After stormy weather in Miami, the petals of its flowers for us to walk through.
See the textures.
After stormy weather in Miami, the petals of its flowers for us to walk through.
See the textures.
Please stop making faces!
Beautiful hair, shiny, long, short, doesn’t matter–I mean the kind of hair that girls envy and say so out loud, right to his face.
But, I’ll be damned if he gives me one good smile for a picture. There’s always a face, a different one for each shot. The creepy guy face. The cool guy face. The demon face. The goofball face. The sad face. The smiling but really crossing my eyes face. Or, just smiling with crazy eyes.
He’s been like this since he pulled the Houdini act of climbing right out of his crib before he could walk.
When we go out, I need a few cups of coffee to keep me alert. There are days when I wish the coffee was something else, that’s how fast I need to be. I’m ready to jump, spin, grab, block, catch, you name it.
Somewhere inside every maniacal act of bouncing to his own beat, I laugh amidst the frustration of taking one good picture.
When we visited San Francisco, there were so many moments when the pictures were more than perfect, especially if he didn’t know I was taking them. Often, the theatrics made the pictures so much better, the exaggerated extension of his legs when climbing the uphill battle of getting back to the hotel made it oh so much more than just a good picture.
Walking through Chinatown and finding a brilliantly colorful dragon drawn on the side of a building, we stopped for a picture.
But, ten shots later, my perfect picture almost didn’t happen.
He insisted not only on theatrics but also on making sure he picked the dragon’s nose by sticking his hand in its giant nostril. With a smirk and a flick of the eyes, his sister pulled his hand down and we got something.
The dragon seemed fine with it.
In hindsight, I think the dragon was in on the whole joke.
Ironically, he hardly ever says I’m just joking.
He used to pontificate about pranks, which happen to be one of his favorite YouTube pastimes. Recently, it’s just weird drawings on the teacher’s whiteboards. Thank God they also have a sense of humor.
I could regress to his obsession with moles that appeared everywhere, so much so that I had to threaten that the moles had better not appear on photographs or human skin without permission.
However, I think you get the idea.
It seems that to him life is just way too serious.
And, if I weren’t such an adult, I’d be picking that dragon’s nose with him.
There’s a new law I found out about recently and I’m fascinated by it., sometimes horrified by it.
I believe it exists but I’m not sure that I’ve embraced it. The world I live in for the time being.
This world of education tends to shout otherwise. We teachers demand that students perform the way we want them to. No, actually, we demand that students perform the way the Department of Education wants them to. My only solace in following through with those demands is to often make fun of the DOE and then twist everything around and show the students how they can use education to get what they want.
Education also makes it difficult to work with this law because it demands that I enforce consequences on a regular basis. I must be strict. I must enforce silence when students prefer to talk. I must look angry, more often than not. I must make sure that they understand how to behave and do so because they fear me.
It does work. Teachers who don’t offer a significant amount of fear face the consequences of chaos and in middle school, chaos is scary. Students don’t just throw paper airplanes. They can really hurt one another.
We all know that if we’ve heard anything about school shootings or even students using social media.
The law I’m referring to is the Law of Attraction. I’d heard about it many years ago and I gave it a nod then went about my business. I heard about it again a few years ago and again nodded and again went about my business.
Then, a few strange, seemingly unconnected events juggled me around to this law once again.
I watched a Netflix documentary on Tony Robbins and actually liked it.
What a strange person: I liked him but didn’t trust what he had to say.
I found myself driving my teenage daughter to school in the mornings.
She became increasingly distant and downright rude.
I started looking for inspirational videos to listen to after I dropped my daughter off.
Most of them started with Tony Robbins, then I listened to some of his radio interviews with took me to Deepak Chopra then to Dr. Wayne Dyer then to Oprah Winfrey then to Esther Hicks who I eventually learned was the one of the original speakers of the Law of Attraction.
I then looked at my phone and saw that my sister had given me a copy of the Law of Attraction and I remembered what she said, “This is weird but just listen to it when you feel frustrated, while you clean, stick it in your pocket, put your earphones in your ears and listen.”
I did, but it made no sense to me.
However, with my daughter’s distance even when we were sitting next to each other, even when I didn’t talk except to say I love you, this law became increasingly important to me.
I had also lost my grandmother a few years ago and it left me hating myself for not being able to do more, wanting to tell her how much I loved her and how sorry I was for having acted like my daughter was and is acting. I didn’t act that way all the time but I did act that way in my teenage years and then later I became distant because of work and her difficulties with dementia/Alzheimer’s.
So, these mornings of listening to Esther who speaks as Abraham who delivers the message of the Law of Attraction has changed my view of death, regret, love, and hate. Really, it’s changed my view of everything, even education.
