I challenge you to burn the machine.

I’m a teacher, right? Yeah. That’s right. I teach kids. Which is often considered hilarious because I kind of still look like a kid (even though my ever-multiplying grey hairs would disagree).

But I do. I teach high school kids.

I have a really unique opportunity with them, you know? Like I get to see and hear them in ways that few ever do. Sometimes they don’t know that I’m listening or looking. But I am.

And you know what I notice? Adults aren’t fair. A LOT. Like, as adults, we pass a lot of judgments and generalizations off on kids. We spend a lot of time telling them that their generation sucks or that they’re snowflakes for getting upset about something. We don’t ask them about themselves or what they’re going through or why they feel that way. We just decide how they are because we’re older and we can do that.

We were young once, too.

But when we were young, we wanted to be asked why we did things or why we felt a way. We wanted to be trusted. We didn’t like it when older people told us we sucked or that we were fragile because we took a stand for what we believed was right. It just made us rage.

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Young. Prettied up for our first real dance.

And here we are, perpetuating the cycle.

So recently, I’ve been seeing our kids catch a lot of crap for things that I think should be encouraged. I’ve been watching us old people (yeah, dude, we’re old already), tell young people that they should shut up and be quiet. That they shouldn’t question authority because the old people “said so” and that’s how it should be. That somehow speaking up about how the feel is “wrong and disrespectful”. And yeah, maybe the way kids say things sometimes could be…improved…but they’re kids for Christ’s sake. They don’t have the benefit of experience to know how to express themselves and they’re trying their best–shouldn’t we, as their “elders” or whatever, help them do that?

Dear Young Kid,

I think you’re doing a great job. I know exactly how hard it is to be a kid–you’re at a really weird place where you want to have a lot of responsibility and also no responsibility. You wanna be a grown up SO bad. You have a lot of feelings about the things going on around you but any time you express them, someone is telling you that they don’t matter because you’re “just a kid”.
Well you’re not.
And those feelings? They matter.
Because here’s the deal, kiddo, one day you won’t be so young anymore. You’ll be the old person writing this letter and you’re gonna have a choice about how you treat those youngins around you.
So I’ve got some advice for you: a challenge, if you will.
I challenge you to challenge things. Challenge the system. Ask questions. If you’re unsure about how something’s done, ask. I don’t care if the person you’re asking is annoyed or is rude to you. GET YOUR EXPLANATION. Don’t settle for “it’s just the way we’ve always done it” or “because I said so”.
Those are lazy answers from lazy people who don’t care enough about the question. Demand answers and if the answers don’t satisfy you, develop new ways.
Stand up for what’s right and trust your gut–if something FEELS wrong, it is. Don’t let the glamour of fun or popularity influence you to walk away from the right choice even if it’s the hard choice.
If you feel something, SAY something. So many of you walk alone in your lives. In your loneliness and fear. You think that no one understands you or what you’re going through. But so many do and they WANT to help you. Find the good ones and hold onto them, they’ll hold onto you back.
Do not be afraid to be wrong, but more importantly, do not be afraid to be told that you’re wrong. Sometimes, YOU will be the one with the outdated ideas and ways–AND THAT’S OKAY. But when someone brings you something new and different, consider it. Give them credit and say thank you. They are making you a BETTER person because you now know more than you did 5 minutes ago.
I challenge you to do things with love–all things. And love challenges. It challenges hate Challenges hearts. Challenges ideas. Love challenges because it wants things and people to reach their full potential. I challenge you to stand up for each other, stand with each other, encourage each other and know that you are the ones who have the capacity to change the hearts of the people around you.

I know that there are some old people (like me) who believe in you, have faith in you, and know that you’ll make yourself and everybody proud.

So let’s do that.

Love,
An Old Person

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Senior Year, 2006. New York. Yeah dude, we were freakin’ SENIORS doing this. But we still wanted to be taken seriously.

Thankful Wednesday: 5/15/13

I might be losing my mind. I swear, today I feel incredibly scattered and a little overwhelmed. And yet, I managed to remember that today is Thankful Wednesday and we must always, always, always find things to be thankful for.

Things I am thankful for today:
1. Flights from New York to New Orleans
2. Sisters
3. Last days of school
4. My health

In just over 24 hours, a flight from New York to New Orleans will be bringing one of my very best friends, Kristie, to see me. She is a badass actor getting her MFA from Columbia. She is way smart and my same brand of awkward. It has been incredibly hard having her so far away because sometimes (especially in college) it feels like she is the only one who understands what the shiz I’m talking about. So thankful that some air planning genius decided to make a pathway for her to get to me.

