The best part of back-to-school time? Back-to-school outfits…especially when you and your husband get to share it all together!
I know my last post was about getting pumped for fall, and I don’t want this one to seem like I’m backtracking, but…M E R M A I D S.
How lucky for us, right? Because the sparkle and the magic and the Disneyness of it all is…mermazing. And part of me clearly wants to be a mermaid…but don’t we all?
Perhaps the best part of this mermaid madness is the headpieces; I don’t guess I’d wear these in everyday life…though I do love me a good headband…
…so I’m really hoping that during Homecoming Week there’s a dress-up day where I could incorporate one of these!
In the meantime, I’ll be…
I’m doing the best I can to soak up the rest of summer…
.watching movies with my husband, which we’ve been adding to a must-watch list (including some that would pump us up for school, like “Stand & Deliver” & “Dead Poets Society”)
.playing catch/shooting hoops
.staying up late in tents, eating pickles, looking at the stars and talking about/hiding away from life – all things I love doing, especially during the long-n-warm dog days of summer.
When school starts up in a couple of weeks, though, I will gladly embrace fall, my second favorite season, and…
.drink pumpkin spice lattes
.wear fun layers
.cheer at football games
.take brisk walks through crisp leaves
.celebrate Halloween/our birthdays/our six-month anniversary/our one-year engagement anniversary!
If you remember/care/follow me, you’ve seen my “til death do us party” Pinterest board, full of horrifically beautiful images, via “Corpse Bride”, Halloween photo shoots and Poe-inspired parties.
This fall, I’m feeling that gothic romanticism even more, since a. I’m a married woman now;) and b. I’ve been inspired by movies like “Crimson Peak” (I actually interviewed the director, Guillermo del Toro, during SXSW [when I first saw Ryan Gosling;)] and didn’t realize he created so much greatness; we watched several of his movies this summer.), shows like “Stranger Things” (Aren’t you obsessed?!) and books like “The Woman in White” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (I can’t wait for this movie!).
Therefore, this season, I hope you…
.dance in the moonlight
.stumble across beauty
.spend time with loved ones
.take risks (in fashion/life)
.come to our fall festival
.enjoy my new board – “fall16.”
I feel like recently and regularly, my blog posts are combinations of all my recent thoughts/Instagram posts; I’m a very introspective person, and when I don’t have money for a therapist or time for yoga, I get my feelings out through inspirational social media images…and then recap all of that here.
My initial reaction for starting this particular post would be to lead with this: It’s been a weird year, to say the least.
…but – on the other hand – I could ask, “Has it?”
I mean…what makes something “weird”, especially a time in life? Sure, moving and starting a new career and and getting married and all that jazz have been out of the ordinary, compared to my past few years, but moving in general and teaching students period…Not so strange. These things happen every single day.
So, this leads me to think that it’s just me; I’m weird for thinking it’s weird (getting a little meta, I know). I’m probably overthinking and overreacting and should just go with the flow.
(bear with me)
What even isss going with the flow? We’re all here, to live life, on this rock, and we get to choose how/where/with whom we spend that time. And I like to think I soak it all in as much as possible…but I’d also love to say I’m a carefree person…yet I schedule and freak out and plan out possible and impossible scenarios – just in case.
I feel like I should segue now into what my high school English teacher used to tell me: Whatever you’re going through is real, for you, right now. Freaking out about a high school boyfriend or a new job or a bad day may seem selfish, since there are actual problems in the world…but those bigger, worse problems don’t necessarily affect us daily…while at-home, real-life situations do…which is why freaking out makes sense (to an extent).
Ugh, okay, done – How exhausting!
Let’s move on………
Here are current things I’m stressing/worrying about and why I should/shouldn’t (feel free to offer up any advice at any point;)…
#1: I’m tired.
#2: I don’t get to write enough.
#3: This is reminding me of a previous/similar blog, where I had to remind people that I’m not just being a whiny baby.
#4: I’m not the best teacher in the world.
#5: I’m not the best wife in the world.
#6: I’m a teacher and a wife (wutttt).
#7: I care far too much about what others think of me.
#8: I constantly struggle with kismet, and if I should just make bigger decisions and move again, because I’m not sure if I should live here or in Austin or in New York or beyond.
#9: When I’m not sure what to do with my time, I automatically think, “It’s time for a new IG post/blog!” … though only, like, four people will read this … though, that’s okay, since it makes ME feel better … ???
#10: I think I care too much about “ME” (yet I struggle with self-love…but we all do, to a certain point…Right?!).
I think, inside of us all, there’s a hippie, a free spirit who would love to get carried away by the wind and the music in his/her head and just live life – traveling and exploring and reading and looking at the stars and learning new things.
