At the end of an Austin ice storm. Couped up at home all day, working through VPN, bored to tears. Streets were slick and icy earlier, but the stiff dry wind has made all the ice disappear. Now it’s just bitter cold.
Couped up inside. I need some wind to evaporate the ice keeping me stuck. I’d like a full thaw, some warmth, some heat, those would be nice. Anything to loosen my stasis is welcome.
Walk on by, walk on through, walk to your own and don’t look back, for here I am.
It’s clear to me that my employer does not respect boundaries.
I got a missed call and a missed text from my manager, who sits in another city, saying that he wanted me to call him for our weekly 1:1 meeting, which is usually scheduled for Thursdays. I am on vacation this week and he knows it. You can bet your ass that I’m not going to respond.
He’s jabbing his finger into my lunch tray, asking me if I was going to eat that. I’m taking the time off (as upper management says we’re supposed to do) to “recharge” and “refresh” and “enjoy life”. With this company’s middle management, though, there is no such respect. Just the constant, nagging reminder that my employer demands more and more and more from me and will not be happy enough to leave me alone for 9 days straight.
I feel like my job has killed off all of my creative drive.
Not sure if it’s the job, or if it’s just middle-aged doldrums, or if it’s just physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. Haven’t made music in 3 years, maybe 4. Don’t write anymore. Don’t draw. Don’t even carry my paper journal, and that’s a shame, really. A damnable shame. It’s like my internal life is on mute, muffled under pillows to suffocate and die. Can’t possibly be healthy.
I know I want to write and create. I know I have the time after hours to do so, but where is the motion? Where is the push over the hump? Where’s the Muse to help me overcome the inertia of standing still when all I really want to do after work is rest, think about something else (or nothing at all), and try to recover? I mean, do I really have anything to say that anybody really wants to hear?
So the obvious cure is to write, and draw, and play, and be, like, not dead inside, right? Is that how it works? Can I force it? I dunno. But when I figure out the answer to my impending irrelevance, I’ll let you know, OK?
The good news is that I survived a layoff event.
The bad news is that I work for a company where laying off 7% of the workforce across the board was the winning option.
I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s one of the inevitabilities of corporate life. But it’s been a long, long time since the last layoff event at my company, and any time I see two managers asking a coworker to have a quick word in private, I get the sick sense that I may be next. After having been laid off twice (from my last employer) and after having been fired for various reasons throughout my life, it’s a safe bet that I get a little nervous around that sort of cubicle dialogue.
All this begs me to consider what’s next in my life.
I’m uncomfortable, this season of silence. The stomach acid I carry and hold deep inside wants release, but that would be violent. Emesis is a terrible thing. It is also no thing to let go slow, or the damage creeps up the esophagus, burns holes, damage to self. Hold it down, keep it in, swallow hard and hope that pressure relieves on its own. That is my life. If I told you every little thing that was wrong, I would damage myself. If I told you no thing, I would damage you. Sorry for the distance. Every day is every heart attack is every struggle, but I still walk, against all odds.
I miss you, my readers, my lovers. I miss you, my robots, my crawlers. But silence mutes me now. The important stuff goes on paper, and this is not my paper. I hope you understand.