It wasns’t exactly a vacation persay, but it’s as close to a vacation as I’ve taken in years. I actually took some time off for myself……. kinda.
OK, let’s just start at the beginning, shall we?
I have worked two jobs throughout this entire COVID situation. While one of the jobs is from home, and is a bit more relaxed in my duties, the other has been essential retail this whole time. Some weeks I was working 40 hours on top of my at-home job training, but more recently I’ve been down to around 25 on top of the 40 I’m now working from home and in office. Basically, I’ve been running myself ragged while getting screamed at by entitled dickwads who think that somehow I’m the one who decided they need to wear a mask in my store.
The last few weeks have been especially rough for me. I was transferred to a new store, my anxiety skyrocketted, my insomnia came back, I stopped working out, started drinking a ridiculous amout (well, for me anyway), and was eating like absolute crap. I haven’t been able to concentrate or create, have had zero drive, and even caught myself snapping at Bowser Kitten.
He was pretty pissed about that part, too.
I could feel a breakdown of epic proportions coming on. I haven’t even had a relatively minor one since moving into my own place, save for the few hours once after my birthday when I got really weepy and wine drunk. Back when I was living at Castle DumpsterFire, my breakdowns were quite regular due to the bizarre living situation I was in. I would have had 3 or 4 breakdowns in the last 5 1/2 months, and twice as many epic screaming matches with The X. But here? I’m not about to put myself through the torture I was under there, let alone all by myself.
So, I did the unthinkable: I took time off from my booze job. Five shifts totally 32 hours, to be exact. I go back tomorrow night, after not being there since the first of the month. I still have my day job (which is a contract position, so I’m not about to take a week off from that, especially so close to possible renewal time), so I wasn’t about to go taking a week-long road trip anywhere. But I did do a few things for myself.
- Now that restrictions are lifted and members of my family are getting COVID tested when they’re not well, I went to my parents’ place for a BBQ. We busted out the old NES, let dad mess around and clean it out (30 years of gunk was nasty!), and took turns playing Super Mario 3.
- I took a day to go wandering downtown looking for my buddy Strength. He had been doing so good the weeks before this, and then he kinda hit a wall. I didn’t end up finding him, but I did do my old “talking to random people and accidentally walking 15km” routine I miss so much.
- I went and got a little tattoo. Ok, it’s not exactly little. I spent 5 1/2 hours laying on my side to get a big owl perched on a log with the Black Lodge symbol in it’s eyeball. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons because it would warp my fragile little mind, but Twin Peaks was perfectly fine for a 10 year old. Let’s just say it made a big impression.
- With my new Saturday shifts always being at 7am now, I was able to sleep in a little bit and make it out to the farmer’s market a few blocks form here. Sure, I only bought some peppers and a bunch of popcorn. But now that I know the layout, I can go back on a Saturday when maybe I start a bit late (or just take a day off, which I will need so badly). I went a bit later in the morning, so most of the stuff I wanted was gone. But now that I know what’s there, I have no problem getting up early on a rare Saturday morning off to pick up 9 different types of mushrooms and a few tubs of flavoured popcorn.
- For funsies………… I went to my old store. I was just going to show the bestie my tattoo, and instead wound up staying a few hours. I got to catch up with some old coworkers, hang out the beautiful security man, buy a bunch of wine… you know, just girly things.
- I took one entire day to just go with the flow. I slept in a bit, scrubbed the entire apartment (it’s not that big, so it doesn’t take too long), meal prepped for a few days, did like 5 mini workouts, restarted Umbrella Academy……… you know, just girly things.
- I had a breakthought on Saturday afternoon, and started seeing myself and my life in a different light (as cryptic and strange as that may sound).
I know it’s not the crazy excitement some people want from their time off. I didn’t jet off to another country, or take a road trip north, or go out throwing axes (only because that place is still closed). But I did some things that I needed done in my damn soul.
I took some time for myself, without deadlines or screaming customers or 8 hours in a damn facemask. I looked at what all these long hours and 7 day work weeks are doing to my brain and my self-worth. I looked at the type of people I have been inviting into my life, versus the ones who came in organically who I want to stay in my life.
The X always had some reason why we needed to keep in touch, why we needed to be friends. There was always an errand, or a book he found in his things, or I was the only person he could trust. If I didn’t answer my phone when he called, he would call 7 more times until I finally picked up. This week off, I finally got the clarity of mind to see through the last of his bullshit and just block his number.
With my mind clear and my confidence high, I began to look at people and see them for who they really are. I had a strange mix of people telling me their secrets and letting their true selves show. Some people I couldn’t get away from fast enough, others I was captivated and wanted to hear more, one I just wanted to hug. I was finally able to see what trash needed to be gone, and who I need more of in my life.
Somehow all of this made those stupid online dating apps better. Before, I would swipe left on 99% of profiles. “He works out too much, he’d never like me. He likes to travel, he’d never like me. He’s too young, he’d never like me.” It was never about what I liked, but always about what my stupid brain was telling me they wouldn’t like about me. Even that changed after everything I saw and felt on Saturday (twas a messed up day full of random encounters and someone else’s breakdown, btw).
Mostly, though, I got to have a real weekend. I could make plans (even though most things I wanted to do were closed), I could sleep in, I could watch Netflix and bake and drink and write and doodle and just be. And as much as I am a workaholic, as much as I thrive on my 60+ hour work weeks, I need more than a few hours here and there to myself. I need a weekend sometimes, I need a plan, I need a chance to cleanse my aura and sit in the moonlight in my damn lace nightgown and just burn incencse and stare at the stars.
Maybe what I really need is a change. Like a major, earth-shattering, mind-blowing change. Maybe I need to start setting some wheels in motion, get a few things lined up, start looking at both my long-term and short-term existence. And maybe I need to finally finish watch Altered Carbon.