Posted in From Kentucky

On Marshall County High, Parkland, and the NRA

I remember the Heath High School Shooting of 1997, mostly because my babysitter at the time went to Heath. She lost people she knew, and when I asked her about it, she sobbed in the car on the way to her house. I felt guilty for days about it. I didn’t mean to make her cry, I was just curious, “Did you know them?”

Of course she did, it was a small school. Nicole Hadley, Jessica James, and Kayce Steger were known if not by name then by face. It was a small school in a small town, everyone kind of knew everyone. Shortly after that, our Hendron Lone Oak Elementary School principal gave speeches and had us go through lock down drills to “feel more secure.” Every year, those became an annual drill, just like a tornado or fire drill. I can do it all by rote with my students today. The sad thing is, our principal probably assumed he’d never see another school shooting like that in his lifetime.

Poor man couldn’t have know that only two years later, we would have the Columbine Shooting. Instead of three, the number went to fifteen. In response:

In 2000 federal and state legislation was introduced that would require safety locks on firearms as well as ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Though laws were passed that made it a crime to buy guns for criminals and minors, there was considerable controversy over legislation pertaining to background checks at gun shows. There was concern in the gun lobby over restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the United States.[133][134] In 2001, K-Mart, which had sold ammunition to the shooters, announced it would no longer sell handgun ammunition. 

In other words for Heath High School, the big topics of debate were mental health and video games. For Columbine, the topic switched to gun control measures to keep guns out of the reach of teenagers. However, the gun show loop hole remained, and still remains to this day.

And then fast forward to now. Marshal County lost two of its students, Bailey Nicole Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, to a shooting. The conversation on gun control was minimal, much like before with Heath. Only recently after the Parkland shooting did a father of a gunshot victim, Jeff Dysinger, speak up and call the mass shooting crisis what it really is: an epidemic.

It is a stark contrast to the Parkland shooting. The conversation changed from “thoughts and prayers” to gun control with furious passion. Friends of the victims have stood up and demand action, legislative or otherwise!

Why? Why does Kentucky continually fall silent on gun control? Or so vehemently against it?

Comments on both the Marshall County High and Parkland shooting for both Lexington and Paducah outlets show people continually arguing for more guns. “Put more security in schools! Train teachers to use guns!” or “What about abortions?! Planned Parenthood kills more babies every year than mass shootings!”

Both arguments are seriously flawed. Putting more guns in schools won’t decrease threat levels, it will only increase the threat levels. Putting guns into the hands of any human, be it a security officer, a teacher, a principal, or a cop means there are higher odds of teenagers getting shot, not less. All of these roles are filled by people, humans who get angry, hold secret grudges, carry ill intent unknown to others. We’re demanding that we put more potential murder into schools to prevent potential murder, and that seems unsafe in the extreme.

The argument of Planned Parenthood “killing babies” is deliberately falsifying a comparison. Planned Parenthood is an organization that must abide by the laws of each state, and commits legal abortions with the authorization of doctors. We can argue morality or ethics on the termination of fetuses, but these procedures are often medically necessary. Sometimes fetuses cannot make it, sometimes the mother has cancer, we as citizens shouldn’t be judge and jury on women’s lives or their medical charts.

But we as citizens should be worried about another mass shooting.

Kentucky has twice lost children to shootings, and the odds of those being the last are slim. Although most other crimes in America continue to decline, mass shootings continue to increase every year.

The idea that children should be able to go to school without fear of getting mass murdered should be a common sense/bi-partisan issue. The Parkland Shooting victims deserve to have laws put on the books in remembrance of them, same for the babies we lost in Sandy Hook, same for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the Las Vegas shooting, Columbine, Heath…

All of these victims deserve better than our current state of legislation.

The second amendment exists for the purpose of a militia, to defend our own country against dictators (or would-be kings, actually). It wasn’t originally intended to be used for the purposes of our modern era (i.e. gun collecting, sharp shooting, etc.). Additionally, as gun tech continues to grow, as in we can kill a lot of people with a very simple automatic rifle or handgun, and our legislation should be updated in accordance with the leaps in these advances.

