On my mind this week:
1. You know how it's hard to remember the correct year when you write the date after the new year, for about a month or so?
One of my students told me extremely enthusiastically the other day: "Miss Bowers - you know how it's hard to remember to write the new year's date? Well, I haven't had any trouble remembering - I always write 2015!" So cute...I'm so glad that at least some of my little ones are still little enough to be super excited about not having a hard time writing the date.
But, I have been having a hard time writing the date - but I haven't been writing 2014. Oh, no - I've been writing 2016. I don't know why, but I seemed to have advanced an entire year in my brain. I also don't know why I'm sharing this, but I guess this is the nature of these posts - whatever random thoughts flit into my head. It's your fault for reading about it. If you don't like it, you can lump it, as my esteemed mother always says.
2. I read a story today on Buzzfeed (that esteemed news service...) about a woman who decided to marry herself.
I don't get it. I really don't get it. I'm not really even trying to make any kind of moral or political statement here (though it will surely be construed as such, and I guess that's okay because my morals and religious beliefs certainly shape my view of marriage)...but really? Marrying yourself? I mean, no matter what most people believe about marriage, marriage is between two people. Or several people, if you go for polygamy. To "marry" yourself seems like...the ultimate selfish act, to be honest. The story was written from the point of view of female empowerment or something (if you read the URL for the link it says "this-badass-woman-married-herself"), but mostly, I just found it pathetic and sad. If you want to celebrate being single - celebrate it! And if you want to tell the world that you don't need a man to be content with who you are - tell the world! Have a party, even! But don't take away from the sanctity of an institution that is already so watered-down by society that the term "marriage" has come to mean something rather different than what it meant even just a short twenty-five or thirty years ago.
Also, what are the tax benefits to being married to yourself? What do you claim on your 1040-EZ...? These are things I want to know.
The world we live in is a truly mystifying place.
3. Speaking of being single, I can finally write about something that was going on in my life for the past couple of months. About four months ago, I got a coupon code in my inbox from eharmony for $5.99/month for three months. I had tried eharmony for one month about a year before that, just to see what it was like, but at the time, it wasn't for me. But, for six bucks a month (normally it's $60!) I thought: why not? So, I signed up for online dating and began a somewhat emotionally tumultuous adventure for the next three months that I couldn't blog about which drove me crazy because when funny/awkward/uncomfortable things happen to me I want to blog about them!
Online dating is basically the worst - by this, I mean the whole process of the online dating. Eharmony has it set up so that they send you the matches (as in, you don't have access to the gajillions of people on the site) - which is good. And, they have a pretty good system of taking you through steps of "communication: (multiple choice questions, short answer questions) before you get to actual "email" with the person. At first, you get about a dozen matches a day, which you can hardly keep up with (this trickles down to 1 or 2 a day after about a month and half). Also, you don't really know who is a paying customer of eharmony and who isn't. In someways, online dating is a microcosm of real life...I think that the girls who in real life don't get noticed by the boys are the ones online who don't get noticed by the boys....except for the boys that you don't want to notice you (read; the creepers...). It's hard not to take it personally...you pick out your purdiest pictures...you pore over your profile to make it sound just right...and you sort of have to wait. My policy was to send the "communication" (the first step is a set of multiple choice questions) to any guy that I was remotely interested in - my main goal was to meet the person, because I think you can tell a lot more about a person in real life than you can from an online profile, even after you've been emailing back and forth for a little while. I would send the communication...and get nothing back. Of course, then you start to wonder...am I too forward? Do they think I'm too assertive for initiating contact...but isn't that the point of this? To initiate contact? The guys wouldn't block me...but they wouldn't respond, either. Or, they would look at my profile (you can tell who's looked at your profile), but do nothing in response. At least block/close the match if you aren't interested! So, then you are in the throes of angst wondering...is this guy not a paying member? Is this guy just a jerk? Should I just block him if he doesn't reply after a certain period of time?
