Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Little Country Town

Some of you might remember when, around this time last year, I found out that I was going to be teaching in the wheatbelt in 2008. As chronicled on this blog, I borrowed Mum's car and spent a day doing a big loop-around drive through the wheatbelt to get a feel for the landscape.

When doing my research before the drive, I noticed a particular little town that had a cafe, and made note that I could stop for lunch there. I did just that, and had a lovely lunch before driving around the town and past the school. Something about that little town drew me to it, and when it came time to rank the schools pre-placement, I put that town second, after a larger town 30 minutes further north.

That little town is the one I was placed in, the one in which I currently live and teach. No other town grabbed me like this one. There was just something about it. A presentiment? Or a self-fulfilling prophecy? Either way, this became my place.

When I moved out here, I found myself really falling in love with the town - until S warned me that I was not to get too attached to it as he had no interest in the area and we were going to move somewhere else.

Looking back, this was just one of so many times where I gave in unconditionally to what he wanted, knowing that the fuss he would create if I wanted to propose an alternative was simply not worth it, knowing deep down that he couldn't handle the drama of a genuine thrashing-out of a compromise. I wanted to stay - most days! - but I caved to his demand that we live elsewhere with only token resistance, despite the fact that it meant giving up my substantive position at this school, thus delaying my acceptance as a permanent employee of the department. He didn't care about that. My career was totally irrelevant to his calculations; when I mentioned the problem he just suggested that we spend another year in a long-distance relationship, because he certainly wasn't going to apply around here just to be near me and my job.

What the f*** was I thinking putting up with that? How could I have been so unutterably stupid for so long? If we'd thrashed it out and made the decision together, fine. But we didn't . . . I just gave in so that the relationship wouldn't give way under the strain.

Anyway, so here I am. I have a substantive position, and if I stay in it until the end of next year I'll have my permanency, which makes me eligible for transfers and maternity leave and all of that sort of thing. Staying here is the logical thing to do. And I find that despite having had days when I wanted to shake some residents of this place until their teeth rattled, this little town still has a hold over me. It wanted me when I first saw it, and called out to me when I left it. Later, it drew me in and made me its own.

So who knows what will happen now. I've told the school that I'm not transferring and will be here next year for sure. My kids are all very excited - I'll still be taking the 5/6/7 class so this year's 5s and 6s will be next year's 6s and 7s, and therefore still in my class. I'm starting to think and plan for the future, with the eyes-wide-open knowledge that my plans will probably be thrown into disarray by events unforseen.

And I have discovered, most importantly of all, that I am no longer afraid of the future. For the first time in my life, I am really, truly, genuinely excited about the unknown. This is a massive leap for me, a real first. I don't know when, if ever, I will meet a guy, get married, have kids, travel overseas, buy a house, choose a long-term town, get another cat, get a dog, pay off my debts, buy a better television . . . my future has no shape beyond 'stay here next year', and that's fine. I will probably spend Christmas morning alone before going to Mum's place, and that's fine. I have nothing in the future to cling on to, and that's fine.

This watershed of confidence and security is an eye-opener. S started talking about "if we get married, and I can't see why we wouldn't" on our second date. How much of what I felt for him was genuine love, and how much was delight in the promises and in his love for me? Did I convince myself that friendly affection was earth-shattering love because here at last was an old-fashioned guy with diamond rings in mind? 

Right now my feelings are mostly anger, disappointment in his behaviour, and frustration with myself for playing the doormat because I was afraid of playing the harridan. S's inflexibility meant that anything more than doormat behaviour was harridan behaviour to him, and I got suckered into maintaining the status quo. Bah. I still feel fond of him, very much so, but I don't think I love him. It's more like I feel about my close male friends, especially during those times when I've wanted to give them a slap upside the head for being idiots. I still care for him, but the trust is gone and the dynamic has been permanently altered. Besides which, if we were to reconcile, we would be spending another year in a long distance relationship, and I honestly don't believe that what we have is enough to survive that. Some relationships have it, and some don't. I know I couldn't deal with another year of this distance and doubt. I'd rather grieve and move on permanently and live my life than live in flux waiting for S's next freak-out.

I'm still giving it time. Perhaps in another week I will feel differently about him, want him back. But more and more I'm feeling that the burden of an unhealthy relationship is falling away, and very little could persuade me to take it up again.

PS: Huge thankyous and hugs to everyone who has left supportive and helpful comments over the past few days. You guys rock. I've taken something from everyone who has commented, emailed or sent me facebook messages. It has been a great help and comfort and I deeply appreciate it. Thank you!


It's nice when things come together, isn't it?

Good luck on staying. And enjoy the flux, I have. :-D Too much, I think - I should probably think of the future at some point, actually set some things in stone. :-/ You're afraid of not having things pinned down, and I'm afraid of planning the future. How odd.

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