Ok, the last post I said that great teachers helped get me through high school with some sense of accomplishment. This post continues my high school years, because I had a BIG learning curve, not only in academics, but also in saying NO and NO THANK YOU.
In my senior year of high school, I was doing pretty well and I decided to take a weight training class- the first weight training class that I had taken since 9th grade. I was doing well, mostly because the teacher was able to accept the flexibility that I required to take the class. Some days, I would change into my gym clothes and I wouldn't work out. A few times fellow classmates made comments which weren't the nicest, and the teacher promptly shut them down. He made it clear that I was in charge of myself, and that there would be consequences if they didn't accept that. However, partway through the class I started hurting- everywhere, no breaks, and it didn't go away. Soon walking was a problem, it was so painful to move. I went into the doctor where I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia--lucky me!! It was so hard for me to get around to do anything. I started learning how to live with pain. I dropped the weight training class as soon as I could, but in the meantime the teacher let me do whatever I wanted. He never criticized me, made me feel like my best wasn't enough, or made me feel unwanted in his class because of more health problems.
As a result of my Fibromyalgia, I was staying at home a lot, and missing school. The school had an attendance policy where if you had more than 2 absences from a class, excused or unexcused, you had to pay money and attend attendance periods. I was missing a lot more than 2 days, and when I did make it to school it was a miracle. My teachers were really good at working with me- by this time, the process of educating my teachers was a lot better and there was backup from my previous teachers. One day, I went into the attendance office and was informed that I had to make up my absences, even though my Mom had called and excused me. The vice principal kept insisting that if I wanted to graduate (which I knew that I wasn't), I had to make up my many absences. I finally had to get my Mom involved, and also the school counselor who knew me well by now to get the vice principal to back down and leave me alone.
I had to get good at getting adults to speak to other adults since I wasn't believed by myself. An example is when I had made it to my classes for the first time in weeks, and there was a school assembly that was going on after my classes. When I tried to drive out of the parking lot, the school cop was blocking the exit and refused to let me leave even when I told him that I had no more classes for the day. I told him to contact previous teachers or my school counselor on his walkie talkie, which he did. The cop passed on my name, and that I was trying to leave. My former teacher, Mr. H was on the other end and his response was "let her out, damn it!!" I was able to get out, and will forever remember the look on the cop's face when this happened.
The yearly testing came around, and I still wasn't doing very well. Walking hurt, and stairs were either impossible or really time and energy consuming. The school counselor told me that in order to get ANY credit for the math class that I was in, I had to take a test (it was for funding purposes). I hadn't been to class in a while, and it was communicated to me that the test was of greatest importance. My math teacher's room was upstairs, so I made arrangements to take the test on the ground level. Everyone I talked to was really confused why the stairs would be such a big deal. I literally shuffled into the office where I was going to take it, and my counselor almost winced as she watched me come in. A light almost flicked on, and I was given the test, which I started. However, I couldn't think very well since fatigue+pain= no brain. Soon I wasn't even looking at the questions, it was such a lost cause. Holding the pencil to fill in the circles was also really painful. By the time I shuffled out, my counselor was really sorry that I had to come into school JUST to take a test when I couldn't even make it to class.
Also during that time I was nominated for being such a good student in a certain class. I got called down to the principals' office to help encourage me to keep doing well, along with another dozen students. It was during the time that making it to school was a big victory for me. I made my way (slowly and painfully) to the principal's office, where he then went on how we were all great students, keep up the good work, all of you will be graduating, the improvements on his golf game, etc.. I interjected that no, I was not allowed to graduate and that I hadn't been in class for a while, and that he was wasting my time and if I could leave to go back to class. His jaw dropped, along with the other students in the room. I then shuffled my way out of his office, with no response except sheer shock. Before I got sick, I wouldn't have done this at all. I was really quiet, went with the group, and wasn't that blunt. This assertiveness was a part of me that came out when I was in trouble, and helped me deal with the unnecessary stuff that was thrown at me.