And I have to keep reminding myself that it’s temporary.
I’ve been using this euphemism a lot lately.
Because it feels really true.
Like while I’m living in this hotel, it’s like I’m playing a low quality mini-game while the big game loads.
You know, something to keep me busy while I wait.
A loading screen.
Earlier this week said it during a business “happy hour” with one of my West-ish coast clients.
That I willingly attended. I wasn’t forced to or guilted into doing it. I was excited, even!
I attended this virtual happy hour because I wanted to. Because I’m not afraid that negative work toxicity is gonna bleed on over into my “free time”.
It’s a really weird feeling y’all.
Ever since this “happy hour” on Monday evening I’ve been thinking about what is different about my experience now versus my actions before. Turning it over in my brain, trying to figure out why I was comfortable to voice my opinions and just be myself on this Zoom call.
Yes, I know some of it has to do with no longer working in toxic environments or around people who don’t understand (or have no interest in learning) how to work with my brain.
And vice versa – in previous jobs, I tried so many times to ask people how I could work more efficiently for their brains so that we could be a more effective team. More often than not, they’d say some version of, “Oh I’m sure whatever you do is fine!”
Except it never was. It was either too much or not enough.
So then I’d watch their communication and working styles and patterns and try to mold myself into their style so that we could accomplish great things.
Except that didn’t work either and, y’all, that fucks with my brain so much. If you’re not communicating in a way that works for you- WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
It just broke my brain always trying to swerve and get things “right” and never being able to do it. It’s really hard for that feeling to go away.
But I think a lot what made this happy hour enjoyable for me, something I wanted to actively participate in rather than I felt I was forced to do in order to keep my paycheck… was this switch that’s flipped in my brain.
The one that makes it okay to say no if I’m not mentally prepared to do something.
I literally never thought that was an okay reason not to do something. For, like, anything.
I thought reasons not to do things had to be things that didn’t have to do with me:
“Oh, Sorry I have to work, so I cannot”
“Oh, man, I would love to, but Mickey a work thing.”
“Oh, dip, sorry, my car isn’t working right now, so I can’t make it.”
Hell, I even felt guilty saying, “Hey, I can’t do this because I can’t afford it.”
So I’d just be staying poor.
But my own mental health and well-being never felt like enough of an excuse.
And we all see how that ended up for me.
But nowadays, I am okay saying no if I don’t think my brain will be its best self at whatever the thing is.
I think that serves everyone best, honestly.
It’s just another version of boundary setting, because, before, I was stretching myself so thin to do all the things, but when I got to the things?
I wasn’t having fun.
I wasn’t fun to be around.
I was just waiting for it to be over.
I just didn’t want to let people down.
And I know other folks feel this too.
If this is you, I would like to remind you.
You’re people, too.
Don’t let yourself down.
You’re the first domino.