Why do things need to change?

It isn’t my typical fashion to talk about insanely serious topics. I usually try to add in some light humor to make everything seem okay. This post, however, you won’t get any of that.

I can very optimistically say that there are very few things that scare me. Sure, there are a handful of things that freak me out a little bit, but scare me? Shake me to my core? I really don’t have a long list.

At the top of that list, though, are guns. Most specifically, related to school shootings.

Unless you live under a rock or far away from any outlet that spreads breaking news, you would know that it is February 17, 2018 and there have already been eighteen school shootings this year. Eighteen. In 46 days, nonetheless.

While it is common knowledge that shootings don’t just happen at schools, that context is the one in which I am the most terrified of. I look around at my six students and wonder what the heck I would ever do in a situation like this. I hope and pray to God that I never have to figure it out, but it’s completely evident that it’s something you need to think about.

I most recently read this article from PBS News Hour that has resurfaced from 2015. Not surprising since we’ve just experienced another horrific school shooting tragedy in our country this week alone. When did it become a teacher’s job to stop a bullet for your child? But really. When did it?

I work in a non-traditional school. So when I say that we do practice lock down drills and have received ALICE training, some of my friends either roll their eyes or ask questions about why we would ever do such a thing in our school. My answer: Do you see the world we live in?

I can’t say that I will ever have to worry about one of our own students, or former students for that matter, bringing a weapon into our building and causing havoc. I use this phrase cautiously because I guess you never know. However, there are a multitude of people coming into and going out of our building on a daily basis. Could one of these individuals cause this havoc? Absolutely. So my answer is yes. We do practice these drills. We do learn how to effectively block and barricade a door, fight off an active shooter, protect our students, and so forth.

I cannot say that fighting off an active shooter or using my body as a barricade to protect my students is something that I have ever seen in a job description. This is a reality I hope I never have to face. But, this is reality. I don’t know how my fellow educators, some of which who have been in this field longer than I have even been born, handle walking into work each day thinking about how to protect someone else’s child from falling victim to a monster.

Now, I will say this. I am not one to push an anti-gun agenda on you. If you want to own a gun, own a gun. Hunt animals, have it help you feel safe in your own home, lock it up and never use it;  whatever you need the gun for, you do you. There are plenty of people in my life that do own guns and I do not think of them as any less of a person.They are responsible people, and if you remain responsible with your gun, I have no issue. Just because I will never own one, never shoot one, or have any desire to be around one doesn’t mean I think you should feel the same. I am terrified, therefore I refuse to be around something I am uncomfortable with.

I, however, do not know why any civilian needs to get their hands on an automatic weapon. Weapons designed to continuously fire rounds and rounds of ammunition as long as the trigger is held down. Weapons that are typically restricted to military and police organizations. Why do we need automatic weapons? Why is it legal to own these firearms? I think this over and over in my head, day in and day out.

While I don’t think all weapons should be banned, I do not see a need for these to be possessed by any civilian, ever.

This blog post won’t change the world. Thoughts and prayers won’t change the world. But sometimes thoughts and prayers and words are needed to be shared to ease the pain. The extension of a helping hand or a kind heart in a time of need is something that everyone needs. While they do help, I will reinstate, they won’t change the world. We need to start now. This world needs to be a better place. I mean, it is 2018 for Christ’s sake.

I will leave my thoughts with a quote, pulled directly from this PBS News Hour article: “Teachers are not police officers or firemen or members of the military trained to deal with dangerous situations like this. We are people who are trained how to get people to think, so that is what I am doing. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon because I will always love my kids enough to want to be the one between them and a bullet, but this also wasn’t in the job description.” 

Which act of violence will stand out as so much worse? How many innocent people need to lose their lives for this to be taken seriously? Which event will be so much worse that we finally decide to make a change? It needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

xoxo.

Life changes like the seasons

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I saw the above post.

While I would assume most people would scroll by without reading, or read it and think, *wow how corny is that?* I, for one, really enjoyed this post for a multitude of reasons.

It’s no surprise that life cycles through phases of transformation and change. These cycles are inevitable and cannot be avoided. However, they can be extremely manageable and beneficial for our own personal lives and our outlook on the life ahead of us. Just as the seasons change, the seasons of our life are changing as a result of choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis.

While life is all about change, the seasons of life are temporary. Just as the raindrops that fall over our head, or the thunder booming outside, none of these events will last forever. These events are temporary in nature, just as the seasons of life are temporary from a psychological standpoint. While sometimes that is hard to understand, it is an important concept to grasp. What may be a negative event today will one day be considered old news. Negativity doesn’t last forever; there is always a positive flicker of light to walk toward at the end of the road.

When I look at the above poem, I look forward to the spring. On a personal level, this winter hasn’t been the greatest winter I’ve had. It hasn’t been the worst, but there have been some things going on that make me excited for the new chapter that will come once spring arrives. When it’s winter, I tend to stay in more due to horrible weather, hating being cold, and not wanting to pile on multiple layers when just having to do something so small as pump gas. Plus, the transition from winter to spring is one of my favorite ones. The grayness of winter transitioning into the pastel hues that scream spring, to me, there is nothing that can replace that feeling. Everything is brighter and lighter. People seem happier. There is a shift in the outlook of life when you can shed the winter layers and let yourself and your body breathe. The change in the air without a doubt brings a change in overall attitude. At least for me, that is.

If you look back at the above post, who doesn’t want to eliminate selfishness, indifference, gossip and grumbling? And who doesn’t want to add peace of mind, heart, and soul into their life? A life spent with family, friends, and each other is a life well spent. A life filled with love, faith, kindness and patience is a life that every person should want. And if you don’t want those things, why? What is preventing you from living your best, most inspiring life? What is preventing you from being timely, helping others, or being of service? What is stopping you from being your best you? We should all strive to live a fulfilling life, regardless of our beliefs or the seasons.