Yet, they haven’t, and that is in no small part thanks to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The NRA holds a strong sway over the politicians currently elected into Congress, with its millions lobbied into politicians’ pocketbooks to keep the gun laws lax. Why? The reasons are varied.

Many average gun owning American citizens are under the impression that if legislation goes through, their guns will be “taken away,” or that it would spell the end for guns at all. In response to the Sandy Hook 2012 shooting, actually, NRA donations surged in response to the gun control debate following the tragedy. Propaganda made the rounds on the internet and paid for commercials from the NRA that the government would reverse the second amendment entirely.

According to CNNMoney:

The call for stricter gun control laws from leaders like President Obama in the wake of this tragedy fueled these fears and prompted the NRA to rally its members to fight against new regulations.

As a result, gun sales soared, and so did donations.

These donations are why even petitions get signed and protests get marched it seems like the NRA only gets stronger and stronger, not weaker. In the 2014 election cycle, over $22 million came from individual donations.

And to be clear, yes donations. According to its own website, “The NRA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.” The NRA isn’t a corporation, it’s not a company, it’s a “charitable organization.”

The NRA’s charity efforts are…few and far between. Most of the information online routes the viewer to gun safety classes, but in actuality the charity really goes to, well, politicians and congress. The NRA focuses on this aspect the most, for while the individual donations are rising, the corporate sponsors are the consistent source of income.

The “Friends of the NRA” has both a corporate and industry supporter page. Industry supporters include affiliated knife companies and (a bit depressingly) YETI coolers. Smith & Wesson, Baretta, Midway USA, and Ruger are a few of the names listed as sponsors past and present. Technically, they sort of sponsor each other. “NRA APPROVED” gets a banner here and there, as if it’s the ultimate seal of approval for their firearms and firearm supplies. Interestingly, the company Baretta has stores around the world, from Paris to Moscow, selling not only firearms but also clothing for “hunting” (i.e. safaris). The NRA approved safaris include Ibamba Safaris and Numzaan Safaris.

Basically, the NRA speaks not really for the average Kentucky Joe with his one barrel rifle, it speaks for the companies that need lax gun laws to sell more guns. There are “international interests” at stake for the NRA, not just domestic. The whole argument for Second Amendment rights is really just a smokescreen to try and increase stock value.

They increase the fear mongering of “losing your guns to the government” so people will donate, they make arguments after tragedies that “more guns for security” in schools is the answer to all problems so they can sell those guns to schools, and they will encourage people to get all those “nice safety accessories” not for safety in hunting but because it’s just more money in the bank.

The NRA cause is just…money.

After the Parkland Shooting, everyone wants to know what they can do to prevent another tragedy. The answer lies in cutting off the funds from the NRA to Congress.

One answer is of course to vote out the ones who are already backed by the NRA. In other words, GO VOTE. But we also need to stop funding the NRA ourselves. Look over the lists of industry and corporate sponsors, don’t give any money to them or their affiliations. Call, email, Tweet, get the attention of these sponsors that you boycott them until they divorce from the NRA.

And lastly, we need to have a conversation about gun control. Not take away all guns, not all people who own guns are bad people discussion, a real dialogue about gun control. We need to change the legislation to reflect the times. Guns will only get progressively more deadly, easier to conceal, easier to pick up and shoot.

If we don’t make the laws now to prevent further tragedy, we will have one again and again. We’ve seen from the past two years alone that mass shootings have increased. Without gun control measures to limit guns sold at gun shows (perhaps along with caps on gun production) and more stringent background checks, we’re not going to see any change in that upward trend.


Posted in Teaching Things

“Let’s Pretend I Know What I’m Doing”

There are many teacher phrases out there in the world, such as “sit down, be quiet, listen carefully, raise your hand,  Shiori I swear to God if you don’tputyourmakeupbackinyourbagrightthissecond-,” and so on.

