Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “School”

Check-In & Check-Ups

Good morning, Friends.*

Long time. Long, long time since I sat down. Sat down, period. But also sat down to write. Things have been rough. Friends ask me how my year has been pretty regularly these days as the school year is winding down. And my honest answer is always, ‘It’s been a tough year.’ Because it has. In so many ways. Low lows. And high highs. But those lows seem to be long-lasting, and the highs momentary.

Cut to the chase, I’m still sober. Win. Wonder. Achievement. Power. Got it. Haven’t lost it. …. Thought about it as a mental exercise of sorts a few times, but more philosophical than worrisome or actual, if that makes sense? Like remembering those days when I could and did just check out mentally, physically, and all sorts of -ally’s. A little jealous of the checking out, but then, walking away from the idea because sober is better. Even when Life is not.

The year has been tough because of work stress. I’ve felt unsupported or taken care of by administration in a coworker situation. Even though the situation required action, it took 5 months for that action to happen. In the meantime, my prolonged stress/cortisol levels probably affected my heart. I now have an electrical issue – an arrhythmia, and a low-grade fever which shows up every few days, which I have been trying for the past three months to figure out. Been to the doctor at least 15 times. Have finally gotten a referral to a cardiologist this month. Good news is that monitoring has showed that my heart muscle is normal and very healthy. It’s just out of sync with itself. (Tell me about it, Heart. I know exactly what you’re going through.)

Other stress was a big project fell in my lap, again without any support.

I teach full-time, and I direct 2 shows and assisted a third over the school year.

I was missing my kids, my family. I was missing time to take care of myself. To feel balanced. I just felt like I was/am pouring myself into this school and the institution is not giving me a whole heck of a lot back.

This place was supposed to be my knight in shining armor. And it is in some ways. But in others, I am just alone on so many things. Somewhat the nature of teaching, but this feels above and beyond – in a bad way. …. Below and super-close? … Nope. Not the same kind of ring. … Anyway, the leadership does not lead. By action. ….. By word, yes, but it’s just to make everyone like them. The leadership has no identity, because they don’t take a stand on anything. I don’t know who they are. It is the most mind-boggling thing, because what are they getting paid all the money for? Drives. Me. Crazy. I don’t want a nice guy or guys. I want a Leader. Argh.

Having my girl with me during the school day is amazing. Knowing my son will join us next year makes everything even better in that regard. …. But knowing that my school day-interactions with them are about all I see them breaks my heart. … Part of it is the nature of theatre. But with all the added stress this year, even when I do get home I have so much to get done when I’m actually there like cleaning the living room, or so maxed out that I zone out to dumb YouTube videos,  that we just don’t have more than 20 minutes together most days. It’s crazy.

I feel like I’m missing them. I don’t want to miss them.

Also? I got shingles on my birthday. Um, what?! That’s not fair. …. Although it made me slow down for a week. I was OUT. It was horrible, and I only had the smallest patch of pox, but it knocked me down and again, OUT.

Okay. So, yeah. Tough year. Tough, tough year.

Good things? They were there, too, in the midst.

  • My sister had a beautiful baby girl. Oh, my word, so beautiful.
  • My PapaBear had a health scare, but came out of it on the other side. Working on staying healthy – just like all of us. *smile*
  • The shows I directed went off incredibly well. Students have grown so much in just two years. A definite culture is being created in the department, and it makes us all stronger and better. I love the relationships forming. (High schoolers here.)
  • I love Middle Schoolers. They’re so great.
  • Directing a show at my outdoor company, which I’ve wanted them to stage for 20 years. It’s fun and light and silly, and a lovely antidote to my year.
  • My daughter is amazing and smart and hilarious, and is overcoming her ‘worry voice’ a little bit at a time.
  • My son has taken off on the piano and loves all things music, which I knew from the beginning he would.
  • The hubs is freaking out about playing Antony in Shakespeare’s ‘Antony & Cleopatra,’ but I know he will be amazing. This is the hard part.
  • Time has been spent in the yard and the gardens. Dirt smells so good.
  • Music is being listened to.
  • Like I said before, still sober. *flex*
  • Good, healthy food is being eaten. I’ve been trying to ‘eat clean,’ and have been quite successful at it these past two and a half weeks. I feel really good because of it.
  • Connected to that, exercise has happened more in the past month than in the past year. *smile*
  • I played ‘Family’ with my babes last night. We went camping, built a campfire, paddled a canoe, caught a huge fish, a school of fish, oysters, clams, crab legs, and a treasure chest. It was quite the trip. *smile*
  • My cat feels less neglected, as I am petting and cuddling her regularly, as opposed to pushing her away because I don’t want to be needed.
  • Even with all the health concerns and hassle, I’ve been proactive and spoken up and tried to figure out what the heck is going on. In my drinking days, I probably would have let it slide and figured it out later.
  • Similarly, with the job, I’ve signed for next year, but I am still considering options. Trying to figure out what that might look like or be, etc. Just keeping my mind open to the possibility helps me feel less ‘stuck.’
  • Summer is almost here. Just around the corner. Literally – next week. Cannot wait.
  • And dates are coming up, too. The hubs and I are celebrating our 10-year anniversary on Thursday, and my 3-year sober date is Saturday. Wow!

