all the goodbyes and soon to be hellos

I hate goodbyes.  Like so much.  There are pretty obvious reasons for that, but I just sort of never quite understand why things have to change.  It’s the stubborn six year old inside me.  Like–we like each other–we’ll miss each other.  Why are we doing this again?

I’m a pretty sentimental creature.  I love nostalgia and indulge in it often.  The past is always in the back of my throat.  At the same time, though, I am just as much committed to perpetual forward motion.  And because of both of these things, it can really be hard for me to be in the moment–to be present–simply because I tend to really examine my life while also constantly striving for change.  Oddly, the two things? They actually go hand in hand, for me.  I am always seeking evolution and forward motion, which means–to me–that I need to learn what isn’t/wasn’t ideal about past experiences.  I don’t know if that’s an INFP thing or not.  It may just be a me thing.  But it is related to my values and my passions.

So, while I hate change, I am also always seeking it out.  Which means goodbyes are happening to me all the time, and I hate them.  The problem is that goodbyes often trigger my PTSD.  Mostly because I have abandonment issues because a lot of my PTSD is related to people abruptly leaving me–not by choice.  So when change happens, and it requires lots of goodbyes, well–it throws me into a tizzy.  I can lose my way a bit. I can feel forgotten and devalued.  I think this past week has been a good example of that.

But I usually get over it, and I usually use whatever change that happens in my life to catapult me into something more.  Depending on what the change is–it may look like I’m licking my wounds.  It may take me a while to figure out where to go–what to do–especially if that change is unexpected.  Mostly because I’m dealing with ghosts along with the realities of that change.

Since my mother died, I’ve been on a real journey.  I haven’t just been living my life.  I mean–I have and I haven’t.  The year before my mother got sick, I was the happiest I’d ever been.  I had an okay job I usually didn’t hate.  I finished up a 3rd Bachelor’s degree and was thinking about grad school.  I was engaged to what I thought was the love of my life–some miracle I never saw coming.  My Mama and I were feeling our way into me being an actual adult.  I’d done a lot of traveling.  I was feeling okay in my body.  And while I had a lot to work through related to my undiagnosed PTSD and my father’s death, I felt pretty supported in that.

And then the bottom blew out.  And in a year, everything was completely different again.  And I was alone.  I adopted a cat.  And I finally left Westwood.  Something I had tried to do for years and years and years.  I got rid of most of my life in Westwood, too.  The furniture.  Even my clothes.  I started over, in every sense of the word.  But I realized there were lots of things holding me down.  Lots and lots of things.  And after watching my amazing mother suffer ridiculously for two months–never getting to that place I wanted for her–I wasn’t going to die that way.

I wasn’t going to repeat history.  So I started walking towards a big goal: Happy.  Or maybe not even happy so much as Vulnerable and Awake.

And boyhow, did I get clobbered.  I started going for things.  But I also ran into all the shit that I did to keep me stuck.  And it’s an ongoing journey/battle to keep my heart open, my eyes wide, and forgive myself and others for all the fuck-ups.

I think, if we’re honest, we’re all on this journey.  My journey is a little more uphill.  I have a lot of shit to work through.  A lot of shit to unlearn.  And I’ve discovered–because of how I learned to cope–the past is an important teacher.  Like a textbook, but with moving pictures.

So, that’s my value.  To be fierce about vulnerability.  Fiercely devoted to figuring out my truth.  To call myself out, but then forgive myself–deep into my bones.  It’s really not an easy thing.  So, as much as I hate goodbyes, I find myself embracing them.  Because this is why I’m here.

###

This week, I learned I get to say goodbye to my wisdom teeth.  I have to find an oral surgeon.  I think I have two good options, but the ones referred to me by my dentist are either out of network–or they have reviews about cursing practitioners punching a patient.  Yea, no.  (California, you have some interesting doctors).  Thankfully, these people seem non-violent and are closer, too.  We’ll see how long it takes to set-up an appointment.

I’m in actual pain, so I’m eager to fix that pain–but also super terrified of the whole wrenching of bone off of my face thing.  I’m not great with constant pain.  It helps to know everything about it, but sometimes it’s too much.

This, of course, is complicated by the fact that I have no idea what my day-to-day is going to look like over the next few weeks.  I’m helping out a huge entertainment company with the IT folks down in Texas over the next couple of weeks, till my next–and actual–client launches.  I’ve barely met the team for this short-term gig, but they seem super cool and it all feels doable…cake, even.  So much less work than what I’m used to doing.  It’ll be a nice break for me.

I don’t even think we have our team hired for my new client, and I’m supposed to help interview and select the newbs.  Our internal recruiters do a rock-star job and the company is very picky about who it hires, so I know we’ll have amazing people.  So lots of hellos are coming.  I’m excited about that.

And I am flattered that I was chosen.  That I will be a leader without being a manager–which I don’t want.  I know I’ll be successful.  The next two weeks gives me time to psych myself up and organize myself.  After 2 years with the same client, my laptop is a crazy mess.  So, this is a great opportunity to spring clean and start over.

Oh, and I’m also working on my performance review for my next raise this week (which is a huge deal)–AND I am finishing up my training to be a West coast trainer.  I start that on 3/20.  That brings me a lot of joy because a) I have a degree in it; b) TEACHING!; c) I get to meet all the new hires; and d) I get to use my experiences to help others.  I’m training a series on how to handle hiring managers.  I’m so excited about this.

