desperate english teachers

01 April 2015

one the last moments my life was truly fabulous

It's easy to go off the track in life. If - that is - you cherish living a life that is original and authentic. This means you've pretty much abandoned all the silly rules regarding how you're supposed to live. What wives and mothers even teachers should do, say. How they should act. Where they should live. Don't get me wrong. Honesty, ethics, basic morality, devotion to your children and your responsibilities are not up for discussion here. These practices are classics - always in season. I'm talking the rules that get made by the people who have to live by the rules because they cannot be original so hate seeing other people break free and live as they please. So when you're living an original life there is of course no pattern for your life so things can get a little out of shape at times and - if you decide to live an original life - you need to have a certain addiction to difficulty and a taste for solving problems. And while I think it's important to live a life with no regrets because what is to regret about being alive, as Pitbull says every day above the ground is a good day I do think it's important when your life has gone off onto an unnecessarily difficult track as mine has done on too many occasions to bring up before daylight to look back at the last fabulous place you were in before moving forward to the next fabulous place. Make sense? In this way you can figure out what it was that got you off track and then you'll know what NOT to do in the future. In this moment, I had locked tradition up in a closet and perfected the art of living a life that would satisfy me: A highly independent single mother whose highly-independent daughters were busy with their own lives. I had a fantastic job in Istanbul. A beautiful high-rise. I had never been happier with teaching. I was starting to make plans for my future. The thing was that I had not come to terms with was a tradition I had locked up in the closet back home that said mothers existed to wait on men and children, NOT to enjoy their lives post men and children, and that even after men and children had abandoned said mothers said mothers still had to stay at home in big empty houses and eat the bread of grief and silence while waiting for children to come and visit and let you wait on them hand and foot then leave again. I'm happy to report that I survived coming to terms with what happened after tradition broke down the closet door. It's only taken me two continents, 80,000 words, 30 extra pounds from eating the bread of silence and grief, and four years. I look like hell most days but I'm happy to say that my life is back on track. And the fabulous train will be pulling out of the station in a matter of six weeks. Because I'm no longer being bullied by anybody - much less tradition. See - I've got tradition in a headlock and tradition is crying like the wimpy little coward tradition has always been.

31 March 2015

it's a quarter after one



Random thoughts upon waking up before two o'clock in the morning. Some people call it insomnia. I call it 10 o'clock in the morning in Istanbul. I call it the most honest moment of your life. Just like the house thing when you wake up at 48 or 58 and find yourself home alone/your children and husband all grown up and gone. Some people call that the mid-life crisis. I call it the empty nest crisis. I have a way with words. I did not go bankrupt getting English degrees for nothing. I have a youngish heart even though I'm old. Even though this year I've given into gravity. Picked up weight. Let my hair go natural. Been an okay grown up. Made myself into a believable mother of the bride. Mother-in-law. Senior English Teacher. Grand-mother. I had it coming. I've had a long run of absolute freedom to be me. Live this cowgirl life just riding the roads. Just letting the wind blow me where it would. I took notes. I took a few pics. I wrote it all down. I hope the books prove to be worlds someone can disappear into and love going where I went because where I went was really really beautiful. Now it would be time to go home. Go make a home, I should say. A home not like the homes of the past that would be nooses around my neck/weights at my feet. But soft beds and couches. Books lining walls and wine bottles just waiting to be cracked. Clean towels stacked up and extra toothbrushes for daughters and friends. Tables and porches for sitting nights having dinners either solo or with daughters and friends. A real leap of faith for me that getting a home won't trap me but house me, sustain, feed me and my family. Just random thoughts waking up before two o'clock and it's full-on morning in Istanbul. And you are here in the Delta sleeping cowgirl style in an empty studio apartment enjoying the delicious freedom that comes with a contract's end and your boxes by the door. And the money's just hit the bank and will keep hitting it straight through summer. And you can go anywhere your little heart desires. And start a new chapter. And place new lamps inside new windows to guide you all back home when y'all get tired of the road [written to lady antebellum + joy fm istanbul]

30 March 2015

at the beach

Elle loves Steve. I saw it written in the sand on the beach yesterday. Everything else about the beach is best described in photos (note to self find bunny ears for Baby Baby + buy bunches of alstroemerias for Easter presents + really listen to John Coltrane) oh and note for you - stop doing things you don't want to do + have a happy Monday.

28 March 2015

on the spur of the moment

I decided to drive 5 hours to walk barefooted in the sand & to see the sun set on the beach.

don't you love her madly

One of the high points of this week was when my friend Debra pointed out to our friend William in front of me that I had picked up some weight. 

Debra and William work as custodians and I work as an English teacher so we usually keep it at the Mr./Ms. level when speaking to and about each other.

The comment went like this

Mr. Bennett, Ms. Nobles has picked up some weight!!!

What I most love about it was that (A) I truly love Debra and William and (B) there's so much shade thrown between principals and teachers in high school settings that I so appreciate genuine dialogue - no - I should say I am dying for honest dialogue so it was all really funny to me and I shot back

you know what they say! it's just more to love on!

We had a big laugh.
Outside I asked a student waiting for her mother to snap me up.

Could I look more like Barbara Bush?!!

I cannot explain to you here all the different looks I've had during three years in Greenville. Or the ones before that 

Ole Miss.
Post-Istanbul, in fact.

All I can tell you is: 

I'm exhausted.
I'm ready for summer.
I'm 30 pounds overweight.
Most days I'm a hot mess.

But I am really, really high on high school teaching.

This coming from somebody who never even wanted to teach high school and somebody who's spent the past 4 years just wanting to quit.

And what sticking with high school teaching when I wanted to quit has given me:

A real belief that children deserve to have great parents and great teachers.

And a truly madly deeply love affair with all the dark, messy troubled parts of the girl who once was me.

27 March 2015

goodbye to all that

 One option here in the final weeks of living in Greenville would be for me to talk about my feelings about leaving Greenville. But I've already done that here. Here. And here. So I'm going to let Joan Didion talk about endings while I go out and photograph Greenville.


summertime, please

by now it's rainy & cold again so i'm plugging in wednesday when it was 80 degrees and most of greenville was downtown walking & biking the levee like summer was here to stay, and i'm just going to ignore the cold & rain until it goes away.