This is something called The Crescent Route that I just found out about. Clearly it was developed specifically for Kristie to make it to me. Obvs.

I am way thankful for my sister, Celina. I get to visit her in less than a week and she’s only the best sister ever. Way better than yours, probably (no offense, it’s just true). In fact, I’d bet bottoms to burpees that my sister could beat your sister up. She is wildly supportive and she has the best friends. I cannot wait to see her, my sweet niece and nephew and my awesome brother-in-law. We plan on having an excruciatingly good time with bbq and (paleo) drinks.

Probably us. Sisters helping sisters since 1987.

I think all teachers are probably thankful that the last days of school are upon us. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train, y’all! I hope everyone is as amped as I am, have gotten your SLTs in (unless you don’t have SLTs…in which case, we’re not friends), and have your finals ready to be taken and done. Go us!


My health. I am so thankful for my health. Even though this past month has been really rough and I’ve been living off of little to no sleep, I am really thankful that (so far) I’ve been able to stave off sickness, especially working in a school full of kids that are constantly sick. I truly believe that getting in shape and changing what I eat has made all the difference in improving my immune system.


Monday’s Saturday Shakedown

I meant to post this over the weekend. But didn’t. 

And it’s better that way because, even though it’s Monday, I can relive the weekend through this post and all of a sudden, Monday got a whole lot better.

So here we go! 

Friday night:

I attended my first high school graduation since I graduated way back in the olden days. Who knew they were so fun when you’re not the one graduating? It also helped that I was in really good company. Also, I saw a lot of questionable shoe choices…ladies, if you’re graduating, please make sure that you wear a closed heel, closed toe pump to walk across that stage. I know, the open toe wedges and stripper heels are so cute, which is why you should wear them to the afterparty, yo. 
I also got to meet that sweet girl up there. Her name is Raylynn and we got to hang out alllll night. She is the least shy child I’ve ever met. She walked right up to me, asked, “what’s your name?” and then held her arms out to be picked up. Safe to say Raylynn and I go together like cheese and egg noodles.

Saturday:
Most of you know that one of my BFFs, April is getting married in a month (HOLY CRAP. A MONTH) and so naturally, her bridal party is cray cray excited for her. This weekend, we headed out out to Lafayette to have a bridal party barbeque n’ shiz.

So first we headed to Legends. Because what’s a good bachelorette hang out day if we’re not drinking? We discussed what we’re wearing for the actual bachelorette weekend, had a creepy guy choose the music on the jukebox, and ran down our agenda for that day. We also got some CUTE shirts ordered from Ruffles With Love for the bachelorette weekend. New Orleans, look out for us in June!

Then, of course, we needed food for the BBQ. Lindsey warned me before hand that she has the best meat market on the planet and that I should prepare myself…little did I know how right she was.

Did I die and go to heaven? I swear to God, I was ELATED. Just looking at the pictures is making my mouth water all over again.

Of course, we had bitchin’ BBQ and I also picked up some okra chips while at NUNU’s. What are okra chips? Holy awesomeness, Batman, is what they are. They’re basically dried okra and they’re DIVINE. I also got to nap and snuggle with this sweet boy, Master Yoda. Yes, he is hairless and he is even more adorable for it.


Last things last, I came home and did pretty much nothing Sunday except…package my food! So glad I did. Last week was rough scrambling at the last minute.

I know, it doesn’t look like a lot, but I took this photo midway through my packaging process. I swear I added more. You’ll also notice that I burned my carrots a little bit. I’ll say that this is because I completely forgot I even had the carrots in the oven. Way to go me. Thankfully, I like the burnt taste, so I’ll live. 

That’s all I’ve got! Super fun weekend and only SIX more days of school. The countdown begins (just kidding. I’ve been counting down since Christmas). 

If you haven’t yet, make sure you head over to the Giveaway post and enter to win a free LatitudeGearRX shirt! The raffle closes soon!

I hope y’alls Monday is completely great. I can’t wait to tell y’all about what we’re doing in the box today! What did your weekend look like?
Linking up with:

Thankful Wednesday: 5/8/13

Another week, another Wednesday.
More things to be thankful for!

