In & Out of Season

I hate saying goodbye to an old thing before I am ready to. But when does one really know when such a time is right? Don’t get me wrong I can arguably state facts from past relationships, partnerships, kinship and or life situations where it was very clear that it was time to pack my bags and carry on but in some instances it’s not so clear; such as now.

Engaging in conversation with a friend from work the other day I realized that a particular season in my life has become one in which it is time to initiate a clean break. And had I not had that conversation with this individual would I have really nailed the last pass in the tennis match that has going on in my head for some time now? Probably not! And same goes for a lot of things still waiting on the sidelines for me to wake up and smell the roses about, which by the way we are leaving white! Not pink not green and for heaven’s sake, surely not aquamarine and as for the Queen, well “off with HER head” thank you very much seeing as I am the Ruler of this here Land!

But back to the matter at hand…should I stay or should I go now, should I stay or should I go? And I know the answer is yes. It reminds me of a time when I asked God (or the Universe or Powers that be if that’s your preference) to take me out of a relationship that was wrecking havoc on my emotional state and it took me over a year to actually be silent (very hard for me to do especially those who know me) and THEN listen (which I usually do like most of us and put my own twist on) before 8,000 days later I figured out the formula to; (Did I mention I HATE waiting for anything? I put the stove on full blast just so that my food can go from 20 minute prep time to 10 minute prep time…fidgets at the doctor’s office when it is 5 minutes past my appointment time (and end up STILL waiting in the dam office for another 20 minutes)…etc, etc, etc.) which, however, after much wasted time I admitted was in my back pocket the entire duration as I blamed the person in my relationship for not letting go. How were they supposed to know I was praying for them to GET OUT of my life? I guess I should have told God to forward the request….pause…dial tone, or rather told them myself but like most things I procrastinated. I tried to do the research that would back up levels of excuses as to how we could still be friends or it was me and not him. Surely it was ME, I’d moved on, had a change of heart, had a change of life compass and I was screaming to get out of a mold I put myself in and latched up and pretended I threw away the key. But with all due respect it was HIM too; he’d chosen to stay the same and make little or no efforts in the direction I wanted to go. Attempt after exhausted attempts to try and offer him where I wanted to go at this point in my life after he was seemingly interested in that very thing. Not his fault I suppose, so why was I hanging on?

Possibly because I wanted to be the bigger person, whatever that means, but honestly I didn’t’ want to be the bad guy. I wanted to do things the “right” way and well let’s face it that’s bullshit! What is right is what’s good for me…sorry Charlie! Yeah there is a way to break ties cordially but hell if you out grow the shoe then toss that bad boy aside and let the light shine through with them new kicks. Don’t keep showing up for the same part if you want to grow (yeah you did a stellar rendition of Lady Macbeth but don’t let it define you as the only thing on your resume), Let someone else get a shot at their happiness; clearly he’s not for you so why deprive some other young lady her knight in shining armor, Lord knows you’re not about the life he’s trying to offer. And at the end of the day when  I finally “let it go” in Princess Elsa’s words I was not only relieved but I didn’t feel all these extra emotions, stresses, considerations for others, feelings of being stuck or just plain restricted from my freedom. I was my own woman again ready to explore new people, new relationships with men who had similar life path interests (marriage, children, life companionship, the want/need to engage in intellectual conversations and not just have sex! – Yes I put my business out there but this is about being transparent ya’ll…I’m not here to fake you out. I’m awesome because I’m me in all my flawed glory, not because I show up with life cookies coated in sugar! – I take that back, maybe with a few sprinkles here and there, definitely some nuts but surely just enough truth to get your head out of the clouds)

So life is scary and the decisions that we make will either haunt us or open us up to new possibilities. I love Stephen King but a chapter can only go on for so long and I want my life book to be everything it could possibly be. I don’t know if it will be on the best sellers list and I’m unsure if it is Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prize worthy or even if it will be received by the people…who are they anyways, lol! But I am sure the vast majority will have an opinion and that is all I can ask for as I sit vigorously typing away in my two bedroom apartment in Cicero, IL. My journey is not over and if I can at the very least keep you entertained and ensure that my book does not become a coaster or a door jamb or even a book end for your more well-loved books but a conversation piece then I feel that my legacy would have been generously fulfilled.

