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  • Writer's picturemayte lisbeth

work in progress.

If I had forgotten how many feelings I could feel in a short amount of time, this week would have reminded me. Monday alone would have reminded me.

I don't live my life for an adrenaline rush. Have I done some risky shit in the past? Oh absolutely. Am I set up for that daily? No. I can't swim so the idea of being dropped in an ocean is entirely metaphorical and I understood it in that sense when I started this job. And I know I'm not supposed to admit it. Even when people tell you that it's okay. It doesn't change what kind of society we are in. I am not supposed to admit that I am overwhelmed especially in a corporate environment. As a Black Woman, I'm really not supposed to admit it. But I am admitting it because it's true. Also true? I won't be overwhelmed forever. And honestly, I wasn't. Not like Monday at least.

I came to work on Tuesday, energized. Because while Monday was a complete mystery, Tuesday wasn't. I already had one day under my belt already. It's kind of how I got through that first day.

Reminding myself I already accomplished an hour even though I was overwhelmed. Reminding myself I already accomplished a couple of hours even thought I was overwhelmed. Reminding myself how I remembered things on Tuesday that I had learned on Monday even thought I was overwhelmed.

You know what makes me feel super confident? Retaining information. Also red lipstick. But mostly retaining information. For someone with an admittedly bad memory, remembering names or a process or a system reminds me that for a moment in time, I was fully present. Present enough somewhere to form a memory and then use that memory to create another experience. In this scenario, the experiences are professional but I navigate my personal life similarly.

When I read, when I taste something new or if I find myself somewhere new, I want to be there so fully that I don't have time to crumble to anxiety. To take in my surroundings and assess them in the moment as my anxiety does too. It doesn't do me well to ignore my anxiety. Sometimes I just need a little bit more space to feel safe. Is anxiety fun? No. There are other ways I would choose to spend my time however, it's hard to be upset that my default setting is to protect myself always.

Wednesday I realized that people will tell you to come to them for help but they don't necessarily specify what that help might be. Which leaves you with a lot of people and nothing to really talk about. But I try not to rush or force my curiosity before it's ready. Which can make for some seemingly awkward pauses. I say seemingly because silence doesn't bother me. If it did, I don't think I could live alone. It's quiet a lot around these parts. I've been able to learn my own pacing to such an extent that while I can feel someone's urgency, I do my best to not be swayed by it to my detriment.

Still, I understand that people need a lot out of you even when they're giving to you. And I also know there's always a question you can ask. At least one. I have a few good ol' faithful questions that never steer me wrong. I'll ask people what is something they've learned recently, how they've structure their time. I'll ask about resources. Things I can go back and reference later, things that will help me develop questions. I ask about their questions, the answers they got and how they felt about their answers. Then I listen. I listen to them. No matter how old I get, I will always be drawn to a story. I will always be grateful for the people who tell me stories.

I found some more peace towards the end of the week. Something to note about me: I am committed to not learning things the hard way. I do not like cruelty or painful lessons. I learn best in other ways. The hard way for me? Usually refers to isolation. Feeling like an imposter or feeling uncomfortable can often make me withdraw and I'll find myself alone. As if alone will always make me safe. How do I combat that? I very intentionally seek out people. I put coffee chats on the calendar with people who are on my team. I will not thrive solely in isolation. I thrive in community. (Please note: I can say this after being in such an intimate relationship with my anxiety and depression for the last 15 years. Also a deep commitment to therapy. Get to know yourself, boos.)

So that was my peace. Believing my colleagues when they told me they were there for me. Not delaying it. Connection, even at work, is a muscle I work on. I've never been more grateful for that exercise. Without it, I wouldn't have met quite as many amazing people this week.

I'm still slightly awkward on a zoom call. Hopefully that gets better.

Drink some water. Wear a mask.


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