Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Advice: Take a Break

Recently, I setup a cadence on my calendar that blocks off every other Wednesday free of appointments, work meetings, time with friends, errands or chores. If someone were to check it, they'd see the word "BREAK" written on that day, for the entire day, and my availability void.

Every now and then, I've found I have to do a bit of digital cleanse - give myself a vacation from the world.

Maybe you can't relate, but I find that I'm a bit too wrapped up in the political climate, what I'm doing when I am online, or what's going on beyond me. I don't suffer from much "FOMO" or feel like I'm recording more than I'm experiencing, but I do feel as if I can get wound very tightly by the state of things. Stress can exist outside of yourself.

Since setting up the cadence of time for myself, yesterday was the first day I lived through it.


I turned off all app notifications on my phone, and set my texts to silent - just in case someone did need to get in touch with me, but I didn't want it to interrupt the flow of my day. And aside from actually getting on my computer to write, there was hardly any interaction with digital devices or with much of anyone. (And I was disconnected from my network while writing, so ha ha if you think I cheated during that time.)

It was great to just focus on myself and what I wanted to do, and not feel like I needed to look down and keep up with the pace of the world. I read a book, a few comics, relaxed on the couch, and went to the mall. It was the best Wednesday off I had had in a while.

If you haven't done it yet, my advice to you is to setup some time (because we live in that type of world) to give yourself a break. You deserve it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

🌼🍑 New Look 🍑🌼

This is a short post to say that I'm sorry that despite all of the feelings I have, all the things I want to say, I haven't said as much as I could here. Sometimes I go on Twitter rants about it, but I haven't had that sense of urgency to blog about whatever might be on my mind. My mind has been elsewhere, I suppose. I miss you all, though.

I'm hoping with this new theme I'll feel more compelled to come back.

And I hope you enjoy the new look, too. Happy Spring. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Education

I've been wanting to talk about this for a bit. Betsy Devos makes me mad.

By her own words, she has singlehandedly tried to discredit the public educational system, in stating that she would prefer that private schools be the single thread in the educational system of this country. This sentiment completely dehumanizes the work that public educators - for the already underwhelmingly low pay - try to do on a regular basis. She's telling parents and educators in the country who are looking to her for guidance that their students can only benefit from some privatized schooling that may be out of their pay bracket, local district or students' specified educational needs. Much like most of the misguided rhetoric that's being politically spewed daily, this is just damaging.

Private education isn't the enemy, but private education depends on its exclusivity. We live in a time in which having a Bachelor's degree is becoming the standard, but even still, the accessibility of that degree isn't always there for those who could use it. This is why certain areas - urban, rural and in-between, the regional demographic doesn't always match the expectation - will become impoverished, lack development or fall behind the times and lose jobs and training needed to progress in a new age.

I was always a "smart student," but the two things I had above all were accessibility and encouragement. I was put in an advanced special education class when she was in first grade, after testing out in kindergarten. Which is ridiculous. If you want my full opinion, I think while this can be uplifting for a student, as it was for me, I'm only 6 years old at this point. I'm no Matilda, though I wanted to be. The fact that they set me up for this path at such a young age, and didn't give others that same opportunity hurts to realize now that I'm older.

Having said that, some of the best years of my life, and my fondest educational moments, were due to those courses. But seriously. All I had were parents with the time to spend with me teaching me essential skills and tools before I entered my schooling, and they were there to encourage me to do well and complete my assignments during. And this happened both while we were a very poor family and while we were not. I do not believe that my abilities extend beyond that of any of my peers. What I learned I learned because I listened and practiced. But so many students are discouraged by their environments and neglected - either at home or by the system.

We need to work with the systems that have been resources to our educational growth for so long: libraries and public schools. Funding for programs, outreach, and holding up shelves, can help us bring people into the libraries and make it an environment where students (and students of life) want to learn more on their own. Libraries themselves are even far from antiquated, when provided the adequate treatment. Keeping library doors open with programs and safe spaces for learning and conviviality, while offering digital and physical resources, keeps them with the times and relevant for those who need them. Many libraries are doing that or trying to do that, they just need the help. Public schooling is no different. The environment should be for learning and accessible resources, not exclusivity and privatization that serves the few instead of the many.

How on earth can anyone politically or not expect us to excel in the marketplace and socially if we're not afforded equal opportunities for education?

Devos and many others live with blinders; they believe that everything is a choice because they have the luxury of picking for their palate. Many of us have to work hard to reach farther, and don't live with such luxe. Once everything came crashing down at the end of the year, and I started thinking more about of what I can do in lieu of this, I'm realizing more and more that what I need to be doing is getting involved in these programs. Summer programs, library programs, school programs. If I want there to be an impact for these kids who might be tossed into a system that just as quickly would neglect them, then I need to be there to help.

I'm currently in talks now to start working on some of these programs in my own town. I encourage you all to do the same.

It's funny... I always said I wouldn't teach. I'm not so sure that I will now, but I'm certainly not going to let this just happen without my involvement. I was given so much encouragement; I was bolstered so much. As a kid, I felt invincible, intellectually. Other kids deserve that, too.