*Written in April.
But totally applicable at different points in my life.

I keep putting off this blog post.
Don't ask me why.
Being vulnerable really isn't the issue.
That's my life.
And I'm positively happy sharing it with you.
The brokeness - that is.

It's more like - being crazy in front of you.
That scares me.
And Dr. Jill would say, it's not about crazy.

It feels.

That's not exactly how I feel at this moment.
It's more like.
Everyone would be better.
Without me.

It is an overwhelming, suffocating feeling.
That to function in public around it - at times - is impossible.

And this feeling - has truly, never gone away.
No matter what.
Or light.
Or Joy.

No matter how many incredible people invade the space I live in.
Or love me.
It is ever present.
And in every way distorts any attempt to build me up.
::I'm sorry I take up so much space in the world::

"You look amazing!"
Translates to "You disgust me."
"You're creative, where do you get those amazing ideas!"
Translates to "Everyone hates you."
"You have an amazing talent."
Translates to "Why do you even bother?  Everyone would be better..."

I can not explain it to you anymore than that.
Except to tell you the translations are painful.
Inside my body.
I want so badly to hear you.
All of you who sprinkle my life with unending goodness.
And I try.

Dr. Jill and I once tried to get to the root of the translations -
I could not then.
And I can not now - explain to you why this happens.

Because the translation is not comforting or safe.
It is not self serving or helping -
It's lonely.
And debilitating.
And it rings in my ears.
There are words complimented years ago - that ring with the self loathing I have always known.

Tonight  - one of my dear friends and I were talking about something written about me.
And how he was so excited for me.

We've been friends long enough for him to know - it was painful for me to read.
"How do you feel?"
I sucked in hard.  A deep breathe caught in my throat.
"I can't own that."
"Because.  It translates to - everyone hates me."
"I can not explain that to you.  But it is crushing me."

He went for the hug because sometimes, that's all he CAN do.
And he's a doer.
Into his shoulder, I repeated, "Crushing me."

So we put in a movie.
And chose to pick up the words that were crushing me and indulge in a little Serendipity.

At these times.
When the translations crush me.
And this crush has been building for months.
Sometimes all we can do is laugh.
Tell funny stories.
Watch a favorite movie.
And read affirmations.
Like these.

The most crushing feeling within these translations is all happens on the inside.
And the facade assures you - I'm okay.

Even though, I'm being crushed.

This post got real serious.
And almost - too real.
Maybe that's what keeps the world from collapsing in on me.
A little note to you.
That I am here.
And even with a thousand things mistranslating into my brain.

Little self.
Holds onto mattering.
I love you matterers.
Most of all, tonight.
Right now.
As you are.

#LAHC Summer Number Two

I've been trying - since my long trip home from Colorado - to articulate - in any form - the magnitude of camp.

It hasn't happened.

It just hasn't.

It seems too big to put into words.
And somehow so finite it barely requires talking about.

Yes, friends, nature is the bomb.
I can't.
I'm over here just can'ting.

Something exceptionally healing even though the location itself isn't the biggest piece of camp.

I'd be hard pressed to express to you what the most important piece is, because it all seems to MATTER.

And since I'm a big lister during the school year, I've come up with the top 5 things that changed my life this summer @ LAHC.

(For those of you who weren't with me last summer - use the search box on the right and type CAMP to catch up on all things Adoption Camp)

#5: Communing with Nature and Music.  In a lot of the parent workshops (in which I operate as the rogue adoptee - and I LOVE IT.), we spent a lot of time talking about outlets and what healthy options we have for our children (in here I include my students - since I have no plans on starting a family...ever) and talk always came back to music, singing, dance, sports, and anything outdoors.  Yes, yes, and more yes.  Theater, inclusive of , but never limited to my theater family and my deep passion for all things musical, there has always been a community there, when things felt hopeless.

