My Culture, My Language

 If you think this was going to be some dramatically deep post about how different minorities feel their language and culture are super important to them, you are wrong. There are plenty of other people writing about that. This is my blog, and by golly I’m writing about me!**DISCLAIMER: I am pretty darn tired, so I have no idea how well this piece will turn out**

Specifically, I am writing about how my word choice, accent, and lingual mistakes are the result of the culture I have been exposed to throughout my twenty years of life. the three primary reasons who my language being the way it is are as follows…
1. Accent.

Let’s start simple. I’m from Maine. Though I am from a generation that has distance itself from the added and abandoned letters that make Maine’s accent difficult to understand, and I did not grow up around the coastal seamen whose voices remind me so much of the lobster traps they haul and the waves they set their boats onto, I still have an accent that can be identified as ‘Maine.’ This is not a problem for me because I love the Maine accent. It is the accent of my entire family, most of my friends, and the people who have touched my life in every way.
2. Slang

Again, I grew up in Maine. This is only one of three causes of my slang, but it does add the words “cellar,” “dooryard,” and several others to my slang vocabulary. i also rely heavily on the word “ain’t” in order to express myself verbally.

Another contributor to my funky and illogical word choice is the English TV shows I watch so often. Everything from Sherlock and Doctor Who to the sitcoms played on PBS has allowed me to learn words I may never have known otherwise. I’m not sure how many Americans call roommates “flatmates” and refer to kissing as “snogging,” but I have received a copious amount of strange looks when I use them in every day sentences. Shows from this part of the globe are also why I have a relatively interesting story about forgetting American rad rules, but that is a tale for another time.

The third contributor to my vocabulary is my generation. The people I have grown up with, who I see online every time I unlock my phone, and who come up with the craziest ideas for word are to lame for some of my most unbecoming language. These are the people who taught me to cut my words short (perf instead of perfect; def instead of definitely; etc.), refer to my friends as my “squad” and my boyfriend as “bae,” and refer to everyone who ever walked this earth as peeps, dudes, chicks, and peasants.
3. Education.

I am attending college to be a high school English teacher. Because of my passion for reading and writing, I have unintentionally developed a somewhat large vocabulary. It is not uncommon for me to use a more challenging word in a sentence and have someone look at me like I have two head. I found out just last week that “vigil” is not a common word. I love using the words “frivolous” and “gruntled,” though there is a lack of individuals who understand those words without an explanation. 

My choice of careers has also encouraged me to consciously move away from my most basic grammatical and lingual tendencies. Though most of the time I speak with all the slang and accented words in my verbal artillery, There are times when I will slip into a grammatically perfect, error-free tirade. However, one of my personal mantras is: “I might talk like a redneck when I got to use my mouth, but my written voice speaks similar tot hat of a learned scholar.”
NOTE

It has been brought to my attention that my personal way of speaking may hinder my ability to prepare my future students for the competitive adult world that many are expected to succeed in. I would like to bring to attention the fact that my casual language differs from m professional language, as does my writing. I know how to model and teach language rules, both for speaking and for writing. However, I believe in the evolution of language through cultural development. As the wold changes around us, it is important that students learn how to adapt and develop along with their peers and their culture. As a teacher, it is my job to give them the tools they need to succeed without destroying who they are as individuals I just so happen to believe that language, from the personal jargon tot he funny ways one might produce a certain syllable, is crucial to individual identity. 

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11 Things I Did Today Instead of Write My Weekly Blog Posts

I suck at writing posts ahead of time and rock at avoiding strokes of creative genius, so here’s a list of how I cope.

