Monday, March 14, 2016

That Time a [Former] Teacher Blocked Me



I remember the moment very vividly. I was sitting cross legged on a pull out bed, and I was on vacation with my mom.  (Who, by the way, woke me up every day at 8am to watch animal videos she found on Facebook). Anyway, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw it.  Someone had tagged a former teacher of mine in a post, and I realized I couldn't click the name.

I remembered a few months ago searching for this teacher on Facebook, and being unable to find her.  I was sad, but assumed she must have deleted her Facebook account.  I may have even messaged another former teacher to tell that first teacher I said hello, or possibly even sent an email to her school email account. I'm not really sure, I can't remember that detail now.

Never, in my wildest dreams did I imagine that she--someone I thought of as a mentor to me during high school--had blocked me. But, sitting in that hotel room, I knew that's what happened. I tried to search again, to be sure, and nothing. I logged in from another account, and was able to see her--that's when I knew for sure, without a doubt, she had blocked me. That information hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I distinctly remember my mom asking me what was wrong, and I tried not to cry as I told her "Mrs. _____ blocked me on Facebook." My mom didn't remember her, but she could tell I was upset, "Don't let it bother you." She told me, no doubt knowing that was futile--everything bothers me.  I searched through this old teacher's profile for the last post I remembered seeing, and then tried to correlate it with something controversial I had posted on my Facebook around that time. I really could find nothing, and I started to cry.

Now, it didn't ruin our vacation or anything even close to that, but it bugged me for awhile.  It's no secret that I am a very sensitive person, and so having someone block me on Facebook might sting no matter what.  But, this person was a mentor, someone I really looked up to in high school, someone who wrote me a letter of recommendation for college, someone I named in a blog post about good teachers, so it felt even worse--felt even more personal. Never mind that 8 or 9 years had passed since I was even in high school, and I had become a much different person than I was back then (this teacher probably had, too).

But it still bothered me. I couldn't fathom what I had done to make her block me--and, you know? I still can't.  Sometimes I still see her tagged, and I think 'I wonder what I did?' But then, something else comes to mind: I don't care.  I really genuinely do not care anymore what I did, or even that she blocked me in the first place.  Which is actually kind of a revelation.

You see, my whole life I have been a people-pleaser. As far back as I can remember, I remember being (and enjoying being) the teacher's pet.  I was kind to teachers, I looked up to them, and just like [most] everyone else, I wanted them to like me (and often wanted them to like me the best).  Now, whether they did or did not like me the best isn't really the point (and, I really don't know/care now whether they did or not). But, truth be told, I was a good student--and I loved school, so teachers held a special spot in my mind--they were on a pedestal.  In high school I used to debate with family members telling them that teachers should make way more money than they make (I still believe they should).  At several points, I even wanted to be a teacher.  So, even 8 or 9 years later, being blocked by a teacher I really liked in high school genuinely bothered me.

But it also taught me a couple of lessons-- we are not who we were 8 or 9 years ago.  None of us are.  And knowing why I was blocked doesn't really matter in the long run.  Who I was then is a part of who I am now, but I don't have to let it rule--I don't have to be that same girl who seeks approval from her teachers (past, present, or future. Or even from her peers--but maybe that's a different blog). And it's okay if these people don't approve of me, even if they did at one time.  People are allowed to change.

Social media is really great sometimes.  It allows you to keep in touch with people you wouldn't have otherwise, and some days I am thankful for it (other days, I swear I'll delete it).  And if the day ever comes where I do hit that little delete button, I'll probably be relieved, and yet thankful for the lessons it taught me.

Had that teacher not blocked me, I might never have learned that it's okay if I leave the past in the past.  She and I were close (ish) a very long time ago, and she was a pretty good teacher most of the time, but that time has come and gone--and that's okay.  I'm different now, and truth be told, I like who I am now a hell of a lot better than I like who I was then--and if that teacher, for whatever reason, decided the opposite was true? Oh well.  I haven't lost anything except another reason to cling on to the past.

And, as sad as I was for a few days, the truth of the matter is this:
How I feel about the blocking now (and, indeed, all blockings)


So, thank you, Teacher, wherever you are--for the past, and for the present. For the lesson it taught, I am happy to not know you now.

1 comment: