Thursday, August 8, 2013

Word Vomit--Because I Have a Lot of Stuff on My Mind

I don't want to go back to school next week--not because I don't like my job. I really do. However, my job doesn't permit me to spend all day with Jude. Boo! We've had a great week this week while Jeffrey was at Band Camp. We spent the week with my parents who actually live a stone's throw away from us, but we decided to treat this week like a vacation of sorts. Hey, my parents' new digs come equipped with HBO, a bath tub worthy of an R&B music video setting, and Mama's cooking (even though my diet prohibits me from eating most food that tastes good).This place could so pass for a resort. Anyway, Jude and I have had a fantastic time, and I've enjoyed all the time I've gotten to spend with him this week. We've had a great time playing outside, putting together puzzles, pushing trucks, reading books, and reviewing our colors and shapes. Tomorrow, Jeffrey will finish up year ten of HCC band camp, and we'll reunite once again. Even though Jude and I have had a fun week, we have missed Jeffrey something awful.

Because I have lived under my parents' roof this week, I've watched a lot of Fox News. A little backstory--my mother is so conservative that she makes Rush Limbaugh look like a bleeding heart liberal, so Fox News is pretty much white noise in the Wahl household. I actually find the network interesting. Sometimes, I think they report too much on what "could happen," but I do usually find myself agreeing with the commentators. For example, I love how they're calling out Hollywood on the upcoming movie "The Butler." Oprah Winfrey's comment about Trayvon Martin being a "parallel to Emmit Till" just about sent me over the edge. Read a freaking history book, Oprah, or better yet, understand your Mississippi history better, or even better than that, realize you weren't there with Trayvon when he died and therefore don't know what really happened! It's also occurred to me that I may not have spelled this kid's name right. My apologies.

However, I will not apologize for my beliefs/values. Lately, I've seen a lot of people post on social media these memes that basically say, "You're perfect the way you are" or "Don't change." While these memes intend to uplift and inspire, they are absolutely and positively damaging. to humankind. None of us are perfect, and we could all stand to change something about ourselves. I never want anyone to tell me those things because, I know what I'm about, and it's not always pretty. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I know that I'm smart in what I know, but I don't know a lot. I know I fall short of perfection 100% of the time, but I still want to strive for it because it delights me to try.

Today, I saw video footage of three black guys beating the hell out of a white kid on a school bus. Boy, did that send me on a ride down memory lane to the beginning of the eighth grade where the same thing happened to me, only throw in a pinch of sexual assault with that. This is a time in my life I have never allowed myself to think about, and certainly it doesn't define who I am now, but watching that video footage triggered so many emotions--anger because this crap still happens and people still ignore it, sadness because that kid didn't deserve it, but relief because I'm ok, and I know that given time and a few more awkward teenage years, so will that kid because, as I've stated before, this situation doesn't have to define him. I still believe the only reason I suffered little physical harm comes down to one of two things: 1. It was a short bus ride, and 2. My best friend who was sitting next to me tried her hardest to fight these creeps off of me. I feel terrible for that boy because I know how it feels to be singled out for no apparent reason and to have everyone else act like they never saw a thing, and it's not fun. I also thought about, "What if that was Jude? What if he had been that kid," and it gave me chills when my very next thought was "I would have killed those boys." That thought was only further validated when my mother just outwardly said, "You know, the day you were attacked, I went looking for that boy, and I meant I was going to kill him." I count myself blessed that I have a mother who loves me that much, and I guess I'm grateful that fool on the bus had the sense to run, or otherwise, Jude and I might have vacationed in Parchman this week instead of Gluckstadt. God obviously looks after fools and children.

