Teacher’s Pet | Golden Child | Chosen One

The things that people feel the need to call others is mind-blowing. I’m not talking about nicknames or names that your friends call you – both of which are typically good natured or an inside joke, showing that you’re familiar with the other person and comfortable with them. I’m talking about the names that are said to aggravate you – not directly negative but that cut at your soul.

I’ve been called a “teacher’s pet” for as long as I can remember. I was always a good student – straight As – I knew the answer in every class, except Science, but even then, I studied hard and made an A still. I grew up knowing that studying was my one way to get a better life for myself. My parents didn’t graduate college, my dad dropped out and my mom never attended. Their parents didn’t either. My dad and I had talked about me going to college since before I could remember. My education was very important and he wanted to make sure I got to where I wanted to go. I was setting an example for my younger brothers. Some subjects came easy to me, others not so much. But I studied. And my dad helped me study. And I participated in class and my teachers knew they could count on me. Did that make me a pet? Debatable. I always saw it as being a good student. I wanted to succeed in life. I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted to get away from all the bad things that had happened. My education was the key to that and I wasn’t about to let that go – even when people called me a pet. 

In college I was too busy with work and school – I barely made it by because I never had enough time. No one can consider you a pet when you’re average like the rest of the class. It was a refreshing change, but one I struggled with. Although I enjoyed no longer being referred to as a pet, and I liked being able to blend in with the crowd in college, I knew by slacking in my studies that I was not living up with my full potential. I walked the line between needing my full time job and needing more time to succeed in school. I passed college, barely at times, but I passed and I made plans to go back for my Masters degree when the time is right – ideally the next two years. 

Entering the workforce as an adult proved difficult at times. Although I had been working since I was seventeen, I wasn’t prepared to deal with some of the attitudes the bigger city had to offer. People once again saw me doing my job as being a pet. I’ve never understood that notion and I don’t think I want to. If you do your job and get along with your coworkers, your boss will get along with you. If you prove that you can be trusted and relied upon, your boss will in turn trust and rely on you. If you go the extra mile, it will pay off. 

When I switched jobs and started working in a different department for a company, I found myself lost in a sea of individuals who had at least a decade of experience on me. I felt intimidated – I was the youngest one in the department and I felt I always had to prove my worth. I had been the youngest person at my first job for five years, but that was a small town restaurant, this was a big city company and I had a lot to prove. I threw myself into learning everything I could about my job and the company and I threw myself into helping to fix problems. I knew I had good ideas, but as the new and youngest person, I knew I had to take the time to build trust and respect. I did those things. I put in the time. I came up with the ideas and implemented them. I went the extra mile. When someone asked me to help with something, I always did whatever I could to solve the problem. I asked questions because I genuinely wanted to know the answer and how to fix my own problems. I spoke up and let my voice be heard, but I also learned to pick my battles and I learned when to back down and abandon a project. I also learned when to keep pushing a project until someone heard me. 

I did everything I knew I had to do to set myself up for success. Where did it land me?

“You’re the teacher’s pet.”

“You’re the Golden Child.”

“You’re the Chosen one.”

I’m sorry – but what world have I just been transported into. These people have children my age and feel the need to say that. How would they feel if someone said that about their children?

In the next sentence they would tell me that I had earned whatever good things happened to me and they knew I would succeed and do well. It was confusing. When someone calls you a pet, it makes you feel like you’re being handed something – that you didn’t earn it on your own. When that same person tells you that they know you’ve earned something, it contridicts itself. It’s complicated. 

Are they upset about something not related to me at all?

Are they frustrated because they feel like their hard work hasn’t paid off?

Are they discouraged because they feel my voice was heard and theirs was not?

People are always going to have opinions about everything. It’s not always easy to listen to them – especially when someone you view as a friend has an opinion about you that seems harsh. You can’t control how others feel about things and trying to fix it won’t get you anything if they aren’t willing to let you in. 

It’s at that point that you’re left with two options. You can either let their words eat at your soul or you can shrug it off and realize that as long as you’re doing what you need to do and not hurting anyone in the process, you’re going to be just fine. 

It’s not always easy to shrug it off. Words can cut at a person’s soul. But it’s important to not let those words ruin your life. You have to keep being true to yourself. Everything else will work out. 

“You are not your dad. You’re Chelsea.”

How often do we find ourselves comparing ourselves to our parents? I feel it’s a daily occurance in my life. Conversations drift to how I don’t want to be like my parents. Don’t get my wrong – my dad was the best dad I could ever ask for. My mom – we’ve had our struggles but I’ve finally come to a point where I except our relationship for what it is. 

However, I still find myself referencing how I don’t want to be like them. 

For my dad, the common topics are:

  • I don’t want to have financial trouble like my dad.
  • I don’t want to have heart problems like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to die young like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to struggle with my weight for my entire life like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to ever question if my spouse loves me like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to miss out of my kids growing up like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to worry about my health like my dad. 

For my mom, the topics are more emotionally based:

  • I don’t want my kids to ever question if I love them. 
  • I don’t want to rely on someone for every aspect of my livelyhood. 
  • I don’t want to be desperate to be in a relationship. 
  • I don’t want my kids to ever feel like I’m discouraging them. 
  • I don’t want to not pull my own weight in my future marriage. 
  • I don’t want to ever treat anyone the way my mom treats me. 
  • I don’t want anyone to doubt me when I’m telling the truth. 

And then there’s the biggest “I don’t want” of them all:

  • I don’t want to get married or have kids because I refuse to ever take the chance of turning out like them. 

