Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Testing My Mettle

During quiet time one Fall day in second grade, we (the students) toiled away on our assignment in complete silence as the teacher, Miss Grover, worked with the remedial reading kids in the class. We were instructed not to talk and to just work on our assignments alone. Unfortunately, I was in desperate need of a purple crayon to finish my project. I got up, walked up two desks to my friend Denise's desk and in a very low whisper asked, "Can I borrow your purple crayon?" She nodded her head and I returned to my desk, crayon in hand. When quiet time was over, Miss Grover walked up to the front of the class and began to write a couple names on the board. Not for good behavior. This was Name-on-the-board-because-you-are-in- trouble. She wrote my name up there. I sat in utter dismay and confusion. All I had done was borrow a purple crayon to complete my assignment!

I raised my hand to ask what I had done and she silenced me, not letting me speak, nor did she tell me exactly why I was in trouble. She gave me that look of "oh, you know what you did" and left it at that. I raised my hand again and asked to be excused to the restroom. She complied and I ran as fast as I could out of that classroom, down the hall and straight into the arms of my Mom. She worked in the school office. I cried and cried trying to tell her how I had been wronged through my gasps for air. I was mortified.

I am a good girl. I follow the rules. I play nice. I am kind to strangers. I have very good manners. My parents raised me to be this way. And thirteen years of Catholic school did its number on me as well. I was the girl the teachers put the bad boys next to year after year. I did my homework on time. I didn't cheat or skip school or lie. I was the one who led by example. So, something as trivial as getting my name on the board in the second grade was incredibly scarring to me. It was like: But. . . I am the GOOD girl. How can this be happening?

I tell you this story because I can't tell you the truth of what happened to me yesterday even though I desperately want to share it. What I can say is- take that story, multiply it by 500, add about 24 years of wisdom and personality, throw in a dash of incredulousness and an afternoon of crying and you probably have close to what is going down for me. I am in the thick of something and it is . . challenging, to say the very least.

This quote is currently sustaining me:

"Your silence will not protect you."
Thank you, Audre Lorde.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

This came to my mind:

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

-Pastor Martin Niemöller

kathryn said...

I have a similar story from childhood. Although, it was in the lunchroom and instead of my name being written on the board at the head of the class, I got a red card, and instead of my mom working in the office, she was a PE coach and instead of my mom comforting me, she told me not to be a baby.

Girl! I am sorry that you are in the shits right now. I am really, really sorry.

Alissa said...

I once had the choir teacher scream at me in front of the class because my friend was trying to talk to me and I whispered to her "let's talk about it after class". I was so scarred for that!

Hoping you get through whatever it is that's happening with grace and strength. Be true to yourself, that's the best you can do!

Amanda said...

Things will turn around. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

but when they came for Sizzle ... all hell broke loose.

j.

Jenny said...

i know this about you...you are strong and full of integrity. you will weather the storm and come out with flying colors. xoxo

Mo-Pie said...

I know it may seem like your in trouble now... but just keep trying to remember that you are the nice guy *girl* in all of this, you did nothing wrong. Just try remembering all of the good things that happened to you over the years... you have been the nice girl your whole life, haven't you?

Remember that this too will pass.

I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster and drank pina coladas. At sunset we made love like sea otters. *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get that day over and over and over...and over...

Anonymous said...

being good doesn't mean being perfect. we are all prone to mistakes in this life.

Mo-Pie said...

Yes, but nobody can be perfect... how can anyone even try to do things perfect?!

One can only try to be as good as one could be (If you get what I'm saying). That's all we can ask of Sizzle, and I'm sure she does a great job of it.

****Picket Sign Reads****

"Free Sizzle, let her be!"

****End Picket Sign****

This may not pertain to what you are talking about, but I thought you could use it...

"A movie! That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."

sue said...

Are you the one Jenny was talking about today? Oh, shit... are you? Damn. I'm sorry, Siz... this just isn't fair. YOU of all people shouldn't be going through this. I haven't known you long, but I can just tell this shouldn't be happening to you. You are such a kind and loving and generous person. Fuck. Sorry - potty mouth when I'm upset translates into potty fingers. Hang in there... we're with ya on this.

whoorl said...

i've got your back, sizzle.

Sizzle said...

thanks my friends (except for the anonymous one who just doesn't get it, but that is how most anonymous people are).

someday, i will tell you the whole damn thing. until then, read between the lines. you are a smart bunch, i know you can do it.

xo sizz

Bill said...

I, too, went to a Catholic school - in high school, an all boys school! (Mind you, it was right next door to the all girls Catholic school.) And I was an altar boy - though Father Bolan did fire me. Anyway ... I know what that kind of background does to your head.

Anyway, I feel badly about your situation, though I don't know exactly what it is. But I can imagine how you feel. It made me think of ... Grade 4? Not sure ... but the time Mrs. Kierans gave me the strap - yes! The strap! For doing what I was convinced then, and am still convinced now, was a good thing.

Regardless of what the consequences are, the one thing my Catholic upbringing did leave me with is that, if it's the right thing, it's the right thing. Even if you get shit on for it.

gorillabuns said...

i too was the good girl and so it is shocking when things happen like this. i'm sorry you are going through a tough time...

Neil said...

Be strong. You're not that little girl anymore. I'm sorry for whatever it is.

em said...

When you know it in your heart that you are a good, honest person...and then someone has the audacity to call it into question...it's such a frustrating, gut-twisting, terrible feeling.

Breathe deep, carry yourself like the goddess you are, and take comfort knowing that there are people supporting you , no matter what.

BullysE said...

Dear Sizzle,
As the mother of not one, but TWO little girls who are Good like we are, the hackles are standing up on my neck, for you and what you must be feeling. If I was your mom, I would've marched down there, and said something to the Teacher...and if I was there for you now, I no doubt would still stand in defense, saying to Whomever it was that hurt you--
WTF?? :-( Don't let the few turds that are out there, get you down. Remain strong, in yourself, and keep doing what is Right.
Right does prevail.

Ms Smack said...

So many authority figures 'assume' instead of 'listen'

When will people get off their high horses and listen to others?

I think of murdered 3 year old James Bulger in UK. Some 20 authorities, including teachers, police and parents 'assumed' his screams were struggles to be released from his 'big brothers' who were his murderers.

Why not ask?

Ugh, teachers can suck and unfortunately, they carry our memories with them......