Monday, February 14, 2011

The good, the bad, and the terrifying.

So tomorrow (today, really...) I start a new job. New place (naturally), new time of day, new kind of work altogether, and a whole bunch of "What's going to happen next?" I'm going from an 8-4(ish) shift to a 4pm-2am shift, for at least 2 weeks. After that, I'm not sure what my schedule will be. I'm going from a low-paying but very meaningful job at a domestic violence shelter to a low-paying production line job at a factory, and I have no idea what my future there holds. And this was all my idea.

There have been so many major changes in my life in the past couple of years, and that is a big part of my need to start this blog. I was just about to add "both good and bad" before the comma in that previous sentence, but as I sit here right now I realize that it's ALL been for the better, big picture-wise. I worked with some truly amazing clients at the shelter, and the staff I worked with were just as amazing. I made some wonderful friends working there, and I will be forever grateful for the lifeline they provided for me during all that craziness. I feel like I have really grown as a person, and I'd be a fool to insist that my age has nothing to do with that. It doesn't help that I was working "the frontlines" at a young organization supporting a powerful movement that is honestly changing lives every day. I went from being terrified talking from my seat in classes to being comfortable(-ish) standing in front of classrooms, church groups, board meetings, fundraising events, and civic groups talking to a bunch of strangers about something I was and still am passionate about. And having people come up afterwards and say, "Wow, I hadn't thought of it that way before. I want to get involved. How can I help?" I feel awesome knowing that I have a slight ability to get people fired up about something, and to get them wanting to be involved in such a worthy movement. (...Of course, I would only be there because someone cared enough to invite a speaker from the shelter in the first place, but that fact doesn't do as much for my self-esteem in my frequent weak moments.) I went from not having the slightest amount of confidence in my ability to handle any sort of major decisions or managerial issues to being the go-to person for the one who became the Executive Director to bounce ideas off of and troubleshoot with. I went from being a part-time sales associate at a clothing store to being part of a "team" of supervisory staff, responsible for overseeing other staff members and changes to the program.

However, I also went from being confident enough in myself to think that I had effectively dealt with some of my major issues without resorting to substance abuse, prostitution, or any other kinds of majorly or minorly destructive behaviors to realizing that just because I knew and accepted that devastating things have repeatedly happened in my life doesn't mean I had really dealt with it. To sum up, I went from confident and proud of my resiliency to a STRONG resurgence of the major depression I've dealt with (undiagnosed, of course) since my preteen years. And it was so much worse than it ever had been before. But. I went from that extreme level of misery and apathy to the realization that it really is okay to follow my own advice and seek some freakin' help. After years of struggling, I finally had someone who knows what they are talking about say "This is Major Depression, and we can do something about it." Then the changes just kept a-comin'. I knew I needed a change of employment if I wanted to keep my sanity and not get totally burned out on something that I would like to return to. So I left. Now I am battling the feeling that I gave up, am wasting my degree, and will never make up for this. But all I can do is go for it and see what happens. After all, you don't get paid to re-evaluate the direction of your life while sitting at home (and we gots to make the money!), and you can't begin to re-evaluate if you are too stressed and frustrated to think clearly.

In the meantime, although I am definitely not where I want to be right now and not doing what I want to do, I know that I'll get there. Or I won't. Or those things will change. Either way, although it's terrifying to not know what's going to happen, it's exciting to make changes. I'm just going to keep on constantly movingthinkinghopingtalkingwritinglearningreadingquestioningevaluating. And loving, and most definitely laughing. Because you can't get through anything without that.

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