Anyway, I promised myself I would get them all graded over the break, and I had very good intentions. But first I had very important things to do, like debate the merits of picking up Ghost Whisperer* into my T.V. routine, or if I instead should focus on more important things, like Mike and Molly.**
Fortunately, my guilt/anxiety complex kicked in shortly after Christmas, and I got all organized and ready to start a massive grading marathon. Unfortunately, every time I tried to log onto Skyward, (my school's online grading system,) I was foiled. The system was down! The system was down!
Now, could I have gone old school and grade everything by hand and enter it in later, but that seems like a waste of time. Like doing the job twice. Well, maybe 1.5 times. I don't have that kind of time. Not with two weeks off for Christmas break, and Jennifer Love Hewitt's*** surgically altered pouty lips solving mysteries.
Last night, however, I decided to try logging on around midnight, just for fun. Miracle! Apparently Skyward is up from about Midnight to 5 a.m.
Are you getting what I'm putting down? That's right. I've been pulling all nighters. Just like college. For those of you who want to play along, or are so old and senile to remember what college is like, here is a recipe for an all nighter:
1.Caffeine. Tons of Caffeine. Hide the evidence later.
2. Mac N Cheese. In college, when your metabolism was that of a jack rabbit, you could eat a whole box in one sitting. If you do that now, you'll feel really bad about yourself. Best to spread the box over the course 5 hours. If you get snacky in between sessions chocolate is always a good idea.
3. When eating 3,000 calories worth of chocolate makes you incapable of grading one more paper on Modern Rhetoric, bundle up and take a walk. Ignore any inner naysayers that tell you that walking around in a snow storm in the dark at 3:00 am is weird. Also, try walking in the middle of usually busy streets. It will make you feel powerful. Powerful enough to stay up until Skyward crashes at dawn.
4. Gilmore Girls on DVD, perfect grading background noise, and when you feel weary, remind yourself how Rory Gilmore would never quit grading before the job was done. Then again, Rory didn't go to a State School and become a public servant. Damn you, Gilmore. Damn you and your perfect hair and high standardized test scores.
5. Log on to your Gmail account frequently to see if anyone is around to chat. Bemoan the fact that college really is over, and all your friends are now adults and not randomly online at all hours of the night. This also impedes on finding a companion for greasy food runs, which is probably for the best.
6. Ignore your Spouse when he accuses you of having a Peter Pan Complex. Remind him that it is his fault you have any interest Ghost Whisperer in the first place.
Did I miss anything?
**I will name my firstborn child after the person who can guess what piqued my interest in Mike and Molly. I'm sort of serious. I'm terrible at picking out names. Contest excluded to people named after Book of Mormon characters, or have weird spellings of normal names.
***I refuse to confirm the spelling on her last name.
Speaking of trendy crap, I've compiled a list of trendy things I'm over, and trendy things that can stay. Because I am an expert. It's also kind of like X96 and their "Things that Must Go." I still listen to Radio from Hell in the morning, even though I don't like emo rock.
1. Can we be done shoving our pants into boots? Mostly because I am too OCD to ever do it, and it makes me feel like a fashion failure, and I shame spiral.
2. Silhouettes. Mark my words, someday, we will look back in horror and realize that Sillhouette's are the orange shag carpets of the 2000's. It was cute the first 4,000 times. Seriously, I look forward to the day where we treat Sillhouettes and weird Etsy wreaths like shag carpet and vertical blinds.
3. Blogs where the writer has developed such a large Cult of Personality that it is no longer about the information, or the conversation, but about the writer saying something, and their sheeple nodding in enthusiastic agreement/defense.
4. Married Child Brides calling fictional characters/movie stars their boyfriends. In fact, Married anyones calling anyone their boyfriend. You are married. You have a husband, or, if you prefer, a Spouse. I will even allow you to borrow the Spousetotheman moniker if you stop referring to your husband of five years as your boyfriend. Or Zac Efron.
5. Douchebag hats. I'm not going to explain to what they look like. Just know that girls wear them with big big sunglasses and put flowers on them. And I hate them.
1. Birds. I don't care. I still like them. I'm not going to cover them in glitter and put them all over my house and in my hair, but I will happily wear the bird-motif pajama pants my Mom made me for Christmas.
2. Sewing, Crafting. Because everything I make is darling, and makes me feel included in LDS culture in a way no other things can.
3. (Some) Design-ish blogs. Interesting ones, not some bored stay-at-home-wife with a Pottery Barn Catalog.
4. Blogging, obviously. And although I am not on the Twitter myself, it amuses the heck out of me, so it can stay too.
What say ye, gentle readers. Would you like to play a game of In N Out in the comments? You should. I love audience participation. It can stay.
Merry Chritsmas, From Childbride and her Faux-Scrooge Dad.
1. I'm watching What Not to Wear and the lady they are making over is being a biyotch. I'm not exaggerating. I do not understand. If you don't want to give up your lingerie-as-outerwear wardrobe, do not take the $ 5,000.
2. I went to Joanns today (Can you tell I'm out of school for Christmas break? Crafting and Reality TV? Yes, please,) and witnessed what I can only describe as a white trash verbal beatdown. Can I say something elitist and rude? Of course I can, you can choose to unsubscribe if you don't like it:
There is nothing more depressing than two morbidly overweight sweat-pants clad Terrys (My name for people who have no features to help distinguish their gender,) fighting over who got in line in front of who at a craft warehouse store that is only one small step above Walmart.
Terry 1 "I got here first!"
Terry 2 "You did not!"
Terry 1 "If you think that, you live in an alternate reality!"
Terry 2 "It's always people like you who think they are the exception to the rules!"**
Terry 1 then started asking for audience participation from fellow line standers. Terry 1 turns to me and asks "Who got here first?!?"
He/She was very distressed when I said "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
You know why? Because I wasn't. I'm an anti-social borderline Aspergers person who was too busy being horrified by humanity to notice who actually got where first. I'm also too smart to get involved in the drama by indicating a winner. The last thing I want is Terry 1 telling me I live in an alternate universe.
Back to the point: I do not understand the need for conflict. We all have to wait in line. Terry 1 will wait 5 minutes longer. Either way, in 20 minutes, none of this will matter. Likewise, I do not understand people who claim drama ends in high school. No it doesn't. People just get fatter and more ghetto.
3. By now, biyotchy What Not to Wear girl has calmed down. I do not understand why it took her 30 minutes to do that, but whatever. She has good shoes now.
If there is something you do not understand, you can say so in the comments.
Or you could help me come up with more gender neutral names to label people who are so fat you cannot tell what gender they are. I can think of nothing that would elicit Christmas spirit more.
* I took German in 9th Grade.
** Um, Terry 2, people like who? You are both in need of a shower, are both wearing sweatshirts with wolves/kittens on them, and are wearing Crocs outside of the garden. What, in your opinion, distinguishes you from Terry 1?
2. Gay Marriage
3. Private/Charter schools. (Some public educators think they encourage people not to value and invest in public education. Sometimes that is true. But sometimes it means one less kid in my class. Sometimes they have a better education experience in a school with different resources. And sometimes it means that kid comes back after a month at a "Charter School" where all they do is eat pizza and watch you tube. Lesson learned. Either way, I'm all about options.)
4. President Obama. I know lots of you don't like him anymore, but I'm still faithful.
5. Vampire Diaries, notably Damien.
6. My married name. Am I a bad feminist for taking, and liking, my husband's last name?
7. Childless evenings at home doing whatever I want.
8. Processed foods.
10. Politically incorrect phrases of derision, usually involving a swear.
What do you like? (Even though you are not supposed to.)
