It was winter time and I had come down with a stomach bug. I had called out sick because it was really bad. I was dreading going in to work on Tuesday. I knew that Zoe wouldn’t be happy that I had called out. I was paranoid as I walked into the lab. I said hi to Melanie and nervously asked how the previous day went. I knew anytime I called out some of my work may be put onto her, but mostly onto Zoe.
I could already tell the Melanie and Zoe had been upset by me taking the day before off. They weren’t being very friendly with me and were being short. I had nervously ruminated how they had probably talked trash about me the day before. They were working on something together which I remember thinking was weird because they usually didn’t. I was surprised how pissed they seemed. I had been a little shaky about calling out because it was the first time I was doing so but I convinced myself it would be okay. I stressed myself out really badly the first part of the day obsessing about how mad they were at me. Then I felt like such a victim because I had, after all, been sick.
I was freaking out so much to the point I didn’t want to be there anymore. I had the idea that I should take the rest of the day off too. I still was really tired from being so sick and told myself I didn’t want to give it to anyone else either. I trusted this and decided to go tell Mark way back down the hall. There wasn’t much on the checklist for that day and I had already gotten everything done that I would normally do. I didn’t want to go back down the hallway to tell Zoe and Melanie that I was taking the rest of the day off but I decided in case Mark didn’t pass on the message that I should. All I got was coldness, dirty looks, and yeah okays, fines. They were visibly unhappy. They were both in the main lab section for some reason working on something together again. I had assumed Melanie was sucking up to Zoe. She saw how she could look better than me while I had taken the day off and Zoe had a heavy workload. She probably pounced at the opportunity to help her to make herself look good and me bad. There wasn’t even that much going on at the time. Normal stuff that we did every week that made up normal days for both of us. So I was completely unclear to why Melanie and her seemed so stressed out, but I didn’t really ask too much into it because they were being stone cold bitches and I couldn’t take the energy.
I convinced myself I needed the time off for the half-day after going in. If not for my illness or spreading it than to rebuild my energy and stamina to deal with these working relationships that were from all aspects I could see, in shambles. I realize now I should have just stayed because any relaxation that I could commit to at home was quickly taken over with rumination and obsession. What had I done to deserve this? I tried to give myself some love that I so desperately needed, but I didn’t know how to show myself compassion. So I just complained and complained and cried probably and felt scared.
It’s not like I didn’t work my ass off when I was there, I toyed with. I was friends with Melanie on Facebook. I happened to see that she posted a status that said ‘we coined a new term today, it’s #TrashTalkTuesday, happy trash talking! I clicked on the comments, already knowing what was coming.
Someone had asked what was up. She said oh me and my co-worker coined the term today because of something that happened with someone we work with. I automatically assumed that it was about me. There was no other option in my mind. I could tell how upset they were when I was leaving, and who else that we work with would it be about? I was befuddled by their complete lack of patience for me.
It hurt a lot. I had been so scared to tell them that I was going to go home for the rest of the day. I had been so scared that I almost didn’t even go tell them and just let Mark tell them. I went back and forth in my head for at least 10 minutes about it. I finally got up the nerve to tell them that I still wasn’t feeling good enough and didn’t get great reactions, but was happy I had at least communicated that much. I wasn’t ready to be back at work yet. But then having to see this on Facebook that night sucked. Not too many ways to put it rather than sucky. This wound needed healing. I had, after all, given a lot of my heart to both of these girls, but especially Melanie. I always had her back when Zoe was being a cold hard bitch to her. I consoled her. And consoled her about her personal life, always laughed at all her funny stories. Why couldn’t I figure out who really had my back? It was clear that no one did. How could she turn her back on me after calling out sick one time?
Things were weird after that if I remember right. With Melanie specifically. Even though I should have felt betrayed and annoyed I desperately wanted her to show me some attention. She always recorded the temperatures in lab equipment in all the different rooms in the lab in the morning so she’d always come in and write the temperature in the room I was working in and then leave. I’d always love when she’d shoot the shit with me, but then she stopped. Even after seeing that stuff on Facebook I still wanted her to talk to me. But I had to wait patiently on the sidelines until she was at odds with Zoe. It was bullshit.
I went into work one Monday. Melanie came up to me after our weekly meeting, complaining about how she was fed up with Zoe. Who does she think she is? Melanie whined angrily moving her hands all about. I nervously looked around the vast quiet cubicle gathering place with computers 100’s of computers buzzing in the background. T I quietly told her how much I agreed. I always loved it when she confided in me. I told her how on top of that that I didn’t think I could do the job at all anymore. That it was all just too stressful.
I was hungover, and Jay and I had gotten in a huge fight the night before. I told Melanie a little bit about the fight after she was done complaining about Zoe. I was on edge big time as I usually am after drinking a lot, but never was aware of back then.
Melanie had listened for a second and then suggested that we go on a walk during lunchtime or something. I had really appreciated that. It was like I finally had a friend.
As I kept working by myself throughout the morning I was getting more and more stressed by the minute. My mind couldn’t stop thinking about the fight I had had the night before with Jay and reeled about the upcoming agony I was in for with Zoe. I couldn’t reach for a positive thought about anything.
Later, Zoe came into where I was working. I had assumed that Melanie had already told her that I was having a shit day because it seemed like they were always talking about me. Zoe started discussing the fermentation she would be training me on that day and began to try to put a plan together with me for the afternoon. But all I had been thinking about the past hour was how I just wanted to walk out of the job. I didn’t think I was even going to make it until after lunch, let alone spend a whole afternoon with Zoe. I explained how I was feeling to her a little bit even though I agreed to her plan. I said that I didn’t know if I could do the job anymore. I told her how stressful the job was for me, and she almost seemed sympathetic, saying I didn’t want to end up homeless. It was like she finally realized I got stressed too. I can’t help but think now that maybe I acted like I had it together all too much. But she was always criticizing me so I thought that I had to be better and better.
