Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seasons of Change

Lately, I have been listening to a mixed CD while driving that I have named “Women Who Rock.” Every time I get to the song “A Change Will Do You Good” by Sheryl Crowe, I must stop, rewind, listen, and sing out loud. I have to remind myself that sometimes change is for the good.
I was so excited over the summer to start teaching again, starting graduate school again, waking up in the morning feeling well, showering and singing of the blessings of life. Unfortunately, six weeks into the quarter, my plans changed. My teaching job suddenly ended, tightening my purse strings once again, losing the new friends that I had made, and regretting the option to start school in financial disarray. But the entire experience taught me several great things: I do have the ability to teach, I know my subject very well, and a little enthusiasm goes a long way.
In retrospect, I should have been teaching at another school at another state at another time. However, life doesn’t always work out as planned. That is when I step back and realize all that I have overcome to get to the state in which I now find myself. I am now looking at a prospective job that will allow me to teach from home (or coffee shop), and in turn, it will allow me to continue graduate school. It will allow some independence and keep me at a safe place while I still need it. When I stop and look around me, I can only say that I have learned from the experience, forgive myself for blunders, and continue to seek the road less traveled.
Maybe there is a reason for all of this change. My sister may be moving into our home and need help with her little one during the day. My family may need me for backup. My health may not continue to thrive. My student loans definitely need to be canceled, and it may just be better off for me to be able to teach on my own schedule when I actually feel at my best. I definitely still need time to work on me.
So now, I spend my days in grad school work, cooking for my family, and taking life one step at a time. As we move from one holiday season into the next, I will have something… make that lots of things, that I will be thankful for. Holiday gifts may be slim, but at least we have a loving family with whom we can share more gifts than we can imagine. Baked goodies will be given, and time takes the place of money. Right now, this change has done me good. And I can only hope that it continues to do so as I continue to learn and grow.

Delayed Gratification

If anyone has been following my life for the past year, then they will know of the great metamorphosis my life has experienced. Last June I made two goals, and lofty goals indeed: health and happiness. But these are big goals and I had to plot intermediate steps between each goal in order to achieve them. How many people really plot out the mini goals in life? I knew that being healthy enough to return to school and work would make me happy, but I did not understand what an arduous journey it would be to get each goal accomplished.
So, how does one go about making a complete life change in 1 year? First, I found the right medications for me to be able to cope with my illnesses. Then I had to get my license renewed and car in shape after being parked for more than a year due to my own fears of hurting others. Next, I realized that I needed to get myself in shape in order to handle the stressors of life. I became vegetarian and have lost 75 lbs in a year and a half. This would eventually add energy and spice to my life as I began taking better care of my body which forgot about taking care of me many years ago. Finally I had to learn to socialize again without being emotionally crippled by my physical situation. I started attending singles activities, started dating, and dancing and even met a friend that I am sure to have for the rest of our lives. I new that I had to start tutoring again in order to regain my lost Latin skills, so I took on two students to tutor every week. I applied to a graduate program and even went on the interview, but without financial resources I stopped the process temporarily. Finally, realizing that I had to become independent and learn to live a life according to what I loved, so I applied for several teaching jobs, one of which I just finished my 2nd interview for hire.
Wow! Much people never accomplish that much in a lifetime! I was quite dismayed at the fact that I would have to wait for two weeks to find out if I got the job. I wanted to treat myself to some retail therapy for all of the hard work that I had done. Pedicure, clothing, jewelry, make-up, and a new teaching bag were all on my list of “gratifications” for a goal accomplished. However, the more that I reviewed the situation, I realized that I had been given my health, my independence, my strength, my desire, and my calling in return for all the hard work that I had done. Gratification was received at every step along the way.
I do not need those objects to show myself that I accomplished something. I already know it in my head, my soul, my spirit, and my smile. Mind you, I still look forward to splurging a little on myself, but I am already victorious and reaping the benefits of all the efforts sewn. In the end, my high school Latin teacher (and Vergil) were correct: Perhaps once it will be glad to remember these things! (The Aeneid, Vergil, II. 232-234)

No Love Lost?

