Brown Sugar is a Career Woman…

When I say, “I’m an educator,” people generally respond with, “I don’t know how you deal with these bad kids!” Usually forgetting that they too were once a hardheaded teen… Or maybe that’s just my story.

/HD and Stanley.jpg

People who make assumptions about the work I do very rarely comprehend even half of the story. They somehow never know that educators:

  1. Usually stop everything when a kid comes up and says with authority, “I need to talk to you cuz I’m trying not to fight.”
  2. Rearrange their entire schedule because their willingness to transport a graduate back to school 2nd semester determines whether the kid continues pursuing a degree or drops out.
  3. Check their account when a kid doesn’t have the bare necessities for college.
  4. Build rapport with their students so solid that they can call kids by their ENTIRE name in the hall because it celebrates their uniqueness.
  5. Sit a kid down and ask, “what happened?” Then listen to them tell the story of how their 38 year old mom went to the doctor in April for an ache in her shoulder, and was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer. By the time it was detected, it was stage 4. This kid became his mother’s caregiver and a guardian for his three younger siblings his senior year of high school all while working a job after school, and maintaining his GPA in all honors classes. Days after his mother celebrated her 38th  birthday, she passed. Within six months of being diagnosed, she was gone. All he wanted was his mother to see him walk across the stage. So he becomes the kid you scream the loudest for during class day… The kid you hug the tightest on graduation day…
  6. Hold a pregnant student’s hand and rub her back while she’s in labor, care for her newborn child while she completes her End of Course tests, snaps her pics while she’s at work and prom, tell her how proud you are of her, and lay her body to rest… All within her senior year of high school.
  7. When a parent becomes irate and belligerent, these educators bury their own anger, to comfort the embarrassed child… showing the parent that you can’t believe the hype; we love kids here.
  8. Stand in front of your class to fuss about student’s making bad decisions, only to wake up to a message that one of your students was killed…. by one of your other students. Both of those students sat in that very class the day before.
  9. Help the valedictorian understand her worth and that she deserved to prep for Harvard and Yale interviews.
  10. Help clean dirt, grass, and blood off a student after an attempted rape attack on her way to school.
  11. Work a 15 hour day, and still come home just to put your children to bed so you can go back to working on your laptop.
  12. Purposely search for at least 5 kids a day to tell them:
    1. “I’m proud of you!
    2. “I see you trying. Just need to know I see you!”
    3. “You look cute!”
    4. “I heard how you killed on that math test!”
    5. “I love you!”

This list doesn’t even scrape the surface of the work educators do every day. I don’t just “deal” with bad kids. I teach kids. I listen to kids. I correct kids. I guide kids. I laugh with kids. I support kids. I go to bat for kids. I love kids.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

 

Advertisements

Brown Sugar Relaxes

My work week leading up to Fall Break was like nails on a chalkboard. Not that annoying feeling that makes you want to stop your ears up and cringe, but more like that blank face, “why?” feeling.

blank face

 

We experienced blow after character-attacking blow, so by Friday I embraced my break with open arms! I may have even shed a tear from the excitement.

The first quarter of the school year had been a demanding one. I’ve had a lot of late nights and early mornings that required lots of caffeine “for the juice,” and several erasers for the mistakes. I don’t even think I realized just how mentally, physically, and emotionally bankrupt I really was from it all. I remember waking up Tuesday morning leading up to Fall Break, and the moment my feet hit my plush carpet, the words, “I know I’m not just suppose to work and pay bills all my life” escaped my lips. Seriously, I wasn’t even aware that I said them until I plopped down on my yoga mat. I made a mental note to tune up my self-talk.

20170929_061014.jpg During yoga that morning, I always whisper to my heavenly Father, and I remember saying, “Daddy, I need rest.” Well, Abba keeps His promises ya’ll, because a church friend invited my daughter to go along with her daughter to an indoor water park for the week, and my son spent the week with his dad. Which left me all alone…. Yep, you guessed it: To rest! \0/

I had a few odds and ends to tie up the first couple of days of my break. Unfortunately, I’m still going to court dealing with unfinished business from my divorce (seriously peeps, REALLY pray and put some thought into who you’re deciding to spend the rest of your life with before exchanging those vows. At times, this divorce has felt like a chicken pox scar – impossible to get rid of). But eventually, my bag was packed, my room was booked, and my itinerary was set! I headed to Hot Springs, AR. The drive up was a regular dysfunctional concert. If there was a genre to choose, I chose it, and I knew ALL of the words to every song. #GoMe

Hot Springs has a Martin, TN feel to it, so I actually felt right at home. The hotel room faced east, and overlooked Lake Hamilton. That first morning, I literally woke up to the sunrise bursting into my room. I really wanted to see it too, but… rest won. So I caught the sun spreading it’s ostentatious beams throughout the sky around 8am. It was still just as beautiful and breathtaking though.

IMG_20171013_080909_618.jpg

After grabbing breakfast, I headed to the trails for some hiking. I don’t think I’d wrapped my mind around the fact that I was hiking until I reached the trails and saw these three “Paul Bunyan” looking dudes with their equipment, and hiking boots, and stuff. I looked at them, then I looked at my Nike warm up and sneakers, and said, “Meh.” I wasn’t here for them. #YOLO

The hike through the woods was honestly life-changing. I replaced roaring cars for a babbling brook, loud voices for chirping birds, too busy people consumed with their cell phones for the rustle of the wind dancing in the trees, pungent trash for fresh air. I don’t think I’ve ever been as at peace as I was in that forest.

After crossing streams, and hiking up hills, and doing the tango with a bed of boulders, I reached this landing. The cliff looked real “Circle of Life-ish” when they were doing Simba’s baby dedication on Pride Rock-ish. I stood their overlooking the trail I had just crushed and was in awe of God. As I sit in my bed typing this blog, I can still smell the rich scent of pine trees and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. In that moment, I found peace. I never knew peace could make you so hungry though… #ijsIMG_20171014_164645_720.jpg

I stayed there in that atmosphere a little while longer, then made the trek down the mountain. There were a few other memorable moments from my stay in Hot Springs, but the fact that I was able to unplug from everything, and find peace in the midst of what felt like a Hurricane Katrina type storm (work stuff, death a student, personal stuff, just life) surpasses my understanding. I’ve taken for granted how attainable peace can be, and how important it is to make self-care a non-negotiable.

Fast forward. I made it back to Memphis, and ironically, I crashed. I slept a few hours, and woke up feeling more rejuvenated than I’ve felt in months! Like MaDear used to say, “I slept for old and new!” My self-talk is back on track, and most importantly, I achieved what I set out in search for in Hot Springs; I feel rested. There’s wisdom in knowing how to listen to the sometimes subtle, and sometimes screaming cues your body gives you. Moving forward, I’m not operating from a place of “burnout” that causes me to shrink back when faced with a challenge. I’m ready to push through any growth barrier I come in contact with to reach my destiny.

IMG_20171012_215128_251.jpg

“We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.”  

-Thich Nhat Hanh