But my more recent favorite is this one: “Let’s pretend I know what I’m doing and…”

I through this phrase around especially during exam time. I have to design tests, mark tests, and then put all the points into an Excel file. The points get calculated into the school’s grading system, and then students take those report cards home. I have to check and double check that everything I’m doing is not only correct, but also tallied up in the system.

Last Friday, I said this phrase at least three times. “Ok, Mr. Nasu let’s pretend I know what I’m doing. My plan is for the test to have both a multiple choice format, but also a writing section. I think I might throw in some sentence scrambles, too. It’s a fifty minute exam so…what do you think?”

Mr. Nasu replied with, “Sounds good?”

And with that feedback, I powered through making my test. You would think after six years of doing test stuff I would get better at it, but not always. This year in particular, I was put in charge of the whole Standard First Year Communication Course Curriculum. As someone who never designed curriculum, I felt a little nervous, and I needed to design this curriculum around all new textbooks.

Basically, throw out everything from last year and start from scratch! Yay!

Also, this side-note is neither here nor there, but I still question the logic of putting a person with the least amount of experience in curriculum design a whole division of a school’s English course. I mean, fantastic they all had confidence in me that I could handle the pressure of it, but if I’d been an administrator I don’t think I would’ve done it this way. Once again, notice how my new favorite phrase is, “Let’s pretend I know what I’m doing.”

The fact is “knowing what I’m doing” can only come from these kinds of experiences though. Without getting in over my head and having to figure things out quick, I wouldn’t be able to bang out a final exam in a week like I just did. I suppose it helps that I refuse to give up or throw in the towel for projects I’ve never done before, but instead just ask for help from fellow teachers (or ya know, Google it if necessary). Support systems are always good in times of stress, be they in or out of an office environment, especially for new adventures into the unknown.

As the year wraps up, I’m really glad I ended up being put “in charge” of this communication course. I would like to believe I did the best job possible given my lack of experience in this aspect of teaching, or if nothing else managed to accomplish more than I ever thought I would when given this assignment. My worst nightmare was getting a worksheet out, only to realize I couldn’t finish a lesson in time for a midterm or final, or completely losing a test file! Luckily, I can put those fears aside now.

I’ll be gaining new ones with whichever new job I attain, I’m sure. The odds are high I’ll be saying, “Let’s pretend I know what I’m doing,” a lot in the coming few months. Whatever the future holds, I think it’s a useful phrase, whether teacher or not.

Posted in cultural differences

So We Gave the Men Chocolates

The U.S.A. created a few traditions in the name of capitalistic integrity. Santa Claus for Christmas, Halloween costumes for literally all of October, and giving chocolate on Valentines Day. Japan saw this innovative idea, and stepping it up a notch. “There are two days!” Proclaimed the chocolate companies of yesteryear, “Valentines Day and White Day!” Boys get treats from girls on Valentine’s Day, and the boys reciprocate three fold on White Day, March 14th.

Fast forward to the present day when my Shinro Guidance group’s leader pulls us ladies aside and whispers all secretive-like in the copier room, “We need to get the men some chocolates, but we can’t let them know about it.”

The leader (let’s call her Nashi) as well as the other Japanese lady (let’s call her Mikan) both nod their heads in agreement as this proclamation. I pause, considering how to phrase my argument that we, ya know, don’t? It’s a complete waste of effort, in my opinion, because well…

I’m well aware White Day exists, but you know what? In my experience the men never “give back three fold.” They just buy some stuff to give in return, if they even remember in time. It’s always the women who go out of their way to make Valentine’s Day special for the guys, but I rarely ever see it get returned for the women.

As I’m opening my mouth to say what’s on my mind in very Japanese politely phrased manner, Nashi-sensei turned to me and said, “Jessica! I have seen you draw really, really well. I want you to make the cards. I think you will be very good at it, ne?!”


