Archive for November, 2012

I tried really hard to remember a time when I was really afraid. A time that made my stomach queasy and jumpy…I was either too paralyzed to remember it, or it just didn’t happen…either way, I didn’t conjure up any moments of being scared shitless for my own life. A memory that did come to mind, though, was a time when a neighbor I had never met became the victim of domestic violence.

I don’t know why I paid attention  or why the scream sounded different (I’m accustomed to the tenants of the building next door being particularly rowdy.) Perhaps it was the shrill “NO! MOMMY!!!” that made me throw open my back door and scream that I was calling the police. Pictures began to form in my head as I ran outside to call (getting the address and any other information I could find). What was happening to the people inside?

The cops arrived almost instantly…and to this day I still call 911 if I think there is a remote chance that someone is or will be hurt (it gets your call answered A LOT more quickly). My neighbor ran out of her apartment crying. I told her that I was sorry for any trouble it might cause, but that I called the cops because I heard children screaming and though someone was seriously being hurt. When the cops arrived, my neighbor pushed the them away; she didn’t press any charges. She didn’t look physically hurt, and maybe she didn’t know how to explain her being threatened, or maybe she didnt’ think she had a way to prove it. I also think I brought an element into the situation that she didn’t know how to handle yet by calling the police. So the cops left, but she agreed to call her father.

I had her sit on my stoop, and asked her if she needed anything. She called her father to pick her up, and while she was on the phone, this guy came outside. He still looked pissed, but to me, not ready to throw any punches. He didn’t address me, though. He continued to yell at her in public, in front of me, and threatened to take the phone away from her (which was actually mine!). He said he was going to leave her and her kids. That she didn’t know what she had, blah blah blah. It was surreal…like watching a movie. This couldn’t really be happening. Then he turned to me and says, “I’m sorry, she’s just being…(insert whatever).” And I was dumbfounded, like you’re sorry, really? This is beyond embarrassing for you and extremely humiliating for her. She was crying, and couldn’t bring any words, so the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “look, well you better get you shit cleared up because it’s already gotten out of your doors and windows.” <– What was that? I really don’t know. I was scared of challenging him any more than that, and my response seemed kind of wimpy, but I didn’t want to take his side, either — so it became more or less a shrugged off “whatever dude”. I guess it worked just enough. Maybe he cooled off enough to realize that I was the one who called the cops, and now had JUST seen him act like an asshole in front of me. So he walked away.

That day, my sister-in-law was also visiting. She stayed in my apartment through the whole situation, and when I came back, she said that she was scared to go outside, but that she waited at the window with one of our frying pans. LOL! I appreciate the thought of valor, because I hadn’t really thought of protecting myself or thought I might be in any danger. I just knew that I had to go for my neighbor. It just wasn’t a question. So  the good news is my neighbor made a decision to leave (at least for then) and I told her that I would get her information about places to go. What I do know is this, the mom and her kids went with her dad, I gave her information on places to stay if she needed to transition, and that the couple — neither the mom or the boyfriend or the kids are living in the apartment building next door. I can’t say whether or not she went back, but I can hope that she didn’t based on what I do know.

If you suspect domestic violence among friends or family members (or maybe a neighbor who might need some exit strategies) The Hotline has some tips for you and a whole site to share with your loved ones if it’s safe for them to get to a computer. I feel a lot more confident as a person knowing how to try and help someone in these kinds of situations, and I hope that I did for this woman’s sake. I think being educated is one way to go about it, but the other is to not be scared. I’m glad I didn’t question whether or not to call that day.

Thanks for reading.

— C.

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Backpost, RE: Take your favorite lyric…

^ This is quite possibly my favorite song off on Alicia Keys’ As I Am album. The title line especially resonates with me because every time I get into a funk, I have to find my way out of it. That journey is always a little hard because I’ve spent a lot of time putting myself down and I have to debunk the funk in order to see the light again. My time to shine is always lingering. And I want to sparkle in everything I do, but in times where I feel especially “un-shiny” I know that it is a good time for me to shine.

Tuesday’s prompt couldn’t have been a better day to pick a topic for a lyric, because for me, it had to be one like Miss Alicia’s here. As I woke up early for my first job assignment in months, and I was trying not to absorb the nervousness I was feeling. I was trying something brand new, in a new place, and with people I had never met before. I would be judged, I would have to think to my feet, and I knew I would feel uncomfortable.  I realized, though, that I was in no position (also know as a rock and a hard place) to back out of this assignment.

