I recently had a student ask me "Miss. Do you think that a relationship can really last forever?" I told her that was a loaded question. I had to really think about that answer myself because on one hand I am a hopeless romantic and I'd like to believe that there is a soulmate out there for everyone and that two people can spend forever together, but the realist side of me couldn't disagree more. Majority of my own personal history is scattered with failed relationships - friendships, romantic relationships, familial relationships - so it's hard for me to say with confidence that relationships can last forever. If we are being technical from the start, no relationship ever lasts "forever". If your life starts the day you are born, and you aren't involved romantically until your late teens, and you don't meet your "soulmate" until your late twenties, then technically you are already starting your forever off alone. Because if your personal forever consists of the day you are born until the day you die, then you can realistically only spend half of your forever with someone else. Logically speaking.
I put myself in my high schoolers shoes for a moment. Because when I was 16, I too had a plan. I wanted to be married by 24, kids at 26, and so on.. But now that I'm actually 25, I realize that I am still so young and thank the Lord for not sticking me to that map I had laid out for myself. As I study counseling and get first hand experience from these high schoolers, I make sure to pass on some wisdom whenever I get the chance. I sort of understand it from my moms perspective now. I used to get annoyed when adults would give advice about the future because they had already lived it. But now I get it. I tell my high schoolers that they have their whole lives ahead of them. That at 16 they may have an idea of a map on how they want their lives to end up. But I also tell them that life never goes to plan. Ever. I've learned so much since I graduated high school about myself and the world and who I wanted to be as a person. If I had followed my plan, I'd be a mom right now. My life would have been so different. And I am not putting down people that are mom's at 24, 25, but I am saying that I am so grateful that I am not. If I had to look back at the last 7 years since I graduated high school and think about every experience that I've had, all I can take away is that I'm happy I got to experience life without a significant other or a family. If I married my high school sweetheart and never got my true college experience, my life would be so different. I can't say for sure whether it would have been better or worse, but I can say for sure that I would not have a true sense of myself and who I am today.
As of 2018, I have been single for five years. FIVE. Don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of fun in these five years, but I have also adjusted to being truly single. I love my life, I wouldn't trade these last five years for anything. Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the most independent people there are. I've always been, always a home-body, never altering my life for another person. And I intend to keep it that way forever. Although I do want to eventually meet the person that betters me, I never want to stop being me. Until now every person I have dated has gotten to the point of annoyance. I usually end things because they start breathing the wrong way and I just can't handle that type of dependence with another human being. Call it independence, call it poor relationship role models, either way I haven't found the person that doesn't annoy me. yet.
So when my student asked me if a relationship could last forever, my instinct was to say no. But instead, I told her that I think it depends on the person, the circumstance, the situation, and so many other factors. Relationships take work, hard work. And I truly believe that you have to be really ready to alter your life to co-exist with someone else before you can commit "forever" to them. Never, ever change who you are as a person, but just learn to be you with someone else.
My second most important piece of advice is to never settle. If you are truly aiming at "forever" with one person for the rest of your life then you need to truly want to be a part of that person. The good, the bad, the ugly. AND they need to want that with you as well. Hold your standards high and don't lower them because you think your internal clock is getting close to ticking. If you settle for looks, eventually you won't see the person that you used to see. If you settle for personality, then one day they will annoy you when they so much as look in your direction. And if you settle for them as a person, then one day you're going to realize that your life is half over and you missed out on years with someone who you don't see eye to eye with. Remember that this person is the person you will be sharing your life with, your children with, your dog with. If you can't see that future with them now, then maybe they aren't the right fit for you in the future.
As a counselor, as a teacher, as myself, I never want to see a student or person settle for someone else before they even know themselves. Get to know yourself first. Get to be super comfortable alone first. You're young (even if you're not) and you have your whole life ahead of you, don't rush forever.
Social media is for the good stuff, right? People don't post about the shitty days. They don't share their breakups or the bad days, they just brag about their accomplishments or the trips they take. I'm guilty of that myself, everyone is. I mean, who wants to sit down after their own shitty day and read about how everyone they know had a bad day too? But today I am here to actually tell you about my shitty day. About how there must be something in the water of my high school to give me not one, but TWO shitty days in a row. Yesterday wasn't all that bad really, just a warm up to today. But God help me if today is a warm up to tomorrow...
A while back I read about Mercury being in retrograde at the same time as 7 other planets in retrograde... Well it must still be that way because none of the stars were aligned in my classroom today. Nothing and I mean nothing was stopping the children today. I'm now referring to my high school students as children because I might as well be teaching remedial art with the way they behaved today. Teacher's have an arsenal of special tricks they use to get kids to fall in line. I remember them from when I was in school and none of it worked. I tried yelling, giving them the silent treatment, standing over them and tapping on their papers to keep them on task, even the infamous "I'll wait..." These kids don't care about art and they definitely don't care about my class, but my heart goes out to the kids who actually want to be in there and the ones that ruin it for them. Sad.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that a portion of my prep period was spent crying in my supply closet. I let them get to me after only three weeks, but I didn't show my weakness in front of them. It isn't that I'm not cut out for this, because I've cried at all of my jobs I've had, and to be fair Urban schools are hard and I think any teacher would be lying if they said they had never cried as a teacher. It is hard. These kids are hard. The school is tough. But I'm not going to quit, I will stick it out until December, but I will share my shitty day with people because not every day is rainbows and fun. We all have shitty days, we just don't share them publicly. But someone who is reading this right now also had a shitty day, and if by writing this it means that someone feels like maybe their day was less awful, then I did my job as a teacher and touched one person today.
Today I was called white, annoying, stupid, bitch. I was shoved, told my art projects are retarded, told that I'm mean. But today I also had a student tell me I'm the best art teacher she ever had, that without an art degree I still know what I'm talking about, and that her classmates are rude. So yes, I had an awful day. The kind of day I hope doesn't happen again tomorrow. But what I learned from today is that high schoolers are very much still children, and so starting tomorrow they will have a seating chart and name plates just like the children they want to act like. Will I cry in my closet at least once more before I finish this assignment? Probably. But if you haven't cried at work or in your car after work, then you are doing something wrong. Because even on my fourth job in my career, I'll still shed tears every once in a while. Except now, I'm at least probably making a difference in someone's life more than I was as their wedding planner. So, raise your hand if you had a shitty day 🙋🏼 (and also raise a glass of wine too.) Cheers!
Author - mallory
I've always lived a wild life, so here I am to document it for the world... be ready for some fun adventures, xoxo.