were up and teaching and learning at 8:00 in the morning on a weekend, there were thousands of people still in bed that will wake up one day and wish they would have taken the risk, taken the chance.  So day 2 of riding might not be perfect, but it was further along than those people in bed.  I believe we have to show up! And get dirty and feel fear and feel passion, excitement, adventurous…feel it all!


I had a young woman in one class who had just lost her newly-wed husband.  She had made a pact with herself to accomplish three big things in the year after in order to not give up on life completely.  She wanted to jump out of a plane.. She did.. She wanted to go scuba diving.. She learned..  Day two of class she was struggling but I knew she was just doubting herself.  She told me she didn’t think she could do it.  I talked her down, pointed out how far she had come.  She finished the class and passed.  Afterwards she thanked me for saving her life.  You see, motorcycling was the third thing she had on her list and she shared that on day two she didn’t think she would do it.  She was on the edge of an abyss that was dark and hopeless.  She saved her own life, but wow!  To be a small influence.

Then there was the hard-core Marine sharpshooter who burst into tears after passing the course.  He shared that his entire life he was told how stupid he was. He went into the service because he didn’t think he could do anything else. But now, in his 40s, he passed a motorcycling class.  He had decided that he would go back to school now.  I think the entire class cried with him, myself included.  Those were only a few of the stories I have, and there were just as many that I never heard either.  When I think about these stories, I find myself asking, “Why me” but I know why.  It is because I love life and love connecting and accidently or on purpose that leads to becoming involved in other peoples’ stories.  I show up.  On my bad days I try and remember that, I’m not perfect, I’ve made some really poor choices but, I showed up for life.  That knowledge makes me feel like I got some of it right.  It’s not always neat or pretty, but it’s real.


So this was just going to be a short blog because I hadn’t posted in a while.  I guess I had some stuff that needed to come out.  What started off as an emotional reunion with like minds, ended up releasing my inner pebble.


Tomorrow is a new day.  I’ll show up, but I’d better go figure out what I’m going to wear!  Live fully, love hard, laugh harder.  Show up!

Online dating observations

So, I decided to try the world of online dating.  I’m just gonna start off saying, “Wow”.  The desperation and low esteems.   It saddens me that we (especially women) are culturalized to believe we must be partnered to be successful or valid.  This, in my opinion, leads to some incredibly courageous (translate “desperate”) attempts to find love.  For some, it’s simply an attempt to find companionship, find some validation from total strangers.  At any rate, online dating for me has gone from testing the waters to a great source of entertainment.  I started making some mental notes and found myself laughing out loud at times.  I want to share some of my observations because., well, I think they are humorous, and because, I am still saddened at the extreme measures we take to conform.  So, for my venting and your reading amusement, I hope, I give you:

Online dating observations

It’s been a while since I have done the dating thing but I’m not stupid.    I can read between the lines of a profile.

What it says                                                                     What it really means

SAYS:  interested in dating but nothing serious  MEANS: just looking for one night stands, but couldn’t find that category.

SAYS:  Seriously looking to get married   MEANS: “I will suck you into the vortex of                                                                                                                                 my  neediness.”

SAYS:  “You have a cute smile, I think you’re my soul mate”  MEANS: “I’m so desperate at this point, I am looking for any connection.”

SAYS:  Drink socially. MEANS: “My sponsor says drinking alone is not good for my sobriety”.

SAYS:  “Some college”    MEANS: “I’ve been to a few keg parties”

SAYS:  “Business Owner “     MEANS:  “I’m unemployed at present but I have yard sales every spring”

SAYS:  Animal lover”   MEANS: crazy cat lady

SAYS:  “ Body type, “a few extra pounds”,                      MEANS:  “friends tell me I look like a celebrity…Jaba the Hut”.

 One word description of your personality….freaking field day of between-the-lines.

SAYS:  “Adventurous”     MEANS:  “can’t keep a job, get bored easily”

SAYS:  “homebody”         MEANS:  ”My ankle monitor limits my travel”.

SAYS:  “Love to travel”        MEANS:  “I’m in the Witness Protection Plan.  You don’t know me!”

SAYS:  Ambitious”             MEANS:  “If after a week, I sense no connection…I’m outa here!”

Then the screen names:

Bitchplease                               You want clarification on that?!

“Marathon”                             you’re in for a long, tiring relationship

HowcanIburs?                        (start by writing in complete sentences with complete    words).

Tigress, Onaroof?”                  you looking to date or terrify me?

“Monkeypaws”?                       I just can’t.  Come on…


And if you go by Kattyfish, well, one of us is not too bright.  It’s not me by the way.

