Found my college year journal. Post college mostly, since only the first year delved into my college antics. Memory is a funny thing. There’s a section in 2007 where I’m documenting the demise of the relationship. I also mentioned the things that led to it. The break up happened in 2008; on 22 December 2007 I wrote my first entry about the plastic bag. An entry from 5 December 2007 simply states, “Jyg’s in the mood of no longer dealing with me.”
I remember so much shit for those days; however, reading my account on the matter, I realized I left so much out of the story. I left out Tanya. Shit, I’d forgotten about Tanya.
It’s 2008 and I’m staring a plastic bag. There are note cards strewn around the floor. Thoughts written on three-by-fives in illegible scrawl. I pick up one of the blank ones and write the words: “When the plastic bag becomes your enemy, your salvation.” I let it fall where it may. There are thoughts of leaving. Thoughts of running. Because, despite the fact we’ve broken up several times in the past, this time feels monumental. My emotional state became a dark alley, our proclamations of love scattered like discarded beer bottles and syringes. And it repeated. When the plastic bag becomes your enemy, your salvation. When the plastic bag becomes your enemy, you salvation. When the plastic bag becomes your enemy, your salvation. When the plastic bag becomes your enemy, your salvation. When. The. Plastic. Bag. Your enemy. Your salvation. It’s 2008 and it’s the year I honestly, openly, wholeheartedly contemplated suicide. Depression is watching the oncoming storm and knowing you should seek shelter, but understand that you can’t move. It’s the impact of a car crash in slow motion. It’s the clock, the wall, a gallon paint at three in the morning. It’s understanding the insanity of walking to your ex-girlfriend’s house at five in the morning, knowing she’s not home because she’s with the other guy, the goddamn guy you knew could be your replacement, and still doing it because you want to understand why. Why is it that she was in love with you one moment ago and not be the next? It’s watching your life, you actions, as the audience and the actor. It’s knowing that every you step you’re farther away from the point where turning back is an option. Depression is going over your every action like a sleuth, trying to see where you went wrong because there’s no way that it isn’t your fault. It’s 2008 and if I can’t be loved by her, what’s the point of going on? Depression is seeing a plastic bag as your enemy, as your salvation.
It seems like another life now. A movie whose title I cannot remember. Shaun’s six now and I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere but here. Now. She and I created a testament of our love. It might have not lasted the way we both planned, but it lives on within him. A constant reminder of what we endured. Of what I lived through. Of what I continue living for. Depression is knowing your worth more, but not knowing how to get there. It’s understanding you’re in the middle of this show we call life. Depression doesn’t need to be the end game.
Five years ago, I had an idea. I chose to write my resignation letter. Not to a job. I’m not quitting. And not a suicide letter. There’s too much beauty hidden within the ugly of this world that’s worth fighting for. A resignation letter.
I formally and happily resign from the person I was before. I formally and readily resign from depression. I’m ending the relationship I have with the Voice. I resign from the world of ugly that has polluted my thoughts, haunted my dreams. I vow to no longer hold onto the past. But acknowledge there are demons that I must exorcise before I do so. These are my letters of resignation.
Her name is Katelyn Nicole Davis. Born February 20, 2004…
Not a believer of luck, good or bad. Not the superstitious type. Sure, I might joke about the terrible things that happen on Friday the 13th, but I don’t actually think the date is the reason behind them. Bad things happen no matter the day. Apparently, we just focus on the bad things when the day is designated for them.
Friday morning, the first thought I had waking up was—”Why do we have to open the building open Saturday morning so maintenance can leave the moon jumps there when we can just move them ourselves?” When you’re this dedicated on pulling off a great event, I suppose you eat, sleep, and shit such things.
And when I arrived at work, my supervisor greeted me with a question, “Are you ready for today?”
“Heh, no. But that’s my secret,” I said, trying to pull off my best Bruce Banner impersonation. “I’m never ready.”
If I anticipate something too much, that anticipation becomes anxiety. And anxiety causes mistakes. So after I ate breakfast (egg, hash brown, and sausage tacos), I gathered my troops (minus one) and started the day. We filled two vans and the bed of a truck and headed off the arduous journey the faraway land of the activity center, just down the road from our humble workplace. As we were packing the last of our things, we noticed one member of our party missing. Because I walked to the activity center, I figured our paths would eventually cross. They didn’t.
“Where’s (let’s call him) Bartleby?”*
“I saw him coming this way,” one said. “He said he wasn’t feeling well this morning,” another remarked. “I don’t know,” the last said.
Because we were missing things, the four of them returned to work to gather the rest of the things and to find Bartleby. But, surprise surprise, Bartleby was nowhere to be found. They asked his department coworkers about his whereabouts and they thought he was with us. They searched the building and turned up nothing. When they returned to the activity center, they told me there was no sign of him. No one knew where he’d gone.
It didn’t surprise me that Bartleby weaseled out of work. He didn’t earn this moniker because he’s the model employee (though, I’m sure he’ll earn Employee of the Month before I do). Frustrated that he’ll somehow get me into trouble, I called my supervisor. “We lost Bartleby,” I said. “They asked the people and they couldn’t find him. He said he wasn’t feeling well this morning, and I’m a little worried that maybe he’s sick somewhere and no one knows.”
“I’ll call George,” he responded.**
We started without him. Though, when did arrive, his only offering of help was an onslaught of heavy sighs, complaints about not feeling well, and, of course, whining. We were better off without him.
Once more, we’re faced to go back to the office to pick up some more materials. Before we go back though, Bartleby spoke up, “Which one of you called work looking for me?”
