Sunday, July 8, 2018

Getting Back to Being Me

This blog started out as a way for me to remember who I am, what I stand for, what I love and what I do with my time. At that point, I was going through a time when I was trying to return to my core and to re-root myself in that as a confident and sure woman who wanted to remain true to herself without compromising for others.  This is perhaps why I haven't written a post in over a year and a half. I have been in survival mode.  I am simply trying to get through my days, and that leaves no room for deep thinking or evaluating anything other than getting through the day, the week, the month, the school year.  Despite the trials that have attempted to uproot me and left me feeling like my life was on hold, we welcomed a new sweet boy into the family and I bought my own home!!  All has not been horrible, but I haven't truly been myself.   

Baby Bo is just the cutest, happiest bundle of joy
and never fails to brighten my day...
even when he's pulling out all my neck hairs!!

One of the hurdles that I have faced is my inability to remain healthy as a runner.  I have discussed my injuries before, so I won't recount them again, but they are important to note because my ability to run and ride and even dance or play with my niece and nephew with no pain or discomfort coincides with my ability to win against my depression.  I came back from my terrible heel injury last fall and completed two training cycles and two half marathons.  But because my heart wasn't fully in it, I am injured again and can barely even ride my bike 10 miles without pain for days.  Exercise isn't the cure for my depression, but it allows me to put up a damn good fight.  This winter, I was sick for two months straight and missed a lot of training, but I also skipped most of the ancillary work that I need to do to keep those injuries at bay.  I was sick, I was tired, I was depressed, I was in survival mode and anything beyond getting miles in was just too much.  I knew what the risks were, but I just didn't care.  Now, I can't even get mad at myself, because I made it to the starting line (which was doubtful at times) and I survived the race.  It was my slowest half marathon ever, but I was just so damn happy to be back out on the Pig course again.  

I barely made it through the Pig this year, but I ran happy and
ran with joy and know that next year, it will be mine!!

The other major hurdle that was a true roadblock to living happily and fully is something that I don't even know how to talk about.  On March 2, 2016, the Sisters of Mercy announced that both Mother of Mercy High School (where I teach) and McAuley High School (where I attended) were going to be closing and that a new school, Mercy McAuley High School, would be opening in the fall of 2018.  I absolutely loved my time at McAuley and credit the school and my teachers with a large part of who I am today.  From the moment I set foot in Mercy as a student teacher, I knew that it was the place for me, and I planned on being a lifer when I was offered a teaching position 10 years ago.  The uncertainty of not knowing if I had a job for an entire year, the amount of work we were asked to do (with no guarantee of a job), and the anxiety of the students about the merge was all a lot to deal with.  Most days by the time I got home, I needed a nap just to have enough energy to make dinner, do my laundry, and get ready for the next day.  It was a point of pride for me that I fed myself real food and showered everyday (even if I went through 2 bottles of dry shampoo!), and had clean clothes to wear (even if they were wrinkled) ... they were desperate times.  I clung to my coworkers, to my students, to my friends who had attended Mercy.  I became the one who needed words of encouragement from my friends, and I just stopped contacting most of my out-of-town friends.  It was too much to catch them up on; it made me too emotional, so I just didn't call, didn't visit, didn't email.  I neglected my friends here in town; I didn't check on them, I forgot to get them birthday cards, or even to call.  I went for weeks and weeks without seeing my niece and baby nephew; days and days without talking to my mom.  She would text just to make sure that I was still alive.  I just couldn't handle being in the world because our own turmoil at school was too much.  I felt like a burden on my friends, I felt awful calling my parents every time something upset me, or just when I was really sad.  I tried to switch between both of them when I called just so that one of them didn't get the brunt of it.

beautiful Mother of Mercy High School

But I went to school every day.  I did my job every day.  I loved my students every day.  I cared about my coworkers every day.  I tried to make it the best last year.  I tried to remain positive in front of students, to support coworkers who didn't receive positions at the new school, to keep up with my work for class the next day and also the work we were asked to do for the following school year.  I tried.... and then I came home and laid down on my couch because I had no more left to give.

The building will live on as a school to become home to a new set of students in a few years.  The memories will live on in our hearts and mind for the rest of our lives: the lessons, the loss, the success, the fun, the tears, but most of all, the love.  

Turning in my keys was really hard.  I totally cried.

So, here I am now on the other side.  The school has officially closed, I have packed up my room and  turned in my keys, but am still wearing my Mercy spirit wear nearly every day at home. I will be at a different school next year, run by a different order of sisters, but I will hold the Mercy values always close to my heart as goals to strive for: faith, service, compassion, leadership and excellence.  Those values are the core of who I am, who I have been shaped into, what I want to exemplify.  Those values are my core and make up a large part of who I am.  As I walk into the future, I can hold onto that and begin to let that shine through again.