Friday, September 16, 2016

Notes from a Year named Thrive: September Part I

Back in August—two weeks before the biggest show our team does—my manager gave her notice. She's gone at the end of November or sooner if she finds another job. And, oh, didn't my heart whisper "not this again." Because I have been in this situation before—hello, 2013—and I had no desire to rinse and repeat.

As even as I thought but if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all, I realized it didn't. Everything had changed. People I counted on for support last time, whether they realized they were offering it or not, weren't there anymore. I had a warning this was coming and time for the company to do something about it. It wasn't going to fall all on my shoulders. Most importantly, I knew that I could go get another job if that's what I wanted to do.

So we pushed on, and the team finished the show. It went really smoothly, which did not mean it was easy by any means, as it was still the first I'd done. It went smoothly, but it did not go without an emotional cost to me, and I was grateful for the lieu days I had afterwards.

On Friday, I went out to visit a friend who rents a 100 year old farmhouse with a spectacular view of Mulmur county and the most sky in all of Ontario. On Saturday, I got my brain back to the point that I started writing something new. I also smugly thought I'd escaped catching the dreaded conflu, but on the way home on Sunday I started to get sick.

Everything is the worst when I'm sick, and I'm full of fight because I'm trying to keep going when thinking is that much harder. Tuesday night, I had insomnia. I haven't had insomnia in months—and I don't remember the last time I had it so bad that I could not actually sleep. Wednesday morning, I got out of bed and I went to work. The true disappointment of being older is now when I don't get any sleep and then manage to complete a work day, I don't even feel proud of myself. I only feel a weary longing for it to be the last time I have to do it.

In this sleepless haze, my manager informed me that my old specialist job at Indigo had been posted and she had applied for it. Yesterday I looked and it wasn't all of my old job—it was a few of the things I'd done with a bit of new added. But in it was IndigoTeen. The thing I built. The thing I stayed way too long for. The only thing I ever miss. And it took every bit of my magnificent restraint not to apply for it.

Even when sick my anxiety is very specific—it's concerned about being late for things. It's insistent that if anything goes wrong or someone is unhappy then I must have done something to cause it. It's very certain that when I do eventually do the thing that makes someone unhappy, they'll just vanish without ever telling me.

But sometimes, when it feels particularly cruel, it leans in with a low whisper of "you'll never want anything as much as you wanted IndigoTeen." A sword right between my ribs; one side edged with I don't want anything enough to make it happen and the other edged with my best work—my dream job—is done and behind me.

Last night for a moment, maybe an hour, I considered that it might be right. I might not ever want anything as much as I wanted IndigoTeen. There may not be anything that I feel as fulfilled by doing as that. I left almost two years ago, because—among other reasons—there was nothing left at Indigo I wanted to build. And it was never, ever going to be my job to only do IndigoTeen. There was no more onwards for me there. Not in a direction that I honestly wanted to go.

I'm building something at my current job, but it's not what I wanted to be doing. It's what needed doing. So I did it. And I know how millennial it sounds to say I left to do better things than this, but it's how I felt with less than a week remaining in my 34th year and sick enough that something like my old job being posted could lay me low.

Until I remembered that I do have something: I want the time I spent getting a draft ready for other people to be able to read to not be a waste. If that's the only tangible, lasting thing I built these past two years, then I want to do the work to get that manuscript into an editor's hands. Because it may not sell, but I worked too fucking hard on it and me to not even try.

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