I had my clothes prepped, my lunch was made, I had my train fare, figured out how to get to my location, and even left early. I was as ready as I could be, and as I was on the train, I had to think to myself, what can they ask me to do that I can’t at least try. That’s the best I can give them. If I don’t try then I fail myself as well.

That said, I’m hoping that as I continue to contribute to this blog, I will find ways to try harder, to do better, and hope that at the end of the day I’ve given the best of me. There will be days that I fail, but if I don’t get back up again, how can I shine? I hope that also answers November 12th’s prompt. I hope that my blog will show others who might be struggling with something as concrete as unemployment, or more complex as dealing with personal insecurity, will see that they are not the only ones — and that if I’m trying to become a better me, I might inspire someone to find the light in herself and shine on her own path in this world.

Thanks for stopping by!



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Hey Hey, everyone!

I am back after yet another hiatus. I’m happy, though, to say that it was because I was able to pick up some work through a childcare staffing agency. I mentioned in a previous post that I was on call, and I was about to give it up after a week and a half of no assignments. Well, Tuesday was my first assignment.

I am actually assigned to work at the same location for three days next week as well, and it makes me happy to make a bit of income again.

What has been a bit of an awakening is working with tots ages 3-4. My previous job was working with teens, and it is an age group I feel most comfortable working with – mostly because that’s where I have experience. The little ones on the other hand…they are a code I haven’t quite cracked yet. I told my boyfriend the other day that teenagers have attitudes, but they reason differently. Indeed, I can handle a teenage attitude because at least I can talk to them afterwards and try to change their own perception of their world. With toddlers, everything still seems to be in black and white. I realize this has a lot to do with cognitive development and thinking skills, etc. etc., but what I haven’t totally figured out is how to manage it as an educator. I’m learning little by little

The other thing is that there are upwards of 15 children in our classroom and this is pretty standard where I am assigned. This seems like a lot to me. Even though there are a sufficient (by law, I assume) number of teachers per group of children, 15+ in one space seems like a lot. If three year olds have attitudes, and learn from their peers, we could have attitudes all day since we are constantly moving from one child to the next to help them work it out. We don’t play a lot of games, we don’t sing a lot of songs, and we don’t get to romp and jump as much as the tots probably should because we are constantly breaking up fights, soothing a crying child, and rushing through mandated activities.

I assume that not all childcare facilities are like this, and that this one in particular is doing the best that they can. The children for the most part are sweet, and I am smitten with each of their individual personalities. I just wish I could be doing more, or perhaps I idealized something much more different that what I’ve witnessed these past few days.


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Baby envy

My good friend is having a baby in May. I am thrilled to say the least. I really am, and I’ve been really good about separating my “baby envy” from my happiness for her – because what I really want is to be happy, and for her to be happy – and because I know that she is happy…and ready, prepared, married, mature, with a house, a well-paying job….She will bring a new baby in the spring months, and it couldn’t seem more perfect.  I know that it is a good time.

Still, as I look outside at the death of another year, I can help but acknowledge a soft nudge of self pity and feel resentfully mortal. The shedding November leaves are symbolically getting to the root of my “internal clock” problem. Oh, I know I still have a few good years left, but the seasons go fast without a blink when you’re young – you change with them. In your youthful activities, you hardly notice them change. You embrace the change and become accustomed to them – never wondering about their cycle – they just happen. But I am starting to notice that this isn’t just another Midwestern season or another fleeting year. I’m growing up, and my cycle of life is starting to round that bend where it will come full circle. I think I want “leaves”, and either I want to have them or I won’t, or I ignore it and move to a state that has luscious trees all year round. *harrumph!*

In all honesty, I want someone to share my roots with, and another dying year means another year closer to a closed window of opportunity.  I do not feel anywhere near the accomplishments of my friend, and her situation is ideal to what I’d want for my children, but it doesn’t have to be perfect – maybe just better than where I’m at. But the other thing is having a life partner on board. There’s been quite a moment of suspension here, because I feel pretty sure that I want to have his kids, but if he doesn’t ever (he confided that he is “still terrified”, and jokingly (maybe?) didn’t think I was ready yet either) makes this really hard. I feel so close and yet so so far from having “leaves” of my own anytime soon and with so many more questions lingering….I know this all sounds kind of crazy, and silly, because I get it, I’m not that old…but I feel old enough to care all of a sudden.