….. See? Lots of good things in the past month, especially.

Day 1,092. Heya. I missed ya.*

-HM. MmVhV9cm_400x400

 

 

 

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April: I Was Here.

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(Aren’t drama masks creepy?) 

Good morning!

‘Theatre is a lifestyle’ is not an exaggeration. My sister summed it up beautifully, painfully, and accurately….. *smile*

This month has seen the first big musical production at my new school. Production staff was fabulous to work with, the kids have been positive and have grown even from just a few months before, and the families have been so supportive. Now that it’s over, we’re all exhausted, happy, and proud. A good combination, I think.

My own parents were also able to make the show, which was my favorite part. And they came to the show that far-exceeded any of the others. Which makes the time and the sharing all the sweeter. Pluuuuus, the show was being recorded that same night – something that never happens!

This morning, I actually slept in a bit. Luxurious!

And now, I am about to get ready to go in one more time to run Strike – when everything gets taken apart, cleaned, organized, and put away. My favorite day actually…. Because it takes us back to zero, and that is the place where the next show will start from…. I love it. So cathartic and healing and satisfying. And beautiful in the promise of the unknown and the daydreams and the what if’s….

Still here, still sober, folks. Two loooooong weeks away from my fam, but in actuality? The demand seemed better-balanced and shorter in duration than it has in the past. When I dug in two weeks ago, I could visualize the ending, and knew it wouldn’t be too bad. Plus, lots of podcasts to keep me busy while I worked kept me happy, and the nutritious lunches I ate at school (fact, not facetious) kept me better fueled and even-keeled than I usually am eating gas station snacks and coffee. *smile*

Day 691, What’s up next?!

 

Made It.

Hello, everyone.* Yow. I’m here and almost missed the month of January. It’s been a busy one (as per usual). After about two-and-a-half weeks straight, I finally had a day at home today to be lazy, rest, and spend time with the fam. Opened my first real show at my new school on Friday evening. It was beautiful and b889325f0a0775c5dcb14de9156018d8strong, and I was so proud of everyone. We had come a long, long way, particularly in the last week. To send it all into even more of a whirlwind our girl was incredibly sick from Wednesday evening, through the night, and up until this morning. Poor babe. The days have been long for this artist-mama, and I am glad to be sitting here in slippers and sweater, listening to two sweet babes play in the tub. Tomorrow starts another week of school, but with this past week’s mountain climbed and conquered, I feel able to enjoy the work. Thank goodness I am not drinking, or these past couple of weeks would have been infinitely more difficult. ….. I look at my life now and wonder how I even made it through my days and nights the way I did. I can’t even believe it. It is truly unimaginable how I managed. I don’t dwell often on this thought, but when I do, it makes me savor and appreciate my life all the more Now…. Even Especially when it’s challenging.

Day 600, Yow! What an awesome surprise to accompany a very mundane check-in. *smile* I am going to have to start planning my next star tattoo to mark Year 2….

In With the New.

Hello, friends.*

It’s been a while …. Since I’ve stopped in. …. Since I’ve read some awesome SoberBlogs. ….. Since I’ve counted my days. …..