Ok so, listen I’m a simple girl, ok? You praise me in just the right way? I will move heaven and earth to make my work reach your expectations. I was given money and told to make the cards. I went to the Daiso (the Japanese Dollar Store) for the required items. I picked out stickers, fancy ribbon tape, and a chocolate bar memo card pack.

Then, I figured since I was already involved, I ran over to the grocery store. I bought enough Valentine’s Day chocolate for my entire English Department, as in for both men and women. Despite the rules, everyone breaks them on Valentine’s Day. Girls give their friends tomo-choco on both Valentine’s and White Day. I figured I might as well do the same, make everyone happy, not just the guys.

As I stayed up late making those cards, I figured sure, American made Valentine’s Day is a commercialized hellscape of jewelry, flower, and other ads, but it’s still a good day to remind people that you care about them. The group I’d been with this year was great, with Mikan-sensei even helping me study Japanese during meetings. One of the guy teachers in particular was fluent in English, and helped me out with speaking my mind in Japanese. I really enjoyed being with them, might as well be a part of the ritual without bitching, right?

It is basically just that, a ritual or ceremonial thing, not quite traditional. Japan doesn’t see Valentine’s Day as Japanese, just kind of a neat adopted thing to do once a year. Ask a Japanese person their top three to five favorite Japanese traditional holidays, and I will guarantee you Valentine’s Day isn’t going to be on that list. Think like how a lot of people in America aren’t Christian, but they celebrate the idea of gift giving during Christmas.

But there are mixed feelings here about it. Annually, there are protests in Japan citing Valentine’s Day as “anti-single” and bad for people without partners. Some women and men also call the whole thing sexist, demanding that women pay for chocolates and for men to pay even more. And even some restaurants have a “no couples allowed” campaign to keep people from feeling bad on Valentine’s Day.

In that kind of spirit, I like to give away chocolate to everyone.

Everyone in the English department anyway, and I gave snacks to the English Club. I can’t give giri-choco to all the kids, they’re nearly numbered at 1,000. Regardless, I wanted people to feel loved, as many people as I could afford to at least. No one should feel left out because they don’t have a partner, that’s just not fair.

The Shinro Guidance men all received their cards and their chocolates. They all did the, “Aw! You shouldn’t have, what a surprise. We never saw this coming!” nonsense, but it was all good. Even if I get nothing for White Day (as expected) I will be happy that we made them happy for Valentine’s.

…Ok that’s a small lie, I will consider it a betrayal. I spent hours on those cards, jerks! You had better get me something nice!!!

Posted in Teaching Things

“We Do Not Copy in My Class!!!”

Today, it happened again. A very sneaky girl (let’s call her Ichigo) gave her friend (let’s call her Momo) a looksie at her paper. Ok so, Ichigo and Momo are both good students, and I rarely have any issues with them. Which is why I was surprised when I came around to discover the ultimate sin of my classroom.

Copying someone else’s work!!! 

As a person who grew up in the good ol’ U.S. of A school system, I am very much anti-cheating/ copying /plagiarizing. At the particular high school I work at, it’s considered “teamwork” by a decent amount of teachers, much to my absolute displeasure. I’m fully aware that everyone has done this at some point in their high school career, usually for homework, but in class?! No, I will never allow it!

Thus, I walked over to the girls, who froze in their seats with wide eyes. They knew that I knew they had been caught out. Unlike perhaps a couple of boys who tried to sleep through my classes, these two smart ladies couldn’t feign ignorance, they couldn’t protest my next move. Both of them had cultivated a reputation with me on knowing English well, being good students, knowing the rules.

“We do not copy in my class!” I proclaimed, snatching Ichigo’s paper away.

Ichigo and Momo both tried to talk me out of walking away with the half-finished paper, but it did them no good. I resolutely sauntered back to the front of the class, procured a new sheet, and returned to Ichigo. Momo suddenly realized that her paper was fine. That was the point: the person who let another person copy was the one who suffered the most. The copier was left with the guilt of their actions. In Japan, guilt is effective, shame even more so.

