i am overwhelmed and challenged daily by this. but in this moment, as thoughts/prayers/blessings/paths swirl and spin and commit above me … i take a moment to pause. reflect.

tfa. another world too big for me to anticipate…

*the grind. to say the least, it was crazy. 16 + hour days. “ms..row…row…row…keh?” . 3 lesson plans due in 4 hours. mad people at the copy center. papers to grade. tests to make. take a moment to try and feel inspired – i mean, you are single handedly closing the achievement gap. a beer here and there when you have time to blink. meatball wraps. oh shoot theres pizza!?!. collab meeting in our spot in 5 min. cma meeting. one on ones. i forgot the poster paper!?! check in. take this survey and dont forget to narrate. freaking. behavior.

and before you knew it, i hadn’t slept for 6 weeks. (thank you to all your graciousness in my temporary disappearance)

our every morning

*open palm. damn. i realized that i have surrounded myself with people who think like me, look like me, push forward like me and I don’t know what to do when im around people who are not. It was definitely a challenge to be around ignorant people again (ha). My response was juvenile. Might as well have just given me a head wrap, bamboo earrings, and free conference t shirts. I responded close fist. I will pound this idea into your brain as hard and strong as I possibly can. I will make you feel uncomfortable. I will be unapproachable. I will make “break down” comments and shut your ass down. And its because im passionate. Its because this conversation is not being facilitated correctly. Its because im shocked you got into this program. Its because im angry and hurt and offended by you. Its because I want you to check yourself so that you can check the classroom. Its because I have good intentions… much as im sure you do too. But now, I’ve taken a step back and youll never take a step forward, and we’ve hurt this movement I am in love with.

During the first week, I wrote that I wanted to have an “open palm” instead of the “closed fist” I am so used to. Seems like most of institute I used that open palm to slap people (ha). But I know its not the right way. I know that if I want to ensure that racism, bias, hegemony ends – it must end with love. It must end with education, dialogue, building, unpacking bias ..slowly, surely, and still with the best intentions. This isn’t the end .. I am checking my own privilege, the “isms” that have been validated by “down people,” and I hope that I can move forward open palm .. hand in hand .. help in heart.

*caffeine. i hate that i need you now. i hate that i dont like soy milk with you. but most of all i hate you pseudo barista and how you got me addicted to some secret killer combo that you still wont tell me about.

*a new identity. to pinay, daughter, Christian ..we add teacher. i’ve worked in education, tutored, but nothing like this. not only am i building who “ms.rOque” is .. i’m also learning what teachers are like. let me tell you, teachers are crazy. their vices are multiplied. their arrogance is shaking. but their hearts, their hearts are the hearts that are going to change this world. when we did have our moments of inspiration, i was always scared of my tears but realized that everyone is just like me. we laughed, we cried, we complained, we didnt sleep and it was all for our kids. it was a beautiful thing.

*”it’s nice to obsess over something beautiful for a change.” -mozart and the whale. special education. when i was first assigned this i was like, “crap. i just checked the box as a thought.” haha .. i have always loved education but i knew the challenges that come with special needs and thought i didnt have the heart or patience for it. so i prayed. i asked God to fill my heart with love for special education mourn for it as much as i do with general education. and as i learned more, i realized i already did. special needs is not exactly what most people think..and if you think education is bad, special education is worse. i am excited and challenged by this .. i definitely have a long way to grow but i feel blessed to be given this opportunity.

**to end .. an attempt at writing forreal. its not very good..i haven’t written like this in a while .. but it was time to try at least**


this is one of those i am poems.
the kind that teachers give students to fill in the blanks.
i am feeling ______ blank.
i am seeing ______ blank.
its the kind that redefines a moment,
takes it captive to understand it.
its the kind that hopefully,
becomes mantra.

because i am covered in a moment of chaos unleashed.
my souls murdered & displaced,
& all its wisdoms are crashing down onto my weakness,
& i can’t hope enough
to catch them
question them
and choose which ones to keep.

maybe all i’ve figured out was contradictory to growth
& all the things i dreamed,
can’t come true.

there is a silence.

it exists above me –
whenever truth becomes absolute.
whenever revolution, agency, and isms blur into shortcomings.
whenever i step further from self definition and fall comfortably into compromise.
these maybe the manifestations & by products
of the fears i’ve tucked in and out my fallacies.
created by dreams colliding with heartache
and opportunities crafting themselves as fate…

they tell me that ..
intentions wont save love
healing is inward, out
activism can lead to inequality
contradictions are more consistent than promises
even the strong women fall.

so here i am
surrounded by the experience of story
the sadness of surrender
i am struggling to channel past babaylan canters
my hymns are scrambling to hold onto every peace they’ve left behind
tongue in cheek
vibrating on loss words and possibility

give me the strength lined on your backs,
pass me the balance of your shoulders,
the confidence of your hips.
i’ve been fighting with hate,
intimidating with knowledge,
struggling with closed fist.
help me to love with open palm.
catching grace
to lather them over remaining open scars
let my open palm hold heart to negativity,
solidarity to disagreement b/c

i am living histories that are mean to be passed on.
b/c i am survival that overcomes through Light
b/c i am a queen that has forgotten her treasures
b/c i am worth more than indecision
b/c i am the shaken life worth living
help me to remember,
that i,
am redefinition by design.

this is one of those i am poems.
one of those poems meant to understand natural disorder.
one of those poems balancing through crisis.
this is one of those i am poems.
b/c i am