Being between a big life changing move from Graz to Vienna, I took a job teaching English in a beautiful small town next to Salzburg. The job would last 4 days and I would be alone with a class of 11 kids, between 12-14 years old. As the time approached closer to the job, my confidence ebbed. I hadn’t originally wanted to be teaching alone, but as my 30th birthday had been on the horizon I told myself to grow some balls and start acting my age. In this case, I had thought being 30 meant not being afraid to do something alone and to not hide behind anyone. ‘Stand up and do something for yourself’ had told myself. I began my usual streak of worrying well ahead of the camp, and my worries were based mainly on my appearance.. I’ don’t think I look like a teacher’ I told Tom and my other friends… They told me one thing every time I voiced my thoughts, they told me to be myself and that was enough, it was enough for everything I had to do. Still I doubted, on the way to England to visit my family I told myself I would invest in some grown up clothes… all my trousers have holes, my t-shirts are mostly too big and are from bands, and my legs are covered in tattoos (one that is suspiciously shaped), yes I know I can’t invest in new legs… but maybe something to cover them.. or even just that one tattoo.
My shopping trip to find grown up clothing was a disaster. Entering a crappy vintage store, that I was immediately drawn to… I found a pair of red Adidas shorts… the investment was instinctive.. I needed them. No other purchases were made that day.. enough said.
The next try took me to the second hand market, where I found a pair of basic black trousers… they were kind of stylish, going to the ankles and could be rolled up. 2 pounds spent on my grown up self, hurray. Now I can go spend the rest of my money on the usual trash that I love so well, pictures from the thrift store, bags of candy, and most of all.. beer.
Returning home, the day of the teaching program in Salzburg approached… When I presented my trousers to my new flatmate… ‘those look like teachers trousers’ she said. I patted myself on the back… the rough and wild girl would not be in the public eye this time.
I arrived at the Salzburg camp, nervous as hell, but things flowed. They flowed from one class to the other, the teacher from Austria and the kids were so lovely and sweet, I realised I never needed to pretend to be anything un authentic to them. I found myself enjoying the classes and enjoying talking and spending time with these kids. At the end of the camp, Marion read me her report on me, she said she wanted there to be no secrets. She wrote so many wonderful things about me, how the kids liked me, how my classes were well prepared and well rounded. I got emotional, all this trying to be, when I already was. And you know what… the grown up trousers stayed hanging in my cupboard… I never even wore them