At the end of our week long in-service, Mr. Johnson, our Principal, hosted a wonderful luncheon for all the staff and teachers at Ely. He invited every staff member to bring, as a guest to the luncheon; someone in their life who was a positive influence...someone who 'because of their presence in your life' you are a better person today (possibly a former teacher or mentor). Hmmm.
I had to think. Who would I bring to the luncheon? Even if everyone that I knew personally in all my life was here in Florida now...I could not think of ONE person, not one that I could bring to the luncheon. It made me sad.
I can, however, fill the room with people that because of their presence in my life I became better but for the opposite reason. Let me explain. In 9th grade, my math teacher told me that I had the brains of a monkey. In 10th grade my science teacher said this to me in front of the entire class, "it's a good thing that you are good looking because there is not much up there...beauty and no brains". I was mortified! I can still see a vision of that room today, all these years later.
You're probably thinking, "What about her art teacher?"...nope! My senior year he approached me sexually in a room where I was quietly working on the school yearbook and I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone; so I kept it a secret. So...no teachers, sadly not my parents, and no friends or men. No one. I have been either told that I would never make it, I was not smart enough, not strong enough or wise enough to amount to anything. By the way, I will mention that I graduated college with a 4.0 in my major and overall GPA was above a B average..3 point something. Not perfect, but not so bad for somebody with the brains of a monkey; and they didn't grade me on my looks!
I can fill the room with people who asked me to 'lose weight', darken my hair, lighten my hair, shorten my hair, grow my hair, wear this...don't wear that. I had one man that I was in love with tell me to "Read the Economist Magazine and lose 15 pounds, so your mind can be bigger and your body smaller". I kid you not! Most people never really knew that I was quite intelligent and talented. The just see my outward appearance and make a poor judgment of me base on appearance.
So, needless to say, I did not bring anyone to the luncheon. Life is interesting though. Some people are influenced to be the best that they can be by people who guided them and encouraged them through life, while others become the best they can be because they did not "own" the negative things that people told them along the way. They wanted to prove everyone wrong! That was me, that is me still today!
I knew in school that I was not stupid, I was just shy and I didn't like to answer out in class; I stayed to myself. Apparently that appeared to my teachers as though there was 'nothing upstairs', as I was told. On the contrary, I was writing poetry, painting, an avid reader and very philosophical in high school. No one knew.
We carry these negative people with us for a lifetime. In my mind I visualize it like this: I imagine me driving a big bus and on the bus are all the people in my life that hurt me, let me down, lied to me, cheated on me, discarded me, manipulated me, abused me physically, and with words...they are all on my bus. Then one day, you get sick of driving all these people around with you, so you pull the bus over and you say, "Get out!" One at a time you watch them walk out of your bus. You let it go...you let them go. Then you get back on the bus, in the driver's seat and continue driving down that road of life, a little lighter, a little more happy...knowing full well that you are a great person and no one...no one, can tell you any different.
So guys, if you have a bus load of people that you are carrying around with you every day, people that don't deserve the honor and pleasure of being in your life, your thoughts and your heart, then you need to do the same thing that I did...pull the bus over and tell them to get out! Lighten up your load and then go on to live an amazing life. Be the best that you can be and if no one else believes in you...then do what I did, believe in yourself. I love you guys. I believe in you! We are going to have a great school year; see you in the morning. Ms. B.