I spent ten minutes today crying in the loos at work. Before that I sooked at my desk, stomped and slammed everything within reach, and swore both to and at my boss. I am ashamed, in quite large degree, of every last one of these acts. This behaviour is, I am even more embarrassed to say, not that unusual for me, my workplace, or me in my workplace.
I admit that I am quite a temperamental soul and have such a short fuse that many people don’t even realise that it is possible for me to be in good humour. These are failings and I am aware of them. I am also aware that I do not always behave myself and certainly fail, with great frequency, to behave myself properly. In short, I do know where the line is but I have a hell of a time staying on the right side of it.
I don’t know why I think this is relevant. I always tell people how crap I am at things and how I don’t mean to be as awful as I am and then they pat me on the head and tell me it’s not so bad and besides, I entertain them and that makes it all good. But, you know, it’s not and it doesn’t. It might be funny, you might laugh and I might laugh, but often it’s just as tragic as it is humorous. There’s that dark edge and it’s always there for me and sometimes I slip into it when you least expect it. Sometimes, of course, the little things pile up and conspire to push me over. This is how I felt today. How I feel now.
I feel like I am punished, am being punished, for doing things well. My reward for working hard is being given a choice non-choice – the particular speciality of my boss and of mothers anywhere – where one does something one way or does it another but has no way of getting out of it altogether. Here’s my choice, either I work every day of every week until 9pm or I and my colleagues work a rotating roster to do a shift that is almost totally unnecessary and is, merely, the cheaper option.
I am so sick of working nights. You’ve no idea. Three and a half years of shifts that finish at eight or nine or ten. Most of that time spent with me manipulated into working until ten and then having to get public transport home, most of the time alone, without help, without backup, without anyone giving a damn and with people expecting me to work miracles. And just when I finally thought it was over, when I might be left on my crappy 8pm finish shift – which I’ve also had more than enough of – they manipulate me into working later. I don’t want to. I really don’t want to. I’ve had enough. I do not need the pressure or the stress or the ridiculous responsibility of it. I do not want it either. And yet, you know, choice non-choice – either I do it all the time or I do it some of the time.
And so I spent the day crying. I’ve reached the point where I’ve had enough with just about anything that I feel like I’m about to totally meltdown. I doubt everything, I’m paranoid, I feel unloved, uninvolved, like everyone hates me, thinks I’m an idiot, secretly despises my weak character, and a million other horrible and probably untrue things. Still, they must have some kind of validity if I am feeling them now and I am feeling them now.
When I wasn’t crying I worked every bit as hard as I usually do because I simply cannot stop myself. My reward for this is, if course, punishment. If things continue this way than I shall develop a complex about being punished for working hard and maybe I’ll even stop doing so and will become one of those people whose working lives are smooth and calm and who get what they want by simply not doing anything. I don’t know how that works either.
This was only my second day back at work after a holiday. I’m already exhausted and emotionally overwrought and my eyes hurt – they feel like they’re going to burst – which freaks me out for a whole lot of reasons that I am going to find out all about on Sunday.
I told you to stop reading. Please don’t bother telling me that I have the right of refusal – allow me to know my situation and the conniving of my boss far better than you – or tell me that it’s not so bad, that it’ll be okay or any of those trite phrases that sound so damn hollow because they are quite meaningless. Right now, it is that bad. I’m massively unhappy with things and, judging by their behaviour, things are massively unhappy with me.