Mornings are inevitable. Why does that sound like a negative thing when I say it? Probably because it goes back to when I was in middle school.
I realized the other day that as an adult, I still associate weekday mornings with fear in the pit of my stomach. Reason being, during the school day I was dealing with bullies. When I would fall asleep as a kid, I didn’t have to worry about who was going to make fun of me or try and pick a fight with me. I was comfortable and safe in my very own bed. However, I knew that once I drifted off to sleep, the morning was going to come. Although there is really no difference in the way the night sky or early morning looks other than the time on the clock, hearing the clinking of pots and pans downstairs in the kitchen and my dad clearing his throat while watching the traffic report at 4:30 a.m. let me know the inevitable morning had arrived and it was only a matter of time before my mom would wake me up and get me ready for the day.
My weekdays would consist of getting up, eating breakfast my mom made me, going to daycare, getting dropped off at school, and putting my head either facing down so I was looking at the cement ground or covering it with my hood. If those weren’t an option, I would try to find a corner or just hide in the girls bathroom before school started and during lunchtime to get away from the bullies who would spread false rumors about me and tell others not to associate themselves with me.
Getting through the day took skill and a lot of heart-pounding with every tick and tock of the clock. Once I was able to get through my day without someone picking on me I would be relieved, glaring at the clock until it hit 2:30 p.m. and then I would be able to breathe once I got to the daycare center. But I always had the fear of getting beat up the next day over something stupid that was not even my fault. This was before there were smartphones and social media, before cyberbullying. This was just pure word-of-mouth rumors that led to whispers right in front of me. This was students in my class whispering about the way my hair looked or how I had high-water pants. I knew there were certain things I could do to avoid being talked about. Asking my mom to get me new pants or cutting my hair a certain way was a start. But, other rumors and the lies were all thins out of my control. Getting home and watching TV with my dad took my mind off of the bullying but in the back of my mind, I knew it would be the same thing the very next day. I would go to sleep and await the inevitable morning.
Which brings me to me as an adult now. I don’t tolerate bullying and definitely don’t tolerate it as a Substitute Teacher, yup, funny how life works out. Perhaps becoming a Substitute Teacher was my way of trying to conquer my fear of school bullies. Although I don’t sub for middle school classes, elementary only since its less attitude and as a kid, I never had issues in elementary school. However, when mornings arrive, I still get a gut-wrenching feeling especially when I have drama at work or there is some issue that is out of my control that creates unhappiness in my life.
Many people tell me to just separate my work and personal life. Well, I cannot forget that I am a human being and I cannot just flip a switch on and off to be jolly and free. Life isn’t perfect but it is what we make of it, that I know. Looking back at my professional life, I realize that I associate drama at work with my inner child being bullied as a kid. I guess as a kid I told myself I would never be forced to deal with being bullied as an adult. I have run away from my fears in the past, I will admit that. Thinking about it, maybe I am not a morning person like I used to be. Now, waking up when the sun is already shining through the blinds eases the anxiety that brews deep within me. I take a moment to think about how everyone is already in school or at work and extremely busy on Monday mornings across the nation. I am alone, getting my day started, taking my dog out for her morning walk, enjoying the morning (with the sun up) the way I was not able to as a kid.