challenges · living out loud

circumcise your heart and RISE.

So I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. (Per usual, but it FEELS different this time.)

But first: NOW I can say what my Big News is.


I got a different job. I’m leaving the school I’ve taught at, basically, my entire career. This was a hard, scary decision to make. I can’t even tell you how insecure I am about it. But I was at a point if I didn’t make it, I was going to not be okay. Like REALLY VERY NOT OKAY. Without going into specifics, it was just time to leap, time to jump. Trust the parachute. Pray the bungee cord is strong. And so I did.

The only issue is that I’m at a smaller district now, and further North, and that means they’re probably much more conservative. Which means I’m going to have to move this blog and go underground (translation: I need to start writing under a nom de plume). And I probably need to go google myself and clean up my online presence if necessary.

Not sure how I’ll handle this…if I’m writing under a nom de plume, I’ll feel much freer to just say whatever I want, share whatever I feel like. Not sure I want my mom and friends reading all of that. Which means I’m not sure what steps to take next. I don’t know how to announce to regular readers of this blog where a new, anonymous blog would be located without giving away my identity on that blog. At any rate, this blog needs to be…retired. Plus, I can feel myself changing (you’ll understand by the end of this). I’m pretty pissed off. Not at anyone else. Just pissed off. Maybe annoyed with ME. Done. Ready to do and be different. Help me or get out of my way. That kind of thing.

I’m going to have to think on it.

In the meantime, I have a new job teaching my passion (ESOL) to 2nd/3rd graders, and the school I’ll be at has a chicken farm and super duper nice people. The story behind getting this job goes like this: I went to a job fair. I didn’t realize I’d be interviewing at the job fair, really, I just thought I’d stop at different schools, leave my resume, chat a bit, and move on. Heck no – THEY WERE INTERVIEWING. Y’all. I hadn’t done that in over 20 years. My first interview went BAD. Bad as in stuttering mess bad. Like, the interviewer was done with me after about Question 3. I clearly hadn’t even heard of half the initiatives they were starting.

So I walked out going, oh lord why did I come…this was a mistake…where are the exits again? I started walking around to get my bearings. Then! I heard my name being called! It was a teacher I’d worked with for a year at my current school. She’d left after a year of teaching there, and went to this school. Loves it. I said, “Hey, don’t tell anyone I’m here.” And she went, “Why don’t you interview at MY school? It’s super supportive and everyone is like a family here.” And so I did. I went in and got interviewed by one of their teachers, and she was awesome. And then as I was leaving, the principal and an assistant principal started asking me questions about what I do as an ESOL teacher, then I was touring their school and doing a follow up panel interview, and then I had a job offer, and I just signed my contract last week.

And now I’m making another life change. Scary because I’m leaving my comfort zone. But if I can leave my comfort zone once, I can do it again. Is my thinking.

Now for the circumcision part.

Y’all. I have GOT to pull it together.

Miss M and I have started going to a Unity church. I like Unity because they’re not political, just spiritual. They’re Jesus-based in that they think he’s a Master Teacher, but they believe all paths and teachings can and do lead to God, as long as they’re love- and light-based. We have a meet and greet portion of each service called “Namaste,” and everyone gives hello hugs. We sing the Lord’s Prayer. We have a meditation (I fell asleep today). And there are sermons with themes that are about goodness and light and love and positivity. Today’s was the last in a series about healing. I’m going to tell you about it, because it made me cry:

The minister and about 8 other people went to Israel on a pilgrimage of sorts. They visited the Sea of Galilee, the Western Wall (and left prayers…I wish I’d known about this earlier, I have some prayers I need to put in God’s mailbox in Israel), and the Temple Mount. One of the things the minister talked about today brought me to tears, because of what I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years: my heart.

He said the thing that struck him the most about Israel was the wall they’ve built. There’s so much distrust and anger between Palestinians and Israelis, they have walls now. And Palestinians are cut off from each other. And things like this will happen: their tour bus, driven by a Muslim with an Arab Christian as their guide, was stopped at 3 checkpoints and the Muslim was severely questioned, as well as the Arab Christian. Paperwork was demanded, and uniformed soldiers with their trigger fingers on their Uzi machine guns walked around.

He said he saw the spiritual similarities between what is literally happening in Israel right now to what he perceives to be happening in America. We are building walls, becoming more and more separated from each other, and some of us are walking around with our trigger fingers on spiritual Uzis, waiting for danger.

He said there’s an odd phrase in the Bible that, when translated, says you have to do circumcision of the heart to love properly. When you build walls around your heart, you cut yourself off from other people, from love, from real living. To fix it, you have to circumcise your heart.

