Thursday, December 30, 2010

Star, The New Version

Hopefully this post will not sound cheesy as it could be.

This morning I took my (hopefully) last state exam to become the teacher I want to be.
Last week, I got the last required one and this week's test was an added certification to teach middle school science.  [I passed both of them.]
On the ride over to the testing center, I heard the famous country song "Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts.
It is played a lot on country stations and at weddings.
When I met Roger, I thought about how it applied to us.
But that is not what this is about.
Not at all.  A bit more abstract actually.

My new year's resolution is to love me.
To love my body. To love what I am. To love my life.
As this song played I thought about the broken road of my life that has brought me this far.
I listened closely to the lyrics and thought about not how they applied to a relationship with another person, but instead, how they apply to the new me that is here now.
How I lost myself a few times in my life by giving up who I am to the latest boyfriend or trend or friends.
How all the things, bad and good, brought me to this place right now.
How becoming a teacher should have been so obvious but I had to go through all sorts of things and broken hearts and broken dreams to figure it all out.
But I figured out who I am.
I figured out what makes me happy and discovered more of my talents like photography.
Now I just need to love me.
The real me.
The me I have found and love her with everything I am.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wedding Dreams

When Roger and I got engaged, they came.
Wedding dreams and nightmares.
Ones where I was pregnant.  Ones where the catering never came.
Ones where things went terribly wrong.
But none of those came true.
The wedding went off flawlessly (at least from my view).

After the wedding, I had wedding dreams and nightmares too.
So did Roger.
Of course it was too late for those to come true.
I had new real nightmares awaiting me.

Last night, I had a new wedding nightmare.
It was not a wedding with Roger.  It was a wedding with Mr. X.
[Interestingly enough I referred to him as Mr. X in the dream.]

In this particular dream, I was in my hotel room getting ready putting on my dress.
But for some reason, all my bridesmaids were gone.
It was just me.
"Why am I alone?  Where is everyone?"
Then I realized I had forgot to book a room for the wedding night for Mr. X and me.
The bridesmaids were going to be sleeping in this room.
Mr. X and I can't sleep in this room with my bridesmaids on my wedding night!
So I decided to drive back to the hotel I had stayed at with my bridesmaids a few nights before.
As I am about to leave the hotel, I see Mr. X.
I tell him he needs to drive me to the other hotel to see if I can get a room for us and he agrees.
The wife of my photographer mentor (and former wedding photographer) was working at that hotel and I asked her if she could hook me up.
We drove back to the hotel where the wedding was to be but I had not done my hair or my makeup.
As I am about to go up to my room, I see it is time for the wedding to start.  I ask Mr. X to stall the crowd so I can finish getting ready.  "It will only be five more minutes, I promise."  He smiles and agrees.
The coordinator spots me and the bridesmaids have already gone down the aisle.  Everyone is waiting on me.  She says it is time to start and that I look fine.  No need for makeup or my hair today.
I beg for more time to get ready.  My hair is in rolled into an everyday bun.
"I need to look my best. There will be pictures of this day."
She insists that I walk down the aisle now.
I concede but insist that I will be putting on makeup before the formal pictures.
I start to walk down the aisle.  My bouquet is magically in my hands.
My heart starts to beat fast and loud.  It feels like it is going to beat out of my chest.
I feel lightheaded. (I wonder if my heart was beating this fast while I was sleeping?)
Midway down the aisle, I see the wife of my photography mentor again sitting in the audience.
I run over to her.  I need help.  I feel so alone.
I plead to her to help me.
She tries to coax me.  "You can do this.  It is going to be okay."

I woke up.

I laid in bed a few minutes before getting up.
On my new wedding day, at some point in the future, I cannot be alone.
Someone must stay with me the night before.
And I will probably need a good friend to walk me down the aisle this time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Recycling Nazi

With affection, I have been deemed the recycling nazi.
And I tried to think back if this was part of widow-ness or part of me historically.
Fortunately/unfortunately I think it was part of me way before even Roger entered the picture.

I think it started in NYC.
NYC residents are required to recycle.
And we recycled everything under the threat of a fine.

But... after Roger died.
Yes, it did become even more of an obsession.
As a control freak who just had the world ripped out from under me and I felt I was spinning out of control, I needed something I could be in the driver's seat of since death was not an option.
So what could I control?
Recycling! [And choosing whether to eat or not, mostly not.]

