Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Supplies Out. Pentacle Away.

Once again the school year is quickly coming upon us in Wisconsin. Myself, I spend the semesters as a volunteer coordinator and part-time kid wrangler. When I stopped by my office today to make my own preparations, the tables and computers were already set up for registration this week. I'm sort of excited for registration because it means an official start to the inherent madness that is middle school. I get to meet kids who I might forget a few minutes later - those are usually the really good kids. And then I get to meet the kids whose names I will learn from hearing them repeated and screamed over the walkie-talkies - those are usually the kids who want to be good, but find the process challenging. It gets me excited for a new year of ups, downs, and head-on collisions.

However, the start of the school year also means the end of summer, and coming to grips with a new reality. I've kept the pre-registration tradition of getting one last look at myself in the mirror with my pentacle necklace on. I take the time to remember my other tradition - the second school lets out for the year one - when I put the necklace on and never take it off for a second. Heck, I didn't take it off even when I went up north to the Iron County fair when I worried that the more conservative ilk wouldn't take too kindly to it (Actually, no one batted an eye, and I met two other Pagans there. Kudos to Iron County and breaking down small town stereotypes.). I kept it on for every bellydance performance, lesson, and practice. I wore it to bed, in the shower, and when I went to the gym. But when the school year starts it has to come off.

I know why I do it. There are many reasons. Mostly because kids talk. And also because adults talk, and boy do they ever. Parents worry. Assumptions are made. And if you've ever worked in a public school before, you know that there's too much assuming and gossip already. All of these reasons go through my head that day before registration. And every year I try to fight it with my own counter arguments. I try to tell myself to wear a less conspicuous piece of jewelery. To put it under my shirt. To just stop whining already - it's just a necklace. In the end, though, I always take it off. I enjoy my job too much to turn it into a fight.

Really, it's not about wearing the pentacle itself, or about attracting attention (Though often it is how we Pagans find each other.), or even about battling some kind of perceived religious repression. It comes down to the fact that all summer I'm completely and wholly myself. But when fall rolls around... Well, I guess you could say that part of me goes into hibernation - only to emerge during the evenings, weekends, and finally in the summer.

I think I know what Persephone must feel like. :)


Mrs BC said...

Hey, I know how much of an inner struggle that is. I try to think "I'm old enough to not care & just be me" but the truth is, my kids go to a really nice, caring, nurturing.....catholic school. I don't think the P&F association would really burn me at the stake, but you are right, parents & other kids do talk, & make asumptions, that I'd rather my kids didn't have to deal with.
Nice Blog! A pagan foodie = awesome!

Melz said...

I understand that issue, take off or leave on? When I was teaching in the special needs classrooms in the local school district I had the same issue. I wanted to take mine off, but I didn't. I could argue both ways. It wasn't until one of my high school teachers approached me and told me the choice was easy. Just to believe in myself. I then found out she was a Wicca High Priestess. She even had a pentacle flag in her room (she had only taught me in the library after school for clubs, had never seen her room.)

Teachers talked, kids talked, worse were the parents. But I did like her and left it on. Only one parent harassed me and when their daughter ran up and hugged me telling that mom I was her favorite teacher, then the mom shut up. Never bothered me again.