August 7, 2014 by theresiugoes
When I was in year 3, I had a teacher who was tall, and slim and beautiful, with light brown hair that was permed high and hazel eyes. She always wore big shoulder pads and her tops were cinched at the waist (it was 1993). I was a little bit in love with her – I wanted to be her when I grew up, but in the meantime, I would settle for being her favourite.
She had taught my sister a couple of years prior, so I thought she was bound to like me. But alas, I am not my sister, and I just seemed to annoy this woman, no matter how hard I tried to endear her to me.
We were doing a module on animals, and my teacher was explaining the different types of zoos in the world. She told us about how some zoos had animals in enclosures, like Taronga. She also told us about wildlife a Safaris, and how in some places in the world you can drive through a park and lions and elephants and deers prowled all around you.
I don’t know why, but I put up my hand.
“My Aunty went to a safari and a lion came to the car, and she tried to pat it and then it bit off her head.”
There was silence in the classroom, and even as the words came out of my mouth, I passionately believed them.
“What do you mean?”
“The lion ate her.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“It’s true. She died last year.”
“I would’ve seen it on the news, you’re lying.”
“It was in Egypt. And on the Arabic news, so you couldn’t see it.”
There was more silence, as she decided what to do with me.
“Go get your sister.”
And then my heart jumped into my throat, and I considered if she would believe the stress of recounting the story gave me a heart attack.
“Go get her, now!”
So I got up, send walked aimlessly through the school for a bit. I decided I would tell my sister I had dreamed it, and she just had to tell Miss K that my story was true.
I knocked on the door, and my sister’s teacher opened it. “Can I see my sister, please?”
“She’s gone to the sickbay.”
I half skipped, half ran back to my class room. What a close call!
I walked in with my head held high. “My sister is sick and had to go to the sick bay. She said it’s true.”
I’ve no idea why that teacher didn’t like me (before this happened. After this incident, I can see why she thought I was an annoying little scoundrel) but every time I remember this altercation, I still remember the anxiety. The lump in my throat, the sweats, the heart racing.
And it wasn’t so much the fear of being found out to be a liar, as it was the fear of what my teacher thought of me. With a little hindsight, I can see that that was the beginning of my journey as a “people pleaser”. I wanted so much to be liked and accepted, I wanted so much to be approved as a valid and worthy person. And it took me many years to realise that I was on that journey, and I now battle everyday to keep off that road.
It’s hard – but it’s also liberating to just be me. To rest in the person God has made me to be, and to care less if people like me or approve of me.