Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's a Fine, Fine Line...

...between love, and a waste of your time.  This song lyric has been bouncing around in my head a lot this past week.  Production week of the play is yet another reminder of the insult and injury we have suffered at the hands of a very bitter, petty little man.  Maybe it would be easier if we were fully removed, but with a kid in the department, everything filters back home to us.  I can't help being furious when I hear about parents who have been around for literally years without ever lending a hand to any of the work that needed to be done suddenly showing up to help him out because he got rid of the people who knew what they were doing.  I'm angry that parents who I thought I had this great working relationship with, who told us how much they appreciated us and our work, are now working for him.  Yes.  I know that there's the argument that they're just doing what's best for their kids, and I can't fault anyone for that, but it would have been nice to have any of them stand up for us after all the work we've done for their children.  We've put in countless unpaid hours to make sure that department ran smoothly.  We protected their students from situations that they shouldn't have had to suffer.  We oversaw details that he ignored.  We smoothed over conflicts.  We made it easier for kids to be there.  We kept some of these exact same parents from clawing the walls and spending their time in a fury over things that happened to their kids.  But when the chips were down, and when it really came down to it, none of them stood up for us.  Not one.  No one said "You don't get to slander these good people".  When I think about it, I want to cry.

And that leaves me here, wondering if it's just that they believe everything that's been said.  That after all of our selfless actions, and our devotion to their children, they still believe that we are liars, thieves, underhanded individuals, or people who are only out for our own interests.  After I thought that some of these people were friends, and after I've reached out and offered support to some of them when they needed it personally, they still think that in the big scheme of things, we're actually what we have been painted to be by people who have no right to say a word about us.  That instead of truly considering the people we have proven ourselves to be over the years, they just blindly followed the person who had the power.  No one defended us.  No one stood up and said they wanted us back to work with their kids.  They just let us fall into disgrace and suffer.  And what's worse, they flocked to him as if he had done nothing wrong.

I guess I'm just left here wondering why I ever bothered.  Was everything that was previously said about us being great people, and about their kids being better off for having known us all just a bunch of crap?  Was that 6 years of my life wasted?  Did I pass up job opportunities, and the chance to have a family of my own so that I could do what I thought was making a huge difference to a good deal of people, for nothing?  Did I do things out of love that were truly just a waste of my time?  It's hard to reconcile.  It's hard to look at the situation and see what has happened and feel like anything I did mattered.  It's hard to look those parents in the face and not feel angry at them for not being braver.  For not doing the right thing, or standing up for people they claimed to appreciate.  It's hard to feel like everything they said before wasn't just a load of lies. 

It's hard to hear the students melt down to us over text message, or the phone, or in our living room and talk about how much they hate that man, and how they hate being in his department, and then hear that they are giving heartfelt senior speeches about how much he means to them.  I can't help but think that everyone out there has two faces, and I can't really trust either of them.  They're children, he's the adult and I get that they're intimidated by him, or that they are nostalgic because they're leaving.  I get it.  But on some level, I wish they'd tell him that they hate him as much as they tell me that they hate him.  Or maybe they're just lying to me.  I don't know anymore.  And I hate not knowing.

In the end, it's hard not to feel utterly betrayed.  It's hard not to feel like there's no one you can trust.  It's hard not to feel that your sacrifice went unnoticed and unappreciated.  The funny thing is, we never asked for praise or recognition, because we were never in it to get some sort of personal glory.  We never publicized or pushed our good deeds.  We never asked for anything in return for the work we did.  I just assumed that in the long run, we'd know we had done something good and the people we helped would know too.  I was blind to assume anyone would show us any loyalty when we were slandered.  I can't say it doesn't hurt.  It's like a razor sharp pain every day, and there is literally nothing I can do to change it.  And no one cares.

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