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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time Capsule

Okay-- so we are all aware that I suck at the baby book thing, and that I often use the blog as sort of a time capsule.



I realized that October 12th is coming up-- and that's a pretty important day for me.  See, three years ago BEFORE October 12th, 2010, I was a teacher, part time.  Mate took the kids to school in the morning and I took Squish to day care, and then I picked everybody up (except T) in the afternoon.  My staff room had sort of turned into a snakepit of misogyny.  I was pretty sure I was the worst teacher and the most worthless human being on the planet.  Things may have been looking up--my students were better three years ago than they had been the year before, and our principal was doing his best to keep everyone positive and find new ways to make the school a better place to be.  That didn't keep me from listening to things like "Bleed it Out" and "Something to Believe" and "Let it Die" every morning, after I dropped Squish off. I needed something--something-- to keep me going, to make me believe I was capable of doing this job, of doing it well.

But the kids were fun-- and I was having fun with them, and I was pretty adept at avoiding my staff room by then.




If I look at the blogs, I can't hardly see the seam.

I can't see the transition from that life-- which was really hard, but that I was proud of (when I wasn't talking to my department head at the time)-- to this one, which is hard in different ways and that I'm proud of in different ways.  One day I'm talking about how we had a really hectic week that we wrapped up at Six Flags, and the next blog entry I mention that I got a chance to do aqua aerobics during the day.  I had to check the dates three times to make sure that the rug had been pulled out from under my feet in the spaces between.

Sure enough-- Monday-- the post about Six Flags.  Thursday, the post about the swimming.

Between Monday and Thursday, I got a call (Monday night) and told that I wasn't going to be teaching the next day.  "Should I leave a lesson plan?"  I asked, thinking that this would be a one day thing-- what had I done, after all, that could have been that bad.

"I think that would be a very professional thing to do," my union representative said soothingly.

That night, my principal called me up-- he wasn't supposed to do that-- and he told me that, no matter what happened the next day, he knew I was the person he had worked with for ten years.  That has meant a lot to me for the last three years.

That morning I stopped and left a lesson plan, and a laughing note to my students that I was in the doghouse, but to listen to the sub, and then I went up to the office.  On my way, I met two fellow veterans.  Now, I talk a lot about the misogyny of the staff room, and it pains me to admit that in a way these guys contributed to that-- but they weren't, on their own, bad men.  In fact, they'd fought for me a couple of times, and we were, in our way, friends.  They told me good luck, and I said thank you.  One of them also asked, in that way he had of being blunt with me because he could, "What did you do?"  At that point, neither of us knew.

It was the last time I saw them, and the last time I was on campus when students were present.

I waited in the conference room, and an administrator whose name I barely knew (and whose name I keep forgetting now, which is weird) came in and read a statement in which he accused me of pedophilia and pornography, because I let my students read my books.



I came home shaken, devastated, and told Mate tearfully that I had apparently sacrificed my job for my writing.

"Which books?" he asked.

"Truth in the Dark and Litha's Constant Whim."

"Oh.  Well at least it's important," he said.

I think I told my more personal friends on the internet-- and because not everybody is ever in the same room, I've had to tell that story a number of times since then.  But now, as the mornings are more crisp, and I'm getting into the hang of taking the kids to school again, and the light turns gold, it's coming back to me.  Chicken is starting her second year of not being part of that morning routine.  Big T is starting his third.  And after October 12th, I will be starting my fourth.

But that moment, when I came into the kitchen and sat down on a kitchen chair (we bought a desk chair that December) and looked at my computer after my husband left-- that was the beginning of where I am today.

We're approaching another anniversary of the same month.

See, after I'd been taken out of my classroom, things were up in the air for a while.  There was talk of me being allowed back in after signing my soul over in some papers that it makes me nauseous to think of having my name on.  Anyway--like I said.  Up in the air.

And in the middle of this, I went to Yaoi-Con-- my first convention.  Elizabeth North was there.

On October 30th, we sat in a lounge corner of a hotel bar, and she told me how she started Dreamspinner Press.  I'd told her (and Lynn West) about my new job situation already-- I had to.  They needed to take "teacher" off of all of my biographical material, whether or not I got to teach again.

"What would it take," she asked me seriously, "for you to not ever have to go back in a classroom again?"

Well, I'll be honest.  Part of what it took was over a year on paid leave, and another part of what it took was the settlement money when my district finally decided to settle.  That was it-- we'd paid off our debts from living on a shitty teacher's salary (part time!) as a second income, and we could take a risk on what I would make as a writer alone.

But part of what it took is right here, right back where I started: at my kitchen table, in front of a computer, pulling stories out of the air and setting them down.

Now, I'm pretty sure my "anniversary" is going to come and go without notice.  We're going to have a tournament that weekend, and I'll be packing for GRL the next week.  It's a Saturday-- it'll probably blow right by me.

But today, when I have the little dog in my shirt instead of the big dog on the ground, and my now seven year old Squish started my morning by singing Death Cab For Cutie, "You'll Be Loved", and my Chicken is coming to come home so she can turn nineteen with us, I thought I'd remember.

Three years ago I was a teacher, and I was pretty sure I was nothing, nobody, and unimportant.

Today, I am a writer, and hopefully I teach other people that they are something, somebody, and mean the world.

Someday, you will be loved.

9 comments:

Wicked said...

You were always important to your family, I'm pretty sure you were important to a great number of students, and I know you are important to your readers. Thank you for being you and for sharing a part of your world with us.

Carole-Ann Warburton said...

You will always be loved by the people who read your books!!

Sometimes, it takes a life-changing event to reach what-you-are-really-meant-to-be situation; and although it is heartbreaking at the time, with hind-sight, it is usually the best thing you've ever done!!

I'm sorry for the past events which have altered your life; but I'm NOT sorry for the stories you have given us over the last three years:- they are beautiful; full of love and meaning; exquisitely rendered in some of the best emotive writing I have ever had the priviledge to read; - and I love you for it!

I've been there (almost from the beginning) and I don't regret a second of it!!!

Hugs, cuddles, and 'pats on the head' as a 'there, there'

Love, as always
Carole-Ann

posyroberts.com said...

You made me cry. Your story hits very close to home.

Roxie said...

My dear, you sucketh not, neither do you bore. You are, have been, and will be important. I am so glad you are away from the ass-hats!!

DecRainK said...

You have the eternal love of this person! I adore your writing - be it your books (ALL of them!), your blog, or what you post of Facebook. You always brighten my day (though sometimes through tears!)

bibliojunkies said...

However this all came about, in the end you have touched so many lives. Thank you for sharing your remarkable gift with us. We're all the better for it!

Nat & Bel

rhysford.com said...

We are so gonna rock San Diego :D

Donna Lee said...

I remember so very well the day they told me "We won't be offering you a teaching position for the next year" (all because I did not suck up to the principal). I was devastated. I loved teaching special ed and was working on my final certification.

BUT, I ended up in social work, working with people and really enjoying what I do (most of the time).

I have a tendency to think the "close one door and a window opens" kind of stuff is crapola but sometimes, just sometimes, it's true.

Galad said...

Look at you now and how far you've come!