**Okay, people, listen up. This post has been in my drafts for a few days now. I am having the hardest time publishing it, but I need to. I have been in a funk, so nothing is going to seem rosy and happy on my blog. My perspective is off, I am losing sight of what’s important to me. That’s what happens when I’m “in a funk.” It’ll pass. But for now, I apologize for this post, but I’m posting it anyway. And even as I post this beginning exploration of the topic, I am working through it and have more to post tomorrow.**
Ten years ago, I was just turning 17, fully engaged in my junior year of high school, working very hard to accomplish all the homework and projects, working in customer service at Hy-Vee, getting ready for confirmation, fumbling my way through boys and body image and college visits. And I was smart.
And I wouldn’t go back for the world, because once through high school was enough! 🙂 But I was smart, then. And now, I’m “just a preschool teacher.”
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to spiral into, “Oh, no, I’ve chosen the wrong career!!!” I am right where I’m supposed to be.
It’s the image. Ten years ago, the first thing people usually knew about me was that I was taking honors and advanced placement classes, that I was competing for some fantastic college scholarships, that I was nearing the top ten of my class, that I was an all-state musician, and that I was doing it all while I was the most responsible 17-year-old you’ve ever met in your life. And yes, it was as embarassingly “goody-goody” as it sounds! I didn’t like the image at all. I wanted, with all my heart, to blend in. I didn’t want to draw everyone’s attention, for any reason.
But for all my desire to be completely forgettable, I couldn’t help but also desire to acheive. I didn’t want to go up in front of the school to accept an award, but I wanted to win the award. I didn’t want the recognition or attention, but I did want the accomplishment. I can’t for the life of me fake anything at all. And my standards for myself are always higher and more impossible than any goal anyone else could impose on me. So I continued to accomplish. And I continued to have the image of the smart girl.
And now, I have the image of a preschool teacher. Here is the usual reaction: “So, you’re a preschool teacher? Well, you must not be very smart, and you must have a lot of patience!” Okay, not in those exact words, but you know. Well, guess what? I am smart. And I have to work very hard on patience!
Be careful what you wish for. When I was in middle school, I was the tallest girl in my class and I was the first girl to wear a bra. So I prayed for small boobs and I prayed to be short. Well, guess what happened? 🙂 I also wished to be mediocre and forgettable, and I think I’m experiencing that right now.
I appreciate the experience. And this job is perfect for me, because I’m learning patience, which is something I needed. But it’s just…strange…and a little sad…that the image of me ten years ago is now the last thing people would expect.
What is the smart girl supposed to do when she grows up?
I’m here all the time, and I won’t go away. Yeah it’s me, and I can’t get myself to go away.
“Long Day” by Matchbox Twenty