K is for Kindness, #AtoZChallenge

Kindness is definitely not a flaw. It’s just hard to think of words that start with K. Of course there have been times when I’ve been told I’m “too nice” like that’s a bad thing. Which begs the question: Is being too nice a bad thing?

When can kindness get you in trouble?

My theme should have been “I ask readers a bunch of questions about basic personality traits people typically don’t think twice about.”

One of the biggest times this dilemma has crossed my mind has been in teaching. Many times I am told I’m too nice as a teacher and this leads to classroom management being difficult. Objectively I can see this happening, but then I also see how my students react to me. I think it’s important for children to be able to trust adults and know they are cared for. That is probably my main goal over teaching music, although I think that is super important too. When I get “firm” or “strict” I know I am being “fair”, but I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I just can’t seem to always find a balance. I don’t want to change my personality of always being kind and helpful, but sometimes I’m forced to in the classroom so things run smoothly.

I think this is my biggest doubt of whether I am a good teacher.

I love my job, but I also think it is one of the hardest jobs someone can choose. I need to find the balance between being kind and not being too passive.

Until then, I will lead with kindness. I will always try to be understanding and compassionate. I will keep an open-mind to accept people from all different walks of life. I will risk the struggles and criticism that come with being “too nice” until I find that balance. If life has taught me anything, it’s that I’m much better at dealing with my own pain than handling knowing I’ve hurt somebody else.

 

 

J is for Jokes, #AtoZChallenge

Sometimes I try to be funny. I like to think I’m good at making people laugh, but who doesn’t??

My sense of humor can be dark, satirical, biting, and sometimes I’m just plain silly.

We started these top ten lists in high school. They weren’t meant to be funny or sarcastic, but of course I made it that way. So here’s an example of the jokes I make. May it make you laugh or at least chance a flicker of movement in your lips that somewhat resembles a smile.

 

Top Ten Reasons People Welcome Global Warming:

  1. “Pale” went out of style fifty years ago.
  2. Boots are no longer made for snow-wear.
  3. Bathing suits are cheaper than winter jackets.
  4. Heat is expensive.
  5. Frost bite is more serious than global flooding.
  6. We’ve already invented life vests.
  7. Titanic fans run a very convincing anti-glacier campaign.
  8. Skin cancer is curable.
  9. The human race is indestructible.
  10. If Earth is destroyed we could totally move to Mars or something.

H is for Hope, #AtoZChallenge

Is hope a flaw? An unfortunate quirk of human nature? Or is hope a positive quality to have? I tend to think of it as both.

I think the benefits of hope are somewhat obvious. It can provide motivation, fuel ambition, and make you look forward to the future. The seemingly endless amount of hope I have is one of the reasons I can be so driven to do things that I may not even have business doing.

For example, next year I will be starting grad school and I have taken on two majors: Creative Writing and African Music and Dance. I already submitted my final thesis proposal, a collection of books on Ghanaian culture and music, which will require copious amounts of time dedicated to research and writing. This doesn’t even include the actual coursework I need to do for both programs. On top of this, I still plan to keep my current jobs, although one is seasonal and the others I will be forced to cut down my hours. How am I thinking this is at all possible??? Because I am endlessly hopeful. I believe in myself when it comes to things like being busy and hard work. In the midst of it I may get discouraged, but I always seem to finish what I start. This is the positive power of hope.

I think the downside of hope may be a little less apparent. For example, hoping someone will change so you stay in that relationship, be it friendship or otherwise, and end up getting used and hurt. Or hoping that THIS time will be different, for whatever the circumstance, even if logic and reasoning tells you otherwise.

There have definitely been times where my hope has gotten me in trouble or been the reason for heartache, but it still remains one of my biggest motivators in life. I’ll gladly risk having moments of pain to remain always hoping for good to prevail.

F is for Forgetting, #AtoZChallenge

This might get sad.

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading my blog, you are probably aware that my mom has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed about four years ago now. I remember because it was during my first year of teaching when we got the official diagnosis. She had been showing symptoms since her late forties, but the doctors kept saying too young, too young.

They said she was too young for about four years. I don’t remember the way the news was delivered. I’m not sure if someone called me or if it was in a message. I don’t remember if it was my dad or my sister who finally broke the news. I do remember that after I found out I went numb for a second.

Then I wanted to scream.

Then I wanted to punch something as hard as I could. I punched my pillow and it was satisfying for a second and then that seemed so completely irrelevant.

And then I just cried instead.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know it was coming, we all knew it was going to be Alzheimer’s. It’s just that, the official diagnosis made it so real, so undeniable.

