Sunday, September 22, 2013

To the exceptional people

How do you find time to be exceptional? No, really, I want to know because I find it absolutely exhausting just being ordinary me. When I say exceptional, I mean those amazing activists we always hear about. The "go getters", the people so outspoken that they are in the lime light, the award winners, the organizers, and the nominees for "People of the year."

I've made a life out of being as ordinary as possible. I've avoided standing out in any way, shape, or form. It comes from being bullied as a kid. I learned that if people didn't notice me, they couldn't make my life miserable. It's all well and good until you actually want to be noticed.  Then again, I haven't done anything for which to be noticed. Who has the time?

It's the struggle that every working parent faces- finding the time. It doesn't matter if you are a teacher, in the service industry, a small business worker or owner, in health-care, or a member of "Corporate America"; nobody has the time.

Here's my typical day:
5:30 wake up
6:30 on the road
7:30-8:00 arrive at work
8:00-4:00 WORK!!
4:00-5:30 on the road
5:45 HOME!!
6:00-8:00 Walk dog, do dishes, cook diner, check homework, read with kids, check email/facebook, tidy up, Do some more work for WORK.
8:00-9:00 Go to gym (I had to learn the very hard way to make my health a priority)
9:00-10:00 tuck kids in and get ready for tomorrow.
10:00-11:00 spend whatever time is left over with my husband and maybe watching TV or reading then fall on my face in bed and go to sleep.

That's right, I'm a teacher and I still work an 8 hour day. Clock in at 8, clock out at 4, and two days a week I work lunch duty, so no lunch break. Don't misunderstand, I am paid for my extended day program, but I can't make my budget without it, so it's not a choice for me, especially when health care costs go up and your pay is frozen. I know I don't have to get into how hard my job is. I'll leave that alone for now, because right now I'm just talking about time. By the end of any given day, I just want to sleep. As for the weekend? What weekend? They're full of anything that didn't get done during the week, and all the other household stuff (pay bills, do the laundry, do the shopping, clean house ect.) More WORK, lesson plans, grading etc.

There are so many other things I want to do: I WANT to be at every rally, I want to make a 100 phone calls a day, I want to be active in my union, I want to spend hours online and reading to prefect my craft as an educator, I want to be an active member of my and my sons' PTA, I want to work a second job, but it takes everything I have just to survive from one day to the next. I'm exhausted! My priorities are family, my job, my health, then everything else can take a number. I'm not making excuses, or maybe I am. I discovered through learning how to take care of myself, that people find time for what they want to find time for.

So I will continue to be ordinary, with the occasional bad-ass moment.  Just another teacher in the field who just wants to do the job, and another mom trying to raise her kids.

 To the exceptional people: Dr. Ravich, Nancy Carlson Paige, Rita Solnet, Leonie Haimson, Jazzman, Jesse "Walking Man" Turner, Anthony Cody, Mark Naison, and countless others to numerous to name, thank you! Thank you for taking the steps and doing what so many of us wish we could do.

Oops, gotta go, the dog needs to go out.