If you are an online dater, or if by some very slim chance I mentioned your screen name or your profile info, please forgive me.  Again, the thing that has been most enlightening about this experience is how we are so strongly influenced by the needs that society puts on us.  Sad, really, so naturally I find humor since I am fairly irreverent.

I participated in a wonderful training recently.  One of the activities was to answer a partner’s question.  The question would be the same, over and over.  The question was, “Who are you?”  The first few answers were easy, my name, my profession, my hobbies etc., but as the time drug on and the question stayed the same, it was apparent that I haven’t asked myself that too much.  We use things that generally others use to define and describe us.  But really, who are you?  After the activity was debriefed, I realized how very little we know about who we are and how quickly we fill it with what we think others believe.  This whole online dating thing is an example.  Describe yourself.  Profession, body type, gender, religion, ethnicity, drug and alcohol history.  That doesn’t tell me the important stuff, like, how do you feel looking at a really great sunset?  What’s the best thing about you?  Who are you?  Who were you before you were you?  And I am looking for the one who responds,”Who am I?  I am enough.” but they generally don’y need the dating sites.  I will have some fun with it for a bit and then remember that I am also enough.

So Katfish, who seem too good to be true, we know you ARE.  I am an experienced fisherman.  And shame on you if you prey on the doubts and insecurities of those just hoping there are treasures left to find.  Shame on you and sad for you for your own insecure need for validation.   catfish1


Getting what we want versus what we need.

I stumbled upon this this morning and it really resonated.  It reminds me that there is a purpose, a connectivity that we don’t always like or understand at first.

In my youth, I respected the world and life.  I needed nothing but peace of heart.

And yet I changed despite myself and believed in the world’s lies.  The world seemed to know all the truth, and promised to make me happy.

I me asked for wealth, that I might have power;  I was given poverty, that I might find my inner strength.

I asked for fame so that others would know me.  I was given obscurity, that I might know myself.

I asked for a person to love so that I might never be alone.  I was given a life of a hermit, that I might learn to accept myself.

I asked for power, that I might achieve;  I was given weakness, that I might learn to obey.

I asked for health, that I might lead a long life;  I was given infirmity, that I might appreciate each minute.

I asked  Mother Earth for strength, that I might have my wayI was given weakness, that I might feel the need for Her.

I asked to live happily, that I might enjoy life;  I was given life, that I might live happily.

I received nothing I asked for, yet all my wishes came true.

Despite myself and the what the world said I should be, my dreams were fulfilled.  I am richly blessed more than I ever hoped.

Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota

Enjoy the day, the season, the gifts that we get despite what we ask for.










noun: recovery; plural noun: recoveries

  1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

“signs of recovery in the housing market”

  1. the regaining of substances in usable form, as from refuse material or waste products
  2. the extraction of usable substance out of waste.


People still pose questions about my recovery.  I continue to have residual issues with my left side and so I limp (I’m working on eliminating that) and my left arm and hand continue to have a mind of their own.  Any rehabbing at this point is on my own, forcing myself to use my limbs as much as possible.  People often comment on how well I have recovered.  It’s true, I’m just a little more of a perfectionist.  I want more.  I’ve accepted that things are different but I will not accept that I cannot fix my walk and get more hand and arm use.

I broke down and joined a writing group.  I’m going mostly to meet people and avoid isolation but it is also dedicated time to just write.  I have toyed with writing about the stroke in more than just disconnected blog posts so I am trying to organize and capture things that might be helpful to the survivors of stroke or even for those around them.  Everyone is impacted when a stroke happens.  So as I did some surface level research, I came across the basic definition of recovery.  I love the last one:  “extracting something useful out of waste”.  It makes me even more determined to make something positive out of what is otherwise a devastating experience.  I have written before about the gifts that this has brought to me such as patience, vulnerability, awareness on so many levels, but it may be time to extract more usable substance for others’ benefit.  So, it was either a book or a standup routine.  Maybe I’ll do both.

As the winter and coldness approach, I must find ways to stay focused.  Writing helps me with this too.


No, it’s not another Trump post.


I will not write about this Trump

I will not write about his rump

I will not post about his tweets

I’ll post about the coming Eats!


Tomorrow.  The big day of thanks.  I am grateful because I get to share it with family.  I am quite fortunate that the end of my relationship with my son’s other mother did not end our friendship.  We worked hard to make things civil and stable for the sake of our son.  The reward has been to continue our “family” and share special occasions.  Families look differently these days.  Two-mom families are no longer unheard of, unseen.  I’m sure that with the changes in our world in general, families will continue to look differently and we won’t have to avoid conversations about our home life because of the make-up of our households, emphasis on the plural.  Families are sometimes in different household.  Sometimes families are in different states, different countries.  (Read Families part I in my January 2016 blog.)