The point is, I feel totally fine poking gentle loving fun/critiquing Crazy Mormon Thoughts because I had/have a lot of Crazy Mormon Thoughts. It isn't me making fun of everyone else (at least not all of the time.) There is a whole lot of self-mockery going on too. So without further ado, things I used to believe:
1. That the most rebellious thing I could do as a youth is listen to non-LDS music on a Sunday.
2. That if a priesthood holder said it, in church (or similar setting,) it had to be true.
3. That when I died and went to the Celestial Kingdom (duh, obviously,) and people asked me what time period I lived in, they would audibly gasp and bask in my righteous glow when they found out I was a youth in the year 2000, since my generation was the greatest ever. Sorry, pioneers who buried babies in the cold frozen tundra/Abinidai/Helaman's Stripling Warriors/Emma Smith/Holocaust victims.
4. Speaking of Emma, I used to believe that it was just so sad that her testimony wasn't strong enough, since she obviously was going to hell for not sustaining Brigham Young as prophet. Good thing Joseph had a bunch of other wives to keep him company up in Heaven.
5. Speaking of polygamy, I used to believe that really righteous people would be chosen to practice polygamy in heaven. I would secretly pray to marry a nice but spiritually average man so we would not be chosen.
6. I believed that because I used to believe that women were inherently more righteous than men (hence why they needed the Priesthood to quell their wildebeest-like dispositions.) More righteous women=pairing up to share the few men effeminate (femininity=righteousness)enough to make it to heaven. I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize the obvious logical fallacies there.
7. I used to believe that if I said something in a prayer similar to a previous prayer, that I was engaging in vain repetitions, and would be sent to hell. Where bad prayers would be happy to be.
8. That Mormons don't talk about Heavenly Mother because she isn't important.
9. That I was personally responsible for keeping the thoughts of any male I encountered pure by dressing modestly and not tempting them with my awkwardly pale skin and non-existent boobs. (Boys=wildebeests.) If they looked at me and had lustful thoughts, and then got addicted to porn, and they turned gay, it was all my fault.
10. People unhappy in the church were weak people who probably just relied on their parent's testimonies, or had never read the Book of Mormon. Or something.
Any of these sound familiar?
What did you used to believe?
PS I'm going to tell you right now that my parents didn't teach me any of this. When you grow up Mormon, there are lots of people who try and teach you things, including aged slightly-racist relatives, weird Seminary teachers, EFY counselors (whoa....whole other post....), and some of it I just made up in my own warped brain.
Basically, when a village raises a Mormon, hilarity is bound to ensue.
You can rebound with Heaps next year when he pulverizes us.
Uh, well, my Mormon rage, dumb stuff my students say, dumb stuff my peers say, and crap I make because I am genetically and culturally bred to sew and hot glue.
Oh. Um. How interesting.
Yes, and once every few months I post a photo of something I make.
Oh cool! I only read blogs if there is a picture! Especially if it is essentially the same photo, just from a slightly different angle, or in a different outfit.
That said, here is a wreath I made when I was really ticked off about something. When I get really mad, I engage in really elaborate craft projects.* This time it involved hand-sewing dozens of tiny felt flowers. The end result matches the shag carpet my grandparents used to have, but oh well. I think it was very festive for fall.
Yeah. That is a crapload of felt flowers.
Also, please appreciate that I moved the wreath into my orange bathroom in an attempt to color coordinate. A slight improvement over photographing it on one of the numerous gray walls throughout my house. I'm boring.
*I've said it once, and I've said it again: Crafting is cheaper than therapy.
Now it is your job to tell me how talented and creative I am, and beg me to open an etsy shop instead of using my degree at a real job.
We were told we could be anything.
But sometimes, I wonder, with all the options available, why many of my peers chose to be nothing.
No jobs. No school. No kids. Just expensive taste in clothing and cameras and unlimited time to take photos of themselves.*
Yes, I intend to teach my children that with a combination of hard work and luck, they can be anything. But I damn well intend to include an addendum: they have to be something.
Mom. Dad. Stay-At-Home. Work. Work-from-Home. Start a business, write a novel that never gets published, readers, thinkers, learners, yes, even photographers (hopefully they might consider taking a class.)
Something besides shopping and taking pictures of their food.
Am I missing the point?
*Do it. Call me on how mean and nasty I sound. Tell me there is nothing wrong with a near pathological obsession with Anthro, J. Crew, and Nikons. I don't mean to call out individuals, and I like shopping and pictures of myself too, but I want to be sure that when I die I can say more about myself than "Wow. I sure did stare at my vintage shoes a lot."
For a group of people that believes we belong to the only true church, (that takes confidence,) insulting Mormons is surprisingly easy.
Here's a How-To list based on my own experiences. (AKA things people have said to me.)
1. You need to be less prideful/gain some humility.* Someone once brilliantly proposed I engage in a humility fest.**
2. Non-Mormons who read your blog won't join the church, because you are revealing all our Crazy Mormon thoughts. You are a terrible member missionary.
Sheesh. Hope those same Non-Mormons also don't shop at Costco, where you can buy a whole bunch of books on how we used to practice polygamy and kill Indians. All for the low, low price of $8.95.
(Internet, the jig is up.)
3. Once you discover your divine role as a female in church, you won't be so discontent. (Fancy way of saying "Get pregnant.")
4. If you don't agree with me on ______________(insert political opinion here,) you obviously don't sustain the prophet.
5. If you feel that way, then this isn't the church for you.
6. You used to be such a nice Mormon girl. (Optional: replace "nice" for "classy.")
7. I promise you that if you pray about it, you will have a spiritual confirmation that my opinion on this matter is right.
8. You are misusing personal revelation to justify sin.
9. Some people will just be happier in the Telestial Kingdom.
10. You must be such a burden to your righteous parents.
Did I miss anything?
*A Mormon telling another Mormon to be less prideful is the religious equivalent of a scantily-clad sorority girl calling another scantily clad sorority girl a skank.
** Um. No. That would interrupt the flag football Righteous Fest I'm playing in. You didn't know this, but I'm on an Intramural Team called "LDS Liberals who judge LDS Conservatives for not supporting Welfare Programs that Benefit Children." We are playing the "LDS Conservatives who believe LDS Liberals don't believe in being Self-Sufficient" team.
Obviously, I'm very busy.
More specifically, why do I not love Hellcats?
(It is a mystery why I do not like Hellcats. It has cheerleaders. Slutty cheerleaders. Fake lawyers. Southern accents. Bad hair. Bad acting. WHY DO I NOT LOVE THIS SHOW MORE?)
I'm procrastinating some major teacher work here, and thought that the most noble way to procrastinate in my job would be to talk about my job. So here we go.
1. I'm Reaganing.* And it feels so good. Seriously, the last couple days have been excellent teaching days. I feel like I'm teaching awesome material (To Kill a Mockingbird and Rhetoric in the Roman Republic.) I feel like my students are learning and growing and enjoying most of the process, and I feel like I'm finally making progress as an educator. Woot Woot Child Bride!
I kvetch about this job a lot, and I usually only respond with sarcasm when asked how my job is going, but damn, I love this crazy behemoth of a high school. I'm still not perfect, I had a rough start with some class discussion topics today, but overall, I'm improving. My students are improving.
2. My co-workers are talking to me. Last year, when I was just a temporary replacement teacher, I felt sort of shut out of the day to day co-worker interactions. I understand their perspective. Time and energy are precious commodities in teaching, and it's hard to reach out to someone who may not be there in four months. But now that I'm here, it's been great to branch out and talk to other teachers. I live for those moments when we all reaffirm that what we do is important. Regardless of the crappy paychecks, the bad stereotypes, and the lack of societal respect, we do good work.
