Traversing the Vortex

Throw some confetti in the air, pat me on the back and extend your congratulations because I officially fulfilled my one-year contract last Feb 5. Yay!

Or maybe not, considering unemployment is just right around the corner.

Looking back to the past few weeks and some drama (colour my surprise) which entails the good ol’ office life, I get reminded constantly that this may be a good decision after all. But of course, I can’t help but worry about the prospect of not being able to secure another job as immediately as I hoped it would be. It was quite a progress of my own to account for the interviews I have had the past month–compared to basically nothing in return for the applications I submitted for about 4 months last 2016–yet as there has been zero good news so far, I think it’s fair to be a bit anxious if this is going to be another long wait. Dear Lord, I sure hope not; it will make me a huge asshole for the family, and it will only make this financial family drama a lot worse.

Man, I was just preemptively laying it out and I’m already beat.

It also doesn’t help that it’s Chinese New Year soon, which means prep money for them red pockets. It’s good for me in a sense that I’m still accounted as the receiving end, but not so much for my old folks since us kids would be getting them prosperity packages from them. I also hated the whole tradition of having to buy new clothes and all, because they’re fucking expensive, and I’m about to be penniless due to the resignation, but my folks would insist on having new sets of clothing anyways. Come to think of it, I just had a little row with my Ma this morning because I refuse to get new shoes for work because it’s damn pricey. Nobody notices, except for her, and I still have another good pair I can wear on the visit to my relative’s house anyway, so I really cannot fathom the rush and the need of it while we’re still trying to pay off other more important stuff.

Having arguments about similar matters like these sound completely dumb, which was why I usually try not to mind it so much, sometimes by trying to just brush it off or compromise. Unfortunately, there are times when these things rub me off the wrong way and I was just frustrated about why it is even a problem. Having accumulated all the stress and exhaustion because of work, the handover, and the lack of assurance on the next job just burst the emotional bubble for me.

This is one of the things why I bode too well living alone and far away from all these strings attached and this miserable city I flunked into on the day of my birth lottery.

Nevertheless, I had three days remaining in this position and quite obviously cannot wait to sign up for another job soon–not because I just like working, but because life gave me absolutely no fucking option nor enough means to enjoy some down time. It’s the basics of survival; you know, money and experience. “Whatever for”, you ask? To get you to a better place before you die… or just to make sure someone can settle your bills for you when you die, because apparently nothing in this world is free, even when you’re leaving it for good.

Wish me luck for the upcoming interviews. Three cheers for the pseudo-life we’re all doomed in!

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A Disappearing Act

Tallied it up to eleven months, and I cannot wait for next month to come as much as I don’t want it to. Yes, you heard me right. Let me explain.

On my last post, I mentioned that I needed to make a huge decision in the first week of the new year, and so I did. My term in this job will end next February.

It should make me feel relieved, shouldn’t it? It should make me feel less burdened since it meant I have to only spend six more weeks and then I will no longer be involved with unnecessary drama anymore. But it also means that it is exactly six more weeks before I (hopefully not) am a miserable jobless bum yet again, half-regretting my choice to leave before I secure another job. Yeah, way to go with helping out the family and all.

On the other hand, I reckon what makes me worry a lot is the fact that I am going to have a new boss in three days and will need to answer to him for at least one whole month. Also, his temporary replacement is not someone whose working style matches mine. First of all, I want the next three days to pass quickly, but then I am also super anxious for the rest of January up to the day I leave because I had no idea about how things will turn out while working with this boss. I found myself taking a deep, long breath as I finished writing this part.

Then again, I cannot do anything else but roll with it, can I? I’m also applying for any vacancies I laid my eyes on, so keeping my fingers crossed tight for that.

Another thing that has been bothering with me was my last conversations with my two previous bosses before they left. With the first boss, I find it harder communicating with compared with the second one. I had my share of mistakes as well, which I am not proud of, so I thought it was better for us to have a handshake, bid farewell, and leave it at that. But on their last day, they both are nice enough to say, “You have done well.” This triggered so many thoughts, mostly originated from this impostor syndrome I am forever doomed to be struggling with.