Despite this angst, I did get to a point where I met someone, and dated him (and by dated, I mean, went on dates with him, not that he became my boyfriend). There were lots of mishaps and misadventures along the way - and ultimately, I ended it about two weeks ago mainly because, well, I wasn't feeling any attraction to him, even after two months (though there were other more pressing concerns that probably contributed to the whole "not feeling attracted to him."). I don't really want to talk too much about it on here, mostly because I want to be nice to this guy, who was a nice guy and doesn't deserved to be roasted on my blog, you know?
Online dating been a really good, albeit challenging experience. I mean, the actual dating part now, not the website part. I think the biggest lesson that I walked away with is that someone can have a lot of the boxes checked off that you might be looking for in a future spouse but still not be the right person for you. I think that was a really good thing for me to experience first hand, because I kept seeing this guy because he had a lot of the same values and interests that I have...but really was not the right person for me...at all.
Phew - I'm glad I got that off my chest. The past few months, as I have been going through this...interesting experience...I kept telling my friends: I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO WRITE ABOUT IT ON MY BLOG. (There were some really...funny dating mishaps that are begging to be chronicled, but unfortunately I don't feel that it would be right to do so, at this point in time - I'll save it for my book).
(I should also add that I'm not on eharmony for the time being, because my 3-month deal ended, but if they send me another good deal, I'll try it again - so I'm not totally done with online dating. And, I wouldn't mind trying "regular" dating...as in, where people think: "Hey, so-and-so might be a good fit for Danielle..I should introduce them." Just a hint.)
4. And so, now I'm back to being "single"(not that I wasn't single, but you know what I mean...back to no men, no prospects in sight...at all). which is quite nice in its way. I really hope God brings someone into my life sooner than later, but I really am content in my singleness, most of the time, which continues to surprise me, and freak me out a little bit. ("Lord - do not take my contentedness in being single as a sign that I don't want to get married!") I like being independent and living on my own, while I do long for companionship and intimacy.
Okay, enough mushy personal stuff. Moving on!
5. It's kind of funny, but the whole eharmony/online dating thing sort of took up a lot of mental and emotional energy in my mind and heart for the last two months or so. Since I ended...whatever my relationship could be called...my brain has swung around to being totally filled with school, like it usually is. It's not to say that I didn't think about school the last couple of months, but I wasn't as...consumed by thoughts of school as it usually is. I'm back to constantly thinking about school, dreaming about school, waking up in the middle of the night unable-to-fall asleep-as-I-obsess about school. Does this happen to other teachers? Do you find it hard to turn "school" off in your brain. It came back with such a tsunami of force that surprised me. It was kind of nice to hit "pause" for a little while there. I have some really challenging things going on at school at the moment (severe discipline issues with a particular student), and I wish I could just get a break from obsessing about them. The good thing is that usually the obsessive over-thinking-thoughts do turn to prayer (read: a lot of cries of desperation!), which I think is what is supposed to happen: Jesus tells us to cast all of our cares on him.
I would appreciate your prayers as I struggle with some classroom management challenges. Right now, I don't have the tools in the toolbox for some the challenges I am having, simply because I haven't taught in this type of situation before. I have a lot of tools in the toolbox, but I still need a special set for this type of school, and I don't quite have them, yet. I'm reading books on discipline and classroom management, and talking to lots and lots of people to get insight and help, and planning to take a course this summer in difficult behavior management - but when push comes to shove, at the end of the day, I feel very inadequate right now to handle some of these issues. Pray that I will show grace and kindness and love even as I handle some really tough kids.
I should add that despite the current challenges, I still like my school, love my kiddos, and know that God has brought me to my school to stay, for a time. I don't know how long that time will be. I do know that my heart is still longing to minister to TCKs overseas again, eventually, but right now, God has put me in this community, with these families, and these kids, and this school - to, hopefully, be a light shining in the darkness, and to show, even though I cannot usually share, His love to these little ones - and my colleagues.
6. I've written about how much I like my church, and how grateful I am that God led me to DaySpring. Well, last week I officially became a member - hooray! It's the first church I've joined (I know, I know - crazy. I'm a terrible Christian, I suppose) - mostly because my life has been pretty transient for the last, oh, twenty-nine and half years or so. I'm so...blessed that God brought me to this church, and I am really excited to get more plugged into the ministries and community.
Well, folks - until another random musings.