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As a teacher one of my favourite books to read to kids is the classic ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl. So much about this book appeals to children- it’s rhyming techniques, humourous commentary and most of all its very vivid yet imaginative imagery. Willy Wonka and his eccentric style, Augustus Gloop covered in chocolate, the tiny and energetic oompa-loompas…the list is endless.
Generally I would say I’m a social person, and as one who has moved countries quite a bit, I’m used to being the newbie and finding myself in unfamiliar situations. This is where my insecurities come out, my self-consciousness. Walking into a room of strangers always makes me anxious. I feel like all eyes are on me, judging, waiting to see me mess up. My head floods with thoughts-“Do I fit in? Do people think I belong here? Is everyone staring at me? Will they like me? Am I trying too hard? “In my mind I change from me- an average, ‘normal’ girl -to a Violet Beauregarde look-alike.
Those of you familiar with the story will have an image of poor Violet immediately. If you ask any of my students I’m sure most will tell you its their favourite part of the story, the part where Violet tries a piece of blueberry flavoured chewing-gum and begins to transform into an actual blueberry. And I’ll admit, this is indeed hilarious as a bystander, however I’m pretty sure it’s not so funny for poor Violet. Everyone staring and laughing, and no matter what she does she cant help but balloon and turn a most horrific shade of purple. It may not be what is happening to me physically, but it’s often how I feel inside amongst strangers. I feel like I stand out, that everyone is looking, waiting for me to confirm their initial thoughts that I am not one of them.
In recent years I’ve learned better ways of dealing with it, and I’m now more like Violet at the end of the story after the juice is squeezed out. Still purple mind you, just not as swollen. Children will always ask the question when they see Violet at the end- ‘Will she always be purple teacher?’ According to Roald Dahl, unfortunately so and I suppose the same applies to me. I’m sure I’ll always carry my violet side- I’m just hoping to fit through doors more easily…and hey maybe if I keep smiling and talking people won’t notice my purple hue.