37 years of stories about my work ethic
I put in notice at my job this past week. I won’t go into details, but starting two weeks ago, I was crying basically non-stop until I did. I hated my job. I hated my life with the job. And for as much as I have loved the work itself and how good I am at it, I have known for a long time that I was not a good fit for the culture of the company. I told them they could have me until January, and that I would do a great job until then, but then I was done.
Having my eating under control means that I cannot ignore my feelings. I cannot eat my feelings. And I cannot live a life that makes me miserable. I cannot cry over something for days and not see that there is a problem that I need to take action to remedy.
I want to say that I am low key terrified about having to find another job. I have some long-held, deeply difficult stories about myself and my work ethic. They go all the way back to the kind of student I was. Not just in High School, but in 2nd grade and 5th grade and 7th grade. I have stories about being lazy and not living up to my potential that reach back to me at 7 years old. Can you imagine that? I’m 44 and I still have to deal with 7-year-old Kate not doing her homework. And in retrospect I can see that 10 and 12-year-old Kate probably lived with that too, and how do you shift your thinking about yourself when you are still so close to having been the 7-year-old only 3 or 5 years before?
The thing about transforming every aspect of your internal life is that it doesn’t happen overnight. And it is usually the oldest wounds that you get to last. And this definitely feels like a wound.
But there are lots of things about me that are completely different from who I used to be. And not only that I have a very right-sized work ethic. (I am definitely not a workaholic. I want to do a spectacular job for fair compensation for 35-50 hours a week and be done.) And one of those things is that I know how to take action in the face of terror. I know how to sit with the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. I know how to keep moving forward.
I was paralyzed when I was eating compulsively. I was always avoiding and deflecting. I got scared, panicked, and then ate drug foods until I couldn’t feel the worry anymore. And then stayed in a food coma until the consequences caught up with me. And they always did. And someone (99% of the time, my mom) would bail me out of whatever conceptual prison I had landed myself in.
I don’t know what happens now. And really, nothing yet. I still have a 60+ hour a week job to take care of for the next 2 months. But I keep reminding myself of 2 things:
1) At least half of the jobs I have ever had came to me without my seeking them out. My professional acting job, my start as a newborn nanny, and even the job I have right now, were acquired by someone coming to me out of the blue and asking if I wanted the job. Which, in retrospect is kind of crazy. Who gets that kind of care from Life?
And 2) Every time I say “no” to something that doesn’t serve me, Life gives me better than I had before and usually even better than I thought I wanted.