We are magnets according to Abraham, according to the Law. But, we are not magnets in the traditional sense or the common understanding of a magnets capabilities. Opposites do not attract. The Law of Attraction tells us we “Like” attracts “Like.”
So, even if we don’t want something and we scream that we don’t want it, If we push against it, we will just get more of it.
This made sense to me because everything negative in my life seemed to fly toward me with the intensity of electromagnetic force.
But, understanding this sometimes makes everything more frustrating, especially when you tell someone you love them and a door is slammed in your face.
The idea is that you attracted the door slamming in your face. If like attracts like, then what the hell? Why not love in return?
Maybe the anger was stronger than the love, for both of us.
So, little by little, one day at a time, I attempt to work within the Law of Attraction. I meditate every morning or as many mornings as I can. I look for things to appreciate. And, more often than not, I lose my patience and restart the next day.
Being a teacher, a parent, a wife, and a writer, gives me a lot to consider when walking through life under the Law of Attraction.
What are your thoughts? Have you heard of this law?
© Lisa Chesser
Who were you growing up? Who are you now?
What did they call you? What do they call you?
There I was, the one who had a different opinion, the one who didn’t talk, the one who stood out. I was perfect for their names. It was an introduction to learning to laugh at yourself.
It was high school, and it is life.
I had curly dark hair then. Sometimes wisps would create a halo that looked like the sun, at least that’s what I told myself when I rationalized my “nickname.” It’s just that when they said it, it sounded like, “Heeeeyyyyy, Sunshiiiiine!” The sound of giggling afterward quickly sharpened the tone as if to say, This isn’t a nickname stupid! This is a game. They’re gonna have their fun with you.
I’d turn away and pretend I was only temporarily occupying this body. I threw myself into an alternate world while still walking the tan corridors leading to my next class. It kept me walking.
Later, it wasn’t until I started teaching that someone said that to me again. I didn’t even flinch. I didn’t turn away. I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t even remember those moments when that group of girls chose me for their weekly victim until they could find a better one, which they did.
I just looked at the person and smiled. I also felt sorry for her. I wondered if someone had done that to her. Wasn’t she too old to be doing this? She made it a thing too. She started saying it all the time as if trying to create her own group, no one joined it, but she still said it until she stopped.
Somewhere along the way, between the high schooler turned writer turned graphic artist turned editor who becomes teacher, I traveled to The Keys, stopped at a shop along the narrow road, and spent a scorching amount of time staring at an enormous, ceramic sun.
The sun came home with me.
It took some focus. I hadn’t taken a pen in hand and actually written with the intention of writing a story or just writing for pleasure, even pain, since, well, a long while.
The first sentence was just a sentence to begin movement. I had learned a long time ago not to expect the first sentence on a first write to ever be first or even last long at all. It was the sentence after that first one and the sentence after that one and that one and that one that gave me a sense of what I could still do.
Writing on paper showed me the past and the future. In college, I wrote on paper. Personal computers were gigantic and felt stale and distant. Not much later, I stopped using paper though and typed everything. It was faster and easier.
But, using that pen yesterday, felt as if I connected a string to my heart. That’s where I wrote from. It all came from my heart.
Tapping on a keyboard now feels distant and almost like work.
A paper and a pen tug at the heart.
A groan of discomfort plugs into what used to be us.
Age has a lot to do with it.
Age has mostly everything to do with it.
Age and time.
The amount of time they spend on YouTube alone generates hours of mind-numbing transference that leaves my teeth clenched and off-center.
One of them lies on the couch randomly laughing and when asked about it, he replies, “This guy was playing this video game and he finally got these powers that let him punch really hard and instead of hitting the other guy he punched himself!” He laughs again.
“You wanna see?”
Disgust washes over me and I quickly blurt out, “No!”
With his Boca Juniors soccer beanie on and still wearing his pajamas, he jumps up granting me permission to look at his phone. “Here, c’mon, look, I swear, it’s funny!”
“No!” I scream. “It’s stupid. That’s stupid!” More frustrated than ever I proclaim, “This is how you’re choosing to spend your valuable time. Don’t you know what you could be doing. Read a book for Chrissake. My God!”
I often leave to the computer room where I open my computer and sulk.
I don’t pick up a book or even write with a pen and paper.
But, I am superior nonetheless.
The other one hibernates in her room, sometimes locks the door, and takes at least a minute to walk three steps to open it when prompted by my pounding on the door.
Often, I even have to say, “Open the door,” before there’s movement.
Stupid questions follow.
“Have you read your book yet?”
