Recently spending time alone enough to reflect on my life…I see how isolated I have really always kept myself. No one…or at least only a select few…have really known what I was thinking on a regular basis. I have always been surrounded by people, either as schoolmates, co-workers or friends who I saw regularly…but for whom I put on a show. Almost as though I really am that chameleon I was once accused of being able to be 20 years ago…capable of fitting in anywhere.
Currently though, I want to say that I have nothing to prove to anyone. I am in a living situation that is temporary…I have a job that is not only temporary but one that might even end tomorrow…it is only dependent on the fact that I work hard at it everyday and that I never slow down for any reason. Stay efficient, flow with the rush of customers, Hello, Thank you very much, Good-bye…next table. And I love it!
Down side? I am surrounded by a group of people, who I will have to say, do not rank too high on the positivity scale. There is always something wrong…it’s too hot here, it’s too cold outside, I’m sick, my kid is sick, my car broke down, my slacks are wrinkled, my tie is stained, I have a pain in my back, I have no tables, I’m not making any money, I’m bored, I have too much or too little to do. And today took the cake…to me: “You’re so lucky, when you get off work today you don’t have 5 kids at home who need your attention.” WOW!
That was all I ever wanted…just one child. (Ok, not 5 and that woman is like 5 years younger than me, but who is counting.) She is right, I don’t have 5 children…or any for that matter…waiting at home for me who might need me to cook or care for them. I don’t have 2 or 3 jobs in order to support my children as many of these women have. I do have 3 or 4 jobs, but they are balanced in a way so that I am able to fit each of them into my life that does not really include anyone else at the moment. I have sacrificed everything…or maybe it’s better to say everybody who was recently in my life for me to make this huge change in my life. But it was not easy…I concentrate on the positivity needed to stay focused on my ultimate goal of starting my life again. I concentrate on staying strong and that my time is occupied at all times. (Granted, with as many jobs as I currently have, it is difficult for me to find time when I am not working on at least one of them.)
Regardless, I still have to listen to the lives of those who surround me at work. I have to hear it…maybe listen is the wrong word…but it does not matter because I can hear it, then I am forced to listen. And today, I was accused, by one of the few open-minded individuals in my life, of having said something out loud that showed that the negativity that has been surrounding me has started to seep into me.
OMG! Get me out of here! Or stop the voices! Since this was brought to my attention this afternoon, I have been obsessively thinking about what I could have said to make that true. What could I have shared out loud to someone that gave the impression that negativity is more a part of my life than the positivity I thrive from?
I think about the various conversations I am forced to have with my co-workers, the ones that now go a bit beyond, “Good morning, how are you?” And I wonder if I have not developed that defense mechanism created to shield all suspicions that I really have an ulterior motive in all of this. I mean, do I care how the restaurant is doing financially? They’ve been around for 40+ years…they’re doing fine. Do I care how much they might be hurting if I give that nice old couple in the corner a dessert to go vs. forcing them to eat it at the restaurant? Not at all! I can only imagine how much food they throw away everyday…and if that nice little old couple in the corner is going to enjoy their rice pudding more at home while watching the news than they would in a restaurant full of screaming children, why would I not grant them that wish?
But, do I really care about the welfare and happiness or survival of my co-workers? To be honest, not really. They are a “type” and I am happy to say that I will never be that “type.” I will never be a single mother of 5+ children with no education and experience enough only to wait tables at a crazy restaurant where we are forced to work 7 days per week from 6am till midnight.
Oh, wait…did I just share what attracted me to this restaurant to begin with? The fact that the restaurant is busy during each of the three meal times everyday, 7 days per week…allowing me the flexibility to fit my other 3+ jobs into my day without sacrificing my work schedule? Sounds pretty perfect to me!
I listen to my co-workers complain…I’ve been working since 6 am…um, you must have chosen that shift or it must have worked with your life schedule to make it so that it was convenient for you to take that shift, no? My ex-husband did this to me…my children are doing that…who is in jail, knocked up, broke, homeless…must I go on? I see these women…and maybe not the exact same woman but a form of that woman everyday I go to work and I thank my lucky stars that I have had a good education, I come from a mother who taught me NOT to end up just like them…to live a life full of people and experiences and respect and not to ever be a prisoner of circumstance…how to look outside the box for the solution to the problems of life. And how to roll with the punches that come as the consequences of my actions. How to take responsibility for my decisions…and no regrets! If you make a mistake, learn from it, change it…move on!
But do I tell these women that? Of course not! Believe me, none of them think that I share a life with them…or that I have any problems that might compare to theirs. But I don’t believe I need to preach about the choices I’ve made in life that have brought me to this existence of freedom which I possess so proudly. Instead, I may say things that might, if overheard by someone else with an open mind, seem to reflect a negativity that I don’t actually possess, but rather use as my shield against the envy I can imagine these women must have against women.
Am I wrong for being this way? Does it make me bad to seem to fit in someplace where I really don’t? Or do I just keep my life isolated and just work, and move on…hoping that maybe my positivity has rubbed off on others. I say that’s right and I won’t feel bad about it. Sorry…