Scientists say it’s nothing more than an optical illusion. Astrologists claim that, because of mercury in retrograde, we should not do anything hastily, like enter a contract or make a large purchase. I, for one, believe there is something about this astrological phenomenon that is severely altering the emotional state of my students.
Hysteria and general pandemonium washed over my classroom like a high-tide wave, crashing into our middle-school shore. Weighty universe altering gravitational and sentimental pulls, four different female students today cried, sobbed really, and were unable to explain exactly why. Mining for emotional gold has never been my strength, and as much as I would love to believe I can solve everyone’s problems, a cape-wearing crusader, Super Solace, you could call me, my kryptonite is tears.
Academic being far superior to my emotional intelligence, I never hazard a guess as to the trigger of female (or anyone’s) sensitivities. I know better. Growing up with an older sister and checking of hitched for my marital status, foolish I’d be to think I would stay married should I ever make a claim as to why my wife is having an emotional day. Nope. Not going to do it.
Student tears, however common In middle school, make me uncomfortable.
Sanctuary from adolescent chaos, the majority of students, some not even my own, find my class to be an extremely safe place, and many use my room as a haven, a refuge of sorts, even during the lunch hour, when they are feeling upset or emotional in anyway. A few months back, a category four of a hurricane embodied by a petite female student arrived to my fourth-period class visibly upset, her face slick with what I refer to as eye rain. Without words, she summons a dozen of her closest female friends, a coven of condolences. Around her they gathered, summoning spirits, healing energies transmitted through their presence, hands on shoulders, leaning in, giving words of affirmation, and supportive, friendly commentary.
I offered nothing but chocolate.
As I hesitantly approached the ritualistic ceremony, the student enshrouded with sympathy, my palms open. I offer her my comfort in the form of confection. Eyes glazed with wetness, the corners of her mouth form a subtle U not unlike an upside down umbrella. Accepting my gift, momentary peace ensues.
Early on in my teaching career, I learned to have a small stockpile of chocolate stored in my refrigerator or cabinets to quell the overwhelmingness of my novice teaching tumult. Diving into the sugary treats, the pleasure sensors in my brain light up whenever I eat a piece. Prone to being volatile myself, and having a hereditary predisposition for desiring chocolate thanks to my mother, the occasional piece is enough to level me again.
Cloaked in the mysterious language written in the stars, I blame the current mercury in retrograde status. At a critical time about halfway through my day today, I realize I am running on fumes, too low on my confectionery counseling to deal with the emotional upheaval should this cosmo-consuming phenomenon persist.
Warning signs of the emotional apocalypse at hand, a trip to Costco may be in order after a day like today. Wholesale quantities of dopamine-inducing goodness required for survival. Fearful of being consumed by the sentimental storms, never again will I find myself this low on something that I find more effective than my less-than-quality, verbal support.
Written in the stars is our emotional fates and our destinies can only be altered if not sheer will, than by entire constellations of condolences: chocolate. May I never again experience the chaos that is mercury in retro(eighth)grade.