I went back to work this week.
Granted, it was only for three days and it was still at the, mostly, mind-numbingly boring job that I have held for the past year and a half. But still, it’s a start.
I handled it. It even quickly became rote and underwhelming. I reminded myself over and over again that here is where I am, that this is okay, that I am a week and a half out of the hospital and it is progress to put myself out there, leave the confines of the house, and rejoin the working forces.
Even if the working forces I presently belong to are underpaid, poorly run, and filled with people whose dreams have stultified.
There are a few: the managers who balance going to school full time with running the store; the young woman who worked and went to school, on off semesters, and finally graduated this past December and is now employed by Yale’s cell biology department; the bakers who followed there dreams to pastry school and landed in the small store on Whalley Avenue in Westville.
I suppose I feel that way because my dreams have been deferred. And, I frankly, do not know what to do about that. The therapist, and doctor, and other attendees of the Intensive Out Patient Program, all recommend measured restraint in this. To go back to work part time, to not rush back into a life that could have a modicum of stress. Even Susan, said school was far off in the distance.
But, I want it now. I want to have forward momentum again. I want to feel as if I have a direction. It has felt for too long as if I am a rootless seedling, being thrust about in the wind, reactive to the world about me, a victim to its impulses and vicissitudes, but mostly hanging there, in the doldrums of suspended animation, waiting for the next whisper to thrust me along. Never going far, just spinning and spinning, directionless.
It has felt that way since the first medical leave from college, which was forced on me, and when I must have began to feel, again as I felt when they dismissed me from private school, when home was uncontrolled chaos, and at the height of the ostracization of the bullying, as if my power was being drained from the pores of my body.
There have been interruptions to that: when I began college again at UVM, when I was accepted into the neurobiology lab, when I finally left the toxic relationship, when I met Eric.
But still, the specter of relapse hangs over me. What can I handle? What will break me? If I do this will I end up in the locked ward again? How do I find my power again when so much has left me to feel disempowered? When I have, in truth, allowed circumstances: my biology, my partner, poverty to rob me of self-determination. No one, or no thing, can make you feel inferior without your consent.
I suppose it will be slow ride back to that. A force of will to regain my power. To advocate for myself. Maybe I will just have to fake it for a while. Feel powerful and self-sufficient and capable, even when I do not, when I do not trust my own brain. When my job consists of submissiveness and pandering.
Maybe I can own the submission, BDSM style. Maybe I can set reasonable goals and actually follow through on them.
Reasonable, what is reasonable anyway?