by Sarah Erdlen
I’m sick of Beginnings. Well, to be more accurate, I’d welcome a(nother) new beginning if only it would stick.
I started a new job this fall. A job that, on paper, should have fit me to a T. Instead, I found a toxic work environment. This alone is hard to deal with, but of course, new jobs do not happen in a vacuum. They happen after I’ve already had five jobs in three years. They happen after I’ve moved halfway across the country only to trudge through a tearful, lonely winter. They happen after I’ve questioned everything I wanted from life and failed nearly all my expectations for myself.
They happen after I’ve convinced myself I should never settle for something less than awesome and after I’ve convinced myself I’m incredibly naïve for believing an awesome job is even possible. They happen after I’ve been turned down from at least three opportunities I believed myself a perfect fit for. They happen after I’ve worked for free, trying to get some great experience and a foot in the door. They happen after I’ve quit working for free, only to find out later someone was hired for that position for realsies. A man, of course. They happen when I absolutely need a job and a paycheck, whatever it is. They happen when I don’t give a flying fuck about a job and a paycheck.
I’ve never considered myself to be change-averse. In fact, I’m usually more than ready to leap into the next new thing for my life. When it comes to Beginnings, though, I’ve had about enough. Job number five is about to become past tense, too. Or at least part time. But if I don’t buckle down and work through the suck, am I flaky? On the other hand, if I don’t jump ship now, am I doomed to a boring, beige, unfulfilled life? Bad days too easily seem like a referendum not only on the job itself, but on all of my life decisions to date
I want a Middle, for heaven’s sake.
And I have one. Even on bad days, or when I drive to work already thinking about leaving it, I have the security and comfort in my gut that I’m coming home to my partner. He’s the one Middle that’s stuck with me. His love, his steadiness, his calmness, his silliness, and especially his hugs, are enough to give me a quiet smile, and remind me things are okay. If I’ve screwed everything else up that day, that week, in the past five years—I chose him, and that’s about the most important thing I could have done right.
Over these last few months, I’ve been falling more in love with him. It’s not the butterflies of a new relationship. It’s the butterbeer of comfort, security, and rightness with the world. Fuck engagement as a Beginning. We might just be starting to plan a wedding, but we’re smack dab in the middle of something awesome.
Photo by Vivian Chen (APW Sponsor)