you had a choice

to be honest

or not


you looked truth in the eye

and blinked first



you will always live with the choice you made


you will never know what might have been


My Ideal Bookshelf – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss

I’ve been putting off writing about my Ideal Bookshelf, and it’s mostly because of this book.

I didn’t want to think about why this book meant so much to me.

I didn’t want to remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap, dressed in an oversized Purdue Boilermaker t-shirt, and following along as he turned each well-worn page.

I didn’t want to because I have not seen my grandfather in over a year.

And, I miss him.

I miss who I thought he was as the facade shattered when he proudly pinned his MAGA pin to his sweater vest the last Christmas I visited Oklahoma.

I miss who I thought all my family was and who I need them to be.

But, this post is about Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, not them.

Yet, my memories and love for this book cannot divorced from memories of visiting my grandparents in their ranch style home on the plains of Enid, Oklahoma. Days spent fishing. Days spent building scrap forts. Days spent swimming. Followed by nights of a bowl of vanilla ice cream, topped with Hershey’s chocolate syrup and book after book read by my grandpa.

My brother and I would squirm in for the best spot on his lap, bringing with us a large stack of books. One, two, three . . . were never enough, and we would always beg for another book before bed.

But, always, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! was my favorite.

I felt that as he read the book he truly believed that I could be whoever I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do.

Realities and convictions certainly change a glimpse into nostalgia.

Still, the book remains a treasure.

At the end of the school year, I would read the book to my students.

It was always my final activity to close out the school year, and it is an activity that I miss now that I am no longer directly teaching in the classroom.

I miss a lot of things.

My Ideal Bookshelf – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

As my brother and I wandered a now defunct toy store in Tulsa, we waited impatiently by the front of the store as our mom was checking out. What was being purchased or why we were there, I could not say, but as we were waiting, we came across a glass case with a hardback of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on proud display.

Harry Potter? I thought to myself. What kind of a ridiculous name is Harry Potter for a wizard?

Unable to keep my mockery to myself, I began on my anti-Potter rant.

“Look at me, I am Harry, a wizard.”

“My name is Harry. I fly on a broom.”

“I have a lightning bolt on my head.”

I can still hear my tiny human self’s tone as I continued bashing the, in my estimate, poorly named book about a boy wizard.

As we exited the store, I remember thinking to myself that the book would never be popular, and it would be one that I would never read.

Fast forward to that Christmas with my grandparents in Enid, Oklahoma, I would open a box containing the first two Harry Potter novels and the newly released third entry. I smiled and thanked them, but I was clearly more interested in the Lego set I had received.

Yet, as the endless hours of football played across the two television sets and I grew bored with my new Lego masterpiece, I finally made my way to England, Diagon Alley, and the halls of Hogwarts.

I blocked out my mockery of Harry Potter and became a Potterhead, which marked the first time I was ever wrong about anything . . .


Friday Night

Rear Window shines on a white stucco wall

Charred pita slides onto the platter

Salt-rimmed glasses

Filled and unfilled

Clutter the too small table




Friday night

One Week

So, you are through week one

Week one as yourself


How did it go


It went Are you gay

It went strutting

It went Why are you wearing girl shoes

It went smiling

It went Mr wants him to call him Ms now and I respect that

It went excitement

And heartache and frustration and bliss


It went I heard a rumor that you want to be called Ms now

And I said Yes


It went glimmers of me

A Request

A step forward in being true to myself, I finally came out to the rest of my coworkers and have now asked to go by my prefered name and pronouns. The email below is the first step.


Recently, the coaches were provided with a new book to read, which I had put off reading, but last week, the coaches met for the first round of the book study, which meant I could no longer put it off.

So, I read it.

I reflected on it and knew that I needed to make changes, both personally and professionally.

As the English Language Arts team can tell you, one of the activities from book that stuck with me the most was over identifying and reflecting on your Core Values (I highly recommend this activity to everyone and can provide the resource for those interested). I identified and reflected on mine.

Immediately, I noticed a gap . . . I noticed several gaps, honestly.

But for the purpose of this email to you all, the gap was with the Core Value of Authenticity.

The gap closes here.

This year and last year I kept telling myself that I needed to stay under the radar because I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone or challenge ideas, and if I faced rejection and mockery, I was not sure if I was prepared for that again. Yet, I am at the point in my life where I need to be truly authentic: for myself, for our students, and beyond.

I am transgender and have been in the process of living authentically for the past two years, and at this time, I request to be referred to as Bailey and with feminine pronouns.

I ask of you your respect and continued professionalism, and I thank you in advance for it.

I promised myself that I would keep this message brief, but if anyone has any questions, I am happy to answer them.

Thank you for all that you do.