I remember feeling so alone. I don’t know why I couldn’t talk to anyone. There were people I could call, my roommate in the next room, even. There was just no way for me to communicate the way I felt. I didn’t even know how to try.

Before my mom got diagnosed I had a morbid mantra I would say to myself. It was before I’d do something stupid or something I knew I probably shouldn’t. I’d just think, “I’m just going to grow up to forget this anyway.”

We have Alzheimer’s on both sides of the family, my mom’s and dad’s. It feels kind of inevitable, and if it’s not me, probably my brother or sister. It’s a heavy weight to carry that thought.

Maybe a breakthrough will be made and a cure will be found, or at least a more powerful way to slow the progress. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and discover that gene passed us by.

Or maybe, in just twenty years or so, just like my mom, I’ll start forgetting.

Momandme

E is for Excuses, #AtoZChallenge

I’m a day late with my post. Here’s why:

On Thursdays I have a 15 hour day. This particular Thursday I got home and after eating dinner at 9 PM I had to go out and check my tires because my air pressure light came on after just fixing the air the day before. Of course I had a slow leak in not one, but two of my tires. That was upsetting and I was tired already, so my boyfriend and I stopped to get ice cream. The ice cream did fix my mood, but not the fact that I was exhausted. We got home after 10PM or so and put on some Always Sunny while I tried to write my post. I stared at the screen awhile, thought of lame words I wouldn’t be able to write anything about and then gave up and went to bed.

So there’s my excuse. And oddly it has become my E post. I’m not going to overthink this since my next class starts in 5 minutes and in about five hours when I get home from work I have to try and write a post on F.

Happy A to Z ing everyone!

D is for Doubt, #AtoZChallenge

I started to think of my posts ahead of time so I wouldn’t fall behind in this challenge or my work, but after the past three days my perspective is already changing. Before yesterday, this post was going to be about how I’m always second-guessing myself, not really knowing if what I’m doing with my life is what I should be doing. Or if the things I’m saying, or the way I present myself is the correct way to be doing things. Don’t get me wrong, those are still true statements, but now my outlook has changed.

I get very stuck in my head. You (my readers) have gotten me unstuck. (Billy Pilgrim, anyone?) Yes, I doubt myself, yes, I contradict myself, yes, I carry my baggage and can’t seem to figure out just how much alone time to give myself. BUT, turns out, so do most of you! And I honestly couldn’t see that before. I just thought there was something wrong with me.

I’m not going to change my theme now, but I might reconsider calling them flaws. I think I may just think of them as unfortunate quirks in human nature. I am beyond thrilled at the people who have connected with me and shared their insights. I’m getting fed life lessons a handful of words at a time and I couldn’t be happier.

So let’s connect!

I often doubt if I’ve chosen the correct career path. Would I have been better off/happier choosing something else? Is it too late to change my path? Would I even want to change? I also doubt my abilities. Am I really a good teacher? Am I really a good musician? Am I actually good at writing? Other people have no problem assuring me and some days it’s not hard to believe. Other days….well I’m sure you know!

What do YOU doubt in your own life?

I’d also be curious to know if there’s anything you’ve never doubted. Please share your life experiences!

 

 

 

As always, thank you for reading my A to Z! Check out last year’s posts if you missed my traveling adventures: D is for Dominican Republic

C is for Contradiction, #AtoZChallenge

Sometimes I feel like my personality traits are in constant conflict. I don’t like when I’m the center of attention and yet I yearn to be seen and sought out. I don’t like being in charge of other people because I don’t want to deal with discipline or delegation, and yet I love telling people what to do. Only if they ask me to, of course. When people are asked to describe themselves I feel like most of the time it’s not too hard a task to accomplish. “I’m really outgoing and I love the outdoors!” “I’m a shy introvert and I love playing video games.” Can you categorize yourself easily?

I think I’m an introvert, but I’m always happy when I’m socializing. I love the outdoors, but I also love to stay inside, play video games, or read and write. I think being successful in my career is really important, but so is maintaining all my close personal relationships. I hate driving and yet I love driving. I hate doing the dishes and yet I love doing the dishes. I am a walking contradiction.

How do you answer the question: Who are you?

I am Serena Joy Sinclair. I am a music teacher. I love to read, write, and cook. I have brown hair and eyes.

Do you notice the pattern? I can only tell you things that I do, things that are concrete.

But who am I really?

I am patient, but also easily frustrated. I am kind, but also judgmental. I am smart, but fooled easily. I am ambitious, but quickly lose motivation. I am all of the things and none of them. I am a contradiction to my own existence.

Who are you?

 

 

 

Thanks for joining me on the A to Z Challenge! I’m loving people’s comments with their own views on each topic. Very insightful and inspiring! Please, feel free to answer the questions I ask in my posts, I AM seeking your opinion!

