May…

Well I’ve finish my finals and I have finished my special education credential! It was 5 years in the making and it took me 3 years to complete! I am very grateful for the help and support I received from loved ones, my teachers and school staff!

It was very trying with all the things I have gone through, but it is worth it. But I’m not done…I have to pass a test called that I MUST pass called the RICA exam. It’s a test in California required (usually taken by teacher candidates pursuing the special ed credential) to get the credential. I have a job offer, but I must pass this test first. Currently now I’m in temporary housing, the last place didn’t make me safe anymore so I’ll be needing the focus to pass this test and get a job, so please pardon my absences on this blog.

It doesn’t help either that my anxiety and depression are also affected by lack of housing and finances. Not to mention resorting to a drivershare job where there are more chances of sexual harassment. But what else can I do? I’ve put in applications for other jobs but until then, I have to do something until I even get called for an interview. And that’s another reason why I must past this test: for financial, physical and emotional security. Right now I’m in a safe place with safe people, even though it’s gonna cost me $900 (for three months) just for this summer.

The last place I lived wasn’t safe. One time I heard gunshots go off at a birthday party, overheard a group of people beating up some guy (or at least that’s what it sounded like; the screams woke me up 2 o’ clock in the morning), then the landlord’s son brings shady people to his house—like one time he had a shady friend who still uses hard drugs like ecstasy and he told me his friend told him he wanted to buy a gun while he was as high as a kite. Not mention the son smokes weed, which in my opinion either smell like garbage or someone who crapped in their pants. It smells awful and I often got headaches. Now, I can tell the difference between synthetic weed, real weed, edibles, and bong—ugh! That one smelled the worst! But for him he used it as a substitute for all the hard drugs he use to take. Then another time, he and ex-girlfriend threw out my spaghetti that was in MY pot to make their own meal, while he has own pots to use—only because HIS family’s pots were dirty. I was done…I couldn’t take it anymore.

It’s sad now you have to pay a great deal for better housing and if you don’t, you pay the cheaper and perhaps unsafe housing. It’s unfair and people shouldn’t have to put themselves through to make such choices just to have a roof over their heads. This was me for about 6 months.

I was supposed to live with my brother through housing but it didn’t workout, so I’m living in a temporary housing. I never thought I’d face homelessness again. The last I did, I was 10 and me, my siblings and my mom were living in a women’s shelter to get away from dad. However, if I pass this test I won’t have to go through homelessness again and I’ll be able to live the live I deserve.

And don’t get me wrong…I’m scared as hell I won’t be able to pass the test and I will have undergo homelessness until I pass the test. It’s my worst fear…

I will do my best to update the blog, but I’ll be in the real world trying to study and finally get the security I’ve always wanted.

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Finals Week!

Sorry I’ve been MIA. Lots of things have been happening, one of them being finals week and I’ve been trying to work really completing SO many essays! This week is my last week in school, so I MUST do well, because next week I’m graduating from Special Education Program from my school next week! Till next time, take care!

Me Right Now…

Sorry for being MIA. I’ve been really busy juggling school, student teaching and work and having a bit fun. Trust me I NEEDED it. It’s been one heck of crazy month. I’ll fill you later.

Wonder Con

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Wil Weaton and Ann Weaton (bottom right)

I can’t wait! This weekend is WonderCon! In case you don’t know WonderCon is the sister convention of ComicCon International. It’s not the most well known convention, but that’s the great part of it! It’s not as crowded and there are better chances of being to able to meet and greet your favorite stars, comic book artists and authors. It’s very intimate.

Originally it took place in San Fran, but because it’s convention was being remodeled back in 2012/2013, it relocated to the Anaheim Convention Center. Since then it has been a big hit especially being that it’s right across from the Disneyland Resort.

