What are we? The two fat white girls?

I have had a week. It’s been crazy. The kids are crazy. The entire school is just crazy. It’s that time of year though where instruction is winding down and high stakes testing will be our days here for what will feel like forever. Imagine, your classes go from an 80 minute block to 160 minutes while testing is occurring. It’s hard enough keeping these kids engaged for 80 minutes, but when you double it? It’s abysmal. I absolutely hate this time of year.

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One way I combat this is to make sure I am stocked up on rewards. One of which is the passes we give kids towards a prize raffle when we catch them being good. I made sure to hit up the teacher that has them to make sure I had enough for the long days that are quickly approaching. As I stood talking to her, I could hear the change of classes begin in the hallway and in there, I heard my name several times coming from my last block class. I knew they were talking to their music teacher who they often confuse me with.

I thanked my co-worker for the passes and was just about to leave when the music teacher showed up there laughing at how the kids we share always confused us.

“I don’t get why they can’t get it right,” she laughed.

“Me neither, we don’t look alike,” I say, referring to her dark hair and my blond hair.

“Yeah, like what? Do they see two white fat girls and just think we both look alike.” She laughs.

I don’t because for at least a 5 second gap, I’m thinking did she really just say that? We barely know each other and just like, why would you say that? Had this been reversed, I would have hit on the, short and loud factor or even the white female factor, but fat? It wouldn’t had crossed my mind.

When I first started my job here, I was thin. I was the thinnest I had been in a very long time because I had been sick and depressed. Then, as the stress of urban education took hold of me, and as I met and fell in love with my to-be husband, I packed on the pounds. And, now, just about everyone I know at work knows I’m working hard at being thin again for our wedding in the fall.

So, in that moment, I knew I needed to respond so I laughed and shook my head before making my way towards my own room to set up for my last block, still half in shock over what just happened. I laughed to myself because one of the reasons I know I am successful as a teacher is because my kids have always felt comfortable with me. In fact, most people feel comfortable with me rather quickly and so many times, I am told things that I really don’t want to hear. This was just another one of those things.

I often wonder what it is about my nature that opens up this part of people, making them feel safe enough to word vomit all over a conversation. Or at times tell me something so profoundly personal that I leave feeling bad for them and wondering if they have any true friends to begin with? Often, it is something that I, personally, would only share with my two closest girlfriends and not the rest of the world. And even then, sometimes those conversations with them are still hard. It blows my mind when I seem to illicit them so freely from other people.

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