*sigh* Okay, but without ending this post on something depressing, I’ll give you something mildly humorous. My friend’s fortune actually came after her guy nearly escaped a terrible encounter with a heavy tree branch last year. It fell on his truck while he was at work INSIDE the truck. He had moved to grab something off the seat next to him and missed the direct impact, but in the accident, he still hurt his neck pretty bad, and for whatever reason was struck with the notion that life is incredibly short. I only find this mildly humorous because he is okay and fine and well to have a baby ;). But also because the moral of the story is that I need a good lumberjack…Kidding.

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Just when I was starting to get into the Daily Post’s daily prompt, we get this: Daily Prompt: Embrace the Ick.

First thing to come to mind? Of course it had to be worms or something of the like. I think I might be a worm, because the thought of them alone makes my own skin crawl! I don’t know what it is about them — if it’s the idea that because they don’t have eyes (at least not like you and me), or legs, or a cute spotted coat of fur, that I find them disagreeably ugly. And why do they move?!?! For instance, they could be a shoestring laying on the ground for all I know, and then all of a sudden they MOVE!! AHHH!  I think that this is probably true in part, because in high school we had to diset a worm in biology class. Our worm was dead, relatively flat, not slimy, and had NO  chance for a wiggle. *Shudder* I handled the whole episode fairly well, I think. But the wiggle…there has to be something to it, because I can’t watch snakes for the same reason. Even more so because they have EYES! They can look at you when you wiggle. *squeal!*

But perhaps I also don’t like worms because they feed off of death or rotting things: maggots on old food, worms in the  compost, my wildest yucky imagination has them gliding over caskets in the ground. Yuck! I don’t know that I have a debilitating case of vermiphobia, but I certainly can’t look at worms. Trying to find something “awesome” about them had me freaking out at the thought of having to look at one. *sigh* but alas, I will try:

Vermiculture is the process of turning garbage (like food scraps) into a rich dark soil that gets used in composting. That soil gets used to feed plants that feed us and make flowers that look lovely. This is because the food scraps have lots of nutrients to return to the earth. Worms help break them down and return them to soil. This sounds fine, clear — makes sense. And I was doing fine watching a youthful, interactive game with it’s token mascot Vermi the Worm describing the process here, but even he reverted to actual pictures and I flinched.

Maggots are a whole different story. I cannot write a “glowing puff piece about their merit”. They are baby flies. Flies….annoy the hell out of me. But…okay fine, it’s a challenge right? So apparently maggots are bred to be used as fishing bait. Fishermen will throw handfuls out into the spot they want to attract the fish to, and use the best of their bait on a hook to snag a fish. For those that breed the maggots, it is a lucrative business which okay great for those of you who can “stomach” them, but now I don’t want to eat fish for awhile.

Blech! I’m so queasy right now.  I can’t eat anything from a garden or a lake until I get my brain on something else. Ha ha! Somebody change the topic quick!

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I decided to share this using an online platform considering the way things went down to begin with. I  especially wanted to share on Woman With an Internal GPS, because this patch of my life is very real and an huge chunk of how and why I’ve decided to navigate my own direction. It’s a bit painful to revisit, but after writing, I feel better about it, and I hope that once I allow others to know these faults I can forgive myself for this part and move on. 🙂 Thanks for reading. — C.

There is a threshold that shouldn’t be crossed – even in the strongest of relationships. It’s reminiscent of burning bridges or building barricades once you do it. So don’t.

Even when paths meet a crossroad and we go separate ways, there is still an opportunity to come round back by traveling nostalgic roads, to reflect, and to meet at a common place in life once again.  But once you build your wall or burn your bridge by announcing that you have cut someone out, without considering the impact, that threshold has been breached, and your crossroad may be irreversibly altered should you wish to come back that way again.

I didn’t build a wall – I set a bridge ablaze and watched it burn. I was able to let out anguish and I felt a brief empowerment from this destruction. For me, I thought I needed to burn this bridge, but I also thought that I might be able to make my best friend see that we needed to start over. I had faith that whatever needed and could be salvaged would. But that was just me.

When you click “delete” on a social network….Yes, this actually happened I’m ashamed to say, it doesn’t go unnoticed. I thought that I might disappear for awhile, actually, and that maybe she would just see that I’m not around like I felt she was using me for in an abusive way.  Really, there was a crossroad ahead and I couldn’t accept that we weren’t going together like we had always done.

What happened was a lot of hurt, and regret hasn’t been more prevalent than at the epicenter of this unraveling.  In fact, the horror of cutting this person out of my life didn’t impact me until I realized that I hurt her feelings. And she was vocal about it. And doesn’t it hurt? A lot more when you get slapped in the face with your own bullshit?  Whoops! That fire went out quickly….I hurt/insulted her deeply enough that she decided to walk away.

