Beauty And “The Beast”

In 1990, I got my first teaching job at a wonderful local preschool.  I was so excited.  But on my first day, I was scared to death that the children wouldn’t like me.  Luckily, my best friend (who just happened to be the person training me) told me exactly what I needed to hear – – that children love unconditionally, so I didn’t need to be afraid.  She said that they would love me because that’s just what children do.  And she was absolutely right.

Too bad the same can’t be said for adults.

In all fairness, there was only one fellow teacher who really hurt me, not because she was trying to be mean, but because what she said to me represented all of my greatest fears.  I can’t tell you how hard her words hit me.  I think my inside reaction (God forbid I should show any outward sign that my feelings were hurt!) scared even me, even though she was merely verbalizing what I had been thinking about myself for my entire life.

For whatever reason, on that particular day, as we sat in that empty classroom together waiting for the first students to arrive, she decided to tell me exactly what she had been thinking about me for the past few months.  The conversation went something like this:

HER: Can I tell you something?

ME: Sure.

HER: Do you remember when you started here last year?

ME: Yeah…

HER: You want to know what I honestly thought of you when I first saw you?

ME: …uh…

HER:  No, it’s good.  Listen to this.  When you walked in that first day and I met you and saw how big you were, I was like, “Oh my God!  These poor kids!  They’re gonna be SO scared of their OWN teacher!”  I just felt so bad for them, ya know what I mean?

ME: …uh…

HER: …so I just wanted you to know…now that I ‘ve gotten to know you and see how you are with the kids and how much they love you, I can finally see beyond what you look like.  You are a beautiful, caring person inside, and that’s all that counts, right?

ME: …uh…

HER: Come here!  Give me a hug!  I love you so much!

ME: …uh…

The funny thing is, I really did like this woman, a lot, and still do, which made it hurt all-the-more.  But even as she was saying it, I could tell that she really believed that she was giving me a complement and that she really thought what she was saying was going to make me feel better about myself.

It didn’t.

April 18, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Tales of Terror: My Days as an Active Addict Tagged with:

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