What I like is that I’m able to be around my people—my fellow geeks/nerds—and not have to worry about the real world for the next 3 days. It’s the biggest thing I look forward to all year, because it’s the only time I really, really have fun, because it’s one of the few things I can afford. The next best thing to sleep. Not to mention, I juggle school, work, student-teaching all year long, why shouldn’t I treat myself for all the hard work I do? I am hoping though that one day, I will be able to dress up, but it costs too much. I might as well buy real clothes, especially the fact I work from paycheck to paycheck.

I haven’t been to the main convention—Comic Con- since 2009, because basically now days they do a raffle ticket for those. Back in 2009, you could just pick a day or days like you would now for Wonder Con. Comic Con nowdays seems to be dictated by the big movie corporations and just seem to bring in more people now more than ever and now it’s just crazy crowded! Attendees who’ve I’ve talked to in WonderCon, said a long time ago Comic Con was like WonderCon when it wasn’t as crowded, tickets were cheaper, and it wasn’t— in a sense—by big movie industries. But I don’t know…I feel like slowly it’s gonna turn into Comic Con: The sequel. I just feel like Comic Con now days is more for those who have money and/or posers…you know…people who just said they went there and met celebrities, yet they will NEVER admit they’ve been to a comic type convention…or those same people who made fun of your obsession in your favorite tv shows, movies, books and/or comic books. 😛

I tried getting into the exclusive signed lottery (which is done usually onsite) for example “Constantine” and “Black Lightning”, but I didn’t get ANY of them them!!!! This is going to be the first year I won’t be able to meet and greet any of the actors from my favorite tv shows.😭😭😭 What the hell Comic Con International?!?!

Well I guess there are some panels I look forward to attending to…and I’ll be hanging out with some new friends I met at AnaCon…but I’m too terrified! What if things don’t work out well between us? Think good thoughts, think good thoughts!

As the picture above, the pictures below are from last year’s WonderCon. Enjoy!

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Cast of Prison Break, Season 5 (Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller; who have featured in “The Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow)

Cast of Gotham

Pop Culture Coalition featuring Brandon Routh from Legends of Tomorrow

Sleep

I love sleeping. Why you ask? It’s not because I’m lazy, but it’s the only time I’m not overthinking or I don’t feel horrible. I’m also not thinking of all the zillions of tasks I have to complete. Whether I’m dreaming or just sound asleep, me not thinking about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow, is wonderful…just on sleeping. Well except…right now.

I have A LOT of things on my mind right now. Contemplating on the things I haven’t completed, like getting ready to move. Last week was spring break, but I had so much being done! Like, for example, there was a teacher job at my school, so prior to the Spring Break, I have been working on an assortment of cover letters and resumes for the top 10 school districts I wanted to work for…in addition in gathering my tax papers and Uber mileages (that took forever) so I can get my taxes prepared (my school was offering to file my taxes for free, but it’s first come, first serve). Oi that was a lot of work! Then the day of the teacher job fair came, one of the school districts I looked into told me about their job fair that took place this past weekend, but said they would hire on the spot! Sure the school district was an hour and 10 minutes away, but hey…any place (that was still in So Cal) that was willing to hire on the spot, I was going to be there! And guess what I did!So excited! After two interviews, I got the spot was just super amazing. But you know something? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. And the funny thing was that it was my childhood hardships was basically what got guaranteed me the job… me being first generation Nigerian and learning how juggle both my Nigerian heritage and my American life, my mom, siblings and I living in a women’s shelter after mom being abused by my dad, then my siblings and I being in a children’s home, while my mom had to find m a place to live in order for us to be back with her again… I guess God wasn’t joking when He said He would turn our ashes to beauty. Most of children in that district had similar backgrounds to my own, which solidified my chance of getting. But…in order for my chance to be “truly” solidified, I have to pass my RICA before August 1st, which I will take after I finish my teaching program in May. So it’s like I’m unofficially hired….well like that doesn’t put any pressure on me. So yeah…right now I’m terrified. I took the RICA last year and I failed it. So then what if I fail it? Am I destined to repeat this hardship for another entire year, because God knows I can’t do another year of doing Uber or something. Do you know how much I made last year? $12,000. That is including Uber and the other 4 jobs I had, but it’s also that low because I’ve been attending school. But even without school, I would made about $18,000. I know that because that was how much I made in 2015…when I had to work three jobs. There is no way, I’m going to repeat that foolishness from this year on, because that shit is hard work!Then this past Monday, I made the mistake of eating around midnight I made the mistake of eating an omelette burrito stuffed with hash browns, ham, sausage, and bacon, topped off with avocado. It was great, but not before going to bed and lying down on my stomach (that’s how I sleep). So then later that Monday, I did student-teaching and oh man was THAT unbearable! I was bloated, nauseated, going to bathroom too much…gassy… I eventually went home but it was hard to accomplish ANYTHING and at night, it was worse so then I REALLY couldn’t sleep! Although I’m better, I feel like I’m behind for the things I said I was going to do, so now I’m feeling guilty which is why I’m up this early morning… The thought of being behind is throwing me off and I feel like I’m at square one relearning how to deal with anxiety and depression. Oh…in addition to other assignments I have to complete before Thursday, I’m going to WonderCon this weekend with new friends I met at the AnaCon this past February and I’m terrified of meeting them! I’m really psyching myself in all the ways it could go bad, because well…anxiety. So yeah that’s why I’m up early this morning with the one thing I’m not getting…sleep.

