Homeownership

{I’m struggling to write this week–the words will not come!–and I found this post (that I thought I lost) in the Notes app on my iPad, so I decided to put it up. Sorry it’s kind of non sequitur.}

 When we bought our house in 2012, we felt nothing but relief. The housing market in San Francisco is well known for being totally insane — only 30% of homes are owned in the city (the rest are on the rental market) so there are never many houses available to buy and the ones that are get bid on by dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people.

The rental market is similarly insane, and many people live in fear of being evicted if their place is rent controlled (via the Ellison Act, so that owners can sell their property) or getting a notice of rent hikes to the tune of $1 or $2K A MONTH. Buying a house in San Francisco provides an amount of security that isn’t necessarily present elsewhere. 

In 2012 the housing market was still recovering from the recession. In San Francisco the real estate market never really dipped, but it did flat line for a while, and finding a house was probably easier than it had been in the past. Still, we habitually put in bids at $50K over asking, only find out that the winning bid was $120K over asking (for a $550K house) AND the buyers were paying in cash. We felt certain we’d never find a house we could afford.

Then we did. And we were ecstatic. The conversation about where we’d eventually live when our 800 sq ft, black mold infested apartment no longer accommodated us had always been a tense one. My husband was insistent that we stay in the city: if that didn’t work he wanted to move across the bay to Oakland. But my parents, and my job, are on the peninsula. I didn’t relish the idea of having a notoriously traffic-jammed bridge in between me and my life. 

Buying a house in the city was not just about having the security of our own home, where no one could evict us or double our rent, but also allowed us to avoid some difficult decisions about where we’d go if we couldn’t stay in San Francisco.

So yes, I’m still incredibly happy that we bought our house (especially when we did – we got a great interest rate). Having said that, homeownership is a total bitch. Holy shit do we spend a lot of money on maintenance! And the fixes are only ever necessities–we never make unnecessary improvements. 

This past winter we found out our heating system was insulated with asbestos. It’s not like we were breathing the stuff, but if the ducts got hit or moved (or, say, shaken in an earthquake), we’d basically have had cancerous materials floating up through the ducts. So we had to get the whole thing taken out, including the furnace, and a new heating system installed. That happened last month, to the tune of $4K.

We also have water damage. Now I don’t know much about water damage, but I can tell from the way people look at my pityingly and say, Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, like I’m announcing I have a terminal illness, that it’s probably pretty fucking bad. Right now it’s only in one spot in the main part of the house, but the back addition–the “sun room” where we eat and above where our tenant has his kitchen–is riddled with it (not down in the tenant’s unit though, thankfully). The back room didn’t used to bother me because our plan was to tear it down and build inside stairs so we could live in the tenant’s unit. Now that moving down there is not the plan, it’s stressing me out. Big time.

There are also little things. We had an electrician fixing some shady outlets and possibly adding a circuit breaker. She found a bunch of live wires that went no where and had to pull them out or cap them. We constantly have slow draining issues in our sink and bath tub (which are in our ONLY bathroom). The refrigerator needs to be replaced, but the space for it is so small it’s hard to find a model that will fit. You all remember the mouse-eating-our-washing-machine-tubes-fiasco of late last year. It’s just thing, after thing, after thing.

Frequently our parents’ “presents” to us are to get something fixed, like our faulty front gate and a portion of the electrical work that was done. This is very much appreciated, as I’d rather get something fixed than acquire stuff we don’t need. But we pay for most of the fixes, and we usually spend the money slated for savings on our house. 

I sometimes wonder if homeownership is all its cracked up to be. Here in San Francisco it is almost a necessity if you want to stay for the long haul. We wouldn’t be able to spend a year abroad if we didn’t own our house (my sister’s boyfriend can’t join her for a year of grad school in London because he has to keep their rent controlled apartment–which is a disgusting pit of a place). It’s not that I’m not grateful, it’s just hard. And I wish our house weren’t so old and so cheaply made–seriously EVERY expense was spared–and didn’t require so much work. 

