Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

It FEELS like a lot.

I’ve realized lately it feels as if my anxiety is winning.

I know it’s not, but it FEELS like it is.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Why does it feel for every five steps I move forward the sucker punch takes me back ten?

Why does it feel as if I can do 9 things right but the 10th time puts me underwater?

And I’m wonder do you feel the same?

Do you feel as if you are unable to get ahead or celebrate the small victories?

Do your joys that you experience feel like things you can’t share because everyone around you feels like they are losing battles?

Are you the friend that’s losing a battle?

I’ve had a few friends have some really exciting things happen over the last week and it makes me PUMPED when they share it.

Because we can’t find celebration for ourselves these days unless we see celebration.

We can’t figure out how to find joy and hope unless we see it.

There is a shouting match happening in the world right now. 

And it’s exhausting.

It’s like with my tiny humans. If I have a staff who tries to just get louder to shout over the kids who are being loud I let them know it doesn’t work.

And it’s gonna drive you absolutely insane.

I had something happening the other day where there was loud chaos, no one could pick a place to play, I was just trying to clean up and I realized me cleaning up the mess wasn’t helping.

So, I used my loud teacher voice and stated “I AM GOING TO READ THIS SPOOOOOOKY BOOK” (my tiny humans are all about spooky books right now).

I sat on the floor of my library and at first just started leafing through the book.

Then one tiny human came over and I started reading it.

By the end of the story I had 7 of my ten kids in the library. 

Then we finished the book and I re-asked them where they wanted to play and they chose an area, I pulled out some new toys and we went back about our day.

There are a lot of things that need to be said right now (#govote). There is a lot of energy in the air that isn’t helpful.

There is a lot of the inability to feel as if we aren’t allowed to be joyful.

But damn, do we need it.

And joy isn’t easy.

And it sometimes feels like succumbing to anxiety is easier.

But sometimes we have to stop yelling at the chaos and we have to sit down and read a spooky book and let the chaos settle.

And yes, sometimes we have to fight.

I think right now we are more prone to fight.

I know I am.

If I don’t fight I feel like my body might just give up on me.

But I also know the more that I hear others celebration and joy I get more ability to fight.

I think we’ve stopped sharing joy because it feels wrong.

I think I’ve started feeling like anxiety is winning because it feels like celebration is losing.

It feels like we are shouting at the chaos when instead we just need to tell a story. It can be someone else’s story or even a spooooooky story. 

Stories don’t have to be celebratory but the more we speak out our own darkness the more it isn’t able to stay because we keep shining light on it. 

So, what I want you to do is (if you’ve gotten to the bottom of these words) to share a joy, a celebration, something exciting that has happened this week no matter how small it seems to you.

And lastly: if it feels like anxiety is winning, if depression and darkness is winning- I get you and also,

No, it’s not.

I can promise you that right now.

You are more than it.

It’s still valid, it’s there- but it’s not winning.

Uncategorized

But, I am a teacher.

Almost two years ago now I wrote a piece called “Don’t call it daycare”. It outlined my day, everything I do and how I am in fact a teacher.

This year, over the course of this pandemic, I’ve been told by all the world outside of my little classroom bubble a lot of mixed messages.

My center has been open the entirety of 2020. Our class sizes have ebbed and flowed, our bleach usage has gone up and we had a glorious season of time where we had turkey burgers and chicken nuggets at lunch.

We’ve been told we’re essential, we’ve been told we’re needed, we’ve been told they couldn’t do it without us.

We’ve been told to try to social distance three-year olds and to not hug them when they fall. We’ve been wearing cloth masks (that I now own about 12-15 of) and doing circle time, singing songs and telling stories.

We’ve watched parents cry before they pick up their kids, we’ve seen kids have tantrums they haven’t ever had, and we’ve missed out on the lives of those who haven’t come back.

But then we were told we were germ factories, we were told we weren’t teachers, we shouldn’t have opinions, we were called daycare over and over.

And then teachers didn’t want to come back to school without all the proper PPE (which rightly so), but then I saw post after post about “daycares” being open so why couldn’t schools.

And more than I ever have in my life, I’ve been told that I am not a teacher.

We’ve been doing a really damn hard thing since March.

And I’m not at all disregarding the hard things K-12 teachers have been doing. I’ve sent venmo’s to friends who are teachers and donated from their amazon lists and sent them coffee cards.