In reality, though, there are bills and responsibilities. We get tied down by commitments and relationships and fear – which is good and bad.
It seems like many of my posts trail in to the whole “life is short, so live it well” thing…and it’s true…but I’m too tired to write on that. I’m too confused to discuss the make money vs. be happy debate. And I’m too inexperienced to blab on about why we’re here and what we should be doing.
All I know is this: I’m in control of my life. I make my own decisions. If the majority of me wants to work hard at a job that helps to pay the bills and helps to feed my online shopping obsession, then that’s what I’ll do. If part of me needs to escape now and then, and just talk with friends around a fire or roadtrip to the beach or hide in a fort with my best friend, then I’ll do that, too.
I’m one person, trying her best to be happy and to make others happy. Sure, I fail, and at times, I upset people and get super stressed and get into fights and freak out. But then I breathe, refocus, get up, dust myself off, and keep on trucking…because I have/need/want to do so.
So I write to remind myself to be the best I can be: the best wife and teacher and friend and daughter and work-outer and sister and employee and customer and blogger and human…because…why not?
P.S. – Have you watched “Stranger Things” yet? You should! I stole my title from there, since “the upside down” is this alternate reality…kind of like the one in my head; when I get into those funks of “what is life” and “am I doing enough” and “stop being so whiny…but care a little more, too”, I’ve decided to refer to that as The Upside Down – a place where I may think too much but where I always come out better and more driven…so visit it, if you dare or if only to realize that you should love you!
ICYMI, my brain is always going and going and going – even when it shouldn’t be. I just re-read my last blog post, and as I combined those thoughts with some conversations I recently had with students, I came to the following conclusions:
Life is short; I think we can all agree on that.
Therefore, if we want to spend our time on this rock adopting cats, attempting to write multiple best-selling novels and watching Real Housewives while eating desserts…that is totally fine.
To take all these thoughts further, though, I realize I should constantly be striving to be a better version of me…right? We’re under pressure – whether that be from the media or people around us we feel judged by or from ourselves – to be attractive and kind and brilliant and fun and funny…but not too hot or overly nice or nerdy or too outgoing or obnoxiously hilarious.
This year, I feel like I’ve been in a sort of limbo, and I have been thinking a lot about who I am and what that means and if how I come across is correct or acceptable or even okayish. Furthermore, since I’m now a teacher and a wife (weird), I feel like I have to be even more on my toes…yet I still need to be myself…so I should keep living my life in ways I enjoy…but I also need to always be inspiring and educating and pushing these other people…then theyyy can live life in great ways…and thennn motivate others to do the same.
Since I wrote the first part of this blog post, I’ve had numerous other similar conversations, such as…
a. Did you know that 20 percent of people in their 20s and early 30s are currently living with their parents and that 60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from parents? Is this bad…or does this say something about today’s educational system (Hello, never-ending student loan debt) and workforce (Entry-level requirements = 10 years in a similar position – But how??)?
b. Did you know that moving back to your hometown – whether you live with your parents or not – can feel super strange, especially if you’re surrounded by people who used to be in your life, then weren’t but now kinda are…? (It’s bittersweet – Just ask me, my bff who’s in a similar situation and this BuzzFeed writer)
c. Did you know that our generation is okay with spending the majority of free time using Instagram and Netflix? Yes, it’s good to have hobbies and get outside and take tech breaks, and doing such things is easier if you live in a city or are surrounded by fun people or don’t mind getting out of your introvert comfort bubble. I am a homebody, and I admit to liking my cat more than most people – but I also travel and read and go play basketball and grab frequent drinks with people. Therefore, I think there needs to be a balance, because it’s become “cool” to be this person who never leaves home and is disgusted by everyone…but when that starts transcending into real life…and leading to unmotivated students, grouchy employees, rude people and to boring/uninspirational people in general…that’s a problem.
Okay, crazy thoughts over! What do YOU think we should focus on while here? How do YOU cope with a million thoughts/pressure/life? What do YOU think about the whole “I hate people” syndrome? When do YOU want to come watch Housewives with me? 😉
that I get to be creative every day for the rest of my life.
that my boyfriend and I are still cool bffs 70 years from now.
polar bears don’t go extinct.
more truly scary movies come out.
of publishing at least one book.
of being famous…or at least rubbing shoulders with even more famous people (since 148 = not enough).
that my teeth fall out.
of traveling the world with my loved ones.
I aspire to be
better than I am.
a happy and healthy mother (to possibly many children, all fabulously dressed).
excited to wake up 87 percent of the time, ready to conquer the day, in some way/shape/form.
someone people enjoy being around and writing letters to.
I wish I could
get my points across better.
live multiple lives.
pay off student loans faster.
adopt/save every cat out there.
