desperate english teachers

28 November 2015

here are your hips back - i'm done with them

At 1:59 this morning I woke up and walked without turning on a light into my bathroom and caught my silhouette in the mirror generously lit by the street lights outside streaming through the closed apartment blinds that go uncovered with Ikea roll-down shades due to my general lack of interest in house things and thought:

These are not my hips.

They are not - as hips go - bad hips. They are wide and symmetrical. They are not out of proportion with my wide shoulders and longish wild out of control hair. They securely anchor babies and heavy boxes and the slopes and curves in between so that I don't have the feeling when it's just me walking down the street that I'm carrying some impossible load. 

This observation was not unlike other such observations I've had in my life.

Age 28 down on my hands and knees one morning in my then husband's kitchen using a toothbrush to scrub the wax build-up off the edges of a kitchen floor that his first wife had picked out - I came to myself and said

This is not my life. I am living someone else's life.

Within a year I was nobody's wife and enrolled in community college and embarking on making a new life for two little daughters and myself. Next came New Orleans, Paris, Oxford, then Istanbul, then the Delta.

Where at 52 one Friday evening I sat eating at a Chinese buffet with teacher friends and thought

This is not my story. I've gotten off into the wrong story.

Now the two little girls have started their stories. Their marriages. Their baby carriages. And when I am with them inside their stories I am as happy as any 55 year old mother could be. But all mothers know that good mothers have their own stories to go back to when their children are out free-flying.

So here I am three stories up in an apartment I thought enough of to sign my name to a one-year lease on - but after the initial romance of gathering all my things from storage and living with them for a few weeks - you want the truth?

Would I lie to you at two o'clock in the morning?

I could drive to the liquor store right now and load up all the boxes that must surely be emptied out due to the holidays and the winding down of SEC football and all the things about November that make people want to drink.

And I could be ready to leave here by sunrise and I wouldn't even look back.

And what this has to do with the hips I just saw in the bathroom mirror that 

did not upset me

did not make me want to go to the gym

did not even make me want to go to Weight Watchers later this morning and step up on the scales 

[especially after those two pieces of my mother's white sweet potato pie I ate for supper]

is this:

There is nothing

and I mean nothing

more exhilarating 

more adrenalin making

more heart racing 

than coming to yourself 

inside a story

or a house

or a set of hips - even

that no longer fit.

And knowing that it's just a matter of time 

until you find yourself free-floating upwards and onwards 

towards some dazzling new place 

you have always dreamed of but have never been

22 November 2015

three things

someone important to me once told me this:
we only need three things in order to be happy.

something to love.
something to do.
and something to look forward to.

so on this quiet sunday evening i am 

loving living with my books after several years of them living in storage.
writing holiday cards to friends who don't live near me.
and looking forward to cooking up something french at christmas

probably boeuf bourguignon

21 November 2015

all the things that scare the shit out of me

we've had a stomach virus. both the new babies. one daughter - her dad and his wife. one son-in-law. one grand-son. and me. it ran through us quickly and violently - making no apologies for the havoc it wreaked and the messes that had to be cleaned up in its wake.

thank you in advance for saying you hope we feel better - we do. no harm done.

and you - you shouldn't be afraid to get this stomach virus because while we all thought we might not survive - we did. actually - since i literally spent the night in the bathroom then for some crazy reason got up and went to work the next morning and didn't bother telling anybody how sick i was - i've felt so much better and had so much energy that some nights - i've been too hyped up to sleep.

and i've felt so emptied out of shit [literally and metaphorically speaking] that i have been doing some pretty crazy scary things like

saying exactly what i think - a talent i temporarily lost the past few years since i quit writing here under a blogger name. and since my daughters started getting married and pregnant and i had to think of myself as a "mother of the bride" and "mother in law" and "grand-mother" - you know - things that can be hazardous to your truth-telling ability.

not to mention the collateral damage having to think of your "social media persona" or your "high school teacher persona" or even at times your "friend persona" wreaks on your ability to be your

deep down self

which is to be perfectly honest here the only thing about you the best people give a shit about.

so in the spirit of doing scary things and what with all the thanksgiving drama hype that's going around - it's airborne/it's text-message-borne/it's social-media-borne so watch your back everybody - it's time to carve up the dark underbelly of the turkey and you may be the next victim!!!!!!!!

i have decided [just for starters] to open my blog again and to write a few true things here.

not that what i wrote the past couple of years here was not true. it's just that when we let ourselves get disconnected from our deep down self the stories we tell don't mean much to the reader. besides - there's so much bad writing and sloppy layout and photography here [not to mention way too much personal information for people to read for free] that just the idea of people poking around here scares the - you know - out of me.

and reminds that finally screwing up the courage to do all the crazy scary things we've been dreaming of doing for years but haven't done because we're too afraid of rejection - or of what people will think - are the very things that can scare the ever-loving shit out of us but can make us

pretty crazy happy.