  1. Bailey

My Ideal Bookshelf – Ishmael

Ishmael, Daniel Quinn

I remember spotting all three books in my father’s recycling bin, Ishmael, The Story of B, and My Ishmael.

It must have been during my time in high school because of where he and my stepmom were living, but I can’t remember the reason for the books being in the recycling bin. Perhaps, my father had simply moved on from the books’ ideas. Or, was just cleaning house.

Regardless, I asked if I could have them and reread Ishmael and read The Story of B and My Ishmael for the first time.

Perhaps, if my father knew that Quinn’s book would lead me down the path of atheism, he never would have given me the first one of the trilogy.

In all likelihood, he would have burned them for blasphemy.

Perhaps, that’s why they were being recycled.

(I plan to one day cover the hypocrisy of the Republican agenda to that of my dad and family’s lifelong recycling, but now this post is not that time or place.)

Ishmael and the third of the series have a strange fantasy premise of learning from a talking gorilla, which is probably why the loosely adapted film version, Instinct, lacked the anthropomorphized ape.

Yet, the books, particularly the first and last opened up history in a new and interesting way. It challenged the worldview that I had been shown all my life, and it turned it completely around.

I questioned everything from that point forward.






I once tried to have a friend read Ishmael, but she was never able to get into it. In her view, she already knew what the book was trying to say. I guess as you educate yourself and grow, you naturally begin to look at the world differently.

But, as a teenager trying to figure out my place in the world in small town Oklahoma, it was another chance to discover and to question.

Flashbacks from the Wild, Part 3: Caves, Dragon’s Egg, and Guano

Sunday morning cartoons paled in comparison to Saturday morning cartoons. In fact, Sunday spent at my mom’s house lacked any cartoons, which was due to either attending the weekly church service when she could not be convinced not to go or because our basic cable package lacked Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel only played TV movies in the morning.

A particular Disney TV movie was on my mind as we made our way deeper into the caverns at Carlsbad.

I couldn’t remember the name of the movie or who was in it or what even happens in the movie, except for a teenager getting lost in a cave and finding a dragon’s egg.

I made a mental note to google the movie and see if I could find the title of the movie and read the synopsis. It was not the time for such things as Google or Snapchat or the Twitters because under the advice of the park ranger, my iPhone was now on airplane mode. For some reason, cell service is quite poor hundreds of feet underground.

The path of the cave was well lit, and I spent much of the time snapping pictures of beautiful rock formations cast in eerie lights for park goers to enjoy.

The cave was much larger and deeper than any I’d ever been to before, and I’d been to quite a few caves.

Again, no Google underground and the names escaped me, but I remembered the cave under Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. I’d been to Silver Dollar City quite a few times, but I only remember exploring the cave once. I’d been to Missouri’s strange amalgamation of Las Vegas, a cruise ship, hillbilliness, and bible-thumping more times than I care to emit, but a few pleasant memories of Branson exist. A few.

I remembered camping in Oklahoma with my mom, step-dad, brother, and my dog, Cricket, and after a night of tenting, we explored the campground’s cave.

Silver Dollar City’s was much larger than the Oklahoma one, but it was still much smaller than Carlsbad’s.

Further and further into the underground, my friends and I traversed.

Yet, one previous cave stood out the most.

In high school, I was a part of nearly every club there was at the school, except those that were Christian or farming affiliated. And as part of the Gifted program and the Science Club, we ventured to a nearly uncharted cave in northeastern Oklahoma.

The first trip does not particular standout, other than a girl getting stuck for a bit when she tried to follow my cave exploring. And, when we went back as far as we could travel, blocked from going farther by a cave lake, we shut off all the lights, and I practiced my best Gollum impersonation. This prompted a pitch black Gollum-off. I still stand firm that I won.

It is hard to know for sure now, but I think I went on the first trip my sophomore year because if I am remembering correctly who was there from my high school, it had to be my sophomore year.

The second time I went to the cave more memories are easily recalled. The cave was nearly flooded so we were unable to go back into it as far as the previous trip. When attempting to find a handhold, I accidentally touched a small bat. I hopelessly flirted with a girl that I ended up not asking to my senior prom because a few weeks later I would go out on my first official date with a girl I would meet at a speech tournament, who would later become my first girlfriend, first love, and first breakup. I also had the world’s worst shoes for caving, and with the cave being a bit muddier due to the rains, I spent much of the time slipping and sliding all over the cave.

Upon exiting the cave this time, my coveralls were completely covered in a thick layer of mud and bat guano.

Meandering through Carlsbad Caverns, my mind was lost in memories, as I followed the lighted path to the elevator to travel back to the surface.

As I sit down to write this blog post, I decide not to look up the Disney dragon egg movie.

Some things are better left as memories because the whole picture can sometimes ruin a trek to the past.