Journal Entry- October 31st, 2015

I am going to keep my head up. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Margaret keeps telling me that. Writing does help me clear my thoughts. I am making so much progress! Still, a lot to release, but at least I realize this. My aim is to be a little more accepting of people. Realize not everyone is out to get me that way I can savor moments a little more. It’s been hard for me to trust people in the past I guess. It’s starting to get easier for me though. I trust Lauren and that’s a big step for me. So, I’m very proud of myself for that. I willing to trust myself a little more. I try to be nice when possible. I feel a lot of fear. I will be willing to release the fear as it comes. I’m not superwoman. I need to breathe, let go and let be. This helps. I want to be more accepting and tolerant of others. Try to not feel sad when I start to feel guilty and like a failure and remember that it is all progress. Find the things that I find joy in. distance myself from negativity. 

Therapy was really starting to help me to get a more positive spin on things. My therapist, the lovely Margaret, had suggested journaling too as another coping mechanism which helped immensely.

At the lab we learned that our boss, Tammy, would be leaving the job. I was both scared and excited. I thought maybe I had a possibility of filling her job once she left.

Tammy was always helpful and respectful and was quirky in a really fun way. I was sad to learn she was leaving. She’d always do things like roll her eyes when she was explaining something trivial we had to do in the lab for standards or she’d be really sarcastic.

Lauren didn’t feel the same way about Tammy as I did. She would always say terrible things about her and it was starting to make me uncomfortable. She’d say how awful Tammy was and how she is only nice on Friday’s. She was happy to see her go. She smirked at the small number of people at her going away pizza party. She said it was pitiful how there weren’t more people there for having worked there for so long.

But I thought Tammy was nice and I was one of those 10 people at her pizza party.  Sure, she didn’t have in-depth conversations with everyone in the building like Lauren, but I always saw her joking around with people. She was always wicked sweet and fun to be around. There wasn’t some big blaring thing that Lauren saw that I didn’t. Lauren had to have some animosity with Tammy for some other reason that she wasn’t keen on revealing.

Work was nice after Tammy left because we fucked off a lot. Lauren would talk about how nice it was not to have Tammy there anymore, and I’d shrug and enjoy the relaxed afternoons.

There were portions of our set-ups in the mornings when we were running our samples, where you set a timer for two minutes while the funnels had to sterilize in UV boxes. While we were waiting for our funnels to sterilize in between every set Lauren would go back to her desk and look at Pinterest and I’d go back to my desk and look at my Pinterest. It was a comfortable swing of things. Nothing too fancy and an easy pace of working.

In the afternoons she would either go out sampling or she’d be chatting with someone in the building or she’d be goofing off at her desk. I’d usually have a nice lunch or walk and goof off a little then enter data or do the cleaning that’d have to be done for the next day. Every now and again Lauren would do it, but not so often.

After a period of time our new boss became Harold and he was too busy to notice where Lauren and I were most of the time. He was always in and out of meetings. Lauren naturally looked down on him anyways, so she felt like we could do whatever we wanted.

One day she told me I should come color with her at her desk when he wasn’t around. We were both into adult coloring books at the time and she had brought a bunch in to color. We colored for a good hour, neither of us counting it as our lunch. She had a little area about 4 feet wide by 3 feet deep for her two desks.

The desks were small, an office color in between mint green and turquoise made from some kind of old laminate. There was one facing to the left and another one facing to the right with a big picture window in the middle of them. The one to the right held her computer and the one to the left was usually, empty except for snacks and stuff. She had a picture of her and her husband at Sedona that I would look at sometimes when I was setting up my samples. It was right at my eyeline and if I turned my head to the left to look out the window to the harbor I would see it.

One day, Lauren asked me if I’d be interested in going to an exercise class at the Y right down the road from work with her.  She told me she had already been with another lady in our building and had really liked it.  We decided to do one of those classes that had the straps hanging from the wall. TRX. It was fun. Lauren was constantly falling in and out of the straps and we were laughing with each other about how weird and hard the class was. It was fun hanging out with her, but I couldn’t help but feel nervous and stressed.

We’d take our time to get back to the lab. We were usually gone over an hour, which, admittedly, did make me a little anxious. But having her with me made me feel like it didn’t really matter. Even if Harold saw us walking in together, or our boss’s boss, it’d be fine because we were together. Lauren had her ways to deal with whoever we encountered that may question us anyways. As far as Harold went, she’d always go and talk to him about his family when we got back or about something  more personal going on in his life that I knew she didn’t really care about. We’d eat lunch quietly at our own separate desks or she’d go off somewhere else in the building, talking to other people, and be gone for another couple hours.

