Okay– we’re supposed to say goodbye to the old year before saying hello to the new, right? Well, I’ve had this piece actually WRITTEN UP for over a month. I didn’t publish it at first because the whole thing wasn’t wrapped up, and then I didn’t publish it because I’d put out the other things with fewer details, and I was sick of talking about it by then. But this was still in my archives, and it was still a significant part of my year.
I still don’t want to talk about it. It dominated my thoughts for so very long. But I didn’t want to delete this post either. It was just hanging out in the back of the post closet, like luggage. So I’m going to toss out the old–clear the air, as much as I possibly can (because some shit is still listed under confidential, and I’ll honor that) and then when I talk about this event in the past tense, folks will know what happened. Those of you who have been here for a long haul already know what my writing has cost me, and how much of everything–joy, pain, anger, whatever–lies behind the words, “Yeah, I used to teach.”
* I didn’t count on homophobia being so rampant in my community.
* I didn’t count on being pulled out of my classroom and put under investigation from my school district after one parent complaint about their student reading Truth in the Dark and Litha’s Constant Whim in October of last year.
* I didn’t count on the powers that be taking one look at the book, seeing two male leads, and calling it porn.
* I didn’t count on having two lawyers assigned to me to help me get my job back.
* I didn’t count on the whole process taking over 14 months.
* I didn’t count on lapsing into depression when a chance to go back into the classroom was cruelly jerked away from me last November.
* I didn’t count on yanking myself back to the here and now with the help of aqua-aerobics and the world’s most supportive Mate.
* I didn’t count on missing a job that had caused me so much misery quite so badly.
* I didn’t count on stupid things triggering a big, aching hole in my chest. (The sob-fest I had over the graduation event of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody was not one of my finer moments.)
* I didn’t count on the district spending a WHOLE lot of money investigating every move documented in my blog for the last five years to see if they had anything to fire me with.
* I didn’t count on looking at my past blogs and realizing how very alienated I felt from my profession.
* I didn’t count on the investigator looking at my past logs and not finding anything at all that was actually a fireable offense–not even calling my past principal a vainglorious prickweenie and a festering cockroach turd.
* I didn’t count on how hard it would be to let go of my identity as a teacher, even over the course of fourteen months.
* I didn’t count on the feeling of freedom I would get when faced with the prospects of making my living on the merit of my writing alone.
* I didn’t count on my lawyer telling me I had an EXTREMELY defensible case, if I chose to pursue it.
* I didn’t count on the little part of me that wanted to fight like hell for my job just so I could quit on my own terms.
* I didn’t count on Mate feeling the same way.
* I didn’t count on my classroom being used as a storehouse when I came to pick up my stuff.
* I didn’t count on my dread of getting my things being not EVEN as fucked up as the event itself.
* I didn’t count on my crazy friend Wendy trying to take EVERYTHING out of the room, even shit that had no practical purpose, while I was trying grimly to sort the stuff that was mine from the stuff that had been thrown into the room for the sheer fuckery of it.
* I didn’t count on not seeing anyone I knew when I went back. I didn’t count on not being able to say goodbye.
* I didn’t count on screaming to the lyrics of Bleed It Out as we finished packing up.