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Sick of the Charade

By Klym ~

Dear Ex-C friends,

I am weary to the core today. This website is the only place I feel I have to turn to for solace. Last weekend I lost a dear family member to a long illness. At my place of employment, I continue to advocate for those without a voice--abused and neglected children. My boss, who I lost respect for many years ago, announced her retirement yesterday. She should have gone away a long, long time ago. Of course, she is a highly thought of, well-respected "Christian" in the community, who is above reproach (in other words, when I considered filing a grievance against her, I was advised that it would be committing suicide to my career). I do go to a Unitarian Universalist church where most of the members are atheists and freethinkers, so there is some relief for me there. But for the most part, I must live a lie, day after day, month after month, year after year, here in the Bible Belt. I am sick to death of the constant charade, but I don't know what to do. Perhaps my friends here at Ex-C can commiserate and shed some light on this common problem many of us face. Below, I have copied an email that I sent to a co-worker---the one and only teacher I work with who is an atheist and knows that I am an atheist too. He just came to our school recently and so does not know our boss intimately like I do. Anyway, I made a few name & other changes to protect the "innocent", and here is my letter to him.

Hey John Doe,

I think that yesterday I probably was not very receptive to your statements about our boss being so nice to you about the educational program you participate in. I have literally been physically ill since yesterday when I finally stood up with the rest of the faculty and staff during her "standing ovation." I am a hypocrite, plain and simple, and I am mortally ashamed of myself for standing up. Believe me, she did not deserve a standing O. She is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I am glad for you that you have only seen the sheep, because the wolf is a hateful, cold-hearted, vicious, vindictive person that you are lucky you have never been exposed to. Those of us who have borne the brunt of her bullying (and there are many of us) are glad she is leaving. I have seen her treat children in a despicable manner--stripping them of their dignity and humiliating them in sickening ways. I can forgive her, maybe, for her treatment of me personally, but I lost respect for her years ago when I first witnessed her inhumane treatment of a child. Thankfully, the child responded to her meanness by slapping her in the face. I'm glad the five year old did it. It saved me from probably losing my job by what I was wanting to say to her. I am not a mean-spirited person, but she has no business being an educator, and education will be better off without her. Now, I have said my peace, and you can think of me what you will. But I am completely and totally ashamed of myself for standing up yesterday and for pretending that I have any respect for her whatsoever. If I could, I would take it back and stay seated, in protest, for those of us, and especially for the children, that she has bullied through the years.

I am also very weary today from the events of the past week. I had to do things that I disagree with, all week long. I had to hold the hand of a Baptist minister while he prayed for my husband's family. I had to sit through a Baptist funeral where preaching salvation is more important than talking about the life of the person who died. In hospice, I had to listen to nurses talk about god's timing while my father-in-law lay dying. Yesterday afternoon, I had to listen to a police officer defend a father who beat one of our students and threatened to put her in the hospital if she confided in her teachers again about the abuse she is experiencing. The police officer told me and the child's teacher that we just need to back off and leave CPS and the investigators alone and let them do their job. They are leaving this child in a home where she is being beaten (among other things)--not just one time, but over and over again! But, the officer said we should just "pray" for the child and know that on judgement day when we face god, we can tell god that we did all we could for the child!!!!!!! Yes, this is what the man said, sitting in my office yesterday afternoon!!!!!!

And then, on top of that, I have to go to that goddamn after school meeting and listen to our boss talk about herself like she's some kind of gift to the world. And then stand up for her!?!?! I feel totally overwhelmed by the unfairness in the world. Someone like our boss gets a standing ovation, while a poor defenseless child is left in a dangerous situation while law enforcement, CPS, and detectives tell those of us who are advocating for the child's safety to basically just shut up. I am sick to death of pretending, of going along to get along. It is damn near impossible to be an atheist in this part of the USA, and then to take a stand against the laws in our society that DO NOT protect child victims, and THEN, on top of everything else, to pretend that a sorry, lazy principal who does NOTHING but sit in her office and play games on her phone, year after year, has done a great job. I feel like punching somebody, I'm not sure who, in the face. I am angry---angry at the unfairness in the world and angry that people try to sugarcoat and cover up the unacceptable behavior of people in positions of power. But most of all, I am angry at myself for being a wimp and not taking a stronger stand against all of the above. But what can I do? If I speak out, I risk my job, my friendships, and the respect of people I care about. It is a hell of a position to be in. How high a price should a person pay for being true to themselves and speaking the truth in a world that cherishes its myths and protects the wolves/sacred cows of the world?

I guess I need to go exercise to work off some of my rage. I am just weary, weary, weary of everything today.

Your friend still(I hope),

To Ex-C: Let it be noted that I DID NOT stand up & participate in the standing ovation for my boss until the very last second, and many people noticed my reluctance to stand. Still, I will struggle a long time to forgive myself for not staying seated.