Searching for Attention

Do you think I’m a freak?

I ask this because a few weeks ago, someone whose opinion I value a lot told me that it was bothersome when I took my insulin shots, that it might be better to do so at least when out in public, in the bathroom.I mean, I wouldn’t put myself on stage with a needle in hand but can’t I just do what I need to do without feeling like I’m under a microscope? (This is one of the few moments in my life when I don’t want to draw attention to myself and am not too busy drawing doodles anyway) 

Star Sluggers and dapper dogs

Star Sluggers and dapper dogs

Now I don’t mean to make anyone uncomfortable but who do you think my injecting of a shot bothers more; the person that can easily avert their eyes or the person that depends on that medication to live and has to repeatedly stab themselves and will have to do so for the rest of the unforseen future? Haven’t I been inconvenienced enough?

I hate to say it, but I believe exposure to the trial s and tribulations of others makes the surrounding community more compassionate and understanding. I think if we started taking notice that not everyone has it as easy or as good as we do in any given circumstance, we won’t take our health our friends  our opportunities so for granted and will feel more gratitude and obligation to help others.Just to clarify, I rarely feel ostracized for my diabetes and in the moments when it does raise its sugar-sensitive head I have a really understanding and supportive group around me in my professional and personal life- in this case diabetes has actually helped me realize how lucky I am,well in areas other than pancreas-function.

Everyone has their special circumstances; some expose it to the world and some are better at concealing it.  It helps when others are sensitive to our individual circumstances but I hate the feeling of drawing attention to myself because of any form of weakness., blood sugar status included. I think we’d all rather be noticed for our wonderful talents, our generous personality, our upstanding work ethic than HOW HARD it is for us but this of course means that you actually have to push past those feelings of wanting to stay in bed, or sit out the hard stuff.

Oh to be young and diabetes and celiac free at Regional Dance America with Heidi, Mer, and Rachael again

Oh to be young and diabetes and celiac free at Regional Dance America with Heidi, Mer, and Rachael again

I am struggling a lot with one of my afterschool musical theatre classes; wait, let me rephrase that. I am struggling a lot with one student out of fifteen in my class. She is, week after week, the one that pushes the other kids, tells them to shut up, and is always pestering me with , ‘Miss Jeeeesssss, so-and-so is in my waaaay/ said something to me/ looked at me funny’….and to be honest, I am torn between wanting to ask, ‘did you provoke him/her’ because she probably did, and wanting to simply say,’ ok, you have shown yourself not capable of playing nicely with the rest of the class so I’m kicking you out so that the rest of us can learn this fun little song in relative peace’. Last monday, I had them drawing headshots and she was in absolute hysterics because her depiction of her mouth didn’t come out as imagined in her head. I was tempted at that point to say, ‘have you ever heard of Picasso? Let’s discover cubism and then you won’t feel so bad about your drawing skills!’ (Sorry, I hate Mr. P) Between constant acting out, the occasional refusal to participate, and the crying spell I just have to think that this child- while annoying in the moment, I’m ashamed to admit- is really probably suffering from some kind of doubt or image problem.

I find it hard to know how to react to her now that I am wondering if she needs help and how I can best do so. I think rules and self-discipline are there for a reason. I think most people need consequences to adjust their behavior and will continue to act wrongly if they think they can get away with it. At some point, we have to put our foot down. But when I see a child so upset over a drawing and chronically misbehaving I have to think that this is a terrible but desperate plea for attention. I wonder if her chances of emotional and musical success are better served excused from the iron fist of time-outs that typically dominate my classroom, if I made a few more special exceptions for her until she realized that it’s much more fun to be praised for ‘what a great job you’re doing!‘ than ‘Yes, I notice you. I notice you kicking my favorite student and now I’m pretty mad at you’. (I don’t say this, I just think it occasionally).

I think asking for special attention or more notice than we’re getting is a hard thing for anyone in any profession, in any relationship. I felt guilty asking my Mom to make a gluten-free easter dinner. I feel embarrassed when I have to step out of class for a minute to check my blood sugar. I would really prefer to be perfectly strong and capable and adaptable. But no one is really this way, and I’m coming to realize it’s much better to hold myself to as few special exceptions as possible and humbly ask for them when they are necessary.

I love this plea for attention; Duomo Cathedral in Milan Italy posed an art instillation of over 50 recycled plastic blue snails from the international Cracking Art Group in the areas that need reconstruction. The snail shape is a reference to the gradual deterioration of the architecture that has perhaps, gone unnoticed over time. 



The building up oneself is also no easy feat, can usually use a touch up, and yet is a divine and worthy process. It’s also one that isn’t easily done alone. It seems the best way to draw attention to ourselves is with truth and or creativity. Or both.


I want to invent a blood sugar meter with voice activation that places McDonald’s drive-thru orders when my sugar drops. “yyyeah, gimme one of dem double bacon diabet-anators- hold the lettuce- and uh…what flavor shakes you got?” (If it’s going to be disruptive, it might as well be funny. And grammatically incorrect, because that’s funny) I want it to have the same voice as this machine:

Or you could always start a blog to share your innermost silly thoughts and hope that someone appreciates your effort. “Bless her, she tries so hard” I’m curious fellow educators, do you hold everyone to the same standard or make special expetions when they probably CAN help it?

Take pity on me and all with the occasionally problematic exteriors as I will try to do for my students with special-needs interiors. Don’t we all belong in that category sometimes, anyways? xo- jess


2 thoughts on “Searching for Attention

  1. Do I make special exceptions when they CAN help it? Hmm… I probably shouldn’t but I do. Recently I had a group of students ask to give a presentation later in the week even though they were supposed to give it in the beginning. They pleaded, said they had a major exam in a major-related course. I let them push their date back. They could have helped it. They could have prepared to give their presentation ahead of time so they would have time to study for their exam. Why did I let them? 50% was me being nice. The other 50% was me analyzing the effect on the class, and other students, and concluding it wouldn’t change my teaching or impact others performance. I try to remember that “Perfect is the enemy of good” (Voltaire, or so it is said) and German General Moltke, “No plan survives contact with the enemy”, while preparing classes.

  2. Pingback: FLEXN Evolution Review; Why the theater is the best place for activism | BODIES NEVER LIE

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