So tell me about yourself…

Well let me tell you… I don’t really have a good response to an inquiry of this nature. What do you want to know? What are you curious about? What suppositions have you made about me that I can refute for you?

The basics. Let’s start there.

I moved around quite a bit as a young child. I grew up mostly in Arizona but I have a few formative years in Tennessee as well as Wisconsin.

Abuse was rampant in my household. As the eldest child of three I was witness to many atrocities of the human condition. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Drug abuse. Extreme poverty. Homelessness. Endangered children. Dirty, hungry, sad children. Children with no parenting. It was an awful environment. One that I knew I needed to remove myself from. School became my refuge. Teachers were my confidants. I sought solace in my friends and their parents. Life continued this way for the majority of my upbringing.

When I turned 18 I got my first tattoo. Two weeks later I graduated high school. Two weeks after that I moved out of my mom’s house. Six months later I moved back to Wisconsin with $400 in my pocket and my Honda Civic hatchback packed to the hilt. I drove myself across the country during a time in which cell phones were not common or affordable. With nowhere to officially live and no job, I started a life of my own on my own. My aunt helped me find roommates and let me sleep on her sofa for a couple weeks until I got connected. Within a couple days I landed four different jobs in various industries. This was early January 1998 so it was cold and snowy but my Arizona blood quickly acclimated to the new environment. Soon after my arrival in Wisconsin I got the itch to get into college. I didn’t know anything about how to apply for college. I didn’t know how I could pay for it. I didn’t know where to even start. As a first generation high school graduate from an impoverished family, I hadn’t the faintest idea about what college entailed or how I was supposed to gain access to the enchanted buildings that seemed to only open for those magic wand bearing individuals with silver spoons dangling from their nectar-laden lips. I just knew education was what I needed. Somehow I managed to enroll in community college and earned a couple credits in early childhood education. I finally had health insurance through my employer and had dental coverage too so one day I went the dentist for a routine cleaning and the hygienist asked me about school. I told her about my few classes at community college. She then proceeded to tell me about her daughter who had joined the Air National Guard to get her education paid for. I hadn’t ever even heard of the Guard or the Air Force for that matter. Truly I thought it was just something from Top Gun… I had no idea it was a real branch of the military. So, within two weeks of that conversation with the hygienist I went to the Recruiter and enlisted in the US Air Force. Not the reserves, not the Guard, but active duty US Air Force. And so began the best chapter of the rest of my life. Although I separated from the military eight years ago, I feel as though it was the absolute best decision of my life. I’m still reaping the rewards of enlistment all these years later. In fact, it would’ve been 18 years ago this past July that I started my military career. Boy does time fly when life is happening like it should and good things are taking place.

To date, I’ve been in education for seven years and going into my 8th academic year. I have held many positions in education so far. Special education inclusion teacher, English teacher, special education department chairperson, assistant soccer coach, head soccer coach, class sponsor, ARD Facilitator, and now, my current position as school counselor. I’ve spent my time serving in education in various forms and while I’ve been here for some time I feel like I’m still getting to know who I am and how to function. Part of that is all of the changes I’ve had but all of them have been good for me; I’ve grown and learned so much. Regarding my current role as counselor I feel like I have finally achieved my ultimate goal. I’ve dreamed of this day for years. I can remember all the way back to fifth grade and talking with my friend about what I wanted to be when I grew up and distinctly remember saying I wanted to be a counselor. I wanted to work with kids who have faced the problems I had as a kid. I wanted to be for someone else what my teachers were for me and MORE! I toyed with the idea a couple times and thought maybe I would be a child psychologist or something but quickly went back to counseling when I realized psychologists only wrote prescriptions and research papers. Not my cup of tea. At all. I want to talk. I want to provide guidance. I want to cry alongside my students and listen with open ears and heart. I want to connect them to the agencies who can help. I want to guide them through the college or career paths they will face. I want to walk alongside them as they choose their paths for adulthood. So here I am… ready, willing, and very capable of giving everything they need and want to be successful young people.

Here are a few random things about me:

I have six tattoos. I want a couple more.

I have been skydiving.

I have gone on two humanitarian missions with the military.

I know more about the human eye than most anyone wants to know.

I have had two miscarriages and have one living teenage child.

I love the Green Bay Packers, San Antonio Spurs and the UW Badgers.

I’m a sports fan and enjoy watching nearly all sports.

I played soccer in high school and on an adult co-ed league.

I’ve played quite a few other sports too.

I’m Christian but not religious.

I believe in light, love, faith, good karma, warm nights, hot baths, cold drinks, strong hugs, the giggle of babies, and true love heal all that ails our world.

Motherhood is the best gift God ever gave me.

