Surrounded

My job requires me to be around people everyday. As an introvert and knowing my own personality, I am constantly drained by the afternoon and desperate for a nap. I have had, let’s see, three meltdowns at work? People are too much. The kids I work with, are the people. Then there are the teachers and managers. Then there are the parents. We are all people trying to make it through the day, and we constantly need reassurance and the warmth of a hand on our backs to let us know we are doing just fine. Everything is alright.

Surrounded by cots, oversized blankets, and spilled milk, ten kids ask, “Ms. Mae, can you pat my back?” “Ms. Mae, Ms. Mae, Ms. Mae?” I wish someone would pat my back. The evenness of a beat to lull me to sleep.

I have felt like a trashcan recently. Friends messaging me for a quick rant about themselves and what they’re going through. At times I just want to turn my brain off and ignore everyone, even the people I cherish. I am quick to remember I do the exact same thing to them. It’s a shame we have to focus on “active listening” in order to see someone, to understand someone, to hear someone. I told one child, “You do the most.” He looked at me and responded, “I do the most.” Me too. My patience wears thin on a constant basis, and it is always revitalized by the joke of a coworker, the joy of a baby, a text from a friend, seeing my family after a long day, and remembering what a student told me one day, “You’re funny, Ms. Mae.”

-Mae

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