Six months ago I left a job that I truly enjoyed but it was hard on me. It was hard on me not because of the actual job but because of the events in my life that had been happening outside of it. My life I have spent running from the things that were hard to deal with, that I couldn't understand or maybe I just didn't want to. I'm not sure. I can be honest about that. I was unable to truly allow myself to grieve my father, to accept the loss of my trusty dog companion. I put all my effort into not dealing with their loss and placed it into this job but in this process I lost pieces of myself. In my hurt, I forgot to feel the arms that were already wrapped around me. I forgot to look down and realize I had so many people that were ready to catch me. I ran away to a place where I didn't have to talk about. I ran away to a place where I didn't have to deal with it because they had no idea who I really was. I had these standards of myself and I was beaten down so much I was incapable of living up to them at that time. If I could not come through for me, how could pull through for anyone else? So, I went to a place that did not value me. I went to a place that will never truly open their arms to me, not because who I am is not good enough for them but because who I am shines far brighter than they can handle. I'm not being cocky. For once in my life, I am owning my value, my talents, my abilities to thrive. I ran to a place I will never truly fit in at and in that realization I understood where I fit all along. I don't regret the decisions I made. Everything happens for a reason. I do believe that I needed time to heal on my own without the safety net of support. It would be the only way I faced the demons that chased. It was the only way to find my feet. What I realized today is that it was the only way for me to find who I was again. And who I am is reflected in the smiles, in the love, in the open arms that cheered when I walked back through that door.
I worked Saturday morning in that old familiar. We were busy. There was a million tickets up. The tea needed to brew. Tables needed to be cleaned. People needed to be sat. The phone had to be answered... but I smiled. I smiled at the people around me busting their ass to run that food, to clean those tables, to seat those people, to answer that phone, to get that ice. I smiled because all of us were a unit, together, taking care of each other. I forgot what it was like working in a team where we all hold each other up. I smiled to be back in this war zone that felt bananas and hectic. I relished in the moment, knowing I fit there. No one was passive aggressive. No one was complaining. No one was walking away from something that needed to be done. All of us saw. All of us conquered. In leaving, I gained appreciation of the things I had started to take granted of after four years of being there. I have a new take on something old, a refreshing point of view. They say that the grass is greener on the other side of the hills but I think we forget quickly that the grass under our feet is just as green. Sometimes you have to climb that hill to look back and see that green that had always been there. In these last six months, I've changed. I am not the same person who walked out those doors. I've seen what it is like to work at a place that has no respect for each other, a place where it seems like everyone is only interested in the money they make. I've been with this place for six months and what I've felt has been, at times, demoralizing. I've realized that not everyone is going to appreciate my work ethic. I have seen the way it gets construed as arrogant but I've also come to realize that I do not need to apologize for my abilities. I do not need to apologize for doing the right thing. Sadly, I walk out of this new place feeling like there is something wrong with me, a feeling a never had at my old familiar. In their lack of care for me, I realized how important being around people who actually want you around is important. I worked a lunch shift today at this beautiful old familiar this morning. I came around the corner and I sighed with a smile. What I saw were three boys rolling silverware together, laughing with each other. What I saw were three people working together in unison and it made my heart swell. It sounds silly, a bit foolish even. I just didn't know how much I missed not just those walls but the people that filled them. I smiled because I knew my adventure away brought me right back to where I belonged.
With my time away, I stumbled. I forgot who I was. My kindness got twisted into something I did not recognize. It started to come at a price. It started to be question. I have lived my entire life taking care of other people. I will sacrifice my greater good for yours because that is just who I am. I don't want to fight. I don't want to yell. Sure, I am oozing with sarcasm but I will never throw it at you to cause harm. I am calm, quiet, observant. You talk and I will always listen. You cry and I will always have a shoulder for you. You need for anything and I will give you everything. At times in my life, this kindness has been taken advantage of, sure, but I've never thought negative about this trait. I have walked through hell and still believe that common good exists. In the last six months, I forgot that kindness. My voice started to rise. My fists started to slam. My face reddened way more than it should. I gave my best and it was returned with scoffs. I started to give up, started to back down, threw my hands in the air and ask what was the point? Why am I working so hard for a place, for people who hate me for doing so? Why? And in that question, I realized that who I was as a person was starting to get lost. I realized that I had forgotten what doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do meant. I became so frustrated at the people around me being rewarded for doing absolutely nothing while I was being yelled at for doing everything. I had a choice. Either stop fighting this place that did not want to change and become exactly what that place was, sacrificing my own personal standards and a work ethic that took me years to find... Or go back to a place that celebrated my hard work, whose eyes shined at me when I walked through the door, whose arms were always open. Sometimes it's the people that make the biggest difference. I hope my sweet Village people understand how wonderful they are. I hope they know their love was the one thing that I held onto while I was away. Near the end I forgot but I never stopped feeling them. I just didn't know how to get out of my own way. As many problems as I have with the other place, going back to the Village was for me. It was for my own sanity, my own happiness, my own sense of well being. I do not thrive in a toxic environment. And though I have to do both right now, the love from one will outweigh the toxic from the other. Why? Because love always wins. In the love that has always been there for me, I am who I always was again. I may carry scars from the last two years but the wounds have healed in a way. And Jes with one S is back :)