The Nitty Gritty

I am having a rough go of it lately.  I couldn’t sleep last night and woke up this morning and could hardly sit for 5 minutes without crying.

Ok, Ok…I know…most of you are saying right now…”and this is different how??”

It’s different because these tears are in total desperation.  This is what I cried for this morning:

  • my seniors who have lost so much already.
  • my other students who have lost this year
  • my kids and husband who have to suffer too

OK who I am kidding…my tears this morning were a big old pity party for ME.

I sobbed this morning for ME!!!!

I am stuck in this room, and when I leave this room I have to be very careful.

I have to stay 6 feet from my family, including my dogs.

I have to face the fact that it might be a long time before I am able to do the thing that got me out of bed everyday.  The thing that I was put on this earth to do.  The thing that has defined my life for so many years.

I love teaching…for so many reasons…all very selfish.

I love teaching choir…for so many reasons…all very selfish.

I love being in a room full of teenagers, singing, laughing, learning, achieving, growing…  Not just ordinary teenagers, Westlake High School Choir teenagers.

My teenagers.

As I sat there ugly crying, I felt lost, and hopeless, and full of despair.

In that moment, very still, slowly breathing in and out.  One word kept coming to my mind.


This word has been constantly thrown in my face during my tenure at Westlake.

I mean seriously.

Grit: **taps me on the shoulder**

Me: turning around “What?”

Grit: WHAM

Me: “ouch that hurt”

Grit: “I’m not going anywhere, do you want to be friends?”

Me:  “OK”

Grit and I have been through a lot of things.  Fires, shootings, power outages, bus mishaps, losing an accompanist, scheduling conflicts, calendar issues…

Oh and don’t forget exploding toilets.

Grit has held my hand at the beginning of this journey, when I felt like everyone was against me.

Grit takes care of my students.

The ones who don’t have a lot but give so much.

Those who feel like they want to quit, but seem to keep showing up.

Those who have family issues and academic challenges and language barriers and extra chromosomes and brains that challenge them and demons and constant fights with their self esteem and…

Grit will be with them now.  The seniors who have potentially lost so much.  The other students who have potentially lost this year.

Grit Why???

Because it’s worth it.

Grit: **holds out hand

Me:  OK, let’s do this.

All my love,

Mrs. R. (and Grit)


BIRTHDAY’S TODAY!!! – Brodie Rogers and Sanjana Chandrasekar.  Please send them some love today.  I’m sure it is really hard having a birthday during this isolation.  I’ll start…oooooooooooooooooooooo

Didn’t Fitness Marshall today…(see pity party above).  Will more than likely take a walk later.  Finally the sun is peeking out.

Q.O.D. – Do you have a favorite story about grit, in your life or others?  Let’s hear about it!!

16 thoughts on “The Nitty Gritty

  1. Mrs. Rolniak. Today, you are allowed to throw yourself a pity party! You should be selfish sometimes. What you are going through is horrible and I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be. Cry for yourself. Mourn the loss of your year also. We can all be sad together!!! You are one of the strongest people I know and I look up to you so much for that. You are incredible. If you ever wanna facetime, let me know. I can call or I can get a group of people to be in a call with us! We are all here for you, maybe not in person, but in spirit. Today has been hard for me too. I had plans to be productive everyday- get up and workout and then do something that I haven’t had the chance to do. But i’m also throwing myself a bit of a pity party today because of my very probable loss of senior year. anyway, sending my love and support through the crack in your door.

    • I think my pity party did me good. I am really the type to get all emotional, brush myself off, and tackle the problem in front of me!! You are the best and I thank you for all you do for me and his department!!

  2. Hey Mrs. Rolniak! First of all, thank you so much for the birthday shoutout, this year is a tough one, but I’ll make the most of it. Second of all, your blog post made me cry, there is so much that many of us wanted to accomplish this year and now the idea of school being closed longer is just giving me a wave of anxiety and sadness. Especially seniors. I’m sorry you feel this way right now and I can’t even imagine what you must be going through, but I hope that things get better not only for you, but for all of us.

