Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Fight Song

I've spent the better part of 2015 at work wiping mud off my rose colored glasses. The excitement of December's launch quickly deteriorated this spring. Nothing has gone right and most people are deflated, leaving, or both. I'm repeatedly having to buffer my team from negativity and rumors of downsizing. Reality set in two Fridays ago when my director announced he was moving to another franchise.

"The ship is going down," I said to Leslie as we strolled the flooring aisle of Home Depot later that night.

"Hasn't it been going down for months?"

"I don't think I have any fight left."

"I think you need a churro from Costco."

Saturday I ran errands, dined at a new eatery with friends, drank cocktails. Sunday I opened my most recent resume and got down to business updating that sucker. Then, Monday, I had my one-on-one with my manager.

"You know, we never talked about what your nest step is professionally," she said when we finished reviewing my glowing 360 Peer Review.

"Yeah, I sidelined marketing because I'm pretty sure I'll end up stabbing someone."

"Right, and I totally support your decision there. Just think about it."

More like stress about it. First my director leaves the team and then my manager asks me about my career goals. Good thing I hit the road Wednesday night for a few days at the beach. Though I brought my laptop and a printed out draft of my resume, none of it left my tote. White sand, aquamarine water, and morning mimosas are apparently a solid distraction from work stress.

Last night I got home and this morning I loaded job postings at my company. To be honest, I was looking to see if my director's position was posted. It wasn't. But thanks to my in depth search, I stumbled across an opportunity that got me excited. A job I wouldn't have expected to see but one I couldn't help but want. I immediately texted four people who know my situation, three of whom I work with.

Every single one loved the idea. Every individual highlighted why I'd be so great for the role. And two of them told me they know the hiring manager and they'll back me 100%.

There are many more steps to this process. I have to tighten my resume so applicable skills shine. I have to inform my manager of my decision to throw my hat in the ring for a job that, if I get it, will leave a vacancy on her team. And I have to study the heck out of the Multiple Sclerosis pipeline. Yes, this opportunity is not only meaningful professionally but personally.

At noon I took a break from work to get coffee. As I pulled out of my complex, Fight Song came on. It's poppy and teenager-angsty and summed up my sudden sense of excitement to fight for this job. For the first time in months, I was alive. So I cranked the volume as far as my hybrid Camry would go, threw my fists in the air and screamed the lyrics. I also clipped a curb, but I kept on singing. Turns out I've still got a lot of fight left in me.

Monday, April 06, 2015

I Want to Throw Up

We spend our childhoods being shaped by things beyond our control. As adults, those factors drive decisions, feelings, outcomes. For the most part, we are totally unaware of this imprint. You do what you do because you don't know any differently.

Then a close friends pulls you aside and offers advice. Your sister who knows you better than you'll ever know yourself accuses you of acting like your mom. Your therapist winces when you tell her about something that never seemed that bad in the moment.

Self-awareness is a double-edge sword. It provides comfort when you realize you aren't the crazy one but merely a victim of the insanity that once swirled around you. It paralyzes you as you over-analyze every present-day action in an attempt to avoid old habits that repeatedly steered you down an unwanted path.

"So?" a friend asked the day after I toured a delightful townhouse in the complex I'd come to stalk.

"My offer was accepted," I replied.

"That's amazing!  I'm so happy for you!"

"I want to throw up."

"So?" Leslie asked after my fourth date with an architect.

"He brought me flowers and told me I'm beautiful."

"Yes! I love it!"

"I want to throw up."

I spent my entire life trying to be three steps ahead. It was a strategy to survival. If I could anticipate my mother's wrath, I could prepare. I could hunker down, clench my jaw, and weather the storm. The challenge is that all of that maneuvering instilled in me a false sense of control. After all, no one is ever truly in control.

The architect texted this afternoon to say he'd spent the entire day thinking about me. That cooking dinner together at his house last night, he couldn't get over how amazing I looked. That he wanted nothing more than to skip the meal and kiss me over and over.

My instinct was to rebuke his compliments, beat them back with self-deprecating humor. So desperately I wanted to dismiss his emotions as disingenuous. Then I reminded myself that this is everything I've ever wanted.  I need to live in the moment. And I need to trust what he says is the truth, because we all know my own version of the truth is unbelievably flawed.

Change is good. Getting what you want is good. Now comes the hard part. Now I need to dig deep to believe it, embrace it, and find absolute joy in it.

Oh my God, I want to throw up.