Be Strong and Courageous

I jerk awake from sleep just before four a.m. This is not my usual wake-up time. I’m not gasping from a nightmare or magically wide awake.

Just sick to my stomach. Again.

I am an anxious person by nature. This is something I’m learning about myself the older I get. But this is getting ridiculous.

I try to stave off the waves of nausea. I go to the bathroom. I make peppermint tea since I’ve learned in the last year or so of stressful teaching that peppermint can help soothe an upset stomach. I turn the fan on in the bedroom, as if cooling off is going to make this feeling go away.

It’s no use.

My head is in a trash can just a few minutes later.

I wish this didn’t happen so frequently. I try to do all kinds of things to reduce stress and promote wellness. Except for the detail that I teach in a toxic environment. I can’t get out fast enough, but right now it’s March, not June.

I try to fight back by my undercover BAT-ness here and on Twitter. Working with my state BAT organization. Taking an active role in my state and local union.

But even when I don’t think I feel anxious and stressed by all of this, even when I think I’m fighting back, I wake up in the dead of night sick.

This should not be normal. This is not what parents, the community at large, and politicians should accept as okay for their community’s teachers.

This is why I fight, but this is why I get sick. It’s a vicious cycle.

I try to distract myself and settle my stomach. A new email pings in my inbox. It’s from an online Bible verse a day service, and I have to laugh at the irony of what I read.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

I’m trying to be strong and courageous, but to say it is difficult is an understatement.

So I blow my nose and sip my lukewarm peppermint tea and try to go back to sleep for another hour or two.

I have school in the morning.


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