“No.” A glare, the wicked teenage kind, follows and so do more stupid questions.
“When are you going to read?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you want me to take your phone?”
“Clean your room and read.”
I walk away before things start flying through the air.
I retire to the computer room.
My phone buzzes.
I pick it up and text away.
I check emails, text more, and realize that we’re halfway through the day and we’ve spent the large majority of it on devices, electronics.
What’s wrong with us?
It’s a conspiracy.
These companies want to ruin our lives.
They want to take all of our money and now our minds!
This must end or I shall die!
“Hand over the electronics,” I declare.
Dead eyes stare back at me.
No one moves.
“Now!” I scream.
“After this one thing,” my son says and rolls over on the couch.
“No!” my daughter yells, “I’m reading on my phone!”
“Lies!” I scream. “You’ve got one minute to put the devices on the counter or you lose them for a week!”
I wait a second then begin confiscating devices.
There’s screaming. Random bursts of “Crazy!” “God!” and “I hate you!”
No one talks.
I clean the house.
They grab a book and read.
I can finally hear the trees speaking to me again. It’s been a while.
After a school year that seemed relentlessly long, there’s nothing I’d hate more than to talk about this school year. I don’t want to give any advice about reading, questions types, testing, and, please, don’t ask about writing, in particular, essays.
I’m looking up.
I’m disconnecting from what supposedly defines me. Not from my phone, computer, or TV, although that’s some of it, not from electricity in any way, but I’m disconnecting from school.
So I’m going to give myself a break from thinking about reading assignments, reading comprehension, required reading, homework, grading, everything in connection with traditional, structured, life-draining education.
What a relief!
I woke up last week and it was 6 a.m. Normally I’m up at 5:30 getting ready to take my daughter to school then returning to get ready for teaching and take my son to school.
But I didn’t have to, so I looked at the time and went back to sleep.
After I woke and became instinctively lazier, I took a walk.
I noticed the trees and how many brilliant flowers were blooming. I’m physically looking up, up, seeing the branches sway and the petals drop. My neck pain is at a minimum because I’m not hunching over a computer or over stacks of papers.
The trees spoke to me. They waved and winked as I approached them. Orange petals floated over my pathway, welcoming me to life, the best kind of life.
My heart opened.
Now when I look around me, I see my children relaxed, smiling more, looking healthier and happier than, well, than in the last several months.
I see my house, messy, but home just the same.
I breathe a whole lot slower, deeper, calmer.
My feet don’t hurt.
No students to reprimand. No screeching noises. No nothing.
I see me.
And, we got it.
We were the clowns in Slava’s Snow Show.
It all began with a noose hanging around his neck, which he only feigned to tighten. He was the single clown who wore a bright-yellow jumpsuit making him look like he had the body of a frumpy muppet.
As he glanced to his right, another clown walked onto the stage dragging his own noose around his neck.
When they saw each other, the performance began.
Isn’t that me? And, you?
On the verge….
Then we connect and lose ourselves in a quiet dance.
I watched the foolishness, the silly adventures, the dramas, and finally understood who I am, who we all are in the blogging world. For the last few months, I’ve pondered my blog. What’s the purpose of it really?
Am I inspiring you to be brave, smart, and bold? How can I do this better, differently? Why don’t you stop by more often? Why don’t you like me more? What would other bloggers want to read? What would anyone want to read? And, why?
So, I wrote a bit, but mostly I read your blogs, hoping to gain insight into what you want, to find a secret trick to gaining your interest. I wanted to draw you in and connect with you. But, I still didn’t “get” it.
Then, there I was last night, watching Slava’s Snow Show and everything emerged in a wild clown drama on a paper snow-filled stage.
We blog to write to read to love to remember to show to dazzle to cry to rage to surrender to melt to rebound to bounce.
We are clowns so sad, awkward, funny, ridiculous, and proud.
We conjure up a makeshift ship in the middle of a stage and one of us pretends to be a shark while the others sail on. We step into the imaginary ocean and reveal each other for who we really are: clowns.
We sweep up our messes only to get our hand caught in a spider web that suddenly sticks to all of our fingertips scattering to an obscure audience that pulls it apart and tosses it to the floor.
We need intermission to rest.
Then we regenerate and find that someone shot arrows through our heart. We struggle and find it was our best friend, again. We hurt each other.
We freak out. A crazy clown sitting next to a tilted table, we scream then fall. Everything goes black.
Then one of us is knitting and rocking in a chair in the corner. Madness.
We pack our bags and travel.
And, we weather storm after storm.
All with big fat smiles painted on our faces.
We are foolish.
And, we are so magnificent.