Let’s just hope the water damage doesn’t leave us underwater.

Do you own your home? How do you feel about homeownership?

Gray Hairs

{Remember how I used to respond to comments? Well I’m doing that again. I think/hope I responded to all the comments on the last two posts, and I plan to respond to every comment this summer. Just wanted to let you all know. Sorry I stopped doing that. I liked it so much better when I found time to reply to comments; I’m excited to be doing it again.}

I am generally the younger one when it comes to the people I consider friends. Sure I have friends from college that are my age, but they all live far away. At work, and with the moms of my daughter’s friends, I am always the youngest, usually by a good 5 years. I think this helps insulate me from thoughts about getting older. I can’t really bitch about nearing 40 to a friend who is already 43!

Lately I’ve been super cognizant of how old my kids seem. My daughter recently matured a lot, and not only does she look older, but she talks (and sometimes even acts!) older too. My son is a super verbal 3.5 year old, who learns everything from his sister; he acts much older at this age than I remember his sister acting. They both just seem… noticeably older these days. So much so that I was inspired to pull out my old computer and watch movies of them from two and three years ago, when my son was a baby and my daughter looked like one two. I can’t believe how much they’ve changed.

There are days I look at myself in the mirror and I have no idea who is staring back. But then other days I recognize myself in my own reflection, the 20-something I think I’ll always consider myself to be. In my mind I will always be my youngest “adult” me. I still dress the same as that 20-something. I still talk like her too. And even though I know I’ve grown up so much in the past 10-15 years, in some important part of my mind, I haven’t really changed.

Except I have. I look older than I did in my 20’s. A lot older. And last night I let my hair down in the bathroom and noticed not one or two, but a whole cluster of gray hairs on the top of my head. They were long, and so, so white. They must have been there for a long time, but I always wear my hair in a pony tail and the top gets a little blonde in the sun, so I hadn’t noticed. Seeing those gray hairs, so painfully obvious against the dark brown mop on the top of my head, was frankly, shocking.

Neither of my parents went gray very early and honestly I didn’t expect to either. And it’s not like I think a few gray hairs in my late 30’s assures I will be gray in the next decade. But I guess I could? I don’t know how I feel about that.

I think it’s just that gray hair is the first real sign that I’m really and truly getting older. My youth is behind me and I can only hope that I’ll grow old one day, the alternative is so much worse.

So yeah, nothing to see here, just an almost 37-year-old woman freaking out a little about her first cluster of gray hairs.

When did you see your first gray hairs (assuming you have some)? How did it makes you feel then? How do you feel about them now?

Ecuador in one week

I leave for Ecuador a week from tomorrow.

I’m in a mild state of panic about it. Mostly I’m just nervous about the unknown. I haven’t been out of the country in a LONG time; I hope I still remember how to travel abroad.

I’m worried it will be weird living with a host family. I mean, it will be weird, so I guess I’m just worried I won’t handle it well. I am almost 37 years old. It’s a very different experience to live with another family when you’re middle aged than when you’re in your teens or early 20s. I actually think I’ve only lived with a host family once in my life, when I was 16 and spent a summer in Madrid. But a friend from Hong Kong’s family lived in Madrid at the time and I spent most of my weekends with them, so really I hardly lived with that woman that summer. So yeah, I have VERY limited experience in living with a family I don’t know, who speak a language that is not my first.

They do seem very nice though, from the email they sent in response to my own.

And of course a week of intensive one-on-one classes will be… intense. It will be weird to be the student again, and for such a long, focused day. My ADD will be rearing its ugly head all over the place.

So yeah. I’m nervous.

I have my passport, which I had to renew. I got a wireless keyboard with a track pad so I can hopefully publish a few posts (I’m assuming the school will have internet, but I’m realizing as I type this that they might not have wi-fi). I got an international plan put on my phone, so worst comes to worst I can post that way. And call my family, of course.