I also live for the times when a teacher confesses that she often misspeaks when talking about Huck Finn. During teacher evaluations. And yes, she said what you think she said.
So there you go. I like my job. Even though I'm breaking out in ways worse then when I was actually a teen. Even though my weight is fluctuating like a beauty queen between competitions. Even though I keep waking up earlier to get here hours before school starts, and I stay hours after it ends, this is a good job, and I like it here.
Can we also agree that reminding someone how long they have been married, in an attempt to force them to have a baby is just pointless?
3.5 years. I know. I was there.
2. Real Christmas Trees
3. Modern Family. Put. Your. Pitchforks. Down. *
4. The UEA
6. Your kid.**
*Look. I get it. It is funny. I'm just too busy watching every Community episode 3 times in a row. I don't have time for Modern Family. No matter how adorable the gay couple or Asian baby.
** No, no, not your kid. I LOVE your kid. Of course.
What don't you like? (Even though you're supposed to...)
Righteousness fests are a complicated sport, with more rules than football. Like football, you can be penalized for "excessive celebration" of your own righteousness. One too many self-congratulatory remarks and you come off as "prideful." But if you're sidelined the whole game, refusing to comment on how you just don't understand how a member in good standing could watch that R-rated movie, well, then you're not truly playing on the side of the Lord, are you?
I've participated -either via the sidelines, (unrighteously,) or as a running Quarterback,(obnoxiously,) in a great many Righteousness Fests. Since I was raised in the Mormon Church, one could even suggest that I'm close to being the Brett Favre of righteousness. No comment on how many times I've threatened to retire.
If Righteousness Fests are the Mormon Cultural Superbowl, and if you expect to take home the Celestial Trophy, there are a few "plays" you need to know.
1. You must constantly talk about "the good old days" where people valued the traditional family, and the youth were respectable. Openly longing to live in the 1950's will get you a field goal. Ignore topics like segregation, civil rights, women's rights, and the atom bomb.
2. Have a copy of the Proclamation to the Family posted prominently in your home. Make sure to twist the text when you quote it so that your point seems the same as the Prophet's point. Quote it even when irrelevant for extra yardage.
3. Lastly,my favorite play- insult people who have more education, or money, than you. Mormons love to do this. In fact, I heard the following mantra mis-quoted in both Sunday School, Relief Society, and Sacrament meeting last week.
Mis-quote: quoting the 14 Fundamentals and pointing out that "the two groups that have the hardest time following the prophet are the rich and the learned."
Oh my. This is the Shot Gun formation of Righteousness Fests. Mormons love being rich, and love being educated, but they have a hard time with people who are richer, or more educated.
How many times have you heard "Oh her Daddy paid for her college tuition, she's not a hard worker..."
"Rich people don't know how to really work..."
"Yeah it would be nice to have more money, but you know, rich people have a hard time following the prophet. Their boats become false idols...." (That was from Sunday School last week.)
"I wanted to finish my degree, but I realized that the Lord had better plans for me then to listen to the words of men..."
Want to know the actual quote?
"The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. "
It isn't about how your roomie from college had more parental financial support than you. It's about pride. And it's bad in any form. Being prideful about your spouse's six figure income as an attorney is annoying. But being prideful, and insisting that you are the better Mormon because you "worked harder" to "make it on your own" is annoying too.
It is annoying, but but it's also ineffective. Sadly, even though every Mormon uses Play #3 in a Righteousness Fest, it usually results in an obvious fumble.
Because like NFL football players, only certain types of people get to participate in righteousness fests about the evils of wealth and education. People who complain about boats being a false idol are the people who have access to boats.
They are usually white, American, middle-class Mormons who simply by being born in the U.S. already have access to more riches and learning than their brethren in South America.
I'd venture that if the Chileans (mascot: a Habitat for Humanity Representative) who had their homes destroyed by an earth-quake had to play the Mormons-in-My-Ward (mascot: an SUV) in a Righteousness Fest the Chileans would win. Due to their awesome defense, I mean, humility.
But go on, keep smugly arguing that you're the better Mormon because you don't have a boat.
Fantasy Football time: What teams would you like to see in a Righteousness Fest? I'm waiting for the game where the Modesty Nazis play the Anti-Halloweeners.
Then I realized that I wasn't dealing with smudged mascara. I just had really big dark circles under my eyes.
This job is killing me.
I'm an amazing crafter.
*Seriously, I love a good debate on religion, but if you don't think this bag is cute you are either a.) a dude b.) apostate.
But then I realized my error in focusing on the negative, so I am editing my post. Instead I would like to say Thank You for all the kind and supportive words everyone else left. Even those who disagreed did so in a kind and civil way. Thank you.
For those who shared similar sentiments, it was good to know I am not alone. I do feel very alone sometimes, in my journey through Mormonism, and it was nice to have people walking with me for a few miles of that journey.
We are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er.
It did not comfort me because I am satisfied with the LDS Church's position on homosexuality. I could lie and say that I was, but again, I would be lying.
I was comforted because changing a General Conference talk shows that the LDS church is willing to change, and to correct error. Right now, it is a few words in a very complex talk, given by the person next in line to lead the church. A complex talk because I agree with him on the nature of the atonement. I believe God is always there and willing to forgive. I do not, however, believe that people choose to be Gay. After all, I did not choose to be straight.
I also believe in prophets. I believe in prophets who listen to God's voice, but have to listen just like the rest of us. Who may struggle to hear that voice amidst louder voices. The louder voices of personal bias, cultural upbringing, and fear. Sometimes those voices drown out other voices, even if that voice is God. Even if you are the prophet.
This makes being Mormon extremely difficult for me. It would be easier if I could simply believe that everything said in General Conference was direct revelation from God.
It would be easier for me if I could believe they were all lunatics.
But I don't.
What I do believe is that the church can change. We can recognize errors, fix them, and progress. It is an agonizingly slow process. Change in the church is like the child who slowly peels off a band aid. There are times I want to rip off the huge band aid of being Mormon, because watching it peel back hurts so much.
But for whatever reason. I'm still here. Forcing myself to listen and pray every time I hear something that does not sound right. Every time I question, and yes, every time I doubt.
If I have learned anything from Elder Packer's talk, I have learned that I am the only one responsible for my testimony. I cannot rely on one man to determine my relationship with God. I can only listen and hope to hear God's voice. Sometimes he speaks through someone else, sometimes he speaks through the scriptures, and sometimes he speaks to me. Because he loves me.
So no, I am not satisfied with the LDS Church on many of their positions. But this is the church where I learned to pray, where I learned to listen, and where I learned I am a Child of God.
For now, that is enough.
Fortunately, this year I had no crazies. Remember the PTC where the mother of an expelled student came and yelled the word that caused her son's expulsion over and over? To prove that it isn't a "bad word" and that "people say it all the time?" Oh memories. I wonder how that parent is doing after she got escorted off school premises by the school cop.
I did have some weirdos though. Just people who don't quite get appropriate human interactions. As a person who often struggles with appropriate human interactions, I'm usually sympathetic. However, I also realize that if I, one prone to slightly odd behavior, find something weird, then it is definitely weird.
I had one parent come talk to me about their kid, leave, come back, see I had no one in line, and proceed to sit down and tell me how terrible it was that they wanted to build a mosque right next to Ground Zero. He also felt the need to explain to me that I might not think two blocks away is right next to Ground Zero, but blocks are different in New York. Two blocks really is right next to ground zero. Apparently.
