Message: Avoid Losing Yourself In Your Work
ln my parent's native patois dialect "Wah Gwan! Mi hope every ting cris"
Thank you for visiting my blog. Special holiday announcement: my Chapter 28 chapter starts March 1st. If you're a pisces, comment your birthday below and feedback on this post for a special monetary gift from me (seriously).
So what's this post about?
I am hardly personable or expressive about my trials and tribulation online. I kept a lot of it to myself up to chapter 27. Despite feeling nervous about disclosing this particular testimony, I feel the need to now because it may help someone who can relate.
I became a licensed High School English Teacher (ELA) in 2016 and kickstarted my career in a charter school. The following year, I spontaneously got a call about a vacancy at a juvenile facility to teach incarcerated youth ELA and prepare them to pass their regents or GED exam. Although this was not in my future plans, I went to the interview and accepted the position because my intuition told me that this opportunity was bigger than helping incarcerated youth gain academic success. I felt that they needed to renew their mentality by developing positive thinking habits. After listening to their perspective on their community and themselves, I knew their only goal couldn’t be to go to college when they were released. They needed divine intervention and healing in my eyes because they were victims of severe trauma, which led them to commit the crimes some admitted to committing. Fast forward to after serving 4 years, I was surprised by how consumed I was by their experiences and my journey with coping through it. The facility also exposed me to the essence of political bullshit and the classroom restrictions tainted my teacher philosophies. (I can dive deeper into my experience working in a juvenile facility but that friends, I’ll save for a future post.)
I grew passionate about serving underprivileged and misguided youth. The experience highlighted the dire need for regular mental health services for traumatized adolescents. I realized that there was no amount of academic resources that can dismantle the emotional and psychological barriers impeding their academic success. I quickly recognized that I had to be their mentor and listening ear as well an educator on literature. I saw the need for physical activity so started Workout Wednesdays, a weekly personal development and fitness workshop class, for students who were interested.
Sadly, the experience put a strain on my physical and mental health. I battled to keep a clear mind, pure heart, and healthy body. It was complexing to serve a very unique population, in an extremely challenging environment, while being forced to succumb to systemic flaws. To make matters worse, I came home so drained, unmotivated, unenthusiastic about life that I found myself less attentive to my son. I was so drained from the complex 8 hour shift that I found myself in the bar instead of a gym after putting my son to sleep! I would sit there overthinking about my life with a glass of rum punch or sangria. I thought so long it turned into more than one drink. I knew something had to change but I was fearful of leaving everything I worked for to start over. I was fearful of the very thing I yearned for deeply: CHANGE. My spirit reminded me daily that I was unhappy. TedTalks, podcasts, and motivational YouTube videos couldn’t sustain my positive energy any longer. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew I was abandoning my dream for a quality and healthy life if I stayed there any longer
I took a step back from teaching because I felt quite lost about my passion and purpose. There I was managing a health business while depressed and joining my coworker in the candy factory teachers room. It was filled with donuts, ice cream, pizza, and all other types of fructose corn syrup snacks that I like to call “coping treats.” It made teachers come back for more in between chaotic class periods. I fell into the mix and gained 20 pounds!
I’ll fast forward.
The point of this post is to share this message: Let’s avoid losing ourselves in our work! If the service you’re providing is a hindrance to your health, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and the people you’re servicing ! How fulfilling is a career that hurts your mindset, drains your energy, disturbs your integrity, and threatens your health? When I no longer felt like the #FitMom I advocate for, I realized that I had to face the truth: I was not maintaining the healthy lifestyle that I worked so hard to establish and educated others about. The lifestyle I advocate for was in jeopardy because of my job.
As many of you could imagine, working in a jail is the farthest thing from healthy environment. When I resigned, I decided to use the new sense of freedom I was feeling to heal and reconnect with world. I traveled to Turks and Caicos in December to reconnect with nature and, in all honesty, sleep.
Now that I’m approaching chapter 28, I set out to explore architecture and connect with internationals. I call this solo trip my “wellness birthday vacation .” I recommend it to everyone. To take at least one trip alone for a wellness retreat or to dedicate time for personal development and recovery.
So What’s next?
I started a company one year ago called Mo’s Motivational Health Club. We provide health and fitness resources to optimize the health journey for someone starting out. Our mobile app will service women and children who are ready to embark on a journey to restore their mental health and physical strength. Subscribe to my email list to learn more details and get updated on my next blog post. Thank you for reading !
Monique is an entrepreneurial educator and writer that can empower you to become the greatest version of yourself. When she is not educating adolescents in Humanities courses or educating adults on financial literacy, she’s facilitating family fitness workshops with a team of professional certified personal trainers. As if that’s not a lot to have on her plate already, she also publishes poems and writes practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life
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