What I am saying is that I applied for a new job in July and was so excited to no longer in be in a profession where I felt so underappreciated by the outside world.

And when they came back after a preliminary phone interview and said thanks but no thanks, I was crushed.

I was crushed for a lot of reasons: it was a writing job that used my child development knowledge, it was remote, and, in all honesty, it would have been a needed change.

But apparently it wasn’t where my 2020 story was supposed to go.

I am so grateful that in the story of 2020 in the lives of so many of my families I will have a bookmarked spot. As hard as it has been, mostly mental health wise, I know that I am a human that can do hard things like I did and am doing and that I am a constant stability in the lives of my tiny humans. I am grateful for our families and for my boss and that we’ve done this together to the best of our abilities as we too have been building the plane as we flew it.

But the inability to feel as if I am a teacher is really damn hard. To feel that I don’t have a voice regarding being a teacher and in feeling like what I do isn’t enough.

I’m not writing all of this to get accolades or to blame.

I’m writing it because it makes me sad, angry and everything emotion in between.

I’m writing it because I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And I’m writing it because early learning teachers deserve better.

That’s all.

Honest, hope is a verb

I am not going to change the world

I am only one human.

I am not going to change the world.

The words I write via Instagram or Facebook or twitter maybe really reach 100 people. I do not have a book deal.

My job does not involve writing.

My words, these days specifically, feel like they fall pretty damn short.

I haven’t felt over the past five months that I should write because when I do my words are filled with anger.

But, when it comes down to it- I am angry.

I am angry because I lack the ability to communicate the experience I am having. I am in the midst of my walk up hill both ways in the snow story and in all honesty I’d rather just walk up hill both ways in the snow.

I am angry because it feels like I’m living through a season of life where I’m an essential, but also looked down on. Where my anxiety is causing me to hold on to every single emotion and my ability to feel for others has caused me to short circuit.

I am angry because I feel like nothing I do is actually helping.

I am angry because people keep telling me how to do my job that have never done my job.

I am angry because the fact I don’t have the appropriate degree causes me to fall through the cracks.

And I am angry because so many people have an opinion about what I do.

I am angry because it helps me feel.

And I am tired.

And that’s why I’m not writing.

I got excited about something a couple weeks ago. The emotion was welcome and needed. The exciting thing didn’t pan out and then I found myself lacking again.

But, a friend told me the other day that she though I should right this weekend- so I thought I’d try.

So, that’s why I am writing.

Because, I know for a fact, I’m not the only one feeling a cluster of emotions and also the inability to feel them.

I’m not the only who does something that causes them to smile (like listening to live music last night) and forgot that smiling shouldn’t have been cancelled.

I know I’m not the only one who is tired- but doesn’t feel allowed to say it.

I know I’m not the only that needs to remember that emotions are good because it reminds us that we are human.

 That anger reminds us of passion.

That tiredness reminds us to rest.

That the tears that are falling from my face in this moment reminds me that being a human who puts herself out there so that other know they aren’t alone is something important to me.

I am not going to change the world.

But, I can change MY world.

My audience isn’t immense.

But it’s filled with people I care about or care for.

I am only one human.

I am Meg.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, it takes a village

We are stronger.

2020 has quickly become the year that I don’t write when I should.

Today, after church, I had pulled our couch covers off of both of our couches because they desperately needed a wash. I was going to wait to vacuum the floor til after I reput the couch covers back on (we have molting couches) but, instead I sang a little ditty.
“Sometimes I clean to hide from my emotions…”
Whoops.

I cleaned, I made lunch, I laid in bed scrolling tiktok. I took a nap. I woke up foggy and cloudy. I ordered dinner and then decided to just sit at my computer and stop running from the words that were attempting to topple out of my brain.

I’ve hinted at this a couple of times in the few blogs I’ve written this year, but I’ve basically been crippled by anxiety on multiple occasions in the past four months.

It’s ebbed and flowed. It’s caused me to stay in bed and hide, or not hang out with the small group of humans that I’ve surrounded myself with.

It’s caused me to cry a lot.

Talking about and posting about anxiety in the way that I want to feels like putting myself out there in a way that feels like people are going to worry- they don’t need too.

I think talking about anxiety and the causes of it and how it feels is so incredibly important.

And it’s so different for everyone.

