Jay and I were sitting on the Green Line when a middle-aged white man wearing dark sunglasses boarded the train. We paid him no mind until he demanded that the woman in front of us “move [her] fat ass” over to let him sit. When she refused, he proceeded to make fun of her weight to everyone on the train. Everyone turned her face away, but he kept it up, sitting down next to another young woman, whom he proceeded to harass, asking where she was going.
When the woman in front of us got off at the next stop, he started making fun of her again, and swearing at her. Again, everyone else turned away, but Jay had had enough, and she called out to him. He then started in on us, giving us the finger, calling us “dykes,” “perverts,” and “disgusting.”
Jay started to stand up, and I told her to let it go. She cried out, “No! Why should I?” and I hated myself, because I was being a hypocrite for all the times I’ve told my students to stand up for themselves and not let discrimination go unaddressed. But I kept talking her down, because I was scared.
Why was I scared? There were two of us and one of him. Jay does jiu jitsu and is one of the most formidable people I know. He was just some middle-aged guy. But I’ve always been taught to be afraid, to run away, so that’s what I tried to do.
The man wouldn’t drop it. He stood up from his seat and got in Jay’s face, egging her on, insulting us, calling us perverts (I would like to point out that we were doing nothing more than sitting together, not even holding hands, the entire ride), and sticking his tongue out obscenely at Jay, who got angrier and angrier as I placed my arm in front of her.
Finally, many of the other people on the bus woke up. The women began telling him he had to leave, and telling us not to listen to him. Four men surrounded him and made him get off at the next stop. Four men. Because women are taught to be afraid.
I am deeply grateful to the people who stood up for us. They showed me progress is happening. However, it’s happening too slowly. Why did it take four women being harassed for action to happen? Why was one not enough?
We taught about Lab Safety today. After playing a hilarious wannabe rap video on lab safety, students had to go to various stations to learn about the Emergency Eye Wash, Shower, how to wear goggles, and group roles.
Before rotating to the next station, each group had to post a “tweet” on the wall about what they learned at that stop. They got “bonus points” (no they didn’t, but I told them they did!) for using hashtags.
Some of the highlights:
- Mike Brown’s mom laid flowers where he was shot and police let a dog pee on the memorial site
- “Stand Up Against Racism" demonstration outside US Embassy in London
- Police claim to have no records of arrests of journalists
- Illinois school bans discussions of Mike Brown’s death
- Gov. Nixon introduces new Public Safety Director
- Push for police to wear body cameras continues
- Jon Stewart on Ferguson
Between yesterday and today, nine of my former students have stopped by to visit and tell me their stories about high school, and three others have called or texted me. I was most surprised to see a couple of students with whom I butted heads for most of the year come back to tell me how great high school was.
However, the most shocking was a text message from one student in particular, Ashley. Ashley spent all of last year telling me how much she hated Science and wasn’t interested in STEM. She had to be coaxed in at the start of every class, invented countless excuses to leave the room, and was often caught reading a book under her desk instead of completing her class work. When I pulled her aside for a pep talk and told her how much potential I knew she had, she always went on a rant about how I was wrong, how she was stupid, especially in Science, and she was going to drop out of high school and work at Burger King. She also often went to other teachers to tell them how much she couldn’t stand me and my class.
When the time came to place her for high school science, I suggested she be placed in an Introductory course, since her grades and attitude did not reflect much academic growth over the year.
She sent me a picture today of an assignment she completed in her class about density. It was the same Coke/Diet Coke demo I had done with her a year ago, when she first started 8th grade. She remembered and correctly predicted the outcome, and was able to clearly articulate the scientific reason behind what happened on assignment worksheet.
When I told her I was impressed and proud that she remembered so much from my class, she replied,
"I’m actually really smart, I learned a lot in your class and I’m happy you taught me honestly. You are one of the favorite teachers from middle school who I actually learned something from!"
to which I could only answer,
"I can’t tell you how much it means to me to finally hear you admit for yourself that you are a very intelligent young woman and that you learned in science."
I decided to keep a record of this year of teaching by writing a post for each of the 180 teaching days I have. I’m doing this for a number of reasons.
First, I’ve been meaning to get back to regularly posting as it’s good informal writing practice. Secondly, this was the first day, and already I’m looking ahead to June, so a countdown might be useful. It might also be terrible. We’ll see.
Incidentally, I’m going to try my best to make these positive posts. Instead of ranting about the things that could have gone better, I’m going to focus on what went well.
I woke up running late because I had trouble sleeping after writing the final research paper for one of my two masters classes last night. Then, I got the following message at 6:19 a.m. from a student I had last year:
"Good morning Ms. Monaco!!!! Happy first day! I have very good news too… I’m in biology honors. :) Have a good day at school, Ms., and remember if any of those kids give you trouble tell me I’ll help :) lol. Remember to breathe and stay the amazing and chill teach you are. Don’t let them get under your skin. I love youuuu byeee."
Instead of hitting snooze a second time, I got up and managed to grab some Dunkin’ before school. Not the worst start at all.
The first man to name me “goddess”
was twenty-one and drunk on rum.
Breath heavy with lust and booze, he told me
that most nights he carved poems into the walls trying to write me alive in the room with him,
so when the light hit the scrapes just right,
he could catch his breath for a minute.
I was just fifteen, all ivory thighs and wild eyes,
but still he held my spine between his teeth and spun words off his tongue like thread—
they wrapped around me in a throat-crushing tangle,
but when my limbs began to struggle,
I convinced myself it was some sort of embrace.
One night he called me saying,
“Babygirl, you gotta open your window and stare out at that moon. Isn’t it beautiful, baby? Look at the sky holding up that massive thing all on its own. Damn, you’re just like that, you know?
You’re my sky.”