Yes, I am still a bit obsessed.
My friends and family are even still a bit scared of me.
Recently, I found out some good friends hid some styrofoam containers from me last New Year's Eve when their catered dinner came in individual dinner portions.
"Do not let Star go in the garage."
Another friend confessed she thinks of me as she brushes her teeth and lets the water continually run.
Others have told stories where as they were recycling, reusing, or reducing they thought "Star would be proud of me."
I laugh mostly.
It is nice that perhaps I am influencing people's thinking about recycling and such.
But I really hope I do not terrorize people to the point they are afraid of me.
That is not my intention.
I am just a control freak who deeply believes in the three R's.
So I apologize to those have felt my wrath as the recycling nazi.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Holiday Check-in

You can't see it but there is a superman underneath the white shirt.
I almost feel like I owe a posting about how I am doing this season.
"All widows & widowers report your status please."
So here it goes...

Putting up the Christmas tree was hard this year.
About half my Christmas ornaments are from Roger.
So the process of decorating the tree was pinged with a bit of sadness.
Scoobie Doo. Coke bears. The Hulk. Clark Kent outfit.
I tried hard to be happy for Mr. X as he adores Christmas.
But Christmas has never been a great holiday for me.
I think my growing up beat it out of me.
My mother was hardcore about decorating.
Starting immediately after Thanksgiving.
Christmas threw up everywhere on everything.

Then I was in choir from the fourth grade through the twelve.
We sang Christmas carols and inspired music from August till January.
Needless to say, I had enough Christmas for almost a lifetime.
Then throw the dead husband thing on top and I could almost not have Christmas and be okay.

But after that small emotional incident with the tree, I have not felt overly sad.
A few good happy memories have found their place in my head.
Not necessarily Christmas oriented but it has been nice to smile instead of cry.

But I have also been busy.
The semester ended last week and getting there was a challenge.
I took a required state exam yesterday which meant I was studying a lot.
[I passed by the way.]
Not to mention Lil Paperia photo shoots and shopping for gifts.

I do wonder how the actual day will be.
And New Year's Eve.
It is always hard for me to enter into a new year.
Further and further away from 2008.

So far so good really for me.
I am in shock I feel this "good" in ways.
Parts of me thought I would never be able to enjoy the holidays again.
Alas I am.  Alas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Last week as I was standing in my internship classroom, I had this almost woozy feeling.
I looked around and almost had to pinch myself.
This intense feeling of surreal-ness came over me.
It was palatable.
I almost felt faint.

I could not believe for about two minutes that this is my life.
Me? Standing in a classroom?
Becoming a teacher?
How did this happen?
Is this real?
Is this the dream?

Simply three years ago I was just about to get married.
My invites were just sent and I was anxiously awaiting RSVPs.
I was working in computer software design.
Going to all day meetings about project statuses and software implementations.
If I go back a little further, ten years ago I was working as a pharmacy technician.
Working in a hospital filling IV orders and learning how to make chemotherapy.
And here I am now. Becoming a science teacher.
And now I am doing photography.

So many things have changed.
My life is no where I thought I would be.
It is a weird feeling not to be in the spot you think should be.
For life to change so quickly in so little time.

I know I am not alone in this feeling but sometimes I look at some of my friends who have been in the same job for years.
Or married to the same person for long periods of time.
Do they reflect back?
Did they think their lives would be dramatically different yet they are not changing?
Do they feel this surreal-ness?

Then I flash forward.
Where will I be in three more years?
Where will I be in ten?
I almost hope it is predictable and something like married with kids and teaching with photography on the side.
I just hope I can stop feeling like a revolving door of life.
Just a little predictability would be nice.
Just a little.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Back in 2008, I do not really remember the moment that I decided to become a teacher.
I could probably look back at this blog and find the day.
But I do remember the day I decided to quit my job back in November 2008.
My supervisor had just informed me that they "understood my tragedy" but it would be "unfair to my team" for me to have the same work-from-home day each week in order to attend grief counseling.
I happily quit. I wanted to scream it at them.
I only had one close friend on my team.  [Side note: when I later asked a few others on the team, they said they would have totally understood.]
On November 21, I went into the office for one last day to hand over my computer, my documents, and my emails.
To say goodbye.

But I left with a smile on my face.
I was relieved.
I had made the right decision.
I had a few friends at work but only one good friend.
Only a few keep in touch now.

This week is the end of my first internship.
I had to hold back the tears as I said thanks to my supervising teacher.
The team I worked with is amazing.
They support each other especially in times of sadness.
They work together to help the students.

I feel like I am part of a family there.
Administration is supportive of the teachers.
Most of the students are good kids.
I can relate to the other teachers.
I feel like we could be really good friends.
Leaving is the last thing I want to do.

Yes I am applying for a job there.
But in the mean time, I must say goodbye.
Very very sadly.