About four years ago I was at my wits end with my job situation. Loved my lovelies and their families but the environment was not conducive for my mental health. Every time something positive happened someone had to tap a hole in my bucket - teacher of the year ('who voted for her?'), National Board Certification ('she only made it by two points'), cute projects by my students ('we don't have TIME for that, we're too busy TEACHING'). Things that I should be proud of became sources of contention and not having the balls to stand up to them, I let them zap the positive vibe right out of me. To be quite honest, most were not for the challenge of my nemesis, therefore I received very little support and sometimes I wonder if that hurt more than the barbs from the haters. Six years in this environment (tried to leave twice, unsuccessfully) and at my wits end with the negative energy, I convince my husband to take a new job and BAM! we move - to another state, closer to my family. Drastic, right? But that's how I dealt with negativity - avoidance at all costs because somewhere down the line I must have done something to deserve it, right?
So we move to our new city and the job market is slim pickings - on an interview for a kindergarten position I am told that there were 126 applicants and they chose 15 to interview - WTH?! A handful of interviews later, I'm depressed and I am convinced that I'll be saying "paper or plastic" to help pay the bills. And then I get THE call...great interview, very relaxed and I really like the administrators: the next day I am offered the position but it would mean commuting over an hour one way. Nuts, right? I mean gas was near $4 a gallon and I drove a Yukon XL - a big ass beast that could navigate the winter roads easily and in comfort...priorities, right? I tell them yes so quickly that the principal laughs! Truth be told, my ego was too big to take a substitute teaching position and I felt that this was last chance, my personal and professional holy grail. And it was, in two important and priceless ways.
1. My girls were very brave and took this move in stride. C just wanted me to be happy and K was gradually coming to like Michigan - she rated it daily and it was slowly rising to about 2 (out of 10) by the time school started. The girls commuted to work with me and they were truly able to step out of their comfort zone - K grew academically and C was able to shine like I knew she could. I am not too proud to admit that I have no issues with my kids being a big fish in the little pond - good thing, but that is exactly what they were, at least in my eyes. But it was a very special little pond that embraced my girls' and I like we were one of their own. Both girls were able to shine in their own way, in ways that were hindered in NC, and of their own accord...nothing to do with mama, all them.
2. I got my sense of self back - sassy, always joking, full of laughter and fun. I was able to regain my love for teaching - my sense of self as an educator was pretty low and I had even considered changing professions...D was not going to have that as I had just finished my Master's degree and hadn't even started paying the student loans back, but it was on my mind. Anyhoo, I didn't realize it but the real "me" had gone missing. It didn't take long to realize that I was truly a likable person - if they thought I was a cocky overachiever they certainly didn't let on and hell, maybe they did and they liked it! School was fun again - I could be me and not worry about someone stirring up some nonsensical half truth about me. But damn, they liked me, they really liked me! (imagine Sally Field's 1984 Oscar Award's acceptance speech). Sure, I was 40 years old, but it felt good and it was exactly what I needed to get "me" back.
I will forever be thankful to the peeps of TAS - they helped me get my groove back. It was a short year and we headed back to NC at the end of the school year - low man on the totem pole, I was on the list to be pink slipped and D's job was changing which meant a pay cut. In hindsight, we probably should have stayed, things would have worked themselves out - obviously the worry wart in me had not completing disappeared, but she was on her way out and we confidently headed back to NC.
I'd like to say that the self-doubter never returned, but that has been a work in progress. I work in an environment where my peeps accept me for who I am - they know I will go above and beyond to get the job done but they don't judge...at least not to my face. And my dear lovelies, the beautiful children that I get to connect with everyday, they mean everything to me and I to them.
Next step? I don't know, my mind swims with ideas, but for now, this blog is my new toy and we will just have to see where it goes from there. Deuces!