Friday, February 13, 2015

Endings and Anxiety

Tuesday night, I kept falling back into the same dream, despite trying to get myself out of it numerous times. But I'm a light sleeper lately, and I guess I kept picking up where I left off. In the dream, I was at work, but everything had changed. My team had moved, something we're actually slated to do this year, only I didn't move along with them. All of my personal items had been thrown away, and I was left to be part of another team that I had no desire to be on. I protested, but no one could hear me, or maybe they didn't care.

Of course, this dream came after two more snow days spent at home, more than 48 hours without leaving the house, and feeling very anxious about how I'd get into the office that Wednesday morning (which indeed took two hours to accomplish). I told one of my bosses about the dream that afternoon, when he happened to get news that our team's move date had gotten pushed back. He reminded me that my new office is right next to his, and that of course I'm coming along, though I might not have room for my artwork with our new glass walls.

I've been thinking a lot about endings, as they seem everywhere these days. Two of my favorite shows, Parenthood and Glee, have recently ended or will be ending in a matter of weeks. Jon Stewart announced he's leaving The Daily Show, a position he's held for most of my adult life. Even Rosie O'Donnell announced she's leaving The View (again), a show I haven't watched in longer than I can remember, yet I still watched her vlog for why she's leaving too.

I've been at my job for closing in on 10 years now, and I've only ever had to really leave one job before this. Every other job I'd held was known to be temporary from the start, whether I was a camp counselor or working as a bank teller or in the college library. Everything else had a fairly established end date without intervention from me. Leaving my last job was, well, kind of traumatic for me. I'd loved working there, but was basically told that they didn't see me advancing further despite the half-finished MBA, which they were paying for at the time. I was so hurt to have to leave, but I knew I hadn't peaked at the age of 27.

I was fortunate to find my next job relatively easily, a lateral move that was challenging in ways I hadn't anticipated, but it opened up a much broader world to me. My company has invested in me, and I've grown a lot over the last decade. It seems weird to have been there so long when it seems like everyone else I know has switched jobs many times over the same period, but people at my company tend to stay (my group hasn't had someone leave since 2007). Long-term plans have been made with me in mind. I have no intentions of leaving.

But it's interesting to me that despite all that, the goodwill I know is felt for me, and the loyalty I feel towards my job, I'd still be hit with an anxiety dream of being left behind. I don't blame any aspect of my job for this: they encouraged us to stay home as the blizzards hit, and I've always been supported when I work from home. But will I ever feel secure enough in myself, that I am doing well enough, that I won't have worries like this? Or is this just the curse of being an employee for someone else, that you can never truly feel 100% secure? Or maybe it's just all this snow, making me crazy.

I know I'm not at an ending. But I do sometimes wonder what a new beginning might be like.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Kitchen Sink, Part 2

I am the kind of person who sets their alarm to wake up at six in the morning to do the dishes.

You see, I was too tired after this hard week, where I continued to marinate in last week's hard, right up til the end, when I called for surrender in the form of a ride home from the train station. It's not that long of a walk, but with snowbanks higher than my knees and portions where the only choice is to walk in a heavily trafficked street in the complete darkness of early evening, I couldn't do anymore hard.

I couldn't face the dishes after Shabbat dinner either. The kitchen sink is also my thinking place, and I didn't want more thinking. I wanted mindless television and a comfortable bed, which is what I gave myself. But I set my alarm, and unlike most mornings lately, I jumped right out of bed, and I cleaned the kitchen.

The thoughts I'd avoided last night came fast and furious this morning. Today, we start the audition process for a new season of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. There is no one word that can adequately capture my emotions as we stand on this precipice, but it reminds me of Peter Pan in the Disney previews that plays on one of the kid's DVDs, when he grabs someone's hand and shouts "Here we gooooo!" into the night sky. It's feels a lot like flying when you're not sure you know how.

I didn't expect to feel this nervous going into year 2, but I'm glad I still feel as excited as I did in year 1. I know more of what to expect today and the days to come. I also know that my heart will hurt hearing many of the stories. I know I will do my best to honor each of the individuals who shares something.

My story, in the video below, still rings so true for me. I don't know if I'll be reading anything this year, but I'm still writing here, even if it's not as grand as that moment was. But I'm still revealing who I am this way, and it means a lot to me. So building on last year's theme, you should know that I am the kind of person who sets their alarm to wake up at six in the morning to do the dishes, if they couldn't bear the thought of them last night, and today looks really busy and the overwhelming sense of responsibility mandates that you get them done even though it's really cold in the kitchen so early in the morning but maybe you'll find twenty minutes to get a blog post written because of it.

And I hope you'll grab onto my hand, because here we go.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


It's hard to get back to writing when I take any sort of break, but it's just been more than a week, and writing has often been on my mind. But the words haven't been coming to mind, as this last week has been lousy.

After a few weeks of on and off fevers, Hannah was sent home from school with another fever on Monday, at the start of Boston's first big snowstorm this winter. Marc picked her up, and on my way home from the train, I took a hard fall on the freshly snow-covered ice. I landed hard on my back (The Back, for longtime readers), and when I tried to stand up, found I'd had the wind knocked right out of me and I fell down again. I managed to get home to ice and Motrin right away, but it's a full week later now, and I'm still in a bit of pain.

And then we had two snow days. We managed, but I was ready to get back to work on Thursday. But then Hannah's fever came back Wednesday night, so work wasn't an option after all. I took her to the pediatrician, who recommended a chest x-ray, and a few hours later, Hannah was diagnosed with pneumonia. That meant Friday was out too.

Hannah is doing better, and really wanted to go to school on Monday, missing her friends and feeling out of sorts without a routine. But, another snow storm has come through, and we're home again, yesterday and today.

Winter is hard. Illness and injury are hard. Trying to work, feeling behind, and being without a routine is hard. And not knowing when it's going to get easier is hard.

I like to wrap up my posts with some kind of insight, but I don't want to say something like "getting through the hard makes you stronger," or even "I know it'll all be okay." Sometimes it's okay to just dwell where you are.