Ichigo grumbled to herself as she had to redo her entire paper again. Meanwhile, Momo floundered, realizing she must do this assignment on her own. Bum bum buuuuum!!!

For those of you who might think I’m a monster, allow me to explain the assignment.

The students only had to write their everyday activities. For example, “On Monday I am going shopping. On Tuesday I am playing baseball after school. On Wednesday I’m singing a song at karaoke.” All the way through the week, and that’s it. I allowed them to look into their textbooks for examples (specifically so the two boys in my class who were a bit slower than the rest could get ideas). The assignment wasn’t a Herculean effort to accomplish, Momo was just lacking the confidence to do it.

Cheating as well as copying are often symptoms of a lack of confidence, not a lack of interest, at least from my experience. I have many students who simply don’t understand English because they have this mental block from years of getting “Grammar Rules are God!” things drilled into their heads. They stumbled mentally to connect what they learn in textbooks to real life application because they get caught up on the stupid language rules.

Momo is a “good student” in that she usually follows all the rules given to her by teachers. Today, she was faced with conflicting rules: be perfect at English grammar and no copying papers. She knew she couldn’t be perfect at the English grammar, so she gambled with breaking the no copying rules. The odds weren’t in her favor this time, so now she’s faced with the reality that she might fail in both endeavors. Failure for Japanese students is often akin to shameful behavior, and that sucks for us English teachers.

I need for her to make mistakes, or as she views in her eyes as “failure.” Without these mistakes, I can’t help her to improve. It’s a Catch 22, and I have to toe that fine line between asking too much of her and not. Ichigo is going to be fine, she not only has the confidence, she can very well teach other students what she knows.

I encouraged Ichigo to do so when I said, “You,” I pointed at her, “can give Momo examples, but you can’t give her your paper. Help with spelling too! You can do it. I believe in you.” Ichigo did, brightening up a bit at the praise. She leaned over to talk with Momo, and I did something that might shock you. I walked away.

Ichigo and Momo aren’t the only students who need help in this class, of course. I dealt out my punishment, no need to hover. I move from desk to desk, helping out others with issues translating Japanese to English, some spelling questions, etc. After about ten minutes, I return to Ichigo and Momo.

Ichigo had finished a new paper while Momo was still trying. I could tell their papers were turning out differently, so I was pleased. Even if Momo didn’t finish the assignment today, I was going to be happy she wasn’t leaning on her friend’s knowledge of English. A crutch is only useful when you’re broken, not when you already know how to walk and are moving on to how to jog.

I graded Ichigo’s paper, told her to use it for the speaking test next week. Momo came up last in the class, but I noticed with pride there was only one mistake. I had her correct it, and then she was given full marks. I always give my students a chance in class to correct their mistakes for full points (see, not a monster). She was smiling, happy that she got it done just in time.

And I would like to believe that perhaps, just maybe, she gained one more stepping stone towards English confidence. I don’t want her to fall back on old bad habits, so hopefully she’ll remember how Ichigo had to do her work all over again, and won’t repeat the copying problem. With the full marks in the grade book, she’s realized that it’s better to try at something she won’t be perfect at rather than take credit for someone else’s work.

In university, copying does equal plagiarism, so she could get kicked out of her undergraduate studies. Momo can’t take credit when she gets a job if someone else does the work, she’ll get fired. There have been many a Momo and Ichigo in my classroom, boys and girls (and others who identify as neither). I believe it’s my job to prepare them for all of it, not just the writing and speaking in English responsibilities.

For those of you who think Momo might hold a grudge, at the end of class when I asked for a volunteer to return the classroom key (we use a free room), she was the first one to raise her hand. She also apologized, with a smile, not a single bit of sarcasm or hatred in her tone.

“Thank you!” I said as I left.

Her, being the cheeky one that she is, asked, “Bonus pointo onegaishimasu!” 

So as you can see, not only was she fine, but she had the nerve to ask for bonus points afterwards. Kids bounce back from discipline if it’s fair, if it’s not breaking their spirits, and if they understand that they are in the wrong from the get go. Ichigo was with her, laughing as I walked off to my next class. I’m not worried about them getting bent out of shape.