#4 Community.  I mean.  I grew up in the white suburbia of Western Massachusetts and if you want to do the math with me, I graduated with a class of 342.  12 of us were latino/a.  TWELVE.  Within that subsect ONE, me, was adopted.  I often straddle the line of a delicious ho-ho.  Brown on the outside, white on the inside.  It is pervasive.  And constant.  Sometimes it's everything, sometimes, it's not that big of a deal.  Never more, is it more obvious than standing in a room of a latinos who are largely - sharing my experience growing up.  Anonymity and acceptance in one space.  It's magical.
#3 Parents. My own adoptive parents were amazing at times and epic failures at others.  They are people who do not own their own work and rather sit in their own worlds. not wanting to do work to better themselves, comfortable where they are, who they are, even if it means never being who they might become.  But at camp.  Well.  I am surrounded by parents who want to be more.  Do more.  Who want nothing more than to be enough for their children.  Know enough to help their children.  I admire them.  The work they are doing.  My mothers are beautiful and flawed and as an adult I have come to understand their choices, even if I don't agree or accept them.  I see where my parents are and know that I want more.  To live more openly and constantly be open to change and love.  Parents at LAHC, I openly and unabashedly think, want that too.  They want the most for their children. That is a beautiful thing.

#2 Adoption is BEAUTIFUL.   Never more do I understand this than in groups at camp.  Families that match on the inside, even if they don't on the outside.  Long black hair and caramel skin rubbing up against the lighter shades of parents.  Adult adoptees searching for themselves and connection, navigating through their hurt and pains, trials and tribulations.  There is something more beautiful than I can contextualize about growth.  And families of adoptees are constantly in growth.  Learning, opening up, changing, finding more beautiful branches off a darkened path.  I am often filled with so much beauty that I can't seem to digest it all.  One night I sat with other adult adoptees in what I can only deem a difficult conversation.  But.  The best, best, best, way to describe it - beauty in the break down.  And I think it's safe to leave it there.  Adoption is Beautiful.

#1 Be the Change.  This year I worked with middle and high school adoptees around the idea of being the change they wish to see in the world.  They T-1ed their writing to list as many of the world problems and narrowed their lists into umbrella topics.  Once the lists were complete they spent the rest of their time in groups designing ways to solve these problems.  Lists included poverty, racism, hate, fear, war, violence, drugs, guns, education, equity, etc.  Their ideas.  As teens, and pre-teens.  They.  Knocked.  It.  Out.  Of.  The.  Park!  Their ideas were genuine and thoughtful, open and thinking.  One of my favorite moments was talking about BIG change and little change and that changes can start small, and Ana told me this great story about a man and a dog.  I can't remember the whole thing and it's more about like the Boy and the Starfish story.  But that moment with her was one of my favorites.  She gets it.  That change will come with them.  Each of them has the power to make their own mark.  Each of them is perfect.  And beautiful.  And have made me better.  Healed me in their hearts.  Their thoughts, and their dreams for the future.

Matterers, camp is a magical place.
You are beautiful.
And loved.

We Matter.

I can.


Member tweety?
And he'd be all like..."I tawt I taw a putty tat...I DIIIIIIID. I DIIIIIIID." 

Has been on my heart for a while.
And it needs to be here, to get out of me.

Picture me.
In the dermatologists office.
Working on getting back on Stelera.
Praying to the insurance Gods that they'll approve it.

When out of the blue, Dr. H says,"How much do you weigh?"
Stopping for a moment, the room stood still. 
As air left the room, I hesitated.
"230 or 240? I'm not sure," I said.

In disbelief.
I sat in his office morbidly obese.
You ugly fat girl.
 He slowly turned around in his chair.
"There is no way."
"I don't really know," I said.
Great, I thought, I must be over 250.

"There is no way you're even 200 pounds, sweetie."
"Really. Body dysmorphia?"
"I'll put 200, but I don't really think that's right."

He never made me step on scale.
And I'm proud that this May will be 2 years since I have.
It'll also be 6 months without a consistent pattern to my bulimia. It would have been a perfect 6 months, but.

I have beautiful amazing friends who have started getting their already svelt bodies ready for bikini season, and that has fu$%ed with my head, BIG TIME.

Moving on. This post is actually about my gym.
And my trainer.
He and I have spent the last year trying to find balance.
With my bulimia, my training, and my love of my self.

It hasn't always been easy.
There were times he desperately wanted to weigh me in.
Help me track my progress.
There were workouts where I'd just purged.
Or hadn't eat in...hours...days...weeks.

