Getting There To Look Back

Today was my first day of work. At my first job.

I suppose I haven’t mentioned this – about a week ago a man whom I shall call Mr. Lewis (his face reminds me of the character ‘Lewis’ in the USA Network show ‘Suits’:

 Strides into the self-storage office where the notorious Heather Madame works and asks if she happens to have any friends looking for a part-time job. I’ll save you an unusually long blog post (though this is me we’re talking about) and say simply one thing led to another and here I am – well, there I was. Sitting behind a large desk in a comfy leather chair staring at furniture catalogs and studying for an exam on Wednesday.

Me and Heather Madame woke up early today to grab breakfast at The Cafe before going to the storage office for hot chocolate while I waited for Mr. Lewis to arrive and for my first day of work to begin. I feel as though I should go into the conversation between me and Heather as we sat in the back room of the office, sipping our hot chocolate and sitting semicomfortably on the metal fold-out chairs around a table covered in various documents and writing utensils. We talked about how she was doing after her panic attack and the stress she has been under. I want to talk about that here, but here’s the thing: during the conversation, I did something I have never done before – my mind flicked to my blog, and I contemplated taking mental notes on the conversation to report back here.

Can I say simply, I feel like a dirtbag because of that?

After we spoke, she had to take measurements of something in a unit to report back to Carlisle (her fiance, whose father owns the self-storage business) so I whipped out my flatiron and went to work on my hair and make-up while she went about some business or other.

Mr. Lewis appeared about ten minutes early and I went on over to the furniture store where I know work – I’ll call it The Gallery. He trained me for an hour or so and then left with his son (an adorable tough-guy 5-year old with spikey blonde hair and intense blue eyes – he reminds me of a pale, young Taylor Lautner with his strong browbones and simple nose), leaving me to watch the store and try not to burn the place down while I was at it.

All I remember of those long hours, at least very clearly, is the pacing pack and forth from one end of the store to the next, memorizing prices and reciting the discount protocol for the on-floor items. The pointed heels of my shoes clicked and echoed in the empty air around me, sometimes accompanied by my mumbling of mnemonic devices. It was a rather lonely day, very few people came in which, according to everyone who has been in the store, including the woman working next door, is very unusual. The person who stayed the longest was said woman, who owns the shop to the left of The Gallery. An older woman, with grey hair and kind eyes. I was so desperate for human contact by the time she came in that I followed her everywhere and commented on everything she said. Me and Heather spoke on the phone and, since I forgot to bring any lunch, she snuck me over a few pieces of jerky and I drank a Gatorade from the minifridge by Mr. Lewis’ desk. Batwoman would not be pleased if she knew I wasn’t eating protein every three hours, but there was little I could do at that point. I remember two hours before closing I was pacing the floor (again…) thinking of how bored I was, I studied for two hours, talked to Heather until she left for home, memorized the prices on every sofa, loveseat, dining table and headboard in sight. Now what was there to do but pace and think of how I had done all there was to do? I wanted to go home and sleep and, for goodness sake, eat something besides another mint from a bowl on the clearance 7-piece dinette set.

I then resisted the urge to slap myself across the face.

Ever since I turned 16 last year I had been trying to get a job. Any job. I only got 4 job interviews from hundreds of applications filled out up until the wee small hours and in any form possible. And there I was, walking around on my first day of work thinking about how much I wanted to go home?

I won’t deny that this didn’t completely erase my boredom and want for edible materials, but it did make me feel immensely grateful for where I was, and silenced the petty complaints that had started coming to the surface of my thoughts.

Tuesday The Candywoman wants me to return for another day of babysitting (I had been a nanny for her two kids:

Andrew

And

Madison

It’s money. Goodness I hate that I really think that, but that is the main reason I’m going to babysit for The Candywoman one last time. I know I want to help her, I saw her heart breaking as she shut down her business (she had a chocolate shop in the same building as ‘The Muffinwoman’, who owns The Cafe me and Heather Madame run over to whenever we have the time and extra money), but blame greed for being my main motivator for this upcoming babysitting stint. I hope money doesn’t rule my life, my thoughts, my motivation always. When I’m a forensic psychiatrist some 15 years in the future, I’ll be making around 500$ an hour – no money fears there. I just hope I don’t always think so much of money. When we lived in the mobile home, I remember the feeling of worry and tension always, will we be able to live here another month? Do we have enough for food tonight? Is everything going to be okay? Money offers security, safety, certainty. I hate the struggle for money, the need for it for security and a comfortable life.

Money can’t buy happiness, it just buys the roof over your head, the food that keeps you alive, and the clothing that keeps you warm and socially accepted.

On the 20th of next month me and mom are going over to Baylor University for a tour – if I set my sites on Baylor, this means letting go of my original dream of going to UTPA (University of Texas Pan-American) but I think as far as motives go, I’m on the right one with this. After me and mom’s grand showdown I thought about exactly why I really wanted to go to UTPA. The answer is childish and juvenile and I thought I would be above it. I wanted to go because my mom didn’t want me to.

For so long my mom had been pressuring me to go to a college close to home, or somewhere where they wouldn’t mind moving closer to me. UTPA is next door to Mexico and not in the area where my mom would be most comfy. Also, they have a grand doctoral program and the students have a high acceptance rate into medical schools. After the fight, I looked at why I really wanted to go to UTPA. I realized that, when I’m finally on my own, I want to be on my own. My brother is 19 and has no plans whatsoever for any education or job or serious career path, comfy cozy hanging back at home. I have such big dreams, big ambitions, and I want that to be a new chapter in my life, a chapter that doesn’t include my old life dropping in every weekend to tell me how difficult and unlikely it will be for me to accomplish any of it.  I flipped through the Texas College Guide (there is no shot on this earth I’m going to college anywhere but in Texas…ya’ll) a few more times when Baylor caught my eye. The more I looked into it, the more I liked what I saw. Even the location (which is closer to *cue heavenly music* McKinney) is fantastic. It’s also about two hours away from my mom. I want to go to Baylor, whatever comes with it comes with it (mom hates hour-long drives anyway.)

As much time as I spend contemplating other people’s perception of me, I also spend worrying about regretting my choices. When I’m old and grey will I hate myself for doing what I’m doing? For what I’m going to do? I know regrets are impossible to avoid, but I want to do the right thing, with the right intent. So if it goes south I can know my heart was right.

Ten minutes ’till midnight. Goodnight.

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

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5 thoughts on “Getting There To Look Back

  1. You will always remember your first job! And it will always turn out to be the best one you ever had.

    Life is about taking risks. Use your instincts. If it feels right, it probably is. Go to college, pursue your dream. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t. I regret dropping out of college. Too busy trying to enjoy life instead of enjoying it while learning. Go for it.

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