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 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 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 as 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.

Something Old, Something New

Something red, something… silver!

I started a new job yesterday. I won’t work with them again until after next week because I must finish this upcoming week at my old job. It’s still a clothing store, but smaller and much more expensive! My old job turned me into a shopaholic, but I will not shop at my new store! Too pricy! The first day went well, though. Everyone’s super nice, nothing too hard, and I got all the on-boarding done. So many manuals! I am still employed with my old job, but as an on-call employee. I confess part of that is, despite all my complaints, being my first job makes me somewhat attached to them. That, and how I like so many of my co-workers. Having a heart sucks!

One of my bosses told me this recently: “Don’t burn a bridge.”

Putting aside the hope that bridge has two sides, I have to wonder how often bridges have been burned to say that. I certainly didn’t want to leave on bad terms, but I know a lot of people just stop showing up or quit that very day. I (unintentionally) gave them only a week’s notice instead of two, partly because I had no idea how transitioning to on-call works, but they didn’t hold it against me. I’ve learned anything can happen, so for all I know, I could go back to them as part-time someday (if they let me), so I very much don’t want to that bridge to become ashes.

I think the biggest change, however, is I’m paid bi-weekly instead of weekly now. That’s undoubtedly going to take some getting used to!

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.

Seen and Heard

I’ve talked about this before, using a different phrase, but after working in retail for some time now, I can’t help bringing it up again.

“Children are meant to be seen, not heard.”

The sentence ignites a great amount of irritation in me. I won’t repeat myself because I went into plenty of detail about why the similar phrase, don’t speak unless you’re spoken to, is outdated and makes no sense. But this one feels even more so.

Although it’s short, after the time I’ve already spent working in retail, if there is any age group that should be seen instead of heard, it is adults!

The majority of the customers are pleasant and most transactions go normally with zero trouble. Of the problematic customers I have had, however, I’ve never had one who was a child. Neither have my co-workers. When my co-workers talk about the trouble they have with customers, they are referring to adults.

That’s not to say the children are always angelic. Of course, I hear children cry and occasionally throw temper tantrums. Or they touch things and don’t put them back correctly. I won’t deny that behavior is annoying.

But it pales in comparison to the adult who yells at me because I can’t do their return due to lack of any proof of their purchase (receipt, phone number, and/or sale tags). It’s nothing compared to the adults who frequently come to the register at closing time with a large amount of items for purchase, layaway, or both. It’s not children who leave the aisles a mess, with clothes and trash strewn across the floor (our toy aisle is tame in comparison to any other area!).

The worst thing a child has done to me directly at my register? Chatter. Yes, the “worst” experience I’ve ever had with a child at my counter is them sparking up a conversation with me. How dare they speak to me, an adult, when they haven’t been addressed?! Actually, I’m glad they do. They’re quite cheerful and tend to be the bright spot of a long shift.

In fact, the only times so far I’ve heard children continously cry are when they are tired or otherwise uncomfortable, and they’re usually small children (under three years old). I remember one particular small girl who was wailing so loudly, she could be heard throughout the store the entire time she and her family were there. My curiosity got the better of me and when they came to my register, I somewhat jokingly asked if the little one was having a bad day. Her mother flat out said she was tired and needed a nap. Is it the child’s fault she’s not being permitted to sleep? Who isn’t cranky when they’re being kept awake?

Now, I do not at all think children should be treated like adults, and in general, adults are more mature than children. I do believe that. But this concept that a child shouldn’t be allowed to speak solely because they are a child isn’t one I’ve seen to have much merit to it.

If this also refers to interrupting adults when talking, again, that should apply to everybody. Interrupting someone is rude, regardless of your age. I don’t want to be interrupted by a 30-year-old any more than I want to be interrupted by a 3-year-old.