Wow, almost 3 months? Yeah, I guess that's kind of my style. At least I'll tell you it is if I'm going for honest.
Tonight, I'm definitely going for honest. I'm going for deep, sack-you-in-the-gut honest, because a) flattery isn't really all that flattering, and b) more than ever, I'm finding that anything less will leave you unsatisfied and unhappy.
How do you start it, though? How do you, or maybe I should say, do you tell someone that you don't trust them or that you feel patronized by them or that you'd rather just go it alone? Is it better to bring it up and put it out there, risking the calm facade (which is semi-bearable, if not fulfilling) in hopes that addressing the awkward can help you move forward to something better? And then, the last bitter twist to the quandary, what if you don't really believe that those hopes can be realized, given the people involved? Is it better to risk it for something that looks unlikely or to try to find a way to grin and bear it? I just don't know the answer anymore. And maybe I'm a coward, but my response is to duck and run. Or tuck and roll. Or something of the sort. If the question is to fish or cut bait, I'm going to cut bait. And then, I'm going to move into my panic room. That's right, this coward doesn't just run, she runs and hides. Maybe it's the easy way out, but I'm not in the best place right now and I'm not ready to deal with recent situations at work in a detached, professional way yet, so I'm just going to pull a classic Laura and retreat to what I know, avoiding the minefield altogether. I may never get to the other side, but I won't get burned or blown up in the process. Ugh, I even disgust myself.
That said, I've had 2 people now tell me that my employment (whether it be the actual work agreement, the people there, the team I work with, or the job I do) means too much to me. If one person brings up something, it doesn't necessarily get ignored, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it if I don't break it down and analyze. When more than one person brings it up (especially if the two or more people are unrelated in any way), then it's time to hash it out. So beware, I'm about to. In writing. And it will, like most of my thought processes, probably be long. Consider yourself forewarned.
I'm logical by nature so lets start with the facts. Employment is important to me. I have a job. One of my top life priorities is to excel at my job and be the best <fill in current employment position here> I can be. I spend more waking hours at work each week than I do anywhere else. In the last year or so, I have lost many friends in my personal life. Outside of work, I have few expectations of me or regular commitments to fulfill. I tend to bring work home with me. Part of my identity is found in what I do for a living, where I do it, and how well I do it.
It's a recipe for disaster.
I may not see it exactly how the people who brought it up to me do, but I'm realizing that I may put undue importance on not just being good at my job, but on having "friends" there or "being a part of things" there. It's a mental process that I've been sorting through for some time to break out of that and realize that socially accepted or not, I am a part of things there and perform an important function. Granted, some of that function could probably be completed by a monkey who would then "be part of things" there, but some of it is unique and can't be done by just anyone, but I can do it. What I'm really struggling with is how I can still value my work ethic and be who I am (neuroses about being a good employee and all) but remain aloof enough to not care whether those traits and skills of mine are recognized and appreciated. How can I still be the person and employee I am without losing sight of the fact that my employment is really only a trade - hours for money? And I struggle, because ideally - truly ideally, as in the very best thing that could happen - I would find a profession that doesn't just benefit from my personal beliefs and convictions regarding employment, but needs them, thrives on them. Something like a pastor or a social worker or an activist. Except I'm not cut out for any of those things. It's all left me feeling like I'm not ever going to be able to just be at peace at a job. Or like a job will never cut it.
And that's terrifying in its own right. My job is really all I have right now. Honestly - the unflattering, bare bones, open wounds kind of honestly - I'm lonely. I have several good friends who are local, and I spend time with them, but they're busy with their own lives, trying to find a balance. I have too much time and not enough to do. I'm lonely. I'm watching the people around me move on with their lives to bigger and better things, and I can't even bring myself to go to a church regularly because I've been so paralyzed by the pain cause by Christians that I feel like I have no more will to try. How does that hurt heal? How do you forget how awful people have been and get past the fact that they still get to live in the perfect world you used to live in? How do you forgive someone who not only doesn't ask for it, but also gloats about being right in the face of your pain? And if I could, if I could somehow reconnect to the world around me in a real and tangible way, would it matter? I would still be the same person I am now, with the same dreams and hopes and fears and priorities, but I'd just be one with a support system of sorts. If I had that, would my job mean less to me? Would I get worse at it?
Does it matter? Being a part of a body of believers seems like a pipe dream to me anymore, however depressing that is. Maybe God will change me on that and give me grace to move on from what's happened before, but right now, it seems unlikely. And in the interim, I guess I can try and make the finer points of my employment matter less to me and think of it as a trade, but if I cut that out too, what's left? If I keep trimming who I am and what once mattered to me from my life, soon I won't be anyone at all.