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.

 

 

 

 

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Crossing that Line

Today I’m coming off a 50,000 word binge and it feels great.

What in the world am I talking about you may be asking? 

This November for the first time ever, I participated in Nanowrimo, short for National Novel Writing Month, and succeeded!  

The challenge is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  

It was daunting, none the less, but I feel so proud.  Last night I validated my 50,015 word novel.  

Is my book crap?  Absolutely it is.  But it no longer is just an idea that’s been floating in my head since 2006.  Now it is actually written down on paper.  

I couldn’t sleep last night for the euphoria.  The sense of pride and accomplishment after doing something hard.

Today I made myself not look at those words I wrote, but in a month or so, I’m going to revisit it, change it, mold it, and make it better.  

But for today I took a nap with my daughter, instead of sneaking out of bed after getting her to sleep to write my daily quota of 1667 words.  That was heavenly.  

Beginning tomorrow, I’m going to spend some family time giving thanks and sharing EK with my peeps.  But after that, I’m going to return to writing.  I’ve got another idea to work on.  

I have dreams and I know you do too.  What are they?  Think about your dreams for a minute.  When was the last time you spent some time on that?  It’s scary at first to admit you have them, to tell someone else about them.  But it’s crucial if you want to achieve them.  So, decide on a goal and work at it.  Will it be hard, heck yes.  Will you want to quit?   Everyday.  But dreams come true when you make a commitment and do the work every day.  Commitment and consistency.  Two very hard things that will get you to the finish line.

Keep dreaming friends and have a happy Turkey Day!

 

Dreaming Like a Baby

Our local library launched its summer reading program this week with the theme Blazing the Trails.  It is phenomenal and the librarians have put an immense amount of work into this.

On opening day for the Tiny Tots, we dug for pennies in sand, panned for gold, lassoed ponies, raced stick horses and sat real ponies.  EK loves the library and loves the books.  She wouldn’t put her book down before getting on the pony.  She walked around with her book open like she was reading it.

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The next day at the library, a trick roper entertained us with his horse, his rope, and his dog.

Understandably, EK’s new favorite word is “hosh”.

Early this morning, still sleeping but stirring, eyes shut, she rolled over in bed and let out a soft “neigh”.

Ah, the sweet dreams of babes.

My dream

Upcoming monumental events cause me a bit of angst, anxiety, and apprehension. 

For example, each August I methodically prepare to meet a new group of second graders.  I hang posters, write out name tags, copy wonderfully engaging papers, plan ice breaking activities, and decorate my classroom door all in eager anticipation. 

It seems that no matter how long I’ve been teaching, every August I still get nervous.  With those nerves come dreams.  My anxiety permeates my subconscious.  It never fails, that my dreams are unpleasant.  No matter how prepared I am in the real world, in dreamland I am usually very unprepared for the first day of school.  My papers are not copied, the children are rowdy, no one knows which seat belongs to them, I’m late to class, or simply have no control over the students.  After a dream like the aforementioned, I usually wake up, mop my brow, and expel a big “Whew, glad that was only a dream.”  And then the first day of school comes off without a hitch.

Considering my past, I’ve been a little concerned as to why I’ve only dreamed about my baby once, and I haven’t dreamed about the labor or birth of my baby yet.  I mean, it’s not as if this is not an upcoming monumental event!  Or it’s not as if I’m not experiencing some angst, anxiety, and apprehension.  By now I should be riddled with night terrors.  But I’m not.

 I woke up this morning with a smile.  Why?  Because she visited me in my dream, and it wasn’t a horrific labor that caused me to sit up with sweat gluing  my gown to my back.  Nor was she sick or crying.  She was sleeping, and I walked into her nursery and there she was lying on her stomach (yes I know, she should be one her back). 

She was a tiny little thing sleeping peacefully.  I reached down into her crib and placed my hand on her back to rub her gently.  She awoke.  Not the sleepy-eyed, grumpy kind of awakening, but rather a “yea, my mommy’s here!” kind of awakening.  You know how weird dreams can be, so although her body was small, she was much older and developmentally capable of more.  She sat on her knees with her arms outstretched.  I picked her up, but I couldn’t see her face.  Her hair was brown and mussed and it grew down into a point on her forehead, kind of like Dracula needing a haircut in the worst way.  I remember wanting to see her face so badly, wondering what she looked like.  I was seeing her for the first time.  I reached my forefinger towards her hair and swept it to the left out of her eyes.  And there she was.  She wasn’t anything spectacular or breathtaking to behold.  She was a baby.  My baby.  A baby I’ve never seen before until last night. 

She had small brown eyes, and chubby cheeks, and a pudgy little nose.  And when she smiled, two little bottom teeth appeared.  She was happy and energetic and glad to see me.  It was as if she’d been waiting to see me as long as I’ve been waiting to see her.  But what made the dream so realistic was the fact that her nose was dirty, and her eyes were sleep-filled.  Little dried sleepies rested in the corner of her eyes, and her nose had run in the night and she had dried crusties on the edge of her nostrils. 

Then I carried her to the living room and handed her to her daddy because I was late for work.  My house filled with people, strangers that I didn’t know.  I was upset because no one had woken me for work, and my face scrub was missing out of my shower, and someone had rummaged through all my cabinets and nothing was where is was supposed to be.   Then I was running a race on the highway.  You know how weird dreams can be. 

I wanted to write my baby dream down however, because I am clinging to that image in my mind.  As the hours pass, it’s vanishing, ever so slowly, because that’s what a dream will do.  There will be a fading, and then a fragment here and there, until it’s forgotten completely. 

We’re down to 11 days until her due date.  On Thursday, I’m having a sonogram.  There isn’t any concern, but the doctor would like to get a birth weight estimate and check my fluids.  I think it’s just a way to get more money, but at least we’ll get to see her little face and I’m sure I’ll post the pictures.

And then, a few days after that, we’ll get to see her face for real.  It won’t be long until we’ll stumble through the house in the dark, sweep her hair off her forehead, pick her up from her crib, clean her crusty nose and boogery eyes, smother her in kisses, tell her how glad we are to see her, and how much we love her. 

It won’t be long.