My frail bones were cracking under the weight of the rock he sickly called devotion—
instead of shattering, I let him become a solar eclipse
and never looked back at him again.
The second boy came to me on his knees at seventeen:
a past lover replaced with steel skin and iron irises.
I’ve never heard a voice as cold as his was, begging for my touch and dripping false sincerity off the edges of his lips.
He cried, “I didn’t know I needed you until you were gone. I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m just fucked up in the head.
Maybe you can soothe the ache in my soul if you kiss it just right with those words of yours.
You’ve always known just what to say.”
Each whisper echoed with a heavy blow that rung in my ears
and bruised my bones so deeply that I still feel them in the marrow.
As he spoke, I could feel those phantom-fingers that once fit so well between my thighs
beginning to curl around my ankles,
so I stepped on them.
The third man held nineteen years in his fists and
told me I wrote like words were poison,
as if I needed to pull them out of my gut as quickly as I could scratch them down, just so I wouldn’t choke.
Now I was sixteen and slinking around in ink-black stockings,
lips red and bloody from tearing the hearts of men out of their sleeves with my teeth.
He claimed I was wild like nothing he’d seen before.
“You’re wise for your age,” he declared. “You remind me of a Burroughs novel; I just can’t seem to understand you.”
I tried to unwrap my heart and serve it to him,
all raw and brutal,
but he returned it untouched, replying, “Stay quiet, now, darling, I don’t want to hear it just now. It’ll spoil it all, you see.”
To him I was a character, a fetishized fantasy,
and he’d cover his ears if I ever tried to speak
outside of a poem.
See, men only seem to stumble upon me in the dark,
as they grasp and fumble for something to swallow to convince their starving hearts
that they’re worth beating.
They hear my words as a siren call and drink me down in heavy doses.
Then, they crush me between their fingers and grind the dust into the ground with their heels so they can keep trudging along,
toting their tragedy behind them.
In their swollen eyes, I am only a poetic panacea.
But god, in the time that it’s taken for my rubble to reform into this shape they call a body,
I have grown thunderstorms in my skin and collected tornadoes under my tongue.
Yes, I’ve been told many times by those who try to solve me
that I exist only so that I may be destroyed
for the sake of others,
but instead, I have become a forest fire,
and I will burn myself alive to tear down
the thicket in my path until
I’m standing in the wake of my
destruction as merely
It’s funny. I can forgive people who put me through hell and back, but those who hurt my mom, or my closest friends, are another story.
Growing up, I couldn’t help but notice how my mom and I were the black sheep of the family. In a group where no one went to college, everyone got married and started having babies between the ages of eighteen and twenty, my mom got a degree and had me as a single parent because screw fucked-up relationships. That didn’t sit well with everyone else, apparently.
Because my mom is a nurse, they called her up begging her to go care for their sick, older relatives, whenever someone was dying. I got to know my great-uncles and aunts on their deathbeds, but we were never invited to the countless weddings, birthday parties, and reunions of our younger, not-dying family.
Now, over the past year or so, my family is all of a sudden trying to be buddy-buddy with my mom. I think it’s out of guilt, now that she lost her job, and now that all of their older relatives, for whom they never cared when they were alive and sick, are dead.
My mom goes to visit them all of the time, and always picks up when they call her on the phone. Me? I tell them she’s not available, and hang up.
You don’t get to treat someone like dirt for decades and then ask to be friends. She cleaned up the literal shit of your dying relatives for years while you called to say thank-you from parties to which she’d never be invited because you weren’t comfortable bringing the spinster maid with the bastard child to the festivities.
My last SO broke up with me over email the night before his college graduation, which I’d been invited to. After a five-year relationship. He lied in said email because he didn’t have the guts to admit that he was inviting the girl he’d most likely been cheating on me with to said graduation. I found out through a family member’s rub-it-in-your-facebook status, sent him an email confronting him about it, and never got a reply. One of my best friends confronted him to his face about it, and he never denied it; he actually admitted that he’d done wrong and owed me an apology, but I never got that apology, and I probably never will.
I drowned my sorrows from that in a recurring fling with whom I’d shared a mutual this-isn’t-serious-I’m-actually-just-trying-to-get-over-my-last-big-relationship bond for several years. This person then got back with the last-big-relationship, defriended me from fbook, and when I texted to ask why, never replied.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a friend request from said fling. This same pattern has happened before, and I’ve always accepted it. This time, I laughed and denied it. Several weeks later, I got the same request again. I messaged, asking why I should accept given all that’s happened. No reply, and the request withdrawn.
Why is it so difficult to be honest? Why is it so difficult to admit things for what they are? Is it because then you’d have to admit to yourself that you have no courage or semblance of nobility whatsoever?
I’ve said this before and I’ll point it out again -
Menstruation is caused by change in hormonal levels to stop the creation of a uterine lining and encourage the body to flush the lining out. The body does this by lowering estrogen levels and raising testosterone.
Or, to put it more plainly “That time of the month” is when female hormones most closely resemble male hormones. So if (cis) women aren’t suited to office at “That time of the month” then (cis) men are NEVER suited to office.
If you are a dude and don’t dig the ladies around you at their time of the month, just think! That is you all of the time.
And, on a final note, post-menopausal (cis) women are the most hormonally stable of all human demographics. They have fewer hormonal fluctuations of anyone, meaning older women like Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren would theoretically be among the least likely candidates to make an irrational decision due to hormonal fluctuations, and if we were basing our leadership decisions on hormone levels, then only women over fifty should ever be allowed to hold office.”
when the teacher keep teaching after the bell has already rang
When you little shits didn’t shut the fuck up so I can do my fucking job and now we both have to stay longer
I’ve never seen a post sympathize with a teacher
There is hope yet for this world