How to Cope when people think you’re “ish”

I’ve returned to teaching elementary school this year after a 3 year hiatus of staying at home, and then another 3 year stint at an alternative high school (which is nothing like an elementary school, in case you’re wondering). I am teaching part-time in a rural school district that is home to a total of 50 students, kindergarten through 6th grade. My job is grand. I am the FUN teacher, at least I try to be. I am the PE and Fine Arts teacher. I teach 3 classes a day, 2 PE and one Fine Arts. How much more fun can it get right? We play games, we dance, we create, we paint, we sing, we drama…. um, dramatize……um, are very dramatic, some much more than others. It’s a great gig and I am loving it.

One of these little love cups in my charge happens to be my 6-year-old daughter. I don’t make her call me Mrs. Wheeler either. Am I wrong for that? I watch her expressions a lot during class and I know when she is loving the lessons, games, and activities. I also know when she thinks it is lame, or when I am totally embarrassing her. Which doesn’t make me stop, by the way.

The other evening she and I were in the kitchen and she told me a little story. She said that while in PE, a student asked a question of her and she replied, “I don’t know, go ask my mom.” The other student replied, “That’s your mom?” And when EK told her yes, the little girl  turned up her nose, and said “ISH.”

EK looked up at me in the kitchen and said, “But you’re not ish.” However, the way she said it left me questioning if she believed it. She didn’t say it emphatically, like “But you’re NOT ISH!” Rather, it ended in a bit of a question, “But, you’re not ish.” Like she wanted to add, “Are you?” Of course what is she going to say? She’s my daughter and right now she’s at the age where she thinks I hung the moon. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell me I’m the best. I know these times won’t last, but I certainly don’t want her opinion of me to change because of some snotty nosed brat in PE. Uh, I mean little love cup. (kidding, I’m kidding).

I didn’t easily dismiss this conversation. I may have thought about it over and over. I’m fun. I’m not ish. I wonder who else thinks I’m ish?  In truth, this little story I was told truly got me thinking hard how others opinions of us shape and guide us, even in this seemingly trite example.

We all want to be liked. We all want to be liked all the time. But the cold, hard truth is, we aren’t going to be. We know this. It’s out there. Let’s think about what we’ve been told.

  • You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  • Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.
  • You may be the juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches.

We can hear these expressions all day long and believe them all day long, but it still stings a little when you get negative feedback. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be ish, even to a seven-year old, maybe especially to a seven-year old. Children are brutally honest and when it’s coming from them it’s gospel, right?

No matter how badly I don’t want to be ish, others are going to think I am. It’s going to happen and it’s especially going to happen if you are putting yourself out there in any way.  When I began my LuLaRoe business, I had to put myself out there. I had to make phone calls, do Facebook Lives, talk to strangers and it wasn’t easy. I have always been a bit of a recluse, so putting myself out there doesn’t come natural for me. Maybe it doesn’t for you either, but what if you have a dream, a big one, that is going to require you to put yourself out there. You’re going to encounter some ish opinions.

Anyone who has their own sense of style, who wants to grow a blog (raises hand), who wants to write a book (raises hand), who wants to start a business, who wants to sing on broadway, who wants a million instagram followers, who wants to change the world, and a million other dreamers are putting themselves out there every single day. Do you think there are those who think they are ish? Of course there are. There are people who think they are worse than ish. In this day of cyber bullying and keyboard warriors, there are some who hide behind the protection of a screen and post ugly comments, bad reviews, and hateful emails.  Should these opinions leave us running to our beds, crying, and eating tubs of ice cream? Maybe for a little bit, but not forever.

Here’s what we can do when this happens to us.

**focus on the ones who don’t think you’re ish—There are people who love you. Focus on those. In my classes, I have others who are hugging me daily and telling me they love me.  I’m not going to let one little ish ruin it. There are people out there who love your bold sense of style, your writing, your singing, your dancing, your ideas, your everything…..maybe they haven’t found you yet but they are out there. One day they will find you and shower you with how awesome you are. Keep on.

**don’t dwell on it—-As hard as it may be to let it go, it is imperative to let it go. You can’t dwell on it. That will only cause depressing thoughts that will bog you down and possibly change your opinion of yourself. We are our own worst critic to begin with, we certainly don’t need anymore. Should we try to improve? Yes, always. We can take constructive criticism and improve, but don’t dwell on the negative. Think about the positive words and compliments that have been given to you. Keep on.

