I have always been a social butterfly. But for the past 9 years I laid low. I was in and out of unfulfilling relationships with men that I stayed with because I must have felt that I was past my prime.
Meanwhile, my professional life had become a nightmare. I had the unpleasant experience of working with two principals who did their best to make me feel like a failure despite all the evidence to the contrary. It took all of my strength to put my clothing on and get to work in the morning.
And if coming into my classroom to make me sweat wasn't enough? The second one had weekly conferences with me during school hours threatening disciplinary action if I didn't do things his way. The parents were happy with what I was doing, the students were happy, the teachers who received my students the following year were happy, but he was not happy. And he was the boss.
Finally one Wednesday afternoon, I was told that I was needed in the principal's office. I couldn't even imagine what I had done this time because he had "conferred" with me on Monday and was not there on Tuesday. I thought this was the end. And, in a way, it was.
My boss's boss was there. He told me that he had a kindergarten position at another school and that I could trade positions with the teacher who had been assigned there. My loyalty to my school community started to kick in, but I was able to recognize that staying would be a huge mistake. I took that position.
I went to the new school that following Friday to introduce myself to my new principle. He eyed me warily because what does it say about a teacher when they can 'desert' their students?
It was March and my co-workers also eyed me warily. I had more seniority than most of them and they worried if I wanted to take their positions for the following school year. Several sighed a breath of relief to learn that I was staying in kindergarten. But the parents were happy to welcome me and soon my principal realized that I was going to work out well.
Over the course of the next couple of years, I began making new friends. The friends I made at my previous school were, and still are, a major part of my support network. But now, I was ready to expand my circle. I was still laying low because I was living in a tiny apartment that felt less than homey. And I had stopped caring for my appearance and had put on weight. But as fate would have it, being in an environment that was not toxic allowed me to begin eating in a very healthy manner and I shed the weight and began looking like myself again.
By the following year, I was a homeowner. I now have a home that feels like home! There is space to breathe and stretch and relax.
I am so thankful to have this opportunity to begin my life again. I am even hopeful that I may have someone to share my life with. But, even if that is not in the cards, I am thankful for the friends and family who helped me get through hell and come out okay on the other side.