What is it about 24?

I turned 24 on Tuesday, Tuesday is the least exciting day of the week in my book its not Monday so it doesn’t have any true suckage excitement you have heard everyones weekend stories already, it isn’t Wednesday so we aren’t even halfway through the week, it is just a day you have to get through to get 1/5th closer to Friday.

This is also how I feel about 24. . the least exciting birthday to date.. given Ben did take me on a wonderful Tuesday adventure. But in order to do that we both had to call into work.. which leads me to the real point of this post..

Why does 24 make me feel like such an adult.

It was like magically overnight on Monday, I was supposed to evolve into a fully matured, put together, soon-to-be wife adult. I should have a career and a nice car and stable house and income. I should not be going out on a weeknight, or lets be real any night much past 10 or 11.

Honestly, I fit most of these qualifications anyway, but I have never felt like I was supposed to fit them until now.

I have started cooking myself dinner 3 nights a week, I cannot remember the last time I went out on a weeknight, Even on the weekends you will find me in bed by midnight, a group of friends went out the other night and we were drunk and ready to leave by 10 pm. I would much rather drink a bottle of *cheap* wine or expensive whiskey than any of the nasty drinks I used to drink in college

So why 24, there is no major life event that occurs at 24,

21 – I could start drinking legally, that clearly means I am not going to have my shit together for at least a year.

22 – Graduated college- so I would logically think this is when I should start pulling my shit together, get a real job, move out of my college town. Live without roommates for the first time. Stop going out on the weeknights. .

Let’s look at how that really went down, graduated college moved to Denver . Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM

Lived in a tiny studio apartment with one of my college roommates for three months before they moved to Seattle, so halfway Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM Then I promptly added a cat, I don’t know if that counts as alone.

No real job to be had, I first worked as a day program staff with adults with disabilities, wonderful summer job but not a career. Then I worked as assistant teacher which lead me to my career.

I can distinctly remember a Tuesday night that I got so drunk I lost my phone, I made Ben walk back to the bar to try and find it. . . when all along I had left in my bed. . so no check there.

23 – No major universal life moments. I guess in theory you should be in year number 2 of your chosen career. I was heading back to college, as a grad student that is. .

24 – Nothing major, however here I am feeling like an adult. So lets look at what I am doing

I will graduate grad school in June. . .

I will start my first official adult job in August

I will become a Mrs. in August. . .

I will move into my first “married” home in June

So I guess all these things feel pretty adult like, and yet I still don’t feel like I live up to an adult. We will see how the year progresses maybe I will evolve into a mature adult.

Maybe  I will be a perfect wife by the time I get married. but Hell probably not, I have never even lived with a guy in any capacity before.. but that is a whole other blog post.

So what is it about 24, why do I feel the need to possibly prematurely age myself now? Is this some unwritten rule that I am not aware of? You hit 24 and you are almost halfway through your 20’s better pull yourself together

❤ Kelsi Rae

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Color Blind or Color Brave?

I grew up in a small town, and by small I mean white, and by white I mean, known for its white supremacy church and ideology.

I grew up knowing all of the minority members of my community on one hand, and by that I mean 2. Me and a boy in my grade and we were both the only black children of white single mothers, didn’t exactly scream cultural pride. I grew up trying to mute my association with the Black community, a community I admittedly knew very little about. This was not the fault of my mother, who helped me with all my self driven research projects, into the old negro baseball teams and deciding at age 13 that I was going to go to a historically black college which died as I got into high school and realized all of the historically Black colleges were states away.  She did all of my research with me and appreciated all of my curiosity, but she just did not have any personal knowledge, so I fell farther and farther from my black roots. I was one of 9 out of 1900 black students in my high school, and in college the only black students I knew either played football or basketball, And at this point I was already not comfortable enough around people that “looked like me” to approach any of them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I dated black guys, the majority of guys I dated in college were black, but my real long term relationships have always been with white guys, as is my future husband. I can remember multiple occasions when the different guys I would date told me that they liked, or in some cases disliked the fact that I acted like a white girl. So thats what I became, the white black girl. If anyone even knows what that means? Well I do, I knew exactly what people would mean when they say it, and I internalized it. I became more nervous to enter a room of black people and disappoint them, than to be the only black person in the room.

