The Time I Fell Down In Dance Class

I fancied myself a dancer when I was a kid. Flashdance was important. I watched a lot of the television show Fame. I listened relentlessly to my Flashdance and Fame records every single day, filled with longing. I made my friends call me Alex for a while. My perms were tight as screws. I wore leg warmers long after they were stylish. I mean, long after. Even in the summer. I badgered my dad to take the car out of the garage so I could practice tap dancing on the smooth concrete. I made up my own dances, dancing for hours, practicing…

Trust the Process

Today is the last day of my 31 Days of Advice challenge. I started a day early, left out two days in the middle, and gave yesterday a break for Savasana. My last piece of advice for myself is a phrase we say to one another on Kairos retreats at the school where I work. On a Kairos retreat, the seniors go on a four-day self and God-discovery journey with their teachers and peer leaders. Sometimes the going is rough. Trust the process, we remind each other. It’s the best advice of all. Trust the process may sound airy fairy, but one…

Work Hard

  I have a saying in my classroom: We work smarter not harder in Wanket World. (My name is Mrs. Wanket at work. I know. I know.)  That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. It just means we work with purpose and focus on our collective and individual goals. We don’t flail around with busy work. We have goals. We do more in such a way that we get more. More skill, more pages written, more ideas explored. The classroom scene gets me to thinking. . . .I can do so much more in all areas of my life with just a…

Imagine

If you don’t believe in magic, stop right here. This post will just annoy you. Hello everyone. Let’s take a deep breath. We can speak easy now that the muggles have excused themselves. This is a story about notebooks that make the impossible come true. You can buy one of these notebooks for yourself from any purveyor of notebooks. You’ll know when you find a magical one. You might already have one in your possession. Probably it’s the journal you’re already using. Once in a magical notebook, I wrote that I would find for my family a specific kind of house with…

Get Up Early

Advice to myself: Get up early. Dumb early. Before five o’clock a.m. early. Avoid the snooze button. Drink a glass of water. Meditate while the coffee water boils. Then journal. Then screen. Then gym, or run and yoga. Start every day this way because when I do I ride a high of positive feeling that lasts through the evening. Start every day this way because I am a healthy person with time for everything and when people ask me how I am able to do all of the things, the answer rests in three numbers: 4:40. As in a.m. Most…

Ask the Quarterback to the Prom

I have a novel coming out in July of this year. My publishers asked me if I knew a few authors who would be willing to give a blurb to help promote the book I know a few authors. I attend workshops, a writer’s group, and every literary event in my vicinity that I can. I’ll stand in line for an hour to exchange a few words with someone whose books have meant something to me. (My students have suggested I am overzealous in my admiration of authors. To that I say, I am always respectful of boundaries and if anyone minds my…

Meditate

Advice to myself: Meditate while the water for the coffee is boiling. Sit wrapped in a blanket, palms open, eyes closed.  Focus on the breath coming in and out of my nose. Relax my face. Notice I’m thinking of marathon runners from Kenya who have relaxed faces even in the final miles. Wonder how they accomplish such mastery of the self. Let the runners go. Return to breath. Notice I’m thinking of that thing that pisses me off. Return to breath. Notice I’m thinking about Peaky Blinders. Let Alfie Solomon go, crazy as he is. Return to breath. Notice I’m calmer…

Exercise Is Not Penance

Workouts don’t buy food. The idea that working out every day lets me eat whatever I want with no consequence was never true. Not for me. I can be pretty fit even when carrying thirty more pounds on my body than is strictly necessary. I can charge up a mountain and feel great doing it. But if I want my clothes to fit properly without having to buy all new clothes, I can’t expect even a rigorous exercise program to make up for a diet that has sugar in it. Also, the value of a good workout is not negated when I eat…

Avoid Sugar

News flash, I’m addicted to sugar. If you follow this blog you’ve heard me say it. If sugar were drugs, I would not have a life. I would be dead in a gutter. The most days I’ve stayed sober in a row is thirty. Sugar awakens in me a toxic hunger dragon that requires five times the calories my body needs to function. Sugar ravages my skin. It steals my energy. Sugar makes me feel so bad. I’m not that crazy about food. I’m not a foodie. But enter sugar into my diet, and I can’t stop eating. I’ve done…

Exercise Every Day

A few years ago at a particularly stressful point of my life, I had given up exercising altogether. I was in crisis mode. Morning exercise was impossible because I had to get to school early to get my workload done. The day was long and by the time I got home, I needed to make dinner and be present for my family. I worked through vacations and weekends as well to meet the requirements of this particular job. My health was my last concern. Don’t even get me started on how many packages of Donettes from the 7-Eleven I ate a week…