Sunday, April 5, 2009
Love, Tonya's Mess
Friday, March 13, 2009
I've been thinking about my so called "life" for... well, most of my life. There are sooo many things that I want to change about myself, and yet, I never manage to be successful. Well, I've decided to blog about it. After all, people blog about everything else- why shouldn't I put disgusting pictures of my house on here for the entire world to see?! Disgusting, you say?
Yep. Well, it seems like I've got this thing going where I don't think my house should be clean when I'm the only one who sees it. It is as if I, myself, am undeserving of beauty, cleanliness... happiness... Have I been sabotaging myself my whole life? Looking at my weight problem, it would seem like I have. Looking around me, just on the outside- well, the inside of my house- I'm a mess. Check out my finances. A mess. Everything about me is just, plain and simple, a MESS.
So I'm going to start fixing things. It is time for me to make some major changes, and I've decided that my faithful readers get to go along for the ride! (And hey girls, maybe others will join you, who knows?!)
My bedroom; since I don't have the kind of bed that doesn't need a dust ruffle, I should probably find mine... and use it!
What I'm doing first is my house. I've taken pictures of every area inside my house so you can see, as of March 13, 2009, just how far I've let myself fall into this pit of my life. Shake your head, be disgusted at the pictures, but as I show you the changes I make, celebrate the victories with me and pray that one day I'll find a way to clean up the mess inside my head as well.
Friday, March 6, 2009
“Shoot for the moon- even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” This was the motto for a recent graduating class, one I’ve thought about numerous times. It’s true that having goals is an important ingredient of our society, but part of me has always wondered- what’s wrong with being happy while grounded on earth?
In theatre the “extras” are those actors and actresses cast to lend realism to a scene. They are in the background, doing routine activities, living routine lives. Off stage, these are the “grassroots” people who help make the world move, function, have vitality. They don’t often make the news, nor do their pictures end up in history books. But their stories are the cultural icons left to future generations: quilts, farming technologies, roads and bridges, unique dialects, religious beliefs, work ethics, morals.
Sometimes this group of steadfast individuals even makes it possible for others to “shoot for the moon.” They are the parents who push their children to go further, the coaches who place their players in the limelight, and the voters who stand behind their chosen candidates. Grounded on earth, satisfied with their roles as “extras,” they aren’t somehow diminished because they haven’t landed among the stars.
According to various myths the famous Greek hero Achilles was once given two choices: he could stay home and raise a family and have children who would carry his name through the generations, or he could join the Spartan army and travel to help defeat
As graduation approaches for another group of high school seniors, I’m reminded of the musical “Fame” and how that group of students left school searching for a way to become stars. They planned to “live forever” and to “catch the moon in their hands.” As a teacher, I wish the very best for each of my students, but more than anything, I wish each of them to have satisfaction with becoming who they choose to be. It is okay if those choices are based on a solid foundation rather than elusive fantasy.
I believe reaching for your dreams isn’t a bad thing, but neither is the decision to look around at what’s wonderful right here and now in your life. If you want to see the stars, we’ve got a great view of them here on earth.
I believe it’s okay to have contentment while being earthbound. Despite all the troubles our world faces today, the earth is still a pretty amazing place to be. Anonymity doesn’t equal loneliness or dissatisfaction. It simply means your name’s not written in the stars.
(This was submitted for NPR's "This I Believe" segment.)
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Part of me thought that made me strong. Independent. Unique. I wasn't part of the girl troupe who had to go to the restroom with someone else.
Over the years I've done many things alone. I've always convinced myself that it was because I preferred it that way. Now, at 33 years of age, I'm not sure I can tell the difference- do I enjoy being alone because it's what I'm used to, or is it something that was part of me from the beginning?
What I do know, is just last weekend, I was celebrating going to the theatre on my own (read the "Joseph" post), and after the events of this week, I'm just not sure anymore.
When Grandma passed away I was teaching at Turner and my mom called and told me while I was at work. Of course they were wonderful about allowing me to leave immediately, but the drive home was full of tears. It would have been nice to have someone then.
At her funeral, I watched as Angela's husband, Jimmy, took Grandpa to the restroom, helping him in such a tender way, you would have thought Jimmy was a nurse, or that he was a "blood" relative. Angela is so blessed to have a husband like that. Of course, I remember Shawn's husband (now ex, thank God) showed up to the funeral about 15 minutes after it began, and because we'd been seated already, he didn't even sit beside her. Polar opposites... instead of wishing I had someone like Jimmy, I congratulated myself on not having someone like Phil. Looking on the bright side of things or simply jaded?
A couple of years ago a former student from Turner, Allen Davis, was killed in a motorcycle accident. That was hard. Once more the drive home was full of tears. It would have been nice to have someone then.
And I remember things I can't talk about too, because it would violate a students' privacy, but things that I want to talk about... I remember how it felt when I took roll on Wednesday, and there his name was...
I've just had an unemotional day, and yet here I am with tears streaming down my face again. If you're not a teacher, you probably won't understand this, but Lynn was MY kid. He was a student that I connected with and adored. I love all my students, but there are some who you just get and who you know that ten years after they've graduated that you won't forget them.
Tuesday, after I heard the terrible news, I wanted to be alone, because that's just part of me, I guess. But as I laid in bed trying to sleep that night, I wanted nothing more than to be held by someone who loved me, who got me, who cared about my pain.
Sex in the City addict, which happened after I saw the movie. During the night, Tuesday, when I couldn't sleep, I watched episode after epidsode, and finally the movie. In the movie, Carrie gets a personal assistant- Louise from St. Louis, and she admits going to New York to find love. She even carried a key chain that said Love. She said, that despite her heart being broken, she was still going to look fo love.
