You would think after thirty-two years in the classroom that I have seen it all. Well, children never stop surprising me. When my students came into the classroom I noticed a strong fragrance of coconut. They unpacked and got settled into their desks. Our room REALLY smelled good. Another teacher came in and she commented on the coconut smell and one of my little girls announced that she was the one who smelled so good. I asked her what made her smell that way and she proceeded to say; “You know that stuff you spray in the bathroom? Well, I sprayed it all over me this morning!” Yes, air freshener used as body spray! Of course I explained that it was not good to be sprayed with bathroom spray and she promised she’d never do it again. I am not sure what brand it was but it had a long lasting aroma, that’s for sure!
I can’t say it ever occurred to me to spray myself with air freshener but there have been times that I wished I could cover up some of my grime so others would just see the sweet smelling side of me. Covering up my weaknesses, insecurities, and failures just feels safer than exposing the real me. I tell my second graders all the time that it is ok to make mistakes, and just to do their best but I don’t often apply those thoughts to myself. I think that is how we lose ourselves. We present the sweet side pretending there isn’t a smelly side. And we’re all doing it! How much better would our world be if we shared our flaws and supported each other in our weaknesses? What if we got to know each other and cared for each other at our most vulnerable moments?
We live in a world where the perfect body, in the perfect outfit, with the perfect hair and makeup are seen as beautiful and accepted. I am here to tell you that this old gal sags and bags in all the wrong places, elastic waist pants are closer to becoming my style and my hair? Naturally curly with a mind of its own. Oh, and putting eye makeup on is like driving a jeep over a gravel road. My point is, we spend so much time trying to let everyone believe we are what we are not and in the process miss out on embracing who we really are. I know because this is a lesson I am learning and it’s time for me, and all of us, to leave the air freshener in the bathroom where it belongs and be who we are really meant to be. Only then will we be living the sweet smelling life.