Friend Crush

I’m crushing really bad. For a friend.

Most friendships have ordinary roots: a shared experience at a class, a party, or work. But some friendships have magic.

My longest friendship persisted even though I was forced to move schools.

My dearest friendship was love at first sight: I wanted to be her friend when I saw her in the Foreign Language hallway first semester. We met second semester.

My biggest regret was The One That Got Away: we had a spark, but I was too scared to make a move.

And now. A new one.

She’s quiet, artsy, and names her pets after Harry Potter characters. We follow and like each other on social media; we awkwardly stumble over our words when we try to talk in person.

But our stars are crossed:

She’s in a different department.

I’m too busy with the kid.

Alas. We could have been great.

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Imagined Conversations

I was the queen of AOL Instant Messenger. My strongest friendships were forged in tiny dialog boxes that brrringed onto my screen after my long and noisy journey into the Internet. When my husband and I began “talking”—that exciting phase of adrenaline and smiles before becoming “official”—it was over AIM. Each of us hurried to our clunky student laptops after work or class, eager to flirt through witty quips or pine over the song lyrics in our away messages.

Texting was a different matter. At first, I refused this new fad, this extra mode of communicating for my rich friends with fancy data plans. Then it became a staple.

Then my parents started texting.

Then my mother-in-law.

Coworkers.

Strangers.

Stores with BOGO coupons.

Bills.

A flood of messages when I was driving or teaching or chasing the baby, with no away message to explain, I see you, but I’ll get back to you later, when I’m not busy being a grown up.

So I stopped replying.

Now it’s become a bad habit: they call and I don’t answer; they text and I forget to reply. But I imagine marvelous conversations—ones where I actually do reply. I’m witty and thoughtful, we get each other, our relationship fortified after a night of writing and laughing. I imagine us texting the night away—after work, after making dinner, after putting the baby to bed—wiping away years of distance. I feel the high of AIM, hear its scintillating bleeps and brrings. My fingers fly on my keyboard; my abdomen seizes in giggles. And when it’s time for us to retreat into our lives again, I imagine posting an away message: Out adulting, talk to you soon.

Because I do miss talking.

I just want to do it over AIM.

[296… I went over my usual word limit because I lost some depth when I tried to cut it down to 150. I kept it as short as I could.]

Cough Drops, Apologies, and Cursing Edward Liu

It was Edward Liu who did it. I know because he had a hacking cough, then he ran around the lunch room. And because he’s a weird kid who probably would like to see how many people he can infect in one day. And because he coughed on me. Unapologetically.

Two days later, I was doubling over in coughing fits.

In an ideal world, a teacher would take a painful, exhausting, persistent cough as a reason to stay home. As a presenter, she can’t speak; as a responsible adult acting in loco parentis, she knows passing out papers means spreading diseases to her 135 students.

But this is the real world, and I’m a parent. My sick days are reserved for staying home when my kid is sick, and I’ve already used four out of five. So it was cough drops and apologies all week long. And cursing Edward Liu.

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A few disclaimers:

*Edward Liu is not my student’s name. Duh, I change names for privacy and so I don’t get fired.

**I know this flu season is bad. I did get checked out–it was just a cold.

My Evolving Attitudes Toward Makeup

Year: 1994 —— Age: 8

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What happens if I put Mom’s lipstick on my cheek? And my nose? And my forehead? YAAASSS.

Year: 1999 —— Age: 13

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Mom and Dad won’t let me wear makeup. Lol, time for a bathroom makeover before the tardy bell rings!

Year: 2007 —— Age: 21

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I don’t care if I’m late. I don’t care if my foundation doesn’t match my skin tone. I’m not walking out that door without makeup on.

Year: 2014 —— Age: 28

I am a strong, independent woman and I don’t need no makeup. #nomakeup #nofilter  #fierce

Year: 2017 —— Age: 31

If I don’t look at the mirror while I wash my hands, I won’t see how tired I look from staying up with a crying baby all week.

Year: 2018 —— Age: 32

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Fuck it. It’s time for makeup. #mommyneedsanewface

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Today’s #goals Brought to You By… PANTS!

I have one of the few teacher jobs where I’m allowed to wear jeans everyday. You heard me: I don’t have to wait for Fridays or Spirit Weeks or wear an ill-fitting school T-shirt just for the privilege of wearing jeans. I can wear them every damn day–if I’m in the mood. And I usually am.

But today, I wore business pants. It had been a good two, maybe three, months since I last brought them out, and I figured today was a good day for it. And it was.

Accomplished today:

  • Graded 45 essays
  • Successful conference with my principal
  • Thwarted disaster on my team with a last minute lesson
  • Impromptu book discussion with students
  • Made two separate dinners because my husband and I couldn’t agree
  • Read 8 books to put the baby to bed
  • Did the laundry
  • Wrote this blog entry

I should wear business pants more often.

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“Shitty First Drafts”

At an English teacher training a few years ago, they gave us an essay called “Shitty First Drafts” as homework. I’m not sure if I read it. I probably didn’t. But it was about writing: writing anyway, even if you know your writing sucks, because it’s progress and it will help your writer’s heart. Or, at least, I think that’s what it’s about. I’m just basing that off the title.

I think there are two lessons to be learned here:

  1. Write. Write anyway. Write because. Write. Write. Write.
  2. If you have a good enough title, people might not even have to read whatever shit you wrote.

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Why, Hello There!

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Handlettering is my most recent creative outlet. Here’s more about me in lettering form!

I’m a teacher, so I used to hide everything I could about my identity. But, in seven years, I’ve learned that my students aren’t that obsessed with me.

So, Hi! I’m Swapna. No one can pronounce my name, and I’ve run into the occasional old person who’s amazed at my American accent. But no need for amazement—I was born and raised in Texas. I teach 9th grade English, which can be hard when you’re an introvert. I read, write, and create outside of school to recharge.

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This used to be the only way to make her stop crying. Now we just do it for fun.

I’m married to a Darcy-esque attorney, and we two introverts have a wild and crazy baby girl. To respect their privacy, I will call them B and J here and use filters and cryptic hipster angles for any pictures.

I have a tendency to rant and ramble, so this blog is dedicated to amusing brevity. Now that introductions are over, let’s get to blogging!

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