I do this, y’all. I’m a wall builder, a runner. I’ve learned, time and time again, people – specifically men – hurt you (me). I’ve been used, abused, stalked, lied to, cheated on, harassed, called names, bullied, screamed at, verbally abused, I could go on. The things human beings do to each other. But it’s left me with trauma, and it’s taught me to build walls. And I will tell you: I struggle with self-hatred. A lot. Sometimes, in incredibly bad and dark moments, in overwhelming ways. I say “I’m tired,” a lot during these moments, and I don’t mean physically. I mean in my heart.

Which is why I sat and cried at that part of the sermon. I need to circumcise my heart. I’m going to circumcise my heart, Internet.

Circumcision sounds painful, though, doesn’t it. I remember when my brother was circumcised. We’re not Jewish, so it was just a health thing they did in the 70s for boys, thinking it would help them stay…cleaner? I don’t know. There’s a big controversy about circumcision now that Science has figured out we just need soap and water and a good scrub to keep germs at bay. At any rate, my brother’s circumcision was in a doctor’s office, and I remember my mom asking the doctor if it would hurt and I remember the doctor shrugging and going, “Oh, no. They’re too little to feel pain at this point.” And I think my 2-almost-3-year-old part of my brain remembers this exchange because of my brother’s extreme shriek of horrific pain when the cut was made. Nice going, 1970s. We didn’t wear seat belts either.

So clearly, circumcision is painful. And if I’m going to be doing this to my heart, I want to know exactly what’s involved. So I took my researcher self to the Internet and did some research. I started with the bris ceremony, since this concept of heart circumcision was from the Bible, and bris are in the Bible.

Before a bris starts, a specially trained circumciser called a mohel comes and welcomes the baby with the words Baruch Ha-Ba, which means “blessed is the one who is about to arrive.” Then a blessing acknowledging a circumcision is about to begin is said.

There are three separate parts to a circumcision: first, a special knife removes the baby’s foreskin. Next, the mucous membrane is torn off and folded back to expose the glans. Last, blood is suctioned off from the wound.

When the actual circumcision is over, a blessing is recited by either the father or both parents to bring the baby into Abraham’s covenant. Then another blessing is recited over the cup of wine and the baby’s Hebrew name is given. A drop or two of the wine is given to the baby, the parents drink the wine, and the circumcision is over.

Then there’s food. Lots and lots of food. The food and wine parts to circumcision are the only parts that sounds remotely fun to me.

But here’s the thing: are there heart mohels? Maybe I just need a good teacher of any faith (or no faith at all) to guide me. Anyone want to? I can’t pay you, but I promise I’m an extreme people pleasing overachiever who will probably give you massages and bake you cookies and stuff. Circumcision sounds ghastly and hard. Quick, but ouchie. So I think I need a teacher. But not virtually. I’m starting to learn I definitely prefer in-person contact for all my heart needs. Let me know if you’re available and local. (But…well…can you also please be masculine and tall, with blue eyes and like a nice accent of some sort? And will you take me out to dinner and the movies sometimes, too? And like, literally hold my hand? Can we go on hikes and stuff in the woods and maybe watch Netflix movies and all that?) (What? What? Why would you even suggest I’m asking for a boyfriend? I think I’ve said vehemently here: I’m OFF boyfriends. For now.)

In the meantime? I’m going to be rising. I’m going to pull my shit together and make some key, core changes to how I do things. I’ve got a big change happening at the end of July so I’ve got some time to mentally prepare for that. In the meantime, to make THAT change easier, I have GOT to pull my other crap together, Internet. It is no longer an option. It is a do or do not, there is no try. I’m pretty whiny. And lazy. And suckered into ruts I just wallow in like a depressed pig in mud. But when I make a decision, a FIRM decision? Aw snap. STAND BACK.

I’ve done this before. I did it when I got my master’s degree. I did it when I trained for and finished the Peachtree Road Race. I did it when I made the decision to leave my marriage. I did it when I stood up to a bad man who hurt me. I’d had enough and got another job. So no matter how much I freak out and get scared and upset, don’t F with me. I don’t like rules and I do NOT conform, no matter how much you shake me – in fact, go ahead and shake me. Watch what that does for you.  I’ve got deep roots and a lot of angels around me. Oh. I know how to rise. Baruch Ha-Ba, I’m about to arrive. I just had to have a good reason.

I found one. 

(oh, ha! If you went and watched that video I bet you’re going…Amy, is your reason that you’re going to learn to parachute in the desert like Katy Perry? No, it’s not. I’m actually not going to tell anyone what my reason is. I did tell my offline journal. And the Universe. But those are the only places that will ever know. But it’s a good one. And it’s going to make me very very strong.)