Garbage in=garbage out. I cannot watch videos or movies depicting humans defiling other humans in any shape or form. It isn’t entertainment to me and it poisons my heart and soul. I have to protect my soul from evils like that.

I’m not perfect (read any other post in this blog for evidence) but I aim to be a good person and do right by others.

I’m passionate about what I believe and rejoice in it often.

Few people truly know me although many think they have me pegged.

I’m constantly brewing with ideas and theories about endless facets of the human condition although I have no audience or group in which to volley those ideas.

I’ve been in love 3 times but only one man holds the keys to my heart and he’s the man of my dreams although he isn’t mine.

Married once and divorced once.

I’ve secretly (well not so much anymore I guess…) thought I was capable of being a bodybuilder.

The home I live in is the first home I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve always had to live in other people’s homes but never my own until now. And I built it.

I rarely get sick.

I love spicy food, Thai food, hearty meals, and light fare.

I like a good beer, Crown Royal and Dr Pepper, or glass of wine for special occasions or in social situations. Otherwise my favorite beverages are coffee, Dr. Pepper and unsweet iced tea.

My real dad and step dad have both died.

I don’t suffer any addictions.

I cry easily and often. When I laugh, when I’m sad, touched by a song or gesture, kindness, a good song, spiritual movements, and more.

I love to read.

I love to learn.

I’m not a great cook but can make some mean peach cobbler.

I’m a great teacher and decent writer.

I try to always remember where I came from so I never lose sight of where I’m going.

Humility and kindness go very far in any situation.

And to put my feather in my cap, my son thinks I’m pretty dope, a great mom and that I understand him better than anyone.

I don’t know if any of this will develop into anything more but I think it’s important to sometimes sit back and take stock of who you are and what you’re about. I feel like I’ve been reacting a lot lately and it was high time for introspection.

Humbly yours,

The Repressed Peach

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The last baby tooth. 

Parenting is such an interesting journey. It’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns and a little bit of duck, dive and dodge. It’s beautifully analogous to life. And oh what a life it is!

Being a mom is my pride and joy. It’s one of the things I feel I am best at. And by best, I mean in a simple, thoughtful, realistic kind of way. I’m not an over the top, hovercraft, expert-level Pinterest mom, and I’m not a bedazzled, superstar. I’m just thoughtful, caring, disciplined, routine, ordinary, yet exceptional mom to a spectacular young man who makes me love life, enjoy philosophical convos, explore new things, encourage laughter and make beautiful life-long memories together. He is my pride and my joy. He’s my happiness. And I’ve told him so since he was a wee small babe laying in bed ready to go night-night.

He’s a big guy now. Nearly 13 and full of personality, wonder, and silliness. I love every bit of it! Just as I loved watching him find his toes to watching him learn to sit up, I find joy in his development into young adulthood. Milestone and after milestone he’s just blossomed into the person he is today. Like many parents, one of the biggest milestones is cutting teeth. Oh watching, waiting and feeling for those baby teeth to come in is something so treasured and longed for. Our babies can dine with us! They can explore foods and try new things and menu options soon become endless! It’s a glorious thing to be shared by all. Photos are taken, tricks are played to encourage that new toothy grin, Grandma’s fingers, Grandpa’s fingers and everyone else in the family explore the newly developed toofers that have erupted! So much happens at this major milestone and so many adorable memories are made. From the first tooth to the last, we celebrate and create rituals and ceremonies to commemorate the adventure.

But what about the last baby tooth? That last little bugger that holds on and waits until nearly 13 to let go and give way for the final adult tooth to break through? No celebration? No victory dance? No letters from the tooth fairy? Well, tonight my son found a splendid way to celebrate. After pulling his own last baby tooth from his mouth, he washed and dried it then wrapped it in the customary tissues. But when he couldn’t find any tape to secure the wrappings, he took to the craft closet to tie a beautiful red ribbon around it. 

He sent me a text of his final product with the sweet words “my final present to the tooth fairy”. My heart nearly split in two from the pure joy and happiness I felt at his ceremonial wrappings and sincere words.

