I don't know why, but I take a certain point of pride when someone I work with finds out my personal hell outside of school and then says, incredulously, "I had NO IDEA that you were going through this."
In a way, I feel it is a testament to my ability to compartmentalize and do a damn good job at school despite my personal world getting shredded into tiny little bits of shattered dreams and hopes, every single day. It happened Friday, when a teacher I've taught near since September had a torrent of loss thrown at her as she rescued me from the student bathroom where I was sobbing from frustration and feelings of impending loss and feelings of cumulative emotional stress. It happened last year, when a teacher I worked with at my 9th grade split position who knew my story asked how things were going in front of my guidance counselor and assistant principal in a break during annual reviews, and both of them were shocked by the depth and breadth of my saga.
But, because I've been putting up this front for so long of "I'm coping, I'm fine, my baggage is safely stowed and invisible to your eyes," I find that there are huge cracks forming in my facade. And when the dam breaks, I find that my story comes pouring out like a flood of sorrow. And there is power in sharing that story and realizing the sheer accumulation and devastation of all the things that have gone wrong for me, not so that I can be told how strong I am but so that I can let it go, share the weight of this hell, and maybe even gain more allies and support along the way.
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