(I wrote this last Saturday and couldn’t post it right away. I just realized that I never posted it at all.)
Why is it that you some kids do weird things and you know they are just fully embracing their own weirdness and other kids do weird things and you know they are just desperately seeking attention?
Ellie could handle the first type of kids but the second ones made her classroom hell. It was easy to keep a lid on the ones who were content in their own oddness, their behaviour might make other people edgy but it didn’t spill all over them the way that the attention seekers’ actions did.
The attention seekers got a bit too loud, they were a bit too in your face, their performance art lives required audience participation. It wasn’t enough for them to be weird; they needed to know that you knew that they were weird and that they were happy about it.
They weren’t though. They weren’t at all happy about it. Ellie figured that was what made her so twitchy around them. They reminded her of every last one of her own teen angst insecurities and they took her back to that twisting mess with every shout, with every cry for connection.
She knew she should just give to them, that if they needed the attention, that it would be a kindness to just shower them with it, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. There was some validation for her in it, in her refusal to play along, her standing steadfast against the foolishness that they were indulging in. Almost like she were feeling victorious about not being tricked into giving the response they wanted.
But deep in that smug feeling was a sliver of pain, a splinter, that said that withholding her attention wasn’t serving anyone. It wasn’t helping her in any way and it certainly wasn’t helping the kids. There had to be a way to make it less painful all around, something a little less raw for everyone, but how did you indulge foolishness part way? You had to either fall fully into it, or dismiss it entirely.
She had to figure it out though. If they were putting this much energy and effort into a cry for attention, their need must run deep.