Category Archives: blogging

The One About Asking for Help

For real and true, this post will be long.

It’s no secret I’m a teacher. Since before the first day of school I’ve asked my principal for help because our class size is out of control. I have 32 students in a smallish classroom and it sets off my anxiety. It’s too crowded and I can’t move around the room. Also my kids this year have some serious challenges. Normally those are my kinds of kids – there are just SO many.  One of my students is currently awaiting a trial date for his FELONY SEXUAL ASSAULT charge. (He is in an alternative school, but he’s on my roll.) I have another with gang ties who’s been seen driving (this is 6th grade) around the neighborhood. I am responsible for teaching 96 students the joys of reading and grammar. AND I am not too shy to say this is a job I have rocked the shit out of for 14 years. On Wednesday things changed for me.

The student with gang time is pissed off in the hallway. He’s yelling and throwing a fit because some boys in my class told him that I said he was stupid. And then he says he’s going to tell him mom on me. Totally lost it. I have never seen nor spoken to the women who never returns my calls. So I’m just as loud as him. “YEAH? I’ve got some stuff I want to tell your mom too. Let’s call her! Right now!!” And everything said after that blurs a little because I started seeing stars.

I head down to the school nurse and she take my blood pressure. It’s so high she won’t tell me what it is and has me sit there. I’m cussing up a blue streak and having a general meltdown. I decided I was done for the day (at like 9am) and put in for sub. The nurse took my blood pressure again before I left and wrote it down for me.

This is the email I sent to my AP and my principal:

Ladies,

I just left the doctor’s office. Nurse (XXXXX – the school nurse)  took my blood pressure this morning and it was 187/122 – so high that she didn’t even want to tell me what it was. An hour later she took it and it was still 168/99 which is still too high. The doctor put me on medication, so I won’t be in tomorrow because we need to see how I react to it.

This is not a blood pressure issue. This is an anxiety issue.

 I need help.

I have asked for:
another teacher – can’t afford it
move classrooms – they’re all the same size
get smaller desks – no

I am not trying to assign blame. I am still asking for help. Help that isn’t another person in my room. That isn’t me trying to teach someone else how to do their job. I’ve loved (XXXX) so much that I’ve given 14 years of myself to it.

 I don’t want to stop now. I just don’t know what else to ask for or what can be done.

“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
–George Bernard Shaw

Their reposes was LITERALLY thoughts and prayers:

Mrs. XXXX,

I hope that you are feeling better today. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

XXXX XXXX
Assistant Principal
XXXXX Elementary

AND THIS ONE from the woman I’ve known and worked with for 14 years:

XXX,
I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. I hope the medication helps with your blood pressure. I have experienced that personally and I know how dangerous it can be to your health.
When you return on Friday, let’s set a time to talk.
XXX
Principal
XXXXX Elementary
No here’s what we’re going to do. No I’M SORRY I couldn’t be bothered to read your entire email or revise the things I’ve said NO to in the past. Just.. hey I have high blood pressure so let’s make this about ME. Ugh and fuck you.
My team, the infamous crybaby math teacher and the Are dinosaurs real since they’re not in the bible science teacher, is about 0 help. I texted them on Friday (when I was still out because dying on the floor in my classroom doesn’t sound like a good idea) and this is the text I got in return:
It’s been a nightmare of a day, be thankful you’re out! There have been 4 different fight threats. OE and ER yelling and cursing at each other across the cafeteria, CW disrespectful, IP tried to trip the sub. I printed progress reports for my class and said something to B about there not being any math grades in, she just put it off, so I asked XX the best way to handle it, and she took it to XXXX (the principal). Apparently B (The crybaby teacher) is bad mouthing everyone and telling people she’s done acting professional and doing favors for us. I don’t think she’s done favors for you and I.. oh and we are going to be self contained after the winter break.
Sent from my iPhone  
Self contained means I will be in the classroom with the same kids all day and be responsible for teaching all subjects at a mastery level. I will be planning every subject. Grading every subject. Which will be 6 subjects 6 assignments daily = 192 a day. As opposed to 1 or 2 assignments a day = 96 to 192. The difference being I know these assignments and would be grading 96 of the same thing. Make grading easy-peasy.
SO…
Since then I’ve seen a doctor and received a prescription – but I cannot DRIVE when I’m taking it. When I think about going back to school – dying on the floor is my first concern. And then I work myself back up.
SO…
Today I went to the ER. The nurses, PAs, and doctor were amazing. Now I have a note that says I can’t go to work until the AT LEAST the 14th of December because I’ll see the psychiatrist on the 13th.
Now I have to figure out the best way to tell my team and admins. They’re going to be pissed off.
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TLDR: Don’t trust anyone else to do the right thing for you. Corporations and school districts consider themselves more important than any individual or class. Believing anything is definitely a Rook mistake.
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The One About Sirens 2017

This could get wordy, y’all, so cup yer butts or my wind’s gonna blow’m out.

First a recap:

2015- Holy shit! What is this place? OMG Look at all the females here! HOLY shit! I just met a trans woman! Everyone is so fucking smart and well-read. OMG am I stupid? I never thought I was stupid before. Wait, I get a tiny dessert too? Fanfuckingtastic. But I want all the things at the auction! Shit, it’s time to go? But my brain… it’s been cracked open. I didn’t know there were groups of people like this. Help! How do I keep this feeling????