However, weirdly, about ten minutes into his spiel, I got the distinct impression that he really didn't care about the mosque. Something was bothering him, something was not quite right in his world, and the best way for him to deal with it was to rant about terrorists and mosques and oh-my-heck-this-country-is-going-to-hell.
Maybe it was because I had 4 hours to sit and think about whatever I wanted (well, until the next parent came, at least,) but PTC made me think about all the other "issues" we may latch onto to hide what really bothers us. Prop 8, The War, Taxes, Obama, do we really care? The world keeps going on, no matter who is President, who gets married, who pays taxes, the world keeps on spinning. I'm not suggested we don't care entirely, because we do, but is the Ground Zero Mosque really what causes us to sit down and lash out at an unsuspecting teacher for 25 minutes?
What's really bothering us? The fight we had with our kid this morning? Or spouse? The soul-crushing feeling we get sometimes when something we wanted doesn't happen, or isn't as great as we thought?
Is the idea of gays getting married in Massachusetts really keeping you up at night? Or is it the stress of your job, feeling unappreciated at home, the realization of what it means to have a chronic illness?
I include myself in this analysis too, recognizing that the times I get most passionate about things usually coincides with some personal drama. So, in an attempt to prevent myself from accosting some teacher someday, I will tell you some things that are bothering me right now.
1. The fact that many of my loved ones would rather give each other the silent treatment then talk it out and work out an issue. This has bugged me for years.
2. The fact that despite being smart, capable, and well-educated, I still make mistakes as a teacher. I want so badly to be good at my job, that anything less than perfection is painful.
3. I am not confident enough in myself to write this without worrying what specific people will think of it. Will she think I'm oversharing? Will he think I'm dumb?
What is not bothering me right now-
1. Anything the Tea Party is doing. It doesn't impact my life in anyway. I think they are crazy, but this doesn't keep me up at night. There. I said it.
What's bothering you?
(Ps. If I tagged by entries, this would so be tagged under "emo posts"
Maybe I should tag my entries. Aha!
I want my daughter to know that she is smart. I want her to know that I will support her in whatever dream she chooses, I want her to know that she can be anything she wants. I want her to know that she is capable of greatness. If you are Mormon, or religious in anyway, you might respond with "I want her to know that she is a Daughter of God."
We want a lot of things for our girls/young adult women. We've come along way from simply wanting them to be pretty and silent.
But if my interactions on the internet and in the classroom are any indication, while we pay lip service to the idea of a smart young woman, we don't always want her to know that she is smart. We'd rather have her be demure, overly humble, self-deprecating, and doubting. So very often, a boy who knows he is smart is confident, self-assured, and a leader. A girl who knows she is smart is arrogant, cocky, and aggressive.
I speak from experience. If I even hint at being smart on the internet, I get a couple comments, and a couple more emails, from people accusing me of all sorts of nonsense. I'm a snob. I'm an elitist, I think I'm better than everybody else. Once, someone who read my blog complained about me to my mother. It was so rude of me to say that I was smart, and I was hurting her feelings.
I never claimed I was the smartest (the ability to conjugate is apparently a lost art,) I simply acknowledge that through a combination of hard work, and luck, I am smart. I see no crime in acknowledging that there is a spectrum between the intelligence of the primordial single-celled sludge I evolved from, and, say....Einstein. I fall somewhere in that spectrum. Hopefully closer to the Einsteins then the sludges.
However, I also acknowledge that I fall in different places in different subjects. I am a microbiotic parasite when it comes to chemical equations. I used to feel insecure around people who did understand chemistry, until I realized that their talents are no more or less important than my own. If you ask me to analyze the significance of polytheistic religions in Ancient Near East cultures... well, I can work with that.
Speaking of the Ancient Near East, I recently held a discussion with my students. We were analyzing the effectiveness of the Sumerian class system in maintaining social order. Riveting. I know. Many students, both male and female, made intelligent comments. However, I noticed that many of my girls seem addicted to disclaimers: "I don't know for sure, but......I could be wrong but.....I think....."*
It was almost as if they worried that stating a strong opinion would hurt the Ancient Sumerian's feelings.
Whether it hurts our feelings or not, if we really want girls to know anything, we need to let go of our own insecurities and let them truly know things about themselves without the minutiae of disclaimers tying them down. If they are smart, let them say so. If they work hard and become smarter, let them acknowledge their success.
The Ancient Sumerians are all dead, anyways.
* We can talk another day about the ills our society inflicts on teenage boys. I am aware of them, and acknowledge their validity, but decided to focus this post on girls.
I also hate paisley patterns. It looks like sperm. Also, the "p" sounds.
However, despite these feelings, I am strangely grateful to my friends Spence and Jess for this blog post. (link HERE)
If only because, for the first time in my life, I can leave someone a comment telling them how much their blog offends me personally. It is nice to be on the other side of that particular equation.
And I resolved that my next blog would be a one-liner: "I hate it when stupid people like what I like."
I mean, I talked about it a little bit HERE. But I thought it was worth repeating.
Then my e-friend, and co-reader- of- online- Jack Weyland -books Ru wrote about it HERE, and I knew the discussion was over. That is some damn inspiring rage, and I mean that as a compliment.
My favorite part? Why Ru (and I) hate it when dumb people like awesome stuff:
"Because I can't help but suspect that the lame people don't truly get it. That they are laughing at the wrong things, or misinterpreting the symbolism, or whatever. "
This brings me back to Mockingjay. I really love the Hunger Games series. I think it is quality YA literature. By combining a killer plot, romance, and a very likable protagonist, I understand why the teens can't put it down. But more importantly, I think it is quality YA literature because it lets you think. Or, more specifically, it allows the reader to think without pushing an agenda (abstinence before your vampire wedding, for example.) There are some heavy issues in Hunger Games, including our society's obsession with voyeurism (admit it, you'd watch the Hunger Games every year if you could,) beauty standards, (I love the scene where Katniss and Peeta come out into the arena naked,) and wealth. Even more heavy are the issues of a powerful government versus an ethical one, the value of free will, and whether it is noble or just stupid to sacrifice your life for a nearly hopeless cause.
Yes. There is romance. There is a love triangle. But Gale is not Edward, and Jacob is not Peeta. Hunger Games is not Twilight, and the idiots that were not satisfied with 4 drivel-filled vampire lust shouldn't try and get their fix off a truly wonderful piece of fiction.
Or, they should just stop talking about it on the internet.
Upon further consideration: I thought I'd disclaimer myself, and say I see nothing wrong with enjoying drivel-filled vampire fantasy, on occasion. I watch Bachelor Pad every week, and I love it. I take issue with people who can't tell the difference between quality and quantity. Quality of writing versus quantity of poorly written similes. His skin was like shimmering marble.....
PS. I have not read Mockingjay yet. Please, no spoilers.
Then I made excel charts for each class, categorizing students by grades, citizenship, and special skills. I may have experimented with bar graphs.
There is a reason I found my first gray hair before graduating from college.
Needed to be shot.
But now, my dear brothers and sisters, after hearing several Mormons speak, as if they were our beloved prophet or perhaps a favored general authority, I am reminded of the stories of my grandparents, told to me in my youth. It was all right then, as they were my grandparents, and were not trying to appear holier than they were. But now, dear friends, when a return missionary attempts to use a moderately funny anecdote in order to teach a treasured gospel lesson, and speaks in language uncommon for people under age 65, I realize in my heart, that I find insincere religious pandering, far, far, more offensive (and worthy of a firing squad,) than the magical ability to treat each spoken statement as a gerund. A beloved, special, and holy gerund.
Extra bullets if he or she was born after 1989 and uses phrases common in 1949. That just sounds particularly insincere.
