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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

employment, again

You would think the second time I got gas lighted at work, I would have picked up on it. No? 

A brief timeline:

September 2017 - vision loss

October 2017 - diagnosed with ocular migraines

November 2017 - loss of gross motor skills, hospitalization with lumbar puncture

November 2017 - started Avonex for MS

December 2017 - started Prozac for (see above)

January 2018 - back to work

February 2018 - finished physical therapy

February 2018 - promoted at work

That timeline was harder for me to remember that I thought. I don't know that I realized all of that happened that closely together until just now. Jesus Christ. How did I survive that? Because on top of that, the things that aren't listed are: Thanksgiving, Christmas, preschool programs, Isaiah turning 5, regaining the ability to walk, getting an IUD. This was traumatic as fuck.

And all the time, knowing that my supervisor was going to retire in February, and if I could handle the job, it was a huge pay increase. For someone who couldn't work for 6 weeks and who has a considerable amount of student loans, that pay increase was going to save me. And now I know, it didn't. I saved myself.

When I went back to work in January 2018, I was terrified. I didn't know whether to wear makeup to work. I didn't know how to dress anymore. I didn't know how to talk to anyone. Because when I went on medical leave, I was me. But now coming back, I was someone I didn't know. So I kept my head down and did the work. And it was a lot of fucking work. 

If you're reading this and don't know me personally, I work in government finance. At the time, I was working for a local law enforcement department as a civilian. I managed $30 million in budget, $1 million in cash on hand, and 330 employees. Alone.

And I did it scared as fuck. That's a lot of money to deal with, let alone keep straight. And I had four weeks of training before my supervisor retired. There were more things that we didn't discuss than we did. I taught myself that job, by trial and error. And it was so hard. 

In the beginning, I never took days off. Never rested. Because if I rested, I would get behind which would make my anxiety spiral and my pain would hit so hard and so fast that I wouldn't have time to get home or take anything before I knew what was happening.

When I was quitting, a supervisor said to me "You won't find this flexibility anywhere else." And I said "Flexibility? I work 16 hour days. 8 in the office and 8 at home. This isn't flexible."

That was the turning point though. I need to go back.

I was quiet at work, and I've never been quiet before. I had to be though. I was learning. And I learned so much. I learned how to do the job, I learned how to walk, I learned how to be chronically ill, I learned how to be a working mom with a chronic illness (please God, don't let anything else happen to me because the amount of words I have to use to describe myself is exhausting). I used to leave Isaiah in after care until they closed because I would stay at work late to keep learning things. I used to work through lunches. When the pandemic started, I was one of the first people to start working from home, and I think that is where the breakdown happened.

I had an assistant. But looking back, I had the opposite of an assistant. I had someone who was kind to my face, but did not truly want the best for me. And all of the times I was working from home, she was working in the office, and she was working against me. To the point, that on the day my dad had open heart surgery, my boss screamed that I hadn't done anything all year.

Trust me, I'm not giving him a pass in any way. He's a dick. But he had to get that idea from somewhere. He isn't smart enough to come up with it on his own. And he was never in the office enough to observe it for himself. But she was. And little digs about "Angi working from home" must have really struck a nerve. 

Working from home was a bigger nightmare than working from work. Don't get me wrong. I love being at home. I love being able to close my computer and then make dinner. Honestly, I don't know what happens between 4:30 and 5, but that drive home zaps the rest of all of my energy and I would rather die than make a meal that my son decides he hates. So yeah, it absolutely had its perks, but I hated it, because I WAS ALWAYS WORKING. I can remember something popping into my head at 7pm and I opened my computer to fix it. It got to the point that seeing my computer sit on the kitchen table made me feel sick. I just wanted it and all work OUT OF MY HOUSE.

But then, per usual, the thoughts crept in. Am I just sitting on my ass doing nothing? Am I even cut out for this job? Why can I never make everyone happy? I thought I was doing a good job, is my perception off? Is my disability making me bad at this job? Can I not work now that I'm disabled? Do I need to quit? Should someone with more ability do this job?

And the answer is no. The answer is that I wasn't supported in the way I should have been. I was held to a standard that even a fully able bodied person would have a hard time meeting. And I fucking met it. I was great at my job. 

And then I realized my worth. Disabled or not, I'm fucking amazing. 

Then, my best friend, Taylor Swift wrote me a love letter, in the form of the song "It's Time To Go":

Sometimes giving up is the strong thing

Sometimes to run is the brave thing

Sometimes walking out is the one thing

That will find you the right thing


Now he sits on his throne in his palace of bones

Praying to his greed

He's got my past frozen behind glass

But I've got me.

You know, when it's time to go. So I did. 

Bye, bitch.

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