Friday, April 29, 2011

The Disconnect

I think part of becoming an "adult" is accepting reality and truth - and the disappointment that comes along with it.

The last 8 months have been a really great time professionally - I love the school I teach at, the students have been welcoming and receptive to me, I've seen my skills as a new teacher grow (while still recognizing where I need improvement - mostly behavior-management), and I've made new friends in my coworkers, which has added to my professional fulfillment. I feel like the classroom is where I should be.

Unfortunately, I was recently informed by the administrator who's observing me that my chances of coming back to the school are not good. For various reasons that take too long to explain, it's 95% not about my performance, just unfortunate circumstance. So, basically, in just over a month I'm losing the best job I've had since graduating college.

As I'm nearing the big 3-0, I've been working finding a place of self-love and acceptance of myself, internally and externally, flaws and all. A few weeks ago, I would've proudly told you how much better I've been doing in both regards. However, a lot of my internal self-worth is found in my ability to be seen as professionally worthwhile, so the past week has seen my self-worth take a beating. I mean, I'm losing my job but I'm not being fired; I'm being told I have good potential as a teacher, but I can't stay where I am to keep growing. There's a disconnect for me - I can't merge the ideas of being a good employee and losing my job for reasons beyond my control! I would rather be let go because I'm a crappy employee, because then I know I need to work on SOMETHING to improve. Sadly, as much as the people I love try to help, constantly hearing I'm the victim of a crappy economy doesn't actually help. Like, at all. It just makes me feel worse and make the disconnect even more confusing.

The self-love and self-acceptance also has another big disconnect in the coming to terms with my outer self. To be honest, I've always thought I had a pretty face. Seriously. Never thought of myself as a great beauty, but overall found my face to be aesthetically pleasing. I'm severely overweight, but I also thought that I had decent proportions when it came to my boobs, butt, and legs. But, again, disconnect: I think these thoughts, they're confirmed by family, my husband, and my girl friends... and stops there. As I tend to find men more attractive sexually, they are who I look for to confirm or deny attractiveness - and yet I never get confirmation. So my logic leads me to think, well, I must be unattractive. So why does the evidence not support what I see in the mirror?

Also, for those of you thinking, "Why not trust the opinon of the people who love you?" Because they love me for ME as a person, and I assume that what they interpret as "outer beauty" is them correlating it to my inner beauty. Yes, I'm mistrustful that the opinions from PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME aren't formed by honest sight.

But... but, every other guy I've dated (minus the one nice guy I dated in high school) never told me that I was pretty unless pushed to by me. Hell, I've dated "winners" who treated me like a dirty secret or even told me more than once that I was "lucky" he was into "fat girls" 'cuz most guys aren't. Then the few guys I thought would BE nice guys always seemed to want someone else, not me. (I attributed this usually to my "ugliness", but later reflection proved to me that I was an emotional mess at those times, and that might have something to do with it.) Now, it's partly my fault for putting up with it, but... when you keep getting the same evidence shoved back in your face... how do you keep arguing with it? Again, the disconnect: what I see in the mirror is pleasant to look at, yet I seem to be the only one to think so.

Naturally, when I feel like I'm not worthwhile inside, it reflects on the outside. I've felt like I look hideous all week following the news I received regarding my job. I had this past week off for spring break, and I've spent most of it moping around wondering why I'm back exactly where I was two years ago, when I was laid off from my first teaching job. Last time it happened, I let myself mope for most of the year I was unemployed and working as a substitute. This summer will continue as the past two have, applying and interviewing and hoping for a job, but I've made a decision to not let this economic misfortune define me as a person. If I don't get a teaching position, I'm aiming to just get a job that helps support us as a family and pursue my personal interests instead, rather than waste another year subbing. I hate the idea of leaving teaching, but at the same time I need to stop looking to my job as my self-worth, esp. considering my chosen field seems to think I'm worth less than nothing.

My husband and I have goals that require decent finances to achieve: a house of our own, and a family. I can't wait for the government to recognize that education is one of the areas that should be left ALONE when it comes to cuts, so it makes more sense to just take the year as a chance to develop personally if I can't find teaching work - as well as finding some form of steady employment to work towards our goals.

Frankly, I'm tired of waiting. Waiting to find a job where I'm valued. Waiting to do the things I dream about. Waiting to stop questioning why I'm not considered attractive. Fuck it. I'm valuable, and if my current employers don't see it, than I'll find a place that will. If that place isn't a school, fuck it, I just want to get paid and make some forward progress towards our goals. If the opposite (or same) sex doesn't find me physically attractive despite all my efforts... FUCK THEM, they must be blind. I'm not the hottest thing ever, but I ain't Medusa, either.

I'm trying to become a damn adult, and part of becoming an adult is accepting the reality and truth of your life - and the disappointment that comes along with it. I'm done bemoaning my circumstances. The reality is I chose a career field that is in constant flux right now, and it has decided to make me it's whipping dog, and that's disappointing. The reality is I don't value myself enough, which means I've wasted 29 years of my life not loving myself. I'm disappointed in myself for letting that happen, but I don't want to waste anymore of my time. To quote Stuart Smalley (and my friend Jess, haha), "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me." And I'm pretty - contrary evidence be damned.

There's always going to be a disconnect. Things are going to happen in life that just don't make sense to me. I'm no longer going to let myself sink into my self-inflicted gloom, and exist when I should live. I have a great husband and dog, a mom and siblings who support me and love me, and some really wonderful friends who brighten my world when I'm around them. The things I want are achievable if I'm willing to accept my reality instead of mourning it. It is what it is, now how am I going to move forward now that I know what "it is"?


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