After I was done with the task at hand, I went into where Melanie and this other girl Ainsley were hanging out, to join in on their conversation.
“Yeah” Melanie goes on to say, “it’s just one of those days I guess.” I heard her say and assumed she had been joining me into the conversation.
“Yeah, just one of those days,” I agreed dispirited.
She then started to say, “It’s like my boyfriend. I mean everyone has problems. And when people have problems I just want to say to them, what I say to him, NOBODY CARES!!!”, she exclaimed loudly in my face. Then walked swiftly out of the room with a slight stomp. Where did that come from? Reeled through my mind. After about 20 seconds I attributed it to our morning discussion where she was bitching about Zoe yet again and I was reciprocating.
In an alcohol depressed and anxious state I knew I needed to leave. I was scatter-brained, panicky and insecure. It was obvious everyone there hated me. How could I keep showing my face there day in and day out? Try to remain positive? I felt so defeated. Why had Melanie acted like she cared and then become so cold suddenly? Why had I kept giving her the time of day with her problems? As I thought back on my experience there I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have brought up such a personal thing with Melanie. But she was always talking to me about her personal things. How her biker boyfriend owed her money, how he was really depressed and the list goes on. I always there for her and in a real way that I’m sure Zoe wasn’t capable of. Then I barely even brush the surface of personal and I get, NOBODY CARES!
I left the room to go back and finish cleaning up and she came towards me in the hallway. Maybe it hadn’t been about me. I quickly looked up to check her demeanor. She was still in stomping mode. I gave her a dirty look. But I’m sure it wasn’t a dirty look, merely not overly friendly smile like I normally lent her.
I finished cleaning up and was silently fuming but also really shaky. I walked down to where my boss was having a meeting. I saw him in there with the boss of our R&D section. The door was open. I knocked on the door and said that I needed to talk to him. He asked if it could wait, but Ramona, head of R&D could tell I was upset. I’m sure she had heard how I had been having problems in the lab via Mark and his boss. She looked up at me and started shaking her head back and forth quickly filled with concern in her eyes for me. I was about to tell Mark it could wait, but that gave me the courage to pause. She started to get up saying that they could finish their discussion later and that they were pretty much done. I was immensely relieved.
I had made my mind up, I was not staying in that building a minute longer. I felt like I was about to explode.
I told Mark that I wanted to quit. That I didn’t want to give my notice, I just wanted to be done. He was immediately scattered and asked me if there was anything he could do to keep me on. He also wondered about a two-week notice. I told him how bad I felt, but went on to say how I just couldn’t do it anymore. That it wasn’t even because of Zoe necessarily, it was all just too stressful. This life isn’t for me, I had finished. I need something that suits me better, I had told him.
It felt really bad. I had always been a straight-A student, I had never done anything wrong, really. I had always heard how it is horrible to leave a job with no notice, but here I was doing it. It was the first time I really felt like I had failed.
If I had to describe Zoe now that I have gained some of my self-worth back, it would be a girl who obviously had some issues growing up, she was very insecure. Because why else would she be so awful all the time.
Behind her venomous words and her cocky arrogance is an insecurity that no one can fix for her. She can get her temporary fixes by putting people down, but never any real satisfaction. She is completely unaware of this insecurity in herself. She takes no real responsibility for any of the wrongs she does against people.
I can see her now brushing off this accusation as if it were absolutely nothing. I could see her saying that’s not me almost in an uninterested way with a little bit too much attitude. Conveying that what I was saying had no effect on her whatsoever. And maybe it wouldn’t. Or maybe it’s so true that if she had to admit it to herself she would lose herself completely.
She would lose the sense of self that she had created in her own head over years and years. Her ego would be obliterated. I could see her bringing up every mistake that I had ever made and pointing out what an idiot I was. Of course, she had to act that way, what other choice did she have?
But I guess in truth, what is the difference between her and I? That is, after all, what I am doing to her with each and every word I type, is it not? I’m bringing up all her moral mistakes that she made. More than that I am displaying them in a big and public way. Is that in and of itself morally okay? What is the difference between making my voice heard and being vindictive? Am I just telling myself that writing this is healing to me and maybe to others? But at what point does it simply become rumination or hatred? Parts of it must be stoking my ego, or maybe every word I type is. Maybe behind a cocky arrogance in me are my large insecurities too. Maybe these girls who have been a part of my story have grown and changed exactly like I have just from having known each other. But I am hard on myself and I don’t think that anyone that knows me would say I have a cocky arrogance. I think I am too timid to be arrogant. But maybe this platform gives me that ability to be arrogant.
Behind Melanie’s tough biker girl exterior is a scared little piece of shit. She sporadically mustered up the courage to stand up to Zoe, but it wouldn’t be lasting. She sided with everything Zoe said about me and my shortcomings, even though when she was with me she liked my company. And furthermore, would consistently talk shit about Zoe! I wasn’t powerful enough for her to rely on back then. I didn’t have enough of a backbone yet. If she left Zoe for me so to speak, maybe she would be afraid of who Zoe could con into believing that we were both pieces of shit. Or maybe it was just easier for her to be on Zoe’s good side. I guess I can’t blame her. People like that with no integrity make my blood boil. She is/was a sheep.
But both in their own ways were mirroring to me aspects of my ego that needed to be healed. I also portrayed and carried on sheep-like aspects far into my next lab job the year later until I finally became a wolf(?) which you will continue to see.