Took a shower, now going to crash for half an hour before I go meet one of my oldest friends who happens to live in testing city for dinner! Food is going to finally taste good again! I am passed this obnoxiously toxic hurdle (for now, since I won’t know me results for a few weeks at least).
though, the best part of teaching Greek mythology is that soft ‘huh’
coming from behind you as you’re finishing up a diagram of the gods and
the relationships they have between them.
“Is something wrong?” you ask, turning around while you try, and fail, to clean white chalk off your fingers.
just,” the boy says, and then he blushes a bit, because people taking
Latin are usually good and shy and the last thing they want is to get
into a fight with a teacher. “Those two characters here - aren’t they
And okay, at this point everybody’s paying
attention except the resident class child - that one girl who still has
to uses four different colours for everything she writes and will get
upset if you point out she should only use black or blue when filling in
exams. So, yeah, you look at the boy, and then at everybody else, and
then you turn back, pretend to check.
“Yes, they are,” you say, frowning, as if you never had to answer that question before.
“So why is there a double line between them?”
they were in a relationship at some point. Double lines are for sex, remember? Single
lines are kids and parents, and double lines are lovers.”
giggles. The two kids whose parents bring them along to weird art
exhibitions - the ones who’ve grown up hearing frank political discussions and the occasional dirty joke - are now looking collected
and a bit smug. The others are losing it, and fast - they look at the
board, as if only just noticing the thing, and then at you.
they were like, gay?” someone else asks, and it’s always a girl asking
this question, because 'gay’ is just something boys aged 14 and a half
never use - a Voldemort word, something that’s on your lips today and on
everybody else’s tomorrow.
And this, of course, is the
moment you’ve been waiting for - what the lesson was actually about. You
wouldn’t plan a lesson around that, but you will mention the subject if
it comes up, and so you start talking, about all of it - about sexual
orientation being a cultural construct, about the Greek language not
even having a term for 'gay’ and 'straight’, about warriors falling in
love with each other and neglecting their teenage wives, about the fact
our society is still coming to terms with something people have known in
their hearts for millennia - that there’s no choosing and no free will,
not about this. About how the most important thing is to respect
yourself and each other, and the rest doesn’t matter all that
Statistically, in every class there’s a kid
who’s struggling with this. Maybe two. Here things are not as bad as
they could be, but it’s still hard, especially when you’re fourteen and
you think you may be the only one and you don’t want to be different and
how the hell can you even have a conversation about these things, with anyone?
sometimes when you talk about these things - and dedicated teachers will
find a way to include this speech somehow, because you never know who
might need an ally, and who might need to hear it said out loud - teachers who loves their kids will mention the issue when discussing Michelangelo and
Leonardo and Shakespeare and the Iliad - sometimes you see exactly who
these kids are. Sometimes you see them looking at you, wide-eyed and
fearful and yet full to the brim with that Go on look that’s so
endearing on any kind of student. And sometimes all you see is their
floppy hair, because they will keep scribbling in their notebooks and
pretending like this is uninteresting and embarrassing and Oh my God,
but the tips of their ears are getting red, and you find yourself hoping
they’ll get a hug today, because they really need it.
Okay, so I see a lot of posts floating around Tumblr about how awful/exhausting/stressful adulthood is. They make me laugh and they’re relatable and sometimes I reblog them. The thing is, though, for me, adulthoodis actually way better than being a teenager was–so I wanted to share some things I love about being an adult, just to even out the balance. I don’t think I have any teenage followers, but maybe some in their early twenties? Anyway, I don’t want people to fear adulthood, because there are amazing things about it:
–Normally, I end my evenings by sitting on my sofa in my flat in pleasant solitude, drinking herbal tea and reading and listening to that morning’s Essential Classics on Radio 3. This should be the dictionary definition of bliss.
–Even though I have experienced bullying as an adult as well as when I was a child/teenager, I feel like my internal resources for dealing with it are better now and growing all the time. I no longer feel like the bad things people say to and about me define me.
–Buying my own laundry detergent means I can finally pick one that I’m not allergic to. I am no longer 110% covered in red itches at all times.
–I have friends who are boys and my dad isn’t in my house to constantly harrass me about them.
–Last year I went to a concert of science fiction scores played by the Royal Philharmonic with someone I know slightly from church. It was the actual coolest.
–My brother and I are friends now that we live in entirely different cities. He texted me the other day for advice on his CV. It was nice.
–My friends either share my interests or love the fact that I’m so interested in those things. It’s been years since I’ve said to anyone “I learnt an interesting thing today!” and they’ve replied, flatly, “define interesting”.
–I just feel so much more like myself than I did when I was a teenager. I’m okay with hating make-up/loving Disney films/being super career-driven/being great with kids, and the fact that those things would seem to make me a contradiction, and that I’m actually just me.
–My mum keeps defending my right to be single to anyone who tries to commiserate with her about the fact that she doesn’t have grandbabies. Adulthood, for me, has meant becoming friends with my mum.
–I know enough about myself and the world now to realise that understanding social/relational stuff is a real weak point of mine. When I don’t understand those things now, I say “I don’t understand this” to my friends, and they help me without laughing at me. (Then I help them with their CVs and knowing where their apostrophes belong. Turn and turn about is fair play).
–Enough bad things have come and gone in my life that I know dark seasons will pass, and even the things that aren’t temporary (my dad will probably never not be a borderline-homeless misogynistic conspiracy theorist again) are just part of my life, not the whole of it. They don’t consume me. When awful things happen, I am sad for a few weeks or months, but I know that one day I will be not sad for a while, and that is worth hanging on for. This is something I never could have known when I was a teenager, because not enough bad things had come and gone from my life.
–I would not trade the worst day of my last six months (which was awful and heartbreaking and I think I literally cried for 24 hours straight) for any day from my life aged 11-16. I have been sad, this year, but I also knew it would pass. It gets better. It gets so much better.