I feel like it took me a super long time to come to terms with the fact that I just don’t fuck with religion. It is not really something that honestly makes my soul feel at peace, nor does it give me ease. The people who I’ve encountered that are gung ho about religion are the most unlike Jesus and really that’s neither here nor there. All I know is that I can’t really trust the people who rely on Jesus and their religion for everything. I just mean that I personally do not subscribe to that thought process but I am also not bashing anyone who is into that. More power to you.
What do I subscribe to though? I believe in love. My religion has become love and I’ve learned love in the most unconventional ways and I learned what love is not and I think that helped me learn how to love. I have to say that when I learned about love it came from my teachers. I mean, I am talking about being a new kid to this country, to two new schools and I was going through it. Outwardly I was a smiley, happy and friendly kid but on most days I was fucked up. My head and heart was often distressed as fuck because the adults outside of school took care of my fundamental and basic needs BUT they didn’t nurture nor nourish me emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There were far too many days when I was dangerously close to going home to kill myself and a conversation with particular teachers saved my life.
This blog isn’t under my name, so I won’t shout out those teachers by name BUT my 9th and 10th grade ELA teachers, my 11th grade American History teacher, and my 12th grade Phys Ed. teachers were incredibly helpful to my wellbeing and my mental sanity. They don’t know, because I didn’t realize how much they were saving me until I look back on it at this moment. They leaned into me and I don’t know if they knew I was distressed but they were better than what the average teacher was to me. They were kind, open, non judgmental, caring and tough as nails. All of these teachers were women, and although I know they will be reading this, I know they must know that they were not necessarily fan favorites among the kids BUT they were MY favorites. These women are tough and they didn’t just give out grades, you had to earn those damn grades and they were not soft and cuddly women, they were no bullshit and they gave no fucks about excuses. I liked that. I was a good student and I was focused so I could deal with that and it just made it easy to love them and want to be near them all the time.
I was never a class cutter, or even a rowdy kid. I was a kid though who outwardly seemed fine but I really was not okay on many fronts. And I was a part of a church that was supportive BUT I couldn’t tell the truth there. I couldn’t be honest there, I couldn’t be myself BECAUSE there was no room for authenticity or telling my naked truth because there was too much judgement and harsh repercussions for telling the truth. So I often internalized and imploded with unimaginable pain. Pain that I wasn’t allowed to display publicly because I was shamed for it and wasn’t allowed to be in pain because I would have been selfish or whatever the adults decided to label it as. I was just trying to have healthy outlets. I was just trying to keep my head above water and not drown in my tears and my thoughts AND what kept me alive was these women. Sitting in their classes, learning their lessons and living to be next to them and be an active participant in their classes because they listened and shared positivity with me. I needed them badly and I am realizing that now.
I am still in touch with some of these women. I feel like it’s the most natural thing for me to love them and still be in touch with them because the people who impacted me positively will always live in my heart. It’s a special and important thing for me to love these women STILL because they inspired me to be the adult that my kids needed. I know what the world can look like for kids who are seemingly okay. I know what sadness and distance can look like in a kid who is faking it for the gram or faking it for whatever reason. It doesn’t always look like acting out. I wasn’t a kid who acted out. I was disciplined, quiet, focused, nerdy, studious and fucking sad. My acting out didn’t look like disciplinary issues, it looked like overeating, lots of quiet crying and absolutely withdrawn when I was by myself. It also looked like days when I could say nothing. Days where I just literally didn’t have the words to say anything because if I had told or spoken up I was scared that my tears would never stop and I didn’t want anyone to make it harder for me than it already was. What could I have said? All I know is that I realize what that feels like, looks like and as an adult is can help….I will always help. It’s my duty.
I know this is a bitter sweet post and it may cause some ripples of varying emotions for the people reading it. BUT I need you guys to know that things had to be that way in order for me to know what I now know. The time has passed. I did not die and the love from you guys helped me be a dynamic educator. The love from you to me helped my heart, it saved my life and it went on to save many lives of kids who were just like me. You guys were the best parts of school and I am so eternally grateful that you were my teachers. I love y’all and I owe you my life. I feel like you guys should know that. When you guys retire, tell them to call me because everyone should know how amazing you have been. Thank you for everything.