Honesty has a power that very few people can handle
“Honesty has a power that very few people can handle.”
An open letter to my past students….
** (At the end of last year, I left my teaching job after coming out in May of 2017, about a 20-year eating disorder I’d secretly suffered with. This is an open letter to my past students who are only now finding out about my story. This is for you.) **
Firstly, I’d like to tell you that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t really as perfect as you believed I was.
I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience the confusion of finding out someone you looked up to and respected, struggled in the manner in which I struggled.
I’m sorry you cried when I told you I was leaving the school, even though we both knew you’d pretend we didn’t know each other once you’d crossed the grass oval for the Senior school.
But there are some truths I’d like you to understand from all of this.
Sometimes grown ups make very bad decisions.
Sometimes we believe we are less than we actually are.
That is why it was always so important to me that you understood how amazing you were, and that you were so much more than a score on a maths test. I didn’t believe that about myself as a student, but I couldn’t go back in time and change that, but I could change that for you.
The truth is that sometimes we want so badly to be loved and accepted, that we try and change ourselves, that we think that love and acceptance lies solely in what we look like instead of focusing on who we are.
Sometimes grown ups aren’t as smart as you think they are, and that’s ok. It’s ok to be human.
Just as it’s normal that you make mistakes and learn from them, the same is true for adults, unfortunately not all grown-ups are capable, or willing enough to accept the lesson, but that’s ok too, that’s life.
My favourite part of being a teacher was you. I didn’t love the curriculum, the rules, the guidelines, the ticking of mainstream boxes that never actually highlighted how kind you were, what an amazing friend you were, or how you went out of your way to stand up for what was right. I believed in you every time you didn’t. I had a foresight that wasn’t yet available to you, and I knew you’d be ok because you were like me.
I went into teaching to become the teacher I’d needed when I was younger, the teacher that I never had; the teacher that thought I was an awesome human even though I hadn’t done my homework or scored a perfect result on my spelling test.
I always saw you the person, not you the student.
Thank you for letting me know you the way you did.
I’m sorry if I let you down.
You looked up to me, and you knew I always had your back. If you tried then that was all that mattered.
Do you remember how I always told you never to compare yourself to others? I was so passionate about ensuring you understood the importance of that message because I never did quite understand that myself, until now.
I got lost in the comparisons, so lost I almost drowned in them, and so I gave everything I had to help you not make the same mistake I did.
For all the wrongs, you were my right. You beautiful, strong, smart, capable young women of the future, you were my right.
There is nothing shameful about my story, we all make mistakes but it’s how we rise from our falls that define us, and I, I rise taller than I’ve ever been.
I rise for you and for all the young women that come after you.
I will fight to ensure my message gets out there, and my voice will be heard because my voice matters.
Your voice matters.
And for what it’s worth, I thank you.
Amanda’s book ‘Mirror Mirror On My Wall’ is available here.
If you would like to follow Amanda on Facebook, here is the link to the Mirror Movement Page.