It’s not in your head.

Hello, and welcome to 2018.

Not a great deal has happened so far because I’ve been struck down with the flu for the past two weeks, but that’s okay, I can deal with that.

After writing and re-reading my end of year blog, it made me realise that I have been bottling up an awful lot, which is probably doing little to help my low moods. As I’ve been so much less social over the last year, not only do you not get the chance to talk things through with people, but it doesn’t really allow space in your mind for anything other than the gloom. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of friends who are always happy to listen, but it gets to a stage where you just don’t want to burden them anymore.

I’ve been making more of an effort to talk to Joe about things. I’ve been completely honest each time we’ve spoken, because I need at least one person to understand the frustration I feel. This has proven to be very helpful, and I’m sad I didn’t open up to him in this way sooner. Not only has the weight eased slightly, but it’s also helped me gain some perspective by allowing him to have his say on the situation.

One of the biggest issues I’ve had over the past few years has been to do with employment (or lack thereof.) My past few jobs haven’t resulted in very good things happening. Either I haven’t been suited to the job, I haven’t enjoyed the job, or the employers have just made things difficult in one way or another. I’ve always considered myself to be a person with a good work ethic. I’m working class to the core, I know the drill and I’ve never felt hard done by because I have to go to work. However, while sitting at home alone wit my musings, it dawned on me one day that the one common denominator in all of these situations has been me. I need to accept responsibility and accountability for that, whether or not any of it has been directly my fault, I have been there and need to accept my share of the blame.

For the last few months I have been beating myself up about not being able to make any of my last few jobs work, so I made this the subject of conversation with one of my talks with Joe, and while I still have to accept there may be things I could have done differently, he has shifted my perspective on the matter quite drastically. And my god, did I need to hear what he said.

‘You’ve been worn down. It’s not all in your head, you’ve fallen victim to some horrible people over the years, it’s no wonder you feel the way you do.’

And suddenly, I felt a little better. Less paranoid, less angry at myself. Because it’s true. I didn’t choose to be bullied out of my job at the beauty company, someone made me their target and thrived on belittling me. I didn’t choose to be fired from the home accessories company, they’d misunderstood me at interview and expected too much in too short space a time. I didn’t choose to be born female meaning management at the big supermarket head office didn’t feel as comfortable without their preferred male counterpart.

Add to this the redundancies and the subsequent court cases and that makes for some colourful work history. It’s all happened, I’m pretty sure most people go their whole lives without encountering half the shit I have. (Apart from sexism.)

It’s not all in my head, and it isn’t ALL me. If someone else told me the stories I have, I wouldn’t blame them for feeling so lost, I’d commend them for keeping at it for so long, but you know, it’s conceited to be too self-celebratory so we repackage it with doubt and self-loathing – and self blame.

I really hope that I can go back to work this year, but I’m not going to take any old thing that comes along. I’m tired of being the one who has to prove herself constantly, I know what I can and can’t do, now it’s up to them to prove why they deserve to have me work for them. Work is tough, it’s inevitable, and something we’re all likely to be doing until we drop, so I’m no longer willing to compromise or put up with other people’s shitty behaviour. You reap what you sow, so if you bully. belittle or try to undermine me in any way, I’ll walk.

 

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camerasandkitties

Self-Conscious Photographer and Crazy Cat Lady from Birmingham, UK.

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