Just because I go to work every day and function and have a smile on my face doesn’t mean I’m not a high functioning basket case of anxiety. Just because I show up doesn’t mean my skin isn’t crawling or that I physically have to force myself to stay present for the kiddos in my room. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to run into my storage closet at work and rip off my mask.

It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes try not to fall asleep because then I have to wake up again and keep going.

I’m a person who shows up for other people.
But sometimes, I realize that is something I just can’t do.

The past few weeks were exceptional hard. I’ve been overcome with a lot of sadness for my camp kids. I took a few days off because I had to use vacation time and it was really hard and I spent any moment alone in tears.

And in the week leading up to July 4th, I just battled daily voices in my head telling me I was failing or no enough or not worth it and then to add to that I had some really haunting memories crawl out from under the bed.
It just made me so damn tired.

I realized when I woke up on the 4th of July, I didn’t want to go to the small barbeque I was invited too, I didn’t want to people.
My heart hurt.

I think I was tired from the anxiety, I was tired from the sadness.
I was tired of all the memories that come up around the weekend of July 4th.
So I stayed home.
And that was a good choice.

I cried I slept, I watched food network.
I took a lot of deep breathes.

I’ve come a long way in my journey through dealing with and having anxiety.
This journey started about 11 years ago. It involved hitting rock bottom, not knowing what the hell was wrong with me, going into therapy and getting on incredibly strong antidepressants. It involved weeks of not sleeping and literally living in life in fear of being a burden or not doing something correctly.
I literally stopped going to work. I was crippled by darkness and anxiety. The voice inside my head was winning whatever game it was playing.

My journey included grappling with suicidal thoughts and sobbing on the phone to my therapist in a parking lot and terrifying myself in the process.

I came to the understanding that my brain just was a little out of wack and the meds I was on needed time to settle.
The hope in my life wasn’t gone- it was just very dim.

2020 is not 2009.
But 2020 is a game of its own.
I’m stronger now and honestly just more stubborn.
I have facts in my head that I can list through when I’m feeling especially out of wack.
And I live in a lot less shame from on me from those around me that say my anxiety is because I’m doing something wrong or I’m not “close enough to God” (yes, that’s a thing).
I’m less prone to listen to someone who says my anxiety is shameful.

If I’m being honest, in 2020 my anxiety has shown me how damn far I’ve come.
It’s showed me I can keep moving forward.
It’s reminded me that I can listen to my body and know when I need to stop or when stopping would be detrimental.
It’s reminded me that crying is ok.

I want to remind you that just like me, you’ve probably come a lot farther than you think you have.
Just like me, you’ve gotten stronger.
And just like me, it’s ok that your battle isn’t over.

I wanted to sit here and write these words and admit to the sadness and the thoughts the run through my head sometimes because I wanted you to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of when you feel like you aren’t winning the battle with those things.

And honestly, the world is not making it easy for those of us who have feel as if they have no control over the balance in our brain spaces.

You’re doing better than you think you are.

I am doing better than I think I am.

Let’s keep fucking going.

Honest, I choose champagne, ramblings, tiny human teacher

a simple update

Once every season I send out a newsletter to my preschool families. Just a few categories about what’s going on in our classroom. Learning, working on, loving, what’s up ahead and reminders (which 9/10 is to clean out their kiddos art folders.) It’s an easy way for me to communicate and make sure that I cover all the bases.

Some newsletters are a little longer, some are one sentence per category.
While I was cleaning the bathroom today, I started to think about the week and what was going to be new and what was going to be happening in my life.
So, in order to organize my life and thoughts here is a newsletter update on Meg in the season of whatever the hell this is.

What I am learning:
Woof. With my preschoolers, this is always easy. It’s always the easiest thing to write, and I have pictures and images in my head of what they are doing each day.
For me? It’s kind of a blur. Right now I think one of the big things I’m currently learning is a lesson to still believe in myself, a lesson to slow down while I am still going and I’m trying to learn that I am not less of myself.
I’m learning that my friends and I are rule followers.
I’m learning that old anxieties can come back even though they haven’t been around in years. I’m learning that I’m much more passionate about things then I thought I was.
I’m learning that I love the routine of cleaning and cooking (even the simplest of meals).
I’m learning that I really miss hugs.