**don’t let the fear of other’s ishy opinions stop you—-Your dreams are inside of you for a reason. If you want to go big, then go big. Don’t let the fear and worry of other’s opinions keep you from going for it, whatever it is. If you don’t, you will remain where you are. Fearing failure will hold us back. Later sometimes becomes never. Understand that those people with the ish opinions are out there, but don’t let them dictate your path. Take steps forward. Be brave. Keep on.
**to thine own self be true—Didn’t Fancy’s mama give her this same advice in that heart-shaped locket? (please tell me you get this reference). But seriously, be true to your self. I have spent a whole lot of years trying to discover myself while all the time worrying about what other people are thinking of me and following the crowd. We will reach an age when we realize we really don’t care. I want you to find that age sooner than later. Stop comparing yourself to the latest and greatest. Do what makes your heart sing. What makes your soul happy. You will find your tribe. Keep on.
**bullying is not okay—As a disclaimer, I want to say that this post is about people who think you’re ish, not about people who may be harming you or bullying you. That is not okay. Get help and tell someone if something serious and repetitive is happening.

When people say your ish,
You may feel sad and blue
But your crown, straighten and polish,
To thine own self be true.

Inside you is a wish,
A dream that’s big and bold
Only you hold the power,
To turn those ishes into gold.

So focus on your goals,
Don’t listen to that ish,
You may not be a peach,
But you’re a pretty tasty dish!

Y’all go out and turn that ish into something delish.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Late Bloomers

I love how nature speaks to me. I received a great lesson today, and I wanted to share it with you.

At the beginning of summer I planted a garden. Granted, I may have been a tad tardy with my planting, but my garden has been a flop. I attempted a new method this year, hoping to avoid weeding, avoid tilling, and freshen up the soil. Instead of planting directly into the ground, I planted a pallet garden.

If you’re unfamiliar with this technique, it’s a simple concept. At least for me, which may have been the reason for my poor results. I basically tossed a pallet on the ground, filled it with soil, and sewed my seed in the rows of pallets.

My garden took off……..in the beginning. It sprouted. It blossomed. It flourished.  I was so excited, eagerly awaiting the results. The delicious food that I could bless my family with. But it never produced fruit. While others posted pictures of their bounty all summer long on social media, I chalked my garden up to a big ol’ dud. The plants were large. The leaves were green, the blossoms were oh so many. But no veggies were to be had.

J-Dub and I assessed the situation and decided that perhaps it was a little too crowded in that pallet. No, I didn’t thin the little saplings like the seed packet told me to….I just can’t stand to pull up potential. Each of those seeds has within it the potential to provide life nourishing food. I just figure I’d probably pull up the wrong one, that every little seed deserves a chance, and that the strong would win out. Wasn’t true. There crowded conditions kept any of them from producing. Anyway, we continued to water, it continued to grow, but when I realized my mistake, I decided what I’ll do differently next year. More room, less plants.

Today is Sept. 13. Here it is on the cusp of fall, and I got the surprise of the day when I discovered little bitty baby veggies growing in my garden. I laughed out loud, bending down to move the big leaves to see what else was hiding underneath. Quite a few little babies were there. Yes they are tiny. Yes they may not make it full grown, but they are there just the same.

 

“You’re just a late bloomer, aren’t you?” I spoke to my lovely little garden. “Just like me.”

I realized then and there, it’s okay. How often are we constantly comparing our lives to others who are posting their bounty on social media? How often do we think we should already have accomplished, achieved, experienced so much in our life by now?

We are so much like this little pallet garden of mine. We have within us so much potential. We are the seeds, full of possibility to give life nourishing fruit to others. But we sometimes get crowded out. Others outshine us. We may even look at the ones around us and believe that they have it all and there’s no way we can bear our fruit. Maybe we even believe it’s too hard, or there’s not enough to go around and those other guys already got it all. It’s never a good feeling when we feel like we are competing with the ones next to us.