Tonight, when I play my last role as the Tooth Fairy, I’m going to relish the opportunity to get up in the middle of the night and cautiously leave a nice sum of money under his warm pillow. I’m going to remember the times we shared watching him cut his first tooth up to tonight when he so bravely pulled his own tooth and found a unique way of celebrating the commencement of this ritual and milestone. He’s a joy to raise. A joy to love. A joy to be a mom to. He’s my greatest gift and my most treasured person. ❤️

Lovingly,

The Repressed Peach

Scars

Few people know the details of my upbringing and all that I had to watch, suffer through, and recover from. The horrors of life were ever present in my life from the time I was a small infant to my older teenage years. This included trauma and chaos at school too. Few people realize how badly I was tormented as a child in school. I had several factors stacked against me. First, I have a unique first name that rhymes with colorful, nasty words (think: “Nicky likes _____.”); I have red hair, and my maiden name was Crisp. To add to the fun, I was also miserably poor. My mom was a single mom of three kids and we had a horrible life full of drugs, neglect, abuse (every kind you can define), and homelessness. We moved from house to house, often lived with my grandparents, worked in their restaurant, and struggled to find any sense of stability. It was awful to say the least. Nobody should have to live like that. In the midst of it all, I found a love for school. I loved school and the teachers. I thrived in school at every opportunity. I loved my teachers and clung to them for safety and security. They were my beacons of hope for a different life.  A life that I deserved. A life that I could make for myself if I just tried hard enough and made good decisions toward. The sad part about this is that school was not safe for me either. I was tormented for all the things that made me unique. I was called names, teased mercilessly, rumors spread about me, and ridiculed at every turn. I remember it was in 4th grade that things started to get really ugly. I was manipulated into thinking I was doing things wrong, that I wasn’t a good friend, and that I was not worthy of friendship, love, or life. I remember walking home from the bus stop crying my eyes out every single day of 4th, 5th, and most of 6th grade. Nobody helped me. Nobody stood up for me. My mom did nothing. The school did nothing. The teachers did nothing. The bus drivers did nothing. My friends cowered behind the bullies thankful they weren’t the targets of such pain. I cried in humiliation, fear, sadness and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve to live. I never attempted to take my life, but if it weren’t for the grace of God, and His divine intervention, I could have lost all hope for better days. Some of the people I am connected to today on social media were my bullies. They’ve never apologized. We’ve never been close. But they are part of why I am who I am today. I don’t see myself as a victim of anything in life, I see myself as a survivor and I am thriving. However, I do not aim to minimize my experiences. In fact, I aim to highlight that life is hard and kids can be cruel, but with time, healing, and good guidance even the worst of the worst can be made good.

I have to remember this in the season I am in right now.

See, my son has become the target of bullying. He has been hit in the face on several occasions, his books and band instrument taken away from him and thrown on the ground, he’s been called names and ridiculed in front of his peers. All while at school, with teachers, cameras, and a wonderful thing called “David’s Law” are in place. And despite all of these things, here we are, 30 years later, and I am replaying the trauma I experienced as a young girl. My trauma does not equal his trauma, but it has prepared me to face this issue head on and with a fierceness that only a parent can muster when their child is being mistreated. The scars of my past have been opened a bit and my unspent tears are being shed in love for my son, the sweetest, most gentle, kind-hearted person the world has known. He is a smart, kind, talented, warm, friendly, inquisitive, joyful, God-loving, encouraging, funny 12 year old. He is all of this and so much more. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any “flaws” stacked against him that makes him an easy target, but here he is being tormented and assaulted at school. I can’t figure out what has caused this other child to lash out against my son. To add fuel to the already volatile situation, the perpetrator in this case is the principal’s son. Lovely.

Ironically, before the first days of 7th grade, my son’s school held what was called “Prep Days” where you get your school ID, class schedule, and find the classrooms on your schedule. While we were there, I spoke with the principal and the assistant principals about a series of inappropriate activities that occurred on the school bus that ran through my neighborhood the year before. Several students had shared that inappropriate sexual activities were taking place between kids on the bus and several fights broke out, too. Well, when I addressed these concerns all of the principals were baffled at the information as though they had never heard of anything like that. They claimed nobody had reported any of this misbehavior and had no knowledge of any parental concerns about what was happening on the bus. The principal even had a dismissive tone as I spoke with him. Red flags went up all over my brain. Not a good impression. And definitely not a good sign of things to come in the given situation.

Nobody deserves to go through this experience. Yet we know that so many kids are victims of bullying and so many suffer in silence. So many kids don’t have anyone to tell. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They have no voice to be heard and nobody advocates for the mistreatment to stop. Thankfully there are societal changes taking shape, but the abuse happens faster than laws can be passed or lives saved. I will ensure that I use every single resource at my disposal to ensure my son’s safety and that of others. I will not stand idle by and watch my son or any other child abused like this. I know the depth at which these experiences affect you and the pain that stays with you most of your life. I know the helplessness one feels when faced with bullying and mistreatment. Know this: I will advocate for the safety of all children at this school. I will go to any length necessary to achieve the desired results. I will spare no expense in my endeavors.

I may have scars from my childhood, but I am going to use them as badges of honor in my fight. My bullies had their day, but I will have mine in the demand for this to cease for my child.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach