Friday, February 17, 2012

Surviving High School

I resisted Facebook for the longest time but finally caved when my best friend from college/maid of honor at my wedding sent me an invite. I can't even remember how long ago that was, a year or two? Anyway, I'm now hooked. I "friended" the moms from the Girl Scout troops (Martha Jr.'s and The Eldest's), relatives, a few friends from college, and so forth. I found a couple of people I knew from high school but didn't go any further with looking for high school friends for the longest time. I recently found my drama teacher, Mrs. L., and connected with her, and that led to connecting with more high school friends just within the past week or so. It's led to quite a wave of nostalgia!

My high school drama teacher was so amazing, probably the most caring, compassionate teacher I've ever had the fortune to know. She saved me in ways she couldn't know at the time. Here's why- during 10th and 11th grades I was involved in an extra curricular activity under the coaching of one of the P.E. teachers who was horrid; she was verbally abusive and cruel. I was never good enough- she called me fat all the time (when I wasn't) and constantly belittled me in front of other students. (Including my boyfriend.) She caused a lot of wounds, but Mrs. L. took the sting out of that hurt. She believed in me and encouraged me. She guided me through costuming our production of "Damn Yankees", a HUGE responsibility, and entering my costume designs for "Oedipus" in a Thespian competition. Talk about confidence builders! She cast me as Judy in "Rebel Without a Cause" (a shared role- I played Judy one night, another student played her the other night). I couldn't wait to get to her classes; it was a relief just to enter the "little theater" (her classroom) during the school day. I wasn't the most talented of her students (by a lot) but she still had faith in me. I went on to a drama/psychology double major my first year and a half of college but I wasn't resilient enough or driven enough to handle the rejection when I didn't get the roles I wanted so I finally dropped drama.

Mrs. L. had a huge impact on my life by offering me the shelter of her warmth when things were rough in high school. I don't know that I would have come through those years of abuse from the P.E. teacher with my self worth intact if not for Mrs. L. A fellow drama student from my class has become quite famous, starring in a couple of TV shows, and has since honored her with a really huge award. I can't nominate her for any awards, but she'll always be a winner in my heart.

(And as for that famous student, I can say I was one of the first to shine a spotlight on him- literally! He was Tevye in our production of "Fiddler on the Roof" and I ran the spotlight. Hee.)

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