I think I’ve been working up to “getting gutsy” my whole life, or rather I’ve been stepping out of comfort zones my whole life, but in 2013 I got more gutsy than I ever have before!
As seen in the early days of this blog, I lost my job at my old school for differences of opinion. Officially, I was RIF-ed. That’s what they told me to say, because I didn’t do anything to break my contract. I didn’t sleep with students. I didn’t cheat on official tests. I was doing my job just fine! In fact some would argue better than fine, since I was the only advocate of gay rights, the arts, and prom on that entire campus! But, I was spending too much, and I was rocking the boat by making students think outside of the box, and I didn’t cower to
the bullies children of alumni.
Such subversive ideology must go!
When I got offered 3 different jobs in/around Houston, imagine my excitement and fear!
That was May/June of 2012, and basically the moment I gave up blogging because I went a little crazy. This blog had originally been designed as an anonymous way for me to vent about the problems at that tiny little school in what I lovingly refer to as the Ghetto of Mayberry, but being RIF-ed turned my world upside down. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I applied everywhere in the states of Texas and Oklahoma.
Well, I applied everywhere where the school population was more than 500 kids. After being at a school where only 11 teachers were needed to teach grades 6-12, I was ready for something a little
bigger more progressive.
Coming to Houston was like a dream, one that I had hidden from myself for years. There was so much to do, and so many friends to be made… but how do I find time to do everything? And how, on earth, are you supposed to meet people in this crazy city?!
When Halloween hit, and I’d spent about $200 on a custom Steampunk outfit, made by a dear friend of mine, and then didn’t have anywhere to wear it because I didn’t know anyone, I knew things had to change. The kind of change that would be needed would take me a while to get to. Change in the middle of a semester is hard, especially when you’re the one making the rules! (I’m a teacher remember.)
So, I began looking into my options. I began interacting with my neighbors and coworkers. I started looking into sites designed for making friends. I looked into new hobbies (some more successful than others). And by January of 2013 I was ready to “get gutsy;” to get out of my comfort zone and into an exciting new life!
My first success was in picking a book club to join. The title stood out to me: Sassy Socialites of Houston! No one in the club seems to know who came up with that name, and it has since been changed to reflect that it’s a book club and not just a party group. I first went to a dinner with these ladies at a nice Italian restaurant, and I immediately made friends. Or rather, the people I first met at that dinner have been the ones that have become my closest friends in this new phase of my life.
It started small. Seeing the ladies just once a month, sometimes more if we had an extra event, and I went to all of them! What a relief it was to find a group of women who weren’t backstabbing and trying to make the others feel inferior based on looks! These were women who legitimately just wanted intellectual discussion about books, interesting books! The first meeting I participated in was Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. And oh the discussions to be had over that poster child for sociopathology!
And the women in this group are not simple-minded women. We are made up of Engineers, teachers, writers, doctors, nurses, even a neuroscientist! What a relief it was to be able to actually speak my mind and not have to translate my thoughts into redneck, or teenager.
Meeting a group of strangers, linked only by a love of reading, was both a first for me and a joyous surprise! It gave me hope that I might find other relationships, ones of a more romantic bend.
Remember, the entire time I was in Mayberry, the entire 4 years, I’d only had nibbles from guys looking for sex, several of which were married and thinking about stepping out on their wives. Not once in the entire 4 years did I have any actual potential relationships…until I got ready to leave, and then people started pouring out of the woodwork. I wish they’d stepped out of their comfort zones sooner! As it was, I thought I must be the ugliest, most unapproachable person on the planet!
I interacted more with my (almost entirely) male neighbors, and met some really fascinating people. Even an actor! (In case you were wondering, I’m the one in the middle.) And with the advice of my neighbors and the support of my Sassy Ladies of the book club, I gained confidence in myself and my own beauty again, both inner and outer.
While it took me until my birthday, at the end of May, to really find any relationship worth looking into (and he really wasn’t), I did find that I was ready to date again. I learned that I wasn’t horribly ugly, or deformed, I just wasn’t putting myself into the right circles.
So, I used the same formula that I did to find my book club girls, and again found myself surrounded by strangers with similar interests as me. And this time, I think I’ve found something worth working on. I’d hate to jinx it, but I’ve had more than a few nibbles since I joined my Geeky group of friends, and I am currently seeing someone, though not exclusively (too soon for that, by far!).
2013 was the year I found myself socially. I learned what kind of person I was by changing the type of people with which I surrounded myself, and I was pleasantly surprised. I am a beautiful, intelligent, creative, slightly nerdy woman who loves her students, and loves to help others. I am someone who enjoys walking/jogging, reading, writing, trivia, card games, and a good glass of wine over a fantabulous dinner! My life is starting to take a shape that it probably should have years ago, but I let myself be derailed by a boy with ill-intentions (more on that at a later date; this is a positive post). That’s not to say that my journey is over, but I am getting close to who I was meant to be and intend to continue to grow in 2014.
Now that I’m more comfortable with myself as a person, I think I’m ready to take the next step in my career. I love my kiddos, I really do, but I no longer enjoy teaching them grammar and syntax and analysis techniques. So for 2014, I intend to get a little gutsier and go back to school. I’ve told my friends and family about it, and now I’ve put it on the wide world of the interwebs to keep me honest (and on task!).
Wish me luck!
Here’s to breaking down walls and coming out of our shells to find our true selves! Good luck to you on your journey as well!
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.