Also, here’s last year’s challenge: C is for California

#AtoZChallenge, A is for Alone

Last year this challenge got me into the blogging world and I had intended to do it again this year, although I did not expect to be so busy! I’m going to try my best to complete it anyway! I’ve been going back and forth between theme ideas, and I think I’ve settled on one. In college, I had to write an essay that focused on my flaws. I titled it “Self Paradox”. I think at the time I really thought I was being honest, but now I read it and see where I was defending my actions even through the exposure. For this challenge, I would like to dig deeper and find something through each letter of the alphabet to address and challenge. Not to make myself feel bad or seek sympathy, but to grow through self-analysis and hopefully identify some flaws I can work on fixing.

I like being alone. I also hate being lonely. It is certainly a contradiction when I get invited to do something, decline, and then sit at home and feel like I’m being left out. I wouldn’t quite say I’m anti-social, because when I’m in social settings I do fine. I just find it really hard to get motivation to leave the house, especially for situations that are unfamiliar.

I used to get this feeling of loneliness all the time. It didn’t feel the same as just being sad. It felt more like some sort of void that came from within and gnawed at my soul like a creeping chill. I could feel it fester in the pit of my stomach and I hated and embraced it all at the same time. It was the feeling I could sink into and I thought it made me write honestly and freely. Thus, the pattern began where I would decline invitations to go out and then wish I was out with everybody else.

I still like being alone. I still decline a lot of invitations to hang out. I don’t get that same feeling of loneliness as much anymore. I think part of it is being busy, part of it is being in a stable relationship, and part of it is just growing up. I’d like to say I’m getting better at going out more often and I’ve taken responsibility for the fact that I know it makes me feel bad, but the truth is I haven’t.

Maybe by time this challenge is over I can say otherwise.

 

Here’s last year’s post if you’re interested! A is for Africa (and Accra)

 

 

One Year

It has been a year since I created this blog. I got the notification this morning, and it’s caused me to be a bit reflective today. A year ago I felt desperate. Trapped in a life that felt no longer like my own. Stuck down a path that I felt like I had willingly chosen, but not truly considered the consequences of my choices. I created this blog as a way to escape. Writing has always done this for me, allowed me my piece of escapism. It helps me sort through my emotions and come to reason with my over-analytic thoughts. Even though I have not been able to post consistently since my move to California, I still think starting this blog is one of the best life choices I have made. It started me down a road of my own choosing, and steered me in a healthier direction, towards life.

One year ago today, I felt like I HAD to share my writing about the struggles of having a parent with Alzheimer’s. I think about why this was, and I think it’s because I’m not able to communicate in conversation the way I am in words. What I really needed was a way to find my voice, and to feel like I was finally being heard and understood. I found that here through the WordPress community. I found people who read my words and connected with me, and shared their own stories that I could relate to. I read stories that brought tears to my eyes and was told I had done the same. I opened up this channel of human connection and interaction that I know I was lacking in my life away from the keyboard, and honestly, I think that has changed my whole life.

I got the courage to apply for my MFA in Creative Writing. This is something I have always dreamed of doing, but never thought I really could. The kind of dream where a child says, “I’m going to be a movie star when I grow up!” and you say, “Sure, kid, whatever you say.” That’s the kind of dream this was for me. Mostly, I was terrified that by applying I would find out what I always dreaded….I wouldn’t be good enough for a writing program. I got an email saying my documents were ready to be viewed and I literally started shaking. I read the first three words “We are delighted” and my eyes began to tear. I got accepted! I actually applied for two different programs, music and writing, and got accepted to both. This is honestly something I had not thought was possible. Something this, seemingly insignificant, blog helped me facilitate.

I have three jobs that I LOVE here in California, and my life is probably the busiest it has ever been. I cannot promise to post or read with any sort of consistency, but I will not give up this blog, and I will not forget the positive change it has brought about in my life. I would like the people I have interacted with to know that I still think of them and their blogs often. Something I read in a post or comment will still make me smile or be a topic of conversation. I cherish the bloggers I have crossed paths with time and time again, as they have been my teachers in this new domain. Thank you WordPress community, it has been an incredible year.

The Wind Must Be So Lonely

Restless wind

Shivers through trees,

Knocks on shuttered windows,

Begs for attention.

 

What does it cry out for

With no voice of its own?

It finds objects to imitate a scream,

Rustles pleas that soothe or bite.

 

Is it solitude that drives the madness?

Thrashing movements, flurried air.

Maybe it cries for a companion,

Sighing when there is no answer.

 

Separated by misunderstandings,

No sound, no sight to create.

Only able to force others

To howl and tremble.

 

The wind must be so lonely.