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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gimme some rope I'm comin loose

I'm at the end of my rope! (title of post is from Foo Fighters, btw) Many times when I had previously claimed to have been at the end of my rope, I was wrong, and still had much more to lose! Like all those times I've thought that I had hit rock bottom, thus had nowhere else to go but up. LOL nope. Throw me a rope, I've fallen into a pit of despair!
All this talk of rope is going somewhere. I wanted to show this necklace:
 Then, this kickass anchor embroidered L.L.Bean skirt from Savers:
There's actually a whole body around here, somewhere.
  Finally; I will continue with the topic I was prattling on about in my last post. You see, it's that sad time known as the end of summer. When you wake up one morning to a light breeze and feel like you missed out on enjoying your whole summer (and by that extension; your whole life) and you just turned a year older and you're watching your youth slip away. Oh, and it's going to be fall, so you can't wear your nautical themed stuff any more. Ain't no one gonna be on a boat anyway. 
To begin this week's tale of loss, I take you back...
The time was August, 2012. People were jamming ironically to the sounds of  Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." "The Dark Knight" was in theaters. Barack Obama was in the White House...Ok, it wasn't exactly that long ago. I had just gone through a summer of change. It was filled with ups and downs, alcohol and tears, and it ended with me resigning from WAW Wrestling, which was an important part of who I was. It was a hard time, but I what I didn't know was that my hard times were only just beginning.
I showed up on the first day of school, still not knowing what my assignment was. I was a teacher, but feeling lack of confidence in that role, I was instead working as a paraprofessional. My job is to work with students who have special needs throughout their school day. On that late August day of 2012, my boss handed over my case load: Three little boys in kindergarten. The classroom teacher, Jamie and I went outside to the playground to meet our new students. (who's names will be abbreviated for their anonymity, duh).
One little boy stood out. B was an adorable little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. He stood nervously, with his grandmother by his side as he clutched his Cars lunchbox in his hands. As we introduced ourselves, he pretended to sneeze. 
"He does that when he's nervous," his grandmother said. We were about to head in. I wasn't sure how he'd react, but wanting to ease some his fear, I held out my hand.
"Would you like to hold hands?" I asked him. Much to my delight, he reached out and put his hand in mine. From that moment on, I knew I would have a bond with this child.
Interjecting some outfit-of-the-day pictures, throughout the story. Because blogs need pictures.
Classroom life wasn't always about the joy of teaching cherubic little five year olds. My little boy, K was visually impaired and very shy, but usually an easy kid to work with. M was a well-dressed, handsome little sweetie who worked very hard at avoiding work. B's issues seemed mostly emotional.  
In other grades, teachers make up classrooms in certain ways because they know the kids. They'll spread out difficult students, and avoid certain pairings. In kindergarten, you don't know what you're gonna get. Our class was rife with tantrums, disagreements, and all around poor choices in behavior. B would copy what other kids were doing and he would even come up with his own naughty routines.
 I remember him pulling at my dress, as I tried to brush him off and walk away in order to ignore his plea for attention. He would use swears (although usually incorrectly) and other "naughty" words. One time, for no reason at all he spat the word, "bitch!" at a little girl who knew very little English. She looked at me in horror, as she apparently knew that word. I comforted the girl, reminding everyone to try and ignore behavior like that. One afternoon, he ran laps on the ramp area of our room and eventually hollered to me, "Ms. C! I am running on the ramp!" exasperated that I wasn't stopping him. 
"I know you are," I replied, as I read with K. "I'm paying attention to a child who is behaving." I explained that he didn't have to act foolish for my attention because I liked him.
B had an unusual background. Removed from his parents, the year before, he was raised by his grandparents whom he called Papa and Meme. It seemed he was very well taken care of. Both grandparents were such kind people and good to him. He was always prepared for school and on time. If he had a note from home, he would take it from his folder and give it to us, first thing--just like they told him to. I remember him complaining about a hurt knee and saying that he fell while playing football with his papa the day before. I couldn't believe that this older gentleman worked all day, and then still had the energy to toss a football. He was in good hands, but I was worried that whatever happened in his life before his grandparents still haunted him. 
Sometimes, when he was upset it looked like he was reverting to a baby's coping mechanism of crying out and flailing his hands. When he took a little spill on the playground, he sobbed and cried "owee!" When I pointed out that he didn't have any cuts, just some sand on his palms, he quickly calmed down.  We made behavior charts for the boys, throughout the day. Each activity had a space where we could color in green, yellow, or red (blue if you did something really awesome) to indicate behavior. I remember the first time he had a good chart with some positive comments. I told him that his grandfather was going to be very happy when he came to pick him up. He seemed surprised. "He's gonna be happy?" he asked, as if he didn't realize how that worked.
One particular moment from this time will always be with me. One of our other tough cases, BP, was not a SPED (special needs) kid, but a smaller and younger boy who was prone to tantrums and outbursts. During an autumn recess, B and BP ran up to me, each with their pointing fingers extended at each other shouting "he threw sand at me!" What a sad little sight, two angry little boys covered in sand. I told them I don't know who did it first, but pointed out they didn't solve a problem, as they were both all sandy and they were both mad. We went in and it looked like B had some sand near is eyes. I grabbed a wet paper towel and gently wiped it off so he didn't rub it in. Suddenly, he smiled at me as if having some moment of clarity. "Mama!" he exclaimed. "Thank you, mama!"
Oh nooo...How on earth does one respond to that? "Honey, I'm not mama," I said with a smile. "I'm Ms. C." and that was about the best I could come up with.
Anyway, fall turned to winter, winter to spring. K moved away, and my remaining boys got a little bit bigger and even lost some teeth. B's tantrums were fewer and fewer. He still got himself into trouble, usually in the cafeteria, where it was noisy and crowded. Sometimes, I would send him to a time out in the room next door. He would leave our room, furious, his brows all furrowed. When I would collect him, he looked up from the time out spot with this big smile. His anger subsided, he was ready to return. I asked him if he understood that I put him in time out to help him and I pointed out his smile. He was sorry for "using potty words." He was learning. I was so proud of him.
While this was going on at school, my life outside of work was spinning out of control. By April, I was at an all time low. (The details can be found here!) After a particularly awful night, I somehow managed to drag myself into work the next morning and was told I had to go to another class and cover while that teacher was in a meeting. I went back to my kindergarten room about 20 minutes after the start of the day. 
 Upon my entrance, M and BP (who looked like they were just loitering) ran and wrapped their arms around me, with cries of "you're here!" Jamie looked to B and said, "See? I told you she was here," as a beautiful smile of relief came over the little boy's face. 
Holy crap. It's not like I had never been out sick before...what's up with these guys? M hadn't even hung up his backpack, yet. I had a moment. I realized that my little, insignificant life had a purpose, at least on that day. I had to go to work. I would have to find a way to get out of bed each morning and go to school for these children I pledged to be there for. There was a reason to go on; somebody needed me. 
In a way, I guess I needed them. I'm about to lose my sense of purpose.
Well, now seems like a good time to call it quits for the day! I'll totally finish this tomorrow. I'll leave you with some pics of how I adjusted this skirt. It was loose around the waist, and I planned on taking in the waistband with a couple pinches in back. That didn't work! The zipper wasn't long enough to accommodate my ass! I would have to do some kind of elastic thing. 
Do you see what I did there? Yes, it's all bunched up, but I'm ok with that. I was able to open up the seams on both sides and push a thick elastic through just the back section. 
See? On the right, that end is sewn into the seam. On the left, it's safety pinned. I tried  it on and pulled the side with the pin to where I wanted it and then sewed it in place like the other side. A completely easy task that anyone with two hands can do. Love easy stuff.
I'm just not feeling my rope necklace. It's made out of craft store rope attached to a ship pendant, which for some reason has two jump ring attachments, instead of just one in the middle. The other side is a piece of black chain with two buttons hanging off. The anchor button was just silver, but I painted it blue and then wiped it off the surface, so that the paint remained only in the cut away part. Looks cute on display, not so much as a necklace.