  1. Take a shower. I could write, or I could boil my flesh while massaging my scalp with fragrant products. Shower it is.
  2. Eat. No need to validate this one.
  3. Feed my turkeys. I have to feed them. It’s my job as their mama. At least when I’m at my parents’ house.
  4. Homework. Let’s read Shakespeare! Let’s make teaching sketches for my EDU class! Let’s read a giant chunk of that dry novel for ENG! Now is a perfect time to write a blog post for my teaching blog!
  5. Dye my hair. I’ve wanted red high lights for ages, so I had my awesome mum do them (she’s a professional!). They are super subtle, so you can’t see them unless I’m in the sunlight, but I love them. Maybe next time I need to write a blog post, I’ll get some brighter streaks!
  6. Find some friends to hang with. Why write when you can grab a friend and hit up the local bowling alley? We bowled four games today, and I even won one! The building even housed an arcade, so we pooled our tickets and bought a woopie cushion. Obviously, since we had already driven to town, we had to go to Walmart where we got some glasses adjusted, and bought some noise-makers, a Darth Vader pillow, and a super cool 3D puzzle for my father on Easter. Top it off with some frozen yogurt, and you have a great outing!
  7. Message literally everyone you know on Facebook. “Everyone” is an exaggeration, but when crunch time for writing a post is near, you suddenly find so many people you need to catch up with. I would like to extend a very special thanks to Sam, Dawn, Judy, Harris, Zach, Billy, and Aaron for allowing me to message them as an alternative to writing.
  8. Read articles about people you went to school with who are handling adulthood ten times worse than you are. Sometimes you just need a little confidence booster. Like knowing that you are stable enough to not kill your newborn child. There are times when I feel totally out of control because of everything I have to do in order to simply exist in the adult world, but I still manage to not become the subject of a tragic news article. This is successfully adulting, right?
  9. Google “ideas for blog posts.” Okay, this is it. I’m going to find an article and it will trigger a flood of ideas! No, it won’t. Before writing a post, I always google ideas, and then I spend an hour coming up with reasons why I don’t want to write about certain things. Whenever I type “ideas for blog posts” in the search bar, a long line of purple test pops up. Occasionally, I get the blue of a virgin article, but that is quickly turned purple as I frantically search the web for inspiration.
  10. Post a Facebook status about how you need ideas for a blog post. I do this even though I know I will either not get responses by the time I decide what I want to post. I think I subconsciously post those statuses looking for attention for my humble little blog. Perhaps I just get really desperate. I don’t know at this point. I’m pretty tired and am barely paying attention to what I am typing. Why do I procrastinate on these things…?
  11. Scroll through Facebook until you are so tired that you will write about anything. I’m so tired that I will literally write about anything right now.

Well there you have it: a list of stuff I do instead of write blog posts. I have got to stop putting these off until the last minute.

You can prevent my absence of blogging ideas by commenting ideas for future posts! What would you like to see me write about? Tell me, and save me from writer’s block. Please.

Remember?

Busy week. I honestly spaced on writing something for today despite the little note in my planner proclaiming “Blog Post!” with a spiky boarder… Well, here’s a blast from the past (2015).

 

Remember?

When we were little,
You cut my hair.
You cut it so badly,
I had to wear it short.
Mum and I were mad,
But you thought it was funny.
Remember?

Remember when you called me fat,
But you never saw me cry about it?
You hurt my feelings
Like the little shit you are.
You never said sorry
Unless it was forced.
Remember?

I remember how you cried
When I pretended that
Those witches on the hayride
Had given me poisoned cider.
You screamed: “They killed my sister!”
As I played dead.
Remember?

You remember wrestling, right?
I’d hit that spot on your back,
Or you would pin me down,
Just like Pa had taught us,
Army guy style/
You’d always stop when the fake tears rolled.
Remember?

You went to the hospital twice
Because of me.
It will be safe, I promised.
It will be fun, I said.
You never hated me.
You forgave me.
Remember?

When you got to high school,
You pretended not to know me.
I still had your back.
No one gave you a hard time
Without getting through me.
They seldom did.
Remember?

You make fun of my clothes.
I make fun of your hair.
You insult my boyfriend,
And I embarrass you in front of your girl.
We team yup to tackle Pa,
And speak so Mum can’t hear us.
Remember?

Little Brother,
You’re still a little shit,
But you are my little shit.
I’ve got your back,
And you’ve got mine.
I’ll always be your sister.
Remember.

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Lifeguard: The Meaning Behind the Title

What does it mean to be a lifeguard?

I have been certified by the American Red Cross as a lifeguard since the spring of 2011. As of writing this, I am almost at five years of being a lifeguard, so I know a thing or two about what it means to have earned this title.

 

First, I would like to point out a few misunderstandings about what my peers and I do.

  1. We aren’t all super sexy. Being physically attractive is not a requirement for being a lifeguard, despite what many shows and movies may suggest. We are required to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, but any personal trainer, health fanatic, or exercise enthusiast can tell you that fitness comes in many different forms. We have in-services, re-certification classes, and various other test-like events to ensure that we are capable to swim to and save a person without putting ourselves in unnecessary danger. Do not expect us to be super models, but do expect us to be able to get to your drowning self and save the heck out of you regardless of our body types.
  2. We don’t like being ‘mean’ to you, your children, or anyone else. Lifeguards are notorious for asking you to exit the pool when a thunder storm has moved into the area, telling energetic teenagers that they are not allowed to flip into the pool regardless of how fun or cool it is, and yelling “WALK!” at kids who are gleefully speeding across the pool deck. Why do we do this if not to make your life as miserable as we possibly can? Because we care about keeping our patrons safe. It’s literally what we get paid to do. I don’t want to risk lightening striking something connected to that pool and seeing you writhe as electricity courses through your body. I don’t want to be strapping your best friend, just three weeks away from graduation, to a back board after pulling his unconscious body up from the deep end because he hit his head on the side of the pool trying to impress you. I don’t want to be checking the pulse of your daughter as she lies on the pool deck with blood pouring from an open head wound because she slipped and hit the tiles just so. Our priority is to keep you from needing our help, and sometimes, that means we have to say things you don’t want to hear. Just listen.
  3. We judge you not on how you look, but rather on how you act. You don’t have to self-conscious about us watching you swim. We don’t care if your tummy isn’t flat or if your stroke isn’t perfect. Yes, you’re going to catch us looking at you. Why? Because we are monitoring your face for signs of panic and making sure your stroke has not become ineffective. This lets us know if you’re going to start drowning any time soon. We also are trained to keep count of how many people are in our pool at a time, which means we will be looking at you to count you. If we ever don’t see someone who should be in the pool but is not visible, we will scan the bottom as quickly as possible, and you might get to see us jump in. I hope that never happens to you. Or me, for that matter. Just remember that lifeguards don’t judge you. The only time a lifeguard will ever judge you is if you are a jerk. No one likes a jerk.

