Split Mind on “Split”

I watched Split over the weekend again, and Kevin’s personality Hedwig is fascinating to me on many levels. Initially, it creates a comical juxtaposition to have a grown man we know is capable of violence have a child’s persona- complete with coloring pages and an imaginative mind drawing a ‘window’ to the outside world. On another level, Hedwig is extremely relatable to our culture’s bullying problem. Hedwig’s persona is shoved aside and seen by the other personalities as an idiot, immature, and useless. As the saying goes- hurt people, hurt people.

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Hedwig, a weak child, allows ‘the beast’, an all-powerful super creature, to take over Kevin’s body. Only Hedwig can allow these evil personalities to take the light. This speaks to how easy it is to turn evil when treated poorly. When I first watched M. Night Shyamalan film, I felt pity for Hedwig and deep sympathy for a child who was bullied into evil ways as a way to gain attention. I see it all the time in my students – they act out in order to gain something whether it be attention or avoidance of activity, person, or content.

Upon watching the film again, I felt Hedwig made a crude error in judgment. At some point in a person’s life, they must choose a path: good or bad, right or wrong. Hedwig’s problem is his lack of experience and naivety. He doesn’t understand that Patricia and Dennis are using him for their own gain. Students must at some point or another, take control of what has happened to them and choose to not let it define them – just as I don’t let my anxiety or depression regulate how I work or define the quality of education I provide for them. Hedwig has a valid excuse! I mean, he’s only 8 for crying out loud and has never had a positive role model to encourage him and teach him right from wrong.

As a person who classifies herself as a “worrier”, I never let myself acknowledge that all my worries were indeed anxiety trying to tell me something. As a teenager, I worried about what college to go to, my grades, my savings account balance, what my boss thought of me, and my parent’s perception of who I was, my relationship with God, etc. These things helped me lose many nights of restful sleep.

As an adult, I worry about different things, but they still seem like life or death (even though I know they’re temporary or surface level, materialistic worries). I worry about my students, my bank account, my relationship with my husband, and the perceptions that the school and community as a whole have of me. All of these “worries” I’ve now come to realize are anxiety. But, in a culture where everything is “omg my anxiety is inhibiting me from performing the most minute task,” I’m hesitant to talk about the stress of teaching because it would simply be white noise in an already crowded arena.

I’m not spokesperson anxiety wants me to be. I’m not going to be the one posting on Instagram “I have anxiety and depression and guess what? That’s okay!” Even as a person who suffers from both of these ailments, I look at other people who are inhibited from performing daily tasks, and I don’t understand it.

I have a reason to get my lazy ass out of bed every day and get to work; my job doesn’t continue on business as usual without me. I’m needed, and no call- no showing would result in termination and disappointing a hundred kids.

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All of these thoughts are coming to the surface because I literally almost sold my car because I was financially stressed. Thankfully, someone talked me out of it, but these are the crazy things that anxiety and depression want me to do. I have a devil on my shoulder telling me crazy shit at all times: you’re not worth it, your husband is cheating, you’re a horrible educator, you’re not trying hard enough, kill yourself.

There’s no moral to this story, no thoughtful inspiration to motivate a reader to continue on through the daily monotony of life. Just a writer who is sharing her current reality. I connect to “Split” because I’m a different person at school compared to who I am in my personal life. I’m juggling these two separate identities inside of one mind. I must be a professional who conducts herself in a genial and politically correct manner. At home, I can swear and use all of the sarcasm I desire.

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I’m trying to be good. Every day. Every hour.

In a rural town in Wisconsin, the dedicated teachers who educate these vicious adolescents are members are an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. This is my story.

A Teacher’s Chronicles: Part One

A note, written by one of my students:

“To: Mrs. Christenson

Just wanted to give ya something to show how much I appreciate you and you aren’t a dumb *beeeeep*

-The fav”

This wonderful note also had a picture of the student’s cat, Dale, sketched onto it with a greeting from the animal saying “Dale says hi”.

This note, accompanied by a homemade, heart-shaped, chocolate chip cookie, saved me from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I won’t go into the specifics of what my bad day involved because, frankly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is I’ve had a group of students be the most supportive and kind human beings. It gives me hope for the future generation and hope for my future in the classroom.

You may be very confused as to why the note hints at a censored swear word that we can all guess what it is, and it’s because a student actually called me this very colorful expletive in the middle of class. Twice this school year.

It would be so easy to focus on the negatives. On the ‘write-ups’. On the ungraded paperwork sitting in bins on my counter. On the long meetings.

Instead, I choose to focus on the student who asks me to escort them during halftime at their basketball game as their favorite teacher. These moments are so memorable! Five years from now, I will have no recollection about the write-ups or the bad days. But, I will remember the cookies, the notes, the pranks, the jokes, and the best days. Hopefully, they outnumber the bad.

