Dear Teacher

I wrote this yesterday after the gossip train hit me hard. I debated with myself if I should post it on my facebook page. It is a hard time of year for teachers and I have been hit by the rumor mill before. I’d thought I’d share it here. I don’t know yet if I have the courage to share it on facebook. I’m trying to open myself up to help others but I also don’t want to be the “pot calling the kettle black.”

I just thought I’d share this to show maybe how gossip and rumors hurt. Most of the time things we share aren’t even true and we think it will never get back to the person. It usually does and it hurts. This is a reminder to myself and maybe someone else, that our word hurt and it is a good idea to not spread lies or hearsay.

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

― Neil Gaiman

Sometimes something bothers you so much that it really eats at you. I get frustrated and mad when something takes up too much of my head space. Especially something that usually doesn’t bother me. I think it is because it is the end of the year and I’m already tired, this might be why certain comments got to me in a way that makes it hard to be a teacher.

You see I don’t really know many teachers at the high school. We are pretty isolated in our halls. I only really interact with those who come lunch.

So what do you think happens when you spread gossip and lies about another teacher? You put them even further in isolation.

In the past eight years I’ve come to not care what most teachers say about me. I can honestly say that they don’t know me or my teaching style, at all. Like, zero. I have never had another teacher come into my room and watch me teach. Never. Nada. When I hear that I’m a “bad teacher” I just laugh it off since they never saw me teach.

Because where did they get those ideas? From other teachers? Well, I haven’t had another teacher in my class so what would they know? From the students? Um, I’m going to tell you right off that students had told me on multiple occasions that other teachers were horrible. I can promise you that the rumor stops with me. I know not all students will like me or other teachers. Sometimes they don’t like teachers because they make them do work… gasp. Then that leaves the admins. All the admins who were in my room had nothing to say about me being a horrible teacher. I would like to think they wouldn’t say anything behind my back to other teachers. I believe that. I think we have a great group of admins in the building.

Then that leaves the fact that you are just assuming I’m a bad teacher even though you never saw me teach. Since that is all that is left.

I mean, that is kind of harsh. Then you tell other teachers (who I never met) that I am a bad teacher. Thus the journey to isolation begins. Since no one wants to hang out with the “bad teacher.”

It is no secret that I’ve struggled with my mental health. I’ve even gotten to the point where I almost ended my life. It took a community of support to help me stand up again. This community came from a group of writers who are still my pillars today.

The cool thing about these writers is that they actually read my work. But they don’t go around saying I’m a bad writer. They actually help me get better. I know, crazy concept. They read and help me. I read and help them. In this way we built a community of support around each other. The goal:  To make our writing better.

What if instead of dragging me down and spreading rumors and lies about what I teach, maybe you could come and help me? Then I could help you? I’m sure there is a lot that can be learned from each other as a teacher. We face parents, communities, and students who try and drag us down. Why are we dragging each other down? In even writing this I have to admit when I first started it was easy to say another teacher was bad or not good at their job. I had to take a hard look at my life and what kind of person I wanted to be. Did I want to be the type of person to drag others down to make myself feel good? Or did I want to be the person to help others up?

My writing community took me out of the darkest place in my life. It is in a large part thanks to them that I’m still alive. My teaching community is something that I don’t really feel a part of. I’m isolated. I try my best for my students. I have failures as a teacher just like I do as a writer. The only difference is I have writers to bring me up again. I have a small amount of teachers who do, so sadly it only takes a few to tear someone down.

When you gossip and lie that is what you do. You tear that person down. You take away any encouragement that others gave. Do I really need to say that gossip hurts others? Because it does.

I made a promise to myself not to gossip about others. I hope and try to do that because I know what it is like on the receiving end. Since I don’t know the person what right do I have to talk badly about them? What right do I have if I do know them? The truth is I don’t. I never have the right to judge others. In the past I have lost friendships. I hurt people. This is why again, I make the choice every day to try and lift others up instead of tear them down. A quote from one of my writing groups is “A rising tide raises all ships” if we helped instead of gossiped what amazing teachers we could be.

