So call it reassigned, not a good fit, whatever. Truth be told I knew I got fired. Fired. I was devastated and yet simultaneously, very secretly relieved but I would not admit it for over a year while placed in a school as an overly paid hall monitor. Brutal.
The Golden Handcuffs had been ripped off, not by me. The control freak in me was PISSED. I had failed. I felt like I should have tried harder. Given more? I beat myself up, that Bitch voice was loud. We all know that Bitch, the inner critic who we all need to kill. I was embarrassed, feeling like a failure in a broken system. I was feeling guilty for not wrestling to get to the top of that incestuous food chain we call a career ladder. I was feeling gutless for not hustling for another gig. I listened to the inner Bitch, instead of my head, heart or soul.
Part of me was just scared that I couldn’t do anything else. I felt like I had been kicked to the curb like an ugly unwanted puppy. My professional confidence had been crushed and the perfect storm of empty nest and forced “retirement” was upon me. Whoah.
But time slogs, he tip toes, or moves at a dizzying speed with the world around you continually spinning even if you want to pretend it doesn’t, because life goes on. The universe and my dear hubby reminded me, regularly, that I was better than that which had left me behind. But I wasn’t listening. Not yet.
Fast forward a few months that consisted of riding, running like a turtle, wine, tattoos and pink hair, more wine, crying, whiskey and loud music to try to soothe my soul. I was starting to admit I was done. Almost willing to call myself “retired” when everyone around me already knew.
I guess I wasn’t totally sure. Go figure, I second guessed myself. Testing, testing one, two, three…
I got a call from a friend, my old boss, and there was a potential job offer. I was seriously considering it, actually excited. I felt myself pick up my old Golden Handcuffs with a sense returning duty and obligation, I could count dollar signs. I felt one click on my wrist, and it was a familiar feeling. An uncomfortable necessary feeling kinda like control top pantyhose – we hate them but damn they sure help our shit out. I was ready for them again…I thought.
But when you listen to yourself, those who truly love you, and listen to the universe too, you will learn the lesson you need to learn.
I hung up the phone contemplating locking on those handcuffs, feeling them tighten on my wrists with a click, click, click. Ready I thought, to be the pretty prisoner once again. But I listened. Actually, I think the universe was screaming so loud I couldn’t hear anything else. I couldn’t ignore this. In a moment, a mere flicker of time walking from the kitchen to the garage freezer to get some butter (all life is better with butter)… I had a mild panic attack. I was standing in the doorway with my chest tight, hard time breathing, thoughts racing a million miles an hour pinging off each other like bats looking for mosquitos. I was sweating. This was more than just the Bitch yelling at me, this was big.
It was a potential job offer, not even a guarantee. At just the thought of it, I was already totally freaked about not being able to get it all done. Evaluations, angry parents, heartbroken students and hundreds of emails a day and million dollar meetings that were a waste of all of our time. I was flooded with all the bullshit, a tidal wave of Nope. But… “O Captain My Captain”..I wanted more of those stand on the desk moments, the magic moments. I have the heart of a teacher after all. But listen, listen.
I knew in that moment, holding a stick of butter in a doorway, I had to be done. My soul, my body, my heart and my head all conspired together so that I couldn’t miss this message…it is O K, you can be done. I realized I had grieved, gone through all the stages and was really, truly done.
Trust when I say that knowing (maybe finally admitting) in a moment of epiphany that you are letting go of a calling hurts. A stick of butter, a panic attack and finally a sense of catharsis.
I am grateful for the gift of getting fired, I have been freed.
It is time for me to find a new world to fill with magic moments, to share the joy. I will find it, I really hope so. But, now I know that if I can’t find it, I am free to make it.
It’s going to be one hell of a ride.