Thursday, March 20, 2008

What kind of umbrella would take care of this kind of rain?

Part of me thought this adventure in being an employee again would be a bit of a gas. I could earn a regular salary, do a job I knew I could do, enjoy the security of benefits, chat with colleagues, and then at the end of the day poke fun at the corporate weirdness that so many people put up with every day. 
But I'm having a problem this week -- I'm at the end of week seven of this endeavour -- and I don't know what to do about it.
What would you do if you woke up in the morning feeling a little off, maybe a little flat, then you got ready for work as usual, but then as you were putting on boots, and hunting for tokens, you started having tears, and getting all choked up? 
What I did was figure, no big deal: I'm having a bad day. Some mornings are harder than others, that's all. Some mornings leaving my son is extra hard, and some mornings, like the one I had a few days ago, simply leaving is extra hard. It happens; no big deal.  
Everybody feels this way every now and again. So I compose myself, wash my face, get my good-bye kisses, and go. I run down the stairs, pause to stuff the tears back in with a hankie, then zip over to the bus stop and have a short chat with the little group of fellow commuters. Usually on those slightly tougher mornings, by then I feel better.
Not always, it turns out. I kept getting choked up. Tears just fall out. But again, smartened myself up, told myself nobody's looking at me, and after all it's cold, so a red nose isn't so noticeable. I got on the bus, and thought, I'm okay. But then my mind went to where I was going -- to sit at my desk in close quarters to my twentysomething colleague, who doesn't turn her head when I come in and typically grunts in response to my hello/good morning. But really, she's not that bad; I don't seriously think I'm weeping on the bus because a colleague isn't a morning person. And I like my work. All this is going through my mind. I take a deep breath. And tears just fall; my glasses are splattered. I can tell I'm going to start sobbing.
I have to get off the bus. I can't stand there balling for krissakes on the bus. I feel foolish, and decide I have to get a) some air, and b) some privacy ASAP. So I do. Then walk home. On the way home I decide I'll just take an aspirin, eat some breakfast and wait til the big dark cloud passes.
Anyway, it pretty much worked. My husband, as usual, was supportive and sympathetic. My son, as usual, adorable in his jammies. Oh, I know I'm also stressed because my son is sick again; it's stressful for every parent. I went to the office in the afternoon, and it was mostly fine. I got choked up again once or twice at my desk, but this time, I was able to stuff it back down, and nobody was looking at me anyway.
Not sure what the problem is. It could very well be menopause, or peri-menopause, which is what you call it when saying menopause makes you feel too much like a granny. If you google the symptoms, you'll find that every odd annoyance -- and every normal annoyance -- a woman can feel can be attributed to peri/meno. It could be just that I am the fragile flower I so strenuously long not to be.
This copious-tears-before-work thing doesn't typically happen in my freelance life. Probably because going in to the office is not every day, and you get a psychological rest from the grind, and you remain one removed from the politics and the hierarchy, and you don't feel like you're owned, and you don't feel trapped. You do, sometimes though, feel like an outsider, second-class citizen, and one late cheque away or one prolonged illness away from disaster.
My plan: I'm hoping to haul my bike out next week. I'm in need of those exercise endorphins. They could be the umbrella I'm looking for here.

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