2016-Holy shit! People remembered me from last year! Oh fuck’s what’s their name?? I can’t see their badge!! Oh MORE people that are so fucking amazing! Why have I always felt so alone? You liked my story in Queens and Courtesans? OMG, thank you!!!! But my brain… the crack’s bigger and the idea that I’m OK keeps leaking in. What? Wait? You don’t think I belong? YES I fucking do. And so do you. Everyone’s entitled to a bad day. Shit, we gotta go home? OK, but I will always come back.

2017- HOLY shit, quit fucking crying you big baby. You just got here! OMG AGAIN? VE Schwab was NOT talking about you. Quit crying. People want to sit with me at lunch. Ask me to dinner. They want my ideas on things. They’re asking me like I’m equal – like I fucking matter. Seriously, quit fucking crying. It’s annoying. Motherfucking Kate Elliot asking  me (ME!!!) to sign her copy of Queens and Courtesans. Speechless. More of those goddam tears. Canned air. Gallons of water. Oh shit, Artemis! The feeling of being mother fucking home in a place I’ve never been. And now my tears aren’t for me. They’re for this world where people are born, grow old, and die without ever feeling the love and ACCEPTANCE I feel at Sirens. May we never truly leave.

937c43a3c6353d57811dc9207071b820TLDR: Fuck you, go read it.

The One About North Korea/Russia

If you’re worried about Russia and North Korea or just want to feel a little more on top of things, I get you. I really get you. Doing some prepping is never a bad idea and sometimes even makes you feel a little more in control.

No space for a bunker? No money for sniper training? Me neither.

READ.

These are a few of the books recommended by The Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and the ones I’ve downloaded.

Big Stick

Another Bloody Century

Leaders Eat Last

Ghost Fleet

The full reading list can be found here:

The Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List

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Gather information that isn’t just a scare tactic. Be as self reliant as you can. Stay away from slanted social media that’s aimed at scaring rather than being helpful. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Fireworks

The last time I went to a fireworks show was in the days before Facebook. It was just a small gathering on the lawn …in front of the Washington Memorial. I don’t want to get too into it because it was not a happy experience. It was hot and crowded and I was arm-twisted into attending. Add full dark with strangers everywhere then throw in explosions and a very, very abusive spouse sharing my blanket and it was a recipe for the perfect panic attack.

So, you know what? I don’t go to fireworks show any more. If I hear them out in the country, we’ll sit on the porch and watch from a distance. If I hear them in the neighborhood, I’ll call the cops because I’m that asshole. Your happy-fun explosive times are not worth the fire damage you could cause to my house or the damage to my calm.

Man, the older I get, the more awesome I become.

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TL;DR: Keep fireworks where they belong and you won’t bother people. Also, you kids get off my lawn. Anything less would be a Rook mistake.

The Other One About Night Terrors

Going to try to get through this without losing my shit.

The other night I am sleeping in the guest room. I wake up in full dark with the certainty that there is someone in the room. My heart hammers against the mattress where I’m laying on my side. I can hear them. Just a little shuffling sound, a quiet breathing.

There are 2 doors out of this room. One to the hallway, one to the bathroom. Both are equal distance from me.

I am still.

I am quiet.

I want hear if there is more than one.

I take a quick inventory. I can reach the lamp on the side of the bed, use it as a weapon, use it to break out the window, use it to light up the room, but that would blind us both.

I know my first movement will give me away. Let them know I’m not asleep any more. At my fingertips is the iPad I used to watch Netflix until I crashed out. If I open it to call for help, I’ve given myself away. While I’m debating, the bed moves – ever so fucking slightly- like someone’s leaning against it, or has sat down very carefully.

I’m thinking: knife. They probably have a knife. I have two very thick quilts- so there’s some security there. I have a small fort of pillows around me – so it might be hard for them to know which lump is me in the dark.

All this time, I do not move. I don’t want to give away that I’m awake and lose the little edge I have.

And then I wonder if I’m right about this person’s location. What if they’re not where I think they are. What if the knife isn’t a knife? What if it’s a hammer? And if I don’t MOVE NOW there’ll never be another chance.

I throw off the covers and grab the lamp, swinging it like a club, putting my back to the closet door.

When I realized I was alone, it took me 49 minutes to calm the fuck down. I walked the house, checked locks, dogs, and kids. Checked the sig-oth. Picked glass out of the carpet.

The adrenaline dumped and I couldn’t shake the absolute goddamn terror. Just writing about it makes my body remember it. It felt real as hell. I was awake laying there freaking the fuck out and believing my family was in danger.2ed799ee2fb77f743847dc4a3b52df8a

TL;DR: Plan and act, people. Even when you’re sleeping. And see if they make tactical lampshades. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Today

It’s not been a good couple of days over here. Normally I’m totally down for a good thunderstorm. Blue-gray clouds, lightning zippering across a black sky or lighting it all up in 2 second increments, but not today. That electrical charge in the air put me on edge first thing this morning. Driving forever across the metroplex in a torrential stop.  down stop. pour around and through the emergency response vehicles guarding the wrecked and injured, their lights coloring the slick roads – it’s all got to me. Welcome to HyperVtown . Population me. Cause the rest of you fuckers aren’t allowed in. It-takes-a-great-deal-of-energy-to-remain-300x300

The One About Bloody Noses

Looked down this morning to find my nose was bleeding. It happens occasionally. I overheat and then there’s a gusher. Been dealing with it since I was a kid.

But it’s been a long time – years even – since it’s happened.

Now instead of racing my bike up the hill by my house, instead of sliding across the goal into a post face first, instead of sprinting towards third – I’m not a kid any more.

Bloody noses are my first husband. They are his whispers in my ear, the sharp crack snapping my head back, the twisted image of myself that he gave me.

But…

Really, it’s just blood on a tissue tossed and gone.

Like him.

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