Often I feel invisible. This isn’t a complaint. I’m not actually invisible. I just feel that way. Sometimes it is even a preference. I’m usually content to hide behind the scenes. I opted not to speak at my own wedding. It’s a bride’s prerogative. I like being near people but don’t necessarily enjoy too much interaction. Put me off in the corner (preferably by a sunny window) with a task that doesn’t involve numbers and I am a very happy camper.
This past week I have been volunteering at my kids’ school. I’m painting some canvases for a courage to communicate initiative. I think if every kid learned how to communicate issues effectively we’d avoid a lot of childhood bullying and eventually workplace bullying. An exciting thought! I like being involved in this project because I believe in it. As someone who was formerly bullied in school and at work, I am eager to see others learn how to avoid or stop it. Somehow it makes the painting just that much more enjoyable.
I’m set up with my paints in the front lobby of the school. It is full of sunshine. I’m working by myself but people are constantly coming and going. It’s just the right amount of engagement for me. I’ve really enjoyed my time. A few more days and I’ll be finished my work on the project. I think I’ll miss coming in to the school every day!
I haven’t been invisible. It isn’t the norm for some lady to be painting canvases in the lobby so I stand out quite a bit. The people who have approached me have been so friendly and encouraging. I love how honest and open the kids are about their curiosity. There have been a few times when I am the equivalent of a super star, which I find highly amusing and endearing. My son’s class (four and five year olds) walks past the lobby to get to the gym. The students know me from my son’s birthday party and a couple of volunteer experiences. I was greeted with waves and loud “Hi, ____’s Mom!” as the students walked past me. Each wanted their chance to give me a personal shout out. What I found even more amusing was that my son was mostly in his own little world as he walked down the hall near the end of the line. Even though everyone was saying his name as they called to me, he didn’t notice. He was busy hopping like a bunny or watching his feet as he walked. I had to “psst” to get his attention and then he gave me a shy little wave. Despite his claims that he doesn’t enjoy school, I’ve never seen him without a big smile whenever I’ve observed him there.
My daughter’s class has walked by a couple times as well and I got several waves from her friends but it was lacking the same exuberance. I’m okay with that. Although, my daughter runs out of line to give me hugs and kisses. That makes me happy but then I get a bit stressed as I have to pry her off of me and send her back on her way.
I haven’t felt like such a superstar since I lived in Japan. Back then, whenever I walked through a mall, I always felt like I was on display. Eyes were always on me. Strangers would stare. Some would say hello as if they knew me. Some would wave. My students would greet me if they spotted me out in public. Once I was dressed up for a party and heads turned. I think that is the only time in my life that heads actually turned to look at me. Well, aside from the time I tripped and fell in the middle of traffic. That was a different sort of attention grabbing. Maybe someday I’ll post a photo from that party in Japan. I’m sorry but I have no photo of falling flat on my face in the middle of the road.
I’ll have to share some photos of the paintings once they are complete. In the meantime, please feel free to gaze deeply at the photos of my paint supplies. Also take some time to have a wonderful weekend too!