I said before when I hear rumors about any teacher. It stops with me. I’m not great at confrontation but I don’t continue a rumor. That is a promise I will always try to keep.

I’m thankful to those teachers who helped me out over these last few years. It is encouraging to have you in my life. I hope I helped and encouraged you in some way too. Also how you came together and helped me after my surgery which took way longer than I thought to recover from. The cards, the food, and the visits helped me get through. Since it is a weird thing in a teachers mind that if we miss work we are a bad teacher. You helped me get through that month where it was hard for me to even walk around the classroom for over a month due to pain. You all made me feel like I wasn’t a useless teacher. Thank you. Thank you so much.

As teachers we could be so much more if we helped each other or even communicated. One year I remember I was completely left out of the choice to change novels for a class. Everyone else got the novel and I didn’t. Thus the infamous year of Serial began. I started it because I was left out (here comes the theme of isolation again). Then I saw the power of that unit. The admins in my room also saw it too. So I’m also not sure where the rumor started that I was told to stop teaching it. I have had four admins tell me to KEEP teaching it so… But don’t worry when we get our new curriculum I will fall in line with the rest. I just wish you could have seen the students and how much they learned from that unit. I worked hard on it. You never saw that either.

Despite the side tangent. There are a few things that I wish for my teaching community. I wish that we could help instead of tear down. I wish that everyone could be included. Right now I’m on the outside with a group of people. We tend to joke about being the outcasts in the department but honestly it really is true. Maybe part of that is our own fault too for not being the ones reaching out. I’m going to be honest I did try but after a couple years I stopped. However, we are a pretty cool group to be in you should get to know us a bit. You might be surprised.

In the end I wrote this really long essay that I won’t count toward my word count goal for the day ;). I did it to help drain the poison that infected me. It gave me a few sleepless nights. Writing helps me get over things. This way I can go back to ignoring comments said by those who don’t know me. Because I don’t want to focus on the bad. I want to focus on the good that other teachers brought into my life. This is the way that I can get back up again. I made that choice three years ago that I would keep going, so this is it. I’m still breathing and going. That is all I need.

Lies we tell ourselves

Writers like to torture themselves. As a writer I am part of this sick group of individuals that find it fun/funny (I don’t know anymore) to try and write a novel in a month.

I think then we like to move on and torture our characters…

I haven’t watched or read much this month (perfect time to come back to blogging kimchi) because for the first time I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The stars have aligned for my writing since I just finished making my outline in time for November. I could finally take part in NaNoWriMo since I was ready to start writing my rough draft. So lucky right?

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My title may feel a bit off but I wanted to talk about the excuses that writers (you can insert artist, ect ;)) use when they are writing.

I was in the stage for many years where I would just talk about writing… And not write. I never called myself a writer until I finished my first novel.

So dear writer. Stop talking and start writing. What is holding you back? Chances are you are a reader and you already understand what makes a good story. Are you scared that someone will read it? In one of my favorite books on writing Bird by Bird she says, “No one will read your shitty first drafts.” See that?

It is okay for your first draft to be a mess. It is okay that your character’s sword disappeared for five chapters then suddenly appeared in their had when it was left in the trunk of their car (Very specific example 😀 ).

It is okay for it to be a mess. So what is stopping you?

“I don’t have time to write.”

hmm Okay life is busy. I get that. So do you want to be a writer? Is it something that burns in your bones? Do your characters scream at you to come out of your head? Is there this really cool idea that you thought of for years?

Well, I have no easy advice but we make time for what is important to us. We really do. I complained that I didn’t have time for years and yet I had time to marathon a kdrama… So think about where you are spending your time.

I used to guard my “nothing” time.

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What is “nothing” time? Well it was that time where I would rush home so I could do nothing. I guarded that time like a crazy person. It was a bit insane. I thought my nothing time made me happy but in the end it just made my depression worse.

When I started taking my “nothing” time and turn it into time for my goals, things started to get better.

So take a look at your time and how you use it. I’m in no way saying that you should feel bad for watching show, playing games, or just having fun. We need those things just as much. But like I said. If you really want to do something you will find the time to do it.

