Tiger Lily Vegas. It was the name of a cat. In college, maybe senior or super senior year (yes, I took a victory lap), my friends and I illegally had a cat in the dorms and it lasted a few gloriously scandlous weeks. Considering virtually everything was against the rules at our tiny, conservative, Christian college, this was a big deal.
I wanted to name her Tigerlily. The guys wanted to name her Vegas (we were big into the movie Swingers back then). We compromised on Lily Vegas and, after we got caught, she lived out her days on my family’s farm, having babies, killing rodents and living the life fantastic until a car squished her. I’m not a cat person but I had an affinity for Lily Vegas.
I have a lot of these stories. I’m hoping they resonate with you, pick you up, make you think, make you hurt, make you feel or just give you something to do for five extra minutes on your lunch break.
I get it. Honestly, I do. Yes, I’m not living in SE DC or Wilkinsburg, PA and I own a home and I have an amazing family and, most times, amazing friends. I have more blessings than I deserve. I fully and completely understand why my strife does not compare. It does not, however, change the way I feel deep down and, some days, on the surface. Today is not a great day
Today was my last day at Eastern Senior High School. I have been a high school counselor for 11 years and, while I have received the highest “teacher” rating every year of those 11 years, I find myself without a job after next Tuesday. I was excessed as part of the budget next year. Our current principal cut many positions, including one of four counselors. Because my kids graduated, “it would be least dirusptive to the student body” if I were the one to go. I made today my last day because 1) my kids are gone 2) Eastern is empty and unwelcoming without them 3) the only things I have left to do rely on central office and they are profoundly incompetent 4) I do not have a job in DCPS next year so there is no reason to save my 11 days of leave for 6 remaining days of my contract and 5) fuck the principal of Eastern. He made this decision. I do not kiss ass. I don’t know how. Plenty of people do. I lost my job
I am a school counselor and I have loved, loved, loved getting to know so many hundreds of young people over these years in education, including two amazing graduating classes (the most recent of which was three days ago, this past Saturday). I don’t know what to do next. A huge part of me does not want to stay in education. I don’t know how to give any less of myself but that’s what it takes to make a difference for these kids. If I give less, it’s not fair to the kids. If I keep giving this much, it’s not fair to me.
I am devastated to lose my job. I wanted the personnel committee to take a stand against a truly terrible, vindictive and evil woman who holds a sickening degree of perceived power over students, parents and fellow colleagues alike. I don’t understand it at all. I did my best. I gave everything. It wasn’t enough.