I’ve been away for a while. I’m sorry about that, both because I have had so many things that I wanted to say, but also because this place is a dusty mess! Even when you aren’t “using a room” it becomes dusty. And I see this as a room, so to speak; my safe room, where I can say things I need to say, act like an ass, and even break down occasionally. That’s what writing is to me. Hell, writing IS me. The real me – uncensored, with even less filter than I possess in my everyday life. Everyone needs that kind of safety, I think. If everyone had an outlet in which they could feel free to “be”, I think the world would be much less fucked up and chaotic. Someone alert Donald Trump’s advisors, please. Tell him that the WORLD is not his “safe place”. Seriously.
Well, let me brush aside the dust and just say that the last three months have been hard. When you take a borderline agoraphobic person with depression and anxiety and thrust her into a phenomenon known as RETAIL, well….prepare for things to be unpredictable. For her, for you, for everyone who comes into contact. I will admit, the first week was a blur, and the second week was when I asked myself, “Do you really think this is doable?” I was doubling my Xanax intake and coming home so exhausted that even crying took too much effort. Between the physicality of my job – dairy products are fucking heavy and people buy so much of it – and the mental jungle gym that is the psyche of a person working in retail, I wasn’t sure if I could deal.
Our Voldemort (remember kids, we have special names for the sake of anonymity mmkay?) is a “superstore” and nearly 300 people work there. Imagine every kind of personality underneath one roof, and then inject Voldemort’s “company line” into it. The daily rituals. The rules. The koolaid that he forces down your throat. Grape koolaid. I really hate grape koolaid. Then mix all that and add the special ingredient: customers. This is not a recipe built for just anyone. Many treat it the way they see it; it pays the bills. Some come in with a rosy vision of happiness and kittens and promotions and family atmosphere and rainbows. Yeah. Voldemort isn’t into that stuff. On the surface, it gives you what you think you need. Just below that surface is where we are, his Death Eaters, doing his bidding. That’s where the reality is, and it’s a dark, shadowy place with fake politeness and an undercurrent of sarcasm and barely-contained fury. I don’t mind it. When you get to my age and have enough experience with really bad people and places to work, this is not a bad situation to be in. It is what you make of it. Some continue to care long after they’ve realized that caring isn’t really necessary, and some figure it out quickly and move on.
I suffered through those first few weeks. Everything that could be thrown at me to derail my engine was thrown. Prince died. My doctor told me I needed to see a neurosurgeon for my neck. I had my first real, all-over-my-body flare-up of osteo. All while needing to work, lifting, pulling, reaching, walking, climbing. It was so painful that I cried. And I don’t cry. Pain has been with me since birth. I’m a tough bitch who wears fucking suspenders, yo. But this was bad. Despite my misery, I began to see that I was working in an area where I might be a warm body to Voldemort, but to my fellow Death Eaters, I was a welcome comrade. And then it happened.
Son of a bitch. I began to care.
Me? I’m a sucker for a lost cause. Always have been. Got a problem? Lay it on me. I’m here to help. The reality is this: you’re a warm, physical body with the ability to do the job, which is provide people with the things they want to buy. That’s it. It isn’t rocket science. You do it with a smile, and no matter what stupid question a customer asks you ( “Can you help me find the cream cheese?” “Why certainly! Turn around and look to your left!” “Oh my, I’m so silly!” “Oh, no big deal. People miss it allllll the time!” Der der der. Kill me now. ) you act like you were placed in that exact location solely to help them. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. It’s when Voldemort finds out that you have a functioning brain that you could be in trouble. That’s when the opportunities open up, if you’re game. More responsibility. But with that comes the possibility that if you fuck up, Voldemort is going to punish you. If you’re me, punishment mostly comes from within. I have yet to be in trouble for anything since I took initiative and offered my brain power. I have made a few mistakes. But Voldemort is wise, you see. He knows that the worst punishment for a fuck up that I could ever receive is my own brain beating me up.
This is where I always make that error of thinking I might be able to make a positive difference in things. This is where I jump in with both feet and open myself up to everything. This is where I make the mistake of thinking that I might actually belong here. Someone needs to throw their arms around my chest and stop me from stepping off the cliff. I know where I am, you see. But I don’t know if I can resist.