There are days when you are sick of being nice. Today is one of those days. Instagram (all of social media) is an interesting space where people only post shit they want you to see. The pretty shit. The made up shit. The inflated shit. The pretty it up with makeup shit. The fame shit. The shit that’s not real shit. For pretense. For likes. To make themselves look better than they actually are. What if folks posted how messy their lives or their house are? What if folks posted how shitty their days are and what they’re really struggling with? What if people posted what they look like when they are depressed and going through life things? Today I’m going through things. It took me two hours to get home from teaching over 100 students a lesson on grinding, on grit, on daring to dream, on Tupac.
Black and Brown excellence… the majority of my students are of color at a high school in Brooklyn. Kids that I know needed the medicine I was bringing today because the truth is most of their teachers are white. So when I walk into the space I come in with a different sensibility and relatability. When I walk into the space I know I am one of them. I created this dope lesson plan that I spent six hours preparing, work that I know I’m doing from my heart and not to meet some DOE standard, but to give them some tools that I know will actually help them survive in these streets… that I hope will help them discover all they really are capable of even with all they have been through and all that they come from.
We start every class the same… I open with a breathing meditation. I am intentional about the space I am holding. And I’m a constant observer, I see the signs in the body language. In the tone. In the looks. In the energy the adults around me walk with. This one teacher (yes he was white) walked into the teachers lounge and didn’t even say hello. He acted like I didn’t exist and I certainly didn’t go the extra mile. I just turned my headphones on louder and continued to watch Beyoncé slay. I could see it in their eyes how some of these teachers wish they possessed what comes so naturally for me without a college degree. And I’m FCKING tired. I gave everything today and this elevator in my building stays getting stuck on the sixth floor and I just want to watch @beyonce #beyoncehomecoming and eat chocolate.
Yet in my heart I know many of my kids were like, “aww shit Ms. Alicia ain’t playing with us today” and I could see they appreciated the realness I brought into the space with me today. And so this time I don’t come home feeling defeated… but like some mofos aren’t worthy of me and my gifts.
These are the days when I must value myself, the work that I have been doing and the work that I will continue to do.