Hello You Know Who Fans,
I know three things to be true:
- You are eager to read about Abbey’s adventures in her junior year
- You have been very patient with me while you wait for junior year
- Your patience will eventually run out!
So, I feel like I need to explain the delay. It’s a tale of sorrow and hope. Heartache and self discovery. Endings and new beginnings.
So, to start off with, the year Abbey’s sophomore year came out, I started a new teaching job. Now, those of you who teach know how freaking stressful that can be, but I imagine that the majority of you are not teachers, so let me briefly explain. When you start a new teaching job in a new district, two majorly scary-ass things happen: 1. You have to develop totally new curriculum because usually you have to teach totally different stuff, and 2. You can be fired for any reason in your first two years. As an out lesbian teacher, this is scary. At any time if a parent wants to be a total homophobic weirdo, and they carry clout in a district, they can influence people that I am not right for the job. Same goes for homophobic principals and colleagues. Thank goodness that it turns out I didn’t have any of the above. But, I didn’t
know that at the time, so I was completely insane about being the best fracking teacher these kids ever met and if they couldn’t see how awesome I was and let homophobia control their decisions, then it was their loss. Here’s a pic of me as the Grammar Police. I love dressing up for my kids, so this had nothing to do with tenure. This has everything to do with me being a dork.
So, that’s why I didn’t work on junior year that year. I was developing and planning new curriculum for books I had never taught for students I had never taught in a school where I had never taught. Stessful? Hells to the yeah.
Fast forward to the school year that just ended. It started off okay- riding the high of being Teacher of the Year, plus I got an actual classroom instead of having to travel between three of them like the previous year, and had a year of curriculum to refer to. But then, rather expectantly, my mom fell ill with cancer. Now, let me just say this: Cancer can kiss my ass. I hate cancer, as I am sure you do. We have all been impacted by now with this stupid disease and I am sick of it. I was told she had 3-6 months to live, so I flew to Washington to see her right away and to help with the transition to hospice and whatever else I could do. I arrived three days after I got the news and she passed away three days later. Not three months or three weeks. Three days. That was in October of 2015. I took four days off of work and then returned. No tenure meant I was still worried; I still needed to work my lesbian ass off to prove my worth, but at the same time I was grieving the loss of my mom and barely making it through it each class without bawling my eyes out. My
students were so amazing. My colleagues were even more incredible, but I continued to put the pressure on myself to perform. Sadly, there was no headspace for writing Abbey’s junior year.
I’m going to be as succinct as possible about this next piece, okay? So, in a nutshell, I left my wife in January 2016. After that, I left my home and moved to the town in which I worked and completely started over. For the first time in 18 years, I was single and alone. It was like I was a graduated high school senior all over again- an unknown future, endless possibilities, and no idea what to do with myself. Trust me, fans, I’m happier a thousand times over, but I can honestly say that there was no way that between my mom’s passing and my divorce that I had anything left in my brain for my books even though I thought about how I needed to write it all the time. I missed writing. I missed Abbey, Garrett, and Mia, but I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and transport myself to their world when I was barely functioning in my real-life world.
You may be thinking, Wow…that’s a whole lotta truth there, Annameekee. And I know this. But, I’m telling you this because I think the more you know about others, the more empathy you develop for the human experience. At least, that is the case for me. And the more empathetic I become, the less important unimportant, stupid things become and the more attention I pay to things that really matter: helping others have better lives, loving those who deserve my love, forgiving and letting go of anger, and living my best life now…not later.
So, I hear you, my beautiful fans: You are eager for junior year. And, you need to know, I am eager to give it to you. This year, 2016, I have coined my “Year of Yes!” This new attitude and approach to life has led me to the most incredible experiences I have ever had, the best friendships I’ve ever experienced, and to a realization that life is too short to worry about things you cannot control. Despite everything I’ve experienced these past two years, I have never been happier. And now, I declare to you, I am ready to finish writing Abbey’s junior year. Brace yourself: it’s going to be a wild ride and one I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy.
Thank you for your never-ending patience, kindness, amazing letters of inspiration and gratitude, and love. I write these books for you and it brings me incredible joy to know that they have positively impacted your lives. Keep the fan letters coming and keep on being awesome. You inspire me daily.
Glitter and Hearts,
PS: I totes got tenure. I’m starting my third year at my new school and I am so happy!! Here I am in my Tenure Tutu on the last day of school!!
PPS: I highly recommend a “Year of Yes” to everyone out there. What are you waiting for? Do it now. Love your life now.