Suck it up, buttercup

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Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

White liberals are taking this election personally. There were a lot of heavy sighs this week, a lot of wet tissues, a lot of “I thought we were better than this” commentary. Biden/Harris ended up pulling out a win, of course, but White liberals are still sad and worried and ashamed at just how many White people voted for Trump this time around.

I get it. Four years ago I felt the same way. I cried. I stayed up on election night staring at the TV in disbelief. I felt lost and sad and alone the days and weeks after. It was alarming for me, a life-long leftist, to see that progress was a mirage. …


Some kids are thriving

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Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Teaching remotely is exhausting. I’m not sure why. Is it the sitting all day? Is it the eye strain? Is it the constant striving to be the most engaging screen a second grader could be watching? Probably all three.

I don’t know how the middle and high school teachers are doing, but those of us in early elementary are collapsing once we get home. Whew! And I thought traditional teaching was tiring!

But here’s the thing: as hard as this has been for me to adjust to, my students are actually doing amazing. From Day One they’ve been excited to see each other, engaged in (most of) what we’re learning, and resilient when things go sideways with the tech. …


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I’ve been reading Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights since this summer, savoring each short essay one at a time. Ross’s love letters to ordinary things give me comfort when the world seems horrible. When I feel myself doomscrolling, it’s exactly the break I need to remind me to breathe, open my eyes, and appreciate the small delights. Maybe it’s escapist, but I’m okay with that. We all need a little refuge now and then. (Especially now.)

So, in honor of Ross Gay and the light he shines on the everyday, here is my own week of delights. …


Least of all your employer

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Photo by energepic.com

Maybe you’re a teacher, like me. Maybe you’re navigating the exhausting new world of remote learning, like me. Maybe you’re looking ahead to a few weeks from now, when you’ll be standing in front of students, dressed in PPE, behind a plastic shield, teaching the kids in your classroom while simultaneously delivering remote instruction through a web cam. Like me.

If so, maybe you need to hear this right now: this is an impossible job, but it is just that — a job.

Do your job. Do it as well as you can. Show up early, get your plans straight for the day, and give it your all. …


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A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the extreme anxiety I was feeling as a teacher in the age of COVID. It was cathartic and just what I needed to clear my head before heading off on a mini vacation. Two days later I was spending the weekend in a cabin on the lakeshore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I had four glorious days of wooded morning walks, long hours on the beach with a book, floating on the lake, gazing into campfire flames, and just generally not letting my anxiety get the best of me. I was glad I’d purged those intrusive thoughts that had been spiraling inside my mind. …


We’re not okay. We’re not even close.

We’re going to pretend to be okay. We’re going to smile and look on the bright side and stay positive! That’s just what we do. But inside, we are crumbling.

We are terrified. We are making appointments to see our doctors for anxiety and our lawyers for estate planning. We are school shopping for scrubs and face shields and considering leaving the careers we love. We are not okay.

We are used to remaining calm so the little ones watching us will also remain calm. We are used to taking deep breaths and smiling through impossible situations. We are used to using a soothing voice to explain why we have to stay quiet during active shooter drills just in case. We are used to removing all traces of fear or anger before responding to a student whose screaming meltdown is endangering the classroom. …


I’m white. My husband is black. And after twelve years of marriage — and two FULL decades into the 21st century — people still don’t recognize us as a couple when we’re out in public together.

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We’ve gotten used to the phrase “We’re together”, since we have to pull it out so frequently. My husband has impeccable manners, so if I approach a counter at the deli or a cashier at the store, he hangs back to let me ask my question. …


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This is Mr. Muscles. He’s an American Shorthair, named by my then-six-year-old son when we got him ten years ago. Ruben wanted a “guard cat”. He got this stubborn yet beautiful, slightly dysfunctional rescue instead. Mr. Muscles had no interest in befriending a child at the time, so he became my cat soon after we brought him home. Or did I become his?

Seriously, I think my cat believes I am his mate. I mean, he’s never tried to mate with me, but he does seem to think I physically belong to him and him alone. I have evidence:

He is obsessed with me. Every single time I sit or lie down anywhere in the house, he will find me. And he will climb onto me, purring. Loudly. Whether I’m eating breakfast, taking a nap, reading a book, putting my shoes on, or just generally trying to get anything unrelated to him done, there he is. Other people, not so much. …


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Going vegan is not that hard if you like cooking — or at least are willing to commit to it more often. There are plenty of pre-packaged, heat-and-heat vegan options out there now if you feel like stocking up your freezer, and of course there are all the fresh fruits and veggies you can possibly find. But this post is about what you’ll need to have handy if you want to cook vegan food from scratch.

A lot of people tell me “Oh I could never be vegan! I’d miss _____ too much!” And sure, there are some favorites that might be hard to give up (I’d recommend just cutting back on those — you don’t have to be perfect!), …

About

Emily Freeman

Teacher and freelance writer. Teaching, learning, and living my 3C’s: Curiosity, Creativity, Compassion. she/her

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