So now I have entered a grad program that repeatedly tells us about being culturally responsive and we look and look at data and discrimination, and the disporpotionality of minorities in drop out rates, and the school to prison pipeline and suspensions. And now I am here, wanting to be color brace.

So what does this mean to me? I need to embrace the color of my skin I need to be the person that will stand up for what I believe in. I don’t want to hide behind the “i don’t know” response.  I don’t want to live in the “white black girl” stereotype. I have made changes in my life to do these with the people around me, when I am offended by an off hand comment I now call people out on it, I hope to educate people about how things are perceived and not accuse or castrate people.

I need to think about how I am going to represent myself in order to create value in the diversity for my students, and for the people in my community at large. I don’t think being color brave means saying everyone is the same, I think it means, everyone is different, and that is wonderful.

When I think being color brave I can remember being in high school reading Huckleberry Finn, as of course, the only member of the black community in English class, being asked in front of the entire class why does the word Nigger still offend black people? The class continued to tell me that, we needed to just get over it because it doesn’t mean anything and it hasn’t in like 100 years. At the time being a 16 year old girl I curled into myself, I muted the feelings that were coming up until I ran into the hallway, found a corner, and just cried. At the time I could not pinpoint the feeling I did not know what was happening but those assumptions, those kind of conversations should never happen in a classroom.

One person is not the representation of a race, one person is a representation of themselves. So to be Color Brace I will stand up for my students, I will ensure that they don’t have to feel that, at least in my class and that they are prepared to have those conversations when people, I will teach my students to see color, to embrace color and to embrace people. And if that is my contribution to the evolution of society if I can bring students into the world that understand the differences people bring and why we should embrace color and change then I will be happy.

I will create a small piece of society that is not afraid to talk about race, that is not afraid to embrace their identity, If I can make sure that one person does not ever mute their identity like I did, then I will have succeeded, I will be brave!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates.  “The examined life is painful.”

❤ Kelsi Rae

I hate running, and I am addicted to cake!

So I am gonna run a 10k!

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This is the plan I am going to follow. It starts out slow and still gives you plenty of rest days during the week. I will use these rest days for things like, boxing class. and when I have night class ( on those days I do a quick at home Yoga routine.) I also am trying this 7 minute work out app every morning so that will be in addition to this training as well. (http://7minuteworkout.us/) This app has you do 12 exercises for 30 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between. I do it in the morning to help me wake up and get ready for the day. It is also only 7 minutes so I can work it into my morning routine, but it definitely gets your heart rate going and I can feel my muscles working.

Great plan right, well we will see. This year at the beginning of January, I set very loose goals, loose weight for the wedding, etc. Last year I set very specific goals: Attend boxing classes twice a week for 6 months. And I was easily successful at the latter of the two. ( It really helped that I feel in love with boxing and I continue to attend classes once a week a year later). So as my goals were quickly falling apart this year, I decided I needed to set a more specific fitness and weight loss goal. Now I am not setting a specific number of pounds I would like to loose. ( But hopefully it will be somewhere around 15 to 20) But I am setting specific healthy eating and fitness goals.