  1. Hi Erica - I LOVE the anchor skirt! I too love all things nautical. I have followed your blog since you began it and enjoy seeing your beautiful remakes and reading your posts. I sure wish I had some magical words to take away some of the frustrations and depression you are plagued with. I think you are an inspiration to others who face similar challenges with your very rye wit and determination to move on. Don't give up. You are beautiful, educated and have a loving family and many people you don't even know who care about you and are rooting for you!.

  2. Your comment makes me feel like I'm cuddling an armful of kittens. Are those my cat allergies? Or am I crying tears of gratitude?! I can't thank you enough for your comment. I can't believe there are people who actually read my blog! I am so going to continue this damn thing, even if it's a sad blog. Thanks for joining me on the crazy train.

  3. 1. That skirt is incredibly cute.
    2. Your work as a teacher is inspiring! You clearly have innate skill with kids. I hope that preschool thing is just temporary or something?
    3. The fact that you keep going to work, and writing posts and making dresses and jewellry and running the etsy shop, despite the turmoil in your personal life (yeah, I've been stalking your blog) says to me that you are a strong, resiliant and spirited human (not to mention creative!) You will survive and you will flourish.

  4. Thank you so much, makebakesisters! I really appreciate it. I honestly don't know how I manage to function, because I'm such a sad sack. It's comments like these that keep me going. So, thank you!