Lately, I have been singing a song of a different color.  No, not the ones like Alanis Morrisette or Melissa Etheridge after having kids, but a different tune all the same.  My sister says that I am finally coming back to life, but I believe that she is wrong.  I was never gone; I was just inside my cocoon.  I am loosing weight, gaining energy, and looking to make up for all the time that I lost being sick.
After my recent vacation from the world, I met a man that seemingly needs me as much as I need him.  We are kindred spirits who share many of the same life views and interests.  I do believe, along with my family that he is a reason for my revival.  I finally figured out the other day, while running errands for him or making sure that something was done for him, that he gives me purpose.  Life can be pretty lonely when no one needs you or wants you.  What reason do we have for getting out of our bed if all we have to do is take care of our own daily needs.  Routines are rote and there is no purpose in life when you are not accountable to anybody for anything.  While I am not sure if any of my love is returned, I need to give it in order to feel fulfilled.  Taking care of another gives me a reason for showering, making healthy meals, and pursuing a life beyond what I am used to living.
Meanwhile, the well of my soul is slowly being depleted and there is nothing to fill up the void.  Is there a point in an adult friendship where you can ask that more be given?  This has happened before in past relationships where I was dependent upon another person, but I have never been the one to ask for more for me.  How do I fill this well that once overflowed with need for love?  Now that I am needed, I keep pressing to get things done and they happen.  So, the question must be asked if being needed is all one needs to feel loved, wanted, and appreciated.  Am I getting the love that I need and desire?  Does this well become empty?  And is it appropriate for me to ask for love and appreciation in return?
If I am being filled with love and desire from another person, is that what it means to be loved?  Am I fulfilling my own needs by fulfilling his?  And does a friend need validation?  I feel that I am stuck in a perpetual state of youth.  I am stuck at 22 while my mind and soul are very old indeed.  I wonder if there are truly healthy relationships, and I wonder if they will ever exist for me.  Sometimes love is understood.  Other times, it needs to be said.  How do we know the difference?
I have loved, and I have lost, but if love is never requested, do we lose it in the first place?

Looking Before Leaping

Do you ever wondering if it is always best to look before you leap?  Sometimes, the apprehension of falling keeps us from leaping in the first place.  Recently, I began reading a book by Paulo Coelho entitled The Fifth Mountain.  In the book, Mr. Coelho states that the paths that are chosen for us are ours to follow alone.  No matter how much we try to avoid them, all experiences lead back to the same path.
Those who know me know that my path was chosen in high school.  Since graduating, I have attempted to circumvent this several times, but that path is where I find my greatest happiness.  In my life, all roads do lead to Rome.  I am currently looking at a teaching job that I know will take away any energy that I have left, available economic resources that I worked tirelessly to obtain, and perhaps derail many actions already taken.  However, the benefit does outweigh the risk. I compiled a list of pros and cons, like I always do.  The cons are sky-high, but so are the rewards!  In this instance, the act of looking is scarier than just blindly leaping.
We will never get lemonade if we only complain about how sour the lemons are in the first place.

