Thursday, September 18, 2008

On Teaching

Yesterday was my first day of volunteering to teach English as a second language at a church in Hillsboro. Why so far, you ask? Well, I got a good feeling is all. When I drove out there for the orientation 2 weeks ago, I realized just how far it was. On hwy 26, it would take 30 minutes. In rush hour? Nearly an hour. I told my self the first time I drove out there " This is a bit far, if I don't get a good feeling, I will decide not to do it". But to my luck, I had just the right feeling. You see, I've realized something about myself over the years: I have to feels safe in order to take risks. I think it's ingrained in our psyche from the time we used to give birth behind trees and in shrubbery. I remember being in my anthropology class: The Evolution of Human Adaptation. We had a guest speaker who was a midwife and from her lecture, I remember something very important about giving birth, but the concept I try to practice everyday. She said that in order to have a smooth birth, the mother has to feel safe. If she feels she's in any danger or if she's uneasy in some way, it will be harder for her. And well, that make sense to me, in my case. I've never given birth, but I can see how feeling safe would make me focus more on pushing than anything else. Maybe I'm just that type of person, i have to focus on the task at hand or else I won't enjoy it. Isaiah and I were talking about this today, in order to learn something hard, you have to at least like it first, that way you'll try harder to learn it. Makes sense to me. So that was the conclusion I drew with this new challenge. I've never been a teacher, I've never taught a class, and yet, I want to go into Teaching English as Second Language master's program, so I thought I'd give volunteering a chance. I knew that if all the elements were right, all I would have to do is focus on doing a good job rather than, I need to get home, is my car going to get broken into, I don't like the coordinator, but I liked it all. My students, just the 4 of them (one women, three men) were responsive, one of them extremely outgoing. They said their main problem was that listening. When people speak to them, they don't understand, and that is totally understandable. So I asked them, do you listen to English? They all sheepishly said no. So I gave them homework, out of the 7 days they had, they are to listen to 1 hour of English, just one hour: radio, tv, cd, anything. I want their ears to get used to listening to English. I think for next week, I'm going to compile a cd for them to listen to. I want them to hear different music and what people say and how they say it and what stories they tell, cuz not everyone is going to speak clearly or even care to "slow down". Some people can be mean that way. I'm excited for the possibilities, but I also feel a little lost in the sense that I've never done this before and I don't know if I"m even good at what I'm doing. I'm not following the packet at all and I know I totally should, but I"m still a little timid, a little shy and a bit unclear. The coordinator constantly says, oh just go with it, follow the book if you want. And I'm sure a lot of people hate structure and hate being told what to do, but this is my first time, so I need a clear set of guidelines . . . But all in all, it was a good night, I just hope I'm not a failure to these people that are really hoping to learn.

*Now, if only that gal had dark hair and darker skin . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Weighy Issues

For as long as I can remember, my weight has always been an issue.
[And let me pre-empt this with the fact that I am NOT fishing for complement, or am in need of pity. I'm just chatting, just writing, just expression my feelings.]
No matter how many times my mom called me bonita, I still had a sense of "being fat". I was never a stick of a child, I wasn't one of those that had toothpick legs with bony knees and then grew into myself. Nope, I was a cute, normal chubby baby, chubby kid, then a fat adolescent, and, in retrospect, (always) a normal sized teenager. No, I could not wear bikinis like many of my cheerleader friends, but I didn't look half bad in a bathing suit. I'm not sure where it started but most people say, it usually starts with your mother, as I'm sure my "problem" started there. My mom was that person, she was the one her family called huesos, or bones cuz she was so skinny. After getting pregnant the first time at 21, she lost all the weight. The second time, lost most of it, and by the third time (that's me) kept it all and then some. She told me once that I was the one that made her fat, jokingly of course, but true (way for passive-aggressiveness, that also seems to run genetically in our family.) There were a lot of good things and bad things in our family that as a mother and wife I'd like to keep and change. One of them is body image. I would like my daughter and sons to realize exercise is for health, not necessarily "looking good" but I do wonder how I will accomplish that if I don't even believe that. The other thing is the double standard. When I was in elementary school, a nickname given to me by my brother was "fat". Yes, it's true. But if *I* called my brother fat, wow, did I get a talk to. So for 10 years or so, it was ok to call me fat, and even though yes, I was a chubby elementary kid, perhaps I'd grow out of it, but I was already far too self-conscious. I mean, was it ok to call me that if it was true? When I hit puberty, I didn't have any idea what was going on, and I lived in Mexico. So the lets say 10 pounds one normally puts on, doubled because I was not eating right according to the weight I was already gaining during puberty. So by the time I came back to the states, yeah, I was a bit fat for my age, and tall. I was taller than all the boys. I think my parents just assumed I get taller and lean out, but no, I was 5'3 in 5th grade and stayed that way. I didn't wear the most flattering clothes and had to be informed of it by my mother, through my brothers. They suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea to take me shopping to find clothes that fit me better. By this time, I was tall, fat and had boobs. None of the girls did. So I was not only self-conscious that I looked horrible in clothes, I also had boobs I had to deal with, thus beginning body-conscious phase that has lasted oh, let's see . . . till now? Nah, it's pretty much on going.
So this little dumb story brings me to today. Everyone has a different concept of "fat", "chubby" and "obese". The media tells us Eva Longoria gaining 5 extra pounds on her 110 pound frame is suddenly fat. If that's the case, what am I? Lately I've been trying to figure out what I can change, why, how and if I want to. I've also been trying not to be so hard on my self. With all this soul searching I've come to a very confusing conclusion: I feel pretty good, I think I look pretty good, but yet I don't loose weight and I've actually gained about 3 pounds. So I'm not sure where I stand as of right now with my body. I will tell you this though, I was 10-15 pounds heavier 5 years ago, so yeah, you do the math. It really is a "change in lifestyle" versus a damn diet. I hate diets. I don't like restrictions, but oddly enough, I like rules and guidelines. (Man, I am all over the place with this post!)
So yeah, a confusing state it is to actually feel good about ones body, and yet feel like you're not supposed too. I just keep having this idea that everyone is lying to me and once I believe them, they'll just laugh in my face and say "Gotch, fatty! How could you *ever* think you were actually hot! You are an idiot!" But that's a therapy issue for some other time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Of what I miss . . .

I've just got quite nostalgic. I'm not sure what it is cuz I'm sure it can't be the fact that it's sunny outside, but yet I've got a heater at my feet, the first whispers of summer.
I was perusing my friends' blog comments and came across a photographer's blog. He had a little contest and I entered. You don't win anything and you're really not in competition with anyone. The "contest" was to get your first poetic impressions of a photo of his before deadline. I did. I entered. I was posted here:

It just reminded me how much I miss poetry, photography, in general creativity. I used to write little poetic ditties while in high school, usually filled with teenage angst. In college, same thing, just adult angst. Most of my poetry was fueled by a thin veil of inspiring depression. Now, life is good, but no poetry comes out. I only feel it when I'm sad, which is a double edged sword. I don't want to be sad, but I want to write. Also, images in my head come from music I hear that inspires me, but so far, there is not really a new album to do so, so here I am, in a circular sphere of viciousness. I also play at being a photographer, but I'm not out there. There are too many distractions here in our 21st century life, I need to learn how to have that take a back seat to creativity. I miss photos, I miss poetry, but perhaps this fall/winter will help my creativity wake up again . . . and hopefully The Dusty Lens will wake up all my senses so that I feel alive with art, once again.