See, the working culture in my current office is that words like, “You have done a good job”, and, “You have worked hard”, are thrown away casually whenever any of the staff finishes their work or their shift for the day. Of course, it is nice to have people acknowledge that every end of the day, but then again, when the same words are being used a little too much–almost like a greeting–don’t they lose meaning in the process? The moment I heard them being said, I immediately brushed it off as nothing I should not take seriously. But left to my own devices, I suddenly felt sixteen-year-old me took over; a time when I wasn’t too fond of people when they are “just saying words”, because I could not really understand the point of it. It made me feel so self-conscious about other people’s perception, and the realization that I actually care annoyed me immensely. I hate it because it seemed like I haven’t learnt much after ten years of supposed self-development and reinvention. Pfft.

Life is getting too tiring, and I really don’t have anything to look forward to, be it within this year, next year or the next five years. I have already felt defeated by this year when it has barely started.

I don’t know, maybe I should stop trying at all. I have stopped hoping for the best years ago, because somehow the world doesn’t think I deserve it. I am close to call bullshit on preparing for the worst, because life is always waiting in the corner to mess everything up and I am left with nothing to expect. I should just accept the fact that I will slowly go numb, then selfish, and finally conceited since, so far, that is the only thing that work and adulthood demanded me to be to survive. But I can’t.

Now that I found one escape path for the former, I should probably be more grateful. If only I was the only one at stake.

One month to go, and afterwards, I can’t think of anything else but an opportunity for me to start anew.

Anticipating Escape Avenue

One rainy December morning on my commute to work, half-awake and all, I found myself thinking, “I guess being an adult mostly involves me showing up to work every day while donning the most exhausted version of me.”

Eleven days ago marked my tenth month on the job, and I can tell you folks that I am dreading for February to come faster.

November, without a doubt, has been the shittiest month due to the fact of the office drama that unveiled, and most significantly how it tried to entangle me into its mess. To cut the story short, I just found out how these people rather play this stupid faction game instead of solving the real problem that caused it (bad communication, unclear job descriptions, you know the drill), and how some of them used this situation to their own advantage when necessary. The latter was when I somehow was dragged onto this whole hodgepodge of hierarchic, hypocritical hogwash, and that was when I rest my case on getting out of this job as fast as I can.

To be fair, the last three months have probably been the best in terms of working and communicating with the boss, who is by far more collaborative and levelheaded than my previous one. But then again, there seems to be another problem lurking on the management system that is in dire need to be settled before he leaves. Yes, in less than a week, I will have a new superior, who knows nothing of the stupid drama at work, and maybe more hesitant to set things straight in order to save face. I am already scared to death on how I will be able to adjust and communicate accordingly to this new guy’s personality, and now there is this nonsense going on. See how this is simply bigger than me?

I mean, gimme a break. I just wanted to be done with my job and get paid every month. Can I just please stay away from your infuriatingly irrelevant theatrics?

It is nearing the end of the year, and I still cannot fathom how odd (and at times insulting) adulthood can be. At least in this experience, I found myself surrounded by a bunch of people in power who dresses professionally, talks about being responsible and has a lot of pride about how serious their jobs are; but truly, what they do is act as if they are responsible while they simply take pleasure in delegating tasks to others, pressure their employees to do their biding to look good in front of the boss, and bask in the glory of appearing “professional”.

This feels, to put it plainly, very repulsive to me, and also very dispiriting. Like, maybe no matter the company or institution, they all have the same culture that is disrespectful, ferocious and ignorant, and that we all just need to succumb to it. Seeing that it’s at least going to be how I am spending 30% of my day, 24% of my week, and 20% of my month for the rest of my life, I’d rather not. I cannot.

But now I am at that point where I need to get myself out of this place, just so that I can distance myself from the toxicity that has disrupted my daily responsibilities. How the next job will be is another problem to worry about later.

I can sense the storm coming and how it will rain cats and dogs in January. I understand I’ll get soaked pretty badly, but my best hope is that I’ll make it home in one piece.

Pre-Productive Panic Precinct

Rounded it all up to ten months on the job, and I am getting restless because there seem to be not many vacancies around for the next two. Oh, bother.

It’s almost halfway through November and I don’t know how to tell you what has been happening back in October other than my job being reduced to apartment maintenance service. I am not saying being in maintenance is bad; I am trying to say that I think the organization needs to make finer lines of job descriptions of each of their employees. Unfortunately, that is something no one in their extent of capabilities is willing to deal with.

With how the traffic is getting worse, and commuters are basically adopting survival mode every rush hour, which has gotten more and more ridiculous in fashion, ideally, I wish not only for a new job but also a chance to get myself out of this country. I have been over this countless of times, and I am afraid that is the only way I can still stay on track in fulfilling my responsibility for the family while keeping myself sane. Yet because the world is so inclined to make things hard for all of us, it is frustratingly blatant how arduous that path may be. Having these running through my head too many a times a day is really not good for me since they trigger that feeling of hopelessness and being stuck to my circumstances, and increases the intervals of me falling into the pit of depression.

On the bad days, I am mostly upset with everything and will rant it out to my Mum with a little coaxing. As much as I am grateful for her being there for me, I also feel bad that she needs to see me agonizing while she constantly feels like she can do more for the family despite her best efforts. It breaks me to hold my tongue as much as it does if I speak up.

I hate to admit that I cannot explain this, but on the good days, I would have this mechanism in which I just go on with my day and try out whatever opportunities are thrown my way. It doesn’t bother me much anymore when I get rejected, mostly because I expected it, but I was weirdly satisfied enough that I gave my best, and I’d move on to the next one without beating myself up too much like I used to. Once in a while, I panicked when the probability of staying in this job for another year strikes me, but I was still able to bounce back rather quickly. I am guessing I haven’t hit the real freak-out time frame yet. That made me worry about the fact that I may be slowly accepting the prospect of working here for another year because the current boss is chill enough while my brain is temporarily oblivious of how the new boss is going to be at work. And he’s coming next month.

My numbness has effectively infected my nervous alarm system, which is bad because that means my defense mechanism is faulty. Now I am freaking out a little because I am supposed to be borderline anxious at this point, but I’m not.

This is uncharted territory for me, but have you guys ever felt stuck, but at the same time also numbed by that feeling? And on top of that, also feeling like you should know that it’s bad, but you’re just not there yet that you slowly start building up anxiety? That’s how October has been for me.

It’s two weeks until the end of November, and I wish I will be in full-but-functional frenzy mode real soon to get me out of this place.

 

Correction: November is my ninth month on the job. Apparently, I have not only lost my ability to feel but also to count. Bummer.

Incessant Fretting

It’s October and boy, oh, boy, am I thrilled that the end of the year is coming in less than three months. Afterwards, I simply need to survive January while rigorously applying for jobs. Come February, and I will finally end my misery, or add another one by being yet another jobless bum. Oh, joy… if everything works out as planned.

That being said, let’s start bitching about the mumbo-jumbo that is September. Let’s just say, I barely had time to breathe. Not to mention the shitty incidents which successfully mummed these blistering, endless questions I have in mind about life and myself.

I’m just kidding. For the latter part, obviously.

If anything, those questions blared even louder. This wrath is becoming even more unhinged than ever that I felt like I’m wearing it like a second skin.

September was crazy busy when it comes to work, what with all the sudden demands and huge events being held too close to each other. As I have previously wished for, it passed like in a blink of an eye. Imagine my surprise that I got into my ninth-month of work, feeling like I was running ahead of time. Quite a reversal from the months before, wasn’t it?

There are crises in which I pulled through unscathed. And there is certainly one where I felt like I have never been luckier to have my best friends looking out for me, and that they are being dead serious about it, too. I didn’t expect what they did for me not because I underestimated their qualities or the value of our friendship, but because I didn’t know how to react when people actually did something nice for me, especially when it comes in form of a physical gift. I remember distinctly that I recoiled from accepting that it happened already, but I also wanted them to know how I was grateful for what they did to me that maybe I sound less sincere than I wanted to be when I thanked them. But, truly, I was happy. I just wasn’t used to it.

And then there was the car accident to close the month. I was fortunate enough not to need any stitches nor suffer any head trauma for it, but I certainly abhorred the experience. The recovery process was painful as much as it disturbed my plans for the new month. I was also left with a noticeable scar that people seem to have more problem with because “girls shouldn’t have any blemish on their faces”; while I was thankful I didn’t need to stitch up my skull.

Funnily enough, I also had this inkling that I probably was being taught a lesson or two about something, as if this is supposed to be life-changing or anything pivotal. The one thing I can come up with is: Wear your frickin’ seatbelts even though you’re in the backseat, girls, especially if you don’t like being the center of attention, like me. People pity you more because it may leave a mark on your face rather than the fact that the emotional and other physical trauma you have to go through and recuperate from.

It would be a lie if I said that it hadn’t occured to me why all this shit happened, thus my mind-buzzing despite the much needed rest. The only answer I can come up with is that maybe that’s just how life goes, one shitty thing over another. I was just starting to think I will get the hang out of my job; that time began to run seemingly faster, and that I have responded more and more nonchalantly and automatically to stuff at work, get things done in a jiffy. But then the universe surprises you with more shitty things, just to test you out. It doesn’t listen to your plea that you don’t want be part in any of this, that you didn’t ask for that so-called “gift of life” on the first place. Now I am just terrified to jinx it–if I said, “I’m okay now. I’ve gotten through it. I feel good and glad that that terrible thing is over”, was that not an invitation to call for more calamity to come at my way?

Or maybe, no matter how I felt or what I said, it will just come any way; multiple stages of Murphy’s Law until the day I breathed my last.

So, why bother?

But humans do, or at least they will try to find reasons to do so.

I don’t think I have enough energy to bother finding one. But I certainly hope that at least that my job hunt will be fruitful by the end of this year. That way, maybe I’ll be able to move to another place where I can be bothered to think of hiking up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Pfft.

Yeah, September doesn’t do much but highlight how I am still too angsty to be in my mid-twenties.

Stupefied by the Second

Crossed another sixth on the date, and I officially passed my sixth month on the job. I’m finally halfway through! Woohoo!

Despite last month’s holiday high lasted only for the first ten-or-so days and the fact that it ended because of a stupid “cupless” incident, I can’t be bothered by it because I felt like I have finally reached the turning point of constant numbness. You know, when work suddenly feels automatic and you turn to this corporate robot who answers and acts according to the “manuals” you have spent your first three months getting used to? Yeah, I’m on top of the curve now, more a machine and less than a human with legit brains and feelings, sliding my way down towards the all stupid drama of corporate life… or at least, I hope so.

Other than that, I still feel pretty sure that I am going to look for new opportunities come next November.

All in all, I am still grateful that my colleagues are very nice with me that I feel like I have somehow made friends at work now. I am glad that one person–or maybe two–within the higher ranks is someone I can talk to get help from and confide with; restrictively work stuff, of course. But then there will be pretty huge changes come the end of this month, and for that, my worrywart ass can’t help but sweat over to the point where my imaginary pit stains are showing.

Compared to the previous months, I felt more “okay” with random demands and texts which sometimes go with the job, if that makes sense. I still don’t condone it, especially if I were in the position that allows me to do so later in the future, but I guess I respond to it less outwardly grumpy. I am convinced that’s partly because of time. I do have this weird knack for slipping into new routines relatively easily despite it not necessarily a good habit to keep up to, which scares me most of the time. From the counseling session early this month, it brings me utter relief that it’s not because I have compliance issues anymore, and I’m quite sure of it. I am pretty certain it’s not because I was holding any discontent either, so I suppose this lethargic-like feeling is acquired through time, but also maybe because I am in a somewhat-better place.

By that, I meant I felt less stuck than I was before. Maybe it is because of the change I am yet able to disclose even though it entails a portion of uncertainty, or that I do finally got used to things that time, for me, now began to seemingly pass a lot quicker because I still feel elated that I actually managed to reach midpoint.

It feels good, and I don’t think anybody would understand how difficult it is for me to come to acknowledge it. Whilst this whole job thing is a bit more manageable than it was, I reckon there is a whole other issue with myself that I need to deal with. Other than the shitty family drama that lurks behind every end of the month, or every corner of the holidays, my proneness of being washed over by guilt every time I feel good or expect anything positive is something I need to eventually address. That’s right; I get the heebie-jeebies for feeling or hoping that things will get better or work out. I don’t know why or how, because previously I thought I was just being cautious, and it’s okay, but now I’m not so sure.

On that note, I’d like to think it is not any exaggeration that I vehemently pray for my own time and space again as much as I had before I settle back home; also that this hard-earned, functional constant numbness will keep me afloat for the next six months.

Here’s to another 24 weeks of drifting along the murky waters of adulthood!

Holiday High Hazard

Lo and behold, another month passed and marked my fifth month on the job.

It seems like I learn more about my psyche all the way through June as my counselor asked me to keep track of positive things I learn at work–I know, took me barely three days to fail the daily task, but I guess you can’t really push what’s not there. I still attempt to note them, if any. I wish I do not miss the point of appreciating the experience while I am in it.

Another thing was, as much as June crushed my already torn spirit like no other, right now I can’t seem to recall how stressful it was because of the six-day holiday on the last week I had. Despite not being able to fully take my mind off of work (bloody last-minute requests; typical, yet still unjustifiable), I reckon not having to sit behind my desk sort of helps. Furthermore, I finally got a chance to meet up with my mates. Some of them I haven’t seen in months, some weeks, another in years. And I have never been more delighted to just spend time with them catching up and just chatting away about anything. I felt that not only that having company you wanted to be with somehow may increase your endorphin levels, but also that it makes you feel grateful that they are exactly where and when you need them to be. I am glad that I am still allowed having good friendship in my life.

The holiday also allowed me to take my family on a lunch out, which has not happened in almost a year. In that ridiculously petty moment, I was a tad happy for the advance extra I got that month. Funny because I never had much of a thrill in spending a huge amount of money for myself (hard to believe, eh?), especially in full knowledge of the situation we are in, but I was quite content with how my brothers seem to enjoy the day.

Most of all, I truly appreciate the time alone I got to spend just lounging around at home, sleeping in, reading and thinking. I was so thrilled that I could spend my day re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite) as a tiny tribute for the twenty-year anniversary since the book was published.

Other than that, June was fun because I got to do a bit of editing on the side. It has been so long, but I was quite elated to find I wasn’t as rusty as I expected I would be. I wholeheartedly wish that an opportunity will rise in this line of work by late November this year.

Either it really was the fun times outweighing the whimsical workdays, or I basically have a blasted memory of a chicken considering the memory of the holidays was still fresh in my mind, I guess I learned two things: (1) holidays are so important I should never overwork myself even though I manage to find a job I dislike less in the future, (2) maybe it is true that humans have the ability to replace the bad memories with the good, no matter how short or seldom it happens. After the holidays are over, I still dread timing in for work the next morning, but at the same time, I did not feel it was as burdensome as it used to be. I still realize how it was always hard to be constantly told you’re not good enough for five days a week, and people expect you to get over it in two days and start again. I still think adulthood sucks you to the bone and I still can’t get used to this pretentious, fake-it-’til-you-make-it shit that is required of you to survive adulthood. And yes, I still would rather be taken in my sleep to stop everything that’s happening in my life because I am just selfish that way. But the holiday high makes my mood better than it has ever been, much like, “Yeah, shit’s gonna happen, it always does. But hey, whatever. I’m feelin’ good and ain’t nothin’ can bring me down. Life, stop being a bitch ’cause I ain’t give a damn thing ’bout you.” I had no idea I have that much audacity in me, but it was great.

That being said, July has only started for a week, and suddenly I have to worry about August. More about this on next month’s recap.

For the time being, I wish this holiday high will last at least for another ten days.

A Lick and a Promise

Before I say anything that will crush my soul, let me open by one positive remark: I am glad that I was capable enough to make it through the fourth month on the job.

That is to say, the rest of this post is just going to be me whining about how I am still set on not staying after the initially agreed period of employment.

May was pretty rough compared to the previous months because somehow I think I have reached the point when the universe be like, “Alright, you passed the basic bullshit, now is the time for you to be drowned on a shitstorm of daily Murphy’s law.” Days when I was just extremely mad or sad just increased in frequency. Also, there was one incident that just pulverized my spirit in a matter of minutes on a supposedly fine start of the weekend.

So, came June, I decided to see a professional help, despite all the skepticism because the institute that I found was associated with a theology school and fear of a lack of solution. I just needed a space where I can just spit all my anguish out in the open without worrying or annoying people around me, whom I have already been indebted to by just accommodating my blues. Quite as expected, I wasn’t really offered any solution despite the obvious one (i.e. “I guess it will be advisable for you not to revisit this line of work again in the future”), but I know that’s not why I was there, so that’s absolutely fine. But at least I managed to bring myself to let out all of the pent-up frustration I have had for months, and the disappointment I saw or heard from people around me when I gave them the benefit of the doubt and was honest with them about how I have been.

The counselor suggested that it might help when I try to come up with two things that I gain from this part of “learning process” I am in, and so I tried, only to fail miserably to keep it up after three days. But I guess this effort I am exerting to survive the remaining months by “shifting my mindset” should not be treated like a chore, lest I will think that there really isn’t anything good from it and then sink deeper in depression. Hopefully, I will notice more of them in the coming weeks. Although in all honestly, I just really wish December will come sooner.

One thing that helps me–kind of–to get through this week and pull me up whenever I was down, was this saying the counselor shared with me, that I think was from the Bible. At the end of our session she told me, “Just remember, each day has enough trouble of its own. Don’t let it drag you on for too long.” There’s this little voice inside me that goes, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to bring any religious references to this conversation, not to mention that I highly doubt it will sort out the nitty-gritty of me feeling stuck.” Yet, weirdly enough, in every end of the day, I’d find myself whispering in my head, “Each day has enough trouble of its own”, then I took a deep breath, exhaled a release and the anxiety of going down the to-do list for tomorrow, as well as the worries inside my brain self-anticipating for shit that will go down the next day, somehow subsided a little.

Not sure if this mantra will last the next eight months, nor whether the universe has reached the limit of any-shit-that-can-and-will-go-wrong in the life of me by then, but I sure do hope that I’ll make it to the fifth month in one shape. Or half. I’ll even settle for a quarter.

Or else, just take me in my sleep or whatever. At this point, I truly don’t see there’s still anything that is worth striving for if everything stays the same.

The Meek

Source: The meek.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone can just inherently be brave?

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone can be raised where bravery is encouraged? At least so that the society would show less tolerance on ignorance and injustice.

Oh, you think that’s how it goes in the world we live in? Well, think again.
It’s probably only something that is part of the school motto. Not so much in their curriculum. Not to mention that we all should scrape off whatever we learn at school to fit in the real world, even only for survival.

In fact, my mother did warn me once of how the acceptance and support to bravery in this world is a big, fat farce.

I remembered her frantic face when she saw my black eye at the teacher’s office. The kid who gave it to me–Bruce was his name, quite befittingly–and his mother was seated to my left. The principal went through what happened, and Bruce’s mother scolded him as she apologized to my mother and offered to pay for the medical expenses and all. My mother responded modestly while she kept her attention on my stoic demeanor.

We walked home hand-in-hand with each other, not saying a word. As we passed a nearby park, my mother broke the silence and decided it’s been a while since we watch the sun set. So she bought us an ice cream each and we sat on the bench across the duck pond, right at the direction of the almost setting sun.

“Your father would probably be proud that you chose not to punch him back, if that’s what you’re wonderin’,” she suddenly remarked, “he’d quote the Bible for it, too. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”

I looked up at her and finally found my voice, “Do they really, Momma?”

She went silent briefly and said, “The meek don’t inherit the Earth, son. That’s just what the bold tell them, so they’ll get out of the way.”

She deliberately continued, “By somehow convincing the meek that they will have the world without having to work hard for it, the bold is doing half its part to maintain their position as the rulers of the world. By telling the meek to wait in complacency, the bold proves themselves superior.”

“So, you think I should fight Bruce back?” I inquired.

“Oh no,” my mother quickly answered, “I was just telling you your father will pick the wrong verse from the Scripture, take it out of context just to put a smile back on your face.”

She turned from her seat to put her hands over my shoulders and said, “I will say to you that not punching Bruce back does not mean you’re meek. Actually, you being punched simply because he doesn’t like being told off by you after he said girls are weak, I’d say that’s quite a brave thing to do. And I’m proud of you for that.”

I smiled back at her when I saw the beam on her face. The pain on my eye reminded me, “But it seemed like some people don’t like it when we are brave, Momma.”

She saw me cupping my blackeye with my hand, and said we’ll go to the clinic to have the doctor see to it, “but you’re right. People don’t like it when anyone stand up to them. Sometimes it leaves a bruise right here,” she pointed at my eye, then she hovered her finger to my chest, “sometimes, it leaves a bruise in here.”

“And sometimes,” she quietly added, “it’s hard to get away from constantly feeling the pain that maybe it’s easier to keep our heads down.”

I scrunched my eyebrows together trying to make sense what she just said, but then she brushed it off as she ran her hand through my hair saying, “Oh, what am I thinking? Maybe you’ll understand later when you’re older. But I really hope you wouldn’t have to go through it.”

We stopped by the clinic to get my eye fixed and went home for dinner. Little did I know that my mother was threatened to lose her job for 10 years at a nearby hotel because she was defending her coworker over a false theft report from a high-level guest. The coworker ended up resigning to prevent my mother for losing her job and herself from further embarrassment. In the end, she even told my mother, “At least I beat them up from firing me. And now I get to spend more time with the kids, so it’s okay, Jane. Don’t worry about me.”

If it weren’t for me and my sick grandmother, my mother would probably resign in a heartbeat, but she held on for another six months until she found another line of work and quit the hotel job. It took her a while because in a small town the word flew in no time to spread the news that my mother is a “ballsy” employee, and no employers would make such a person as first choice on their team.

Years after, I had never forgotten how grateful I am for her, and the conversation we had that day on the park. Not because it reminded me to stand up for what is right, but that it kept replaying on my mind whenever I need to settle with silence and submission. I tried to convince myself that whenever I don’t disagree with my superior’s terrible idea, I did the logical thing to keep my job and pay my rent on time; that I am in no place to deny the comfort that my salary has sustained me with. Still, I felt guilty whenever I remembered I don’t argue back because I don’t want to be the “ballsy” one–because the they sooner or later will lose their job and be forced to be content with something with far too little prospect. It is not just “easier to keep our heads down” sometimes, but most of the time–I understand it now, and more.

Dad was probably right. I am the meek one, aren’t I, Momma?

Seething

It’s the month of May, and that means I have finally come to the end of my probation period. Except for the salary, I had no idea if things are gonna be any different. For worse, undoubtedly.

My take after the whole three months, should you ask, is that I am an ungrateful, typical piece of shit of a millennial. At least that’s the impression I get after being truly honest when people ask me, “So how’s the job so far?”

Otherwise, they would just dismiss me with something along the lines of, “All jobs suck, kid, what do you expect?”, while in case it’s not obvious yet from my post on passing the second month: That’s. Not. The. Problem.

On a conversation a week ago, a friend of mine quoted a character from this movie Berlin File, “It’s work. There’s no reason for it. You just do it.” I do relate with the latter part about how “a job’s a job”, though I should say I am well-aware of the reason why I take this job: someone’s gotta pay off the bills (and more, in my case). But the remaining nine months to fulfill the contract seems like a stretch, and I can’t wait to call it quits. Quite frankly, I’d be the happiest person to receive, say, a bad news after the probation, so then I could move on with doing something else even if it requires me to take another jobless phase as a rite of passage. But no, I gotta do the whole one year, and even though it means I don’t have to worry about helping the family, I need to compromise with the niceties “madness” and disruption on weekends for the next thirty-six weeks.

When I open up and say that I don’t want to stay, it doesn’t mean I simply dismiss it as something not worth having and I’d rather be stuck unemployed. I have made it clear by saying it gives some financial security to a certain extent. But is it worth my sanity in the long run? No. Logically, does that mean it is just natural for me to try seeking alternatives on work that suck less–even if it’s just a little–than the one I have now? I guess so.

I cannot have the people at home take the ire of my frustration because of these panic work texts on weekends I simply can ignore because there is this excruciatingly, thin line that separates it from my formal job description. Most likely, I will eventually lose my friends if I vent to them about the same thing every single damn time. I need professional help, but where I live, there isn’t any institution credible enough for a visit.

But does that mean I should just zip it and lie to myself that I’m not alright? Can I not be at least true to myself and say, “This could be better. I can see my life be better if I make another choice.”? Because really, I can no longer hear those “there-are-many-other-people-who-would-like-the-position-you’re-in-so-you-should-feel-bad-for-not-appreciating-it-as-much-as-you-should”.

With hindsight, I suppose I shouldn’t have taken questions like, “How are you?” or “How’s the job” too seriously. Because nobody cares, so why should I? Or maybe everybody’s selfish, so why shouldn’t I be?

If this is what adulthood teaches us, then I won’t have any of it. Not even if I should.