Second, some stuff you should know about the lifeguards at your favorite swimming location.

  1. We work really hard for this. To get certified, we have to pass some pretty intense swim tests. They aren’t too bad for anyone who has swam competitively and built up your endurance from lap swimming, but if you are just a casual swimmer who took a few swim lessons as a kid, it’s going to seem like a lot. We learn how to swim with a giant stick of foam under our arms. We are taught to stabilize any kind of injury for what can be long periods of time before help arrives.We memorize the exact steps to get a victim with a spinal injury onto a floating backboard without letting them slide off or sink. We learn to pull people twice our size from the bottom of the pool, get the out of the water, and administer CPR to save them.

After we pass the certification, we have to attend in-services at our places of employment to ensure our skills and overall ability to save a person have not slipped. Some facilities even throw dummies into the bottom of a pool when they think a guard isn’t looking to make sure they have the reaction time needed to save a life. We have to take re-certification classes every two years so we can be brought up to par on any changes the ARC has made to the lifeguarding program. This is also where we run through every skill we know, from first aid and CPR to the proper rescue used for a submerged passive victim in deep water with a suspected head or neck injury.

  1. Every facility has different rules. This goes without say for different types of facilities (lakes vs. beaches vs. pools), but it also varies from facilities that belong to the same archetype. The pool you swam at over the summer might have allowed corkscrew jumps, but mine certainly does not. Please don’t try to argue with me because these rules exist for a reason. As a guard on the bottom of the chain of command responsible for making these rules, I might not be able to explain to you exactly why your child has to wear a life jacket even if you watching him from the side of the pool and are confident in his ability, but I can say that there is a darn good reason why that rule is in place and that I will learn the answer by the next time you come in.
  2. Each of us is different. Some guards are going to love to sit on the side of the pool and chat with you when there are only two people in the pool. Some guards are going to be sitting on the opposite side of the pool from you, avoiding eye contact while they nibble a granola bar. Some guards are going to be chatting to a co-worker while the keep an eye on you, while others may not even ask like they know their shift partner is there. Some are going to play classical music on the radio while others are going to find the one station that only plays the newest pop music and spend the shift walking around the pool. If you expect each guard to have the exact same personality, you are going to be in for a world of disappointment. We are each our own person, and we need to do different things to keep our minds and bodies ready to help you at any given moment. However, each and every guard will address any concerns and questions you have to the best of their ability. You just have to ask.

Finally, some ways you can be a great patron

  1. Use your manners. Lifeguards are people, too. This means that saying “please,” “thank you,” or even smiling at us will help us feel ten times better. If we mention something to you, whether it is a pool rule or a compliment on your swim suit, treating us with respect is just the polite thing to do. Lifeguards don’t want to be mean to you, but sometimes our jobs require that we tell you about the no running rule. Sometimes, we really just like your swim suit and think you should know. We aren’t intentionally stepping over any lines, but we don’t always know where those lines are for you. Just treat us like people, and you can quickly become a favorite patron, which is great for both of us.
  2. Obey the rules. This should go without say, but the rules are there for your safety and the safety of other patrons. By not obeying them, especially if I have reminded you not to pull on the rim of our cool basketball hoop twice now, you are putting yourself at risk. Ideally, the greatest risk you are at is being asked to leave the facility. However, the worst case scenario is that you get really, really hurt, like that hoop overbalances, crashing into your head and giving you permanent brain damage. See why we have rules?
  3. Get to know us. If your lifeguard is sitting on the opposite side of the pool or keeping his replies short, it’s probably because he isn’t feeling very social. These introverted guards tend to appear as it gets closer to closing time. I recommend just asking your question to these sassy zombies and being on your best behavior. However, if a guard is sitting near where you are swimming and look genuinely social, feel free to engage them. I love hearing all about my patrons’ grandkids or that funny thing your co-worker did today. I also love talking about school and joking about school. Getting to know your guards can provide both you and them with great networking opportunities, and it’s always nice to have a friendly face to greet you.

 

This ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, but if you have read this far, congratulations! You’re now enlightened about the basic lifeguarding profession!

Thank your lifeguard today!