So things I’m especially thankful for:
1. Teacher Appreciation Week
2. Kids that “get it”
3. Accidentally overpaying bills
4. Other -awesome- blogs
5. You people

It’s teacher appreciation week. Who knew? Not this girl. This week, I pretty much felt just as underappreciated as always…UNTIL I was presented with a glorious candy bouquet and super sweet card (which was in my favorite colors). Even though I can’t eat the candy (because it’s clearly day #3 of #aceandsteph’s60daykickasschallenge) it was a super thoughtful thing to do that completely made my day. I also had a student bring me a teachers appreciation day probiotic cleanse drink because “she and her mama baked brownies for all the other teachers but she knows I don’t eat them, so they got me this instead.” She also added, “it’s sugar free and gluten free!” I am way thankful that I have students that are sweet enough to do that kind of thing.


Thankful today for kids that “get it”. Too often, I encounter kids (and adults) that just don’t get it! They don’t see the value of hard work and effort. SO thankful for this kid, from Baton Rouge’s own McKinley High who understands that a teacher-any kind of teacher-can only give you so much. It’s up to you to do something with what anyone gives you and make it great. The only thing I’m sad about is that this clearly awesome kid has chosen to change his career. Kids need more kids like you, D’Marqus.


I got my water bill today. And it was ($24.00). I was confused. I was like, “why are there parenthesis around the number?” and, “why is my bill so low?” So naturally, when I don’t know the answer to a question, I googled it. Turns out, after a review of my account, I overpaid my water bill last month. Substantially. How did I do it? I don’t know. Do I care? Hell no. NO WATER BILL PAYMENTS FOR ME THIS MONTH!

Other (awesome) blogs. Like pimpin’, bloggin’ ain’t easy. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure this shiz out. Like, what’s a button? HTML Code? A link up? WTF. But, by reading other blogs, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and I get to read other cool stuff, too. So I’m super thankful for the awesome people that started bloggin’ before me so they could pave the way…’n’ shit. Some of them are fitness bloggers, some are DIY, some are inspiring, some are just funny as f-word. Feel free to click on their buttons below and check ’em out. 


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The Daily Tay


Last thing, but definitely most important, I am thankful for people that have my back no matter what. Whether it’s having my back with my dieting (hey, steph!), encouraging me in the gym, or being right along side me when I’m in a fight (I wish this were just a hypothetical situation), I am so thankful for anyone who cares about me or my story enough to help me. Through this journey I have made a lot of friends and I have lost a lot of “friends”. Some of my best friends now, I have never met, and yet they manage to encourage and support me in my (sometimes seemingly aimless) journey. Thank you to every person who ever believed in me, shared my story with friends, did a giveaway with me, or just dropped me a note to tell me that you appreciate me. It means a lot more to me than you can possibly know and more than I can possibly express (mainly because my vocabulary is limited. I need to read more. I’m getting more dumb as days pass with no additional reading.)

What are y’all thankful for today?
(ps: if you can’t think of anything to be thankful for off top, just know that there’s a giveaway starting today on here. GET SO EXCITED.)

Started at the bottom now I’m…still at the bottom

So I’m a high school teacher, right?
And allllllllll day long I hear my kids saying things like, “I can’t wait to get out of high school and be on my own.” 
“I’m grown.”
“When I graduate, I’m gonna do whatever I want.”
Or, my favorite:
“Once I’m 18, I’m gonna have an awesome job that’s gonna pay for everything. My own car, my own house, my own everything. I’m not gonna listen to nobody and I’ma be my own boss. Can’t nobody tell me what to do. Started from the bottom, now I’m here, type shit.” (please note ALL the double negatives in this statement. This is really my life. This is what I have to listen to. What’s kept me from committing suicide and ending it all? I have no idea. Also note the Drake reference in everyday conversation. Started from the bottom and you’re probably going to hang out there for a while.)


blah. blah. blah.
good one, kid. 

Me, being me, I’m like, “DON’T DO IT! STAY IN SCHOOL AS LONG AS YOU CAN. LIFE SUCKS AFTER THIS, I SWEAR.”

no one ever believes the teacher, yo.
believe me. I’m smart. I know shit.
And I KNOW that shit was way better before I was a grown up.

I don’t care what anyone says: being grown up sucks. 
My whole life, I was all, “I can’t wait to get out of school and be on my own.” 
And then I got on my own and became enslaved to jobs, taxes, and bills. 
KIDDING ME!?!
Did I really used to hope for this? I did.

These kids are scratching at the walls trying to be “grown” and I’m all over here trying to make forts out of blankets again.

