That is all I am thinking as I walk down the halls, as I teach my classes and meet with my students. As people stop me in the halls to ask how my weekend went, and as I attend a special emergency faculty meeting, all I can think about, obsessively, is I have a secret, and I can't tell anybody!
This feels so weeeeeeeeeeeeird.
Except some of them know... I just don't know how paranoid to be about how many people know already. My tenure review committee is not supposed to say anything, but I assume some people talked. I think that some of the people who have never warmed up to me shared that feeling with certain committee members who then kept them in the loop with my non-renewal. But fit is fit and if they really wanted me here they would have done something different, given me more time to turn around my student evaluations etc. And they are probably right that I do not fit so what am I going to do?
That's a real question --- what does one do when one is nonrenewed? It's not like there is a chapter of etiquette on Miss Manners about this. It's just this weird awful burden I am constantly carrying around wishing I could tell people about. But what good would that do? That would just make the relationship/interaction awkward on both sides, and possibly lead to people coming together against me, talking me down so that they could feel better about pushing me out. And since I have to apply out again I don't want anything out there making it even harder to get a new job than it has to be. But, man, from here to the end of the school year is looooooooong. I don't know how long I can keep that up or how much I can disengage from the school with so much lead time. And I don't know how to handle social events: avoid the subject, straight-up lie, just don't go?
And I haven't told anyone in my family. That'll make Christmas break fun.
I'm leaning toward not telling them anything about this until I get a new job set up, if ever. But then that's a lot to keep in and not tell them and I have a lot of past shit that I haven't told them or that we're not speaking about, and it sucks to add even more to the pile. And my dad is getting to the place with his Alzheimer's that I'm not sure he will understand whatever I tell him, just be confused and worried and upset. Nope, I'd rather try to solve this problem on my own than explain it to family.
But that just leaves me wandering around with this weird invisible weight: I have a secret, and I can't tell anybody...