    As for the grit, its been tough but so rewarding. I learned that a lot through this isolation period, that things tend to work out in some weird way and the way I was raised to think that the more we persevere, these little things that go wrong, won’t even matter and will lead to the greatest joy ever and that it is all part of the experience we are going through (i don’t know if that made sense). Some days would be extremely tough and emotional for me, whether it be school or other extra curriculars, but the grit is what keeps me going and its what helps me find the little bit of positivity, and helps me learn a lot about myself and my surroundings. I hope this isolation ends soon because I’m going insane haha. Missing you and I hope your day gets better! Sending you loads of love. ❤

  3. Hello!
    I feel for your sadness and I genuinely hate how hard this isolation has been for everyone. Ok hate is a strong word but I just strongly dislike how something completely out of our control has thrown this whole world upside down. If anyone need to talk feel free to talk to me and I’ll be here for you.

    As for grit, hmmmm. I guess grit has played a large role in how I grew up. I always was taught that you don’t need to be perfect, just keep improving and work hard toward who you want to be. I was always told that no matter how hard things get, as long as you don’t give up, things will eventually get better. And i truly believe that these things are true. I always work hard to keep improving, and I work hard even when things get difficult.

    • Thank you for your offer to chat with those who need it. It does seem really upside down, and we didn’t even get to say goodbye to you!!! You are awesome and thanks for checking in!!

  4. Sorry about your situation and you have every right to throw the biggest pity party you wish. You’re human and have every right to feel sad. I’m doing pretty good. I’m shy anyways and feel I’ve been training for this quarantine most of my life. I study, jog, hike, am growing a mustache, signed up for an online class, worked on some R&B songs I like, played games, watching a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm, many movies, and Walking Dead has been intense this season. I really hope to see the seniors again before they move on and I feel bad for their loss of all the memorable things a senior should go through. I predict out of this adversity we will come out stronger, resilient, and probably will have learned a lot of things we never knew about ourselves. Peace.

    • Nathaniel with a mustache!!! Sounds like you are in your element. Yes this journey will certainly cultivate our resiliency…or our insanity…or both!! Take care and tell your parents hello!!

  5. Hi Mrs.Rolniak! Do not feel bad for throwing your self a pity party, I think we are all kinda starting to do that a little bit. I think we need grit to help us all mentally get through this. It’s only been less then a week and I’m already sad and upset. I miss my choir fam and I miss school. I’m just gonna keep working on my music and hope that this isolation goes by fast because other wise I might just lose my mind!!! Miss you and everyone! Love to all my choir fam💗

  6. Hi Mrs Rolniak :)) I miss you and school like ALOT … I never really thought I would say I miss coming to school but it’s happening. Reading your blog posts help me to get out of this sad mood because of how much us seniors are losing school. But thank you for your posts, they make me feel like I’m in the choir room with my women’s girls and we’re having a conversation and everyone is laughing and joking around. Miss youuuu ❤

    • That is what I miss the most all of the smiles and laughter…it was pretty constant. We will get to do it again I’m sure of it. Take care!! Get that backpack back on because “distant learning” is on it’s way!!

  7. I really needed this and I’m glad you threw your pity party to find the epiphany that grit is always with you to get through things. I’m sorry that the quarantine is crazy difficult and that you have to isolate from you family, but I hope that you can feel their love from you in the room. And I hope that you can feel our love to you from our homes and in these comments.

    Today I had my nephew for a little bit and then he went home, so I had nothing to do. I tried to sleep my boredness away, but I found that I couldn’t fall asleep, like my body wasn’t tired but my mind was. I really have no motivation/passion to do activities and when I do I psyche myself out of it, but because of your words I’ll actually try to do something. So thank you Mrs.Rolniak for always loving your people ❤ love you and can’t wait to see you again

    • I feel the love everyday. Thoughts are powerful!! I am glad you got to see that cute boy for a bit!! Can’t wait to see your beautiful face. Take care and thanks for checking in!!

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