I like to write things down. I usually have a notebook with me. I have one for school and I keep up with logistical things, like failing grades, documenting when I've had conversations with students and parents, having students sign a statement saying they chose not to turn in an assignment, notes from class discussions, etc. Teachers have to keep documentation of everything.
I also have a little notebook that I like to write in from time to time. This one is personal. Sometimes I might jot down favorite quotes from a book I'm reading. Sometimes I might write a song lyric that stands out to me. Sometimes I'm feeling a strong emotion such as anger, despair, joy, or elation and I just have to write it down. Sometimes writing down aspects of my day just helps mellow me out. It's therapeutic. I also like my notebook because it has a Katharine Hepburn quote on the cover, "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." I wanted to share an excerpt from the first thing I wrote down in that little notebook. It's like sharing a piece of me, so please don't judge me too harshly. I hope you enjoy...
August 31, 2015
My story really isn't a very interesting one. So much so, that I almost didn't want to buy this little book. I read a book once, by Kate Morton, where a character was given a notebook by her teacher. The teacher believed she showed promise as a writer and told her to "write down everything." For the longest time, she refused to write in the book. Instead, she wrote down everything on spare scraps of paper and shoved them into the little book. She didn't want to spoil the book with any inferior writing. She wanted to save it for something special. That's how I feel, like nothing I have to say is truly worthy of my little notebook. But I can't save it forever. An empty notebook is a sad waste. The little girl in the story was a displaced World War I child. The circumstances surrounding her life forced it to be interesting. While I'm incredibly grateful for my safe and rather boring existence. . .it doesn't make for much of a story. But it is my story, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I don't really believe in regret. There are things in my past I'm not proud of, but I can't change any of them so why dwell? No matter what mistakes are in a person's past, there is always a lesson, a price, a purpose. But regret is a waste of time. For example, I don't regret choosing a small, private college because that's where my then-boyfriend was going. It wasn't the best decision, but I met one of the best friends I ever had while I was at school in Bolivar, Missouri. She lives halfway across the country now and we still keep in touch regularly. That decision, like most decisions, had a butterfly effect on the rest of my life. Who knows if I would've met my husband, or decided that my passion was teaching high school students if I hadn't started at SBU? Who knows if I would've been forced to make my faith my own? I could've gone on borrowing it from others forever. Even if we could go back and change our decisions, we have no way of knowing how that would affect or change the rest of our lives.
I'm proud of who I am, but I haven't always been. If anyone pretends like they've never not been proud of themselves, I don't trust them. (Kanye West, for example. Everyone thinks that guy is a joke, right?) I'm proud of who I am now because I don't put on airs for anyone. I am who I am and I don't apologize for that. The most disappointed I've ever been in myself was when I tailored who I was to try and fit someone else's perception of who I should be. I'm sure most people could say the same thing. I'm ashamed to admit that most of my life has been spent trying to get other people to like me. My self-worth has always come from my perception of how loved I am. Luckily, I have a ridiculously awesome family who have always loved me unconditionally. Unfortunately, that wasn't always enough. Even now, one of my biggest struggles is switching my feelings of self-worth from how my husband treats me to my identity in Christ. He's awesome, but he is human and, therefore, imperfect. So, it's not fair to him for me to attribute my self-worth to his current attitude.
Growing up, this mentality meant I always needed a boyfriend or, at least, some guy's attention. Most of the time I wasn't even all that picky about whose attention I was getting. Flirting was how I made myself feel valued. It's stupid, really, now that I look back. That's the thing about hindsight, though. It's 20/20. Funny enough, the one guy who never really flirted back ended up being the one I fell for. The man I needed was the one I couldn't manipulate. That's a God thing.
It's a good thing I met Jake when I did because I could've gone an entirely different direction with my attitude. He forced me to respect myself. He challenges me every day to be better. It still takes me by surprise sometimes. I've never really had that in a relationship. Almost 6 years later and I'm still not fully used to it. I hope I never get used to it. I hope he would say that I push him to be better, too.
Regardless of what I write in here from this point forward, I never want to overlook the fact that I have been blessed beyond what I deserve.
I have a husband I adore, who loves me even when I'm hard to love.
I have a family who prays for me and always has my back.
I have a job I love and have a crazy passion for.
Life is tough, but it is good.