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"That's not offered to part timers."

I went to an insurance orientation for the school district of Greenville County yesterday. If that sentence alone didn’t put you to sleep I’m assuming you must be on some sort of cocaine, and I wish you luck in all future endeavors.

I had to go because since I’m teaching a little more at the Fine Arts Center next year I’m technically being “offered” health insurance. By “offered” they mean I can buy into the system for an arm and leg. And not even all of the system. They were going over coverage options for chronic conditions and cancers. I stood up and raised my hand and said I didn’t have that information in my packet, to which they replied, “That’s not offered to part-timers.” So I just sat down, pulled out my phone, and wondered why the hell I was there.

It was interesting, sitting the back, watching all these new teachers about to embark on new careers and full time jobs. Did any of them have to worry about having treatments? About how to schedule them in a way to maximize the work week? It’s a dance I’ve been doing for over two years now. At first it was novel. Now it’s just annoying. The constant hustle of putting gigs together around a chemo schedule. Part of me enjoys the freedom. But part of me would like to go back to being eligible for all the benefits while not having a need for any of them.

But everyone has something. Who would have guessed the tall 40 year old with a full head of hair in the back of the room has to get an infusion on Monday? Just because these people had new full time jobs doesn’t mean their lives are pieces of cake. They’re all teachers for goodness sakes. So if they do have perfect lives, that should come to an end in the middle of August.

After an hour and a half they let the non new hires go. That meant me. I have to go back on July 8th to officially turn down the insurance they are “offering.” To stick with my own. I’ve navigated these waters without the support of a full time job for this long, why break precedent. I stepped outside of the air conditioned building into the hot summer sun. That’s one of my favorite feelings in the world. Maybe the slog is a part of this process. Letting go of the things I thought I wanted. Or the things I thought I needed. Like coverage options for chronic conditions. Maybe I don’t have those things so I can know something bigger is taking care of me. I just have to have these eyes to see it.

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