 

There will always be an excuse to not start something today. Life will never stop or calm down. You just need to sit down and do it. Give it your best.

This was the worse week time wise for my writing. My personal goal was to hit 2k a day for the month of November. Then life decided that it would hit me with everything at once. But you know what… I made the time. One day I finished at 11:59pm.

Word count

But I hit my 2k words eve-ry-day. I will keep on going this month. Even though for NaNoWriMo the goal is 50k I am a crazy person and set my goal for 60k this month.

I know it is possible. This draft isn’t pretty but I sat down and made the time. There will always be an excuse. A problem. A lie that we tell ourselves.

But keep on going. It is possible to hit those goals even with dark days. But let’s save those dark days for editing…

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Happy Watching!

 

The ups and downs: Learning to push through Failure

I remember my excitement when Auri invited me to participate in the Animanga Festival. I vanished again and I wasn’t sure how exactly to come back to my dear blog and my dear blog friends. I thought this would be a great way to see what everyone had been up to and get back to my routine that I had in 2018.

I made plans but I didn’t make the posts. This turned out to be a mistake since I found out I would need surgery and I had no posts ready to go to set up that would publish while I recovered. (RIP gallbladder).

I took this with my usually mood– Disappointed that I wasn’t prepared and put it in the pile of “pushed back deadlines” where my first book ended up a long with other things.

The first lesson on failure:  Failing is temporary.

I have to remind myself that I’m not done. Even though I had plans to publish in February 2020 pushing it back is not a failure. It was something that sucked yes, but I have no plans of giving up. I am still going to publish in 2020 and even though it is later it actually might be a better option for me.

The second lesson on failure:  Sometimes failing is disguised as an opportunity.

When my husband lost his job I had to use my saved editing money to pay the bills. I will be honest. I was mad at him and mad at his company that betrayed him. Then there was this small part of me that was relieved. Honesty time, I’m scared as all get out to put my work out there. I remembered my old mindset that –if I didn’t try I wouldn’t fail… Well, I can tell you now that isn’t true.

So I took this moment as a gift of more time. I decided that my first book was something that did need a lot more work. Then I took a closer look an there were a lot of problems. I decided to put my beloved first book away (for now) and I started something new.

Even though the money thing sucked (it always does) and I have to start over saving for an editor, I found that this time gave me a chance to step  back and make something that could be my best work yet.

The third lesson in failure:  You are not alone.

It is easy to think that we are the only ones out there “sucking it up” (did I have a word quota on the word suck today?) but we really aren’t. When we are in a world where people only post the best of themselves it feels like we are falling behind. Remind yourself that everyone struggles. Maybe not in the same way but they have their own failures that they deal with. They also have to struggle and push through. Social media can be a good reminder to us that we only see the surface. I like to post both… My failures and my successes. I never know who it will encourage. One is to let them know that they are not alone and the other is that you can get past the struggle.

The fourth lesson in failure:  Somethings are out of your control, but you can make your own luck.

My friend once told me that if it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all! haha. I have to agree a bit. I’ve had a contractor make a roof that leaked but  he didn’t fix it so I had to pay for repairs. The front of my house started to sink. I got in a car accident. My dog had to get surgery and I was out of sorts for a month worrying about him. I then had to get surgery and I was scared. Then my husband got fired twice.

Let me tell you it has been a roller coaster.

There were days that I spent in bed. The days I let my depression win. Then there were the days were I got up and told myself that this wasn’t the end. I still had fight left within me.

I stood up for myself more and more. I was able to get the raise that I wanted and I was able to pitch an agent that wasn’t available to me. This took a lot out of me. I had to be a bit confrontational… And I’m not… at all.

But I realized there are somethings in life that I can prevent. I can stick up for. Somethings require money I don’t have (like a lawyer for the contractor on my roof) but I can’t let that negativity fill me anymore. I have to try and find ways to “make my own luck” because I know there are not going to be any handouts for me. ha!

 

Those are just a few things that are on my mind especially these last few months where I am starting a new series. I haven’t had the brain space to be very creative. As I start writing my fourth book I need to remember to just keep pushing forward.

