Remembrance

I’m not prepared to dive deep into emotions today. It has been a painfully emotional year. Yet I can’t pass today without writing something.

I remember where I was and what happened that day. I think most people do. The thing that hit me this year, I currently have students who were not even conceived yet. They have no concept of the world before. They have no concept of the event. They have no concept of the impact of the event.

But even crazier, they love in a world where they have never seen Americans come together over one cause. They have only seen disputes, riots, arguments regarding a pandemic (whether or not it’s real and how to handle it). I’m grateful I’m not part of their generation. I’m afraid for when I’m old and they are “leading” our country.

Catastrophic loss happened on 9/11/01. Unfortunately, it led to more loss. It came be forgotten. It came be ignored. But we are becoming increasingly distant from it. How many stop to consider December 7 and the lost lives from that day? Not many. We weren’t alive, yet. We don’t remember. But we do remember 9/11. So we want to remember. We talk about it, watch movies about it … write about it.

I remember. I just don’t think about it that much. I honestly feel the losses that happened in the years after 9/11 a lot more often. Almost daily. But 9/11 caused those losses. I remember sitting there watching it on TV. Everything change that day. Everything.

Until Today

Haven’t been to the grocery store…

Haven’t cooked a meal…

Haven’t turned on the TV…

…since he left.

Until today.

Yesterday I realized there are some things I haven’t done and that it’s probably about time I get back to doing them. I’m sure there are a few things I’m not realizing, but those seem like the major ones. I went and bought food. I’m also in the process of cooking it. Stuffed mushrooms, corn on the cob, and cheddar bacon salmon patties are on the grill as I type this.

I still haven’t turned on the TV. Not really sure there is any need for doing that. I finished my last class of grad school a couple weeks ago, gone back to work, read 3.5 novels and 25% of a non-fiction, and worked my part-time writing gig. I’ve done laundry and showered (pretty sure every day) and did the dance thing last weekend.

Oddly enough, I just want to get back out there and date. But I have no earthly idea where to start. I’m such an out-of-place person in today’s world. I really was born a century too late. I’ve never processed a break-up and felt like I wanted to date so quickly before.

Until today.

Come to think of it, I haven’t sat at the dining room table until today, either.

Cooking for one and eating along at the table isn’t near as satisfying as sharing it with someone.

Several years ago a man stole my heart and ran 2,222 miles. Can’t seem to stop thinking about him. Not sure if I still love him so much it hurts, or if I just need something to compare this recent failure with. Either way, there were things I hadn’t done that I made an effort to do today. We’ll call that a win.

2113

It’s 2113 on the last Saturday night of summer. I’m alone… Again. I could study for that certification test that may or may not help me get a job. But I’m tried of studying. I finished my book. Not ready to start another. Sometimes I need to process the themes and characters of a book before I can focus on smoker. I haven’t turned the TV on since he left… And there wouldn’t be anything to watch anyways.

I suppose it’s a good reason to go to bed. It’s dark and lonely here. Night is the hardest. It’s scariest. A great time for an imagination to run wild or self-loathing thoughts to consume me. I suppose maybe with a bit of begging, sleep will take me. It’s really sad and disappointing I’m so alone on a Saturday night. My last Saturday night of summer.

I really never imagined my life this way. An old maid alone. I’m really struggling to see the point. If there’s no family, no children, no partner, then what is the point of being here. It’s not like anyone needs me. Just keep going to a job that treats me worse than pond scum? For what? To pay the bills of an empty house?

Less Than Nothing

I am less than nothing. I have nothing more to give. I’m not sure where I found the strength to get out of bed today and access this computer because yesterday, I couldn’t.

I built a friendship. Or so I thought I did. We talked every day and hung out at least once per week, if not more. I started to trust him. I thought he wanted me. I thought there was love. How could I have been so wrong?

I spent 2 months quarantined and then gone. I stayed with my family 8 hours away by car while my Grandma passed away. Grandma was my best friend. Grandma was the one person… the only person who was there every day my entire life. I could call her. I could show up on her doorstep. She loved me. She talked to me. She played games with me. She taught me things. She helped me, even when I didn’t ask for help. I never asked anyone for money. But when I was uncertain about taking this job. I had to make a decision fast because I was 5 days away from my move-out date. No job. Plans to move back home and in with my mother. I cried to her, stressed to the max. Moving to a new city was a big decision. She said, “Take the job. If you don’t like it, home will still be there. But you’ll also be closer to me.” She then deposited $2000 into my bank account. When I asked why, “Because you’ll need to make a down payment on an apartment.” I could have made ends meet, but she wanted to support me in every way she could. She was only 4 hours away from my new home, which only strengthened an already close relationship. I visited often. Often enough that I had regular volunteer responsibilities at her church. When I was younger and my mother didn’t speak to me, my Grandma did. Grandma was the reason I eventually called my mom and attempted to rebuild a relationship. Grandma loved me unconditionally when nobody else did. She told people I was more of a daughter to her than a granddaughter. Then, I wasn’t even there. I was at my mother’s house an hour away. My uncle called and said she was gone. The only person I leaned on my entire life was just gone.

During those 2 months, I talked to him every day. He kept telling me to spend the time with my family that I needed to. I felt like he supported me. When I came home, he was there. We spent a lot of time together. Talked every day even when we didn’t see each other. I felt like he cared about me. But I was wrong. Apparently there was a 6 month timer set. I didn’t know about the timer. All he wanted from me was a baby. On Saturday night he told me that I was not pregnant and therefore he didn’t want me. I asked him why. He said, “It’s too hard.” I didn’t understand. I still don’t. He said that every month when I wasn’t pregnant, it was too hard to deal with. I said that fertility isn’t an issue in the 21st century. There are a lot of things that can be done and a lot of ways to go about having a baby. He isn’t interested. He determined I’m not worth the effort.

I don’t understand how he could pick me out. He could decide that he wanted me to be the mother of his child, but at the same time, I’m not worth loving. I’m not worth being in a relationship with. I asked. I said that I thought things were good. We weren’t fighting. Things didn’t seem weird or awkward. Just, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, he decided to tell me I’m not worth it.

I am the only common denominator of all the failed relationships. I am not wanted. I am less than nothing. I am going to be alone for the rest of my life.

But I can’t really find anything worth living for. I have a mom, and uncle, and one best friend. No brothers. No sisters. No cousins. I have an abusive job that I absolutely hate. I’m not good enough for them, either. The only reason I have the job is 2-fold. First, it’s a rather hard to fill position. Second, I have a union that makes it impossible to fire me without cause.

In a couple weeks, I will show up on the first day and have to kick the roaches off the student-style desk I sit at. You know – the one with the chair attached to the arm. I’ll have to remember to bring water and I’ll cringe when I was my hands in the brown water that comes from the sinks in the bathroom. Then I’ll go to the first, worthless meeting where they make you stand in a line by how many years you have been in the profession. About 10 people will be in that line with more years than my 15. Even most of the “leaders” will stand somewhere lower than I do. Then we’ll have the meeting and talk about how to do the job I’ve been doing for 15 years. It will be geared towards people who have been working 1-2 years.

At some point, they’ll expect me to go to some other meeting “led” by a person who was hired in April. Who in the first 3 weeks of her job, impersonated me to a parent and scheduled not 1, but 2 meetings that she did not communicate with the rest of the team and then blew off. She scheduled meetings with a parent of a student on my caseload, did not tell me or the LEA and nobody, not even she, showed up to meet with the parent. But that’s not all. She also started to create a legal document in my name. Literally opened it up in my name. When I questioned it, she basically said, “I’m in charge. Deal with it.” She is a person who commits fraud, but I have to pretend like she is a leader. She also made a completely inaccurate statement. She told my team that it is a law to have outside agencies in IEP meetings. So wrong. First, an IEP is confidential and by law, we are not allowed to invite outside agencies. A parent can. We can’t. Second, the specific agencies she referred to do not serve kids until they reach the age of 16. Why would I want an agency that won’t even accept an application for a 14-year-old in a confidential meeting for a kid they won’t serve? Even without difficult people being employed there, the job is a place of abuse. When I give a simple instruction such as, “Put your mask up, please.” I am met with curse words and name calling. It doesn’t matter if I do my job, because when I do, I am met with hate and disrespect.