For the healthy eating I am starting out small and going to try doing clean eating recipes and meal plans for two weeks and see how it goes. I am nervous about the time commitment that is involved in cooking all my meals each week. But I came across the awesome blog, Broke and Bougie (http://brokeandbougie.blogspot.com/p/about-broke-bougie.html) And she shares easy and hopefully delicious recipes that are made for clean eating. I also love that her blog is very open about the fact that she loves to drink and such, she just seems like a fun gal.  So here I am in all my Type A glory making a weekly eating plan. If I am gonna stick to something I have to have a plan . . . did I saw I was type A already? You can find my rough draft of a meal plan and workout schedule here.  Meal Plan Week .  From what I have found it seems the most important components of beginer clean eating are 1) Think green: fill your plate fill as many veggies as you can first, don’t plan your meal around a meat. 2: Forget the processor eat whole grains and as minimally processed foods as possible. Think steamed grilled or raw! 3) Eat smaller meals more times a day. For this reason I have incorporated 2 planned snacks into my days so that I am not going hours between meals and my metabolism is still engaged, and most importantly I am NOT starving myself.

I hope to reset my addiction to cake. I am not kidding when I say I am an addict, given I doubt this addiction is to the cake, it is to the processed, refined sugar. But it manifests itself most often in eating cupcakes or cakes to myself. I am not going to try and cut sweets out of my diet all together. Like Broke and Bougie states she is keeping booze around, I am keeping some sugar around. #sorrynotsorry.

So then I figured out I will hit the store after class tonight and be ready to start my plan! So now for the fitness goals, a 10k. why would someone who hates running, and I mean HATES running, I find myself wheezing, with sore knees about 5 minutes in and I am ready to call it a day and go pick up some chips and guac. I mean I love working out, I just hate running. So why did I pick a 10k. Well I went on a 5 mile hike yesterday with one of my most inspirational friends. She is inspirational in so many more ways, but one of them is that at 38 she ran her first marathon last year, and not just a road marathon, she ran the Moab Trail Marathon. 26 miles over hills and rocks in beautiful terrain, but come on, I doubt you would see it And while that would be enough to inspire anyone, the best part is that when I met her last January, she had a hip injury and couldn’t run at all. So she literally went couch to marathon in 11 months. Now here I am like, well there is no way on God’s green earth I want to run a marathon. But I have seen those wonderful couch to 10k workouts on pinterest and my other friend said she would run the Boulder Boulder and Color Run with me. So I guess here it goes I am off and running ( I hope).

So May 25th 2015 here we come.http://www.bolderboulder.com/. !

Hopefully this will kickstart and help me maintain my wedding fitness plans. So that where Ben whisks me away too for our honeymoon ( where I better be able to wear a bikini) I will rock it. It is time to get back to feeling and looking good this year.

I will try and keep you updated as much I remember, lets go for bi-weekly updates. Fingers crossed. I am also going to take some “before” pictures tonight so hopefully there will be enough progress for “after” pictures in the future.

FullSizeRender-3A picture from my hike yesterday. This is what Colorado gives us in January. pure beauty!

Hugs. Have a great week!

❤ Kelsi Rae

The Evolution of the Breakdown

I had a breakdown, a huge crying, incomprehensible speech, blubbering breakdown, and the best part was I had no idea it was coming.

I am not a huge cryer, I have noticed that recently it has become more apparent in my life, when I am mad or upset a few tears will slip from one eye or another but never a huge issue. Even when Ben and I fight it is never a huge deal, I will let a few tears fall quietly and we both continue fighting and no one really has to address these tiny tears.

Well the breakdown started Saturday night, I had class all day on Saturday and then Ben and I went out to a great dinner where we tasted three different bourbons, we had a drink with egg whites in it, and tasted oysters (for the first time for me). It was a wonderful celebration of just being alive and being in love. We got home and began stuffing our save the dates, The first big act to let other people know, Hey we are getting married and we would love to have you there. It should have been a great night, but we both started snapping at each other, and it ended with me hiding behind the still up and lit christmas tree letting a few tears fall as I finished writing the return addresses on the last of the save the dates.

As we headed to bed you could feel the tension between us, but I don’t think either one of us really had any idea why we were fighting. We fought about nothing for like 20 minutes when I got up to leave, he tried one last time to prod at my hard shell, “Kelsi what is wrong.”