Shit grown ups really  say:

I don’t even have a job in my field.
Why did I even need that degree?
I gotta go to bed, I have work in the morning.
Jean day on Friday. FINALLY!
Raising taxes? WHAT THE F*CK?
So my premiums went up and my coverage went down?
What’s a 401K?
I really regret this tattoo now.
Why is the coffee gone?
DAMMIT! I put my name on my lunch and someone took it anyway!
I slept in today. All the way to 7 am.
I want to take off, but my paid vacation ran out 3 months ago.
My checking account balance is $3 for the next 2 weeks.
I’d love to go to happy hour, but I need a nap.
I hate everyone.
Can I go back to school?
What do you mean I have to wear pantyhose?
Where’s the rest of the coffee?
My gas light is on…I think I can make it home. 
Why did I think I was fat in high school?
Work is making me eat my feelings.
Kids are so weird these days.
Why does my unlimited data plan cost so much?
Wait, there are two separate charges for water AND sewer?
Seriously, what’s a 401K?
Sallie Mae is blowing up my phone right now.
I wanna try new xyz workout but it’s so expensive and I’m always so tired.
I like my friends. But I like my bed more.
Who knew insurance was so expensive?
What do you mean, “file my taxes”?
If I’m gonna get through this, I need another bottle of wine.
What does “going ham” mean? Ham is a lunchmeat.
WHY IS THERE NO COFFEE?
I try my best to be nice to people…just kidding. I don’t care about other people’s feelings.
Dammit. I knew I should have been an engineer.
What the hell am I going to do with a liberal arts degree?
I’m only gonna work at {insert retail chain here} until I can find a job in my field.
Is it okay to live with your parents after 25?
What about after 30?
College was so awesome. Why did we ever leave?
Can I have a raise?
Why can’t I have a raise?
Take the degree back, Sallie Mae! I’m not using the damn thing anyway.



On a fitness note: day 2 of #AceAndSteph’s60DayKickAssChallenge and I pretty much want to fight everyone and everything. Especially this bitchass flower pot that’s been eyeing me. YEAH, I SEE YOU, FLOWERS.

I may have just lost it today. My bad.


Dear you, Love, A former fat girl

As a teacher, my kiddos think it’s completely ridic that I live a (fairly) normal life outside the classroom. I swear, they think that I live in this little classroom and never leave. God forbid they see me at wal-mart doing something normal (like buying DVDs) or maybe something not so normal (like buying 4 gallons of almond milk).

But I share stuff about my real life with them and they share stuff with me. You know, we get each other. Kind of. 

Some kiddos read my blog.
Some kiddos are fans on my facebook page.
Some kiddos follow the blog instagram.
All of which, I feel like, are amazeballs.

So it’s not all that unusual for students to ask me for fitness/health/life advice. And I’ll give it. Anything to help them out. 

I had one student in particular come ask me for advice about last week. She is struggling with her weight and her doctor has told her that her current weight is having a pretty negative effect on her health. So she came to me for some guidance and I gave her a starting point, not really knowing if she would really take my advice to heart.

This week, everyday after school, I have seen this girl working her ASS off at the school. She doesn’t have access to a gym, so she’s made our school her personal gymnasium. She’s been using our hallways to run sprints with sets of squats at the end of each sprint. Yesterday, I caught her doing jumping squats, push ups, and handstand holds. Sweating her ass off. Breathing so hard. And keeping on. When she sees me, she pauses–just briefly enough–to say “hey, Miss H!” and keep moving.

TOTES RIDIC. I am so incredibly proud of her.

Of course, I can’t just tell her to her face, because she’s a high school girl and she’s way too cool for that, but I know for a fact she reads this stuff I write. And I know there are plenty of other people who have decided to make a lifestyle change and read this stuff, too. 

So if you’re pushing yourself to be better, this is for you.

Dear you,

You’re pretty much a badass and I am so proud of you. I know starting anything new can be way scary and suck–real bad. But you’re doing it. It’s hard. It sucks to be out of breath, feel like your lungs are on fire, be tired, and have your mind screaming at you to stop. It sucks to change your diet and be tempted by all those awesome tasting, terrible for your health things. I know. I’ve been there. 
But you’re making this happen. You’re taking care of yourself. Because you’re the only you that you’ve got. Your mind is going to quit on you a thousand times before your body will. So show your mind who’s boss. People are going to criticize you. They’re going to tempt you. They’re going to underestimate you. They’re weak. You aren’t. You don’t make excuses because excuses don’t make shit happen. And you are determined to make shit happen. 
From a former fat girl, you can do this shit. You are bigger and better than this challenge. And you’re going to be better for it. Keep it up. Keep moving, watch those clothing sizes drop and watch the numbers on your weights go up. 

You got this.

Love,
Ace

I get that they aren’t the best photos, but I make changes. You can, too. Left: LSU v. Arkansas game-mid beer pong. circa 2007 Right: Hurricane Isaac, August 2012.