This theme for the festival these next few days is about expressing ourselves. It has always been my goal to encourage you. I’m going to be going on a crazy journey in these next few months and I hope I’ll get to see you there next October when I publish my first book!

For now I’ll leave you with a bit of a teaser of my bookcover. (Sorry for the low quality screen shot of the cover…)

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This world is awesome and these characters are about to go forth and make a mess… Like all good characters should!

So in the end, go forth and fail!

Then get up and try again!

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Finding Your Tribe

We all take breaks.

We all need breaks.

In the last few months I’ve been back and gone and back and gone and back and gone… Well you get the point.

Why so many breaks Kimchi?

I wish I could pinpoint it to one thing really. But when things happen they happen all at once. Then you don’t notice that you are falling until you’ve reach the bottom.

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From there you still have a choice. You can rise up or keep falling down.

Sometimes you can’t do it on your own.

Tribe

I’ve been open about my struggle with suicide and depression. It is a miracle that I am here today. Due to my dear friend answering my text, it was the life line I needed and I grabbed on with shaking hands and a still empty heart.

In these last few years I formed groups with other writers. We video chat on a weekly basis. We talk about our writing, help each other with writers block, and support each other when we need it.

These last few months I was riding high in January after finishing my third book and I really saw it as my best work yet, which made me so excited to see improvement.

Then I tried to start the next book.

It was slow going but I was getting there. Then I stopped.

Then I got sick.

Then I got into more debt due to health.

Three things kept me afloat these years. I had three goals I was working on and as long as one was going strong I felt like the depression was kept at bay.

Writing. Heath. Paying off debt.

Then in March all three went to shit.

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Then I started to stay in bed. Part of me almost realized what was happening. I would go to work (barely it look me forever to get out of bed in the morning). Then I would come home and stay in bed. No yoga, no writing. I guess in my defense I was very sick but you know even things that are out of your control just add more to the pile.

Last week my mind started a dangerous game.

It started to tell me to give up writing. It told me that there was no point since no one would read my books. My mind told me that I shouldn’t bother since I will never be as good as so and so. My mind told me to give up something that brought me so much joy in the last few years. It told me to quit.

Tribe

This time I had backup. I had writers gathered around me to support me. They were going through the same things as me. I wasn’t alone anymore. They asked me what they could do to help me. Honestly just seeing their faces every week helped me.

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I knew I couldn’t give up writing. My depression isn’t going to win this round. Even though I had to put aside this book to work on something different. I didn’t lose.

It is a battle. All the time. It is a battle we have to fight. I will say it a thousand times. If you feel like you ever need someone to talk to send me a message. I want you to know that you are not alone.

March ended like a lion for me. However, I’m back on track and I know that I have a tribe to back me up.

And all you wonderful anime nerds to hang out with. You are part of my tribe and I’m thankful to have something like this in my life. I can’t promise I won’t disappear again but I want you to know I’m fighting. Thank you for being you :).

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Dream Chaser

When I started this blog I never knew that something would take me away from it for so long.

Gosh, I love anime. I think you all can relate. Also I love all of those people who love anime. Like I said before when someone says they like anime it really is like an instant connection.

One of my writing friends talked about recently how sometimes in life he tries to keep things balanced. When he pays more attention to one thing the others start to fall.

I never related to that so much. I’ve been writing a book… Some of you may remember. I hope I haven’t been completely forgotten!

I finished it and edited it and this Friday I’m going to pitch it to an agent (the first of many probably). This book really flowed. It had rough days but in the end I really dedicated my time to it… Thus the other writing in my life, this blog, fell to the side. I lost my balance.

In the next weeks I hope to regain some of that and also catch up to what you all have been doing! I’ve missed you so much, and I can wait to read and see what’s been going on…

Also, I’ve really needed some Promised Neverland discussion in my life. Oh my word I sit and wait for that anime to upload.

Keep me in your thoughts this week as I go out to a conference and try to pitch this new novel. It is the best things I’ve written so far and I’m excited to see how I keep improving!Sarah Scribbles