What I am working on:
I’m working on getting 8 hours of sleep.
I’m working on brushing off the shame of not accomplishing things. And I’m working on being proud when I do. I’m working on making my room a place of peace.
I’m working on not feeling guilty for feeling like a horrible friend. I’m working on being more reflective.
I’m working on playing more with the tiny humans.
I’m working on being ok with tears.
And also, I’m just…working.

What I am loving:
Weekly Antler Baking deliveries.
Rest.
Talking to people I haven’t in awhile.
I’m loving my daily conversations with whomever is manning “I Wana Moka” when I get my afternoon red bull spritzer.
I’m loving people waving.
I’m loving my shower I take when I get home every night that gives me space to breathe.

What is up ahead:
I have no idea. And I think, at this moment, that’s ok.

Reminders:
You’re doing just fine. I think I’m desperate for you to know that. It’s so very rare that we come upon things in life that no one has any idea how you’re feeling. There are events and moments with similar experiences but now, we are literally living this step by step together. And even in that, we are all having such different experiences.
People that are working 40+ hours a week, people who have kids, people who live along. We are all walking forward in such different ways.
AND THAT’S OK.
We all have ups and downs.

This morning I got teary-eyed at the thought of missing some friends I haven’t seen in a month. I’ve been grieving the ability to visit and meet babies who have been born.
Today would have been our closing show of the Music Man, but instead, I cleaned the bathroom.

We just have to keep fucking going.
However, that looks.
You’ve got this. You do.
With love,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village, ramblings

How do you hope?

I’ve been contemplating these words I’m going to write since Friday.
It’s been a hard thought process because I feel like they are uncharacteristic of me, but in the same breath feel very tangible and real to me. And weirdly important.

On Friday (which mind you, I had to scroll through and see if it was indeed Friday, because who knows what day it is), Katie, Victoria and I were texting, as we do, and Victoria said the following phrase which struck something in me.
She said, “because hope feels dangerous”.

And as I’ve been thinking about that phrase and talking it through, I’ve come to truly realize that hope is a word that fits most parts of speech.
In this, the word hope feels like a descriptive word. And the word it’s describing is danger.

Now, don’t stop reading, I know that feels weird. It sounds like I’m fearful and hesitant to expect hope to be good. And in some ways I am. But I am also someone who adamantly believes that peace is not easy and doesn’t necessarily feel “good”. It just is that: peace.

I guess I should explain a little more. Even as I think about typing the words I’m writing I can hear the rebuttal or the explanations of what I am doing to make hope feel this way, but I need you to know that even when hope feels dangerous I am trying my damnest to walk in dangerous hope.

Hope feels dangerous because the other shoe keeps dropping. My floor is littered with them. Now, that sounds defeatest and victim I realize. But, what feels more tangible to me is seeing that something bad won’t maybe happen, it probably will. In my life, in the lives of my friends.

That’s not saying I don’t see the big, beautiful good things in my life, I do. If I didn’t I would absolutely without a doubt in my mind, be laying in my bed in darkness right now, not sitting in a bright room. I wouldn’t have tears rolling down my face thinking about how much my crew has stepped up for each other and watched out for each other.

If I didn’t see the beautiful, good things I wouldn’t be able to function at work right now with the anxiety I feel.

Because I’ve been there before and I know what it’s like to live without hope.

Right now though, I’m not living in bright shiny hope. I’m not living in the hope that the world will be bright and shiny and I’ll get everything I want.

I’m living in a hope that hurts a little. I’m living in a hope that I hold onto with tears running down my face. I walk to work every day, a little tense, but knowing that even without trying I can be hope to some.

I’ve realized over the last two years, hope is not easy.

I didn’t learn about this hope in Sunday school, I didn’t teach it in Sunday school. I didn’t learn about this hope in Bible classes. I wasn’t able to see this hope around the world because I hadn’t lived in this version of it.

Hope to me used to be all or nothing.

Hope was never scary.

But, like my lovely work wife said, hope feels dangerous.

It’s dangerous because choosing to hope, with the knowledge that it probably won’t look like what you thought.

Choosing to hope anyway, is choosing to walk through a season knowing that you won’t come out of it the same.

I know, I know, that’s literally any season ever.

But right now, feels monumental. And it feels more unknown than anything I’ve personally walked through.

Hope feels dangerous because I really don’t know what I’m putting my hope in. And as I typed that the hymn lyric “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”.