After all, everyone knows it’s a rule in my classroom. They may not understand all the intricacies of why I do what I do, but they also understand I’m not going to be meaner to them for breaking rules. No one gets favoritism, and no one gets more punishments than the others. Everyone is treated with discipline regardless of marks. Momo and Ichigo know it, and I think in time maybe they’ll come to appreciate it.

Or maybe not, at least I tried! Trying is all we teachers can really do, so until I’m blue in the face I’ll keep shouting, “No copying in my classroom!”



Posted in Japan News

UPDATED: French Exchange Student Missing in Japan, Last Seen in Tokyo, FOUND SAFE

This message comes from Linda Brulé, a relative of Margot Brulé. Here it is as originally posted in French, then translated into Japanese and English. 

Margot Brulé, 23 ans, a disparu.

Française, elle vivait à Kyoto depuis avril 2017 pour un stage universitaire.
Son tuteur de stage, Dr. Hiroaki Kitagishi à Doshisha University (Kyoto), l’a vue pour la dernière fois le 18 janvier et pensait qu’elle allait rentrer en France le lendemain. Il l’a notamment aidée à rendre sa carte de résidence le 18 janvier.
Elle nous a cependant envoyé des messages (via Facebook Messenger) disant qu’elle allait finalement visiter Tokyo avant de rentrer, qu’elle avait pris une chambre d’hôtel jusqu’au vendredi 26/01 et prendre son billet d’avion de retour le jour même.
Ce dernier message était donc le 23.
Depuis, plus aucun signal ni réponse, plus aucun contact. Ni à sa famille, ni à son tuteur.

Son téléphone n’est plus enregistré sur Whatsapp, plus de réponse, ni lecture sur messenger.

Sa dernière adresse à Kyoto est :
K’s common garden, chambre 421,kyotanabe shi miyamaki nogami 106.
Passeport expire le 13-11-2026.
Visa (S) working holiday numéro EA3218349 expire le 21 mars 2018.

Déjà contacté :
Ministère des affaires étrangères, cellule de crise à l’ambassade de France à Tokyo, des locaux.

Margot Bruléさん(マルゴ ブリュレ、23歳、フランス国籍)が行方不明です。

彼女のインターンシップのチューターであるキタギシ ヒロアキ博士(同志社大学、京都)が最後に彼女を見たのは1月18日です。キタギシさんはこの日、翌日帰国予定の彼女の在留カードの返還手続きを手伝ったとのことです。

京都府京田辺市京田辺市三山木野神106 K’s Common Garden同志社前 421号
パスポート有効期限: 2026年11月13日
ワーキング・ホリデー査証 (S) : 番号 EA3218349 有効期限2018年3月21日

Margot Brulé, 23, has disappeared.

French, she lived in Kyoto since April 2017 for a university internship.
Her tutor, Dr. Hiroaki Kitagishi at Doshisha University (Kyoto), saw her for the last time on January 18 and thought she would return to France the next day. In particular, he helped her return her residence card on 18 January.
However, she sent us messages (Facebook Messenger) saying that she would finally visit Tokyo before returning, that she had taken a hotel room until Friday 26/01 and will take her plane ticket back the same day.

This last message was therefore the 23rd.

Since, no more signal or answer, no more contact. Neither his family nor her tutor.
Her phone is no longer registered on Whatsapp, no answer, no reading on messenger.

Her latest address in Kyoto is:
K’s common garden, room 421, kyotanabe shi miyamaki nogami 106.

Passport expires 13-11-2026.
Visa (S) working holiday number EA3218349 expires on March 21, 2018.

Already contacted:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Crisis Staff at the French Embassy in Tokyo, locals.

Normally I don’t post missing people’s information without it being officially from authorities, but Linda Brulé reports on her Facebook that “the French Embassy in Tokyo has been contacted and the police as well.” If you know any information on her whereabouts, please contact local police or the Embassy of France.