Social Anxiety 2: The Foreboding Future

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Earlier this morning, I had a hard time sleeping., Even with the anti-anxiety meds I’ve been taking (it causes drowsiness. Or at least I feel drowsy). I woke up at 4 a.m. I tried playing games on my phone. Nope that didn’t work. Then I read a book, but that didn’t help either. So what’s the reason? The Teacher Job Fair. That’s the reason.

Yesterday was the teacher job fair at my school and I was hoping I’d actually get hired here, but turns out it was more of a screening, so that when I applied either on their school website or Edjoin, school employers at least know they’ve met me in person and that they’re familiar with me. Anywho, I made cover letters and resumes to the top 11 school districts I wanted to work for that were near where I lived. Whether it was in Los Angeles County or Orange County at least I was familiar with those areas.  Out of 11 schools I applied for 2 of them didn’t show up, 1 of them left early and 3 of them had long lines—mostly because the schools were closer to home and didn’t want to go to the desert areas and Nor Cal (Northern California). And I don’t blame them. I mean most of these places (although still part of California), were far away from the places and people they were familiar with. A good half of employers were from desert areas, Nor Cal and a bit of  Central California. Those areas were empty.  I know about two desert school districts were offering either Stagecoach tickets or Coachella tickets.

It was already hard enough I felt like an idiot not having a few tidbits on 2 or 3  of school districts I wanted to work for, then I felt even more guilty for the schools who basically pulled me over to their table (which were the desert areas and parts of Northern and Central California I did not want to work for) to come work for their district because I was a Special Education teacher. What I hate about anxiety/social anxiety is that I already had set amount of schools I wanted to meet (even though I made four general resume and covers just in case) and that was it. I had an idea what I wanted to say (including some schools I was not too familiar with their district). However, when it was something I was not ready for or people I wasn’t able to meet, it throws me off; I get nervous, I procrastinate, I don’t do anything else, I start freaking out…I hate it. I struggle a lot with “going with the flow” or being open to try new things, or being flexible or meeting new people, because well… it takes me a lot of energy to adjust the situation and people. I mean…I literally get exhausted. Although if you met me in person, you’d probably never know I struggled with an anxiety disorder, because as people say I’m so “bubbly” or I’m so “personable”. Meh.

