Until further notice, I’m on vacation.
I am on medical leave from work. What that means is, the status of my mental health is so extreme it poses a significant risk to my wellbeing. My medical leave became effective 3/9, and it ends 6/12/2020.
That means, from now until mid-June, my only job, and I mean only job, is to heal.
Even if I wanted to work at another job between now and June, I legally couldn’t (why would I want to though, really?).
I felt the need to clarify this on the record. As is natural when someone suddenly leaves their job (after several false starts), people ask questions. I have no problem being honest about the circumstances of my mental health. I will proudly defend my assertion that mental health is a worthwhile reason to take leave from work. But there is one specific “type” of question that is exhausting me.
When I say “type” of question, I am referring to the fact that in my head I’ve been lumping questions I’ve been getting into genres based on the type of information the questioner is seeking.
The “type” of question that is exhausting me is any question having to do with one of the following categories: school, work (past or future), next school year, my students (past or future), job searching and/or applications, next steps, salaries, insurance, my “purpose.”
Questions like: “Are you returning to teach next school year?”
And, “If you don’t end up wanting to teach anymore, what’s next?”
So this post is my manifesto. My final statement of employment and social status for AT LEAST the next three months of my medical leave:
I am on vacation. From everything.
For the next 3 months, please, please, please expect nothing but the bare minimum from me.
I need therapy. Lots of therapy.
And cuddles. Lots of cuddles.
I need entire afternoons spent fully mentally and emotionally present. In a room where words and music become limbs of the same tree. A room pregnant with natural light filtering through the cloudy vibrations of combined emotional and creative energy (but like, on a spaceship).
I need new experiences that both scare and excite me. And a wide open calendar that has room for spontaneity. I need to be able to get up in the middle of the night and take a bath in the light of the full moon filtering through the west-facing windows at the back of our house.
I need to pay my bills on time, make sure we have money to eat, and not give a damn about retirement for a hot second.
This is what I need. And I have the time to take it. My job is still mine after this leave. No one needs me to commit one way or another to teaching next school year until June. I still feel lots of love and lots of stress about my teaching position. I really have no idea what else I want to do after teaching.
Or what kind of work I will value.
Or what kind of lifestyle I will want.
This is the first time I have ever been off the conveyor belt. This is the first time I have the freedom to not give a fuck about any of that right now because I have the privilege of working for a set of administrators willing to support their employees.
No one is relying on me to get it done.
No one needs me to meet a deadline.
There are no qualifications I need to earn.
And I apologize in advance if in the next three months I become flaky. If I won’t commit to plans ahead of time. If I become forgetful, or oversleep, or take too long to respond to a text. I promise to my loved ones that I will respond. I will do you the respect and the dignity of not ghosting. I will always provide explanations for why I can’t or won’t do things, but I will never expect these explanations to be good excuses.
I just need this vacation. I need to take a break from responsibilities and expectations. I need to learn, and explore passions, and take risks that I’ve never been willing to take before.
Please, please don’t pop my bubble.