When I’m in a high change mode, I tend to change many things–and one of those things–just because of the health and dental challenges I’ve had–is self-care.  This new start represents a reset.  I can now structure my day better to meet my needs.  Give myself more time, figure things out.  So, I’m going to be changing how I eat soon, and I’ve already started new self-care routines related to mornings and bedtime.  (I’ll share soon).

So, LOTS of change.  But good change.  And I’m so grateful to work for a company that helps me do what I want to do.  I mentioned, when I joined, that I wanted to help with training one day–so it’s very cool that I’m now able to do that.  And I also get to write and be creative and start service organizations in my organization.

But there were those pesky goodbyes.

Because of how shit went down this week, and because of all the other shit going down this week, my week was pretty horrendous.  I had appointments and trainings and things due.  And I had people on my calendar and a backlog.  And then all these things were canceled (which is more BS).  And on and on and on.  So Friday was like the worst day ever.  I worked 17 hours that day.  And then I worked some more yesterday, and I didn’t even finish.  I have three things to do on Monday.  The good news is they’re not urgent things, and I am not going anywhere, so it’s not a hard stop.  And I am still helping wrap up some stuff that our client kinda messed up.  So, that means I have to handle it because some things shouldn’t be transferred.  And one of our partners doesn’t know I’m leaving because she had a death–so we get to tell her next week.

I sent emails to every single person I’d worked with, except her, making sure they knew about the change and letting them know I’d miss them and enjoyed my time and that I’m okay–it’s not bad–I promise.  I got such sweet emails back.  You rarely get those kinds of emails.  One of our more difficult people said I was her rock and that she’ll be lost without me.

We had a quick team huddle on Friday, too, and it was basically my team just telling me how much they love me.  One person in particular said she’s in shock and was in tears.  I let them know there’s always Facebook, and I’m still just a call away to listen to any rants that need to happen.  I let my candidates know, and all of them said such nice things.  I’ve connected with them on LinkedIn and promised to stay in touch.

It’s easier leaving knowing I’m leaving these people in the best hands.  That these lovely ladies care and do an amazing job.  I have no worries there.

I was struck yesterday by a few things.  Wow…these people love me.  Wow…I was actually seen.  All those times when I wondered if people knew how hard I worked–how much I cared–they did.  Wow–I’ve changed.

###

Since coming out to California, I’ve felt alone a lot.  Work has been my lifeline, and I’ve been on this perpetual journey to not be a hermit–to not isolate–to find my tribe.

Two years ago, I was fed up with my client–who I had a lot of problems with to begin with–as I was a disgruntled customer when I agreed to help my favorite former boss on what was sure to be a tough project.  It was and I stayed a year.  Then he was promoted and I didn’t agree with the way the account was managed.  I had been disgruntled for a while, but I loved my old boss–he was like my big brother–so I stayed.  But I knew he’d be okay with me leaving.  So I started looking.  A random Twitter connection from a chat I used to participate in had mentioned all the time how much she loved her company.  And it was an RPO.  I remembered it–that I’d look into it if I was ever looking.  So, I did.  I put in my app and kept looking.  A week later, I was interviewing and had an offer that Friday.  The manager who interviewed me asked me if I had a problem with XYZ because, while she had lots of clients needing people like me, she felt this particular client fit my background and fit what I was looking for (low volume, high touch, people-oriented).  I loved her and the team and the company, but when I found out this was the potential client–my immediate feeling was NO.  Like hard stop, fucking no.

But I liked her so much–trusted her immediately–felt this bond–and decided–you know what–I will think about it.  I talked with my roommate.  I examined my heart.  I asked myself–what do you really believe?  And I realized I actually could do that.  So I said yes, and two weeks later, I joined.  And I loved them from the moment I got my laptop.  Loved how all the people gave a shit.  Loved my team.  Loved how talented and thoughtful every single person was.  Loved how I could breathe and be myself.  Loved that the CEO emailed me all the time.

It’s silly, and I usually eyeroll, but I found my work home.  I even ended up liking my client…even with its faults and how much it personally challenged me.  I loved the Southern ladies who were my partners.  I loved our chats about camping trips and grandbabies.  I loved how they actually asked me how I was and wanted to know.  I loved that my candidates were mostly military men who told me bad ass stories.  I loved how I could make actual dreams come true by doing my job and how I actually helped people start their careers too.

And the people I worked with every day, each and every one of them, are like family–particularly this current team.  We have seen people come and go.  We’ve had two babies arrive and one in a very precarious way.  We have become sisters.  Truly.  So, while I was looking everywhere for family, oddly–I found it here…without looking.  So, it’s bittersweet to leave.  But I am grateful that it’s this bittersweet.

Each job–each client–changes you–just as each thing that happens in life changes you.  I feel like I’ve become much more open-minded and much more passionate about service in the time I’ve been here–whether it’s serving my client or having a co-worker’s back.  It’s easier to give a shit and follow through now.

The next few weeks will be a rollercoaster, but I’m sure I’ll be texting my fellow redhead and sending her pictures of the all the desserts I’ll eat over the next who knows how long.

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