It’s been a fun swell of activity at school the past few weeks. My partner and I opened our first official show as the New Theatre Department. It was a middle school show, which was lots of fun. Very playful. I was glad to get one under our belt. I was also glad it was not my show officially, because it let me watch her journey at this new school, while supporting her with lots of tech help. I was engaged (highly), but not in charge. It seemed like just the right combination for learning while doing – my favorite way to do things. *smile* (Note: My husband often notes I am a bull in a china shop, which is true literally in the physical world, but also true on a figurative level as well. Let me at ’em! (“’em” being anything and anyone.))

Once the middle school show closed, I jumped into running my two shows simultaneously. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I suppose. One show opens in January, so we are getting a handle on deadlines, design, and overall responsibilities for everyone involved (me, our awesome Technical Director, and 23 kick-ass high schoolers), while the second show (Big. Musical.) just auditioned this week, and will get underway in February. I feel like the auditions this week have really cemented my feeling like this place is really and truly my new home. There was something about the way the kids’ energy built and built over the week. And yes, they were much more responsive to me during the week – smiling at me in the hallways, laughing at my stupid jokes, and just perking up when I would walk by them – which I realize is all because I was holding their sweet thespian fates in my hands…. But in all of that energy to please me, I don’t know. It made the transition from last year’s teachers to me and my partner more Real for everyone involved, I think. It felt like there was a shift in the kids’ attitudes and understanding of the huge changes that have taken place in their theatre department (3 faculty left last Spring and 3 new faculty arrived this Fall (Talk about Drama!)). They seemed to accept me more completely than before, which feels so good. I think they’re starting to trust me, because we’ve been through things together now. And yes, of course there will be bumps in the road for all of us – we all hold onto our want for ‘What Was,’ but it feels like we’re moving forward and creating the New Normal together, and that feels So Good.

In other, more superficial news, I have a hair appointment today. Wah-Friggin’-Hoo! I am so looking forward to a change. Well, perhaps a minor change (a little more platinum?), OR a major change (bluuuuuuuue, anyone?!). I cannot wait.

On the house front, we are in a Waiting Mode. Projects are getting done by a really good contractor, which makes me soso happy. And then, perhaps in February, we will be at the front of the selling season, and have a little bit more luck in finding a great fit, as well as selling our little bungalow. ….. Of course, in the meantime, we are going to meet with a financial planner to talk about possibly figuring out how to push-out the house we have so that it becomes the house we want – through and through. I’m okay with considering both options at the moment, because the more we do, the more I like what we have. The issues are space and practicality, which could each be solved with a move OR major renovations. All exciting. All possible.

In sober news, I find a lot of strength this holiday season from just knowing how much better my life is without the Drink. At night, I still marvel that I have 1. So much time; 2. An awake brain; 3. Real connections with my babes and the hubs; 4. Energy; 5. No need to soften or blur my Reality. I like what I have. I like what I think and what I feel. Life doesn’t hurt as much as it did when I was drinking. There are tears and challenges, anger and fears, but it is all exactly what it is. Life’s negatives are not heightened or multiplied by feeling ashamed of myself, nor exacerbated by the time drinking took away from me. I have broken down the million-foot-high hurdles I built up for myself. I enjoy my Life for what it is. I no longer wish it was Something Else, nor that it looked like Someone Else’s. I like my Life, thank you (sincerely and whole-heartedly).

Day 543, Awake, Alive, & Grateful.

October Road.

It’s early morning. I can her our grandmother clock ticking. My family is tucked in their beds – mostly. My daughter stole her way into ours, which was the impetus for me getting out of bed, and thus, finding myself here in my chair with a hot cup of coffee. I’m quite happy she did. I love starting my days off a little earlier than everyone else, reading, and just waking up on my own. It’s nice to be awake and to have some time and space just for me.

I’ve been feeling this way – this relaxed, contemplative way most of this past week. On the one  hand it’s very nice because my brain has stopped going a thousand miles a minute every second of the day. With the new job, I didn’t realize until I had stopped spinning, that I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I was trying to race as fast as I could to write curriculum, clean, grade, plan, collaborate, learn the community, organize, and take stock, that I didn’t even notice how hard I was working to stay caught up with even the most basic responsibilities of getting through each day and doing what I was hired to do – teach.