Written By Lisa Chesser
That writer I wrote about, Nayia Moysidis, sent me inspiration through her heroism and unencumbered writing.
She also sent me in other directions, one of them being Seth Godin’s blog.
Many of you may know him already. After all, he is a creative writer, blogger, entrepreneur, and internet marketing master. Once I’d read one then two then ten of his posts, I subscribed to his blog and even bought a couple of his books.
So, when I read his post about Paracosms, I smiled, frowned, and sipped his words with my morning cappuccino.
Here’s the link to what he wrote:
Now, normally, I’d laugh, nod knowingly, or even brush it off as an agreeing to disagree moment, but this one kept me sipping.
I love books. They are my Bibles. If everything is wrong with my life, books will pull me away from it and bring me back better, renewed, ready to take on my own problems as if I had just taken a vacation.
No NetFlix series or award-winning film does that. No hour-long browsing session offers that. Those are just teasers, bites of chocolate for me. Books make my time worthwhile. Not every book, but the majority I’ve read have done their job.
So when he makes the comment, “Paper is magical.” It is, to me. I don’t have to take a pill or drown my sorrows in glasses of wine. I found this out a long time ago as a child who needed to escape reality. I opened my books and realized something that today’s generation doesn’t quite understand.
Those writers carried me into other realms, knocking down barriers, opening doors. I treasure their words.
Books are my “sacred cows” as Seth puts it.
So, incidentally, I’m exactly the person he’s speaking to in this post. That’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about what he’d written.
When I stopped frowning, I realized I just wanted to hold onto those desperate childhood moments. But, I’m not that child anymore. And, this world isn’t that one anymore.
He’s right. As much as I hate it, I know he’s right because I’m here with you and the rest of the blogging world.
I read your posts and draw inspiration, new knowledge, insights, and laughter. It breaks this world down and builds strength for another day. It’s a new way to read chapters of a book, in a blog.
Here are just some of them:
A fellow blogger nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger award recently, but I don’t feel beautiful at all. I did realize that there was another nomination I needed to accept before this one: the Reality Blog award. I’ve been searching for the all-elusive time to do this. However, blogging here has been relegated to the bottom of my list of To Do’s mainly because of my kids.
My son hates school. As a dedicated teacher, I do too. I really can’t argue with him. I’ve told him the value of education until I’ve listened to my words fall letter by letter to the floor. The last straw was when I told him he would behave or never see his Legos again. It was an age-old battle that I needed to win. I needed him to see education the way I used to see it.
But, I underestimated him. He’s smarter than I am. He looked at me, resigned himself to my belief system, and got sick, literally.
He’s been throwing up and now has a fever. Call it coincidence, call it flu season, or call it the sadness of his spirit. I believe it’s his spirit slumping into the sad world of my reality. At the end of the day, he simply looked at me, said his stomach was sick, went to bed then woke up puking.
That’s when everything turned upside down for me. I rewound and slowed the speed forward. I unzipped my skin and took a look around.
A wild second grader danced before me, asking questions, some really smart-ass ones. He laughed at them and sometimes me. He found math interesting when he was allowed to measure things around the classroom but hated sitting still to take a test. He needed to be up discovering the world, finding out why the lizards don’t fall from the ceiling.
A tired mother/teacher walked to her classroom, feeling guilty for leaving her son who she just yelled at. Why couldn’t she just say, “To hell with all of you,” and leave, grab her son and go? All her own students, much older than her son, complained to her, and hated school themselves. She also tried to show them the value of it but was beginning to find it a futile argument. In their eyes, she saw the truth.
The truth is school kills creativity. For all our convoluted words and serious sarcasm, we amount to a bloated, gassy large intestine.
In sixth and seventh grade, I teach about 75 kids just like my son. The rest are sparkly perfect students not unlike my daughter, but they too find it difficult to endure school. When the day nears the end, they’re ready to fly out of their seats and some literally do.
Over the years, my tolerance for shaking pens and pencils, twirling IDs, and random jumps from seats has grown so much that I find myself doing the same thing.
But, when I see my son, like many of my students, get sick over the depressing reality of school, I question my own profession because it feeds the beast. That large, bloated one.
So, I’ll try to blog and read all of your beautiful blogs, but I’ve got to fix a little boy’s view of reality. He’s sleeping right now with a wet cloth mending his fever. We might end up at the doctor’s office first thing in the morning. But, once he’s better physically, I’ll be reminding him that the lizard on the ceiling is his reality and now it’s mine too.
Here are some great blogs to check out while I’m busy mopping up my mess:
There are so many more that I read on a daily basis. If you look around BraveSmartBold posts, you’ll find them.