I am starting to get embarrassed about being “a third year.” Something about TFA is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, some frightening divide between being a third year teacher and a third year corps member. There is no third year corps member. There is no mandated social responsibility bearing on the shoulders of “the best and brightest” TFA-twenty-somethings. I feel guilty typing that out. I feel dirty claiming myself to be part of something like that. I want to take a nail file and scrub off whatever shred of entitlement I walk around with.
I am heartbroken when I reconsider the demographic statistics I see on the wikipedia site for my town. I am devastated when I think about leaving this town next year, or in ten years, or ever. But I also feel a very clean sense of not belonging.
There is a point that some longer-lasting TFA people have more than once told me they’ve been to. When they “just can’t do it anymore.” It is a strange thing to consider. The idea of trying something and facing a brick wall you literally refuse to tackle. One too many walls. One too many tackles. One too many hands pushing your shoulders straight into the concrete below you.
I love my school. I firey, passion-filled, defend-to-death love my school, and students, and co-workers, and position, and opportunity. But right now I feel young, and silly, and overdramatic, and like I cannot be explicit about anything I want to be because as much as I feel like I don’t belong, I feel like I belong enough to be careful. I am constantly thinking of what message I send, what picture I paint of the community I live in.
When I was an RA in college, it was always referred to as the fish bowl. Everything you do is watched. Even if this isn’t true, even if it’s never been true, it is how I have always lived my life.
Like someone is watching me, like there is some sort of judgement, like my so so precious reputation is worth something. Part of me hopes that when I grow up the me I genuinely feel and am sometimes scared to talk about will reconcile, will not need to ask for forgiveness but just acceptance from the me that is perpetually aware of the world staring in.
Even when it’s not staring in.
I refuse to delete this post, even though I desperately want to, because it is exactly how I feel right now. October. Year three of teaching, of southern life, of being a twenty-something, of trying.