Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hungry

I find myself asking, more often than I'd like to admit, "What am I really hungry for?"
-because this cookie isn't cutting it
-because their friendship actually makes me feel worse
-because burning those 500 calories just makes me hungrier
-because buying that dress didn't actually make me any more attractive

What am I really hungry for? I know it's not the substitutions.

Sometimes I feel a bit panicky to where, the only thing I can think to do, is write a blog.

This semester I've been fulfilling my education requirements by spending 2-4 hours a week observing at Northeast Public high school. Ms. Rivera is a brilliant, energetic, and interesting, young teacher at Northeast and I'm grateful for what I've learned from her.

Stepping into this high school 2 months ago, was like entering another country, I know, I've done this. My Christian boarding school upbringing could not have prepared me for what I found here. With 1,500+ students and diversity that puts a food court to shame, I faked confidence and braved the swarms of disinterested high schoolers. Just try to look cool. Don't trip over yourself. Smile. Wait, these kids don't smile. Don't smile, repeat, do not smile.

A red-haired teacher directing traffic, spotted me and announced, "Alright missy, where is your name tag? You know the rules."

"Hi. I'm actually a practicum student and I'm looking for the main office."

"Yeah, it's that way," she said, motioning her flick of the wrist, somewhere in the direction behind me, as she returned to herding humans.

Mohawks, piercings, pants hanging around their knees, and solemn glares greeted me as I spun around in the opposite direction. Oh man, this is just like the movies! I can't believe I just thought that, you small town goody goody. I'm such a dork.

I'm still unsure whether I'm tough enough for this crowd, though I'd like to think I am.

Today, as I walked back to my car a group of Mexican boys stood in my, refusing to move as I tip toed around them, in the mud. From behind my steering wheel, in the mild serenity of my car, I watch the human-polluted lawn milling about with confused and unpredictable high school students.

What are these kids hungry for?

Two students, apparently joined at the lips, make-out passionately just beyond the hood of my car, she pulls away, he yanks her back in. Three overweight Latino girls dance to a boy's beat box rhymes, in matching pink tennis shoes. Cigarette smoke comes from the shaking hand of a freckle faced girl with pig tails, surrounded by "friends" who ignore her completely.

What are we hungry for?

Driving back to Union, I spot the parents just picking up their kids from school and others, alone, but with cell phone in hand. From my rear view mirror I see a beautiful Korean girl, being driven by her stone-faced father, no words. Later, a green mini-van, shiny on the outside, heated on the inside, as a mother yells angrily at her disinterested son who tosses his long hair over to the side and glares out the window.

What are we hungry for?

Parking my car back at Union, I soak up the afternoon rays, and walk towards the dorm, observing a different kind of hunger, the kind we hide. "Hey! How are you?" she asks and keeps walking, one of my biggest pet peeves. This is another world as well. Without the extreme diversity and disinterest of high schoolers, it is replaced at a Christian college by conformity and comfort. It's easy to hide what we're hungry for here, where we blend in and disappear, no one knowing the difference.

What are we really hungry for?

I dare say, it's not food. It's not porn. It's not shopping. It's not gambling. It's not drugs. It's not suicide. It's not whatever we are hiding behind. It's not even good things. It's not sex. It's not exercise. It's not academics.

It's acceptance. It's belonging. It's self-worth. It's purpose. It's balance. It's all the things I intend on fighting for the rest of my life, until I'm done hungering for what harms me and begin healing towards a life where I'm satisfied, content, balanced, filled.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow. you spoke to me on this one. thanks.