We should never give up. Yes, it’s the oldest cliche’ in the world, but it’s more than a cliche’. It’s truth.  Just as I didn’t give up on this little garden. Even when we thought it might be a dud, we didn’t abandon it. We kept on watering it. There was always a little glimmer of hope that it might become what it was intended to. That is exactly why I checked on it today. In the hope that the fruit would be there. Same as us. We all have our dreams inside of us. Don’t give up on them. Don’t give up on yourself. You aren’t a dud. Keep your hope alive.

When I saw those little baby veggies, it brought me joy, and I quickly got the hose to give it more of what it needed. And like you and like me, our small baby fruits, that we think don’t make a difference, do bring others joy. Give yourself what you need. Whatever that may be. You are important and your needs shouldn’t go unmet. Take some time to reflect on what you need, and love yourself enough to tend your own garden.

My takeaways from this lesson in nature:

1) You have great potential and possibility inside you.

2) You may not be planted in the optimal place, but you can still bear fruit.

3) Don’t let others crowd you out. Stop comparing your bounty to everyone else’s. They have weeds too, you just aren’t seeing them.

4) Blossom in your own time, even if it seems too late. It is never too late.

5) You and your gifts bring others joy. Keep on. You never know when you are affecting another.

XOXO,

Angel

 

Paper or Plastic?

I know you’ve seen that meme floating around facebook that says something along the lines of “I’m so glad it’s Saturday, so I can run errands, clean house, do laundry, grocery shop…..etc. etc. etc.”

How true it is. Funny that my Saturday to-do list matches that meme verbatim. Funny, not funny.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m beginning to believe a tell-tale sign that you’ve hit a certain age is when you start griping about how the 17-year-old kid is sacking your groceries at the store. I can’t help but wonder if there is a training for this or if they just let them at it.

My dad once said, “Sacking groceries used to be an art form. Now they just throw them in there any old way.” I dismissed this comment and chalked it up to being a grouchy old man remembering days gone by with paper bags and orderly groceries. Fresh faced boys with a little too much Bryl cream gingerly placing eggs in paper bags. We all have those images from sitcoms or movies where ladies walk from the grocery store carrying one paper bag with a loaf of french bread sticking out of the top. Paper bags have a structure and can be artfully filled with great precision. But nowadays we don’t always get the choice for paper or plastic. We get what we get, which around here is plastic.

I went to The Walmarts today and quite almost bought out the store since we literally had NOTHING to eat at our house. We’ve been living on Saltines and grape jelly over here. So my basket was overloaded. You know, to the point I had to change my stance and engage my quads in order to turn the corners. Now, a younger me used to not care about how the groceries were placed in the basket or how they went on the conveyor belt. A younger me put the groceries up and let the checker/sacker who is one in the same, sort it out. But the older me, she has a system. I strategically unpack my cart onto the belt so that items can go together in the sack making it easier on me to
a) fit them all in my basket
b) carry them in from the car
and c) put them away.

Today, didn’t really go so strategically, and as I placed my sacked groceries into my cart, I couldn’t help and think of my dad and his comment. When you have an already overloaded cart, you’re operating on limited space. A large grocery bill ends up being about 976 plastic bags full of groceries that you have to fit in your basket, carry in from the car, and put away.

This is where a little art of sacking would come in handy. I honestly don’t understand why they put one item in a sack. Why? My checker/sacker put every kind of meat that I purchased in its own sack. No need to mix pork and beef. And of course cleaners need their own sack, and then the tiny package of sewing needles go in their own plastic sack on the off-chance they may bust out of their packaging and puncture the OJ. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

So many items in their own sack. Except of course the can goods. They all go together, all 22 of them. Don’t mind this permanent indented red mark on the crook of my elbow from my 70 lb sack of green beans.

I couldn’t help but do a little combining right there in the checkout line. It was that, or have a rigor. It’s okay if bread and eggs go in the same sack, it really is. And paper towels don’t really need their own sack. It’s okay, throw a container or two of yogurt in there. It will be fine.

Even with own combining, I still made a gazillion trips into the house. By this time, my quads were truly burning and of course, I was starving, my Saturday was half gone and the second half will be my date with laundry, and by the time I got all my groceries in my little kitchen, there was no where left to step and I was exhausted. Walmart Grocery Shopping should be the new Olympic Sport, especially when you’re down to nothing but saltines and grape jelly. It’s quite a feat.

But ode to joy! I now have a kitchen stocked to the brim, and Pizza Hut on speed dial. You know the drill.