Friday, June 29, 2012

Wake up

I probably shouldn't be bearing my soul so much over this publicly shared, search engine-locatable blog.

But I guess I've arrived at the point of no return, where I no longer mind whether or not I come across as some pristine creature with no problems (how people often present themselves publically) or a real, living, breathing, well-adjusted and sometimes dysfunctional human being (how people really are, but are afraid to show publically). So here it goes...

It's taken two weeks for me to realize how very fragile a person I am. For so long I thought I could handle anything. The stress of a commute, nothing. The pressure of work, child's play. The limited free time, no skin off my back.

I was so wrong.

When I was in the office today, one of my coworkers brought a little girl to hang around and see all the goings on in Media Relations. She showed her the bowl of candy that my boss keeps in his office and walked her into the kitchen and the various offices of company heads and employees to introduce the little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl to everyone. She probably got even more candy from individual offices.

It sounds stupid, but I couldn't help but envy her.

Despite the comfortable pattern I settle into once I'm at my internship, being a "working girl" for the past couple of weeks has taken a toll on me in so many ways.

The most significant way, though, is in the amount of time I've sacrificed that I used to devote to being a better, happier person.

I wake up at 6 am. I leave home at 7 am. I'm not off the freeways until 9 am. Sometimes I'm slightly late to work. I go home at 5 pm. On a good day I make it back at 6:45 pm. Sometimes I don't make it back until 7:15 pm. I would be lying if I said I wasn't going crazy in my car.

It's impossible for me to comprehend how so many people assume this position as a commuting employee indefinitely. Because I have eight weeks at this job, I'm still on a honeymoon period that has me excited to learn new things at work every day.

If I wasn't an intern, I don't know that I could handle the pressure.

My mom used to commute into work every day from Orange County to Los Angeles. She'd take the train or brave the traffic. She left home at 4 am.

In two weeks I've nearly cried more than once. I've become a nervous wreck driving into the office. As the clock strikes 9 while I'm still in the car, I get so anxious that I can feel my heart rising and falling, constricting my chest and making it hard to breathe. I drive in circles around the parking structure, feeling like I'm in a neverending maze that will have me plunging into the dark depths of my overworked thoughts.

Call me melodramatic, but there's something odd about waking up in the morning and feeling refreshed enough to hop out of bed, but debilitated enough by the waning desire for a lethargic drive to lie under the covers staring at the ceiling for a few extra minutes.

Watching the little girl walk through the office today and thinking about my mom, I couldn't help but consider how much closer in maturity I was to one of them and not the other. My mom may have complained a lot about her work. She may have had a difficult time commuting and taking care of a young daughter. She may have been more stressed than any other careerwoman I've ever met. But she had a better handle of things than I do - in that she never questioned it.

Sometimes when I wake up, I concoct stories in my head to excuse myself from work. During this school year, I once considered not going to my work study job because I could hear the wind whistling loudly against my window and I didn't feel like waking up and walking through it.

Now, though I've never honestly considered skipping work at my first real internship, I have woken up to little thoughts about the weather or my health or whatever else could get me off the hook. Anything that could give me a reasonable explanation for neglecting responsibility is always the first thought on my mind at 6 am.

On my drive sometimes, I consider what my options would be if I felt so ill that I couldn't continue on my commute. Would any family members or friends offer to pick me up if I ended up needing to get off the 10 and park in West Covina? Would a few hours' rest be all that I need to renew myself in preparation for returning to work?

And right now I'm so tired that I can't seem to consider anything but getting rid of this responsibility, this blog.

Priorities come in different shapes. All my life, it's come in the shape of a pacifier. I need to be placated by reality to allow myself to complete tasks. If there's not something to ease the burden, then I consider neglecting my responsibilities.

But in the past two weeks and the coming six, I will have no pacifier. Nothing will make this commute easier, or my hours of free time more plentiful. It's just up to me to man-up (adult-up?) and figure out what it means to be grown-up. I can't believe it's taken me so long.

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