For the weekend, I had no feelings of sadness. I called my friends and family and told them how the last day had gone. I went to the library and rented Superman and The Wrath of Khan on DVD.
On Monday, I went back onto K12 Jobspot to apply for jobs. At this point, I still felt very much as I did during the summer. However, as I logged onto the website, I quickly realized two terrible facts. First of all, I realized that all of the teaching jobs had been filled over the summer. I suppose I knew that intuitively, but I had blocked out that fact until that moment. Second of all, I realized that I was far less free to travel than I was over the summer. I had signed a year lease, and I was not sure if I could get out of it.
I applied for a number of substitute teaching positions in the local school districts and applied at a substitute agency that my friend had recommended. I also applied for unemployment benefits, which I had never done before. The process seemed to be a little cumbersome, if I remember correctly.
It was around that time that shame began to sink in about being laid off. I know that it was false shame; ie, I was laid off for lack of work, not fired. Even so, I began to find it difficult to tell people that I had been laid off.
Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had not had cancer the previous year; I felt cursed.
It was not until I visited Cleveland again that I really began to realize what had happened. I stayed at my mom’s apartment and we talked that Friday night. As we talked, I suddenly broke down. I don’t know what either of us had said to trigger it, but I completely fell apart. My life seemed pretty empty at that moment. I had gone through all of the effort to get certified to teach, and I had nothing to show for it. Far worse, my life seemed even worse than it would have been if I had not taken the job.
When I was in high school, I read a hypothesis that said that revolutions do not start when a nation hits rock bottom. Rather, they start when conditions start to improve, and then they threaten to get worse. This may be melodramatic, but that was how I felt at that moment. It is far worse to have something and have it taken away from you than to never have it.
The weekend was not a total loss. I went to the theater to see Richard III, which I reviewed on my blog. At the end of the weekend, I returned to my apartment in Not Cleveland. Very soon, I would have interviews for substitute teaching jobs.