After the Reality Hits

I woke up with a fantastic idea for a book that I immediately wanted to write about at around 3:47 am last night. But, I decided to go back to sleep instead of exerting all of my energies in opening my eyes to the blinding light of the memo screen on my phone. This summer I had so many plans, so many adventures, so many people to catch up with, where in reality I spent a lot of my summer harbored in my small apartment with my two cats and Hulu services.

School starts again in two short weeks. I haven’t reached peak hysteria yet, but I’m sure once my denial evolves into anger, I’ll pull myself together just in time to start the school year off with a bang! This blog, along with my personal life and self care regime, have been an afterthought.

My friend told me last week that writing isn’t just for the times when I feel overtly creative or blue, but rather an every day activity that I should use as a gauge for my progresses and successes in life. I personally get into the habit of blogging all of the good things and journaling all of the negative things. It’s like an Instagram vs. reality domain; a complete divide between what I want people to see versus what I want locked up in the top drawer of my dresser, only accessible and known by my old keepsakes and sewing kit.

The moon phases, and therefore, so will I.


First Year Teacher Tips

As a disclaimer, these are my opinions. Just because it worked for me, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. I know my first year I was struggling with being the sole English teacher in a district. These are the things that kept me sane during the most tumultuous time in my life.


1.) Always keep candy at your desk. You can motivate students, reward them, and also eat it alone in your classroom and throw away the wrappers so no one can ever find out about your stash of chocolates and Jolly Ranchers. 😉

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2.) Set up routines and stick to them.

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3.) Trash all of your indefectible routines because testing, award ceremonies, athletics, school events, early release, and lack of resources will interrupt your meticulous planning and ruin everything you spent your precious weekend planning.

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4.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. So, a student is having a bad day? Their poor attitude doesn’t have to become your attitude. Each and every hour should start fresh as if it’s a new day: a new opportunity for learning to take place!

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5.) “Perfection” isn’t achievable. Do your best, and it will all work out in the end!

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6.) Take as little work home as possible. 

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7.) Hold students accountable for their actions. Don’t let them get away with lying and being lazy because they think they can sneak by your class with a D. You might not be their favorite person at the time, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it. 

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8.) “I swear it’s done, it’s just at home!” is the biggest crock of shit you’ll ever hear in your life.

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9.) Find teacher friends, and work hard at keeping those relationships alive. Venting with someone who understands your specific situation is a priceless gift. 

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10.) Get on a budget. This job is rewarding in so many other ways, but not financially. Find out how to live within your means. 

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Setting Goals & Being a Life Long Learner

I have recently discovered the realm of Insta-worthy ELA teachers, and man has my life imploded. I thought I was doing OK; I thought I was being the best first-year teacher I could be. Here comes these other young people out there in the world killin’ the teaching game their first year. I had to check myself before I wrecked myself.

Along with these new, perky 22 year old teachers who have their classrooms in tip top shape, there is also a phenomenon that most of them hashtag: #stopteacherguilt. The irony is killing me. This hashtag is like a model posting a full face of makeup pic on Insta with the hashtag #nomakeup. Am I the only one who finds this ironic?

I have realized that I will never be the teacher with perfectly trimmed bulletin boards. I will never be the teacher with the cutesy decorations and the multi-colored sticky notes that help organize and bring life to my desk. I won’t drink 5 cups of coffee before 10 am, or wear shawls that prove how “English-y” I am. I will not devote my ENTIRE life (social, emotional, intellectual, and like-wise) to this job. Being open and honest about this proves (to some in the industry) that I will never be a phenomenal educator. But, it’s not true. A balanced lifestyle allows me to recharge and come back into my classroom with a fresh attitude every day.

There are so many many articles about teachers devoting 16+ hours a day to their craft. HOW and WHY they do this is beyond me. It’s how people become clinically insane, if you ask me.

I am devoted, but I don’t need to prove it by killing myself. I am a better teacher, holistically, when I have time in my schedule for personal development and interpersonal development. I wasn’t able to do this my first year teaching. Some weeks, I was the teacher who didn’t leave school until it was dark outside, and I still felt like a failure at the end of the week.

I ask my own students to set reading and writing goals so that they can see their growth along the way. I need to do that for myself too! I need to set aside time to do the things I enjoy: friends, gym, and writing.

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I’ve acted my way through the first 3/4 of the year. We will see how well I can act my way through many more years!

That One Person Who Believes in Horoscopes -.-

If horoscopes are right about one thing- it’s that I cannot contain nor express my feelings in an appropriate, healthy way. Coincidentally enough, I connect with a lot of the generalizations that astrologers (lol is that a real job?) have to say about what makes Pisces so great.

