Jan 5, 2012

Dear Self

Dear Self, So nearly a year ago, we posted a letter to ourself ending with the admittedly sarcastic hope that next year we would look back on 2011 and laugh at our misery and melodrama. I am pleased to note our intuition did not fail us and we can indeed look back over the year and laugh.
Because sweet mother of ducks, we had no idea just how much worse it would get.
I am officially chalking up 2011 as the worst year of my life. There have been some good things...and there have been some things that are good when considered with the fact that I could've been run over by a truck instead.
Let's start with the unmitigated good.
1. The births of my nieces, J and E. Love those girls, so much.
2. No more relatives have died.
Huh. You know, up until this very moment, I thought I had more. I really did.
The good by default (considering I could have been run over by a truck instead).
1. I'm pretty sure I still like teaching.
2. I'm not living in my car.
Four. Four bright spots in the shambles that is my life right now, and two of them are bright by default. Awesome job, there, Elf.
I don't even really know why I'm writing this. Won't change anything. Or maybe I'm just some kind of masochist, enumerating my failures here. I don't even know at this point.
Oh Life, how over you've fucked me, let me count the ways...
1. I left the school I was teaching at. For the second year in a row, even though I knew it would look bad on my resume'. I couldn't stat there, though...if there is one thing I've learned, here, it's that inner-city charter schools in Ohio are miserable, miserable places. The "management team" running the company had no idea what they were doing, throwing policies in place that were utterly useless in dealing with our students. I literally had a kid in my classes who punched a teacher in the face, threatened to hit another one, had a total of about fifty write-ups. The principal moved to expel, the parent wasn't even trying to contest it, and "management" overturned the expulsion because the kid had an IEP and they were worried about going to court. Which they wouldn't have because I and my team were professionals who followed all student IEP's to the letter. Which is neither here nor there because their solution was to pull the schools intervention specialist as a full time "aide" for this one child to basically control him so we could get some teaching done in the class.
Which meant none of the other special needs kids in the school on his roster were getting their instruction hours with him.
Which was completely fucking illegal.
Out of a staff of twenty-odd teachers, nine of us declined our contracts. Not "weren't asked back", declined to COME back.
I couldn't make myself go back to a school that made me feel the way that place did. Unfortunately, this summer saw schools cutting positions instead of hiring (thank you Governor) and so I have joined the ranks of the unemployed. But since I quit, I can't get any unemployment benefits. So my choices basically boiled down to go back to a situation where I was regularly cussed at, threatened, at risk of being injured breaking up a fight, talked down to and undervalued by management...or live life with no health insurance or steady paycheck. I chose the latter for the sake of my sanity. Still not sure if that's the right decision.
I'm currently living with my mother and subbing. I get enough work to get by...but my savings are dwindling and I live each month with my heart in my throat until I get enough sub days that I know I'll have enough to pay all my bills that month. Yay.
Moving back in with my mother has been...difficult, but I can't in good conscience complain as she's the reason I'm not living in my car.
2. I had to have my dog put down. That one's still fresh.
3. Extended family situation has gotten worse, not better. Now we're also having to deal with my aunt running her and my grandmother into the poorhouse paying off debts my cousin ran up with drug dealers. With that and the family "feud" going on, we've almost hit the white trash trifecta.
4. About a month and a half after one of my sisters announced her pregnancy, the other one announced she was pregnant as well. Accidentally. Well, we're supposed to think it was accidental. In reality, one of her friends from high school emailed me and asked me to try and talk her out of her plan to have a baby so her boyfriend (who had thrice cheated on her) wouldn't leave her. She doesn't know that I know that. That email was a little too late though, so I got to find out she was pregnant via text message from the other sister.
And let me be clear, here. I love her daughter to the stars and back. I'm an awesome aunt, if I do say so myself, and I am so happy that BOTH these babies are in our lives.
But on the heels of last summer's ttc heartache, there is still a part of me that wants to know why the Universe saw fit to let her be a mother and not me.
Hanging out with my sisters is hard now, sometimes. Listening to them talk about the babies and compare milestones and trade stories and advice with our mom. The four of us have always been so close since my parents split up...and now it feels like there's this whole other level of our family that I'm not really a part of.
And what the hell am I supposed to say..."stop being so happy around me, it hurts?" I may be a whiny bitch sometimes, but I'm not that much of a bitch. And it's not like it's completely horrible. I do love my nieces to pieces (yay, poetry!) and I'm happy for my sisters (even though I think the younger one was irresponsiblee as hell and her babbydaddy--now husband--is a giant douchebag)
Just, I'm also sad for me.
I'm glad for my nieces' presence, but sometimes it hurts so damn much. I am so tired of hurting. I'm tired of this near-constant aching, like ends of a broken bone grinding together. I'm tired of never feeling like I've had time to breathe before the next hit comes. I'm so sick of hurting.
The chasm that exists between where I thought I'd be at this point in my life and where I actually am just steals my breath sometimes. How the fuck did things go this wrong?
So yeah, self. We are most assuredly not in the better place we hoped we'd be last year. And okay, the job situation is our fault. We severely underestimated just how bad the Ohio job market is for teachers. I'm not sure staying where we were was something we could've handled, but at least we'd have a job.
Everything else, though. Cripes, what the hell did we do in our last life? 'Cause it must have been horrible. I hope some version of us reads this soon and can say that things are better...but I don't really see that happening any time soon.

Location:Seventh Circle of Hell

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