Saturday, March 21, 2009

I did it

I finally quit the job that was slowly trying to kill me. I'm not exaggerating with that, either - not only was I physically attacked by the students fairly often, but my immune system got so worn down I got sick and couldn't get well, and my depression - which had been kept at bay for a long time until now - spiralled to its worst in years. I had no self-esteem left and didn't care much whether I lived or died.

When I tried to tell some people - acquaintances, even close friends - how bad I felt, I was told "That's just part of adult life; get used to it." Not once was I ever encouraged to quit; nor has anyone seemed particularly happy that I've quit now; no one seems relieved at the idea of having the real me back. I don't know if people just didn't believe me, or if they think I'm stronger than I really am, or if they didn't care, or if it was a misguided show of support for what I was doing, or what. But I spent months feeling like I was just being selfish and that it was somehow "wrong" to quit; and even worse, that it would always be this bad anywhere I went.

I thought that when I quit I'd feel instant relief and euphoria at all the freedom ahead of me. Instead, I feel sort of disoriented, like I just woke up from a dream and haven't figured out yet that it's over and that I'm awake, here in my house. Part of me feels like the whole thing really WAS a dream, like I cannot accept that it was truly me who existed at this job. In one sense it really wasn't me, because in order to get along with anyone at work I had to stuff my real self down and create a pseudo-personality that was acceptable to others, tailor-made to their preferences. I had to be a Christian heterosexual virgin, live up to an obsessive-compulsive coworker's standards of cleanliness, dress so plainly I may as well have had a uniform, hide all my autistic traits so I wouldn't seem too much like the students and have people think I was "retarded", and never, ever suggest that I believe in letting kids have any sort of freedom or even that I don't believe in physical punishment. So in other words, I had to be someone who barely resembled me in any way. No wonder my self-esteem took such a massive blow. And since I was still too tired at the end of the day to be my real self again, I got the feeling that I was going to start becoming that person full-time if I didn't get out soon, and that frightened me.

So I think it's going to take some time to detox, for my subconscious and body and soul to realize that it's over and that coworkers aren't watching my every move and I can relax. It doesn't help that I also still have mono and I feel like my lymph nodes are trying to escape through my ear canals. But after a few weeks of rest and "dejobbing" I should be feeling a lot better.

And then it will be time for Beltainia.

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