So here I was, being pulled table to table, with employers offering me either bonuses or again like I mentioned earlier offering “Stagecoach” or “Coachella” tickets just to even come visit their schools (I knew I should have brought my business cards). Although, I did not like how I was kinda chided to come to their tables, I wanted to remain open just in case. You know what made me feel terrible (also explains why I couldn’t sleep through this morning)? Even in spite of the offers and even upon hearing how great some of these schools’ special education departments were, I didn’t want to leave my LA/OC area. I’m not solely objecting their schools because of their extreme weather of hot and cold (for California, chilly is cold for us; especially So Cal.) or because I wasn’t ready to move all the way to those schools or because of my friend, Robert (former boyfriend), but really I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle meeting new places or people. Again as mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of energy for me to adjust and because I’ll be getting use to the school site and their special education department (which I know will be different from the school site I’m student-teaching at), it would even take me more energy.

Currently I live in my childhood hometown with roommates (who smoke weed every now and then. I don’t know how people smoke up that stuff. It’s stinks like crap. I’ll talk about about my roommates later.), so I don’t live my family. While I do have my brother who lives nearby, my mom and sister live in Nor Cal and while I do miss us all being together at least I know the stores we use to grocery shop and I know places I can hang out when I’m stressed. I mean, it’s So Cal, there are lot of things to do even for homebodies like me. I have my church here, the women from my “Celebrate Recovery” class, my friends, my therapists…I have my support system here. While yes, I can call them, it’s different when meeting them in person. I feel like I can talk to them more in person (for some reason) and I can see them and touch them, than calling them on the phone or even using skype or something. My familiars are here, even when I live alone.

Going to a new place scares me, because of the adjustment. Going to a new place scares me, because I will be going to places and meeting people that I’ve never met before and I’m not so comfortable meeting new people. I’ve heard that Nor Cal’s way of life is different from So Cal’s way of life, especially in terms of interacting with one another. So, I know I’ll stick out like a sore thumb. My fear is that people will take advantage for me either because I’m not familiar with the area. It doesn’t help that people my whole life have called me either “naive” or “gullible”, so I’m even more afraid of meeting new people. Then what if I something bad happens to me? What if I get raped/sexually assaulted again? It was already hard enough to deal with my family, even we all lived together and friends. Yes I can call or text them, but it isn’t the same especially when I need a hug. Heck, I miss my mom’s hugs right now even though I live in the same hometown where most of my family use to live. Three years after the sexual assault, I have been very to myself. If I had already struggled talking to people already, well the experience made it worse. I’m too terrified, for example, to tell people about my favorite movies and shows. I’m too terrified to talk about my life, I’m too terrified to get close to people…. So yeah… I’m not too excited. I really, really, really hate how that experience has affected me in all aspects of my life.

But really there are so many opportunities about moving up to Nor Cal….having a $9000 paid bonus that would definitely help for moving, a new life, moving to a possibly great school with a great team of colleagues,  having a great pay for a first year teacher, buying my first house maybe even find a husband and starting a family… I mean…the recruiter was even offering to help me find a church! But the only thing holding me back is my anxiety and fear. I’m really not proud of myself. I’m just not.

So here I was being pulled from one table to the next, with other public schools and charter schools. I’m kinda skeptical about charter school because 1. I don’t think they offer pensions and 2. I’m not really familiar with charter schools and how they work. From what the recruiters tell me, its for students who schools have  given up on or for families who feel their child will benefit from…something like that. I think they are relatively a new form of education. I remember how they were mentioned in “60 Minutes” in the early 2000s. I also avoided schools that could have given me a shot in the hiring process, but I’m too terrified of moving to those areas! I mean what if they don’t have a therapist in those areas??? What if the nearest “decent” therapist isn’t in the 10 miles??? I don’t want to resort to having a therapist I can either call or text. When I lived with my mom, whenever I feel just a tiny bit sad, I would go in my mom’s bed and lie next to her as she’d watch, “Dancing With the Stars” or something. I really loved my mom’s hugs and the moments we had together and her cooking! I miss her cooking! Depression makes me not take care of myself as well as I should and with her around me she either made me food or pushed me to cook for myself. Though she is not here, at least I have my brother and my friends to comfort me whenever I feel down and out and I could go to them if I feel sad. I wouldn’t have that if I moved into the desert areas or to Nor Cal. Yeah, I’ll make friends eventually, but  I still need a support system I can go to right away, you know? So, yeah…these were the thoughts that plagued me at the event and throughout the night.

