January 25, 2018: Special Day

Today is my cousin’s 25th birthday. It seems like she’s having an amazing day, and I’m glad about that. I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to see her soon, since my cousin is tough to pin down for very long. She’s a strong minded, free-spirited person, an amazing quality to have in life. I see some of that independance shine through in her daughter. Since she’s three years old, my cousin will have quite a task on het hands as she gets older!

For now, I hope that my cousin is following the path she wants in life. She’s taken many roads in her life journey thus far, so I hope that the current path she’s taking doesn’t reach a huge road block. Whatever happens, I care for her very much.

January 24, 2018: Running Thoughts

I shouldn’t be stressing over things so much, yet I find myself again with a mind racing over things that haven’t happened yet. Even though things will most likely work out, there’s always the ‘worst case’ scenarios playing out in my head.

This situation involves my family…my fiancé and I are having both families gather together in a couple months. Just immediate families, yet it will be the first time both groups will meet. Each side is excited to meet the other, so that’s very promising. It’s just the unknown, the ‘what-ifs’ with different personalities getting together. It will be memorable for sure!

I am looking forward to it, since my grandparents will finally get to meet his family. My grandparents mean the world to me, and it’s great that they will finally get to meet his parents and siblings.

January 23, 2018: Endless Cycle

Another school shooting has taken place in our country. This time at a high school in Kentucky. Children killing children, while we all move on with our lives: the latest trends, what movies were the best in 2017, what shows we’re going to watch tonight. School shootings are so commonplace in the US that it doesn’t even take precedence in the news anymore.

Gun control? Nope. ‘Too inappropriate to discuss’ our government leaders say, or ‘Now is not the time’. Wait for the right moment to address. Some time passes, weeks, months, and sadly, another shooting takes place again. Which begins the cycle of grief, loss, and avoidance once again.

Our children’s safety should not be placed in the back burner. Gun violence in schools has gone on for too long for our government officials to keep setting the issue aside. Families should not have to worry about sending their children to school, and wonder if they’ll come home that day. Our children’s lives are not an afterthought.

January 22, 2018: My Tribe

My Timehop from a year ago featured posts from a poetry therapy group I attended in Manhattan. At that time, it was the first group I took part of in months, since it was difficult trying to navigate heading to NYC after returning to New Jersey. As I mentioned before, I hold NYC dear to my heart, since it was in this city that I had the opportunity to discover myself, and what I wanted in both my creative and professional life. Leaving New York in 2014 was incredibly difficult, yet it was a choice necessary to make at the time.

My quest to maintain poetry therapy in NJ has proven to be very hard, yet I continue to value my NYC colleagues dearly. Currently a close friend and colleague in poetry therapy is enduring great hardship, and we must come together as a cohesive group, without delay. It’s vital for me to be available for my community, since they are my sisterhood, my tribe.

January 21, 2018: Reaching Out

This was a weekend of reaching out, taking steps to regain a sense of community for myself. I connected with my dear friends in my poetry therapy network, and my close friend from Puerto Rico. My conversations with these special people were not as long as I hoped, yet the urgency to maintain contact with them remains strong. I’m so tired of insecurities cloud the true nature of what’s really important, to keep a strong bond with those I feel truly connected with.

Today I also became part of a local interest group in my community. I moved to the central NJ area about a year ago, and I still feel fairly new to my surroundings. The person I spoke to today was very warm, and told me of opportunities to connect with other people within the local community. I confided in her that I’m a reserved person at heart, and she was very open to working with me in connecting with others within the group. I shared this with my fiancé and he was equally excited for me about future opportunities to connect with others.

Tomorrow begins another work week, and I’m in the process of gathering materials needed for classroom lessons. I have Monday planned out for my Twos (getting somewhere!), and the rest of the week will fall into place. The time is approaching to set up for next month’s theme in my classroom, so that will be a new assignment for me to take on. Here’s to not feeling overwhelmed, and to reach out to others when I need time to think.

January 20, 2018: Shutdown in America

A national government shutdown is something I thought I wouldn’t experience again. My home state of New Jersey recently had its own shutdown a few months ago, and that had its share of drama due to the former governor’s actions. This current shutdown has theatrics on a much grander scale, with children’s healthcare and the immigration issue hanging in the balance.

There are some politicians at this debate who have American citizens’ best interests in mind, fighting to protect businesses and civil liberties. Other goverment officials are choosing to place party interests over what’s really important to fight for as this shutdown goes on. I really hope that the needs of the people don’t fade into the distance while people debate and fight to get our government up and running again.

January 19, 2018: Unexpected

Things can happen so unexpectedly. One minute you’re going about your daily routine at work, or home. The next minute a curve is thrown in, like a loud disruption upsetting young students, or a bad cold emerging out of the blue. It may feel exasperating at the moment, but it will pass by safely. As much as it doesn’t feel that way at the time.

January 18, 2018: Sensory Play

Relaxing after a very long day. Working with toddlers is always busy, and stressful at times, but also very rewarding. The group I have at the moment have a couple of high energy children, and at times it feels like a challenge seeking the right activities to keep them engaged for long periods of time. Today I had two sensory rich activities for them to work with, and that kept the energetic children busy for a prolonged period. I most definitely need to keep other sensory projects on hand so they never grow tired of the activities in the room.

January 17, 2018: Friendly Bonds 

I spoke to one of my close friends in the poetry therapy community. I’ve known her for almost 15 years. I remember when I first met this supportive circle: I went to a group in order to seek more information about using poetry as a healing tool. During this group session, I was in the presence of social workers and teachers who applied poetry therapy in many educational settings. 

I decided to pursue my path in becoming a poetry therapy practitioner, and I formed many bonds with such a close knit group. Although I now live quite a distance away from the primary meeting areas, I maintain contact to some of my fellow community members today. Distance can be a challenge, yet I’m thankful for different methods of interaction.

January 16, 2018: Special Days

During work today, I celebrated one of my students’ birthdays. Since I work with toddlers, it was a quick celebration, yet fun was had by everyone. The special birthday girl got to celebrate with her brother, and special treats were given to her friends. 

Birthdays are truly special occasions. My cousin’s special day is next week, and she will be 25. Although we have a considerable age difference, we’ve always been extremely close. She has a child of her own now, and I get excited hearing about her growth milestones. I hope to see these two special people very soon.