With me, Lauren had started talking about more personal things too, like she did with Harold. But I felt different than the other people she talked to and mocked behind their backs. I felt more important to her and I just instinctively knew that we were closer than some of the other people she’d talk about with me. I felt like her confidant. I knew I was.

She’d tell me about how much she had changed since she had moved from Arizona and how she had to marry a good man to keep her in control. How she used to be addicted to drugs, or how she had found yoga and that had balanced her life.

She continued on with the subject of  anxiety too and she asked me a lot of questions about my last job. Why was it so bad at my last job? Well what caused that? Well why didn’t you do this?

I really wanted her to know how much I struggled with anxiety because I thought it was cool we had it in common. I respected that she was trying to bring balance to her life through yoga and other means because that is what I wanted to do too, but I wished that I had never told her about NDX. It left me feeling exposed because I still felt very much ashamed about it.  She may have sensed my shame because she revealed to me that a similar thing had happened to her at her last job as well. She told me a story about how she was friends with these two girls at her old lab and then one day they just stopped being friends with her. Although her story didn’t necessarily match up with mine, it felt nice to have someone that cared about my experiences and I returned the favor by caring about hers.  I was more vulnerable than I liked to be, but I felt good in allowing myself to have faith and trust in the friendship we were building together.

But it was nerve-racking because sometimes I felt like I had to be who she wanted me to be or she’d get hostile. Nothing crazy like throwing lab equipment around but she’d flip a switch and be cold and sullen and often times sarcastic, in an intimidating way.  It was confusing.

After some time, Peter from down the hall ended up taking Harold’s old position to work in the lab. He was 60 years old, thin with glasses and a white mustache. He usually wore t-shirts with ducks on them or other environmental things. He was nice from what I had gathered and he was excited to be joining the lab and going out in the field less. He had a reserved way about him, hunched when he walked and was easily amused. He had a patient way of talking about lab processes or other environmental topics which made him seem somewhat intelligent and respectable.

I feared he would change the dynamic of everything we had going on and Lauren had thought the same, but she seemed to get him to fall in line pretty quickly. She developed or seemed to maintain, what appeared to me, like a really close friendship with him.

Peter was pretty laid back from what I gathered. I talked to him about his past a little bit and got to know him a little better. He used to work for another lab in the same town we worked in  doing research for them by the sounds of it. During the week. he’d usually have one or two days where he’d go out and sample and be gone for half of the day. I always liked it when he and Lauren were gone so I could work without the fear of being judged. I’d turn the radio on and get along with my business and enjoy my day at my own pace.

By the end of the week, Peter had settled into the matching turquoise desk next to Lauren.   We were all getting along when one day we had to go pick up a couple of work trucks at a local mechanic. Lauren and Peter and I piled into Lauren’s truck and headed down the empty dead end street which ended in our lab. On our way there Lauren started talking about this lady Kayla casually. She was Harold’s boss.

Kayla, I had heard all about already. I saw her every now and again and I knew Lauren really hated her. I had already heard about everything this Kayla lady had ever supposedly done wrong ever in her life.

Kayla was older than me, maybe about 37 if I had to guess. She had one of those bodies that kind of jiggled when she was walking away from you. Not a full shelf, but the beginnings of one. We talked, but Peter was nervous and reluctant to discuss Kayla too much.  Lauren noticed it too and looked at Peter, and referring to me said, “Don’t worry Peter she’s one of the good ones.” Go figure, Peter had been worried to trash talk the head of the department in front of me.

I was sitting in the back seat and putting together what was happening. I was still new at this point so I was taking the opportunity to take in, both their dynamic with each other, and the particular conversation they were having with eachother at this particular moment.

Lauren had said that I was one of the good ones. It made me feel good and proud in a weird way. It made me feel like I belonged.  I felt cool and felt like I had done something right for making her happy.

I was blinded then, but it’s so clear to see now that I had it all wrong.

I didn’t care either way about this Kayla lady. She was perfectly nice from everything I gathered. I actually kind of liked her. She seemed down to earth, but also focused enough on her work to make her higher up in the ranks.

I sat quiet in the back of the truck for the most part and laughed at the parts of the conversation that were funny and then felt relieved when we got to the mechanics and I could enjoy the ride back to the lab on my own. I noticed more and more how much I was abandoning myself and following in other people’s beliefs to feel safe. I felt like an imposter, a judgemental one. One that held all its angst inside and secretly ridiculed the people she chose to hang out with. It didn’t make any sense.


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