Halfway through my first year of teaching, in the midst of preparing for the STAAR test and directing a one-act play and planning a wedding, I did a little research, to make myself feel a little better, and to learn from others who have been/are in my shoes…
Juice Boxes & Crayolas – a cute teaching blog – points out the following facts…
Support system = needed item (and thankfully I have great people I can vent to/lean on!)
Outlet = a creative, de-stressing way to leave the day behind you (and when I have time to blog or read or watch Bravo, it’s a great de-stressor!)
Boundaries = things that must be set, in all areas of your life, especially as a teacher, when it comes to how you interact with kids and when you leave work each day (these have been interesting/different, since I’m teaching in a town of 296…at a K-12 school with 150 kids…from which I graduated…meaning I teach people I went to school with and have known since they were conceived…and teach with some of my old teachers…and my parents)
All those little creatures = precious babies (even if they’re not pure angels all the time…love ’em all anyway!)
Celebrate the small stuff – and the big stuff!
A First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide taught me that…
Nothing is perfect (so know that not every lesson, test, day, activity will be 100 percent amazing)
No is a word that should be in your vocab (even though it’s hard at a small school, when we’re expected to chip in everywhere)
Not everyone learns the same way (so make sure you’re not centering lessons towards one type of learner, one type of student or one human being)
Raid the supply closet (especially since bratty little teens will raid your closets, leaving you with zero pens come Spring Break)
Track memories (because it will all fly by, and you’ll want to look back and remember who gave you that cute little “I Heart My Teacher” sign)
Fake it (until you make it or until you look like you’re making it enough to get through eight periods, six weeks and/or August through May)
Vent (often. to trusted people. and then suck it up and get on with life again.)
Connect with your kiddos (so that they’ll want to learn more often and so that you can learn about/from them)
Love, Teach – a blog I think I’m now obsessed with – got really real…
…stating facts on how many students this teacher has, what type of students they are, how early this teacher gets to work, how his school deals with discipline and how “even though I love my job and work harder at it than I’ve ever worked for anything, the loudest voice in my head is the one that is constantly saying you’re not doing enough. I hear it all the time.”
It has NOT sunk in that I live in Graham, Texas, not Austin, and teach at my old high school – that I teach at all! I majored in journalism and dreamed of being a writer, so I’m glad I still get to write at times (even if it is just sappy, weird blogging). I thought education would be a good back-up career, and I thought that, someday, it would be nice to raise a family in Small Town, America. Now, I’m here, though, and I love the joys of teaching: when I have a kid tell me he gets it, watching students work hard in class so they can work even harder in multiple extra-curricular activities, seeing them take something they know/love and combine it with an assignment, showing that they truly understand and enlightening us all! The cons are…difficult…and I know the first year is the toughest, working in a small school means I’m not just an English teacher but 80 other things, and some kids just do not want to learn or listen, and when punishments nor failing scares them…what can you do?
I, personally, can…
As I write this, my fiance and I are celebrating our one-and-only Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple (after spending the last four together…and by celebrating…I mean we’re eating pizza, drinking champagne and waiting for “The Walking Dead”;).
I thought – as a typical bride-to-be – that I would blog about this time in my life…This time during which I not only picked up and moved from Austin to a tiny town (one Tommy had never even been to)…not only started a new career (one I’d never even attempted before)…not only stressed about coaching basketball, leading UIL, directing a One-Act Play and living life…but also during which I decided to get engaged and plan the wedding of my dreams.
You probably know that I’ve had my wedding planned for ~decades…but I also had it planned for the Hill Country…so I’ve improvised…and it’s going to be pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself…
PROS of being married near my hometown at this time in my life:
-My mom and I can use every/any spare moment we’re awake to plan
-Nearly my entire town of 300 (my “Stars Hollow”, if you will) will get to celebrate with me
ON THE OTHER HAND…This next list isn’t really about cons…it’s more about how…….
-I’ve been SOOO busy – too busy! – to even realize that I am, indeed, engaged. About to be married. Starting on a journey with one person. Taking a step that will lead to kids and mortgages and joint bank accounts and carpools and retirement (ha).
OF COURSE, I’m super excited to be spending the rest of my life with Thomas Wayne Baze – a dude I’ve loved since my eyes first landed on him nine years ago. I’ll never grow tired of watching “Always Sunny” with him or star-gazing with him or playing with cats with him or referencing “always” or “4815162342” with him or discussing life and now and love with him.
He knows that I can be a stressed-out/emotional train wreck (evident through the tears and copious amounts of chocolate and other tears), yet he loves me, despite.