And once again I KNOW.
HOPE CAN STILL BE HARD.
HOPE CAN STILL FEEL UNKNOWN.

I think right now I am holding on to the dangerous feeling hope for myself and giving the hope that’s light to my tiny humans because in all honesty they need and deserve it.

I am holding on to dangerous hope because I believe it will teach me to be able to hold onto the lighthearted hope again.

I’m holding on to dangerous hope because in all reality out of everything flying around it’s the one I can grab.

I think I wanted to write these words, push back or not because they struck such a chord in me that I knew they were important.

I think I wanted to write these words because I wanted to vocalize that even though hope might feel dangerous and even scary and wrong, it doesn’t make you any less than.

I wanted to write these words even though I’ve literally been crying the entire time writing them because I am not less than or less of myself or less of someone who believes in God.

It does not make me less than.

Whatever you feel, however you are coping, whatever feels like or doesn’t feel like doesn’t make you less than.

But what I want to ask is that you write it down. You need tell someone. You need to speak it out loud.

You name things you don’t need and toss them out.

And however this looks, please for the love of everything, find some way to show up each day. However, that make may look.

Dear world,
My name is Meghan.
I miss my people more than I can even say.
I am more tired working with 6 kids than 15.
I am grieving things that may never happen.
And hope feels dangerous.
But I am going to try to hope anyway.
And keep fucking going.
Sincerely,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, tiny human teacher

I didn’t want to write this

I don’t really know where to start.
It feels like a little over a week ago the world started crashing down. And it feels as if its been at least 3 weeks since then.
I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t wanted to look for hope. Not because I didn’t want it but because I am tired.

And I specifically haven’t wanted to write because what I am feeling and going through seems petty in the big picture. BUT what would happen if we all chose to share how we are actually doing?

So, I’m gonna take a deep breath and try.

I’ve been trying to eek out some hope and positivity each day- especially at work. Yes, I’m still going to work each day, caring for tiny humans. But, that’s another story for another day.

A little over a week ago on a Thursday, we found out that our production of the Music Man had been canceled. We joined so many shows across the globe who have been working for months on end to share some joy and love and theater with the world.

We had a lot of tears that night. My two besties and I curled up on the couch after all working that day and we cried. We cried for the Saturdays spent rehearsing, for the moments we wouldn’t get. We cried for the parts of ourselves that felt dead and for what theater had done for all of our mental health.

At some point in all of our tears, I called my mom to tell her.

And the following is what I want to share with you guys.

I found out that my parents, who live in California, who don’t fly or really travel much were going to start driving on Thursday the 26th to be in Mount Vernon for the Saturday night showing of Music Man.
(I’m getting teary-eyed right now thinking about it).

For those that know my mom, you know that this is a huge, huge thing for her.
On the phone that night my mom told me she was doing this for two reasons:
1. She’d never missed a show I’d been in so she wasn’t going to start now.
2. She wanted to come to Washington to prove to me I could do anything.

My mom was going to do a very hard thing for me to prove to me that I could do anything.
I can’t confirm or deny that all of the baeby sharks were crying at this moment.
But right now, even with tears streaming down my face, because I can cry on the weekends, is that we are going through a hard thing.

And please don’t comment that we’ll be fine. We will. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. We are allowed to say things aren’t ok. That we aren’t ok.
That the world feels painful.

But!

We are going through a hard thing and it’s going to prove to ourselves that we can do anything.
What are those anythings?

Some of them are small. It could be being more kind, or checking in on a neighbor. It could be staying put when your anxiety keeps you moving.
Some are big. To some parents homeschooling is hard. To some working at home without human interaction is hard.
The list goes on and on and on.

My anxiety is larger than life right now. It’s amped up and tangible. I am watching movies with my phone upstairs, I’m cleaning and I’m leaving my window open. I’m giving grace to myself for showers and naps and tears.

The world is a lot right now.

But I want to leave you with the words from Patt Reeve again slightly changed, who was going to come to watch a play two states away.

We are doing hard things right now to prove to ourselves we can do hard things.

And if your hard thing is getting out of bed right now. That’s ok.

Get out of bed and take deep breathes.

Shoot me texts if you actually know me or find me on Instagram @megmagnolia or just comment with what your hard thing is right now.

You got this.

Keep fucking going, however that looks.