I am going to admit something to the world that hopefully might help someone. I am currently suffering from some really bad anxiety. It comes in waves and mostly hits me around 8 o'clock, the time where I close out my day, and switch over to more quiet time activities.  Sometimes my thoughts are directed toward worry about my students, my friends, and my family. Sometimes my fear is directed towards myself as my brain tricks me into thinking I am sick when I am not. There are times that these thoughts have triggered panic attacks and then other times where I can feel my anxiety impact my body. In the form of muscle aches, headaches, racing heart, upset stomach, and a feeling of pressure in my chest. Sadly... some of these symptoms overlap with Covid-19 symptoms and then the anxiety increases even more.  I am currently trying to break this cycle and manage it since dealing with the biological impacts of stress or anxiety thoughts are not fun. Nor are they sustainable. My l

Democracy: Principles, Beliefs, and Walls

I have spoken on many occasions about being the youngest in my family who love to debate. Most of my life I sat there listening as I watched the adults and my older cousins provide evidence, commentary, questions and grapple with complex issues. I watched and took it in as I saw some people get frustrated and others enjoy the frustration they were causing. I also saw how even as the political conversation got heated it was quickly reconciled and no one, at least, seemed to take it all that personally. No one doubted the intentions and good will of the other despite having contrasting views on complex political issues. As I grew more confident I brought my own opinions to the table. Especially after 9/11 and the beginnings of the Iraq War. It impacted my generation and there were people I knew who were talking about joining the military. I became obsessed, because I was worried. I scoured sources and did research as I tried to figure out my own political identity. I found that I was

2019 was the year of...

I think it is important to take the end of the year to reflect on the good, the triumphant, the difficult, and the failures. Years really do not mean anything if you think about how arbitrary it all is, but it is the only way to document history and even our own personal history to see our growth. Whether it was a good year, a bad year, or somewhere in between growth happened. You changed. I started this thing after reading a book about naming the chapter of our lives, because if you notice years do have themes and they are never the same. I wouldn't have known that if I didn't take the time at the end of the year to search for the right word. Here is my life so far.  1987-2001  CHILDHOOD 2001-2005  ADOLESCENCE  2005 the year of  DOUBT 2006 the year of  LOSS 2007 the year of the  HOPE 2008 the year of  ABANDON  2009 the year of  UNKNOWN 2010 the year of  RISK 2011 the year of  LEARNING  2012 the year of  PAYING DUES  2013 the year of  ISOLATION  2014 the year

Control? What is it good for? Regulating, That's What

The need for control was a conversation piece with my friends and I over the weekend. My mind has been thinking about it more and more since then, because I was intrigued by the idea that I was given more percentage points for a need for control than my other friends. Most people perceive me as a rather even-keel individual who only has a handful of things she would die on the hill for. So it sparked a curiosity in me to explore it a little more.  I think, all of us, have a need for control out of pure survival. Even zen buddhism lies in the principal that we have mastered our emotions and regulated ourselves so much that we are able to overcome desire or need. This takes a level of self-control that is hard to accomplish let alone maintain. So we all have areas of healthy control and unhealthy control.  There are a few areas where the need to control tends to manifest.  Control OVER others  Control OVER themselves  Control OVER their environment.  People with true co

Dark and Light: Reminders for Balance

The truth is that no matter how much we grow as human-beings we can easily get derailed by the reminders of our past vulnerabilities.  Restless Energy  I have written extensively about my experiences at school. The feeling of being judged by teachers, peers, and systems. Some of those judgements came from a toxic self-image perceiving others as judgmental  and some of it was legit judgement. These feelings led me to feel like I needed to prove something to the people around me. In my youth, this feeling was portrayed by a demeanor of wanting to seem like I was over-confident and did not care about the things that the people around me cared about. As a young adult, it manifested in obsessive perfectionism about grades. Even today as thirty-something sometimes I get a case of imposter syndrome. This irrational fear that I am pretending really well and eventually people are going to figure out that I am just a resource kid who really does not deserve the things that I have earned. Ov

9/11...and everything that followed.

9/11 is one of the most transformative days in United States history. It changed our relationship with the world, shifted our relationship with globalization in general, put in motion two wars, created new terrorist networks, polarized political parties, laid down seeds of mistrust in Democracy, cleared the path for nationalism, and made us a fearful people. So as the years pass and the more we know about how this day impacted us the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the day seems false and forced. We put on our patriotic hat to pause for those who died that day only to go back to our polarized camps of distrusting and undermining one another mere hours later. So as much as I mourn for the death of almost 3,000 people that died there is so much more to this day than that. I mourn the men and women who gave their lives to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. I mourn for the ones who came back who have yet to fully gain the benefits they deserve. I mourn for the soldiers who are still fig

Being Nice vs. Being Honest

Introduction  Human beings are the masters of paradoxes. Our entire existence surrounds the most universal one of life and death. Other paradoxes that are apparent in history involve the issues of freedom vs. security,  unity vs. individuality, personal wealth vs. collective wealth, tradition vs. innovation, and there are so many others yet to be named. It is this pull that lives within humans that ask the question which side do I value more or how do I maintain a perfect balance of the two. Depending on the culture and the individual the answer to that question might look different. There is one paradox in particular that I have been thinking about lately. The paradox of kindness vs. honesty. This one bothers me to no end, because to me it is a paradox that exists due to toxic definitions of kindness and honesty. To be honest should be kind, and to be kind should be honest. So my plan is to examine both sides of these words to show how the toxic side forces a choice between the two