We feel. A LOT! And in my ripe old age of 23, I’ve come to think it’s okay. It makes me exceptionally empathetic. Sometimes I can look at a person and in an instant feel their vibes radiating off of them like standing close to a space heater.

Some people will immediately understand what I mean and others think it’s probably a crock pot of shit.

When I was 18 years old and had no idea what to do with my life, that gift was one of the main reasons that I felt called to become a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I still have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. I’m in my early 20’s with my whole life ahead of me to develop skills that can translate over into any career path that I so choose.

The down side of being classified as overly emotional is when unfortunate events strike, I am immobilized with pain. I’m not saying this as a hyperbole or an exaggeration. I lay incapacitated in my bedroom unable to think about anything other than what’s causing me pain.

These past two weeks have been a powerful overflow of feelings – to paraphrase the great Wordsworth.

These past two weeks have taught me how to push through my sensitivity and get up and get dressed. Put on makeup. Pretend that I’m not dying on the inside because my whole world is crashing down around me. My reality is no longer truth.

Often times, blogs are an inspirational call to action.

Sometimes, I don’t need this over the top prompt to get my butt in gear. All that’s necessary is an acceptance even though I don’t feel ready – life isn’t waiting for me to feel better. My job and my responsibilities don’t all wait patiently for me to pick up the pieces and meticulously put them back together.

I pull my favorite sweatshirt over my head. Slip on my tattered tennis shoes that I’ve run miles and miles in. And go to work.






“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”

– William Wordsworth

Daily Prompt: Study

I sit here during a study hall I picked up for the band teacher in awe at how diverse my study body is. Some students are sleeping, others are jamming out to some Post-Malone, and others have a Science notebook, English vocabulary, and Human Anat. & Phys. all conglomerated together on their desk tops attempting to study all three at once. It takes all kinds!

During high school, I would have been the person with all three subjects out pretending to study when in all reality I was completing zoning out at some speck of weird paint on the wall. I pretended to be one of the smart kids, but I never fit in. I got straight A’s, but only because I was fearful of the rage my parents would inflict on me if I didn’t. Any now by rage… I mean a disappointment so great about my academic short comings that I would get grounded for a month.

All these kids are going to have to take huge exams in less than two days. It’s so interesting how people deal with stressful situations. Some prepare (or over-prepare) and other students ignore it to the point where I want to walk up to them to make sure they still have a pulse. I’m genuinely scared to put two fingers on their jugular in case I don’t feel the faint pump of blood through it. Some bite their nails, others the dead skin on their lips to the point where it bleeds. Some drowned out the world with G-Easy, others cannot bear to study with even the light click of my keyboard at it disturbs them. I hope all my students are well-prepared for my finals. This will be the truest test as to my ability as an educator.


Jokes on you— I made my finals EASY.

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via Daily Prompt: Study

Tell Me the Right Answer

At some points in my life, there have been instances where there are no “right” answers.

I don’t like what my current reality looks like.

I don’t know how to change my reality. I went to college, I got my degree, and I joined the workforce like every good little graduate does. But Hell- I was making more money bartending in college than I am teaching students! I drive to work every freaking morning at the crack of dawn and think to myself: I am paying $10 a day to go to work. What in the hell have I done? 

But at some point it all becomes worth it. At some point, I pray to stare into some beautiful child’s face and realize that I made good choices with my life and I’m fulfilling my purpose.

I need a genie in a bottle to tell me everything that I need to hear. My 3 wishes would proceed as follows:

1.) A million dollars.

People who say money doesn’t buy happiness are idiots who were clearly never poor and fighting to get by.

2.) Health 

You never appreciate health until you’re dying in bed from something as simple as a head cold.

3.) A magic 8 ball that answered questions I asked it very specifically because it was able to look 5 years into the future.

Do I buy a house? Should I try to get pregnant? Should I renew my lease? Do I take a new job? Do I ask for a raise? On, and on, and on.


via Daily Prompt: Relocate

Today, I hired a realtor. I was out scoping the internet in hopes of finding some place I could finally make my own when I discovered that you had to be “represented accordingly”. Who knew? Not me- a 23 year old first time home buyer who was just dinkin’ around on the internet looking at homes in the central Wisconsin area. Let me tell you- realtors are sharks. I had people contacting me left and right wanting my business… and when I had to tell them that I had hired someone else… things got a little personal. This lady from Boston was genuinely upset that I hired a family friend to represent me rather than her: a complete stranger who I felt was too aggressive and overly intimidated. We’ll see. I’ll cast my line into the sea and hope to catch something.