So, as I've dealt with the debilitating pain of Lynn's death, I've longed for love to wrap me up and take care of me for once. Do I have what it takes to be like Louise from St. Louis and put myself out there again? I don't know, I don't know... Students ask me all the time if I get scared, living by myself. I don't. They think I'm brave because I'm not scared of being by myself... when really, it's the other way around: I'm scared of being hurt again.
Monday, February 23, 2009
At any rate, I attended the show by myself, and I can't believe how much I enjoyed being my own date! I almost didn't go, because every single person I asked to go with me already had plans, or had something come up, but I remembered that I'm independent and CAN stand on my own two feet, so I sucked it up, dressed like a super model (of course!) and hit the road.
So... Joseph and I don't have a lot in common, but we have this: this weekend I saw a new play, an old friend (though he disappeared before we got to visit- what happened to you, B?), and renewed a relationship that I don't want to ever take for granted- the relationship I have with me!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Last night at the Goddard Center, I watched a theatrical production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and as I stood in line to pick up my ticket, I noticed how many elderly couples were there in front of me. As most women can attest, getting a man to go to the theater is something only besotted males will do, because after you've been together a while they revert back to their honest selves, and resist anything unrelated to sports. But what impressed me was that most of the people there were not young couples, but older, tried and true couples, who'd spent a lifetime together.
I began to wonder- did they go to the theater when they were young and he was besotted, or did this love for the performing arts exist over the long years? I know that the only thing my parents have ever done together on a regular basis is to attend church, and though I don't want to share too much of their personal lives, I do know that things aren't always rosy between them. Surely the elderly couples I witnessed last night have had their ups and downs too, right? But they've somehow managed to hang in there when so many other couples aren't able.
Couples have to have interests that grow with their relationships, don't they? Something new that comes along and sparks the light in their eyes. How can you tell before you get married whether or not you'll have the kind of relationship that lasts? I didn't know that I'd suddenly, in my 30s, decide to pursue my master's degree, nor did I know that I would ever consider teaching on the collegiate level. I've loved teaching forever, even during the rough first three years, and now here I am, thinking about moving from the public school area to teach at the college level? I never knew I'd change like that.
I've grown and changed in other ways over the years. It's taken me changing jobs three different times to realize that I've got wanderlust. I don't like staying in one place for too long because I always wonder what else is out there. How could a relationship survive that, especially if I had been with a person who didn't feel the same? And how could either of us know we felt that way, if it's taken me this long to recognize the pattern in myself?
I've been a Christian since I was twelve, and there have been some rock-solid times in my relationship with Christ, but there have also been many times in between where I questioned everything I ever knew about God and the Bible. How do relationships survive the faith roller coster, especially if that's what they were initially based upon?
I say all that to reiterate my earlier question- how does a couple know that they will grow and change together in a compatible manner? So many couples think because they're perfect for a few months that they'll be perfect for a lifetime, but I've seen the opposite happen time and again. Others outside the relationship may be able to recognize their incompatibility, but so few are ever honest about it, and in my own experience, when you are honest to the person "in love," you wind up harming your relationship with your friend, she ignores your advice, and you have to watch her go through some very hurtful life events before your prophecy comes true. And of course at that point she's bitter and hurt that you were right all along...
I read an article entitled "Swan Song: Scientists Claim That True Love Exists," in which one out of every ten mature couples showed a "mate for life" mentality similar to that of swans and foxes. One out of ten?! Every girl I know who wants to get married wants to be the ONE. In fact, in the movie, He's Just Not That Into You, it talked about being the exception to the rule. Every girl wants to be the exception, because the rule is that NINE out of ten couples don't get "happily ever after," if you can believe the Swan article. You don't even have to believe the article to recognize that couples all around you are, if not falling apart, unhappy.
I don't want that. I'd rather continue being happy by myself than miserable with the wrong person. It's not always easy. Valentine's day was a nightmare, thanks to the double date I got stuck on so that my sis wouldn't feel awkward on the "fix up," so naturally I was the one who got to feel awkward. But that was one day out of numerous others. I went to the theatre by myself last night. So what? I enjoyed it, and hey, it gave me something to write about! =)
I don't have a lot of options out there right now when it comes to dating, but I'd like to think that if I did, I wouldn't settle just to be in a relationship. I'm willing to wait around for the one man who makes us the exception, if that's what I have to do. Why shouldn't I? I'm fabulous all. by. my. self!
I've always loved Daddy, but we never really had a close relationship. Destiny, though, is completely different. She's never felt awkward about climbing in his lap (I'd kill the poor man!) or giving him hugs and kisses. Shouldn't it be that way? But that's definitely not how I feel, or how I remember ever feeling as a young girl.
Families show affection from day one, and I guess that determines how it will be from then on out. I know that Destiny is probably more comfortable with most males than she is with females, whereas I'm the complete opposite. With girlfriends I'm outgoing and fun and laugh and just have a great time. With most males, it's not the same at all. That's not to say that there's not the exception to the rule now and then, but overall, the stiff, uncomfortable relationship I have with Dad is similar to the one I foster with most other males.
I think it was Freud who first said that boys want to grow up and marry someone like their mothers and that girls want to grow up and marry someone like their fathers. It makes sense in some situations, I suppose. I definitely look for traits similar to the ones I've always respected in my dad- honest, intelligent, hard-working, fun-loving, faithful, a Christian... But I'm looking for other traits too- affectionate, enjoys the arts, sociable, laid-back...
I love my dad sooo much... I still call him Daddy most of the time. I think he's handsome, with the prettiest blue eyes in the universe. He's so talented with woodworking, and he's a very steadfast person in both his beliefs and his actions. I don't question his love for me either, not one tiny little bit. But I'm 33 years old and still long for the kind of relationship with him that my baby sister has- one where I can sit beside him in church and put my arm through his and not even give it a second thought.