“Me,” I said. “When you didn’t show up and no one could find you at work, I got worried. I heard you weren’t feeling well, so I called to see if you were ok.”
“Yeah, well now I have George running up my ass accusing me of wasting time.” Then switching to the most menacing tone I’ve ever experienced in the work place, he added, “Next time you’re looking for me, come look for me. Don’t call my supervisor.”
This veiled threat from a subordinate might have fallen on deaf ears had Bartleby not been foolish enough to say this in front of witnesses. On the way back, I’m asked, “Was he threatening you?”
“That’s how I felt.”
Word must have gotten back about this gaffe. And because of his mess up, George was now up his and his coworker’s ass. This caused more stress on my understaffed department. My temper at work is calm and cool. You have to be when your work involves children. Number of times I’ve lost my cool with a patron? Once in seven years. And I was off that day.
I gave up on their help. Just go back to work. We’re done with you here. Of course, this didn’t make George any the happier because now he had two extra employees who shouldn’t have been scheduled that morning. Not my problem. Not anymore.
Chaos ensued back at the office. It was our graphic designer’s last day and I bombarded her with last-minute requests made by both George and my ultra anxious supervisor. Nothing good from anxiety, so I did my best to keep him calm.”We have it covered,” I said. “Do you need help?” he asked. “We have the morning covered. We might need more help come the afternoon when we decorate. Maybe some of the girls can come over?” Sexist, I know. But I’d rather have a couple of hardworking ladies than a man-child who’s had everything offered to him and takes no responsibility for his actions.
A few more things happened. George berating us for not having done simple tasks earlier but not actually offering any real help. My supervisor’s panic led to a last-minute shopping spree placed in the hands of someone else. We still managed to build an event that the kids loved and kept the parents happy. Some things fell through, but we survived.
At the end of the night, Bartleby tried to make nice again. I’m a forgiving person. Even people I don’t get along with I treat with the same respect of someone whom I call a friend. But Bartleby? After that threat? I’m done with Bartleby.
Afterwards, I hung out with the coworkers I couldn’t imagine losing but know that the inevitable is on the horizon. We enjoyed wings and laughs. And my thoughts slipped into dangerous territory.
As much as I say I don’t want to be in a relationship. As much as I tell myself that it’s not the right time, and that maybe I should wait it out until I’m at my most content. Even though I know that things might end up a disaster in the future. There’s this woman I like. And it scares me how much I like her. And I’m not sure if I mean the aforementioned things, or I’m just trying to convince myself those things are true. And I just might want to bring it up the conversation about my feelings again.
In the words of Hank Moody:
Started the day listening to “Time Bomb” by Rancid.** The ride to work seemed ominous. The day before the summer carnival type of ominous. It’s been some time since this sinking feeling of something gone wrong has set in my stomach. Never hyped to this level, of course. Things are different this time around, though. In the past, summer carnivals meant grunt work. This year, though… I’m in charge.
As interim supervisor, I have all the responsibilities but none of the actual power. This also means that if things go wrong, it’s on my head. Managed to eat breakfast before clocking in for the day. Made rounds around the department to make sure nothing got neglected the night before. Read a few digital pages of the book I’m reading (Amy Chozick’s Chasing Hillary). I plopped down on my seat and entered the password in my computer. Browsed my e-mail, noticing I still hadn’t received word about the August activities I planned.
Shrugging off the disappointment of it, I continued trying to figure out Friday’s carnival. A few phone calls later, I’m slumped in my chair. Apparently my idea for Game Day Friday (just the first three Fridays) fell through. A misunderstanding on (surprise, surprise) my end. Rather than in lieu of Story Time, they wanted it added to the Friday. No dice, I thought. It’s either Game Day or Story Time; there’s way we can do both activities back to back, and no sense of pushing it later in the day when the crowd thins out. Besides, the older kids don’t care about story time. I’m just reading to kids who are in the habit to speaking over me.
I submit my amended activities plan with the crafts we’ll be doing in August. An e-mail bounced back to me. While my activities are fun, she’s worried about my sensory play activity. Like a person who has no business doing what she’s doing, she’s more worried about numbers and actual quality. But quality is what I promised her a few months ago when they inquired about my interest in the supervisor position.
There was no clear difference between our Toddler Time (1.5 to 3 year olds) and our Story Time (3-5 year olds). I began working on revamping the former to stand out next to the latter. I took notes from the greats (read: Jbrary). I read blogs from other people in my position. I even listened to what the reactions I gathered from not the toddlers this summer, but their caretakers. (The toddlers might like me, but toddlers don’t drive themselves to the library.)
Changing Toddler Time isn’t a new concept. Two supervisors ago, it was something that was brought up. But the fear of progressive thinking quashed the idea. It was swept under the rug. The last supervisor brought it up, as well. It died at conception.
My idea, I kept secret. As much as that’s a dangerous play, I needed to rework this on my own terms—without their permission, and (more importantly) without their input. And to give the other staff plausible deniability, I kept them out of the loop. That is, until today.
Next Tuesday, my brainchild (with characters created by past coworkers) comes into fruition. And right now, I’m not sure what has me more anxious. Tomorrow’s carnival, or Tuesday’s sneak peek of what I have in store for the rest of the year.
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” —Maya Angelou
And if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
Get a better mirror
Look a little closer
Stare a little longer
Because there’s something inside you
That made you keep trying
Despite everyone who told you to quit
You built a cast around your broken heart
And signed it yourself
You signed it
“They were wrong”