Monday, March 28, 2011

the princess, on angst and embracing her inner middle-schooler


The Princess looks at middle school as a dark time. Her sixth grade awkwardness, her braces, her tendency to blush, her lack of a straightener, her unfortunate participation in the talent show that left her terrified of singing in public until senior year, the fact that her seventh grade science teacher had the class make bumper stickers in response to Sex Ed lessons… 


She likes to lock it all away in the far corner of her mind next to her irrational childhood fears of Anne Frank and garbage men. But then she became a teacher. A middle school teacher, no less. And it turns out it’s the best job ever. However, she sometimes finds herself dangerously close to that carefully-labeled cobwebby cardboard box of repressed middle school anxieties, and this has been somewhat unpleasant. 

Like a few weeks ago. Princess was scuttling up the stairs with her gigantic tote bag (when she was ordering it, she was so fixated on the color that she ignored anything resembling a number and LL Bean send the Queen Mother of all bags—Math- 1, Princess- 0) and gigantic heels (she must look tall and sound authoritative when she walks down the hall so she is not mistaken for a student). Obviously you know where this story is going. She fell, up the stairs of course, and caught herself just before her nose hit the steps. As to be expected, there were many witnesses but none that Princess knew except for the extremely quiet kid from sixth period who remained very still and staring throughout the entire fall and resulting teetering recovery (made difficult by the avalanche of Princess’ possessions: gigantic tote bag, purse, coat, and Starbucks). Princess looked at him and said, “Shhh, don’t tell!” and then made an effort to laugh it off, which obviously didn’t work because the box of repressed memories spilled open and cluttered her mind and robbed her of her cleverness. She sheepishly slunk to her room and cracked open a can of Diet Dr. Pepper, which she downed in like, 4.5 seconds. Boo. 

Naturally, as is Princess’ tendency, the quiet kid didn’t need to tell anyone because Princess has a bizarre compulsion to share the things that she doesn’t want shared, so she told everyone. She looks at it as unnecessary honesty. Like when people would compliment the fake Coach bag she carried around a few years ago, Princess would involuntarily say, “THANKS IT’S FAKE, I GOT IT FOR $18!!” After her outburst, she would always wonder why she did that, because after all, isn’t faking it the purpose of buying a fake? And hasn’t she learned after all this time that typically most people admire labels and not the awesome price? Now she’s had more than 5 people ask her if her watch is a Michael Kors, and she always says, “NO I BOUGHT IT AT TARGET TWO YEARS AGO FOR $14!!” Ugh.

By the way, the last time Princess let that statement slip, one of her students JUDGED her. Like, “Ew, omg, who would ever buy a watch a Target?” And Princess was enraged and had to write a fake email to cool down while she decluttered her mind since the @#*%!& middle school box had toppled over once again, even though Princess could have sworn she duct-taped that thing shut. Because OBVIOUSLY the judgment in her student’s eyes it made her think of the fake Birkenstock clogs she had when everyone else had the REAL ones. But WHATEVER because she loved those clogs and WHY didn’t anyone notice when she had the REAL Steve Madden Mary Janes? Probably because she wore them with black velvet overalls. Oy.

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