Limbo

I’m sitting at my desk at work while I write this, but it’s short-lived, you see. I’m quitting, or have quit — depends on how you look at it, I suppose. My papers are organized, references made for tricky processes, emails have been publicly archived, papers filed, and an away message set to begin in 30 minutes telling my customers that I no longer work here.

So, you see, if intentions count for anything, I have already quit but I haven’t managed to say the words to anyone of the faces milling about. I continue to take calls and process accounts while I sit here and muster up the courage to do it, to end this stage, this job that I’ve done well with, but that has been slowly sucking the enjoyment from my life for the majority of the two years I’ve sat in this chair.

I’m still sitting in this chair. My thoughts are screaming and my heart is pounding and the time is running out to muster the words to express my completion of employment. I’m in limbo and it’s eating me alive.

Standard

The Losing Battle

It’s stumbling. It’s catching your toe on the smallest stone or crack in the sidewalk and suddenly you’re falling — again. Around and around you go, your legs spinning as you desperately attempt to right yourself, to keep from slamming into the ground. You might catch the arm of a friend or manage to pull up before impact, saving yourself the slow motion careening, but the bruises, breaks, and scrapes appear on your hands, you knees; the pink-cheeked embarrassment now one more affliction, one more weight, one more reason to hide.

Whether you crash or are miraculously granted a steady (for the time being) foothold, you’re shaken, you’re rocked to your core. With both feet beneath you, the world still feels slippery, as though you’re no more than a few moments away from ending up back there. It’s constant, overwhelming, never-quite-succeeding attempt after attempt to regain balance, to restore right. It’s a never-ending masquerade ball, it’s spinning and bowing and distracting nearby eyes from tender wounds. It’s a life-long charade, a fight to save face when, some days, you don’t want to try again, you don’t want to fight anymore, you don’t want to lose anymore.

Standard

Bricks

This morning, as with all other mornings, I woke to the third alarm and began browsing the messages, photos, reminders, and emails that awaited me. They all waited patiently while I ticked each item from my early morning check list. They all waited while I browsed my own photos, looking for a very specific one — and there, among the images was you.

I took this photo of you on our last day. You sat across the table from me, reading your book while I read mine. You barely looked up, you didn’t notice me watching you. You didn’t notice me sneak a photo of you, and I didn’t notice the detachment that hung in your eyes when you finally did look up. I mistook that feigned smile for a grimace at the sunlight in your eyes. I mistook this moment, our last “good” hour before it all fell apart, as just another hour.

So when I found that photo this morning, I saw it. I saw you for where you were. I saw you for the talk you knew we were about to have. I saw you for what we were going to become.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Standard

Thank You

I feel myself shrinking. Tighter and tighter I have to wrap my arms further around my slowly disappearing middle. Rib cage protruding, limbs becoming hollow and I can’t help but think it’s all because of you. You. You placed this worry within my gut. You put within me the desire to fight and run and hide. You broke me down.

I’m recognizing the moments I squinted to make the barrier between us fuzz from view. I see the flatness in your eyes, the look they held far too often, the look that I told myself was nothing to worry about. I remember the gut feeling of wrong, the panic stricken words that stuck in my throat when you asked what I wanted from all of this.

I wanted understanding. I wanted comfort. In that moment I wanted reassurance and when I’d spoken my piece, you countered with an ultimatum: know this is what you want or let go. I didn’t know, but god did I want to. I wanted to know you cared as much as I did, that you wanted me near as much as I wanted you, that you could accept my shortcomings and love my messy whole.

I can’t say the sting of your words is gone, much less forgiven. I can’t say I don’t miss you. I can’t say my chest doesn’t ache at the thought of you. But I’m getting there — faster than I would have had this happened any other way.

So thank you, for being you.

Standard

Not Enough

“Kate — Kate, you’re not listening to me…”

The way you stood there, arms and ankles crossed, spitting my name from your lips — you may as well have slapped me or punched me in the stomach. My face grew warm from the embarrassment of your scolding, my hands began to shake, my entire being became unsteady. Your words might have been seen as concern if it weren’t for that look in your eyes, that cold hard stare, your brow cocked up as if to ask, what could you possibly have to say while you sipped your bourbon. To you I am inferior, I am less-than. I lack your past, your history, so how could I possibly compare?

“You do know you can’t play the experience card with me, right?” Another assault, another tally tick for “not enough”.

I understand your desire for predictability. For future reference, it would be safe to assume I will continue to be opinionated, stubborn and illogical from time to time; that I will continue to take risks for the matters I deem most important regardless of how trivial they seem to your or anyone else; that sometimes my argument is simply “Because”. Because I want to. Because it’s important. Because I can. Because it’s what is right for me.

I let your words get me stirred up because I wanted you to understand me. I wanted to hear the words, “I understand now,” but they never came. I let you hurt me. I had nothing productive left to say, I was empty save for tears, anger, and the desire to slap you so I stood up, gathered my bags, and left. I didn’t make it to the end of the driveway before my chest tried to curl in on itself, shoving the air from my chest in one ragged sob.

I welcome your insight, your opinions, your concerns, but going forward it must be presented differently. I will not be spoken to like that again. You must trust that I am listening to you, ingesting and considering your words, but ultimately the decision is mine. I agree/apologize/concede when appropriate, but I don’t do any of those things simply to appease. You may not always agree, but I need you to accept them as I continue to accept the points where you that differ from me.

Please meet me in the middle. Please tell me that you understand and that next time will be different. Please wrap your arms around my shaking shoulders and tell me I’m not a fool for hoping, for erring on the side of love, for believing we can come back from this, for still wanting you.

Standard