A Change Will Do You Good

Over the past year, I have been hospitalized for depression 3 times.  This may come as a shock to those who know me, but I don’t think of it as being week instead being strong enough to ask for help.  While inside the walls of a cloistered environment, everything is safe.  There is a schedule, people with whom one may talk, regular meals, regular med times, and mind numbing predictability (usually).  Being on the outside is scary.  Without the routine of daily life, one easily slips back into that depressed state of mind.  Some of us sleep life away while the television becomes our best friend.  Microwaved meals make for a very unbalanced diet and unhealthy to boot.  We skip those needed meds and double up to make up for the missed ones.  Routine is a necessity for keeping sanity.
I have spent most of the past year making goals, keeping a calendar, and filling it full of activities to aid in my constant struggle.  Recently, I started implementing those good intentions.  Applying to graduate school will give me a reason for getting up and another date to keep on my calendar.  I even dared to interview for a full-time teaching position, opting for a daily structure, the ability to live alone, keeping a healthy lifestyle, and making myself accountable over sitting in the dark and waiting for my student loans to be canceled.  However, this change toward routine and living life will force me to repay my student loans, take on added expenses, assume more accountability, and actively pursuing life.  My calendar is filled monthly with events to attend, grocery shopping, dr. appointments, school, tutoring, teaching, visits to the farmers’ market, weekend dancing,  religious services, and hopeful dates.
It is easy to fall back into unhealthy patterns, but often times we need that change in order to become healthy.  This isn’t just a mental change.  Everything must change from your view on life to the time you wake yourself up in the mornings.  Being sick and tired has left  me sick and tired, and change, whatever the costs to one’s lifestyle and pocketbook may bring, is the only way to break the cycle.
So, in light of this enlightenment, I encourage everyone to make one change in their life this month.  Make it for the positive.  This year I have changed homes, changed my diet, changed my physical size, aimed for goals, returned to practicing my religion, began dancing, applied for jobs and school, and began tutoring a subject I love.  But this total metamorphosis is not necessary for everyone, only those who like me find themselves in a rut and cannot bring themselves out of it.
Change your hair, change your clothes, change your friends, change your comfort zone.  And in the end, a change will do you good.

A Change Will Do You Good

Over the past year, I have been hospitalized for depression 3 times.  This may come as a shock to those who know me, but I don’t think of it as being week instead being strong enough to ask for help.  While inside the walls of a cloistered environment, everything is safe.  There is a schedule, people with whom one may talk, regular meals, regular med times, and mind numbing predictability (usually).  Being on the outside is scary.  Without the routine of daily life, one easily slips back into that depressed state of mind.  Some of us sleep life away while the television becomes our best friend.  Microwaved meals make for a very unbalanced diet and unhealthy to boot.  We skip those needed meds and double up to make up for the missed ones.  Routine is a necessity for keeping sanity.
I have spent most of the past year making goals, keeping a calendar, and filling it full of activities to aid in my constant struggle.  Recently, I started implementing those good intentions.  Applying to graduate school will give me a reason for getting up and another date to keep on my calendar.  I even dared to interview for a full-time teaching position, opting for a daily structure, the ability to live alone, keeping a healthy lifestyle, and making myself accountable over sitting in the dark and waiting for my student loans to be canceled.  However, this change toward routine and living life will force me to repay my student loans, take on added expenses, assume more accountability, and actively pursuing life.  My calendar is filled monthly with events to attend, grocery shopping, dr. appointments, school, tutoring, teaching, visits to the farmers’ market, weekend dancing,  religious services, and hopeful dates.
It is easy to fall back into unhealthy patterns, but often times we need that change in order to become healthy.  This isn’t just a mental change.  Everything must change from your view on life to the time you wake yourself up in the mornings.  Being sick and tired has left  me sick and tired, and change, whatever the costs to one’s lifestyle and pocketbook may bring, is the only way to break the cycle.
So, in light of this enlightenment, I encourage everyone to make one change in their life this month.  Make it for the positive.  This year I have changed homes, changed my diet, changed my physical size, aimed for goals, returned to practicing my religion, began dancing, applied for jobs and school, and began tutoring a subject I love.  But this total metamorphosis is not necessary for everyone, only those who like me find themselves in a rut and cannot bring themselves out of it.
Change your hair, change your clothes, change your friends, change your comfort zone.  And in the end, a change will do you good.

Requiem for a Dream in Haiku

Silent Somnus step
Upon the eyelids of babes
Bring calmness once again.

The warmth of the brace
Of Virgo’s arms around the waist
Silence the Lion’s roar.

The Graces are constant
Dancing in eternal Spring
Let me age no more.

The Shechinah meets
Her Bridegroom at soft twilight
Mate in eternal Bliss.

Give to me,  Shema,
The blessings of our dear Youth.
Let me week alone.

Take away this Pain
Filling my Heart and my Brain
Trouble rains on me.

