If you don’t already know, my name is Lauren.
In February of this year, I watched my life begin to change. I had just started my first year of teaching 7th, 8th and 9th grade special education, that September. I was the new girl in the building and lets just say it didn’t go as I had hoped. I figured the school year was going to be stressful, I mean I was a first year teacher after all, but I didn’t realize that I was going to have the middle school experience as an adult. What do I mean? Well, I was gossiped about, made fun of and I had rumors spread about me by so-called professionals.
Everyone has been the newbie at some point in their lives, so right off the bat, I made sure to be extra nice, polite, respectful and helpful. So when I found out all these negative things were happening behind my back, by people who were nice to my face, I was incredibly confused. I spent hours trying to figure out what I did or said to make these people act so negatively towards me. The damage – high anxiety and depression – was already done by the time I figured out the problem wasn’t with me, it was with the people around me; it was the environment I was in.
Still, I went to work everyday, spent hours planning lessons in two subjects that I thought I had no business teaching, (side note: all of my students except for one passed for the year, so I guess I proved myself wrong!) emailing and calling parents, attending faculty and department meetings, creating IEPs and attending annual reviews, and of course, teaching the future generation. Watching my students come to class, excited to know what we were going to learn that day, asking questions, and realizing that being a special education student doesn’t make them any less capable to be successful in school was why I went to work everyday. I endured my own personal hell to make sure they had the school experience they deserved.
Just when I had thought things couldn’t get worse, life was like “Hey Lauren! Watch this!”. There I was going through the experience of being sexually assaulted. That feeling when it happens (not once, not twice but several times) is so incredibly numbing. I feel like people always have an “idea” of what they would do if they were in that situation, but truthfully, my instincts, my feelings, my thoughts, my body, froze. Each time it happened, I felt a little part of me die inside. I was already anxious and depressed, but this, this really sent me over the edge. I didn’t just feel parts of me dying, I felt like I, as a human being, wanted to die. I didn’t want to be here, I wanted the pain and suffering to stop. I was too weak. I couldn’t get past this.
All of this has turned me into someone that I don’t recognize. Happiness, in any form, has been few and far between. Panic, anxiety, depression and trauma have been all I know. I’ve played the pity party spiel one too many times. I’ve victim blamed myself and replayed the assaults over and over in my head, like a record on a record player. I’m lucky though because with the support of my family and some truly amazing friends, I’m going to therapy to work on regaining my life back and working on becoming a happier, healthier, more successful version of myself.
So through therapy, I’ve decided to use this space dedicated to the things that make me happy. Well, one thing in particular: Mets baseball. Yes I know, you’re reading that and asking yourself, “How in the world can the Mets make you happy”? It’s quite simple really. Baseball is the one sport I have loved fully since I was a kid. I was born a Mets fan. The orange and blue runs through my body. I will laugh, cry, cheer, curse, love and hate this team until the day I die (and probably in heaven as well). When I go to Citi Field for a game, whether I’m with my dad or friends, I’m in the happiest state of mind. Citi Field is my happy place. There truly is no place like home.