27 June 2015

if i could plant daisies on my blog i would

when i saw this skirt on instagram this morning - i wanted to plant daisies here.
when i clicked on the zoe magazine link - i wanted to learn to speak italian because
who even knows what this means

Margherita non รจ solo un fiore

                                                        happy saturday everyone 

19 June 2015

blues like stevie


i went into the library at southern miss PLANNING to apply for some teaching jobs for fall. what am i doing instead? looking at Women's Wear Daily and thinking about what i'm going to wear to Lollapalooza

                                                                                              photos here

18 June 2015

kill your blog darlings

early summer 2011, istanbul

we've taken a road trip to texas, my oldest daughter, her baby boy and me to visit my youngest daughter, her husband, and baby girl, and i'm curled up inside a deep comfy couch and it's momentarily quiet inside a sleeping house, so i'll try to take my time saying this, while mindful of the fact that at any moment the silence could be broken by the two splendid baby cousins, and keeping in mind that i want to start writing on this blog again without writing a book here as i did before, while at the same time saying things that quickly get to the point, and inspire you, the reader, and make sense to you, things that come from deep inside me as in the early days i was writing here under a name not known to my friends, to my family, to all the people who know me in a certain way as in the way people get to know us to be and selfishly wish us never to change so as to spare them the trouble of re-thinking us, this morning i woke up feeling a little like my former self deep down inside myself, like my former mother self felt before i went off in search of my lost youth out west almost seven years ago, when i'd killed off my paris self because i didn't think i could ever think of my paris self again, like the me i was before istanbul, back when i had houses, great hopes, and dreams, and strangely feeling like my istanbul self and the self i've been since landing in the delta and all those years of time and culture warp, this morning i woke up inside a house that does not belong to me but feels like home because my daughter and her husband live in the manner of a former family me to be sure there are pieces of me -furniture, a lamp, coffee cups and so this morning i woke up feeling a little bit like all the selves i have ever lived and imagined and breathed, and coming to this space and writing felt all the warmth and comfort of my early days of india banks and this blog, while feeling all the most comfortable moments of feeling at home in all the places i've ever lived and written and breathed, and all the thoughts i've had of trying to get readers to come here, to follow, to comment, or to like, all my silly attempts to think of stories, captions, photos, that would easily be liked up by modern blog readers not to mention desperate attempts to have family, and friends support my writing efforts here - i'm happy to say to you that this morning i killed off the final impulse i've had to please anyone other than myself when writing here or with pen and ink at a lonely desk, because, you see, as long as you're careful to tap into the deep heart of the universal soul [and here i'm talking about love, and pain, loneliness and belonging, joy and grief] then you can never go wrong by simply bringing your true self to the page, making it okay for your reader to find relief from loneliness, and pain, or to sink deep into the comfort and joy of being known and understood by another, and finding her true self inside a space that breeds purity and honesty and laughter not to mention love and good coffee

20 May 2015

seniors last day of class!!!

it's 6:10 in the morning and i've just rolled out of bed. i was supposed to be up at 4:00 finishing a job application so i could press the send button on it then make the answer key for the senior english iv exam and scan the answer sheets by 7:20 this morning when i have to be at work and get ready for the craziness of posting final grades and tomorrow - senior certification day when hundreds of seniors will be running around school waving their exit papers in teachers' faces for signatures saying you're done with my class you passed so peace out go on get out of here go live your life ... i've got lots of stories to share - stories about babies and daughters and house stuff and flower and food stuff and this summer and the future and photos to edit and photographs to take and plans to make and moves to make but i've jumped in the shower and have thrown on some clothes and brushed my teeth and am going to the parlor for some sausage and toast and feeling like 18 all over again no maybe feeling 18 in a way i never felt because if at 55 you're in the right place there's nothing in front of you but choices a whole world filled with them and freedom stretching out in front of you like a long lazy cat and the year that felt like it would never end and the story that felt like it would never end is suddenly coming to an end and our song is on the radio and this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!