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jour·nal
/ˈjərnl/ a daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary.
Strawberries
We have a Skype date tonight

We continued dating, if that's the word that can be used to describe what we were. So much has happened since my last entry and I hope this sentence will suffice for that time and those moments. Boyfriend is the word that can be used. He acknowledges now we were boyfriends, and we continued to be boyfriends after my last entry. He has had four boyfriends and I am a part of that exclusive list. But does it matter?

Was it out of comfort? Probably. We continued dating until he left the country. He's abroad now in the Caribbean. A wandering man. He sends me emails and post cards and Skypes. On one of our video calls, he told me something to the effect that I'm what he considers home during his travels. I remember thinking, "Only for now."

In any case, he's gone. Another boy. Another moment passed. I'm single again and I have fond memories tinged with mistrust and resentment to hold to. And a post card sent to me in French.

The place he left behind I filled with children. This is no secret or news to anyone who follows my Facebook feed or Twitter but I teach now. 6th and 7th grade, and I'm too tired right now to recount what this experience is like. However I have a journal entry on my phone that reads:

        Respect. I've been thinking a lot about where it's found, how to gain it and how it's expressed. I see it and feel it but I don't know if I've ever received it in any capacity. (That's melodramatic and probably a lie.)

        It's only I am presently wondering if the children feel it for me, or have I slipped/failed them in some way? Where does the desire to have it come from? Is it needed?

        "Mr. Tate smells like strawberries," a boy said yesterday, and it made me feel like a goddess among men. "You smell really nice, Mr. Tate," he went on to say, "I like it." And I said thank you.

        This same boy called me an old f*****t the day before. He was mad and feeling bullied by me even though I had done nothing but reach out to him softly. Maybe I could have just been softer or even nonexistent, but he was mad and mumbling yet I and every other person in the class could still hear the epithet.

        Right now I'm watching him play basketball in gym.

        Am I weak to even give thought to the mumblings of a thirteen year old boy? I am in charge, in part, of molding him into a young man and the question by no means is motivated by a sense of being offended for I was not.

        It's only what is it one does in those situations when one's honor and dignity are so clearly on the line, so temptingly placed on the table as if it were a feast for each 12 year old under my charge? I'm not the type to explode on anyone. I could only furrow my brow and send him to the principal's office.


But that's only one instance of many sparkling, evanescent ones. I love my job. On this day I know I am respected by the children. They just have funny ways of showing it and need to be reminded constantly I am here to help them. That anything I tell them to do is not because I'm picking on them, like they so often love to claim, but because I am attempting to keep them out of trouble.

I have the week off for Thanksgiving. I will miss them. But other aspects of my life rolling in the background: I'm applying to teach in Korea and Japan for next year, maybe Canada. I'm also considering Peace Corp, and using the last of my financial aid to take summer classes. I need a statistics class so I meet the prereq for social work programs once I return from being abroad. I'm currently volunteering for Girls on the Run, Court Appointed Special Advocates and STAR (the rape crisis center.) I'm considering volunteering for Youth Oasis as well, and other homeless shelters but we'll see.

There was really no purpose to this entry except to acknowledge more closed doors and the beginnings of others opening.

Pindarus
Community Member
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