I was lucky to be taught by an exceptional teacher in school. No, she was not exceptionally good. In fact, she was the direct opposite. For some reasons, I was always one of the few people she constantly picked on, but that day was the culmination of her greatness.
In a fit of madness, she decided to read my mid-year exam grades – subject by subject, pointed her finger at me, announced to the class that I was a fine example of someone who’ll never make it to the top, and then proceeded to cackle with satisfaction. A dear classmate, Mary-Anne, stood in my defense but was met with a ridiculous “HAH!” and then she continued her speech about why I am doomed to fail, in a matter-of-factly fashion, like I was a specimen of failure. I still remember clearly how she looked like at that moment in time — her cat-eye frames, her crazed stare, her screeching laughter, even her hideously bushy underarms, the hairs fanning out of her cap sleeve blouse as she stood, arms akimbo.
The eyes of the entire class was on me, looking for some sort of reaction. I was too stunned to react. What happened after that can be summarised as follows: depression, therapy, dropped out of school, depression, therapy, changed schools, depression, therapy, dropped out of new school, depression, therapy. I was only 13 but in that period, I was popping Valium like it was going out of fashion just to get through another day.
One fine day I decided to pick myself up and go back to my old school because I’ve grown tired of wallowing in self pity. I think that day was one of the most important turning points in my life when I decided to become a person who tries to prove her detractors wrong instead of conceding defeat meekly.
This story would be more spectacular if I were to tell you I went to top the class that year. I didn’t — I came in third, which isn’t a bad result considering the lessons I’d missed — but I did qualify for the triple science class for my GCEs, taught by the same lovely teacher, no less. :o
Um, excuse me while I think of something other than hairy pits now.
Have you ever had someone tell you you’ll never succeed in something only to have them be proven wrong?