It finally happened. I’ve been living in small towns and my kids have been growing up there. A teacher I”m co-teaching a class with me figured out she taught my son a few years ago. It’s not the biggest deal but it feels like crossing lanes of my life.
It was bound to happen. I’ve been teaching for years. I know a lot of people in the area. Plus, my kids have their own lives too. Now they have all collided.
I enjoy working with her. We are a good team. However it is awkward since my son had an awful time in her class. It had to do with another student who bothered him. It is interesting to hear her perspective on it. We never met at the time – she had to miss parent open house night. We might have emailed.
That’s the thing I’m still not used to in small towns – less anonymity. It was hard enough when a friend hired me for a project and later had to let me go. I felt embarrassed. I was used to moving cities, getting out of town, not stay around where there was a failure. I never really saw her again – she hired me a few times for other projects where I was a better fit in my abilities (let’s just say the first project was too much and little other hires to help whereas the man they hired after me got at least two staff to help him). I set my facebook settings so I wouldn’t see her posts about the project. I also trusted her less because at the same time she dropped her best friend from college. They were besties and lived near each other and raised their kids together. I couldn’t imagine just unfriending my best friend, in any form.
So cohousing was a big leap for me. I was going to stay forever. But, what did I do? Run away. I know I made mistakes. I was embarrassed. I wanted to be forgiven and welcomed back in the fold. With time, most people did seem to let it go. By then I couldn’t forgive them. And it still stings when the blow up floats back into conversation or official meetings. Can’t we just forget and move on? Maybe that’s impossible since we never dealt with the real issue in the get go. I saw a friend from high school and college recently. We hadn’t seen each other since the 90s but he became a pastor. He told me that churches that have had a big blow up never really recover. It comes out in other ways for years. He just left such a church and is happy at a new one – which happens to be in walking distance from his house.
So, don’t let it become a blow up. Listen to everyone. Respect everyone. Speak out how you really feel. Lean into hard issues. Then you’ll be somewhere where people want to leave. (Oh, two other households are leaving my community – new news this month. It’s about one third of the original people leaving. At least four households – including me, didn’t even last a year. Some of them were new since I left and are already checking out)