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.

15 Things I learned after college

It’s the Monday after Graduation Weekend!! A ton of my friends and former students are graduating from all kinds of programs, high schools, colleges, and graduate programs.

I am so proud.

I am very lucky to have graduated college, uh, a while ago and before going back to graduate school, I got to experience the real world for awhile. And no, I don’t mean the “I’m just working a part time while I study for [insert entrance exam to graduate program here] test so I can go to graduate school.”

When I finished undergrad I had ZERO intention of ever going back. So I jumped into the real world and was like, “HI! HERE I AM!”

Here are valuable things I learned after college:

1. You might not have a job in your field when you graduate. And if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world.



2. Even though you have a degree, you might have to work 2 (or more) jobs to make ends meet. This is also not the end of the world, but it can be really tiring.

3. You canNOT go 1:1 on bud lights and shots of fireball anymore. YOU. JUST. CAN’T.


4. Your bosses don’t care about how bad traffic was, how you’re having a bad hair day, or how your quads just could not fit in any of your slacks this morning. They only care about the money you’re wasting them by being late to work today. Leave the house early. Like, early, early.

5. Graduating from college makes you realize that, in real life, your friends are going to understand your need to take a damn nap on a Friday night instead of going to free drinks at Fred’s. Your very best friends will take a nap with you.

6. Most Some Friday nights are better spent on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee (the cheapest books come from goodwill. $0.25 for a best seller?! Best. News. Ever.).

7. Speaking of coffee, drink it. All the time. For the sake of everyone around you.


8. DO NOT pay your 6 month auto insurance all at one time on your credit card. Don’t. You’re not rich enough for that.

9. Guys suck. But you can also be really irritable and irascible. And wildly infuriating. Cut them some slack.

10. That being said: don’t put up with people’s bullshit either. They can’t bullshit a bullshitter. That’s not how things work around here.

11. Just like in college, Ramen is totally acceptable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now that you have a real job, drain the water out and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it and eat it as a side next to chicken or something. You’re fancy now. (Also, dry ramen all crumbled up in scrambled eggs is incredible. Don’t think about it, just do it.)

12. I can almost guarantee that despite having a real job, you’re still broke. Sorry. 

13. It’s okay to change what you wanna be when you grow up. Change it every 5 years. Change it every year. Or don’t change it at all. 

14. Making questionable decisions about your love life happens. Learn from it and let it go. 

15. You don’t know what you’re actually doing with your life. That’s okay. Welcome to the club. No one else does, either.


And there you have it. Go out. Get drunk. Do stupid things. Do smart things. Learn to wake up at 7 am with a hangover to go your ass to work. Change your mind. Change your whole world.

Do shit! 
Congratulations, Class of 2014!


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.