Sincerely, Me

of all the photos you take, the real and unposed one is the best.

Sincerity. I word you have (hopefully) been learning about since you were a youngster. I sign emails with this word often: “Sincerely, Amanda”. Sometimes I cringe when it is a copy and pasted form, and I scramble my brain for ways to make it a real and sincere (ding ding ding word of the day!) message.

For a long time in my life I never questioned others sincerity often. It’s not that I have been naively floating for the past 29 years, but I just felt that I was a really good judge of people’s general sincerity (omitting certain exes). This judgement I trusted most when it came to female friends. Most certainly if someone didn’t like me for who I was, or wasn’t willing to stick it out with me as I grew, were not a good lifelong friend and could scoot happily on their way out of my life.

Then enter the year 2015. It seems all the high school angst I mostly skipped over decided it was now time for me to face this lesson. May of 2015 I decided I wanted to grow professionally as a teacher and try a new school with better opportunities for me as a teacher. Almost instantly after being hired I was added on to a group messaging app. Everyone was so welcoming! They even invited me bowling with my new colleagues and I was so pumped. Next I was invited to lunch, at a bar! Surely this is a group of fun loving but professional women.

I entered the school almost like a kid does on their first day in a new grade (actually probably more nervous, lets me honest). Most greeted me kindly and I was so ecstatic not to meet the kids but have a great group of adults to work with. The school I left was more than challenging but the women I worked with were women I will never forget due to their beautiful and transparent hearts. How could this be any different?

Days went by and no colleagues came to my door. That’s fine I thought I will go to them! Days went by and I slowly realized that unless I was greeting them with the daily dose of petty drama I was not allowed. Constant comments about my weight under the russe of feigned sweet jealousy became a daily occurrence (ladies raise your hand if you want others talking about your body negatively every day… Anybody? Bueller?).  It got to a point where some women wouldn’t even respond to my hellos in the hall way and my principal who was “so stoked” to hire me turned out to be verbally abusivr and literally grinned at me when I told her I would not return for a second year, even though my students literally ran to me in the hall just to tell me they loved me and give me a hug.

I felt so duped. These bubbly women who “worked til seven” every night spent a large part of their contract time and there after talking (pardon my French) shit on each other. What a terrible thing to find under the mask of women I wanted so badly to respect and be close to at first.

I do want to say there were a few other very wonderful women at this place, and sadly they either survived the social elements or were experiencing what I did. I was sad to see so few stand up for the right thing. Even a mentor I admired very much chalked it up to “women just do that”. Really? Because I know plenty who dont.

In the midst of my professional night mare I took stock of my own friends and acquaintances. Who takes the time to keep up the friendship when I don’t do it? Always being the social butterfly I started to question what others motives were and are in my life. Are they sincere? Are they genuine? Will they work for it? Or is it easy, a simple place to fall with a friend who is always ther and always take them back? Or am I a placeholder? Someone who is giving and will do the work so they don’t have to.

Right now in my life I crave sincerity and I see genuine love, affection, and friendship slowly filling in the cracks where others don’t. Now I don’t write this post to whine, or condemn, or throw a pity party. I write it to all the other women who give too much to please take time and take stock of those who are sincerely in your life, and those who may have other motives. I beg other omen to take a look at who they are hurting so they can feel important and secure. Security does not come from that, trust me. It comes from love.