change in plans.

I think I’ve told most people in my life I needed to about my new “plan” for the future. Up until a week ago, I was going to move to Kansas City, MO to teach for two years. I was accepted to a program that puts teachers in communities across the country that need energetic people. I loved the idea of moving to a city that was comparable to the Milwaukee I grew to love over the past few years, and I loved the idea of knowing I didn’t have to face the reality of the real world until 2014.

I also liked the idea of running away. For the past three years, I’ve faced a number of challenges here that made me want to pick up and leave. I wanted to be able to start a new life by myself where nobody had a clue who I was. I wanted to leave everything behind. I wanted to create a happiness that I felt I was faking for the benefit of everyone around me. I had adopted a mentality (probably not the healthiest choice ever) that I needed to get the heck out of dodge to have a genuine smile and laugh on a daily basis. I had told myself in 2009 that I needed to run, and that idea had turned itself into everything I lived by.
In the past few weeks, I had a revelation: I didn’t know what I was running from anymore.
I realized that I’ve been happier than I thought possible over the course of the last year. I’ve taken ownership of a life that I’ve dreamed of for what seems like forever, and I’ve begun to create everything I wanted. Here. In Wisconsin. Who would’ve thought?
Long story short, I started to panic. What the heck was I doing trying to run away to something that might not be as good as what I’ve started to lay the foundation for here? I went to visit Kansas City thinking maybe being there again would re-energize my desire to go there for a while, knowing I could always come back afterwards if I wanted to. But I hated every second of it. I know that’s not the most positive attitude, but all that hate and anxiety made me realize I didn’t need to run away. I could be here. I could figure out what to do with my life because I want to, and I don’t need to worry about everyone else’s thoughts on the entire process. It took a lot for me to make the big girl decision, but holy smokes did I feel good afterwards.

I’m not quite sure where I’ll be working next year. I might not for a few months. I don’t know what city I’ll be living in. I don’t know anything really. But the one thing I do know is this: I made a choice for me, for my own happiness, and I am so unbelievably excited to see where it brings me.
I’ll keep cherishing. Because I love being a Sconnie. And I love being happy. But what I love even more is the idea of continuing that happiness in Wisconsin.

a calling.

I’ve had this weird realization lately: I’m outrageously blessed.

I don’t mean this in the “I have so many opportunities that others don’t have” kind of way. And I don’t mean it in a “I grew up in a community with a family where I was made aware that I could do anything in the world I wanted to” kind of way. I don’t mean it in a “I’ve been to Disney World/Disneyland/on Disney Cruises seven-ish times and some kids only dream of going there once” kind of way…. Don’t get me wrong, I’m obviously grateful for all of those things and a million more that have gotten me to this point.
I mean I’m blessed that I know exactly what I want to do with my life. I’ve always known. I was put on this big, beautiful planet of ours to be in school forever. I’d say I’m not supposed to be taking tests every day, not supposed to be the one doing the learning between bells. But that would be a lie. I get the opportunity to learn every single day. I get the even better opportunity to learn from people younger than I am. Unfortunately, the majority of those people will always be taller. Perhaps more unfortunately, I will probably always be more innocent/naive than those people too.
It’s hard to explain to everyone who says, “why would you ever want to do that to yourself,” how I feel being in a classroom every day. It’s harder to explain it to people who saw me have a less than stellar attitude about all of my own school work (oops). I often find myself responding with a simple “I love it.” I wish I could help them feel what that really means. I wonder if I’ll ever actually find words to describe how much I loved my life in Room 310 from 7:30am-2:40pm every day this past fall, how much I love my life in random classrooms from 8:20am-3:00pm right now. Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll just be the lucky one who gets to feel it every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
There is this vivid memory I have of the Dean of the College of Education talking about how teaching is a calling the very first time I saw him in the flesh. At that point, I didn’t know how much of an impact his words of wisdom would have on my life for 3 1/2 years. But I also didn’t truly grasp what this calling was. I kind of did. I knew that I always wanted to teach in some way. I knew that it wasn’t a hard decision to choose a university based on their pre-service teaching program because I was confident I wouldn’t move around anywhere.
What I didn’t know was that I was one of the lucky ones. I had a calling. I got to begin answering this calling at age 18. I get to continue to answer this calling for the rest of my life. As much as I wish I could find words to describe my love for teaching, I wish more I could describe my excitement about now being paid to do something I’ve loved paying to do since Fall 2008.
At this point, I have no idea what my classroom will look like next fall. I have no idea where I’ll be living in six months. To be honest, I’m pretty clueless about my life in general any farther in the future than a week. But for some strange reason, I’m still happy.
I think this is what self-discovery must feel like.

notes.

I’m a writer.
At least I classify myself as one most times. This means a lot of things. If I’m ever in a not-so-great mood, I take out a notebook and pen or my computer and let it all out to get myself back to neutral. I correct the grammar/mechanics of anything I see. I subconsciously enjoy composition more than literature in my classroom. I often write letters to people (sometimes they’re actually delivered!) to let them know how I really feel. I’m naturally drawn to the greeting card section in any store. I long for the days when snail mail was the only way to go. I make lists. I alphabetize.
And I leave notes for a special guy in my life almost daily.
Something I am getting better at is writing to the audience that will actually be reading. Today I thought I’d be a little unconventional and ditch the paper/pen for my daily “hello.” After I was done, I remembered my audience; I had to revise the original plan:

I like writing for a lot of reasons. One of the big ones is that I enjoy the idea of having things remembered forever. I enjoy the smile that comes when reading a good note the first time. I enjoy more the smile that comes when reading it every time after. Notes can bring you back to a time and place. They can make you remember exactly how you felt at any given moment in your life.
But perhaps more importantly, they make you realize…
In life, the little things are often the big things.

back on track.

I read once that it’s better to keep a blog positive and only discuss happy things. I haven’t had much of a positive attitude lately, so I’ve avoided saying anything at all. I thought that photos would cover up the avoiding, but I ran out of things to take pictures of. That’s what happens when you wake up at 6:00 to hopefully get a phone call to substitute teach and then go back to sleep at 6:45 after not getting called every day for three weeks.
But the great news: I’m back on track.
I owe this, in large part, to my sisters. I hadn’t realized how much I missed being a part of Greek Life in the month since I said “goodbye” until I was back in Milwaukee this past week for Formal Recruitment. Watching 200 women experience what it was to be part of the sorority world at Marquette showed me how far I’ve come since January 2009 when I started my amazing journey in Pi Phi. I spent five days laughing with the women I call my sisters (some with letters other than mine), and reminiscing about the things we’ve done over the past few years. It was exactly what I needed to change my attitude.
I’m grateful. Grateful for the leadership Pi Beta Phi and the Panhellenic Association allowed me to experience. Grateful for the nights I didn’t sleep because I was trying to meet deadlines, finish spreadsheets, and make crafts. Grateful for the times I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. Grateful for the shoulders I had to cry on during moments I thought I’d be better off just crawling into a bawl in the corner forever. Grateful for future bridesmaids. Grateful for an organization that will be part of my life forever. Grateful for amazing women I could have never imagined loving as much as I do.
I’m looking forward to February. My outlook on everything I’m doing will hopefully be better. If it’s not, at least I know I can always retreat back to Milwaukee to spend some time with my sisters.
Shout-out to Kellie, Sophia, Alyssa, Maggie, Erin, Olivia, Hailey, Minjee, Katelyn, Taylor, Tara, Mikhaila, Colleen, and Kristina for being there from Day One of this crazy adventure. I love you all more than I could ever explain!