I didn’t want to go there. And I’m not sure if I’ll actually publish this. If I decide to, I’m not sure when that will be. At this moment, though, I’m feeling it, so I’ll go with it.
In, well, let’s leave it at before the end of 2011, I’ll be without a job. I’ve been laid off. Frankly, I’m feeling grateful. We were given a ‘warn period,’ which means we got a few months of work before becoming unemployed. As that ‘warn period’ winds down, however, the reality is starting to hit me. In the foreseeable future, I won’t have a job. And believe me, it’s not because I haven’t tried. I’ve looked every day, and applied for every position I think I’d qualify for and then some. I get it now. It’s not that easy. I apologize for all the times I judged before, even if it was just in my mind. As I just said, I get it.
Before we get too far in, let’s take a little trip back in time. You see, I’ve officially been employed since the day of my 16th birthday, and I worked (Shhh.) full-time during summer breaks before that. In high school, I worked nights and weekends, and held two jobs during the summer – one with typical full-time hours (With an awful commute in Philadelphia traffic, to boot.), and a second job on nights and weekends. I worked around 20 hours/week while attending college full-time, and on college breaks, both winter and summer, I again worked a full-time, 40+ hour/week office job. Simply put, I’ve never stopped. (Okay, busted. I did take a 2-week break after graduating from college – frankly, I thought my dad was going to have a heart attack over it, and honestly, so was I. Needless to say, I don’t do free time well.)
So imagine how this concept of unemployment is weighing on me. What the heck will I do during the day??? Of course I know there are things to do, because people do this all the time, but honestly, I’m overwhelmed with the thought of being underwhelmed. I feel like I’m on an island where no one understands. Let me remind you … I simply don’t know how to not work. I don’t know how to let it all go. I don’t know how to take some time off for me. I just don’t know. I’m one of those people who can’t flipping stop.
I get how it feels to be laid off now. I feel the pain. I’m educated, hard-working, and facing a whole new life in the very near future. One I didn’t choose for myself. And I’m scared. I’m sad and feeling very, very alone. And I’m starting to feel the panic.
Without a doubt, I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of gal. Even when I’m griping, I’m smiling. Well, most of the time. I’ve been told a million times over that I’m too nice. But I’m starting to feel the stress of it all. I’m starting to worry.
My ‘happy go lucky’ side reminds me that it will all be okay. We have our health. We’re an amazing family. I have a daughter that I simply love to pieces. We have our home. And thankfully, we have a plan to move forward through this trying time. But that ‘plan’ won’t last forever. I work for two reasons. (1) Because I want to. It’s who I am, if I haven’t driven that home enough. (2) Because I need to. We have mortage-sized monthly school loan payments between the two of us. It simply is what it is without getting into the gruesome details.
We’ll be okay for a little while. But oddly enough, that doesn’t make this a bit easier. It’s all still there.
The feeling of isolation.
It’s all still very much there.
So forgive me if I say things that sound uncharacteristic. If I gripe about my dead battery, 5 quarts of leaking oil inside my husband’s truck, dog getting stung in the rear end by a wasp kind of day. You know, in my ordinarily chipper kind of world, it’s totally not that big of a deal. But these days, it is.
Forgive me if I quit focusing on my person, putting my #Mamavation commitment to myself on the back burner for now and instead becoming consumed by this new unwanted distraction. I’ll be back, Sistas. Promise, I will. I gave it my all in the beginning (And lost 10 lbs., thank you very much!), but I’ve got to be honest with you all – I can’t do it anymore.
And forgive me if I’m particularly hateful after reading articles about discriminating against the unemployed. Let me remind you that I didn’t ask for this, and neither did many of my colleagues. Because there were more than a handful of us who were laid off. Many more than a handful. We don’t deserve that.
I know there are many worse things in the world. Believe me, I think about them every single day. But to me, right now, this is a pretty big deal. Things in life are always relative, and I’m remembering that. But that doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly know how to do this. That doesn’t mean this is any easier, or any better.
Are you with me? And will you be here to celebrate when I tell you I have a beautiful, bright and shiny new job? Believe me, I’m going to need you along the way, whether for a celebration or a pick-me-up.
I’ve already needed you, I’ve just been afraid to let you know.