My week ended with me standing on a street corner, holding a sign and waving at passers-by encouraging people to support public schools. It’s a worthy cause, really*. While there, I glanced across the street and saw a woman who I worked with during my first year in my school district. She was a foundational person, for me, about the kinds of bonds and collaborative relationships that can develop among colleagues. I haven’t seen her for about seven years or so, but I assumed she’d recognize me. I don’t always remember the names of folks who hold temporary contracts at my school, but I generally remember faces.
But there I was, standing among, not only this once woman, who I admired greatly, but several of my former colleagues from that school, and not a one could place me or remember who I am, despite my unusual name, despite my reminder of whose maternity leave I covered, despite me taking off my sunglasses… In my new body, the older me has been forgotten.
It’s an odd feeling, being forgotten. Recently it occurred to me that death truly happens when one’s memory fades. When the people who know your stories pass, so do you. I think it’s why some people have to live large- they want to be a Queen Elizabeth or James Dean, never to be forgotten. To be forgotten in my very own lifetime, within less than ten years, is shocking. I’m sure that if I were still 340 pounds they would have known me. Gigi thought this was a good thing- to only be known as the new, healthier me, but my legacy began before I lost weight. I was doing important work in the classroom, making important connections, reaching out… It just surprised me.
So then I got to thinking even more about identity and who I am. I realized that one of the reasons I feel so good and so safe at my new (well, not totally new anymore) school is that I am 100% my authentic self now. I used to hide so much of myself away. While I’ve always felt free to be my own person, I’m also terribly self conscious and I’ve cared a lot about more what people thought about me than I ever wanted to admit to myself. Through the vehicle of this website I’ve come out, so to speak. I live pretty transparently, anymore, and if you like the things you read here and you read here often, then you know me pretty well and would probably like me in person, too. Thank you for reading here, liking my articles on Facebook, writing comments, continuing to make traffic through my blog… It is quite validating to have evidence that the person I am is ok, likable, interesting… So, thank you. It might seem shallow, and it wasn’t my intention, but it still means something to me.
Being forgotten is not my biggest fear, but it is nice to know I’ve catalogued so much of my life on this blog. At the very least I’ll be able to read my own story and remember it. And while being forgotten is not my biggest fear, I sure hope that behaving as my authentic self, the same one I behave as on my blog, is more memorable and impactive in real life than the person who was, apparently, so forgettable a decade ago.
After waving my sign for an hour, I headed over to boot camp to shake it for an hour. Drea, from work, showed up as well and it was my first time getting to shake it with her. She was amazing at doing all the dance moves like a boss the first time through. Some people just have a knack! My friend Christina is like that too. I’m there flailing my arms around while the people around me manage to gracefully execute all of these weird moves smoothly like they’ve been doing it for years… Maybe after I’ve been doing it for years I can look all smooth and chill, too!
I forgot a ponytail holder and was all like ‘Camille (our teacher) doesn’t wear a hairband. She just whips her hair around all sexy all the time and it’s not a problem.’ Welp, I seriously doubt I looked anything even remotely like sexy. As I got sweatier and sweatier the curl left my hair and it started sticking all over my face and neck and UGH! It was gross! Without the forward momentum of running or a fan giving my hair the Beyoncé wind it needed, my hair down was a hot-n-sweaty pain. I definitely am putting spare hair bands in my bag from now on! I took the picture right after I got in my car after the workout and saw what I had going on! LOL! Far from sexy!
*I won’t proselytize to anybody here, but if you have questions about the teacher strikes or education issues in Washington, Facebook me. We can chat. 😉