That is all.
I watched Bachelor Pad today, and that is the most entertaining show ever. I was so bored by Ali last season that I didn't even watch the last two episodes. But I will watch hot people throw tantrums and play games half naked any day of the week. How crazy is Elizabeth? You tell everyone how much you love me, or me and all my girlfriends will get you voted off! Why don't you appreciate everything I do for you!
I always wondered about the behind-the-scenes action in the controlling-girlfriend relationships, and I now know how all those cheerleaders got those nice baseball players to stay with them forever. (Or all of senior year.)
Which do I need the judging space for- my obsession with Kate Hudson films, or my deeply rooted addiction to schadenfreude via Chris Harrison? Both?
I base my non-reality TV selections on a weird sense of loyalty. For instance, I started watching Parenthood because Lorelai Gilmore was on it, and Mad Men because Zoe from West Wing was on it. I feel like it's my job to watch and make sure they are successful in their new endeavors.
It wouldn't be confession without audience participation. What embarrassing things do you watch? You should tell me, because it is my birthday tomorrow. I'm 24.
I wish it were that simple, and I wish I didn't identify with all three types.
There is a funny thing about teaching: Everybody seems to have an opinion on it, especially the everybodys who have never set foot in a classroom. I've seen no other profession more highly esteemed, and more ruthlessly mocked, than teaching. Especially public school teaching.
Consider every teacher in every movie or TV show you've ever seen. Movie/TV teachers fall into two categories: Messiah or Scum. John Keating (Dead Poets Society) or Ben Stein as the Economics teacher. (Bueller? Bueller?)
Freedom Writers or Clueless
Sure, the Messiah teachers start out rough. Someone plays a prank on them, or in the case of Mona Lisa Smile, already know all the answers. But fear not, by the end of the movie, the teacher has each and every student eating out of his or her hand. All in 90 minutes. If Julia Roberts can do it, what is wrong with you, Mr. Hall? (Hint: As if!)
And like Olympic Gymnastics, movie teachers make it look so easy.
Here's the truth: I actively want to be a teacher. I actively pursued being a teacher since I was 18, with a ferocity unusual for a regular person, let alone a person with "attention difficulties." I never changed my major, I never doubted. I actively want to be a teacher, except on the days I don't. Except on the days where I seriously contemplate getting "accidentally" pregnant so I have a socially acceptable reason to quit. I actively try to develop meaningful lessons, except on the day, when faced with a 62% failure rate, and three suspended students, I simply open the textbook and force my students to read. Silently. For an hour. I feel like I make a difference to my students, until they spend 30 minutes debating whether it's a zit or a hickey on my neck. **
I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I love summer vacation.
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't find solace in my profession. Yes, solace from dealing with other adults, who are much more complex than teens. (Mostly because adults still act like teens, but pretend they don't.) There is a solace in shutting the door to your classroom, and knowing that for the next 87 minutes, you are the (hopefully benevolent) God of your own tiny world.
There is also a sense of terror when you realize that it is you, the 23 year old adult against 37 teens.
But none of that fits into 90 minutes, or 3 categories. Or in a three line quote. I can't hope for students who stand dramatically on their desks, calling out Oh Captain! My Captain! in an act of cinematic loyalty. All I can hope for is that they learn something. And don't accuse me of selling drugs. ***
*Quote and not-necessarily related article found HERE
**Actually, I do think there is one movie that accurately depicts what is like to be a teacher, and you're going to scoff when I tell you. It's Mean Girls. The scene where Tina Fey spills coffee all over herself, insults a minority student accidentally, but still manages to encourage girls to do math? Substitute coffee for diet coke, and girls with boys and math with poetry, and I've almost successfully fulfilled my fantasy of BEING Tina Fey.
Not to be overly dramatic, or claim that the situations are the same....oh, to hell with it, let's be dramatic. It is the internet, after all.
But Rosa Parks knew what she was getting into when she sat down in the front of the bus.
Martin Luther knew what he was getting into when he nailed 95 Thesis to the door of the church.
Alice Paul knew what she was getting into when she picketed the White House during wartime.
As long as complaining leads to making the world a better place, I think we should keep doing it.
I'm a teacher, I knew what I was getting into, and you should pay me (and public education, in general,) more.
*If you know me, you know what I think the dumbest argument ever is, and you know I don't want to talk about it online, because it contradicts people with large followings of stupid people. Maybe another day.
Seriously, children swinging on rope swings in the front yard, my virgin-Mary Laurels doing service projects throughout the neighborhood, and charming elderly people walking tiny dogs.
No, it is not as exciting as living next to meth dealers (our first apartment,) or worrying about things getting stolen out of our cars, but it is nice.
And it means I'm totally comfortable going on evening walks, usually around 12:30 or 1:00 am. Which is when I discovered this:
Three streets down, a man wearing nothing but a wife-beater and boxer shorts plays rap music in his backyard. He stands in the corner of the yard, holding rainbow neon light-up baton things, which he swings in carefully orchestrated routines. Under the legs! Flip! Swish! Swivel! Sometimes, he sings along with the terribly offensive lyrics. Swing, "F*^& yeah!" Swish, "Rap lyrics rap lyrics rap lyrics!" Swivel! "Hell yeah!"
For the sake of blog accuracy, I just checked. He's out tonight, this time playing some form of techno.
I don't think he can see me, but I think out neighborhood just got a little more colorful. Frankly, I'm relieved.
This is an email from my Mom.
hey everyone. We are in coppenhagen We do not have cell service. We are happy and eating lots of food. it is beautiful. drew will gain 20 pounds. kallie is on the A team. all is well. tell brett. jess loves him it makes us sick. it smells like pasteries and nicotine here. we love it.
She's an English teacher, too.
Theory: Planned Parenthood's main form of unwanted pregnancy/STD prevention is shame. They shame you into not doing something stupid. Particularly shameful? When the medical assistant asking you about your knowledge of "barrier methods" looks about 12. I felt like screaming I HAVE A JOB, A MORTGAGE, A MASTERS DEGREE, AND A MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP, I DO NOT NEED PLAN B.*
I need to graduate from planned parenthood.
Conspiracy: Hipsters must all secretly hate each other. There's no way I'd let someone I really like go out with the hair/terrible pants/vintage grossness that some of these people go out with. I wonder what the end goal is? Who can convince the hipster queen to post the most unflattering photos of themselves online? In which case, I could probably name a few winners. But I won't. Along with being horrid dressers, hipsters are vicious. And I don't want to be labeled a "hater."
Isn't fact, theory, conspiracy a fun game? You can play too!
*When I'm embarrassed, I like to list my accomplishments to make myself feel better about myself. Funny how lots of papers resulting in lots of debt makes me feel better.
Sometimes I get sad when girls only want to be (and are only taught to be) assistants, attendants, and aides to the main show in the career theater. Especially when we teach boys that they MUST be the main show in order to "provide."
Be the main attraction, ladies.
But that was not the only camp miracle! I got some sun at camp (Not enough to burn, but enough for random older woman to cluck concernedly and over to rub Aloe Vera on my nose,) and it seems this sun may actually result in a TAN.
I hope you have your food storage ready, because clearly the end is near.
It really is odd though, to look in the mirror and see a tan healthy looking person instead of an albino sickly one. Furthermore, I can sort of understand now how people get addicted to tanning. I look pretty! And athletic! Let us tan some more!
Fortunately/Unfortunately, I am a major proponent of slippery slope arguments, so despite the fact that I look less like a Cullen, I don't intend to let this tanning business happen again. Would you like to hear my slippery slope argument?
If I tan frequently, I will get addicted, and then get skin caner, and then die, and then Dan will remarry some Mormon princess who will want to watch Living Scripture movies, and we will all be stuck together in heaven*, making me the eternal third wheel who wants to sneak into the Terrestrial Kingdom for diet coke and PG 13 movies, while my sister wife bakes the demons in hell casseroles and cookies.
*There is no doctrinal basis in my post-life fears. That is an example of what I call "Crazy Mormon Thoughts." All Mormons have CMT, but some people try and pass them off Actual Church Doctrine, and try and teach them in Young Women's lessons, and that's when Stephanie gets something called "Rage." In more extreme cases, people insert vampires into their CMT, resulting in poorly written adolescent literature that sets feminism back 1,2033033030 years. But don't worry girls, he's only mean and controlling because he loves you. Anyway.
1. We have running water!
2. I am going as a leader, not as youth. This alone is the best part of camp. I will tell you why.
a. There will be no awkward fights over who gets to sleep in which tent with who. Girls are vicious, and someone is always left out. Usually because a group of girls decides that since they have been friends since elementary, they must all sleep in the same tent, and girls who they have known since junior high are simply not real friends and have to go sleep with the beehives.
Wow. Projecting much, Childbride? Anyway. I will be sleeping in the tent with the leaders. As adults, they must at least pretend to be friends with me.
b. I am an adult and I can bring any contraband I want, and there is no one to confiscate it. Yes, that means I will be bringing diet coke and I don't care if you judge me. If I am going to spend the better part of a week hanging out in a tent and eating food with dirt in it, (I don't get the appeal of camping,) I am going to have a beverage. I will also be bringing copious amounts of candy.
3. Our stake had the good sense not to impose some ridiculous theme on us. (Including but not limited to: Disney princesses, sayings that don't make sense (It's not the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breaths away,) or any other such nonsense. This is good, because I would not be able to tow that line without a hearty degree of cynicism. And the last thing my precious and righteous* young women need is a leader who is addicted to caffeine, hates camping, and makes fun of quasi-religious gatherings.
*Seriously, it's a post for another day, but my young women are waaaaaayyy more righteous than me. None of my laurels have even kissed anyone, let alone made a point to make out with as many of the young men as possible. (Still projecting.)
She asked me for tips (Because I teach High Schoolers, I'm a teen whisperer...)and I wasn't very helpful. At all. She asked me if I remembered any good modesty lessons from my youth, and, even though I had a bunch of great YW leaders growing up, I don't remember any modesty lessons that really stirred my soul. Let's face it, it's hard to feel spiritual about long shorts and one piece swimsuits.
Furthermore, while the cynic in me could not identify any awesome lessons, I could identify some that fell into the following categories:
Let's start with the beginning.
a. Unnecessary: I was never one to wear bum-cheek-hanging-out-the-back shorts, or boobalicious prom gowns. I'd nod and smile, and maybe read an excerpt from the Strength of Youth (No Mo translation: A teen handbook that helps you end up on a mission/not knocked up), and leave totally unaffected.
I just don't feel the spirit when I'm being told what not to do. I mean, I'll not do it, but I probably won't experience a great spiritual awakening every time I buy a besleeved formal dress.
I imagine a lot of youth feel the same way. Teach me about how to receive answers to prayers, and you just might impact me. Teach me not to look like Katy Perry and I will nod and smile. I wasn't going to dress like that. Still won't. Thanks.
Plus, give an already modest girl too many lessons on Modesty, and it might turn into....
b. Offensive. Sometimes, after the billionth lesson on SLEEVES SLEEVES SLEEVES, I'd start to get a little annoyed. Do you think I'm secretly slutty? Dumb? On the verge of a sexual rebellion? I get it. SLEEVES.
Even worse though, are the horror-story lessons from Mormon mythology. The lessons about how it's important to dress modestly, because if you don't, a boy might look at you! And think lustful thoughts! And when he gets addicted to porn and can't go on a mission IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT.
Because teaching girls that their god-given bodies are evil is a GREAT way to bring them closer to Heavenly Father.
And lastly, there were those lessons that were just...
c. Ineffective. I've already covered the fact that I've never owned a pair of daisy dukes. But I knew girls who did, and I'm pretty sure their Laurel leader telling them not to did jack squat after the lesson ended. Why? Because it isn't the Laurel leader buying their clothes/ letting them out of the house. If their parents think tank tops and short skirts are okay, (and these could even be, gasp, good parents,) then the girl is going to wear them. Especially when modesty, despite the guidelines in the Strength of Youth, still harbors a whole lot of gray.
What does it mean to cover the shoulders? Don't tank tops cover the shoulder? Or, if you're like one of my friend's parents, does covering the shoulder mean only t-shirt style sleeves and beyond? (Seriously. Girl was not even allowed a cap sleeve.) If Sally down-the-street thinks tanks are okay, is she immodest just because her Laurel Leader has made a business sewing sleeves onto spaghetti strap cocktail dresses?
Can't we just talk about Jesus at church?
Apparently not. So, e-audience, you tell me.
How do we teach our girls to be modest?
(Or, if you have tips on What Not to Say/Horror Stories from Your Youth, I would be happy to hear those too. I'm nothing if not equal opportunity.)
1. Our kittens are freaking adorable, but I still maintain that becoming a pet blogger would be an unpardonable sin against humanity. Fact: I once unsubscribed from a blog because the couple got a pet and spent a month referring to it as "their baby" and having the pet guest post and talk to "mom and dad." I know. Harsh.
2. No matter what, Dan and I will always be approximately 5-10 minutes late for church. Regardless of what time it meets. Right now we have the coveted 11-2 time, and we still run late. I have some amount of guilt about this. Like if 10 is how guilty I feel when engaging in stupid e-feuds, and 1 is how I feel about my diet coke habit, I'm probably about a 3 on the Church thing. And now I'm shame spiraling for not feeling guiltier about the church thing (late for church should be at least a 4) AND the diet coke thing. Would you still read my blog if it was called Catholic Child Bride?
3. Can we talk about something that gives me irrational amounts of rage? Truly irrational. (In the sense that the punishment does not fit the crime, I still maintain that a lot of things that bug me really are that offensive. Anyway.) Dude hipsters that wear too tight clothing make me want to stab people with mechanical pencils. There are several things that annoy me about the dude hipster phenomenon:
Dude hipsters tend to be thin, (like listening to the shins, eating is sooo mainstream,) but also sort of unfit (can't get sweat on my vintage prada loafers,) so they have that little pooch belly. Pooch bellies are not a crime, but when you wear those tight little boy pants that are too short, and your old man suspenders and your snug plaid button down.....I just really wish you would fall into a pit. And, yes, I know this is unfair,because for a group of men who probably always have wedgies, most of them seem pretty nice. I still wish to inflict pain.
4. Did I tell you I'm a Laurel Advisor in my ward? I am. And we are going to camp in a few weeks, and we might not have running water. Someone may or may not be getting very ill just before camp. I'm a lot of things, and I don't necessarily need to shower (Heaven knows I rarely showered in Europe, and I had running water,) but I do need to be able to flush.
*In retrospect, Mormons do sort of have confessional. Like you can go talk to your bishop, if you want. But to my understanding, Bishop confessions are more for sexually active teenagers and not for wanting to stab male hipsters, but I could be wrong.
How many Hail Marys do I need to say now?
I once had someone who was considering my Masters Program tell me they "didn't believe in going into unnecessary debt in order to be a teacher."
That rankled (doubting that's a word...) my feathers to0, but it took me awhile to figure out why.
Answer: Because people who feel the need to validate their life choices by putting down other people are feather ranklingly annoying.
If you don't want to get a Masters degree, fine. But it doesn't mean my degree was unnecessary. If you don't want to blog, fine, but that doesn't mean it is a waste of time.
I've found though, that the most frequent offenders of this crime are women, and the most frequent victim: children. Or lack of children. Or childcare.
It seems like nobody can have a kid, want a kid, have a job and a kid, without being subject to the "I'd do that, but...." clause.
For instance, how many times have we heard this gem?
"I'd like to have a career, but I don't want to sacrifice my baby for my own ambitions."
Because working mothers are just selfish and need to feed their egos.
"I'd love to be a SAHM, but I'd think I'd go nuts! I need more in my life than just being a mom!"
Because SAHMs are just mindless drones that don't need external validation.
It's just as bad for those of us without kids.
"I thought about waiting to have kids, but I realized that having kids was the most important thing I could do, so why put it off?"
Childless people just don't have the right priorities, you know?
And people who have kids right away are just dumb.
"I was going to have a kid, but people who have them right away usually don't know what they are doing..."
We've heard it all before. Heck, maybe we've even committed the "I'd do that, but I'm so much smarter than you" crime. I admit, owning your own life choices can be hard to do.
It's still annoying.
Either get a degree, or don't. Blog. Or don't. Work at home, stay at home, go to work, have a kid. Or don't.
Remember in kindergarten when we learned that "You don't have to put someone down to bring yourself up" phrase?
Still true. I should know. I was going to be a kindergarten teacher, but........
Here is a bag I made for my Aunt Lissa who is HAVING HER 8TH CHILD THIS MONTH. Eighth. EIGHTH.
And her oldest is 15.
Anyway, her superhuman reproductive skills aside, here is her bag. She requested a bag with tons of pockets, and I obliged, AND I even put in a magnetic snap. I feel very official.
As usual, I think it is the cutest and most killer bag I ever made, ever. Until I make the next bag. And then I give the previously cutest bag in the world away. It's a good thing we are talking about bags here, and not children.
Also, the lining is awesome.
I feel like I've been a crap blogger lately. Where are my pointless stories? Where is my gentle mockery of Ye Old Republican Party? Where are my endless photos of myself doing the exact same thing? Oh wait. Well, I guess you are not missing out there, internets.
Anyway, Here's some stuff I've been up to, none of which is particularly exciting, but if you haven't learned to keep your expectations low by now, gentle reader, then I fear there is nothing I can do for you.
1. Memorial Day. I know. Barbeques, right? El Wrongo. On Memorial Day my Grandpa takes all his children and grandchildren to the Little America Breakfast Buffet. An opportunity to consume 3,000 calories in one sitting? This holiday just became more awesome than Christmas. (Binge eating is a sacred experience in my family,) In case you were wondering, yes, I did wake up at 6:30 on Memorial Day to listen to Jillian Michaels yell at me while I struggled through my lunges. Just to ensure maximum binge capacity. I'd say I represent everything wrong with America: exercising before binging, but I'm still not a Republican. Plus I recycle.
2. The Hour I First Believed. Everyone and their book club suggested this book to me, so I finally picked it up, and frankly, I'm offended. Everyone thinks I like crap rambling depressing writing? Really Guys? If you've read this book, and really liked it, will you email me and tell me why? You might want to include your paper in the form of an attachment. Remember, size 12 font, double spaced, due whenever you are bored. But seriously. I hate Wally Lamb and I hate all of his annoying characters, and, after I decided to quit the book, I looked up reviews to make sure I wasn't alone. I feel like THIS review adequately sums up feelings. Especially the part about not being able to have your satire and eat it too.
I actually read the first half of this book yesterday (all 450 pages,) and by the end, I was so angry and depressed that I yelled at one of my cats.
You heard me. Cats. As in multiple. Somehow, I allowed not one, but two six week old kittens into my home. You can read more about how I feel about animals HERE (spoiler: UNFAVORABLY) and yet somehow here we are. I don't really want to talk about it. Also, I am going to include a photo of them, but rest assured that it will probably be the first and last photo of them. Why? Because I hate to break it to you, but pet entries are boring. And I always skim through them when people (even my friends,) post them.
But my blog is my journal, right? Hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Anyway. Here is Ivan (brownish cat) and Sweet Pea (yellowish cat.)
Still, graduation ceremonies are boring, so I composed my own graduation speech in my head. For those of you who don't have a bunch of teenagers in your life, welcome to Mormon Child Bride's Alternate Commencement Speech!
Congratulations! You graduated High School! You are now qualified to waitress, clean teeth, aide for a real teacher,and pick up poop in hospitals!
Not for you? Then this graduation isn't an ending for you, but a beginning. After all, you can do anything you set your mind to, right?
Wrong. You can't. There will always be someone smarter than you, prettier than you, wealthier than you, and luckier than you. They will probably get your dream job. So what I would suggest to you, my recent graduates, is to take the following words of advice, which I am qualified to give you as a 23 year old recent college graduate with alarming bouts of unemployment.
1. Everyone will tell you to find what you love to do, and figure out a way to make money doing it. This is decent advice, and this is why I'm an underpaid public school teacher. Be aware though, even what you love will be boring/hard/frustrating some days. Don't give up.
2. You can do anything you set your mind to... for one year. You can work any job, live in any dive, and get through any year of school. You really can. Don't give up.
3. Seriously, don't give up. Unless you hate it. After a year, if the job/major/relationship/apartment makes you want to slit your wrists, quit. There is no honor or glory in being miserable. Quitting is for people well-adjusted enough to know when to abandon the course and try again. I know too many of my peers languishing in internships and jobs they despise. If you have to quit your job and move home and regroup, do it. Remember, sometimes quitting is for winners. Life is short. Be happy. (I told you, it wouldn't be a true graduation speech unless it was riddled with cliches.)
4. It also wouldn't be a graduation speech if I didn't use a quote. Here is your quote: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill.
Some of you may be the lucky ones. You really may be the smartest, prettiest, most wonderful teen in the whole world. Maybe you really will be a multi-millionaire in a few years. Wonderful. But you still can't give up. Remember, success is not final. You must constantly find ways to improve, because stagnancy, even for multi-millionaires, is failure. But don't worry, failure isn't fatal.
For those of you less lucky, find the courage to continue. The one cliche that really is true? The world is scary. It's a different world than the one your parents entered as High School graduates. But it's your job to fix it.
Best wishes! Have a wonderful summer!
"If a student is convicted of a felony, can they still walk with NHS* at graduation?"
(another teacher, in reply)
"I don't know, but here's a better question, can that convicted felon SPEAK at graduation?"
(a student, running to take an AP Test)
"I'm fine! I'm FINE! I JUST NEED TO REMEMBER TO BREATHE."
"His last name sounds like an STD."
"Mrs. L! I hit a deer!"
"Like a "Pulls Santa's sleigh deer?"
"Yeah, my Dad and I were drunk up the canyon, so he dared me to get out of the car and punch this deer in the road!"
"And now I have to go to court! Because a ranger saw us! And I endangered an animal. Hey, can I turn in my rough draft a little late?"
I really enjoy my job.
*National Honors Society
1. Should I be offended by the older male teacher in my department who calls me "kiddo?" I'm leaning towards not, (even though several people told me I should be,)because when I'm deciding whether or not to be offended, I always like to consider tone. Co-worker calls me "kiddo" in a friendly nice way, not a condescending idiot way. Is it PC? No. Is it offensive? Probably not.
2. Sometimes I wonder if passive-aggressive people just think everyone else is an idiot. Because the classic passive-aggressive tactic is to manipulate words and tone so that they can claim something that isn't true. But it is always really obvious and pathetic looking, so why not be outright aggressive. (Be, aggressive, be, be, aggressive.)
For instance, I had another co-worker tell me she was "happy (I) got the job even though there were more qualified applicants." You weren't there, but I can tell you what her tone really said: "You're an idiot." Additionally, did she really think that if she said she was happy about my job that I wouldn't notice the jab later?
3. Three weeks until school is over. Will I survive?
-I had a weird and very negative reaction with a student I usually get along with. It had me all depressed because while I deal with negative student interactions every day (Hi student looking at porn on his phone during my class!) there is something very discouraging about thinking you have a good relationship with a student, and finding out you were wrong.
-This morning I got a frantic email from said student apologizing profusely. It was so sincere and adorable that I ignored all the spelling/grammar/syntax errors. Desperate times call for desperate sentence structure, I suppose. Plus, who in the sam hell hill judges apology emails?
-Actually, I rarely care about grammar/spelling/syntax outside of formal class work. For some reason, everyone seems to have this impression that English teachers spend all their free time looking for misused commas and condemning people to hell as a result. False. Those people aren't English teachers. Those people are English Nazis who are usually grammatically correct, but boring, writers. Is grammar important? Yes. Is grammar the soul and essence of good writing? No. We all know a lot of boring people with perfect hair.
-"We all know a lot of boring people with perfect hair" is probably the best analogy I've ever written. I didn't even have to make fun of Republicans to achieve it.
Anyway, hello e-world! I assume you're here because you would like an update? Okay then.
Some things you didn't know:
1. When I was hired for my job, I was told it was for this year only, and I would have to go through the entire interview/competition process again in April. I took the job anyway, because hells bells, a half-year of teaching is better than no teaching.
2. When interviewing for a job, here are some tactics I find helpful:
Some things you know now:
1. During my interview last week, I threatened to egg my Principal's car if he did not re-hire me.
2. I got the job.
Woot woot Child Bride! AND....I never have to interview again. Assuming I don't sleep with a student, I'm here as long as I want.
Likewise, nothing gets a "contestant" more riled than Stacey and Clinton telling them the 80's are over. For many of them, the 80's were when they were hot and young, and who wants to give up on hot and young? No one. Even if it means clinging to your sky-high bangs.
Eventually, though, the contestant gives in. Old clothes are discarded, a new wardrobe purchased, and the contestant comes out saying "This is the real me!"
Sometimes, I think our LDS church culture gets stuck in a fashion rut. Despite the fact that we have biannual meetings (Conference! It's like the Fashion Week of Church!) where we receive counsel from our Church leaders, some of us cling to counsel that is outdated.
You may think I'm being facetious, but really, sometimes Church counsel, like stirrup pants, becomes less relevant as new information, new styles (to continue my metaphor) come into fashion.
Does anyone still wear the skins of animals?
I bet you don't follow God's counsel to sacrifice animals, either. Which is good. That sounds messy.
Recently, I've seen this quote bantered around, and I'd like to discuss it.
“You [women] were not created to be the same as men...
The business world is competitive and sometimes ruthless. We do not doubt that women have both the brainpower and skills—and in some instances superior abilities—to compete with men. But by competing they must, of necessity, become aggressive and competitive. Thus their godly attributes are diminished and they acquire a quality of sameness with man.”
President Ezra Taft Benson.
With all due respect to President Benson, who I believe was called as a prophet, this quote reminds me of shiny pastel metallics, leggings over over-sized sweatshirts, and cone-bras. Not that those things didn't have their place, but I'd much rather wear this:
"It is disturbing that so many, especially women, have self-doubts and question their ability to succeed. Addressing female students studying math, science, and engineering in March 2005, BYU president Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr. of the Seventy said: “One of your professors has commented to me … that some of you have less confidence in your abilities and prospects than do your male peers, even when the evidence may suggest that this is not justified. You do need to recognize your talents, skills, aptitudes, and strengths and not be confused about the gifts that God has given you.
Women especially may receive negative feedback when they aspire to professional occupations. A young sister entering her late 20s and faced with supporting herself wrote for advice. She confided that she had approached an ecclesiastical authority about studying law and he had discouraged her. We do not know her abilities or her limitations; the counsel she received may have been based on them or on inspiration peculiar to her circumstances. But her determination could be felt through the pages of her letter, and it was clear that she should be advised to reach the full level of her potential.
President Thomas S. Monson, as part of his message during the general Relief Society meeting held on September 29, 2007, told women: “Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen M. Oaks. "Learning and Latter-Day Saints."
Like dark-wash denim, and the wrap dress, this more current information fits me better. I think it also fits the statement in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," which identifies men and women as "equal partners" who should help one another.
Instead of characterizing men as aggressive and beneath the pedestal on which women are placed, why not embrace each other as equals? Instead of clinging to our hair spray, why don't we cut a bob? Instead of worrying about whether or not competing in the business world will make us less feminine, why don't we pray for "abilities equal to our tasks?" Why don't we become miracles?
For the love of all things, literally, holy, why don't we buy the dark wash jeans?
Of course, there are the classic wardrobe staples, that do not become less relevant over time, and are passed down from generation to generation. These are your grandmother's pearls that you wear at your wedding.
These are the worlds of Eliza R. Snow:
"We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and holy ones...Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time... the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling and qualifying for those responsibilities."
"This is the real me!"
Am I capable of making my own lunch? Yes. Do I ever make his lunch? Maybe once. But it's something he does, and I do other things. Isn't it weird how I do other things, but still feel like our arrangement is pretty equal? (snark.)
Today, my husband made me a sandwich, loaded with pickles. Now see, he does this because I love pickles. They are delicious. But I hate them on sandwiches. Hate, loathe. I've expressed this, but it is to no avail. He always throws pickles on my sandwich, thinking I love them (which I do, but not on a sandwich.) I take them off, eat them separately, and remind him casually that pickles on sandwiches are gross.
"But you LOVE pickles!"
"Not on sandwiches."
Then he puts more pickles on the next time he makes me a sandwich.
This is probably mundane and boring to you, but I find this little miscommunication hilarious and endearing. It's been going on for about two years now, and I like to think that in 50 years my husband will still make me a sandwich with pickles.
Consistency is nice, even gross consistency.
In other news, I just finished a mildly ineffective 3 week unit on 12 Angry Men. I taught it earlier this year for another class, with much success, so it bummed me out that it didn't go as well this time around. I think it had something to do with the fact that the first time I taught it to one class of 22 students, and this time I taught it to 214 students in six classes. Turns out teaching is not like baking. You can't just multiply the recipe for a larger batch. That's fine, I don't bake or make my own lunches. Lesson learned.
And now, I feel as though this post needs a list. So here you go, a list of things I think when I see my students, but do not say.
1. You are not a person who should wear skinny pants.
2. Your girlfriend is controlling.
3. I know you STILL cheat on all your assignments. I just fail you. No reason to make a big deal.
4. Your behavior problems don't stem from ADD, they stem from your parents telling you that you aren't responsible for your own behavior.
5. I have ADD. How is I can manage to behave (mostly) appropriately, and you can't?
6. Please bathe.
7. Wearing your pants that low makes your legs look tiny and like toothpicks.
8. I know I should be happy you are reading, but there is so much more to literature than Twilight.
9. For future reference: I would like a diet coke, with lots of ice, and a lime. Commit this to your memory, it will be relevant to your future career.
10. You will regret that promise ring.
11. You are my favorite student, and I hope I have a kid just like you. ( Okay, I may say the first part of that one....)