I am particularly grateful for my original family, the one I was born into.  They looked past my crazy (but in my defense, they caused some of it) and created a stable foundation on which I could build.  Even the simplest shelters built on solid ground will stay standing, despite weather, natural disasters, etc.  You know where I’m going with this.  At any rate, they created a safe place that was surrounded by unconditional love.  A spot to which I can always return.

I was thinking of my crazy just this morning:

My parents both decided to drive me to school that day.  At 7 years old I had become a handful at school.  Before school, during school, thinking of school.  The only part of school that didn’t bring negative physical responses was “leaving school”.  So there we were, Mom, Dad, and I, parking the car in the school lot.  I’m sure my parents had good advice as we sat in the car waiting to go in.  I remember none of that.  But I clearly remember the moment my Dad got out of the driver’s side and my mother out the passenger’s.  I’m not sure if I had the conscious thought that they had just made a critical error in judgment but on some level I knew enough to lean over and lock the doors…on both sides.  It was at that point my parents realized their mistake and the games began.  Pleading, threatening, and waiting.  None of these tactics made a difference.  I knew, however, that the longer I made my parents wait outside, the scarier my life would be later.  I scooted over towards the driver’s side. My father and mother were both there to grab me.  On that side of the car.  The passenger side was left unguarded.  My 7 year old brain could find opportunities under pressure.  I jumped out of the car and started to run.  Now my parents only had their level of fitness to blame for my eluding them.  However, I get bored easily, a major flaw really.  I ended the chase and turned myself in.  I share this true story to make my point that, I was not then, nor ever, a fan of going to school.  Every August I would begin mourning the loss of summer and my freedom.  Every August until my college graduation.  No matter that a job meant working through the summer, I did not feel the dread of impending return to school.

Naturally, I found myself becoming a teacher.  Thus far I have made it sound as if I had no control over my life’s direction.  That could not be further by the truth.  I discovered later in my career that I am a born teacher.  I have been teaching informally all my life really before teaching adults.  I enjoyed it very much and toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher of youths.  My previous career was in criminal justice so young children didn’t scare me.  Until the eve of my first day of school as a teacher.  I had procedures in place, my room was set up, I practiced being firm but friendly.  I read many books, but was starting to feel ill-prepared for the world of little people.  The first day I broke up fights, played bouncer and went home feeling defeated.  I am not a crier but I did spend many evenings crying at my incompetence.  I remember bursting into tears in a colleague’s room and trying to say convincingly that I was good at some things. Really.  Even brilliant in some things.  Self-esteem still intact?  Check.  Ego still inflated?  Check.  My strategy became quitting my job every day at the final bell.  I could walk out knowing I was done with teaching.  By the next morning I would come around and remember that I needed an income and benefits.  I got dressed and drove to school.  That’s the trap now isn’t it?  Find a job that provides some sense of stability and security, even if it takes a daily toll.  With eight years in, I decided to make a change.  I left the classroom to teach and support other teachers, most of them grown-ups.  There are still stressful days. (I think the stress contributed to my stroke).  More often than not there are uneventful, unfulfilling days.  Perhaps the stroke woke up the part of me that at one time thought I would love my job so it didn’t feel like work.  But walking away seems like no option as I need that pay and benefits.

As I contemplate the next few days though, I realize that I do enjoy the benefits of being off when my son is off.  I can also engage with children when I want but legitimately leave the classroom knowing I don’t have to go back in tomorrow.  I’m thankful for the flexibility and uniqueness of every day.  I am slowly learning to be more than just “comfortable” with my vocation.  Some days are still very hard.  I had to learn how to adult again and I’m not great at that.  Grown-ups are more challenging than little ones, maybe because we are stuck in our ways, clinging to archaic ideas and beliefs about how things look and how they should work.  I push back more than I should.  I push forward as much as I can as well, and try to find balance between the two.  There are always breaks though.  They are never long enough but they are always enough to recharge so that the time until the next break is more forward pushing and less pushing back.

Hurrah for Thanksgiving and the 4 days of rest it brings.  I would thank the pilgrims except that they were the ones who started such a puritanistic education system further influenced by the industrial age of mass production.  So I will thank my family, my mom and dad for talking me out of the car.  I might have starved to death if they hadn’t.  And I thank the turkeys who provide the source and centerpiece of this holiday.

I will also, once again, thank you the readers for hanging in there until the end of this post.  What stamina and blind belief that it will get better you have!