So I tell you, don’t be boring; be the human being that others talk about, whether it is good or bad, happy or sad. We are composed of layers and levels and without them we become stuffy and stay stagnant. It took me a long time to come into my own (31 years to be exact) and I am still learning and evolving. I have always been looking for what I want without a clue but living (my experiences) I’ve learned something far more important which is what I don’t want and I don’t want to be in season or out of Season (one or the other) I want to be In & Out of Season all at the same time, an oxymoron if you will. I’ve been known to be considered a “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly” or a favorite of mine “the wisest fool” but for that I am the crayon not yet discovered, I am the act that you can and at times can’t predict, I am the cure not yet discovered, and I will always be a dialect not quite understood through the common confines of a misguided youth or corrupt society.

In my travels through the work force I have encountered the worst possible destination and here I am still standing. I was a slave to my profession and I was treated as such. I thought it was a good thing because I would show up, stand out, go above and beyond, clock in and never clock out, pristine employee with great manners, no write-ups and 5 star customer commentaries but it wasn’t enough. I was bullied into the same category as the non workers, the half ass-ers, my disrespectful coworkers and ungrateful brats that adorned our schedule regularly forced to be a team player. I stayed and I took it because that’s what I thought I should do…my mother taught me that you needed your job; it was your livelihood a means to an end (here’s your ticket ma’am destination unknown). I had seniority by the time that it got really bad and then I became a manager (worst experience for this company and decision I think I ever had the pleasure of making, work wise, as an adult). By that time thoughts of leaving were out of the question. I was making 33,000 a year (which breaks down to about $16 an hour) and who was going to pay me that much starting out? I was comfortable. My bills were getting taken care of for the most part but anything less would put me in a whole other situation. Not to mention the part-time I took on to do just that!

Of course I had some positive support from fellow managers that watched me grow but I was heartbroken. I didn’t know how to break free from the chains. I was physically sick and I didn’t recognize who I was any longer. I was working 14 hour shifts with 2 girls on my staff that had school and needed two days off a week by law. I was a distorted version of the vibrant young worker ready to start her work career head on. Again I was praying to God and not listening or keeping silent to hear them be answered. I was too sleep deprived to hear and the thoughts running through my head were too fast and ferocious for me to stop and take note (I lived with my mother and barely saw her, I ate once a day and on my days off I did nothing but sleep) I was not a pleasant person to be around.  I can’t remember if the answer was in my back pocket the whole time like my other situation but I was a dead horse who was taking a beating. When I finally realized what I had to do without any remorse God used one of my supporters. A fellow manager called me and heard my desperate cries and she told me “God only gives you what you can handle, and once things start getting uncomfortable it’s his way of telling you that it’s time to go.” All I needed was to hear the words out loud. I made the necessary arrangements and a month or two after that I was gone!

We think that every single thing we do will make or break us. And yes its true but where are our sources? It used to be that you NEEDED a college degree to be somebody in this world and I’m here to tell you that 7 years later my degree hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I graduated when the economy crashed and my teachers told me in so many words “too bad you’re graduating when it will be nearly impossible to find a job in the Interior Design field”… $43,000 in student loans and infinite debt later, “THANKS! FOR NOTHING” I say to all those nay sayers about those not wanting to go to college. My sister just graduated a year or two ago and she wasn’t “placed” in a job regarding her field. Countless others are not in their field of study either and yes that’s due to a lot of reasons (those are just mine) but come on, do you know how many self made people there are out there? Hell for that I could have saved my life from debt and just made bank on my looks, style, class, good manners, awesome work ethic, brilliance, life acquired/pre-12th grade intellect and talent alone! Instead I am here struggling to make ends meet (by the way even if they did meet they are so gosh darn frayed I don’t think I stand a legitimate chance at recovery if I tried).

All that to say the time is now…I’ve recounted times (and there are many more where they came from) when I dismissed the opportunity to explore new things and broaden my horizons, not regrets but life lessons that I hope you won’t make or at least continue to make in your own journey because you suffer, like I have, from a condition called fear or are brain washed by what society deems necessary for your survival. If you know me well you know I hate when I get the hiccups, they are annoying and they hurt like hell so I try not to eat too fast or do anything else that triggers those pesky little bodily displeasures. On the flip side having the hiccups is a small thing and sometimes has a short time span compared to the situations we allow ourselves to stay stuck in day after day year after year. So let’s wise up and unlike the seasons we’ve been tackling here in Illinois these last few years define what our lives are going to look like from this moment forward. The thing I miss most about Chicago is our ability to have definitive seasons (4 to be exact) and by all means take what’s good out of one season and bring it over to another just don’t sit in winter your whole Summer and let it consume you or let Fall discourage you of letting go of the Summer so that you may enjoy the time for transition. Let’s start trusting our instincts (ourselves) again and see where that takes us for a change. I can guarantee we’ve tried what everyone else thinks is best for us for far too long.

Your assignment: Get to know you this week and what season you’re in and let me know who and what you find!

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