One more period to go. I keep reminding myself of that every time I have to remind the kids that there is no talking during a test. I am lucky they had a test today, I wasn’t in the mood to raise my voice. I hate raising my voice. Silence has become a big part of my life, it helps me think and with middle schoolers I have a lot to think about.
The oddball in the class asked me to call her inker and the other kids snickered. I could tell she beat to the march of her own drum when she asked me if she could read me a exert from her dragon book. I can only assume her new name is a character from her sci-fi fantasy novel. She was the first to finish her test, probably off the charts smart. Her tie-dye dragon t-shirt hangs over faded jeans and when she looks at me it’s almost as if she doesn’t see me.
There is one in every class, the kid that all the other kids laugh a, the odd ball or the social misfit. They never seem to care though, its almost as if they don’t notice. Sometimes I get the feeling the only reason the other kids make fun of them is because they are jealous that they get to be their own person. I wonder who its harder to be the misfit who has their own identity or just another face in the crowd. You have to loose so much to be part of the in crowd, your identity, your values, and anything else that is deemed “uncool”. However to be a loner you need nothing more than your self. To be a loner you are held to no ones standards but your own comforted that after the teenage years fade away you will be left with something solid, yourself. I bet the misfit learned early how much family means and the value of one good friend. I have a feeling inker understands more of herself at 14 than I do at 23.
I wished I had the courage to stand apart from the crowd. I wished I had the courage to chance loneliness to keep my values. Why is it that the fear of the unknown will keep us from almost anything. I thought being uncool would kill me but six years down the road I realize it doesn’t really matter. The crowd I was dying to get into has long since faded and in its place are the relationships I tried the hardest to leave behind. If only I had the courage to be different. I might not have as many good storied but i’d have a lot less scars.
After class I let her read me an exert from her book, she put on her best Shakespeare accent and read me a few paragraphs. I have no idea what she said but I told her she was an excellent reader. She smiled proudly, she already knew. She told me she read at a twelfth grader level at the age of fourteen. If nothing more she was honest. What i wouldn’t give to have that kind of confidence in myself. I came home from work, ridden with PMS, and lost myself in a few good shows. For a moment I wanted to be inker.