Have you ever had a day that brought your festering to a head like a pimple that’s been brewing in its own juices, waxing and waning for so long you can’t see anything on the surface, and then one day, while innocently picking and prodding nearby, it projectiles onto the mirror with a sound closer to a yelp than a sigh?
On days like these, your sister might call while you’re rushing to make it to the mechanic to get fluids checked before a road trip — you might think about ignoring her call, and you probably should. Because if you answer, she might ask how you’re doing. You might tell her you feel flustered and launch into what’s bending you in too many overwhelming directions.
Maybe things are weird at a couple of your jobs. Between self-sabotage and lack of boundaries you may have ruined your maybe-could-be-the-best dream job, and you wonder how much you’ll believe in yourself if you blew this, too.
Maybe you work as a temp and you’re back at your favorite office — they’ve called you back six or seven times, because you kick ass and they know it. They were always crazy about you, but got perspective when you turned them down to bust your ass at your might pay soon dream job a couple months ago. You never even asked your dream boss about taking that temp gig. Big shit was happening then — you were needed, you believed the dream enough to pass up other opportunities — of course you’d passed.
You almost passed up working at your favorite temp gig this time, too — not only would you be less available for the love job, you’d have to rearrange travel plans. You thought accepting the job would mean you were up to your old ways, over-accommodating with the best of intentions. You didn’t realize you’d felt hesitant about bringing it up with your dream boss, then when it came up in conversation, she urged you to take it. You realized maybe the over-extending was going in a different direction than you’d previously thought. You told the agency you could work a few days, not all. They panicked and hired someone else. You were half bummed, half glad, because you wanted to reorganize your life.
On hikes, you daydreamed about getting your shit together. You even came up with a title : ‘Stri’s Get-Your-Shit-Together Summer Camp’. Your days will start with a hike and outdoor activities including writing or speaking into a recording device, yoga, dancing, meditation, whatevs — just get your ass out the door and into nature! Next, you’ll work on the grand reorganization of your ENTIRE apartment, an endeavor which keeps getting truncated by temp gigs. No TV till nighttime, and you have to go out dancing or to a dance class at least twice a week, or else — mandatory dance party in your apartment. You must also go out with girlfriends at least twice weekly.
Maybe you have this all planned, then suddenly the temp gig is back on, and you’ll have WAY less time to prepare for your trip, but you’ll make money. Maybe a couple people at the office urge you to submit an application for a position for which you are greatly overqualified. And even though you love the office and the position you temp in, you don’t think you’d love the open position, or working under that particular frazzled supervisor, making less than double your rent monthly. Maybe you know you have no choice but to accept it, the dream job might not happen — especially since you missed another deadline last weekend when you locked your keys, phone, and computer, and everything for camping in your trunk last weekend the second you got to the river.
And maybe your supervisor at the temp agency told you she’s putting you up for two temp-to-hire jobs, one of which you were a second choice for two years ago, beaten by someone with more experience in the specific field (law), and another job that pays nearly double the one where you’re temping.
You’d have been thrilled with three potential opportunities — and you almost are — except you don’t want any of those jobs anymore, because you want the job you used to say would’ve been your dream job if you’d known it existed. Maybe you were waiting for a salaried position with your name on it. It’s probably all your fault it might not happen.
AND YOU NEVER GOT TO HAVE STRI’S GET-YOUR-SHIT-TOGETHER SUMMER CAMP!
You explain all this to your sister, and about how your family vacay will now be spliced with fucking Microsoft Office assessments for the better paying, mediocre job you don’t even want but will probably have to take due to your ever-swelling debt. And yes you’re grateful, but fuck! And maybe you start crying, and your sister says things she’s said before — things you’ve even kinda agreed with at moments — but maybe it’s too much this morning, so you yell at her to stop with the tear jerking lecture — you know, you know, you were just trying to vent — you need to stop crying to look decent at work, which you’ll have to leave early ‘cause you won’t make the mechanic’s now — and when your sister says she knows how hard it is, it’s too much for you because the list of reasons she’s never been in your shoes is long and winding. And what’s most insulting is that she thinks you need to hear her tough-love advice. As if you didn’t already know all too well.
Then your puppy might pee on the floor because you were crying instead of walking her — and you won’t find Clear Eyes, so everyone’s gonna think you’re a basket case or a stoner — both of which you kind of are. And you’ll fail a bit at not crying on the drive to work, where someone or other will need your help all day long, and you’ll do it all with a smile, cuz that’s how you do. And even though you were supposed to have tomorrow to finish everything before hitting the road, you agreed to help out in the morning so that someone else could extend her trip, because she obviously deserves a vacation more than you. Isn’t that right?
And maybe at the end of that day you’ll find yourself at your computer, finishing a different article altogether than the one you’d intended to write for your favorite real job. And maybe it will be good enough, and maybe it won’t.
And maybe you’ll learn to love yourself either way.