Well, I want to post something light-hearted in this section, but Geez! That last paragraph is pretty loaded! Oh, here's something. A few weeks ago, a deer jumped out in front of my Jetta, and now Frau Jetta is back in the shop. This is the second time she has taken up residence at Barnett Body Shop, and I can't for the life of me understand why it couldn't be the van instead! The Jetta has been my most favorite car I've ever owned, yet she's the one I've torn up the most. My Honda never had one scratch, and that God forsaken Ranger I drove back in college could not and would not die, bad as I wanted it to. But that Jetta? I just keep putting her in harm's way for some reason. Ridiculous. Anyway, I hope to have her back soon, especially since my mom has loaned me her ride, a Nissan Versa which looks not unlike a clown car. (Every time I drive it, I feel like at least ten more people should pile up in there with me.) Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to have the set of wheels. And for those wondering how my mother is getting around, Fret not. She's got her brand new Cadillac to get her from point A to point B. Evidently, she has really taken to Madison County living! I'm happy for her, but seriously, could she not offer up the Caddy, even for one day? How tacky!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


This summer, I somehow managed to accomplish little and much all at the same time. I wish I had even one week longer of summer vacation, but unfortunately, after next week, it's back to Holmes for Year Eight of my career. All and all, I think I can look back and feel proud of what I have done this summer, even if most of it is still in progress.

1. Weight--For years--YEARS--I've struggled with my weight. As it turns out, I realized that my weight gain from seven years ago was completely, totally, and utterly my fault. I ate the junk food, didn't drink the water, partook in carb-only meals, etc. No one made me do it. Sure, I worked out all the time and even took up running (which has become my all time favorite pastime), but no weight loss ever came. I prided myself in gaining only the recommended 25-35 pounds during pregnancy which quickly fell off in less than a year post partum. But truth still remained. Even without the pregnancy weight, I was still heavy, flabby, and downright dumpy.

This summer, I got plenty sick of myself that I made a change. I cut the carbs, the fats, the Cokes, the sugar, etc., and four weeks into the program, I have lost 13 pounds. Funny thing is...I don't even miss that junk! Now, I choose healthy vegetables, sensible proteins (even though this vegetarian finds this part quite challenging, though not impossible), and drink more water in a day than I probably ever have in my life. I feel great. Am I where I want to be on the scale? No. I still have a little over halfway to go before I reach my goal weight. However, I'm finally seeing the light. I no longer feel stuck in the overweight category. In fact, according to my BMI, I about .8 away from being in the "Normal" range of weight. I have complete faith that I will get there, and to think four weeks ago, I had just about lost hope.

2. Writing--I want to be a writer. Like, really bad. I don't want to be a blog writer, although I find this fun. I want to be a serious story-teller. I don't know how to break into the business, and I don't know whom all I need to know to get there. However, I do know this. I need to create a story. A story that I can proudly put my name on and send out to the masses. I need to accept rejection. I need to realize that sometimes it takes first being vulnerable before great things will come. Therefore, I'm taking the logical first step. I started a new story, and I made a friend, one who has published, who offered to critique my work. A small step, I know, but for me who is usually afraid of rejection, a big one. I discovered this summer that I have stories, ones I think others will enjoy. What with my job and child, the process is sure to be slow, but just as I can see myself finally reaching my goal weight, so too can I do this, or at least die trying.

3. Reading--At the beginning of the summer, I had the goal to read ten-twenty books. Yeah, that did not happen. As it turns out, teaching three summer classes really takes it out of a girl! I succeeded in reading 1/2 of a novel I started after Spring Break and about 1/6 of one I just started, totaling not even one whole book. Oops. As I reflect, though, I don't look at this as a failure. Actually, this summer was quite productive what with teaching, weekend getaways, playing with toddlers, talking with Jeffrey, and hanging out with my newly remarried, newly relocated parents. Something had to take a backseat, and I guess reading lost. Besides, the 67% of book that I did read, I really enjoyed and am still enjoying. I've also made a new goal to read just a little every day, either during lunch break, Jude's nap time, first thing in the morning (ok, maybe that's pushing it), but I can do this.

4. Saving--Yesterday, I put a big chunk of money in my savings account, and it felt great. Of course, I didn't save nearly as much as I had originally planned, but my savings account is now significantly fatter than it was.  Also, I refinanced my house yesterday. Not only will my house  be paid off sooner (two whole months sooner, to be exact), but my interest rate is now significantly lower, and somehow, so is my house payment. Sweet.

Even though nothing got completely done this summer, I don't feel bad for what I have started. Because of these accomplishments, I look forward to the upcoming school year. I can enter Holmes this year a little lighter, a little more creative, a little more relaxed and educated, and a little richer. As my father often says, "Well, that's better than getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick!"