I took chemistry my junior year in high school. Mr. Wortham was my teacher. He had never had me as a student, I never had him as a teacher until that class. A few weeks into the class he gave me my nickname, Tigger.
I entered his class, probably louder then I needed to be, maybe singing a song or talking with my best friend Scott. I know I said hello to Mr. Wortham, I did that with all my teachers. He was at his station at the front of the class when he said, “Jamey, you remind me of that Winnie the Pooh character that is always bouncing around.”
“Tigger?” I asked.
“Yeah, him. You are always bouncing around this class.”
I smiled at my new nickname, Tigger.
It stuck, too. Teachers would use it. Girlfriends would address letters to me using Tigger. In fact, all six of my children got some version of a Tigger doll when they were little. Through speech, my oldest son has connected with past colleagues of mine, and they ask him if I still sing in the hallways.
Even though my personal journey has some rough and dark moments (if you are a fan of my poetry you know this), I have always had a bouncy personality with others. Except lately…
I recently was a guest on Joshua Grant’s YouTube show, Diabolical Shrimp, and I had to bring an item for show and tell. I couldn’t find the first item I wanted to bring (you’ll have to watch the show to hear about that one). I thought about bringing one of my children’s plush Tigger toys. As I decided on which one, I thought about how I don’t fit the nickname anymore. I wondered why?
Was it simply age?
No, because at home I am still bouncy, still high energy. Even if I do like to take a nap on the weekends.
Had I changed?
Yes, that was part of it. I still make sure I treat others well. Even with my students, I do not raise my voice often. I try to make other people’s day better.
But I am more guarded. I have the metaphorical wall around my heart for protection.
The last decade.
I am not going to go into all of the events that hurt me in the last 10 years. There are snippets of that throughout my blog, but this post is about being Tigger. I have been hurt on all levels of my life; career, goals, and personal. And hurt in such different ways that it has drained me. I have stopped bouncing.
At the end of this post is a mini episode of Winnie the Pooh where Tigger is not allowed to bounce. Here is a screen shot from the episode.
Outside my home, I have to admit this is what I feel like inside. The last years had some serious wounds, but other hurts are just the constant nicks and cuts that continue to add bricks to my mindset to guard my heart.
The root question is do I want to be Tigger again in public?
Maybe a worse question is, can I be that way again?