Incredible Busyness

I’m a very busy person. It’s something that I’m used to, because I really don’t do well with boredom. Even my vacations are pretty eventful affairs. I’m either with my family, spending the majority of my time playing with my nieces, or packing up and driving across the country to visit a friend who I haven’t met in person before. Having nothing to do kind of horrifies me.

This is my first year as a classroom teacher. For the past two years, I’ve alternated as a waiter and a substitute teacher here in Baltimore. Most of the time the two jobs overlapped, and I’d come home from subbing only to turn around, put on my uniform, and work the closing shift at a restaurant. Every now and then I would say “enough” and take a hiatus from either job. I’d tell my manager not to put me on the schedule for a few weeks, or I wouldn’t pick up my phone when the secretaries from all the surrounding schools went through the list of available substitutes. I mean, I was exhausted, and keep in mind that I was also taking night classes for my master’s program a few times a week. But even then, I couldn’t stay away from both jobs for too long. True, finances were a factor, but ultimately I didn’t know what to do with myself on my nights off.

I said that I struggled with depression about a year ago. I think working so much helped me get over it, especially since I didn’t really do any formal counseling or treatment. (By the way, don’t be an idiot like me. If you’re struggling with depression, go see somebody. I was a fool not to and it’s only by the grace of God that things got better on their own before they got really bad.) Working brought me outside of myself. They aren’t glamorous jobs by any means, and they have their share of attached horror stories, but waiting tables and substitute teaching can also be really fun. They put you in contact with a wide variety of new people almost every single day, and they allow you to reinvent yourself constantly. They force you be charming, personable and authoritative.

They also provide great personal contacts, waiting especially. I’ve met several good friends by bringing them their cheap beers and appetizers. That’s also how I met the secretary of the first school I ever subbed for. She helped get me that job, and through that job, I ended up making friends with a fellow employee who helped me get my current, permanent position.

Long story short, being busy has been good for me, and this semester will be no exception to the rule. It’s my first year as a classroom teacher, which means that every night I have to create lesson plans for my students. Unlike more experienced teachers, I don’t have a nice big filing cabinet full of old lessons to choose from. It’s also my last year in graduate school, and my thesis is due in December. It’s already mostly written, but the revising process is a pain. Nevertheless, I’m excited about it. (I’m especially excited about being done!)

Blogging might seem a strange thing to take back up in the midst of all this incredible busyness, but I recall that I was just as busy in college when I maintained my other blog. I was one of those kids who was in every club, worked every campus job, went to every social event he was invited to and still got A’s (don’t hate). I also maintained a moderately-successful blog and a ton of personal contacts. I think what helped was that, unlike recently, blogging gave my “free time” a structure. Instead of mindlessly waltzing around Facebook, not realizing where the time was going, I would go online, write something and respond to some emails. Then I’d close my laptop and do the actual work I had to do.

So even though I’m incredibly busy, I hope this blog will help keep me task-oriented throughout this year. However, if you email me or leave a comment and wonder why I don’t respond right away, I still get to use busyness as an excuse!


Getting Started… Again

Hello there. If you’re new, it’s nice to meet you. My name’s Jay. I also post as “Carolina Caffeine.” I think I have a few more pseudonyms floating around the Internet, but Jay is the one I’ve used the most.

It’s confusing, I know. I wish I could write more openly, but I’m a teacher and my students are definitely old enough to do a quick Internet search, and since the Internet is one of the few places where I can be outspokenly Christian, outspokenly gay and outspokenly conservative all at the same time, if I didn’t use a pseudonym they could read all about that stuff. I doubt I’d lose my job over it — and I’d always be willing to sue — but it would still be an unwelcome distraction, don’t you think?

So, yes, I’m a chaste gay Christian conservative. Actually, most political quizzes, like this one, tell me I’m an “average independent.” I hate being called an “average” anything, but I’m a registered Democrat who tends to vote Republican, so I guess it makes sense.

I used to maintain this other blog, back when I was in college, that got a lot of hits and made me famous in the emerging chaste gay Christian conservative blogosphere. Okay, not really, but I did meet a lot of interesting people, many of whom have become good friends. And not just “like each other’s Facebook statuses” friends, but “get in a car, find random weekends to visit each other, call each other when you’re feeling blue and send birthday and Christmas cards” friends.

Although “Adventures of a Christian Collegian” is six years old, I still think of it very fondly. Even though I went through a lot of angst back then — specifically gay angst, which really should be trademarked, like this: Gay Angst™ — I had a lot of fun writing that blog. And even though I’ve been a very busy and serious (snort) graduate student and working adult for the past two years, I’ve periodically felt the urge to start blogging again. There was this one failure of a blog that started off well but ended up chronicling my adventures in depression, but other than that I’ve stayed away from the blogosphere.

Now that I’m in a much better place, though, and still have a lot of stupid opinions, I think it’s time to start blogging again. I am a schoolteacher and I’m also finishing up my thesis for my master’s degree, so this blog might end up being buried under the weight of all my other responsibilities, but I certainly hope not. Blogging is a great chance to vent, and even when I’m lesson planning and grading papers and turning a revision in to my thesis adviser for the thirtieth time, I can always take a short break to vent. Hope whoever reads along with this enjoys the ride!