My family. They are who I am most worried about. I’m really concerned with how they will do. I did not handle it well when my parents took the occasional trip when I was young. Of course, I stayed with family friends and not my grandparents. Perhaps the grandparent component will help my kids fair better than I did. But they are very attached to me. I am the primary parent in most ways and my son especially makes a big fuss when he calls for mommy and his dad tries to help. In the end I know they will survive, even if it’s really difficult for them.

I feel like I should have more to say, but I don’t yet. So far I’ve been avoiding my feelings with reminders that it’s still over a week away. Next week I’m sure some more difficult stuff will pop up. And some more excitement. Because I am excited. I really want this to be a huge boost to my Spanish, and I’m excited about the commitment I’m making to myself professionally with this trip. It’s just a lot easier to be worried that I won’t like the food my host family serves than it is to think about all the interesting experiences I will have.

One thing I keep trying to remind myself: Yes, I may be more set in my ways, and less adventurous than I was in my early 20’s when I lived in Madrid and traveled all around Europe, but I also have more experience and perspective, and have learned that most of the time, whatever difficulty I’m facing is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps that perspective will take me farther than adventurous ever did. We shall see.

 

What do I owe my family?

{So yesterday’s post was not supposed to go up without some editing, but I messed up and it was published without that editing, so the timing was super confusing. To clarify, my interview was last Friday, the 16th, and I was supposed to hear this Monday, the 19th, but now it’s Thursday the 21st and I still haven’t heard, which all but guarantees that I didn’t get the job. Hope that clarifies things.}

I have been thinking a lot about my kids and husband, and what I owe them as their mother and spouse, as I try to sort through my anxiety about actually being offered a job next year.

I read enough by empowered working mothers to understand that I can make my professional satisfaction a priority and accept a job that takes me away from my family in the mornings. Many families have a set-up where one parents manages mornings and drop-off and another manages pick-up and afternoons. We used to have that same set up, back when we had one kid, and even when we had two and my in-laws provided childcare for the 2nd and came to pick him up in the mornings, and my husband had a nice wide window of acceptable drop off times for my daughter. I wasn’t at home in the mornings for the first five years of my kids’ lives.

Then my daughter started public school and suddenly she had to BE THERE at 7:50am, and THERE was a school only a mile away as the crow flies, but inconvenient to get to on public transportation. Suddenly, getting her to school in the mornings without a car would be a 45 minute long expedition on two buses, one of which only comes by every 20 minutes. That is when I started requesting a schedule that lets me be home in the mornings.

{Which is one of the big reasons I got the bike! Except my husband neglected to mention that he can’t really ride a bike, but that is a contentious topic for a different post.}

So yes, I understand that I don’t have to be there for my family in the mornings. There are various possible solutions to the problem: hire someone to take our daughter to school; lease a 2nd car for a couple of years; get my husband on that damn bike.

But the thing is, it’s a lot to ask. The mornings are a stressful time in our house. Our daughter does not get up easily. She does not do anything easily in the mornings. And yes, I know most kids struggle in the mornings, but I have a feeling our daughter struggles a little more than others might. (Or maybe we just cope less well with her struggles than other parents do.)

And 7:50am is a really early start time. Even if you have a car. And getting TWO kids ready to be out the door at 7:30, and then parking and getting two kids out and taking one in and then getting the younger one back in the car, that is a lot (no, my daughter will NOT walk in on her own. You cannot physically force a kid to do that, believe me, I’ve tried). So mornings alone would be hard, especially for a man who is decidedly NOT a morning person.

Yes, I am making excuses for my husband. Yes, I should let him just suck it up and be a dad. And he could if I asked him to. He has consistently assured me that he could handle mornings if I were offered a high school position. But the reality is, he would be miserable if he had to manage mornings alone. And if he were miserable, I would be miserable too.

Of course one day I will be asking him to handle mornings alone. Hopefully next year I will be asking that of him. And hopefully next year our daughter will be better able to manage herself and her big emotions, and will be okay walking into school by herself and my son will be a more cooperative 4.5 year old than he is 3.5 year old, and it will all be a lot easier.  (We also hope our son will be at a TK or public pre-K closer to our daughter’s school, which will also help.)

And if it’s not a lot easier, my husband will still have to figure out a way to make it work.

I don’t know. Maybe I am selling myself short feeling like I have to be home in the mornings next year. Maybe I am creating a cycle of dependence by not assuming they can figure it out.

I love that I’m giving myself shit about this when I haven’t actually been offered a high school position for next year (as I mentioned above, the last school still hasn’t gotten back to me, which all but assures I haven’t gotten the job). This is a non-issue this year. And yet, it might have been one, and I’ve been rolling it around in my head a lot, trying to figure out what I should be willing to do.

Next year I hope very much to get a new job, at a high school, where I will need to be there at 8am. I will be working hard all year at making that happen, and I will definitely not let mornings at home keep me from that goal. Maybe that is all that matters, that next year I am willing to let my husband make it work, without shouldering guilt for not being there.

Man, who knew that changing things up (or trying to) on the work front would raise so many hard questions about my role at home. Life can be so enlightening sometimes.

Something to think about

So I lied when I said there were no other opportunities this year. On Sunday I actually applied for a job that went up earlier last week. It was at the same high school that I applied with last year and then was informed immediately that it was an inter-district transfer and no one would be interviewed. I truly assumed this other late posting was the same. But I applied because I promised myself I would apply to any high school job posting in the area.

I sent my confirmation email on Wednesday, assuming I’d get that same quick reply. They called me on Thursday to schedule an interview.

I was excited to get the call because at the time I was finishing packing my room and having a minor panic attack about how I’d manage to teach in five different rooms on two campuses next year. I was seriously freaking out that I couldn’t do it.

Mostly I was just excited to know I can get an interview without any connections. Sure it’s the end of the hiring season and a lot of the better candidates have been hired elsewhere, but hey, it’s better than not getting the interview under those circumstances.

I went to the interview Friday morning. I feel like I did better than I had at the other two interviews. But the woman who walked out as I was walking in is exactly who you think of when you imagine a Spanish teacher: little Hispanic lady, complete with blouse and sweater. And then the woman who walked in after me was recognized by one of the interviewers, who was really excited to see her. So yeah, I think I did well and also think I have absolutely no chance of getting the job.

Yes, I know I do have a chance. But really, I probably don’t.

And you know what, I’m not nervous at all. I’m supposed to hear back on Monday, and I’m not stressing in the least. And I think that’s because I don’t expect to get it.

I think I’m actually way more nervous about the prospect of actually being offered a job, as I am at the idea of being rejected.

I realized this after the interview with my high school. I didn’t think that interview went super well, but I thought it went okay, and I felt I had a higher chance of getting that job because of my few connections. I was a MESS in the week following that interview. A total and complete disaster.

But then, when I didn’t hear on Thursday, and I assumed I didn’t get the job, the stress went away. Waiting until they eventually got back to me on Tuesday was no problem, because I was sure at that point that I didn’t have the job.

Clearly the idea of getting a job offer is crazy making for me. And I have to delve into why that is.

For one thing, all of these high schools have a start time of 8am. I thought my high school had a start time of 9am now, but evidently zero period, which starts at 8am, is mandatory. It’s basically five classes on a seven period day. All the other schools are seven period days, so they start at 8am too. If I got one of those jobs, I wouldn’t not be able to bring my daughter to school in the mornings.

My school starts at 8:30 next year, and my principal honored my request for 1st period prep, so I don’t technically need to be on campus until 9:20. Even if there is horrible traffic, I will make it on time.

This gives me incredible piece of mind. Being there for my family, at least one more year, is important to me. I think that is the main reason I have been so stressed at the prospect of actually being offered a job.

But there is more to it. I’ve been at my school A LONG time. I know the people. I know the place. I know the systems and the expectations. It’s my second home. I have a lot of colleagues I consider friends, even if we don’t visit outside of school hours. A couple are true friends that I do see outside of work (or at least talk to). The idea of leaving all of that, and having to make a place for myself at a whole new school, is terrifying.