And I lost it, sobs erupted and I sat on the edge of my future bed crying harder than I can ever remember crying. I simply kept repeating, “I don’t know and I am sorry” over and over. Ben got out of bed, came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed with me and wrapped us both in a blanket. As I sobbed and mumbled speech even I couldn’t understand, he repeated ” It’s going to be ok.” As many times as I could say “I’m sorry.” He sat through my blubber and held me tighter the harder I sobbed. All the while reminding me that we would work through it together, that I was never alone in this. And after what seemed like an eternity of tears, when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to cry again, we climbed back into bed and he told me that he would choose me everyday no matter what.

I still couldn’t tell you what the root cause of this breakdown was, or really how it cleansed my soul. But I can tell you that just letting someone know that I need help, that maybe Grad school, and planning and wedding, and working full time isn’t as easy as I continue to tell myself that it is was such a freeing experience. And I can tell you that I made the best decision of my life, by marrying this man.

I hate to blame my fatherless past for many things in my life, I don’t want to fall into that stereotype of women. But sometimes I have to own up and admit that it did have an impact on my way of viewing the world and this is one of those times. I don’t think I have ever cried in front of a man in that way. I don’t think I have ever felt that they would hold me in that way and still view me as the women they loved and wanted in their lives. I have always held the assumption that if the man that was supposed to love me unconditionally couldn’t live up to that, no one ever would. Now that is not to say that my mom wasn’t the best mother and father she could be, I never wanted for anything that I needed and she made sure I had a life where I could honestly say that my father wasn’t missed too much. But she was only one person and it is unrealistic to expect her to be two. However I think I can officially say that not everything you grow up believing about men, women or the world will hold true. I am so happy that this particular thing wasn’t true.

Even though I still have all of those things to balance, and I still strive to be perfect, to manage all of these things, stress- free. Maybe that is not realistic and being able to hold onto the fact that when I can’t do it anymore, when my perfection falters and my insecurities show,I won’t be alone is the more reassuring thing I have in my life.

In 7 months I will marry this man and hopefully some day he will ensure that our daughter never has these same insecurities because she will grow up knowing that no matter what two people will love her unconditionally.

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What 2014 taught me . . .

Are you ready for one of those life lessons you can learn in a year posts? Well I hope so, because it is coming for ya!

1) I can make a difference where I am right now. . . watching the struggle the minority communities are going through right now makes me want to change the world. I need to go out and save the world from itself, all alone right? Well that was my first thought, but then as I thought about it some more. I maybe can’t change the entire world from my facebook account but I can change the lives of my students. They are the future of our country and if I can impact the way that they view themselves and the world then my reach will be much bigger than it could be from behind my computer screen. I have learned that the behind the computer screen ” activism” ( which is what I am doing right now, right?) just seems to make people more angry, but if I can influence my students, and make them believe that they are smart, strong, beautiful and worthy. If I can educate both my white and my minority students about what type of place I hope the world will be one day they can make a much bigger difference than I can. And if that is the impact I make on the world, I will be forever proud of that.

2) I have learned that no matter what you prioritize in your life, that becomes obvious in your actions. When I entered grad school this year I was told over and over again that this would destroy my relationships with friends, family, but most importantly with my then boyfriend Ben. I was determined to never let this happen, I was going to do what they said was impossible, balance them both. And I did it! Throughout the first half of grad school, I missed the Friday happy hours, and the halloween parties in order to have a weekly date night and we made it work. The time we could take together we did it whether that was just making dinner and watching TV or hitting a coffee shop on Saturday so that we could both get our work done., and in that time we have gotten engaged, and began planning our wedding so it must be working.

3) I have learned that you must find the people that will match your effort, and hold onto them tight! I have only about 6 true friends at this point and that is all I need. Whether they are 1000 miles away or 2 minutes away you have to know who is worth it, and more importantly who is not worth it.