But that’s all beside the point. In the absence of leadership, I ran the department in my building. I did all the things. I had a master’s degree. I had experience. I had relationships with the members of my team. I was therefore a natural leader. The Director would not interview me for the job. I was good enough to do the job when no one else was there. While I did it, I continued to do my own, regular job. No extra pay. No extra time off. No incentives. I just did it all to the best of my ability. Since I wasn’t qualified, I started another master’s degree. When the third director in one year’s time came on, I had emailed her to express interest and inquire about the position. She, too, refused to interview me. She hired a woman without experience who lacked leadership skills. A woman who created problems instead of fixing them. I asked my principal for a change. He said I could move to a new position. A lateral move. No leadership responsibilities. In fact, it would even pay about $1,500 less. But I need change. I need to do something. But he called – after the legal date to resign – to tell me the request was denied by the district. He said I could not change positions.

Here I am. 2 master’s degrees. 15 years’ experience in a dead end job that has no growth opportunity and no chance of lateral change. 96 job applications for January and only 1 interview for a per diem job that I didn’t apply for and can’t take because I have a mortgage and bills to pay. About 36 hours ago, my boyfriend dumped me because I’m not worth loving. In about 2 weeks I will have to go to a job where I will be met with hateful words on a daily basis. I will then come home to 2 sleepy cats and dead quiet. Nobody will want to talk to me. Nobody will ask how my day was. Nobody will care if I go lay in my bed and don’t cook dinner.

Nobody would notice if I were gone. If I died right now, I’m not convinced anyone would find my body. I am the perfect victim for human trafficking or a serial killer. It would be at least days, if not weeks, before anyone realized I was missing. Even if someone did realize I were missing, I’m don’t think anyone would do anything about it. I have no value. I make no contributions. I’m not worth fighting for. I am less than nothing.

To a Degree

I haven’t been writing… Well, not creatively anyways. I’ve been spending my time… to a degree… writing… at least 2 short essays per week, filling notebooks at least 2 per 8 weeks and using about 2.34 pens per week, typing in chats, etc. for almost a year.

I haven’t been reading… Well, not here anyways. Not even half as many novels. But I’ve been spending my time, to a degree… reading… reading articles, transcripts, texts, posts, chats, etc. for almost a year.

I’ve been writing and rewriting my resume and countless cover letters. I’ve been reading thousands of job descriptions. They are all staring to sound the same.

In a few short weeks, I’ll have yet another very expensive piece of paper: my second master’s degree. But I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why I receive so many rejections, “unqualified.” If someone would explain to me why I’ve been working for 15 years, I have 158 undergraduate credit hours and 64 graduate credit hours, but I’m “unqualified” for every job I’ve applied for in the last 4 years. While you’re at it, could you also help me understand why companies post jobs that say, “entry level,” but the minimum requirements for the job are “12 years’ experience?”

After chasing that tangent, we’ll return to my original line of thinking. Once I set my mind on something… Especially like learning something out going to school, I tend to immerse myself. So here I am about a year after I applied to a university. This past year took me on a path to a new degree and into a loving relationship with an amazing man.

I can only pray the next road is short, leading me into a new career within the next few weeks. I need a 180 degree shift in my career path. I don’t know how to find the strength to continue to do what I have done since 2006.

Memorial

Day.

A day off work. A BBQ with friends or family. An extra night if having one extra drink.

But this freedom wasn’t free. It was paid for in blood. Blood of innocent men and women poured upon the Earth so we could have this day. Is a BBQ really worth that price?

It’s hard to truly grasp the meaning behind the day unless you’re a mother, father, daughter, son, lover… Of one of those we are meant to remember.

I’m torn between the pain of missing you and a new happiness of love I feel. I cling to him, squeezing my eyes shut tight against the tears associated with the realization…

I’d do anything to keep him. I’d travel the same road… go through the same losses… the same pain… Just to end to m up here.

Yet you cross my mind even as he works good way into me. It’s a betrayal to you. On one hand, he doesn’t even know. It’s not a lie… Just an omission he could find buried in my social media. You’re a loss. A loss carried so close to my heart that I can’t share you or our experience. Its been over 10 years, but I rarely go a day without thinking about you.

Yet I can think about you and still love him. Maybe I cling to him, loving like I do because I know loss. But, I can accept where life is. I want to keep him. I think he transcends what you and I experienced. I’m sorry and yet I’m not. I said I’ve accepted where life is, yet he doesn’t know our story. Is it acceptance if I can’t talk freely about it? Maybe my silence is acceptance. Maybe I’m absorbing my experiences, including you, so I can be a better person. Maybe I am capable of a different, deeper love because you are no longer here. Maybe I’m not. Maybe I was always capable of a deep love and that’s why you’re on my mind so many years later.

I don’t really know. All I know is I’m grateful to have him and I don’t want to lose him. I’m sorry I lost you. I’m sorry you missed out on so many experiences. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for falling in love with him. It has to be him, though. No one else would do. I’ll keep remembering. I’m not the type to let go or forget. Stars. Plumeria. Seat salt on the wind. I hope you can forgive me for falling in love with him. He really is good to me.

I wish you were here. Fell in love. Raised children. But I’m eternally grateful you and so many others sacrificed everything you had in order that I had this chance to meet him and fall in love with him. I will not forget you… Memorial Day or not. I remember.

Working Toward Acceptance

I typed the words. The official words published to notify the world of your recent departure. I choked on them as I read them to the family for approval. I carried the box. Escorted you down the church aisle to the front of the room. My tears dripped on to your worship folder as I realized you had returned home: You were baptized in this room, confirmed in this room, and now commended into Jesus’s loving arms in this room. My hands delivered you to your final resting place. I watched as they lowered you into the ground.

It is really hard to grasp you were once here. But now. Now you’re just not. It’s not because you moved away or you went on a trip. You’re just gone. I’ll ever hear your voice, see your smile, or feel your hug again. You influenced me. Supported me. Taught me. But now it’s all just a memory. I can never call and ask for your guidance again. I’ll never get away from life by spending the weekend at your house. It’s just over. Everything from here forward is without you. I don’t know how to accept that fact. It feels empty. Hollow. A missing piece. Or maybe like your influence on me is fragile – like it could blow away with the winds over time.

Prayer Request

I really haven’t been writing much… Or reading for that matter. Well, lots of reading. Just not taking for fun. The pandemic grounded a lot of people. I took on a master’s degree and an additional part-time project related to my career. (It pays, too.)

But here… Tonight… I need a reminder.

Footprints in the Sand Poem

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

Watching it Burn

Usually when I’m stressed or overwhelmed (and usually the sole fault of work), I dream about flooding. My house flooding. I’m driving and a river floods, sweeping my car away with it. My house is under water for some reason, but there’s no water inside and I’m trapped. On a rare occasion usually prompted by the weather, a movie, or a conversation, I dream about tornadoes. Been this way for years. I know which dreams mean stress.

But last night I woke up disturbed by something different. I dreamed I was sleeping at my best friend’s house. (Although it’s not the exact house she lives in now. It was different but I knew where I was.) I woke up to a lot of sirens. Went outside. Discovered buildings on fire. Everywhere. Every direction. The next door houses were fine and across the street. I went inside to wake her up. By the time we went back outside, more buildings were on fire. Closer buildings were on fire. We talked about how we would go inside, get her family and pets, and try to leave. We thought we had an efficient plan, but when we got in cars to drive, we realized traffic was a problem. If we got stuck in traffic and the fires continued to spread, would be safe?

I suppose that is clearly symbolism for me feeling like I’m watching everything burn around me. I did start looking for a job again on Thursday night. I finally feel as though I can really step back from the craziness and just watch is it all falls apart around me. Although clearly it still bothers me and it’s close enough that I feel the heat from it. I didn’t get any sleep last night this week. Oh I managed is between three and five hours. But last night I slept. I’m terrified of the real world in a real job but I very seriously need one. It is time to leave my current position. I think I’m tired of rushing around putting out fires. I’m a teacher I shouldn’t be receiving calls at 8 PM or 9 PM asking for my help to fix things.. I know the real world could be just like that are worse than that do you think I paid for it or how to time and receipt for extra efforts or even a better salary. Or maybe they’d be telling me to do something because they actually wanted me to do it and plans to use it. Because when I put a lot of hours into doing because they told me nobody else knew how to do it, wasn’t used. It resulted in some frequent phone calls of fix this and my response was I already did but you are choosing not to listen to me. There’s nothing else I can do for you.

This Week is OVER

It’s not the extra work out the time that bothers me. I’m happy to help. The problem is when you tell me I have to fix it because nobody else knows how. You don’t use my solutions. Then you call me and complain that you did something different, who’s has created a new problem.

Well clearly if you’re educated enough to do your own thing and ignore the solution you were calling me for at 8pm on a weekend, then you didn’t “need” me to fix it in the first place. Now you broke it and I’m not gonna waste my time doing it a second time because you didn’t listen to me the first time.

You didn’t listen to me even when you claimed I was the only one who knew how to do it!