The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate has been in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. She has very recently decided she must leave her job and fully embrace a “writing life”. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. Those of you who have not read any of the earlier Conversation pieces, may want to go back to have a better understanding of Kate’s progress. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
I finally had my talk with my boss yesterday. It wasn’t planned, though I had a deep feeling that it was going to happen when I drove to work yesterday morning. He showed up at my office—literally—10 minutes before I had to be in my classroom on the other end of the campus, so there wasn’t much time. I ended up being late for class for the first time EVER, but I basically got my message across, gently, and he did hear me. In fact, he had heard more than I thought the last time, though he hadn’t been able to process it at the time. Yesterday when he appeared in my door, it felt like that was the right moment, and clearly he came by for a reason. It was very sad, more for him than for me, but my empathy cells were wide open, and it made me feel sick to my stomach for the rest of the day. When he said, “Kate I will miss you very much,” it nearly broke my heart. That wasn’t manipulative or about the job I do. It was just an expression of his personal feelings, which I share. But it’s all going to be alright. I just need to decompress and get my bearings, once I get through with the end-of-semester chaos, deal with my appointments next week, and have some uninterrupted time to allow calm to return to my soul and my thoughts. I suggested that we meet next Friday when I come back from my appointments in NY. I intend to formally give him my letter then and take things from there.
Today I felt better, though still unsettled. I expect that to linger for a while. I held my last formal class (possibly forever), which also felt very strange, not liberating, as might have been expected. I am sure the feeling of liberation will come when I have regained some strength and have gotten some rest. Right now I’m so tired that I can’t muster any resources to feel much of anything other than a strong desire to be out of there and finished, packed up and moved out for good. Of course that is mixed with other feelings. I am sad, and there are waves of feeling that hit me hard, but that will all pass.
Please excuse my being a little shell-shocked. I’m going to be just fine. I look forward to clearing away the debris so I can see the road ahead with more clarity than I have right now. I also look forward to the conversations you and I will have in the weeks and months to come about our creative work, both collaborative and independent. There is so much to talk about!
I am so happy you were finally able to tell your boss. Congratulations. I know you’re likely still dazed and swimming in everything that’s swirling around you, but it was a remarkable step you took. I just wanted to acknowledge that and let you know that we will celebrate when you’re here.
I remember my last week at my job: the exhaustion, the mixed feelings, the-doe-in-the-headlights kind of fear of the unknown.
And I can relate to your feelings regarding your boss. I gave a full year’s notice—my job was so technical I wanted to be able to train my replacement. On my last day, at my going away party, I asked my boss why he’d never hired anyone for me to train and he said, “Until this moment I didn’t believe you would really leave.” He left a couple of years after I did and I’ve heard that he did it, in part, because he watched how good it was for me. I’ve also heard that he’s exceptionally happy.
You don’t seem shell-shocked at all to me. From here it feels like you’re putting one foot in front of the other and doing what you need to do. It seems to be happening very naturally. You’re doing amazingly well!
You held your last formal class. Feeling liberated is going to happen over time, in layers, I think.
To be continued.
[catlist id=17 orderby=date order=desc numberposts=-1 excludeposts=5882]
Love to you all,