Remember how I thought I was excited to start my program tomorrow? I was wrong. It's pure nerves, doubting, anticipating, dreading. I feel like I'm on Goliath the roller coast at Six Flags. I'm on the uphill before the ridiculously scary drop and then there will be another two years of ups and downs and scary and maybe a little bit of fun when it's all said and done. Just a few weeks ago when I rode this ride for the first time I thought I would pee my pants. On the slow uphill climb I had my head in Ed's shoulder refusing to look at how high I was and tears were welling up in my closed eyes. I screamed bloody murder the entire ride only stopping to take a big breath to scream more. Just ask Ed, he hated me afterward and for the rest of the day my cousins avoided sitting next me on anything scary because they were afraid for their eardrums. That's how I feel right now. Maybe tomorrow I will feel better after my first class, group therapy. Yes, one of my classes is participating in group therapy with my cohort. Wonderful. I think it will be fun, unless I really hate some of them and then it will just be awkward. The voice in my head is saying, "Be yourself, Amanda. Don't be anyone else. Be you." I'm going to try really hard to do that, because my natural tendency is to really try to have everyone like me and to be boringly fake so that I don't stand out too much but just enough so that people say, "Oh she's nice, I like her". Does anyone know what I mean?
Telos was interesting this week. I ended up working 4 full days because a teacher got sick, so I subbed her classes. It was great fun. Two things are memorable from those four days: 1. Getting called a bitch by two different boys and 2. having one boy come to me telling me that on a hard day for him, he read the note I gave him on my last official day and it made him cry. I almost cried when he told me that (out of happiness) and I also felt a twinge of cry when the boys called me a bitch (out of being called a bitch of course). What's profound from that? Nothing really, it just made me think about emotion in general and how I handle it. There's such a broad spectrum of emotion. Like when these boys called me a bitch under their breath to each other, I didn't address it right then. I didn't want to make a scene because I had already just made one by kicking out their friend for being disgustingly inappropriate while speaking in French (I caught on because of a hand gesture and the words "peanut butter", so use your imagination). I just waited until the end of class and then confronted them. I couldn't be completely sure that they were specifically calling me that lovely word, but the context was definitely there: I am the only girl in the room, I'm barking orders at them to do their work and stop talking, I just kicked out their friend and took away his participation points, and they are whispering so I won't hear. Yeah, I'd say they were talking about me. So, when I confront them, one of them breaks out in a flurry of manipulation and is acting extremely upset that I would ever accuse him of such a thing. He is breathing hard and bringing drama to every word he says as he explains that they were just saying the word to each other, but not actually talking about me. I said flat out, "That's bull shit, tell me the truth". He went on and on about he abhors when men are disrespectful to women and that I deserve the utmost respect because I am his teacher. I am nodding my head and saying, "I hear you, I can't be sure, so I'm not going to give you a consequence, but I wanted you to know that you hurt my feelings and I expected more from you". He continues with the drama, still denying any part of it and finally the other boy who has been standing in silence cuts him off, "Amanda, I called you a bitch, I'm really sorry, I love you." AH HA! I look straight at the bull shitter and say "Thank you boys, you can go to your next class, I appreciate your honesty" as I look back at the one telling the truth. So there's that story, sorry for the language, that's just how it happened. I just found it so interesting that the two instances that almost made me cry were completely opposite. The other scenario is with this boy who really struggles with his identity, sexuality, just everything and he wishes he was not the way he is. In my note to him I told him to forget about what people think of him and to just be himself because the boy I know, I love. Something like that, just trying to get him to accept himself and love himself by telling him that I don't wish him to be any different and that he is my great friend just the way he is. And it touched him on a hard day when I had been gone a month and he remembered to read it again. It meant so much to me when he told me that because a lot of times at Telos you just have to accept the fact that the boys don't care about you half as much as you care about them. So my heart was warmed and my heart was hurt for a second this week. I've learned so much from Telos, I can't imagine going into this grad program without the experiences and growth I've had since working there.
Anyway, I need to take my own advice: be myself and love myself. This is the hardest lesson to learn for a lot of people except for the few narcissists of this world, don't worry I ran into several of those at Telos as well. Oh, the stories! I'm sure I will be ranting and rambling about all the emotional things about my program because it really helps me write things down. Maybe this post was a ramble. Good luck to everyone starting a new semester!