Finally Friday! I'm so glad to be home!
I’ve been working on my post about my weight history and it’s been dredging up some negative old memories that I’d almost forgotten all about. One that really seems to stand out was when I was in the third grade. our gym teacher had taken my class back to our classroom after gym class, and we were waiting for our usual teacher to come back. While we were waiting, our gym teacher asked for a show of hands for who would want to play in the teachers vs students basketball game, a tradition they had every year. I’d been playing quite a bit with some kids in my neighborhood over the summer, so I raised my hand. Our gym teacher seemed a bit surprised and asked if I really knew how to play. I didn’t know all the rules, but I could shoot pretty decently, and I said so. One of the boys in my class turned to me and asked, loudly to be sure everyone heard him, if I was going to dribble the ball with my big fat stomach. Most everyone laughed and I just stood there in shock. I remember looking up at my gym teacher, expecting her to at least tell this boy to knock it off, and she was smirking! Laughing at me right along with everyone else. I was crushed. At that point I was used to hearing that type of thing from kids, but having an adult join in was a new and painful development. Even now just writing this I can feel that visceral sense of utter and total humiliation and shame.
Looking back on this now, I do go over it and wonder if there was some sort of explanation for this, if somehow I’m misremembering. But I know I'm not. I could also see that these things just don’t sound like that huge of a deal to someone who never experienced it, so maybe she just had no idea of the impact of what she did. There’s this magnification of feeling in childhood that we lose appreciation for as adults. It’s shaping who you become and how you view yourself. It’s more intense than you think. You'd certainly think a teacher would understand that. And as a phys ed teacher, don't you think it was her job to encourage someone like me to be more physical? Instead it reinforced my avoidance of activity. That as much as anything else makes what she did pretty shameful.
Anyway, I hope I didn’t drag anyone down with that story. I can imagine some of you can relate to it. It’s certainly not as bad as quite a few of the childhood experiences I’ve read on these blogs, but it’s something that's stuck with me. Most of my childhood was very happy, but sometimes these types of incidents just overshadowed the good stuff, and it feels very cathartic to share. So thanks for listening!