I’ve thought about what this time of my life would be like (exciting, with the cake-tastings and dress fittings/bridezilla-ish, with it being what it is) and seen movies with different brides handling the stress in different ways…and here I am: A 25-year-old English teacher – one who left her friends four hours away, to move back to her hometown, and take on moody teens – planning a wedding between play practices and tests and grading papers and emptying the litter box and sleep.
Now, this post isn’t here to serve as a “woe-is-me” thing; planning anything can be stressful, and I’ve actually loved this creative process. I just really need April 2, 2016, at 3:33 p.m. to happen, to watch my ideas come to fruition.
Furthermore, a few weeks before that, I need my English I and II students to pass their STAAR exams, my UIL kids to excel at competition and my OAP cast to remember its lines at competition. THEN, I’ll have a somewhat normal life back! I can breeze through the last few weeks of school, tearfully send my seniors off into the world, graciously thank my parents and new in-laws for making 4/2 possible, enjoy life as a married woman and leave my classroom for the summer, to head for Playa del Carmen, for a honeymoon!
There are many stereotypes as to what an engaged woman is supposed to be and how she is supposed to act, but – if you know anything about Tommy and I and our proposal story and our fun wedding – you know we’re not typical. So I guess it makes sense that I’m checking things off my blissful to-do list in a haphazard-yet-organized way. It makes sense that I’m eager to please everyone (since Woodson is like one big happy family). It makes sense that I sometimes turn to students for advice on all of this (since I’m with them 90 percent of the time). And it makes sense that I have this vision in my head that I want/need to come to life, to celebrate life and love in the most purrrfect way…Right?!
To conclude (since it’s realllllly almost TWD time!), I can’t believe I’m moving into the married stage of life, but it’s neat to transition past the first quarter of my life and into happily ever afterness with my bff by my side…and in a pretty dress;)…even if I do feel like I’m going cRaZyYy!
Returning to work after such a long break (Does ANY work really get done between Thanksgiving and the New Year?) can be rough…but new outfits help ease the pain!
Isn’t it [a weird time]?
I always get the post-Christmas cries/New Year emotions, due to thinking about all I have, all I could have, all I’ve done, what I wish I’d done and so on…but this year, it all seems even more prevalent…and I think I know why (kind of)…
Seven short years ago, I was getting ready to take on the world, leaving the tiny bubble I’d been in for the past 18 years, and moving to Austin – the mecca of adventure and learning and excitement.
I graduated from UT early, hoping to be a journalist – even though I was told it was a dying art (and I guess “they” were right, since the magazine program I majored in no longer exists).
From January 2013 to May 2015, I then set off on a whirlwind of weirdness: I couldn’t get a “real” job, so I suffered from a bit of a quarter-life crisis (which you’ve heard me talk about before…which spurred me on to read tonsss of articles/books on it…which eventually led me to writing my own book on it…which I WILL publish at some point in time [Geez, how many times has THAT dream been my New Year’s Resolution??]). Despite the confusion, though, I did some pretty amazing things, like interning in New York, interviewing celebrities, learning about everything from washing kosher cook areas and fitting international bikinis to what herbal tinctures and hedge funds are. I also started my own company, which I should do yet another/separate blog on, because I realized what I was good at, what the city of Austin needed help with (at least certain companies within the city;) and how to use my degree + skills + passions to pay the bills!
NOWWWWWW, however, my life looks like this:
-I live in Graham, Texas (Yes, I know you’ve never heard of it).
-I am a schoolteacher – a. school. teacher.!!!!
-I teach back in that tiny bubble I left seven years ago (meaning I teach students I went to school with…even though they claim not to remember me…since I’m “sooo old”…:/).
-My dad is my boss, my mom teaches down the hallway, I lead UIL and OAP, I assist with basketball, and I’m surrounded by memories and old teachers and not Austin or Ryan Gosling or Longhorns or traffic.
In three months, I’ll also be getting married (since I have all this time to plan a wedding AND since my boyfriend of five years proposed [after picking up, leaving his favorite city and moving with his girlfriend to a town he’d never even been to].
In four months, I’ll celebrate my seven-year high school reunion by watching my first group of seniors graduate; I cry at every graduation (because I’ve been to every Woodson graduation in the past two decades except for, like, three), but I know I’ll for sure be bawling at this one, since a. I’ll miss those kiddos tons b. I’m pretty sure IIII was just in my cap and gown here (right?!) and c. I’ll be flooded with more of the memories/thoughts like the above, regarding the circle of life and how blessed we are and how crazy life is and how fast time flies and how weird it is that I’ve done so many amazing-yet-odd things in the past few years AND how that weirdness will only increase…since I’ve (hopefully) only lived one quarter of my life…so the next few years will be filled with babies and more students and vacations to places I can finally travel to…or with some other form of great adventure…because who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing…since the possibilities are endless…Weird, huh?