I should be working out, but instead I am freaking out. Just a little.
Or a lot.
Our faculty workshops start in about a week and a half. Specifically, on my birthday. This is my time to mentally prepare for another year of too little sleep and too much work. It isn’t my first rodeo; I know that I need to relax, enjoy my last few stress free days, and set up my new grade book.
Instead all I can think is “what if it’s horrible.” Last school year was kind of miserable for me. There were the normal struggles of teaching young children, plus the demands of special needs students, and the difficulties of a growing school. Those things take a toll on me, but don’t make me spend months crying and unable to do anything but sleep. (Seriously, I slept all the time last school year, but I was always tired. It was like in high school when I had mono.) No, last school year was something different.
Last summer a woman about 10 years younger than me, with less teaching experience, was promoted over me. A person that I refer to as a “girl” (rightly or wrongly) became my superior, able to make decisions that affected my professional life. When I had an idea I had to get her approval. I was supposed to go to her to resolve conflicts with my coworkers. (This didn’t happen, since the co-worker I came into conflict most often is her best friend and roommate. I just let my anger fester and eat me alive.)
I had been led to believe that I would be the one advancing. To say her promotion came as a shock would understate it. It crushed me. I was in such disbelief that we were halfway through the school year before I even admitted what it meant. It wasn’t just that she was promoted. I would not be promoted. It wasn’t until the end of the school year that I finally let that sink in. She will be the head of the organization one day, because the board picked her. Picked her. Not me.
Not me is a familiar feeling. Now, I’m much more used to it in a romantic context rather than a professional one. In collage I was so used to “hey, who’s your friend over there?” that I simply gave up on the idea that any man would ever be interested in me. I have watched my friends post endlessly on Facebook about their ever expanding families, and when I feel jealously well up inside me I tell myself “I have a career where I am appreciated and valued, and where I will continue to grow.”
(FYI, in AA, this is called “judging my insides by other peoples’ outsides.” It’s not a good look on me.)
But in a small organization there is only so much space. And when looking toward the future the people who get to make the choice looked at her and looked at me and picked her. There is no reason she shouldn’t be the horse they bet on. She is bright, energetic, dedicated, and well liked by the parents of our more troubled students. She will mature into a perfectly competent head of school someday.
But see how tortured that compliment is? That is what I am left with. I can feel the pain of rejection expanding and contracting in my chest like a softball of fire. I want to scream “It should have been me!” and slam doors. I have to stop myself from being annoyed by everything that she says and does and remember to treat her with the respect she is owed as my superior. I have to balance my innate desire to excel at my job and the hurt little brat in me that wants to yell “fuck you all!” as she speeds out of the parking lot.
I need to rectify this in the next 10 days. I must find some peace before I walk into endless meetings and argue about which books we really “need.” I’m working on a plan. It’s a bit sparse, but here it is: enjoy my year with my students. That’s all I’ve got so far. But as far as goals go, it isn’t a bad one. I’m going to try and concentrate on making the best class I can for my students, and staying on the side of administrative side where I am wanted, that is, out of it. I have been told by many people that I have an amazing capacity to smile when I really want to rip someone’s head off (which is trait I am actually quite sad about, but that is another story), so I have every confidence that if I really try, I can smile.
It’s not a prefect plan. Neither are my other plans. But they will be someday. I signed up for the GRE and I am investigating graduate programs for an education degree. This is most likely my last school year at my school. Probably my last year in Maryland. I don’t really know where I want to go, or how I am going to get there, but that’s okay right now. The plans will come together.
A year from now I will be grateful for the closing of this door. I will be thankful that it was not me. Every rejection in my life has forced me to build my life into something greater. I have found more opportunity by being passed over than I ever would have if I were given what I was determined that I wanted. I trust that this will be the same. Eventually. The fireball of rejection will become the fireball of motivation.
Not tonight. Tonight I’ll just get through my work-out.
(4 Years, 10 Months, and 21 Days Sober)