Thursday, November 12
I’m sitting in a bar across the street from the very prominent place I used to work. I’m visiting with a good friend. Someone who is smart, and driven, and clearly destined for wonderful things.
There was a time when this friend believed that I was very good at my job – and while that may have been (may even still be) the case – the way in which I used to go about my work, was anything but good. In fact, it was hurtful – driven by a crippling need to “prove” and lack of self-worth to ever say “no.”
And while I assumed my gift would be confiding in my friend and picking up the check, (both of which I still do) turns out, it was something a little different.
While my friend and I are visiting, a league of former colleagues begin filtering in. Someone from another department has scored an excellent opportunity in New York City, and this is the goodbye party.
I didn’t expect to see so many people that I used to work with at one time. I’m aware that it makes me a little anxious. A group of six has suddenly (or so it feels) circled around me and I’m struck when one of them asks:
“So, Amanda, are you loving the new job?” (I haven’t worked with these good folks for nearly eight months.)
“The Foundation where I’m at now does excellent work and I’m very proud to be associated with it,” I start, and then, am very surprised to hear myself go on, “but to be honest I’ve been out on a leave for nearly eight weeks. I go back to work on a part-time basis beginning Tuesday.”
A sort of collective, “Oh,” arises.
“I was diagnosed with the Depression and General Anxiety Disorder more than six months ago,” I offer. “But, I was managing symptoms way before that. I hit a point where I couldn’t manage them anymore, and so I got help, and now, honestly, I can say I’m good. I’m really good and looking forward to easing back into work again.”
My honesty is met with sheer kindness.
“That’s amazing,” one former colleague remarks.
“I’m so happy for you,” adds another.
“It’s so good to hear,” from yet another.
Before being mindful about this practice of Thanksgiving, I never could have received the sincere concern, admiration, and gratitude that so clearly came through from my former colleagues. It simply used to be impossible for me to hear. The same lovely, well-intended words would’ve been brutally butchered through my worse-case scenario internal interpreter. Leaving me only to feel judged, defensive, and ultimately, lonely.
But, now, sitting in this warm, charming, quintessential New England watering hole, I feel the way one should feel when among friends; happy, open, and thankful.
I didn’t plan to live out an age-old cliché today, but you know, when the truth sets you free, I’ve learned it’s good (really good) to just go with it.