That last one is also the biggest lie on the face of the planet. I do want to get married and have kids – one day – when I’m ready, when God knows I’m ready. I’m no where near ready and sometimes I get tired of being asked so I revert to the aforementioned lie. Not that I promote lying – sometimes I just get tired of having the same conversations and claiming I don’t want to get married or have kids is easier than admitting I’m scared it might never happen. 

Then there’s the bigger issue – I spend so much time comparing myself to my parents and how I don’t want to turn out like them. I don’t want the health or financial problems of my dad. I don’t want the emotional distress of my mom. I have made so many life choices based around it turning out like them, that sometimes I question if I’m happy with my life or simply trying to avoid repeating the past. 

Eating healthy and going to the gym to avoid health problems is a good decision – any doctor will tell you that. Is keeping a second job because I’m scared I’ll fall into a financial hole like my dad a good decision? Am I scared of having a relationship with a guy – or heck, a good relationship with family – because I’m scared I’ll become completely dependent on other people?

Then there’s the biggest dilemma – I have spent so much of my life doing things simply because they are the opposite of what my parents did. I remember being a child and making a pack with my younger brothers to never treat our children how our mom treated us. And I’ve continued to make packs with them, and with myself, ever since. 

The question becomes – how much time and energy am I spending doing the opposite of what my parents did? Or doing something out of fear that I’ll become them? Am I letting fear run my life?

I like to think of myself as a strong independent woman with a mind of her own, so the thought that I could be letting fear run my life scares me. Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of life decisions in “I don’t want tos” and start thinking of them in “I want tos” – instead of “I don’t want heart problems like my dad” it becomes “I want to have a healthy heart” or even “I will have a healthy heart.” Changing how I phrase the statement and setting my mind to that. Change it from a negative into a positive. 

No one wants to repeats the mistakes of the past. Sometimes it’s hard when we feel like the mistakes are all around and a part of everything we are. It’s hard when you had a rough childhood, not as tough as some, but still rough, and feel like people don’t understand you because of it. 

The important thing is to remember we are all individuals. We are in charge of the choices we make and the things we do. All it takes is wanting to make a change. 

Learning to Love My Body – the Follow-Up Doctor Visit

I had my follow up doctor visit last week. It was scheduled to go over the results of some tests my doctor has ordered. It had been two decades, give or take, since I had even been to the doctor. This time, I wasn’t taking my friend along. This time it would be my doctor and I talking about my health. 

I had access to my results ahead of time, but I had no idea what they meant. A few worried me, but most looked normal. I also had no real idea what I was looking at, so going into that office that day was scary. 

I’ve never felt more relieved than when my doctor told me I was perfectly healthy. Yes, obviously I might still want to lose a few pounds, but I’m already working on it and she saw nothing in my tests that caused her any concern. Sure, my HDL level could be higher, but I was extremely close to the average and she said they would go up as I exercised more and did more vicious excerise. The average the paperwork gave for LDL levels was wrong, so those were perfectly normal too – a relief because that had caused me concern. Currently my only risk of developing heart disease like like my dad is that he had it – I have no other risks associated with it. 

Other than that, we talked about my health. The things I should and shouldn’t be doing. If I should or shouldn’t do something or take something – something I won’t discuss here because all doctors are different and I know that what my doctor recommended or didn’t recommend might be different than someone else’s experience.

The important thing is to be comfortable with your doctor and what they are telling you. I am comfortable with mine – she has my best interest in mind and her approach to health is similiar to how I’ve been trying to change my health. 

I’ve said in the past that I don’t view getting healthy as a diet, I view it as a lifestyle change. I started out making smart substitutions to what I ate and over time, my grocery habits have changed. I’ve started to crave healthy food and although veggies and I still aren’t best friends, I know that over time we will at least become better friends. She said it was okay to still eat what I wanted, but to be smart about the portion and how often – you don’t need pasta every single day, but once or twice a week isn’t going to hurt you, as long as you’re smart about the portion and what else you’re eating. I love that she views it the same way I do, it makes my journey to getting healthy seem that much more possible. 

Learning to love my body is about taking the steps to get healthy and make sure my body is healthy. Going to the doctor was one of the scariest things ever, but looking back on it, it really wasn’t the scary. I did my homework, I found a doctor I believed would be a good fit for me. I dragged a friend along so I would be more comfortable during that first appointment. I kept the communication open with those around me about what I was feeling. My doctor showed that she cared and explained things in a manner in which I could understand and when I had questions, I asked. Loving my body is taking care of it and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. 

A Single Woman’s Prayer – Mandy Hale

Disclaimer: the following is an excerpt from The Single Woman by Mandy Hale. I’ve been reading it for the last week or so and it’s an amazing book! Check it out. 

The Single Woman’s Prayer – by Mandy Hale

Dear God, 

Thank You for loving me enough to not always answer my prayers in the way that I ask. 

Thank You for teaching me that flying solo can create the strongest wings and that being a brave single girl is a beautiful thing.

Thank You for reminding me through my earthly father what a protective covering should really be and giving me vision when I am blind and can’t seem to see what’s not good for me.

Thank You for showing me when I’m settling. And when I ignore You, thank You for meddling.

Thank You for sending me guys who didn’t love me enough; they reminded me of what I’m worthy of. Thank You for standing back and allowing me to make my own mistakes and to find my own way. And when I crashed and burned because it was the only way for me to learn, thanks for not saying “I told you so.”

Thank You for holding my hand, even if I can’t feel it. Thank You for collecting the pieces of my broken heart, when I’m powerless to heal it. Thank You for being my strength, when I can’t be it. Thank You for guiding my path, when it’s dark and I can’t see it.

Most of all, thank You for loving me enough to keep me to Yourself a little longer and for using my weakness to make others stronger.

Amen.