In my last post, dated an embarrassing 5 months ago, I declared myself NATZ, THE AMAZING FAT FIGHTER. True story. Then I disappeared. What happened? You know like when you’re singing in the shower, and you’re going full ChakaKhan-Mariah-Aretha-LaBelle-Aguilera-Bey?
Then somebody walks in for like some tissue or to check if you are in fact being consumed by some Banshee of the Dark and all of a sudden your singing swag be like “bye, Felicia” and that’s you, cold and lonely in the shower, choking on the soap microphone and feeling really stupid?
Yeah, that exact same feeling right there, except less “singing in shower” and more “MY STUDENTS HAVE FOUND MY BLOG!!!!!” Just let that sink in for a minute. Oh, of course you know the blog is on the www, and that at least ONE of those evil little ‘w’s means WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD, but does it make it burn any less when your mother bellows, “ARE YOU DYING???” through the cracked door of your completely non-soundproof shower empire? No. No, it does not. So here I am, spilling my vulnerabilities out to you, dear face-less interwebs, waxing poetic (slash melodramatic) about diabetes, weight gain, mystery illnesses and foreign medical intervention, only to have a student, surrounded by other students, approach me one day.
“Hi, miss,” she says.
“Hey, there!” I chirp back.
Silence. Obviously meant to be a loaded one. I finally stop bustling about my desk and look at her.
This is when I notice that ‘her’ is actually ‘them’. About 7 students stand around. One appears to be trying to make up her mind about whether or not to hug me, or pat my shoulder condescendingly/reassuringly. Her hand does weird wavy motions around my shoulder area, eventually settling into a strange jelly-armed finger caress of my elbow.
I fix their leader with The Eye that God gave every mother and teacher (and some cats) and cross my arms, waiting.
“Hi, miss, ” she begins again.
“We covered that bit. What’s happening here?”
“Hi, miss, ” for a third time. I finally realize that it is all part of a complete speech. I suppress a sigh and wait for the rest.
“We noticed that you were absent on Friday. Did you take a long weekend to go to your special doctors abroad?”
That’s how I knew that these small yet
persistently stalkerish enthusiastic humans whom I love dearly in a “make you work harder, hug you in the hallways, forget you for the weekend” kind of way have been following me into my most sacred and soul-baring musings, my grown-up kingdom of chronic illness and decided non-superhuman ways.
Where they knew that I knew that all the sexy leopard print stilettos in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that their fierce and fabulous teacher was as riddled with body shame and despair as any 13 year old awaiting her Judy Blume boobs.
Where I was stripped of any halo. Where I was human.
And it shattered my world.
I like compartmentalizing things. It’s my jam. Social groups, feelings, venting partners, paperclips by colour. You name it, I want a clearly defined space where I can put it without it touching anything or anyone else. I can just about tolerate a plate where the gravy runs into and over everything, but I can feel my toenails sweating when I’m with friends from say Group Church-Nat then run into friends from say Group Work-Nat. It usually goes off without a hitch on the surface, but while I’ve managed to wrestle my OCD into just a *few* squirts of hand sanitizer a day, and a file jacket for almost every individual sheet of paper I work with, NO LIKEY LIFE SEGMENTS MERGING WITHOUT WARNING AND/OR PERMISSION.
And now this??? My real, personal, private life being pawed over willy-nilly by my students? Yeah. I clammed right up, shut right down. I’ve been excruciatingly busy, yeah but still…it was really the fear of being read by…THEM (love you, stalker students, you know I do) that had me completely freaked out and frozen out of my own blog.
So where my husband had previously shared listening-ear duty with my blog, he ended up getting it full flush.And the number one topic that kept making its way into my concerns was women’s issues. One day mid-rant I realised that women’s issues mattered to me more than ever because of all the young women I was helping to day-raise. I couldn’t stop analyzing over and over again the future we were leaving for them, the heart-and-mind legacies we were building. For my classroom babies.
And then it hit me: since they can really see me now, I should give them something important to see.
I am a woman in constant progress. No matter how many times I tell myself to sit inside this season and hang tight until it changes, I can’t stop myself from looking back with intense longing at every great season I remember having. When I was slim, and lovely and active and healthy and filled to the brim with amazing possibilities. Also: living in France. Can we bring that part back too?
Instead, here I am.
Riddled with mystery sicknesses that seem to be working hand in hand to destroy my appearance and self-esteem.
Questions about every decision I make, every possibility on the horizon.
It seems that this is to be my season of absolute gutting and stripping down until there is no shame left.
Correction, until there are no crazy corners for the shame to try to hide.
And when you think about it, hasn’t that been my goal from Day One, being so nakedly honest here?
To confront my demons, to battle them out into the open so their nasty little noises don’t crawl into my brain and soul and try to pretend they’re true?
(Answer: yes. Yes it has.)
I just didn’t expect to be quite this public.
I write this knowing that my stalkers (again: totes love you guys) are going to get little pings letting them know I’ve posted another piece of my soul here for the world to see.
But if I’m going to actually be brave, and take my life back from the thousands of hiccups, hang-ups and health problems that have held me hostage for so long, then I’m going to have to brave this too.
Brave as adjective, brave as verb.
Brave all over the place.
Okay. I’m sure some of my readers now have some homework to go do.
To everyone else, what shaped cookie would a ‘brave’ one be?
Send me some if you ever figure it out.