Surrender (Stages of Grief)

More and more I feel.. a sense of zen. I understand that to others, everything I do and say is weird. That I am fundamentally bizarre, and it doesn’t matter how much I reach out. No one wants to reach back out to someone like me. It doesn’t matter that I have zero desire or capacity to harm others. Being different makes you immediately suspect.

The years I have blogged here, I have gone through the stages of grief.

Denial: I’m not weird, I’m not different, I’m just misunderstood. I can be understood if I just try!

Anger: Railing at a world that does not accept me. A lot of anger and rants in my previous posts, mostly made private by this point.

Bargaining: If I just wear makeup and have perfect hair, maybe I will be forgiven. Spoiler alert: that doesn’t work.

Depression: Many days, weeks, months, years lost to this. Sitting inert, trying to distract myself. Feeling no motivation or spark of happiness. Sleeping just to get away from existence.

And finally, acceptance.

I have failed at being normal. I am a failure at gaining acceptance, connection, friendship, you name it. I have failed at my job. I have failed at being likeable, feminine, socially savvy, everything that I am supposed to be as a female.

So now, without a 9-5, I will just fail quietly and privately in the comfort of my home. I can quit performing emotional labor that isn’t ever returned. I do not have to be a target for mockery and gossip if there isn’t an audience. The great thing about becoming a shut-in is that no one can see you fail. No one can judge or laugh at you. If you’re simply not around other people, your past failures will be gradually forgotten.

My last day of work is very soon. At this moment, I feel peaceful. This try-hard stage is over, and I’m ready to work within my limitations. Or to at least learn how to manage them. I can now expend my energy on things that matter in the long run; personal satisfaction (writing and drawing) and my physical health (lifting, running, eating well). I do intend to return to working, but on my terms: something remote or at the least part time, in an environment more forgiving. Full time, at the right place, is still possible.

Here I am. Finally accepting that there is a rift between myself and others, likely forever.

I surrender.

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Far Away in a Safe Place

The last week has kind of sucked, I’ve been sick. I took three days off work and have been in late for two other days.

It’s weird that this illness struck me right before I turn in my res1gnation. I started feeling sick last week, on Tuesday. The cold has run its course, but a respiratory infection took its place. No telling when that will end.

This Tuesday, I came back to work from sick leave and found my manager’s manager has scheduled a weekly meeting where he and an HR rep review my weekly activity report. Note, the weekly activity report (WAR) was a consequence of my “needs improvement” performance review from last year. It’s telling, that this manager wants HR to be present when he goes over the WAR with me. My three signed resignation letters are on my desk, ready to go, and I itch to simply drop them off. One for my manager, one for manager’s manager, and one for HR. Only a day left until I can do so. I wonder if they’ll still want to do the WAR review with HR if I’m resigning.

Not much longer that I have to come in here. I have to remind myself. Though I can’t wait to be out of here, I feel heavy-hearted. Mainly, at the loss of this place. It’s not a bad place to work. The company does and has done a lot for me. I’m just not suited to 9-5 work anymore.

What a entitled, ridiculous thing to say: not suited to 9-5 work. It’s deceptive, too. There’s a lot I’m not saying when I say I’m “not suited” to full time employment. I’m not talking about the huge increase in my social anxiety that’s happened over the last two years. The anxiety that makes me more and more reclusive, more and more unwilling to talk to others. The anxiety that poisons every interaction, that leads to oversharing when I do want to talk to others, leading to feelings of humiliation, leading to more anxiety. In a fatalistic way, I’m glad I’m going to be spending much of my time at home. It’s for the best. Fewer people to exist around. Fewer opportunities to feel inadequate.

I’m also not talking about the growing apathy towards my career field. The only feelings of accomplishment I get anymore come from doing housework or playing video games. Everything I do at work is frustrating and far from straight-forward. There is no sense of satisfaction anymore, doing the work that I do. Maybe that feeling will return one day, during my time off from working. I can start slow, learning more about Python and Django, which I worked with during my greatest period of success at the company. I’d love to feel some passion towards a programming project again.

When I think about not working, I feel immediate relief. Like I don’t have to pretend anymore. That I’m some high-power high-earning female. Deep down, I know I’m just a little woman with delusions of grandeur. Delusions of intellect and self-sufficiency. Other people have always been trying to show me my place. Subtly and outright. And the pressure has finally gotten to me, worn me down over years like wind and water does to stone. Look, world, you win. I’m not going to be more than what I seem. I’ll just be what you think I should be. Then maybe I’ll be accepted.

Yes. To stay home, safe and sound, away from the judgemental eyes of others. Safe from the bland, mediocre cruelty of everyday people. Away from dismissive, derisive, unconsciously and consciously over-competitive interactions. Everybody thinks everybody else wants to topple them from their tier in the hierarchy. I want to be treated like there are no levels. Just flat ground, where everyone makes an attempt to see eye-to-eye. I don’t want to bow, but I don’t want to loom over anyone either. I don’t feel suited to this world at times.

Better to focus on what I’ll be doing at home. I’ll decompress. I’ll work on building some sort of daily routine, rather than the haphazard “I’ll do it if I feel like it” thing I have now. I’ll lose my sense of alienation and despair in drawing and writing; my graphic novel will have time to be born now. I’ll be house-proud, fixing up the outside and keeping the inside tidy. I’ll take time to rekindle a love of programming. I’ll do what I want, when I want, but responsibly. A little bit of spontaneity and impulsiveness, to add spice to life. That’s my hope at least.