Thursday, November 11, 2010
Healing the Resume, Part 4
Last night I had a dream that me and some of the stars of this story were having tequila shots together to celebrate the end of summer. Maybe that means that I really am healing, that maybe my silly soul will move on from those rooms…
Gonna try to keep this last installment brief. If you’ve read this far, God love ya. I owe you a million.
By the time I got to that last scary meeting, I felt both disappeared and surveiled. I felt like I had no right to a point of view and no place to turn. I felt like a pervert and a toxic spill.
The OM arrived at the meeting with a form to fill out. She wanted a record of what had happened between me and D. If I had it to do over, I would’ve taken the whole thing to actual HR. For whatever reason, The boss and I both left the car-aiming out of the story. I did say that I would have been terrified to contact D. outside of work.
In the process of filling out the form, I found out that after I confessed a crush on my (have to say here, ADULT) co-worker, CF and D. started to suspect that the kids weren’t safe around me. CF kept saying over and over, “I watch you, you know. I watch you.” Like I said, I was feeling watched, so it was at least comforting to know I wasn’t paranoid.
The boss’s boss kept making fun of me, saying “Oh, yeah, let me go hit on my straight coworker, ha ha ha.” (Perhaps she got so very straight by aiming a car at me? I don’t know.)
The reason the meeting had been called was because CF was mad that I’d been trying to work out something so that my teaching partner would be civil to me. “All you do is try to force people to like you.” All I wanted, all along, was some semblance of pleasantness. Neutrality, even.
At that point, I stayed civil, but all of my frustrations from the past few years came pouring out. I said I felt too sick to work that day, and CF did her CF thing and rolled her eyes to beat the band. I went home on the understanding that I was going home to figure out whether or not to give notice.
I called Amy, my Mom, my Dad, my brother. When I told my Dad that I felt like I would be letting down Martin Luther King if I didn’t complete my second term of service, he said this: “Well, a lot of people let down Martin Luther King.” Everyone was so kind and supportive. I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through it, otherwise.
In addition to mulling over the job-quitting that day, I was also waiting to hear if I’d gotten into Teach for America. I was so tired, drained and lost, that it was kind of a relief when the rejection came. A then-muse sent me a text saying “Isn’t that a good thing?’ and I saved it for a good-luck charm.
Blessedly, Amy was using up some vacation days. She took the next day off. I called in sick and gave my 2-Week notice. My friends in the main office began calling immediately to offer me help and try to convince me to stay. I really appreciated that so much, but I didn’t call back.
Amy and I went to the Picasso exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sitting there on the Picasso-designed couch looking at the beautiful paintings and cinnamon-colored walls, listening to some ladies behind me go on and on about who would inherit the family china, it was the most like a person I’d felt in months. I knew I couldn’t go back to work.
The Pennsylvania Director was upset because she knew I’d lose that year’s education award (around 1800$) for leaving early. I hoped that that might make her notice what’d happened.
Closeted Mormon Boy texted to say he didn’t think he’d make it without me. Can some angels or something please look after him? And convince him he isn’t going to hell, while they’re at it?
I feel guilty that I didn’t get to say goodbye to the kids, but I didn’t want to involve them in the drama, and I didn’t want to be watched for 2 more weeks. I emailed my grown up friends to say that I wouldn’t be coming back.
When Amy brought me to the site the following day to pick up my stuff, I was scared to death that they would somehow make me stay. I saw one of my cute students on the way in, just smiled and said hello. Luckily no adults had come into the office yet. I left a note that said “I am sorry. I have to get myself healthy or I won’t be able to help anyone.” I packed my little pink bins again, threw them into reusable shopping bags, and went back out to the car. On the way back to the apartment, some XPN song came on about having to lose things so that new things could come. I wish I knew what song it was. Seems like they only played it that week.
(That Friday, I would go to the Fuze and meet my future boss, who was then the boss of one of the students from my adult poetry class. That synchronicity gives me faith)
The teacher bins sat in the car for a few weeks, then in the hallway for a few more weeks. They were hard to face.
It’s been a very tough time since March, but also on of the most creatively fruitful. I think I’ve gotten more publication credits in the last 9 months than I had in the previous 5 years. I am so, so lucky that I got the time to write and convalesce, and I am so, so lucky that I’m now back on a gentle trajectory towards teaching.
I hope that in the time I was there I was somehow able to impress upon my little students how special, gifted, inspiring, funny, brilliant, lovable, worthy, adorable, promising (etc, etc) they are. I wish I could tell them I’m sorry for leaving them. I loved them so, so much.