I’ve lived in a ton of different styles of homes before: double-wide trailers, condos, 4 bedroom homes, apartments, etc. Currently, I live in a 4-plex. My neighbors are single and elderly, so thankfully it’s not as bad as living in a condo on the infamous Water Street in Eau Claire, WI with it’s typical slum lords and college housing pleasures. These pleasures include waking up to a half-eaten pizza left on the hood of your car, random people entering your home and passing out in your kitchen, broken glass on the sidewalks, obnoxious parties that last 2 hours before you have to wake up for work, Amazon packages stolen off of your front porch…I think you get the picture. It seems enchanting to have a place that you can do whatever you want with it. I’ve always wanted a purple bathroom. It sounds atrocious, but once you see my Pinterest board it’s calming and charming.

My friends (who are almost 30 and still renting) of course warned me about every possible disaster that can happen when you own the property, but I’m ready to stay up all night because the basement flooded, or eat Ramen noodles for a month because the water heater went out. It seems crazy that I’m excited to paint my bathroom purple and feel even more broke than when I was in college, but that’s honest to God part of my motivation.

I’m done driving over an hour to work every freakin’ day. Central Wisconsin was never my ideal place where I wanted to grow a family and live forever, but it’s my current reality. So look-out rural farming communities where the grocery store is actually just a Kwik Trip- I’m coming for ya!

Continuity Errors in “Shameless”

Let me start out by saying this post isn’t suppose to be a rude critique. I thoroughly enjoy watching someone else’s life fall to shit other than my own. It makes me feel less alone in this world. AND I think it’s cool that the setting seems to be in my own backyard with references to Milwaukee and Michigan.

Regardless of my affinity for the show, it seems to have real continuity issues that can’t be ignored. I’m unsure if this is done in order to mirror the real-life chaos that the show emulates, or if they’re simply oversights that the director and producer either ignored or didn’t catch himself. The continuity issues that I’ve caught are mostly character story holes that leave the audience with a cliff hanger and no real conclusion in sight. They left me feeling confused, thinking, Did I miss an episode? I’m only on Season 3, so I’m excited to continue watching the show to see if these character continuity errors are tied up much later on in the series, or if the audience (ME) gets to struggle for the rest of the series to pick up the pieces.


1.) Marty Fisher

Marty is Veronica’s brother who escapes from prison in order to attend V’s fake wedding to Kevin. Marty has several mental illnesses including Bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, and Pyromania. Conflict ensues between V and Marty as he locks himself in the bathroom and threatens to burn down their entire home. Fast-forward, V and Fiona are able to handcuff him to the toilet in order to prevent his efforts to attend the wedding. The last scene of the episode is Marty lighting a match in the bathroom of a local bar named The Alibi. The screen cuts to black, and the next episode resumes as all’s well. The Alibi isn’t harmed at all, and Marty seems to have disappeared all together. There is no mention of him at all throughout the rest of Season 2 or 3.

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2.) Fiona’s Nightclub Premier

Fiona dips in to the “squirrel fund” in order to pay a large deposit to a night club so she can try-out for an assistant manager position. She buys alcohol from one of Kevin’s distributors-putting the family in debt. The audience doesn’t get to see how the night fares for Fiona, but rather we see Fiona later acquiring a full-time gig at a seedy grocery store. Why spend all this air time building up suspense for a climax that doesn’t even happen? Did Fiona even go through with the night-club premiere night?

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In addition to ghosting the club, Fiona also ghosts her cushy cup selling job when she goes to jail for child endangerment. Later, we find out she was terminated. How does one person lose so many jobs so seamlessly?

3.) What ever happened to Jasmine Hollander?

Fiona and Jasmine have a falling out when Fiona doesn’t grant Jasmine a place to “crash” after her hubby finds out she’s having an affair with an older man. Jasmine runs out of the home, and Fiona is quick to follow her. But, Fiona gets side-tracked and isn’t able to make amends with Jasmine. What happens to Jasmine? What happens with her creepy obsession with Fiona? IRL this would never happen. We need some closure here!

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4.) Jimmy/Steve?

This one is a little easier to imagine and fill in the blanks, but I still want to know God damn it! We last see Jimmy/Steve get onto a huge yacht with Estefania’s father. The audience is prodded to believe that Jimmy/Steve has gone to meet his maker… But I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we see Jimmy/Steve. I’m only on Season 3, and Jimmy/Steve is too integral to the plot to murder needlessly: especially when you could pull him back in and create an upheaval in Fiona’s life in later seasons. We can put Jimmy/Steve on the back burner…for now.

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5.) Holly Hermiker

Holly Hermiker is an obvious example of a continuity issue that happens when actors are switched during filming. Dove Cameron was replaced by an actress named Danika Yarosh in a later season. Both blonde, both ooze desperation. Holly is a fascinating character because the audience gets to see the illogical and scary misconceptions that adolescents have about sex. For example, swabbing out the vaginal canal with Purell prevents pregnancy. Please, dear God, I hope that people aren’t taking her advice.

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Any that I missed? Or oversights on my part? Onto Season 4 now!