I’ve realized something: God does not want me to be a Christian drone.
Back in June, I interviewed for a drama teaching job at the Christian school I taught at several years ago.
I spoke about the experience of teaching there and losing that job here, but I’ve never finished the tale. Basically, I was told by the principal on a Friday to come in Monday, Trace, and renew your contract for next year. In and out, she said. But something happened over the weekend, and, yes, on that Monday, I was in and I was OUT. I eventually learned — because my SIL, who teaches at this school, is my source of inside information — that I lost that job because of some political scheming by some near-retirement wrinkled Betty who decided she wanted my job. That’s the truth. I kicked that job’s ass, was told so many many times, and that’s the truth, too. But, eh, what are you gonna do?
Still, I do love that school because I do love those students. It was very healing for me, suddenly having 300 kids to love. Over the years since I was OUT, I’ve interviewed a few times for drama positions at this same Christian school — TCS, let’s call it (The Christian School, lame, yes). It hasn’t panned out. Partly because I think the people who interview for drama positions have no clue why there should even BE a drama position. They don’t understand its value or the process. Not remotely. They ask irrelevant questions. They’re a bit condescending. I spend most of my interview time mentally twisting their questions into better questions, answering their lame questions but ensuring that I answer the question I really want to answer, the one they didn’t ask.
A few years ago during an interview, the high school principal, a man with the personality of a potato, asked me what I thought of puppets. I sat there gobsmacked. Puppets? Are you freaking kidding me?? Uhm, first, I hate puppets, they give me the heebies; second, puppet theater is a bit inappropriate for high school students, and I cannot imagine any high school students who would want to interact with puppets in front of other high school students; third, puppets? Are you freaking kidding me?? I have mentally repressed my answer to that question, but I tried to dodge the whole creepy dealio as diplomatically as possible without seeming to endorse puppets in any way, shape, or form. If he wanted me to do puppet theater with his students, I was not the woman for the job. Turns out, I wasn’t. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo.
Summer 2008. I interviewed for the drama opening in the middle school at TCS. The prinicipal actually had a personality, and it really didn’t even seem like an interview, more like a normal conversation. He was about to offer me the job, he said, but “he had to run it by other people first.” Then he went away on vacation and another teacher was handling the process and on top of that …… an alumni entered the picture. She wanted the job, and because she was an alum of TCS, she got it. They hire their alumni over anybody else, basically. Now she crashed and burned at the job, but she got it nevertheless, and I finally found out that I didn’t get the job 7 weeks after my initial interview. SEVEN weeks after my interview and 10 days before the start of school. Let’s just say there are major MAJOR communication issues within this organization. I know that, experienced that when I taught there and in the years since then, and yet I still torture myself, still try to go back. It’s kinda nuts and dysfunctional.
Fast forward to this summer. Since I’m sitting here writing this at 10:10 a.m., it’s safe to assume I didn’t get the job this time either. It was the high school drama teaching position. I interviewed, but didn’t think my chances were great since I have experience teaching every level BUT high school. Some of the kids I taught in the Lower School are now students in the upper school, so I have connections. I know the students, but, again, I haven’t actually taught that level. Still, I was on FIRE during that interview, I gotta say, and it wasn’t just because of my red eye of Sauron either. I was interviewed by the principal and vice principal together, and you know how sometimes you just feel you’re in the zone? That nothing can stump you? That you’re suddenly not a mere mortal? That you’re capable of anything? THAT’S how I felt during that interview. I have never been more eloquent or articulate on the spot. I swear. I was possessed by Christopher Hitchens or something. I didn’t miss a beat. They didn’t trip me up or — OR — ask me about puppets. They took notes on everything I said, like I was the President. (It occurs to me now they may have been writing, “She’s an idiot; we hate her” or something.) Nonetheless, when it was over, I basically pranced out of there like a happy pony.
Then ….. school started yesterday. Uhm, without me.
And I had not heard one word from TCS in the EIGHT AND A HALF WEEKS since I interviewed.
Not a peep. Bupkis. I’d followed up, sent thank yous, done all that jazz.
So I realized something: God REALLY does not want me to be a Christian drone or a professional Christian. He REALLY does not want me back at TCS. In some ways, I can see it. I can see why. The sort of safe, in-the-box, traditional thinking that defines TCS does not define me. They’d freak to see any of my sex in heaven posts or that I used the word “ass” in this post. They’re the kinds of Christians whose Christianity is full of answers and devoid of mystery. The kind of mystery that thrills me, terrifies them. Their personalities tend to be interchangeable and I won’t change my personality to become one of them. It would seem that God doesn’t want me to. He didn’t want me at Maybe Church/FOC either. I’m learning more and more that the way God made me is the way he wants me and he’s choosing to spare me from anything that would try to reshape me into a lesser me. He wants me to be a better me, not a lesser me. Does that make sense?
I’m not even disappointed that I didn’t get the job. Really. I expected not to. What’s worse, I expected TCS to handle it precisely the way they did. I mean, I know the organization pretty well.
However, just because I knew they’d suck doesn’t change their responsibility to try NOT to suck, to try to practice the most basic professional courtesy. Leaving a job applicant hanging for over two months is unacceptable. Forcing someone to realize she didn’t get the job because school started is pretty heartless.
So I decided to tell them so.
Yep. I wrote the headmaster of the school. I decided that after all this time, I actually NEEDED to burn this bridge. I know people always say don’t burn bridges, but I had to. Whenever I hear of a new opportunity at TCS, I throw myself out there, torturing myself with hope, and it never works out — kinda with extreme prejudice. It’s become like crack to me, TCS. I try to shake the habit, but someone dangles it under my nose, and I’m suddenly jonesing for it again, going down, going down. Or it’s like dating an abusive guy, breaking up, going back, believing it will be different this time, and it’s not, it’s not.
Sometimes, for your own sanity, you need to burn a bridge. You need to blow it and burn it like Kwai, baby, so that you cannot cross it again even if you feel tempted because the stupid crack bridge isn’t there anymore.
So, yes, I wrote the headmaster. (TCS has “headmasters.” None of them have been at all like Dumbledore.)
My email started with this:
Dear (Head Poopiepants),
Well, it’s the first week of school at TCS and I am not there. This means one of two things:
Either I didn’t get the Upper School drama position or I’m very very late for class.
I’m kind of proud of that opening. I think it’ll get his attention. We’ll see.
The rest was a long overdue, but mostly diplomatic, ass-kicking.
Bridge — whhhhoooooshhhhh — burned.
Let’s see if they say anything from the ashes.