The Parallels of a Breakup
Breakups are cruel. We experience a loss that resembles grief for a person that is still going forth with their life. When a relationship ends, it's like a power outage in a major city. In front of us, a vast sea of city lights turning to black sector by sector. Every future plan, path, and idea slowly fades away. Its hard not to create those future plans and solely live in the moment of that person. As soon as I meet someone I can see those plans. I can see the fits and the falters. They are constructions of my imagination but as crazy as it sounds, I'm the type of person who knows right off the bat. From the minute of meeting someone, I can feel the impact they are going to have on my life. I met Jordan and Kieran the same day and knew there was something catastrophically different revolving around me that moment. I've left a date minutes in because I knew there was nothing there. I can meet someone and construct a story in my head of all the possibilities and what ifs making it so hard to have anyone actually live up to those ideals. Yes, I'm that person you talk about on a first date who plans their wedding from day one while I keep my mouth shut trying to prove I'm nothing like that. I'm over the top and all in, always.
At least I was that way and hope to think somewhere deep down I still am. I've become more guarded these days because of all the shit we all go through when trying to find that person, a person, any person. And when you have that kind of plan built up in your head, whether it be for the following weekend or for years to come, something inside of you hollows once you realize it can no longer come to fruition. All you are left with is this empty, dark slate in front of you. It's like many moments in life trying to find your way or make a big decision. The end of my big relationship left me feeling alone, lost, and scared for everything to come but there was a semblance of excitement. I could finally be that single girl on the hunt for a greater love that I had always wanted to be. Loving but not being in love with him, among many other reasons, tore us apart. I didn't look into his eyes and see joy anymore; I saw anger, greed, and a bitterness I didn't want smothering my smile. I didn't look at him and feel proud anymore. I hated who he was at the end, yet I loved him.
A year later, I still feel these same feelings. Not because of a substantial breakup or heartbreak but because of the loss of another love. For years I didn't feel like I belonged to any faculty or career path. I went from the hopes of engineering, to business, and finally to math. I found a sense of peace finding my place and further finding my life as a teacher. I moved cities and continued on to pursue a masters in education to finally chase a dream I thought I was too much of an introvert to accomplish.
I went into the program held down by panic attacks when walking up the monstrous hill towards the class on a presentation day. It took months to finally feel comfortable in my skin in the group when during the first week of class they all were able to share their own stories, tears, and miles of success. I felt like I couldn't compare to these extroverted, natural-born teachers. But now, one and a half years later at the end of the program, I can teach. I have thrived in the program; meeting friends of all kinds, not skipping a beat when presenting, receiving positive evaluations, and making a difference in the classroom for students. I did exactly what I set out to do and even more than that.
Yet I sit here today filled with grief. There were many moments during my placements that I knew teaching was it - it was my great love. Through the ups and downs, I was making the difference I always wanted to and I could safely say that I was in love with the profession. Countless times I had said that "there was no other profession I could be happy in". Teaching was it. But something changed during my second and final placement. With more responsibility and time spent in the ins and outs of the education system, I told someone that teaching was the career that would make me but also rip me apart. From student struggles and stories to my sense of perfectionism and need for control, it became too much. I couldn't differentiate home and work life anymore. It all blurred together. I woke up at 6am and worked until 11pm with far from enough breaks in between. It took over my life and sucked everything out of me. I never felt like anything I accomplished in the classroom was good enough. I always felt like I needed to do more and be more for my students. I watched the system give up on students I knew I could save because it tried to shove them into a mold they could never fit. I came home at the end of the day exhausted and struggling because of my limited power and capabilities as a human. I had to put on a performance for these kids each and every day and as much as I moved past all of the fears I previously held, they still tore at the core of me.
I went to work sad and angry. I did what I needed to do to get by but nothing beyond that. I felt suffocated by the pressures and demands of the job. Sure, tell me all you want that it gets easier once you have your own classroom and after a few years of teaching. Trust me when I say I know that. But I also know the type of person I am. I didn't want to become complacent with the job just to ease my home life nor did I want to become a workaholic that never found a balance. I'm an introvert by nature and any performance I put on wears me down. Having a job with so many factors outside of my control, the students, the parents, the administration, the curriculum, and the school board, make my efforts never feel like enough of what I want to achieve. Because of this all, I can still say I love education and everything it has done for me but with the final applause from the students I taught on the last day of my placement, I knew I had fallen out of love with it. I couldn't do it anymore.
I feel a big empty slate of life in front of me that feels far more daunting than when I went through that life changing breakup. But something tells me that they aren't that different. I somehow picked myself back up and out of that situation, finding a way to date again, and I know that I can do that same with my career. And you better believe that I am going to be the best damn "career single" person I can be. Let's just hope it doesn't lead to The 27 Careers of a Lifetime.