Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have loved scary movies since I saw The Exorcist and the original Halloween at the drive-in with my dad. When I was ten years old. To this day, when I am 10-plus-30something years old, I get the same rollercoaster-stomachache feeling when I enter a theater to watch a horror movie. And it is good; I thrive on plunging into the depths of fear and emerging whole.
But ever since those first viewings, I have realized that the scariest parts are not the ones filled with monsters or blood or gore (nor spewed pea soup). What is most terrifying is the remorseless emptiness in the villains - that sense of not caring when people are sick with fear, when they are stunned & paralyzed by the ugly indifference & utter violence from former loved ones. Not only not caring but reveling in the terror they inspire. That is the part I most wish wasn't real.
Here is something truly heartstopping: my job, as a high school teacher, contains so much of this kind of scary that I occasionally [often] dare gory imaginary monsters to try overrunning my school; I could see myself going totally Buffy on supernatural creatures in a minute; I can feel the adrenaline rising in my usually unenergetic body right now.

Unfortunately, taking on the abusive, monstrous mothers or fathers or stepparents or siblings of my students is painfully impossible. Not just because many of them are distant or disappeared, but because they are still loved and protected by my students, their victims. How do you fight a perpetrator that the victim refuses to identify? I walk a tightrope between disputing horrific behavior - people telling children they are stupid, unwanted, good-for-nothing - and upholding the sanctity of family. Even beaten-down teenagers want to believe they have mothers & fathers & stepparents & siblings who love and protect them. If I say those people are wicked and wrong, what do these kids have left? Just me and my colleagues, but we're only available to them 8 hours a day. I like to think 8 hours a day for 180 days a year can make a difference, but I'm not so sure.
All I can do is pray for them, by the minute sometimes, and show up every day, just in case.

Their pasts, and their future, haunt me.
watch me try to post everyday for NaBloPoMo in October