This is my sixteenth year as a teacher, but this new job is really Brand. Spankin’. New. I am writing it from the ground up, which is exciting to do, because I and my partner are designing a theatre program to follow students through each of their elementary and secondary years a child’s entire elementary and secondary school years. The structure before was a bit too nebulous and focused on Fun. I am definitely not opposed to fun, however I want kids to be challenged and to grow as artists. It’s exciting, and I know in the coming years, this planning will do the program a lot of good, and help us to create a lot of depth. However, I am a little frustrated because I am covering basics with most of my students at every grade level, so that next year, I will have to write even more curriculum once we have students on the same page and with the same skill sets.

Then, I look around my space and in my rooms, and I just see a Mess. Granted, it is entirely my own fault because it was my idea to flip the costume and prop room inside-out, as well as the library….. Yeah, it’s a mess. Ha. And I know, from growing up with my father, whenever I was feeling stressed, he would tell me to clean my room so that my mind would feel better. A good rule of thumb, as long as one has the time and the energy to do so. *smile* I have kept my office quite clean so that I have a space I can escape to, but…. Yeah. Maybe I will work on prioritizing the other rooms again so that I don’t feel trapped underneath a mountain of Theatre Things.

This post is sounding quite negative, but overall, I am feeling better than I was. I should have written more last week, but I was feeling tired and sad and …. Oh, wanting to isolate. Dagnabbit. Stupid human tricks that keep repeating themselves. Argh.

Anyway, the other feeling I’ve been really having trouble with is melancholy. The longer I am at my new job (which, even though is overwhelming, I am really loving – and I’m not just saying that as a perfectionist in order to appear perfect to the outside world – I truly love it and the students and the people), the more and more Real it feels that I have lost my old job and my old community. With the fall weather exacerbating everything, I just feel Sad. And lonely. The communication from my old people has been little to none, which further breaks my heart. And I know everyone is as busy as I am, or more so, but it just makes me sad. I definitely feel like I am grieving again in many ways. The two months of grief and franticness and loneliness surrounding the initial news of my job loss in April seems to almost be repeating itself from August to September to now.

However, like I said above, I feel like I am stepping out on the other side of those feelings of sadness and spinning my wheels. I am still definitely in there. It’s not a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I can now see where I was and what I am moving away from. Why can’t we see our full situation when we are in the thick of things? Is it because we don’t have perspective? Because we are too close to it all?

Day 496, a little James to walk with me today and to make the day brighter….

 

Confession.

Yesterday, I had a chance to sit with a friend and share with her more about my sobriety. I told her how much better I have been feeling, that my mood is completely changed over from the past several years, that I wake-up hangover-free, that my nights are longer and enjoyable, that I have more energy, and that I’m not overwhelmed any longer and trying to keep up every step of the way.

In short, I am happy! *smile*

I look back at last year, and I can tell my anxiety has lessened incredibly. I can’t say that I am anxiety-free – I have horrible stage fright (crazytalk for an actor/director) and that rears its head at the beginning of every school year like clockwork – but compared to last year, I am already more grounded and solid in my thinking and overall being. I feel different. I feel more solid. I feel more whole. And yes, I am taking a mood stabilizer, but I really, truly believe it is my drinking, or lack thereof, that is changing my life significantly. Instead of trying to accomplish every little thing and prove I am worth the space I take up in this world, I am already sure that I am enough as I am. No proving, no running, no spinning required. Fuck all that. This way – this Sober way – feels so much better. I feel like I can breathe again. What a beautiful relief.

….. …. … .. .

Note: I will admit that I am a bit anxious about the school year. We are having a major shift in leadership, so that always throws everyone for a loop. I am nervous about it as well, as I worry about the more formal environment being set-up and required. I worry that we as teachers will lose our personal identity, or be forced to, and that the machine of the institution will become more important than the unique qualities of the individuals. We shall see…

Because of the school year kicking off, I have been completely away this week, and I have to tell you – I miss you! My to-read blog list is longer than it was on vacation. I keep trying to catch-up, but only get to two or three a day. I am hoping my weekend will solve this problem. I don’t want to break away from this great community and all of your inspiration, so I am holding on with my fingertips at the moment.

Day 73, wait for me!

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