I don’t blame her. And even though we both could have evolved better as friends, or maybe both tried a little harder, this leaned a bit (a lot?) more towards my fault – especially since I immaturely initiated the beginning of the end. Things just could have been different, that’s all.

Life is still (will always be) crazy, and I’ve had to be a big girl to get through it without the comfort of my closest friend. Sure, I learned a lot about myself. It’s been 5 years going since we’ve last talked. I think I figured out how to be my own person without seeking her validation, I’ve learned how not to be an asshole to my current friends, and that I need to be healthy mentally, spiritually, and physically (financially, socially, honestly etc. etc.) to maintain my close friends, because I’m needed just as much as I need them. I learned that living life vicariously isn’t really living life, and little by little I’m harnessing my own confidence. I’m taming the fiery me and learning how to walk away from things (briefly and embracing the uncertainty of their future) rather than setting them ablaze.

What I can’t get over is having had this much time to have to marinate in how much I just wish things would have been just a little different. That I could have at least maturely spoken my piece, been able to apologize, and leave with the future being uncertain rather than separated for what seems indefinitely.

I suppose there are a couple of gems in here about what not to do. But seriously, don’t burn your bridges. Think a minute before you let your emotions stew over. You don’t have to cut ties, but you can also just leave them untied if it’s just not the right time. Say sorry. I did, but it wasn’t the right time yet…maybe not ever, but it’s the best I could do as my last valuable token of our friendship. And finally, among the many reasons NOT to break up with a friend over social networks (deleting especially) is that it will come full circle. People will have the respect not to also delete you (i.e. mutual friends), but she’ll be there, and it feels like shit knowing she (and other friends) is there but acts like you are not. That’s what happens when you think you can disappear for awhile. You do.

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Daily Prompt

Coming up….

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A ray has been stolen and captured on the comfy futon. The culprit? Flaca – a skinny, runt of a cat stricken with perpetual drowsiness. She will not feign excitement that isn’t on behalf of her own will.

A twinkle bounces off of a shiny thing on the floor with a chance to grab her attention. But for Flaca, this is a hunt not animal ADD, so she brushes off it’s presence with a lackadaisical yawn – full, wide mouth so that her teeth make a rare debut and the fur over her eyes pulls taught as her ears flap down. It is epic. I half wonder if she’ll simply decide it isn’t even worth it to play by pulling her characteristic half standing up then “no, I think I’ll just lay back down” daily exercise routine.

But no, the shiny toy is persistent. So she does a nonchalant hop off the futon and saunters past the shiny toy, and looks out the window before turning her gaze upon it in ritualistic fashion. It’s as if to say in customary feline practice, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there. Shall we?”

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Daily Prompt

Coming up, Flaca makes another appearance on WWAIGPS. 🙂 Stay tuned.

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There’s no call this morning. Everything is in place – alarm, outfit, lunch. Today already seems like a failure. I’m trying to take it in strides, but I can’t help feeling useless. It’s translating into mopey stomps, another slice of pie, heavy sighs. A flop on the couch. The cushion exhales in surprise. It will bear my burden, but it can’t seem to offer me any comfort. Ugh, this could be cyclical, as E’s in the bathroom on routine: the soft brushing of his teeth, a throat clearing cough, the shifting of padded steps – a pause as he looks in the mirror. I’m sulking, like one of the cats. Will he pet me or will I have to nuzzle him for a goodbye kiss?

Then just as he is about to leave, he says it. I love you… punctuated by a dimpled smile. The pace slows down, and I witness heavy sincerity in the eyelashes. The damn knowing eyelashes that allow us to time travel – memories begin materializing between blinks. Date? I don’t remember when it happened last, but here it is again like a hit – irises blown wide in a flashback. And now they’re shape shifting into fucking hearts. Shit! This is love….

The exterior of apathy is weak – like a jacket in the hot sun, this isn’t making me want to have it on. I want it to shed and slip down off these vulnerable insides. Then he says it again. This time he’s making his way to my wallowing bubble. (Burst!) He puts my cheek in his palm as he gives me a full-lipped smooch. His arm brushes down the side of mine, letting his hand link into mine before saying, “I have to go.”

I know I will subsist on swoons all day. Now today is perfect.

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Cassandra Buchholz

Professional Educator and Youth Specialist

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