Has it really been SIX MONTHS??? Wow oh wow…so what happened in the past 6 months can be properly summarized as: I came, I saw, my ass has been thoroughly kicked.
Education is THE toughest field I’ve ever worked in. So tough that I needed to end that last sentence with a preposition and to not give a shit. At least I balanced the previous sentence. And I’m not even teaching English, I’m teaching math.
So all of you who know me can stop laughing RIGHT NOW. Yup, I’m teaching math, so what? It gets better. I’m teaching 5th grade math. And 6th grade math. And I co-teach 7th grade math. Now for those of you who are not dead on the floor of side-splitting laughter, I’ll continue my bitching.
Now most of you know I used to teach at a homeless shelter. That was a CAKEWALK compared to what I’m dealing with. My students come from very harsh realities that no one should ever have to face. It’s heart-wrenching to see how children at the age of 10 are already so disillusioned with the world that they have built up callousness and ambivalence I’ve never encountered before in many of the adults I’ve taught.
Now take the teaching factor into consideration and what have you got? A whole lot of heartache, self-doubt, and an emotional roller coaster from hell.
Add in the masters degree I was pursuing, a family, a husband who is disabled, and what have you got NOW? Way too much on your plate.
I’ve learned so much about myself in the past six months and I’ve grown. I learned that I don’t have to be the hero all the time, that I do need to recognize my limitations, and that it’s OK to walk away from something that isn’t right for me.
The results? I’ve decided to not pursue my masters degree, which means that at the end of my two year commitment with Teach for America I most likely won’t be able to teach anymore since the licensure rules are changing for special education.
I don’t feel guilty, which was unexpected. I feel liberated. I spent over 20 years in corporate America living with a heavy heart, feeling like I had no choice, no options. I will not do that to myself again.
I don’t regret moving down to Tennessee, I’m extremely happy down here. I don’t regret teaching either, I just wish it was something that I felt better about. They say the first year is always the hardest and I sure as shit believe it. But it’s more than first year jitters. I know myself well enough to know when something isn’t sitting well with me. I can’t live my life striving to please those that will never be pleased. I have to do what’s best for me.
So what does that mean for me after Teach for America? No idea. But I’ve been branching out a bit more with my jewelry, including partnering up with my best friend, Shannon Price to introduce a brand new line of t-shirts that we’re extremely proud of. Yup, ended that one with a preposition too. (How sad is it that my personal affront to education is only as severe as bad grammar?)
Come check out our Supernatural Inspired t-shirts! These babies can be purchased online now or I will be taking orders for them in person at SFCon in January!
Now back to my crankiness – I’ve been getting some flack about the names I choose for my Supernatural inspired jewelry.
I get messages on etsy, even people approaching me at conventions, telling me my names are wrong, they don’t agree with them, I mustn’t watch the show, blah blah blah.
I thought maybe it’d be helpful to articulate exactly what I do when I work on a Supernatural Inspired piece of jewelry.
Please note that I call these pieces ‘Supernatural Inspired.’
Each of the characters on the show affect me in some way, as I assume they do most fans. Each piece takes an extraordinary amount of time to develop, design, and fine tune before it’s something I considered to be finished.
So exactly what am I doing when I’m developing, designing and fine-tuning? I’m taking a character that I’m connecting with and thinking about an aspect of that character that’s resonating with me. For example, let’s talk about The Tenacity of Dean Winchester – the first Dean piece I ever created.
Dean Winchester radiates with courage, perseverance, and true grit. The one word that pulls these words together for me is tenacity.
I chose the color green for Dean not because of his eyes, like so many people assume, it’s much deeper than that. For me, the color green represents bravery, steadfastness, and truth. Qualities that I associate with the character.
Dean’s weapon of choice is his gun, thus to pay homage to the character I chose to include a pistol. Dean would never go anywhere without it and neither would this piece.
The one common thread that most of my pieces have is the wrapped strands that appear to be chaotic but are actually controlled.
The reason for that? While each of the characters have their set ways and personalities, as we’ve all learned over the years about these characters is that nothing is ever static, everything can change. The variety in the lines; their appearance of being random, is actually quite deliberate on my part.
Back to my point – for someone to come up to me and say that I shouldn’t name a piece what I’ve named it – well, that’s the same as walking up to someone and telling them you don’t agree with what they’ve named their kid. They have their reasons, personal or not so personal as to why they chose the name they did. As do I.
Each piece is made with my heart and so much intention to represent MY interpretation of the characters. Hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m always up for healthy debates. There have been fans who approach me at cons and ASK me why I named a piece what I did and we talk about it. But then there are people who just outright TELL me I’m “wrong”, “don’t you watch the show” or have a snarky “if you watched episode 6.2 and freeze framed it at precisely 32.5 minutes in, you’ll clearly see that you’re wrong.” The shoot first and maybe if I feel like it I’ll ask questions later attitude. It’s hurtful, uncalled for, and definitely not what the SPN Family is all about.
Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, so let’s please show each other respect. I’m not saying don’t ever ask me about my work – I am HONORED to be asked about it – nothing warms me more than having people care enough to ask me about my process, why did I make the piece, etc. What I am saying is that if you don’t like strangers approaching you and telling you something that’s dear to you is wrong, please don’t do it to someone else.
I’m happy to say that 99% of my encounters with fans are wonderful, amazing, and I’ve made lifelong friends of many of them. The 1% that were hurtful were pretty damn hurtful, and one was as recent as yesterday, hence my post.
Lastly, my best friend, Shannon, (designer of the amazing t-shirts!) said this to me, “bc you are an artist, the negativity is a catalyst to create more beautiful work. Name your next piece ‘go fuck yourself’” – ok, I MIGHT not use that title, but she’s absolutely right and I’ve been taking this to heart and have been creating MANY new pieces!
Come say hi to the newest in my Supernatural Inspired series:
I’ll be in San Francisco next month and I hope to see you! Sigh…so good to be back!
Aww does this mean you’re not coming to Houston Con? I was so looking forward to seeing you there!!! – @luvchildofelvis aka Carrie
Im definitely gonna try but im not sure 😦 i realky want to but it all depends on if i can get out of my day job – i would love to see you!
You are truly talented and very bright! Always do what you know is right for you, you are a survivor and extremely resourceful. As I have been told, teaching isn’t for everyone and I wholeheartedly believe that…
Hi Erica! I do feel that teaching is for me but unfortunately i dont feel I’ll ever be able to be up to administration’s standards. Thats where a lot of my feelings of doubt are coming from. Got tons of stories, we shoukd connect. Im tired of trying to please the unpleasable abd have the ability to support my famiky dangled like a carrot in my face.