We hustled through them.
And it was this beautiful Sunday morning.
That we got to talking.
About what I weigh now.

And the point he was trying to make.
That I love more than anything was that he was proud of me.

"You have come in here with energy, ready to work.  You've eaten, I can tell."

I smiled through my side lunges.
"And better yet, you are always honest with me.  If it's been a bad week, it's been a bad week."
And I love that.

I chuckled to myself as I goblet squatted.
Today, I loved myself enough to eat, keep it down, and drive to the gym.

To work out enough but not too much.

I thought I saw your inner light shining.


This post will inevitably be long - so before we get there.
It's about school.
And my littles.
And if that's not your thing or why you read around We Matter, come back tomorrow.

This post was almost called worry.
And I'm sorry to tell you dear blog reader, that there are a whole lotta tears dripping down my face as I write this.
Billowing out in my worry.
Desperately trying to make sense of things that don't always make sense.

Mrs Willard, my 5th grade teacher was, to this very day, the very best teacher I ever had.
She introduced me to Raffi.
And filled me with a voractious appetite for books.
She helped me fall in love with the Manatee.
And Matlida.
And Wait Til Helen Comes
She saw me.

She loved me.
Through divorce.
And abandonment issues.
And being brown and not fitting into my own skin.
That woman loved me.

No doubt, taken from her visit to my own classroom just a few years ago - she probably still does.

And truly, that's why I entered this profession.
To love children.
To teach them they matter.
And the great big world will most likely swallow them whole, but if they're lucky, they'll have a map and a book of matches.
And find their way out.

And I learned to be a great teacher from other great teachers, but I wanted to be someone's Mrs. Willard.
I wanted to love them enough to help them thrive.

Anyways, I am not paid to be their Mrs. Willlard.  In fact, in one of the saddest things I can think, she left the profession barely into her 30's.
I'm paid to improve test scores, and DIBEL, MAP, PARCC, ENVISIONS, PEARSON, and MCAS, etc.
And I do.
All the while loving them with everything I have.

It's what made this winter break so long.
Because I knew today, I'd have to go in and see who survived break.
Knowing that winter break would be a time for shuffling of all my homeless kiddos.
"Thank God," I thought this morning.
They were all back.
One through 18.

My lucky number 13.
The left part of my heart.
The ache stinging.

You know him.
The littlest guy.
My napleaon syndrome sufferer.
A smile that could light up a room of 100 watt bulbs.
Eyebrows that spoke volumes to you when he was mad.
And covered his face when he was sad.
My snack manipulator.
Vice President.
The one I'd carried out of the room in his chair the first week when he refused to leave.
The one who crawled all over the floor moo-ing and baa-ing when the space of room 115 was too much.
The one we all learned, all 19 of us, to be around when he was melting down.
The one we could ignore the mooing for because - everyone learns differently.
Who I love a little more than the others because I know he needed it.
And maybe I did too.
This summer DCF decided he could stay with his mother, and his three siblings in their hotel room.
I thought.
But really, I thought, I'd take him.
I'd take him in a heart beat.
Whose little dimples I worry about so much right now.
"There is nothing," I had said so many times, "nothing you can do could ever do to make me love you less, you know that, right."
Who never stopped grimacing about that.
That he was loved unconditionally.
Who would tell his mother I hated him.
Which was code for not really knowing how to be safe and loved.

In talking to my PIC - who is my partner in crime for a reason, I broke down tonight.
"You thought," he said, "that when he left, your worry would ease?!"
"Haha, please, you've thrust the kid you Mrs.Willard-ed into the biggest world of unknowns."
"What if his new teacher and class don't get him.  HE.  Get his humor.  See him.  What if he forgets?  What if being loved starts to disapate from his memory.  What if he goes to his next school and tells them I hated him, and they don't know that's code for loved him so much."
"I don't know," he said thoughtfully, "I think this one time where crying it

out is our best option."

And so, here I am.
Is out there.
Somewhere in the world.
Not thinking about us?
Dear God, SAFE.

I will sleep tonight on the tears of knowing that I tried.
I loved him.
Every adorable out of control part of him.
Right now, even the part that body slammed a kindergartner.
Maybe especially that fiesty part.
Number 13.
Is so so so loved.
He, #4, and #17