Let’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.
**NOTE: This week’s post was more challenging to write — not because last week wasn’t great, because it was, but because something has changed since that week that feels like it could be a betrayal of my trust and how I felt about last week. At times like this, I question if my perception is reality and sometimes I feel when I write this post, I’m not always telling the full truths because my focus is to only talk about the positives. Well, life isn’t always the good and the bad — sometimes there’s a grey area. For the sole purpose of sticking to the reason for this post and finding happiness with what we have, I will save the other side of life for another post — and for a time when things are a bit more clear because the truth is important to me, and it’s important for me to be authentic in all that I do, including my writing.
1. Gal Time. A gal-pal of mine asked me over for a much-needed pizza and summer cider night. That night, I was craving some vegging and banter time in the comfort of someone’s home, and it was as if she read my mind. A keeper, that one. She’s a friend I can always count on, and I’m so grateful for that.
2. Blood is Thicker Than Water. I met my sister and mother for lunch last week, as the rents were in town for a quick vacay. We caught up over tex-mex and then spent some time shopping for my sis’s house that’s in the process of renovation. Not only was it nice to catch up, but nothing beats shopping vicariously for someone else without emptying the ol’ pockets.
3. Paying it Forward. Ten years ago, before I was a teacher, I was an actress. I performed in college and in a company in Dallas, TX — which may shock some people, as I tend to be more of a reserved person, but it was once a huge love of mine. My theatre professor in my first two years of college invited me to be a part of his theatre outreach class at the time, in which we discussed current events and the things that were most important to us. The purpose was to write, produce, and act in a play that promoted awareness and/or advocacy about one of the issues discussed. One morning, on September 11, I went to class, just after the second plane hit the World Trade Center, and we ended up being the only class in session at our college that day. What evolved from that experience were strong connections and a dialogue about the importance of understanding our interconnectedness at times like these. Our play became just that, and we performed it at various grade schools in our community. My professor pulled me aside one day and told me I should pursue writing, after that experience — which, now that I think of it, may have been his gentle way of nudging me away from an acting career – ha! He and my English professor wrote me a recommendation letter to SMU’s creative writing program, and from there, I fell in love with writing and the way my professors taught it. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to become a teacher, and I wanted to pass on my love of writing with other students and show them how it could promote social change. What I didn’t realize then was that my professor was exposing me to project-based learning, which is more than the new trend in teaching today — it is the best way to engage authentic learning experiences. Recently, I was invited to attend a three-day course on how to teach this way and given an opportunity to work with someone above me on creating this type of experience next year for my students. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as after the recent Orlando mass shooting, it became excruciatingly urgent to me that I use education more as a means to advocate for accepting differences, pulling my students out of the little bubble of their community, and showing them that literature and writing can serve both as a mirror and a window to each other’s lives. I’m so excited about this new opportunity and the beginnings of what I’ve created for next year and see this a way to finally pay it forward to what my professors showed me years ago.
4. 10K and Story-Time. I’ve taken up a new love of running, and I’ve been slowly but surely graduating myself from walking to walking/running, and eventually I completed my first 10K while running the entire time. I was so proud of myself. Plus, I may be the only oddball on the planet that “kills two birds with one stone” and listens to podcasts while running instead of music. I may or may not have been that weird girl weeping and running at the same time, but I listened to this story that made me both stronger physically that day and also stronger mentally. In that podcast, a woman told a story of dating a man for a few months and the lessons she learned while with him. She was confused by this relationship because he didn’t fit any of the items on her list of what she desired in a life partner– she didn’t know why she was attracted to him, but she kept finding herself drawn back again and again. One morning, after apparently having the best orgasm of her life, she just wanted to get out of his bed. So they did, and on their hike that day, she climbed up a tree to avoid all the confusing thoughts in her head that were making her confused about whether or not she wanted to stay in the relationship. He was telling a joke, and while impatiently waiting for the punch-line, the tree-branch broke and she fell. In that moment, when she was given no choice, remarkably, she was finally able to surrender — something she had essentially tried to do all her life, but failed to do. This is something I could immediately relate to, so I was hooked. Long story short, it took a lot of work, but she finally let down her guard in the hospital room one day (her body had been paralyzed from that fall from the waist down), and allowed that man to visit her. Something hit her, and she didn’t want him to leave her side from that day forward. And he didn’t. Several years later, they are married and have children together. Although she could have grown bitter from the experience, she said she is just grateful she got to learn the lesson at all, and even if it took that terrible thing that happened to make her realize how to let go and allow herself to be loved by this man, she would do it all over again. One of the things she said, stuck with me, and I never want to forget it, “Everything you need to know about your life is happening right now, so pay attention.” And that day, while running, and even throughout the rest of my day – I noticed things I had never taken the time to digest before – the colors of the leaves, the way people’s faces moved while laughing, what people do when they are nervous, and how good it feels to be desired.
5. Man-Date. See what I did there, eh? Such a word-play nerd. The man in my life asked me to a dinner date Friday night, so I was excited to get some margs after a long run that day. Before dinner, he suggested going on a swim first, as his afternoon meeting was cancelled — even better after a long run in the heat, so I gratefully obliged. The sun was brutal, but the cold beers, soothing water, and good company eased my sore muscles and worked together to put my spirits in a really good place. We shared several small plates at dinner that night and continued at a dive bar near by and laughed at the strange people around us (terrible – but let’s admit, behind closed doors, it’s a bit fun to do at times). It had been a while since we shared whiskey and danced cheek-to-cheek in his living room, and it just felt right later that night. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad time with that man.
6. Father’s Day. Saturday morning, I met my fam for a quick Father’s Day greeting, as my parents were headed back to Dallas Sunday morning and my sis could only spare a couple of hours that day due to her hectic schedule. Granted, my funny dad was working on the exterior of the house the entire visit (go figure — always the busy one, that man), it was still, as always, nice to visit with them. My dad is such a great example of love in my life, and I’m so grateful to him for having set the bar so high that I will never allow myself to settle for the man in my life.
7. B-day Shin-Dig. Later that same day/evening, a friend of mine’s husband had his big 3-0 birthday celebration at their house complete with beer, pizza, corn-hole, a dirty board game (ha!), and really great company.
I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss! Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!
Have a wonderful week!