Also, what if I’m shit at teaching highschoolers? What if they rip me apart?

There are also the other things, like losing tenure and the security that comes with it. Being observed and knowing they can just not invite me back, without any justification what so ever, will be nerve wracking. Especially after how hard it’s been to get interviews and the rejections that have come after them. What if I lose my new job and can’t find another one?

So yeah, it turns out I’m actually terrified of getting a new job. And I really don’t feel ready to succeed at a new school next year.

I have a lot of work to do this year to make myself a more competitive candidate. And that work isn’t just about convincing others that I’m ready for the job, it’s about convincing myself that I’m prepared to do well somewhere else.

This whole experience has taught me so much. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to become more self-aware and understand that I need to grow professionally. Next year I have the right schedule to learn some new skills and build my confidence. Hopefully next spring the interview process will be very different.

 

Nope

I finally heard from my high school. I didn’t get the job. 

I have to tell my district that I’m leaving by the end of the month (or I break next year’s contract and they can take action against me for that), which is when I leave for Ecuador anyway, so that was my final opportunity to find a new job for next year. I’ll have to wait until next spring to start again. 

I have A LOT of work to do this coming year to make myself a more competitive candidate. I hope it helps. 

Super Intense Week

Well, we got through it. Last week, and this weekend, were super intense, but they are over and I’m so glad.

All week I had to, quite literally, run to my car after work to get to summer camp pick up in time. I was picking up my daughter and her friend all week, and watching the friend from 3:30 until 5:30 or 6pm (her mom was doing drop off, which was immensely helpful for us). My son was sick with a cold and pink eye so we had to cobble coverage for him through Thursday. My daughter’s birthday was Wednesday, and both sets of grandparents came over to hep us celebrate. Thursday my daughter’s summer camp had a show. Friday afternoon I was getting ready for Saturday’s birthday party.

All week I was manically grading tests and inputting scores. Oh, and packing my entire room up while my students watched a Spanish movie.

The packing up of my room really bummed me out.

And I never heard from my high school about the job.

But the worst thing last week was learning that my best friend at work’s husband has cancer. His prognosis isn’t good. She is a breast cancer survivor so they know what they are getting into. They are both in their 40’s. Their daughter is in 6th grade.

Definitely put my own stresses into perspective. And made me really, really sad.

Saturday we took six 7-year-olds (and our 3.5-year-old son) to the local amusement park. My parents came, and two of the moms. It was a ton of fun, but totally exhausting. Still, I’m glad we did it. The girls loved it and the parents were thrilled that their daughters had such a great time. It was most of the first time there for most of them. My daughter’s 7th birthday party was a huge success.

Sunday my daughter’s good friend had her birthday party, so we were all back together again for a long celebration. I’m so glad birthday weekend is over.

This week I have to get my room entirely packed by 3pm on Thursday. I’m not quite sure what will happen if it’s not ready at that time (my principal hasn’t really been around to ask). I am reminded of that time in my senior year of college, when I was pulling an all nighter and realized at 7am that I would write for the next three hours and my paper still wouldn’t be done at 10am when it was due. I distinctly remember sprinting onto campus at 11am and handing my paper over to my professor as the class walked out. “This was due an hour ago,” she informed me. “I know, but it wasn’t done then,” was all I could manage as I gasped for breath. I told her I understood if she wouldn’t accept it, and was so relieved a week later when I checked my grades and realized she had.

Wednesday is our last day with the kids. Thursday will be the final push to be packed. And then… summer.

And maybe, at some point this week, my high school will have the decency to formally let me know I didn’t get that job.

Seven

{So… yesterday’s post was supposed to go up today (Thursday) and this post was supposed to go up yesterday (Wednesday) but sometimes you don’t change the schedule date to the next day before “scheduling” and end up just posting something right then and you can’t undo it once it’s done.}

My daughter turned seven yesterday. Seven.

It feels like a really big number, and not just because it’s my lucky number.

I think it seems old because seven if the first year of my life that I really remember. My sister was born and we moved to Hong Kong. I can reach back and see things at seven. Before that it’s kind of all a blur.

I don’t know if my daughter will be the same, but even if she doesn’t remember more about this year of her life than the ones before, I can’t deny how much more grown up she seems. 

I’m excited for her. 

I’m excited for us both. 

Parallels

This week has been… difficult for me. It seems that I am not nearly as accepting of uncertainty as I want to be. Not shocking but still disappointing.

It’s not that I’m disappointed in myself, or think I should be able to manage the week after an interview better. It’s more that I’m upset to realize that when I apply for new jobs in the future, I will struggle so much in the days and weeks before I know the final answer. It’s just a shitty way to live life and I wish I could handle it better.

The experience, especially the counting down, transported me back to my TTC days. God, those two-week waits were the fucking worst. I found my thoughts cycling through very familiar patterns of pure, unbridled hope to cautious optimism, to crippling dread, to stomach-churning anxiety, to dark depression and then back again. When I got the email from the other school, detailing why I wasn’t being considered, it was like a cycle when I’d missed the best days to have sex and was sure it wasn’t going to work. When I realized the school hadn’t contacted any of my references (despite talking with me about them for a long time at the end of the interview, and assuring me they’d be contacting them soon) it was a cycle with absolutely no symptoms, no sore breasts, no fatigue, nothing.

And tomorrow my “period is due.” They are supposed to let me know if I got it or not.

Of course they might not. Just like periods can be a day or two late even when you’re not pregnant, I might bite my nails all day for nothing. I hate being out of control.

And there are feelings of self-worth on the line. Is this my last chance to get a job? No. Just like I never had to endure a final attempt at getting pregnant, I know I can always try again. (Of course, I’ll have to wait a year to do that, which does up the stakes a little.) Failing to get pregnant always felt like failing at some basic human process, the result of which all my friends managed without issue. Failing to be offered a job feels like a similar failure that so many friends haven’t had to face. Last year 13 staff members left, five of them to go on to high schools. Why can they do what I can’t? What is wrong with me?

Being thrust back into a week of waiting reminds me how grateful I am to be past the TTC era of my life. I always vaguely remember what a complete basket case I was during that time, but I haven’t felt that kind of batshit crazy in years. Lordy, am I glad I don’t have to play this game every month anymore.

Recognizing the parallels between this experience and TTC, also reminded me of some of the lessons I wish I had learned before trying to start a family. I thought parenthood would make my life perfect, but it has been very challenging for me to adjust to life as a mother. Motherhood was not the panacea I expected, and I have wished many times I could have known that during my struggles. I’m employing the lesson now to remind myself that even if I do get the job, my day to day life won’t necessarily be “better.” Especially not at first. Working at a high school is a goal I have for a lot of reasons, but it will not, in and of itself, make me like teaching more than I do now. It’s a goal that I can still pursue in the future, and in the meantime I can make a lot of choices that improve my quality of life without that change.

Honestly, there are times I think about next year and wonder if I really will be happier at a new job. I get just as anxious assuming I will get the job as I do assuming I won’t.

Mostly I’m worried I won’t get it because it will be another professional rejection, this time from a place where I have some history and even a (albeit weak) connection. There is also this idea that if I don’t get this, I’ll be less likely to get something in the future. Like this rejection will foretell future rejections (this was also how I felt when I was trying to get pregnant, every negative was further proof that it was never going to happen).

Of course, that is not necessarily the case. I have a solid plan to make myself a more compelling candidate next year. Just because I don’t get this job, doesn’t mean I can’t get something in the future.

The reality is, with such a specific position, in such a small area (I think there are only 7 high schools that fall in the area I am able to consider for salary and commute reasons), I may have to be ready to play the long game. I’m only on my second year of applying, and in many ways it was my first, as I only applied to two jobs at the end of last year and neither was really accepting applicants (both ended up being in-district transfers). I need to be patient, and ready to keep improving until I am the teacher high schools want me to be.

Next year I will be okay, not matter what the outcome. And I do know that. I just wish I could tap into whatever fuels my latent anxiety so I can stop feeling nauseous all the time.