The Missing Lambda

Recently, I was used by a man who stole my car, money, and belongings just to sell them to others or give them away to strangers.  Since then, I have been “going through the motions” of everyday life: going to the doctor, tutoring, cooking dinner, applying for work, etc.  I even have found a new friend and started a social life once again.  I started my hopeful book, and went to a grad school interview.
Unfortunately, having been taken advantage of, I began losing faith in myself.  I picked up a purse to find a keychain which said Melissa in Ancient Greek that had been broken on the day my belongings were stolen.  Where all of the letters had been there before, now the letter Lambda was missing.  I immediately realized the symbolism.  Without the lambda, my name would only mean “bee.”  I had lost the “honey” which I had always given knowing that a sting might come, but once it did, I lost my sweetness.  The things that make me take the bad is now gone.  I don’t know how or when I will replace that missing “lambda”, but I know that without it, I only feel the sting of the bee.

Cleaning House

Well, I never thought the day would come when I would actually have to “Clean House.”  It is spring and the cat is shedding, so I must do the same.  So much has happened in the last year that I need to clean my own space, my mind, my soul, and my spirit.
In the past year, I have lost almost 75 lbs. (shrinking almost 4 sizes), been hospitalized twice for depression, became vegetarian (September 2009), began tutoring Latin again, starting dating, applied to graduate school, reclaimed my religion, and have actually started “looking ahead.”  Then it happened.  I was used by a man  who stole my car, money, and belongings while I was sick and only trying to help someone else who seemed down on his luck.  Then, my best friend of 6 years got married and I learned of it via a social networking site.  I was not good enough for either of these men, and I let it hurt me.  I now hurt deeply.
However, I cannot allow myself to float down into that dark abyss any longer.  I need to carry on with my life and go forward.  Dwelling on negative events gets us nowhere.  I guess that I will keep repeating that until I actually feel the affirmations working.  I am going to have to get “where I live” and remodel.  Yes, remodel for my own good.  I need to cut the crap, throw away things that are garbage and only leave negativity, take a positive stance for myself, and conquer the loneliness and worthlessness that hovers like a black cloud.  I don’t know where to begin, and it may take me a week of list-making in order to figure that out for myself.
Luckily, I have 2 new friends who share in my illnesses and a sister that needs me as much as I need her.  I would rather have that handful of friends than all of the acquaintances in the world!  Hopefully, they will help me achieve stasis and keep me busy in my time of need just as I have done and will continue to do in theirs.
Please help me figure out where to begin the change!

Change is in the Air

“Something’s wrong with the world today.  Don’t know what it is…”
For the past week, I have barely been able to get out of the bed.  I know that some kind of change is in the air.  I have been going strong for over a month and then BAM!, like a load of bricks falling out of the sky.  The fragrant smells of honeysuckle no longer linger in the air way past dusk.  Golden pollen doesn’t litter the surface of the pond outside my door.  The day grows shorter as we grow closer to Rosh Hoshanah.
This is usually my favorite part of year.  Kids are in school reciting their multiplication tables and reading Newberry Award Winners.  Homework assignments and shopping lists clutter the door of the refridgerator.  Little art projects can be found everywhere.  Persephone is preparing for her annual return to Hades.  Maple trees grow into glorious flaming torches.  Men are cutting grass for the last time this year.  However, my heart and head are heavy, too much so for this young body.
Autumn is coming earlier than usual this year.  The weather has already turned a little cooler.  The animals are soaking in all of the sun they can.  I wonder what is in store for us…  I listen to the wind and hear silence…  Perhaps it is waiting to see what is just around the corner.  There is little anticipation.  Still I sit and wait for the expected.
Once I read on a tombstone that Time was the Eater of Things.  It truly is.  Sometimes I awake to find that Time has swallowed up the entire day.  I hope that it eagerly gulps the next several weeks as we pack, lug boxes, sort through belongings and prepare to move into our new home.  This is a change that I welcome with open arms.  More room to move, more room to breathe, more room to grow, more room to display all of my books.  This change in season will close the doors to an extremely hard year and hopefully open a new, rewarding chapter of Life.  Hashem knows that it may be exactly what I need in order to progress.
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