“I’ve been there.”

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She took the weight on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” 

Today was crazy. I failed 2 tests, and then this. 

I left the room, ready to sprint after the girl who ran out of class crying. 

I didn’t know how I’d find her, and my athleticism would probably fail at chasing her. But she settled for the bench right outside the classroom. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hey, hey,” I said, gently. I sat down on the bench next to her, as she buried her head in her arms and let the emotions spill out. I put my arm around her, rubbing her back. We sat there for several minutes, and my heart broke. My heart broke for her because I had been there so many times before. 

“Do you want to talk about it?” I whispered gently. 

She told me what was going on through hiccups and short breaths, and I listened. She was reading in class because that’s how she handles her stress, so when my teacher called her out for not paying attention she just lost it and left.

“She didn’t know what was going on, or that reading is just how you handle stress outside of school. She just wanted you to pay attention because she’s teaching imaginary numbers and those things are absolute hell. I promise you that as a teacher she does care about you,” I said, gently.

She nodded, but kept crying. I decided to unravel my history of crying in school. “I’m the queen of panic attacks by the way,” I said. A chuckle emerged in the midst of her tears. “I’ve cried twice here in this class when I was a freshman, a few times in front of my pre cal teacher, once in front of my calc teachers, and this year I had a full on meltdown during my English class.” She laughed even more.

Coating my words with a deep sense of passion and care, I stressed, “You have every right to be feeling what you are feeling. You do not have to put on a façade and pretend to be okay, because the longer you do the easier they break. And the more you keep things inward without telling others, everything will spill over more often and more meltdowns will happen.”

We talked some more about teachers who let us cry in class. “You wanna pet a dog? There’s a stress dog in the library.” She laughed even more. We walked to the library and Angus The Terrier wasn’t there. 😦

“Ah let’s just walk around then. If we get detention for ditching it’s on me,” I said. We walked around campus in the cold air. We visited my friend’s photography class, and my other friends’ calculus class. When the bell rang we made our way back. She tried to tell the teacher what happened, but she started crying again. She looked at me. 

“Haha I told you. I always stop crying and then when I have to talk to the teacher I start crying again. I can’t even,” we both laughed. 

“Yeah. Lea’s a good person to walk out with,” my teacher told her. We all just talked about emotions and life and ditching class until everyone felt better. 

“Do you want my number?” I asked her. She nodded. I gave her my number, and we all exchanged hugs. 

“Feel better!” My teacher told her. She whispered a ‘thank you’ to me, and I walked out with my new mini me. 

And i thought, I have never been more happy to be someone who is extremely sensitive and emotional and undergoes meltdowns in my life.
Because if I hadn’t been me, I would not have been able to tell her all of my experiences and all of the things I’ve learned. As a class tutor, I’ve always prayed I’d be a good role model. I want to be someone caring enough to come alongside another but also experienced enough to teach. I guess you never know what people are going through, but when you find someone going through the same thing you did, it is incredibly healing.  

Today, I am learning that if you are going through something, you are never alone. It takes a lot of humility to go up to a teacher and ask for help. And that is why we should build each other up. How is one supposed to buttress another if they don’t know what’s going on? If you find a mentor who understands what you’re going through, you should hold onto them for dear life. Teachers, leaders, and mentors make life so much better. I am so grateful for mine.

And when you are questioning why you are the person that you are, keep in mind that someone may need to hear the words “I’ve been there” when they feel like nobody understands. Always seek hope. 

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