Spirituality and Me

Lately, I’ve been very tired. Could be because I have been not eating food with protein. It could be also because I have been learning so much about my speciality (in special education) through my student teaching experiences these past few months. So lately, I’ve been trying to go to bed on time. Nope still tired. How about shortening my hours with Uber? Hmm…while that has been nice not having to start Uber from 5 in the morning, so I can be back at my student teaching site before 10am, that hasn’t helped either. Okay…maybe because I have not been consistent with my antidepressants. It helps, but still no… Ugh!

So yesterday after two weeks, I went back to church. I haven’t been because I’ve been trying to catch up on my homework and student teacher assignments. But I gotta say after going to church my I felt recharged again! Man! Without my spiritually would continued to feel the deep chasm that I call, depression. Holy crap! I could have continued to be a mess this week without that!

I feel with God in my life, He has given me strength that I couldn’t do on my own. He has given me blessings (especially this year), I couldn’t believe I could have ever received..or even asked for! While yes there is, of course, Christianity the religion I follow, my relationship God is what really matters to me. I have been to the Mormon church and to the Catholic Church. I met people who call themselves, “Christians” but it seems that it’s just a label to to some “Christians”…but God has been my constant through. After all, human beings can disappoint you, even those nearest and dearest to you. And having Him in my life has helped me humble myself (I’m trying to at least) when those relationships fail and/or disappoint me.

Having God in my life has helped me to rely on Him than rely on myself (again, I’m trying to). When living with both anxiety AND depression, they leave me in such a disarray. Anxiety makes me feel like I have the “whole world is on my shoulders” or that “nobody” likes me or that I can’t trust other people or to expect nothing but bad and/or hard times in life. On the other hand, depression makes me that I’m not good enough or life sucks in general or I’m “behind in my life”. But with God, He reminds me that I’m His child and that He will be my strength in the hard times. He will be a friend to the friendless or that:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV

“Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4 (Can be used when hoping for a spouse)

“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 (Good when hoping for a spouse)

Yeah, these a but a few scriptures I used when I feel down or hopeless and that I’m more than my problems that I am a child of the most High God. It’s not to say that I never experience depression or anxiety, but having my spirituality in tact, keeps me in check…especially in the times we live in. It was because of my faith in God, He has gotten me and family through some pretty tough scrapes. It was because of God, my depression and anxiety hadn’t completely over taken me. It was because of God that He has given me the grace to overcome my previous experience with sexual assault everyday.

Now you’re probably wondering “If God is SO great why does He let bad things happen? Why are you living with mental illness and why did He allow that hideous situation to happen to you?” To be honest, I don’t know and I’m not going to “pretend” I do. Heck… aren’t there are somethings we do and then after the situation has taken place, you ask yourself, “Why did I do that?” Even our own actions will be a mystery to ourselves, much less knowing why bad or good things happen. I do know as according to the Bible, as long as we live in the world of the flesh, we live in a world that is unfortunately, covered by sin. Look in the book of Genesis. In this life, again unfortunately, bad things can still happen to good people, even if they are Christian. As much as I wish that label would be a guarantee that I wouldn’t face any hardship or that I wouldn’t undergo pain or disappointment or that I wouldn’t experience health problems, that is not how Christianity works. Christianity is a way of life which gets harder with each passing age of time. But I have faith that God will give me the strength in this sinful world to overcome its hardships. This world, this life, while it can be beautiful and wonderful, can still be difficult and painful. Trust me…my anxiety and depression remind me that everyday. But all I know is as long as my spirituality is in tact and my relationship with God is constant, I’ll be fine.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7