Hopefully tomorrow I will no either way, I can move forward with a little more certainty about what next year will look like.

Also, only one more week of school!

:-/

I have never been very good at writing here when things are going well. I’m just not quite sure what to say. I’m not the biggest fan of my own posts about how awesome everything is. I either find them kind of boring (or at least not very compelling) or toeing humblebrag (if they aren’t knee deep in it). I don’t do them well; they are not my most interesting posts. 

I have always come to this place to exorcise my demons. But then I got called out on that, more than once, and so I’ve tried to temper pretty much everything I write. I suppose that is growing up. One might even call it perspective.

I read the blogs of a lot of women, extraordinary women, who are wading through incredibly difficult lives. Their problems are real, with a capital P. Their shit is legit. These women have to navigate divorce, marital affairs, chronic illness, resolving IF and loss childfree/less, stillbirth, infant death, children with severe health issues. These are really intense, life-altering issues. These women write eloquently about their situations, putting up posts that teach me what resilience really means, what it looks like in the day to day.

After reading posts like that, I am loathe to come here and write a post about how I can’t find another job, even though I have a fine one that pays the bills, where I’m treated fairly and with respect (at least by my colleagues and direct superiors). I am weary to publish something about my marital issues, or my own personal challenges in parenting my kids, because it all feels so…pedestrian.

Yes, these issues are relateable. Yes people see themselves in my struggles. It’s not that I think there is no place for posts like mine in the world, I just doubt mine are insightful enough to do those universal topics justice. I don’t have a thoughtful lesson to tie it all up with in the end.

What I am learning about myself is that I’m not all the resilient. I mean, I knew that, but it’s humbling to be shown evidence of it over and over again. My thought process tend toward anxiety and depression, I am not someone who bounces back from adversity, stronger than before. Instead I have learned a fraction of the lesson, so that the next time I am slightly better prepared. And yet I keep making the same mistakes. I keep stumbling over the same cracks in the sidewalk, instead of stepping over them the next time I walk down that particular block.

I never managed to get the job stuff out of my head this weekend. It was infuriating, because I really and truly do not think I’m going to get the job. One of the schools that never contacted me for an interview, even though they extended their application deadline indicating they hadn’t found a suitable candidate, finally responded to my confirmation email (because I sent it again). Evidently I am not being considered because they want someone with high school experience. I hadn’t even remembered that not having high school experience was a weakness of mine. I was so focused on not being a native speaker than I forgot my real fault was being a middle school teacher.

They are interviewing five people for the position at my high school. Surely someone has high school experience, or is a native speaker, or both. And yes I know, in the workplace people can hire applicants for any number of reasons, but in education, people generally hire people for a narrow range of skills and experience.

And of course teachers right out of school get hired. It does happen. But high school Spanish positions are not as plentiful, and in California a lot of people speak Spanish.

I mean, if I could move to another state and apply to Spanish positions I’d probably have a lot better chance of finding one than I would here.

Or if I were able to work part time for a year or two, and then be in a position to request a full time position when one opened up. Except I’m not in that position, and I never will be.

So I really and truly do not think I’m going to get this position. And yet I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve tried every strategy I know of, but the thoughts just keep popping back into my head. And even though I know, deep in my heart, that I will be okay next year at my current school, I can’t seem to avoid the stress. In fact, if I start thinking really positively about next year at my school, I start getting stressed that I will be offered the position and won’t know if I should take it!

It’s crazy making!

Sometimes I hate myself so much. I hate the way my brain works. I hate my tendencies to spiral into anxiety and depression. It seems no amount of self-awareness or self-compassion will ever change what actually goes on in my head. I just have to learn to ride out the storms.

And yes, I have gotten better. I my coping skills are more refined, more effective. But I can’t seem to avoid myself, and I suppose I never will have that ability. I am who I am. I need to accept it. To accept me.

I hope as I get older, I chill the fuck out a little.

(I guess I ended up writing that post anyway.)