4) I have learned that planning a wedding does not have to be as stressful as everyone says that it is. I started planning my wedding during my 4th month of grad school. Another feet people kept telling me couldn’t be done. I learned quickly that tuning out other peoples opinions when they are not needed is the key. I figured out what I wanted and made it happen. Everyone tells me about the most stressful months of their lives, and I will tell you if I get there. But the key is too enjoy it. This is ONE day of your life,you have to focus on what is more important, the life you are going to build with your husband.

5) Love is a choice, everyday! This year my fiancé watched one of the couples he looked up to growing up, get a divorce. They made their strife and frustrations very public on facebook and this made it hard for him as we enter into our marriage.Growing up in a single parent household I never thought that love was enough, you can love someone with your whole heart, and yet that could not work out. That is something my mom deals with to this day, watching the man you love disappear from your life. It was tough watching my fiance learn this lesson, but  I think that it will be something that helps us during the hard years of our marriage. Knowing that everyday we have to choose this love, we have to choose “Us” everyday.

6) A new years resolution is just an everyday resolution with an easy date to remember. You have the choice to change everyday. You can make yourself a better person any day of the year. Don’t be boxed in by the January 1st fresh start. If in 2 months you need a fresh start you take one then. You are always making choices about your life, make sure you are making choices you would be proud of.

I hope that 2014 has taught you things you will carry into 2015. Welcome to the year from Back to the Future. Make the most of it.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Trials of the Hair Obsessed. . . My SPEDtacular life part 1

The trials of the hair obsessed entries, will just tell you a little bit about me, they may be about hair and they may not. In this case there is a tiny bit about hair and the rest is not, but I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about my life outside of hair ( if there is such a thing).

I am in grad school at the University of Denver in a program called Denver Teacher Residency, so we complete a residency year similar to a doctors residency in a title one public school in Denver and at the end we receive our masters in Education and have the option to sign a contract to work in Denver Public Schools for 3 more years in exchange for a tuition reimbursement. I am in this program for Special Education, I am doing my residency year with 3-5 grade students in literacy special ed, So this is my SPEDtacular life. . .

Letter I recieved this note from one of my most endearingly difflicult students on Friday, I have removed his name but this is should read

_____ refused to work with the class in his class, not doing so good – Class 114.  

He wrote a letter from the class about himself, just letting us all know he new he was “not doing so good” now if that is not witty I don’t know what is. This student is on of the students that often gets removed from the gen ed classes for behavior and then ends up in my class for most of the day. As a result I get to learn all of the wittiness that is within this 4th grade boy that is so close to being labeled, ‘ an angry black man” and being put in the emotional disabilities classroom. I am not denying that this student has some behavior issues, but nothing extreme enough to consider the permanent removal from general education. He has shown me that he is a caring, smart boy that just needs to learn to redirect his feelings, something we all have to learn at some point.

I seem to have the most room in my heart for the most difficult students however because not everyone agrees with me about this student, or many other students that I find the most joy in. But I guess this is why I chose to work in Special Education right? I have been bit, scratched, hit and even peed on and at the end of the day I gave all of these children a genuine hug and said I would miss them until tomorrow. I believe that if we look underneath the things that may disgust or frighten us there is a child that will show you the world if you let them and my wish for everyone is that they find someone that will show them this, and that we loose the anger and fear surrounding these wonderful children.

I promise in the future the My SDEDtacular life entries will have more humor and less seriousness, because as much as I love these students you have to laugh at the things that happen sometimes, So to end today I will finish with a story about both my hair and this same wonderful boy.

The day after I cut my twists to be shorter, he comes up to me with the most concerned look on his face, ” Ms. Mega, one of your twisties is coming out. .. let me fix it.” In all seriousness this boy grabed my hair and attempted to fix it, the result was both hilarious and heart-warming. He told me that he did not want me to walk around all day with messed up hair. Now that boy is on to something,

Well that is all for today. Have a wonderful week everybody.

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae