Missing Him

At my job, two co-workers I am friends with, one of whom is a manager, recently began dating. Granted, I’m not sure how long “recently” is, but to the best of my memory, about two months or so. He had a crush on her and the day he planned to finally ask her out, she (the manager) did it first. It’s a cute story, and I genuinely hope things work well for them. At the same time, I’d be a liar if I wasn’t a little bit envious.

Not because I want to date either of them, but because I wish I had the privilege of seeing my boyfriend as often as they see each other. Make no mistake. I absolutely adore my boyfriend and have eyes for no one except him, but the thirty miles between us across our neighboring states kills me inside at times. To be blatant, every time I see a couple together, I think of him and wish we could be together at that moment. I know it could be worse. He could on the other side of the country or on the other side of the world. That we can see each other the one or two times a month we manage to is a privilege in itself. But that truly doesn’t help me miss him any less.

I know there is such a thing as too much time together. That applies to us too. We’d probably kill each other if we had to spend every waking moment together. But I’d rather have too much time together than not enough. At least, we could avoid each other for a few hours or days if we were getting aggravated and make up later.

My co-workers, when they have shifts together (this particular manager does not make the schedule), will share their lunch break with each other. When she has to be on the floor, he’ll usually work with her and they’ll talk about whatever they please as they do returns or clear the floor area. Or if she’s counting out at the register to close them down for the night and we have no customers in line, they’ll chat together as she counts and he’ll walk her to back as she carries the register drawers (policy is that two people must walk with the drawers, though of course, she doesn’t let him in the cash office). I’d give anything to have that with my boyfriend. Perhaps it’d get old after a while, but again, we could avoid each other until we felt better. Really, I’d give anything for us to live in the same town, let alone have the privilege of working together at a job.

I feel bad for being envious of them. They are my friends, after all, and friends should not be jealous. I am truly happy for them since they are both sweet and funny people, and they don’t get angry if an employee talks to the one who’s the opposite gender (we had a couple at work before where the woman harassed me because her boyfriend, who was my boss and hers, would have to speak to me or I’d have to speak to him). I feel like I sound unappreciative of my boyfriend, which is not the case at all. I’d certainly rather see him only twice a month than not have him at all. I took off Fridays so if he’s not scheduled, we’re almost guaranteed to have that one day of the week together for a few hours (though I do have to work this coming Friday, and he has to work on the next, so that won’t really go into effect for two weeks).

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence also makes the heart break and causes it sorrow. I want what my friends have: the privilege of being a couple who can share their job. I want the thirty miles between us to be a 30 minute walk between us. I want being apart to be an option more often than it is mandatory.

I just want him to be here.

Has Anyone Seen My Heart?

To my shock, my last post in the “romantic” category was back in March! And it wasn’t about our relationship so much as it was about my personal feelings about our relationship.

I’ve no doubt I’ve mentioned this somewhere in a previous post, but I do not want to dig through my archives right now to find it. I am positive I’ve never made it the topic of a post, however, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately for some reason unbeknownst to me.

This upcoming January will make it four years since my boyfriend and I have met. I know four years isn’t long to most people – I’m not sure if it’s long to me, though it feels like it – but I’m certain we’re past the “new” stage. Lately, I’ve been unable to shake the thought of how close our relationship came to not happening. Despite it’s nothing more than “what if”, it scares me to know how easily we almost missed each other. It was literally a tiny bout of curiosity that led me to him.

I wasn’t unhappy when I was single, but being single is different before a good relationship versus after one. If I didn’t have him in my life, my life would still be full because I wouldn’t know him. I wouldn’t know what I know now. I wouldn’t know the relationship we have today or how it feels to love romantically and have it be returned. Because I do know those things, when I imagine us not meeting each other, it feels like my life would’ve been empty without him. I know if we broke up and I was single again, I would undoubtedly miss him and feel like a huge void opened up in my life. Prior, however, my single life would’ve continued fine without him because I wouldn’t know him. You cannot miss what you don’t know.

It’s a strange feeling, I admit, somewhat similar to the feeling I’ve talked about of being the age my mom was when she became a mother. It feels a bit surreal. If nothing else, I relate a little more to some sappy love songs, though I still hate cheesy romance. Ironic, I guess.

There’s a lyric in the My Little Pony movie Pinkie Pie sings that goes: “One small thing can be the biggest thing of all.” She’s absolutely right. One tiny “hi” (on his end) and one little curiosity (on my end) led to what we have now almost four years later. Our anniversary date is in late June, so as a couple, we’ve been together for almost 3 1/2 years instead of four, but the further along our relationship gets, the more those six months we weren’t a couple blend in. I don’t think in another four years, I’ll be saying “we’ve known each other for eight years, but we’ve been together for 7 1/2”. Does it really matter at that point? Does it matter now?

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t occasionally turn into that stereotypical lovestruck teenage girl present in so many comedy sitcoms. Speaking for myself, the best way I can describe my feelings in a summary is feeling like I’m drowning in his love and I don’t want to be rescued. And just typing that makes me want to retch a little because I know if I read it from someone else, I’d roll my eyes. I’d think it was cute, but I’d still roll my eyes. A hypocrite am I.

Notice I said that was a summary. Typing out this full post is making me smile and blush like a smitten pre-teen because it’s about him. There are a lot more feelings I could say here, and I’ll probably make a lot of eyes roll. More than anything, every time I think about us missing each other that day and never meeting, it’s the silly, sappy feelings that make me saddest to think of missing out on.

  • Being curled up in his arms, as close to him as possible, and still not feeling close enough.
  • Never feeling the time we have together is enough. I say this as someone who is a huge introvert who loses her mind without her alone time (it does help he’s also introverted and needs his alone time).
  • At the same time (no pun intended), it feels like time freezes when we are together. Like this could last forever and I’d be fine with that.
  • His mere presence being comforting and lighting up my day or night. Even when he’s annoying me a bit, there’s still something about him being there that makes me feel better than if he wasn’t.
  • Hugs. Hugs! HUGS! I always need more hugs from him.
  • Waking up to find myself held in his arms. This kind of hug is actually my favorite. Feels very secure.
  • Holding and squeezing him tight
  • All of my troubles fall away when we are together. I thought it was being at his house that did this, but anywhere with him gives me this feeling.
  • That anything bad I go through feels doable if I have him. It’s not good for a person to be your only source of happiness, but at my worst, he may be the reason I wake up another day. I say “may” because love (of any kind) can’t do everything.
  • Him. Just him. Knowing there is this person in the world who loves me in a way I have not been loved before. Who I love with a strength I only ever felt for my best friend (platonically; get your mind out of the gutter!). Who made me not regret dropping my guard and (cheesy) unlocking my heart.

I am so glad we met. I can imagine my life without those feelings. Without meeting him, it’s still a good life. But since we did meet, I’m glad that life without him didn’t happen.

I wasn’t looking when I met you, but you turned out to be everything I was looking for. The best thing to find when you’re not looking for it.

So very glad it didn’t happen.

Empathy

A human emotion that’s apparently very hard for some people.

I have four bosses. There are two I absolutely admire. I will keep names private, but I enjoy working with them, even on stressful days. They are never less than radiant – constantly full of sunshine – and what I’ve noticed lately is, no matter how stressed they are, they never stop being kind and empathetic towards those of us beneath them. Despite they have more power and authority over us, they still talk to us and listen to us. It’s to the point I will only come in extra if it’s one of them who calls me and I’m able to say yes.

There was recently one night where I was frustrated and not feeling good at one. One of these two I admire was the closing manager. She had a headache the entire night, yet she noticed I was aggravated.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

Me: (lying) “Oh, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Me: “It’s nothing, really.”

“Well, if you want to talk, let me know.”

Somehow, my night got a lot better after that. I have spoken to her before when I needed help and she’s never failed to solve it. In one case, she undid another manager’s giant mess. I have no idea what keeps these two managers able to put themselves in our shoes, but I hope they never lose it. The level of empathy they have and their ability to never lose it under any amount of stress are things I aspire to possess someday. Were I ever to leave my job, voluntarily or not, I would come back every so often solely to help them out if I thought it made even a small difference in the night for them. I’m not kidding. That’s how amazing they are as managers. Few people can do what they do.

Speaking of few people, the other two of those four bosses? I would’ve left a long time ago if the empathetic two I spoke of weren’t there. The other two have no emotion that doesn’t regard business. I guess that happens over time. I’d get more help from talking to a brick wall than talking to either of them. They only listen to what they want to listen to, and they decide from their own bias and personal ideas who’s right and who’s wrong, regardless of who truly is. One in particular enjoys exaggerating, unable to differentiate between “toss” and “slide”, and loves to blackmail and to make threats. Heck, one of my co-workers (who is older than him!) outright considers him an idiot, and I think stopping at “idiot” is generous. Both of them love to make assumptions, I suppose because taking an extra few seconds (sometimes literally only an extra second) to know what really happened is too strenuous. Heaven forbid anything serious happen at work because they could only be counted on to make the matter worse. I no longer hold respect for either of them (yes, I genuinely did think highly of them at one point, not that it matters), and the bridge has been burned to the ground and into ashes.

Granted, I feel slightly more tolerant toward one because he seems more naïve and lacking in memory than having any real malice. He did, for example, permit me to leave a shift early with no question for why I’m asking, though it’s likely he’s forgotten by now. His naiveté can be painful, to say the least, but I’ll give him half credit for never threatening me. That, sadly, doesn’t make him any better than his assistant, should he be needed for something the empathetic managers can’t do. I prefer not to talk either of them anymore because it’s fruitless. An “open-door policy” is only useful if it actually helps. I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been incidents where they wrongfully penalized someone and never apologized because, well, we’re just drones to make the store money. Who cares what they do to us? In fact, in my case, there has been at least one such incident – a different manager pushed me to mental/emotional breakdown, enough I couldn’t process my thoughts and wanted to hit my head on a railing, and I had to leave for my own well-being – but they already decided I was the monster in that situation, so anything I said fell on deaf ears. I would’ve accepted the penalty for leaving without permission, but for heaven’s sake, just listen!

Interestingly, the two managers who haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be at our level have had breakdowns. One recently told me she went in the back and cried after she had deal with a hellish customer because she was so stressed out and tired. The other admitted to having similar moments and she used to see a therapist to help her stress. In a way, it makes me hate that they can relate. They are too kind, too good, to be given hell like that. At the same time, maybe it’s part of what makes them empathetic. They deal with it, they know we deal with it, they know we break down and lose our stability, and it’s unfortunately a normality of the job, despite their positions being far different from those of us on the floor and register (especially the register; there’s a reason I was desperate to work on the floor). I suppose the two managers lacking in empathy have been managers for so long, they don’t remember what that feels like and they can no longer. I’m not saying I want everyone to be breaking down – of course not – but to still be considered valid. If the empathetic managers can still remember we’re human, why can’t the other two?

All of the above said, the one thing that officially made my last shred of respect for the latter two managers crash and burn is finding out they’re cowardly. They can yell, threaten, and take sides to their hearts’ content, but they could not tell me to my face they thought my performance with a certain aspect of work was low. I had to find out through my own questioning and, still, not much was said about it. They just kept moving me elsewhere, I suppose under the assumption I’d be too stupid to realize something was suspicious. Assuming I’d be slow to figure it out would make sense, but not that I never would. Weird. I’d think people with such a callous outlook toward anyone beneath management would be more than to tell someone they suck. I take more offense to thinking I can’t see through a trick.

Pressure May Vary

More often than not, I feel like things that surprise me really shouldn’t. In my defense, I have good reason for expecting the worst.

It turns out instead of taking the exam as soon as we can, our teacher recommends we not take it until we finish our last class unless we feel confident we can take it right now. Yes, instead of shouting “believe in yourself” over and over, a real teacher told us not to rush and wait until we feel we’re ready for it. We don’t have to read the entire textbook. He suggests we do because it can only help, but it won’t be a tragedy if we skip over something we already have a good grasp on, like half a chapter about how to create, move, and rename files. I don’t need a detailed how-to guide on something I’ve been doing since my age was in the single digits.

In short, a lot of the pressure I was felt was self-induced. Granted, like my cynicism, there’s reason for that, but it seems like I continually struggle to remember I don’t have to learn the same way everyone else does. I can study in the way the works best for me and go at my own pace. Even MLP had an (surprisingly good) episode about that. I don’t try to be different, but I think trying to be the same is part of what causes me these problems to begin with.

I’ve begun playing around with some practice tests. The site I used allows the user to customize the test instead of take it with every question about every topic thrown together. To my ridiculous surprise, I did well when I tested against things I read about and I can now study what I’m struggling with that wasn’t yet covered in my classes so far, or wasn’t covered much. I also managed to answer 20 to 25 questions in 7 minutes without knowing the answer to all of them. Maybe 90 questions in 90 minutes isn’t so intimidating.

I’ll eat my words later, but for now, it’s nice to feel less pressured about everything.

I Failed

At life.

One of the goals of my school is preparing students to take a certain exam. It’s not a school exam! It’s actually a… government one? I’m unsure how to describe it without giving away the name, but it’s essentially proof someone is certified to work in the field we’re training for and is recognized nationally.

I have recently decided I am not taking it.

I have studied, and I’ve found it does no good. I can be asked a question right after I have finished reading a whole chapter and be unable to recall what the question even pertains to, let alone answer it correctly. There are practice exams for the real one. I tried one. I didn’t know the answer to any of the questions, despite reading enough material that would’ve covered it. I didn’t bother going through the whole practice test. I closed it after question 7.

We do get a certificate from the school. I think I’m going to take that and go, and try to do the best I can with that. I am not academic material. I think I figured that out a long time ago, but I assumed that’s because I hated school to begin with. I genuinely like this school and I do study, and I am still terrible. There is zero chance of me passing the real exam, and since it’s only free the first time around (school provides a voucher), I don’t exactly have unlimited chances to pass. I’d rather not take it at all, and no, I am not going to “wing it” in the hopes the planets will align and grant me a passing score. I like fairytales. I am not dumb enough to believe in them.

Supposedly, you’re not supposed to memorize material you study. That concept makes zero sense to me. Why would you study it if you didn’t want to remember it? The point of studying is to be able to retain enough information to pass whatever tests you need to pass.

That exam is also timed. Ninety minutes to answer ninety questions. Even if I had a chance of passing, the time limit would kill me.

This isn’t Disney. “Positive thinking” and “believe in yourself” does not work. I don’t think even Disney has ever been that shallow. Of course, if those things did work, “hard work” would be non-existent since everyone would be successful with no more than merely thinking of it, meaning no one would have to work for anything. Don’t people complain my generation only wants things handed to them anyway? “Think positive” seems to prove them right.

My vent is over. And so are my chances.