A change in seasons is something that we all could use. Whether you’ve had a rough week or a rough year, change will come your way. xoxo.

Here’s to a new chapter.

I left my best friend in Ohio.

Is that a dramatic statement? Yes. Are we surprised? No.

It has been five days since we moved my brother into the University of Akron, and this is a family shift that I am still getting used to. Yes, he is only three and a half hours away, but he is not home. When I moved away to college [30 mins away, but still], I didn’t realize how much of an impact this was on the rest of my family, simply because I was not there. I was on my own, busy, walking along this new path of life. But now that the roles are reversed, I see what my Mom was talking about for all those years.

The relationship that my brother and I have is one unlike many I’ve seen. I don’t know if it has to do with how close our family is or how far apart in age we are, but whatever it is, it is something that I am thankful for. Because we are so close, it makes the loss of him not being around 24/7 that much greater. I know it’s only been a few days, but I’ve already caught myself about to text him asking if he would want my leftover lunch, or if he wanted to run with me to the store later.

Although he is states away, he has talked to me every single day since he’s been gone, which makes me feel still so involved in his life when he fills me in on everything going on, and makes me feel like he isn’t out of town. Little things like this have already made the difference.

Today is his first day of college classes, whereas it is the last first day of college I will ever have in my lifetime [shoutout to grad school almost being over!!]. I am so overwhelmingly proud and excited for him.

Unpacking all of his things and setting up his dorm took away any ounce of sadness that I felt. In fact, it made me want to go back to undergrad, moving away, myself, because I remember that feeling. I remember the excitement I felt to be on my own, away from home, ready to start this new chapter in my life. Remembering this makes me feel like a total mom, because I am so excited that he gets to experience all of these things, too.

So, little bro, kick ass. Kill it. Good luck. Can’t wait to hear about your new adventure. xoxo.

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January 20, 2017

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“We must think big and dream even bigger.” – President Trump

I’m gonna put it right out there from the start. I am not the biggest President Trump supporter. Watching the live images of Former President Obama and Former VP Biden and their families leave office has made me so uncharacteristically sad today. President Obama was the first President I ever voted for, so based on my own personal experience, it was the end of an era for me.

But, one thing that stood out above the rest in President Trump’s inaugural address today was the above quote. I am a big believer in that you should always, always, always follow your dreams, no matter who tries to knock you down, no matter who tries to stop you, no matter who tells you your dreams are unachievable. Do not give up.

You do not have to love the fact that Mr. Trump is our next President, you do not have to hate it, and honestly, you do not even have to care. But one thing that we can all come to realize through this election is that anything is possible. A multi-million dollar businessman is our new President. Our President, not a politician. Who would have ever thought?

His dream to become President can be dated back all the way to 1988, where he considered running for President as the Republican nominee but later chose not to run. Or even back to 1999, where he announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee when he appeared on Larry King Live, and campaigned until February of 2000 for the Reform Party nomination.

I am sure that all those years ago, or even more recently with this past campaign, that people thought he was crazy. People thought he would never win, would never achieve his dream, would never fulfill this plan. But here we are, in 2017, and he has done it. It may not have been a welcome win for everyone in the United States, but a win it was.

On this day, 4 years from now, we could be in a completely different place than we are at this exact moment. Everything could change, or not much would change at all. Nobody knows what these next 4 years will bring, but we can get through it and come out stronger and better than ever. Anything is possible. xoxo.

Here’s to a fresh start.

1*_JgZ9V8Wmb2YUZ0j83hoig.jpg2016… Where to even begin?

This year, it seems like we experienced quite a bit of everything. Who could forget Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Queen Elizabeth turning 90, Donald Trump winning the United States Election, or the death of the now-famous gorilla Harambe? We experienced some tragedy — the outbreak of the Zika virus, the Orlando night club shooting, the controversial sentencing of Brock Turner, or the mutliple police shootings, just to name a few.

It may have started off as a sarcastic one-liner, but as we come closer to the end it really seems like “nobody was safe.” We lost [what feels like] so many icons this year — David Bowie, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher — staples of our childhood, and as we come closer to the end of 2016, the list is continuing to grow.

If there is one thing that we should take away from this year, it’s that anything is possible. While I do not know your own personal triumphs or sruggles that you may have had this year, I do know mine. And I can confidently say that this year shook me up, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Never in a million years did I expect this year to turn out the way it did. I overcame some pretty tough battles. I worked through the pain I was experiencing. I overcame my struggles with anxiety. I changed my life — joined a gym, fell more in love, enrolled at a new university, spent time with friends, cut my hair, changed my job, and started to focus on me.

I educated myself in the things that matter [well, to me at least]. I watched the first woman become a Presidential nominee, and watched a well-known celebrity win the token spot. I learned to embrace change. I learned to respect others and the differing opinions they have while standing up for myself and what I believe in. I partook in research, fieldwork, and internships to help individuals with developmental disabilities flourish in today’s soceity — something I stand so strongly for. I started looking and applying for new jobs in my field. I worked my ass off in school and was rewarded with a 3.9GPA; something I never thought was possible while juggling these multiple batons.

All that, and the most important thing remains. Although sometimes I got knocked down, I always got back up.

2016, thank you for the memories. And to 2017…you are 4 days away, and I am ready for you.

(PSA: My New Year’s resolution is to start blogging & to be more open about my personal experiences. Stay tuned!)