Sunday, August 10, 2014


When I was interviewing for jobs last year, when asked what my biggest weakness is I told them it was stubbornness.  I say how I am stubborn to a fault, but that it's also an asset because it means when I put my mind to something, I figure it out.  It also means that I fight for what my students need and don't give up.

And this is true, in the work setting.

But, I think my biggest weakness is that I refuse to forgive myself.  I have been reading teaching blogs all week and combing pinterest (professional development hours anyone?) and finding all sorts of things that I would love to do in my classroom.  I'm thinking of ways to incorporate new practices into my room and how to modify activities to meet my students - how to jazz up a 1st grade lesson for 5th graders, or modify a 5th grade lesson for my kiddos who only read independently on a 1st grade level.  And I had this moment where I was thinking about my classroom and what I want to accomplish this year (really working on good language arts centers and effective social skills instruction) and what I want to save for next year (organizing binders of curriculum that is effective for different skills and making sense of the vast amounts of resources in my room) where I realized, I will never be happy with what I get accomplished in the classroom.  There will always be something I think I should have done differently.  A way I could have reached a student better or communicated with another teacher better.  I could have taken better data or been more engaged in a lesson I wasn't feeling that day.  I will never be happy with what I have accomplished.

But here's the thing - this attitude isn't just reserved for teaching.  I am struggling to find it in myself to forgive myself for what I have done in the past.  I sit and think about what I could have done differently the last few years of my life so that I wouldn't be here, 100+ pounds overweight and out of shape with horrible eating habits.

I have started reading and following Chris Powell's carb cycling plan - it's what he uses with his clients during his Extreme Makeover transformations and the things he writes about really impacted me.  I have always respected how he approaches clients on his show and his books are no different.  One of the things he talks a lot about is transformation and not weight loss.  And I've seen multiple people who he has worked with say that the weight loss was the least significant part of their entire year.  That transforming their life was more important.  The relationships they gained and the experiences they had were more important.

So I am trying to let go and move forward.  I am trying to forgive myself for what happened in the past.  I was doing the best I could with what I had.  While reflecting on the lifestyle choices that got me to where I am, I became angry at myself for the habits I developed of getting something quick and easy for dinner Friday nights after work (ordering pizza, picking up take out, etc.).  I'd also always get something easy unhealthy to make on the weekends for breakfast.  But I didn't develop this habit out of laziness or the desire to put crap into my body and gain weight.  No.  I developed this habit because by the time I got done with surviving my week on Friday, it was all I could do to drive home.  There were times before being teamed up with Owen, where I would get home Friday and stay on the couch all weekend, not leaving my apartment again until Monday morning.  It wasn't because I was deliberately trying to ruin my life, it was because it was all I could do to survive the week with a disability before crashing on the weekends.  And I have to forgive myself for that.  I was able to survive and grow into the person I am today.  A person who advocates for herself and gets put on the appropriate medications (hello prescription NSAIDs everyday and anti-depressants, life is gooooood).  A person who works out at the gym 3 times a week, not to lose weight, but instead to build strength and muscle mass (which of course will help me lose weight).  A person who is trying to eat the right things in the right amounts at the right times, and does not feel guilty about having a reward on the weekends (chocolate cupcake!).

Once I realized this, that I was hating myself for something that was out of my control, I have been able to move on.  When I slip up, I just shake it off and move forward.  I'm not going to bash myself any longer for things that happened years ago that I can't do anything about now.

I am transforming my mind so that my body will follow.