Embassy of France in Tokyo Tel:
(03) 5798-6000
French Embassy Crisis Unit:
or (07) 57612988 / (07) 57612165

Please share so she can go home safe and sound!

UPDATE: Margot Brulé has been found. Linda Brulé announced via Facebook that the family finally got in contact with her. All missing persons posts related to her are asked to be updated with this information and for the search to be called off. No details are being released on her disappearance. The family is happy she was found and ask for privacy at this time.

Posted in Uncategorized

And So Depression Strikes Again…

It is 2:15 a.m. and I hate myself.

I’ve been feeling it all week long, the push to get up and out of bed in the morning, that lethargic pull on my feet all the way to work. I’m what is considered a “functional” depressed person because I can do daily tasks and work 95% of the time. Never mind the crying fits I might have, the constant sudden need to sleep for hours upon hours, I’m still contributing to society and that’s generally how you get diagnosed with medication and such: How much of your life is spent making people above you happy with you?

My worries are multiple, and the worrying wears me down, like water on stone just slowly but surely. The job hunt, application processes, the various hobbies I keep up to keep me sane, continuously seeing friends who need more reassurance than I do, because that’s how I paint myself to the world.

I’m the stone, you can rely on me, I’ll always be here. Never you mind the raging river, I’m strong enough to brace against it.

I am the one people call when they need to talk, and I love that I am that person people call. I enjoy feeling needed, who doesn’t? But it always feels wrong to lean back. Showing my weaknesses, it’s always the hardest thing for me to do, because it always feel like I’m showing something ugly, distasteful, gross, or otherwise a nuisance. I was made fun of as a kid for crying, I was the “Drama Queen” of my family, always making something out of nothing.

I’ve been told kids of divorce often feel this way, especially the older ones, the ones who feel like they have to hold everything together (even though that’s not their responsibility, it can still feel like it is one anyway). I think in hindsight, getting the “Drama Queen” label only made me believe harder that my emotions were just invalid, ridiculous, useless, and otherwise…a nuisance. I know there was no ill intent behind the nickname, I know people just wanted me to “lighten up,” but even good intentions have consequences.

I have to be the one who has all her shit together, even if sometimes I’m fracturing a bit. I’m getting better about putting my feelings out into the world, prepped for the expected derision, but nowadays I’ve chosen better friends. My support base is amazing, my friends and family continue to grow and be more loving every day. I’ve also learned that people who don’t appreciate me as I am don’t deserve me, and I do now cut out toxicity.

But there are still moments I hate myself.

The trigger this time tonight was about my volunteer work. This whole year, I’ve secretly been counting up all the ways I have failed my groups, both in the higher and lower ranks. I didn’t get enough donations, I didn’t prevent problems (I couldn’t have foreseen), I didn’t work hard enough to get the business cards done in time, I could’ve done more on communication, the list just goes on and on and on in my head. I don’t say anything to anyone involved in the group, because it’s not really logical how I’m feeling.

I’ve done a lot too, because there were so many unexpected drop outs, changes in the system, but I always feel like I never do enough. I can’t just do the meetings, I have to set up interviews, I have to help with this event or network this thing, it’s a constant moving entity of side work. All the same, when I get like this, the list comes back, and I can’t reconcile logic with my depressive mind that is absolutely sure everything I’ve done is for naught.

I hate myself because myself is never going to be good enough for me. I’m a fake, I think, and one day everyone is going to wake up and see the impostor that I am. It sucks to think this way (because my logical side knows that is not accurate information).

I really want to do more, but the exhaustion keeps me from even trying. I will still get up tomorrow and do what I need to do, but I’ll be carrying this visceral hatred towards myself the whole time. Odds are no one will notice, odds are I won’t be telling anyone close just yet, I’ll just be me.

So far as they know, I’m still the rock in the river. They’ll see my shine, my smooth exterior, and never know the cracks under the waterline. And it’ll all be fine, eventually.