Bent Words

Bent Words

September 18, 2021

Tragedy/grief is a crazy thing. You can’t just get over it and sometimes the amount of time it takes to just feel a little bit BETTER about it is astronomical. I get hung up on my apartment fire all the time and I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I should be over it by now but that’s not how it works. You get into it sometimes and you get stuck in it and you need help getting out. That never goes away. The anger over losing something you held onto so tightly, or not tightly enough, never goes away. I grasp at the little things that I can to keep me above water and sometimes I totally believe I don’t deserve to even BE above water.

It’s been 10 years.

1/15/11 Stupid fire ate my life… save for my car, my mountain bike, my Arai and my roller skates so I’ve got transportation!

8/11 I quit my job at the motorcycle shop.

8/23/11 my first day at Quad.

10/22/11 EEK – pregnant!

2012 I moved, got married, had a baby (preeclampsia, mastitis, strep throat, depression) and a stupid fire ate the house with the wide hallways, French doors, finished basement, sunny kitchen and ginormis shower 10 days before closing. I went from me not wanting kids, marriage or a relationship at the time to gaining all of that in the span of 1 year. And all of the time in between has been a whirlwind of all the things that can happen in a decade. More babies and birthdays. A couple miscarriages and a few mistakes, new managers, fresh faces, retirement, too much death, not enough self-esteem and a pandemic in a pear tree.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

Women like to think they need to be superhuman and do it all and with a grin plastered on their faces. We cannot do it all but that doesn’t mean we need to put ourselves down. We need to focus on the things we CAN do well and remember those little wins and find the confidence to choose our path despite what everyone else thinks. Wear the shorts despite the stretch marks. Walk through the door and make direct eye contact. Hop into a Teams meeting and take it by the balls if for no other reason than to make some NOISE while the rest of the group lurks in the gloom on mute.

Ask a question.

Tell a story.

Admit you suck and be self-deprecating. Someone else has a “I’m not good enough story” because that’s evolution and it will open their heart and yours to know you’re not the only one.

Admit you’re amazing and DO something amazing to make it stick. Donate blood, open a door, call a friend, send a letter. Buy someone’s lunch, vent your frustrations and ask for help.

Be kind to yourself today.

“If being hard on yourself worked, it would have worked by now.”

Still, I’m afraid to write – to give her life.

I finally poked my head out of this dark effing hole that has been impossibly dark so that I don’t even know what I’m looking at and I suppose I’m surprised to come out and see someone that kind of looks like me and sort of sounds like me and might be a bit battered by the breakers but she’s still mostly… here. Like I KNOW her!! I remember her! Pretzel on a barstool, standing/sitting/standing/sitting/kind of both. She’s not so bad, either. And I know because I just checked her out in the mirror and I see that booty coming back. Her legs are chewed by mosquitos and relentless, late night, long finger nails. Her tummy looks like a deflated balloon but DAMN if she ain’t wearing shorts and strutting down the road! Strutting stretch mark! It’s not great but it’s not that bad either.

But I’m afraid to give myself credit. I’m afraid to admit to what I see. Because it might just crumble under the pressure and vanish as quickly (sloooooooowly) as it came. I’m afraid the sorrow will take over and dilute the pride.

It’s been ten years.

8/23/11 I accepted the position at Quad and I busted my backside to make it excellent. But for the last 5 years I’ve been living in the shadows of a person who isn’t my boss, isn’t my sister, has no control over but for the control I let her have and I am finally, fully fed up. It’s been all about her and nothing about me. I followed her over the cliff and I can only say that I am truly lucky that the opportunity presented itself (for the third or fourth time) and I went after it with all my heart.

I’ve had the entire leadership team call me in the last 17 days to ask me why.

“Why are you accepting a position as a button pusher when you clearly have more skill?”

“Don’t you think you’re settling for less when you could rise up to the challenge before you?”

“The department you’re moving to is the dumbed down version of what you’re already doing.”

Why, Laura?

“I was hoping you would ask!” Not that it’s ANY of your business since you let me flounder this way for years without an ounce of recourse or acknowledgment or a truly fair amount of compensation.

“Because I can work substantially fewer hours a week and make more money and shut my damn PC down at the end of the day and be done. Because I will have a manager who actually knows what I do and will support me like a Poppa Bear. Because this is meant to be. I can’t grow if I don’t have any time to understand what I’m doing and I’m not interested in leading a department until my kiddos are older. This is about ME and MY FAMILY and no one else so try not to trouble yourself with the whys now when you couldn’t be bothered with it 5 years ago.”

9/1/21 I accepted the position offered to me with alacrity.

I’ve been warned it will be a messy transition but that’s only because I AM amazing and I DO do it all! I didn’t complain (too much), I kept my head down and my mind focused and my work organized. You left me alone to figure it out so now you can be left alone to figure it out as well. You want to keep me until 2022 but if I were leaving Quad, I would be out in 2 weeks so that’s really not fair. But in the interest of not burning bridges, my name’s Paul and that’s between ya’ll. Fight for it – I’ll wait.

And if you think I’m settling for less, you are quite correct!! Less BS, less hours, less run around, less dancing and less darkness – more light. But really it’s just more money and fewer hours so think of me what you will.

“What others think of me is none of my business.”

I don’t know everything. I don’t have all the answers. But I’ll figure it out and I’ll find what I’m looking for. Because it’s already starting. I see me today and I don’t believe I have seen her in about ten years.

Written at 8:49 a.m.