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Friday, December 22, 2006

TO HIDE A FEELING


Where do you put a feeling like ths?

It is your last day. They give cards for the birthdays of temps and take one week temps to farewell lunches. This is your last day at a place where you have worked intimately with people for ten months. And, yet, here you sit. You sit alone at a lunch counter looking down at a scrambled egg. You push the toast off the plate. You've been asked to go to lunch early to ensure coverage. It's not busy and you know the office never has coverage, but you agree and go.

You realize that you are either so insignificant to them that you don't matter or that they want to make you feel bad or that they simply no longer like you. You don't want to care, but you feel hurt. You feel insecure. You feel a bit like the first grader who got picked last to be on the kickball team. That stinging feeling comes to your eyes like it did on that fall day back in Texas. Just like your six year old self, you dig your toes into the souls of your shoes. You vow that you will not allow them to make you shed a single tear. To do so means that they have won some power play over you and that WILL NOT happen. You swallow that lump and remind yourself that you may be hurt but the ones who have hurt you do not need to know. There is a bit of a difference. This is a difference of which you feel rather proud. That little first grader made a vow to himself that he would never be last picked again. ...and, he wasn't. He found ways of fitting in, being accepted and even mildly popular.

But, today is different. Today -- you simply slip on a blank mask. A mask that will allow you to hide how you're feeling. A mask that allows you to smile and project a feeling of confidence and happiness to match the failed attempts to look sincere when they say goodbye as you take your final paycheck.

You leave the office for the last time smiling, but a part of you feels defeated, beaten-up and sad. You feel confused and angry. You return the goodbyes with mutual well wishings. You laugh as the one who really drove you away "jokes" to not let the door hit your ass to hard as you leave. You "joke" back that nothing taps you on this ass unless you want it too and that you can't wait for this door to give you a nice pat on the ass. An awkward shared laugh.

Sure. You wish him a "Merry Christmas" but inside your head there is an echo of that first grader screaming something far less friendly. And, you ache to pull the mask off and let them all know how they all backstab each other over and over again. None of them even realize it. You know that you could cut them off at the knees with a few sharp sentences. You've been trained by the best in Corporate HR Hell. You know how to do it.

But, no. You dig in your toes. It isn't worth it. You will not let them see that they hurt you.

As you walk home in the rain you come to that sad realization that sticks and stones may break bones, but words will cut you deeper than any break. You walk into your home and slip the horrible mask off and you wonder:

Who won?

You take a deep breath. You catch the scent of your lover. You look at the lights on the Christmas tree. You feel a sense of freedom. And, you know --- yeah, you did win. And, you think you might have even managed to win with a bit of dignity. ...Something that matters to you. You did nothing for which to feel ashamed. You were honest about why you quit and you never failed to do your job. You did it well.

You toss the mask in the garbage. You hope you will not need again but you're adult enough to know that you might.

So, now you close this chapter on your odd careers journey. You will begin a new one in the new year. But, for now, the focus is on enjoying the holiday. Free.

14 Comments:

Blogger ing said...

Free, and MUCH healthier in the long run. By making a move, you showed that you love yourself. I'm sorry to hear that some people are so ungenerous with something that costs no money. But obviously, you made a good decision.

8:05 AM  
Blogger hot-lunch said...

CONGRATULATIONS Dahling!! I've left many a job and have no regrets. Good for you! Enjoy your holidays!!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Brookelina said...

I'm sorry you had such a crappy last day, but I think it shows you made the right move.

And I just read Ing's comment and now I feel like a copycat.

If I were there I'd give you platonic boobie smooshes to make you feel better.

11:03 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Ing!!! -- I think I made the right decision for me. And, that is what matters to me. I feel so much better about it all today and am feeling a lot of relief this morning. The countdown is on for Xmas! Whoo-hoo!

Hot Lunch - Thanks! You too!!!!

Brooke! Thank you. And, yay for platonic boobie smooshes! I feel better just thinking about it! Cheers!

11:31 AM  
Blogger johnNokc said...

God knows I should know better, but I just don't understand what makes people mean and petty. It used to be if you asked someone what the Golden Rule was they would tell you. I wonder if that's still true. All I know is that I no longer have time for anyone who is unkind to me or to those I love. I'm not nasty about it, but in my own sweet way, I tell them to hit the road, Jack.

Your attitude is an inspiration. That probably embarrasses you. F*ck it, just take the compliment, Matty. :-)

(Oh, jeez, here come those squiggly letters that I can never read!)

12:36 PM  
Blogger matty said...

John! I know. Why do people need to be unkind or even mean? I just don't get it. Thank you. I welcome your sweet compliment with open arms. Big hug and Happy Holidays, my friend!

...I can read the annoying letters but I seem to have trouble transcribing the characters in the correct order today.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Sweety, you moved on and you rock. Now slap a Hello Kitty bandaid on it and go dancing. Eat fruitcake. Laugh your ass off. Some people suck, pure and simple.
Merry Christmas!

11:10 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Lovely Meredith -- Right you are! I'm officially over it! I do rock and glitter surrounds me! 2007, get ready! Yay! (and I actually did cut my thumb this morning and am wearing a Hello Kitty bandaid as I type this!!!

11:26 PM  
Blogger Ozzysboy said...

sorry to hear about the bad day, but ya know--so what? reading your blog, i don't get the sense that you defined yourself in terms of that job or those people. better things, man; forget that place.

sincere wishes that your next job is in a place where they'll appreciate you, where the work is stimulating, and where you make a difference. butt loads of money wouldn't hurt either!

happy xmas!

11:57 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Ozzysboy -- Thank you and that's a very good point. You're right. I never define myself by my job. I guess that is because -- to me, it is just a job. I don't live for my work. I guess I did at one time, but I stopped doing that.

But, yeah! There will be better jobs and better paying jobs in my future!

Thanks for the taking the time to comment!

Happy Holidays!
matty

12:10 AM  
Blogger Karyn said...

Rock on Matty. Look out for number one, I say. You've done the right thing when you can put your head down on your pillow at night and rest easy.

Much love to you -

10:38 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Karyn - Thank you. And, I agree -- feeling well with the choices you make for yourself -- that is what matters most.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Kalvin said...

Glad to know that you were able to handle it so well. Hopefully it will perpetuate in further hapiness.

12:15 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Kalvin - Thank you. I hope it will, too. I really do think it will. I am feeling very optimistic and positve about the whole thing. I know I did the correct thing for me.

12:23 AM  

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