Thoughts from the Other Side of the Desk

I’m scared. After only four hours at work, I could see how I could very easily become lazy and let myself get sucked into thinking I don’t have the time, energy or brain power to write anymore. And I didn’t even write anything at work today.

I dealt with a building pass that no longer worked – and the typical paperwork required to get one that would. I had to get my head around being given a desk in the centre of the office rush, which isn’t particularly conducive to strategic analysis and policy writing. I tried to figure out when someone would bring me a computer and hook up my phone. That still remains a mystery. I unpacked boxes of things I haven’t needed in 15 months, and threw most of it away. I read a partial report and went to a twenty minute meeting.

I felt broken at the end of those four hours. I must have spoken to more people in that time than I usually see in a week.

Expect exhaustion, I had been told. Take it easy. Breathe. Remember to pause before you reply to anyone.

And yet despite the warnings and advice (which I heeded), I could still imagine allowing myself to become lazy. To stop writing. To whither.

But here I am, at 8:45 pm, writing. Because I need to. My brain is partially switched off, the music and voices in the house are distracting and I may not be making any sense. But I am writing anyway.

I don’t want to loose myself.

And I don’t mean to suggest that today was all bad. It wasn’t. It was really lovely to see some very dear friends. And it was interesting to be back in a work environment, observing it from my new perspective.

There were the stereotypical faceless public servants, lumbering along with their lunch boxes and coffee cups, and those standing around outside smoking. I saw amused and relaxed security officials. I saw overzealous analysts. Harried managers.

I saw shadows of who I used to be.

I watched them all from a place removed. A place I hope I can protect.

I managed to stop myself from over-promising and over-delivering several times. I set aside work that didn’t need to be done immediately when I felt overwhelmed. I was clear and frank and explained my concerns without mincing words. I set and defended my boundaries. And I remembered to breathe.

That all sounds positive, and it is.

But the fear is there, too. And I guess that can be positive as well. If I use it to remind myself not loose everything I have learned and built this year. To remember that I am so much more than the “work” me.

I am amazed when I think of how far I have come. I remember all those stress leave status updates, all the posts about how my writing was helping me relax, adjust and get to know my inner demons. And that leads me to think about all the other posts, the ones that have taken over in the past months. The fiction, the writing exercises, the poetry. Really, everything I have written here has in some way been about exploring the inner me, the voice that was silenced for 20 years. I am so thankful to have this place to continue to explore and grow.

And that is also why I am writing tonight. Because every WordPress notification I got today provided a brief relief and brought me back to this place. Momentary reminders of the real me and the community I have found here. I thought that needed acknowledging. So thank you all for being around.

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13 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Other Side of the Desk

  1. I’m so glad you are here too, and glad you have this space to return to. I remember my first week, sitting in an all day meeting daydreaming, thinking “I don’t care anything about this marketing cr*p!” it’s such a shock at first, going from what you love to a back-to-business metality. You survived day 1—it will get better–hugs! xxx

    • Thanks for being there, Robin! That’s exactly how I felt: Why am I here when I don’t care about any of this!? But life is so much better than it was before and I have all you wonderful people and my writing to keep me going now. Hugs to you xo

  2. I’m so grateful that you were hanging out in my spaces this morning as it led me right over to yours. I’ve been traveling this week and have missed most of my friends’ posts. Bummer.

    This was beautifully written all the way around and have already printed it to serve as my gentle reminder. This the phrase the really struck me: “I felt broken at the end of those four hours. I must have spoken to more people in that time than I usually see in a week.”

    I hear you, sister! You sound like an introvert like me. I work in a space and live in a house FULL of extroverts. Even though I love people, the constant interaction, phone calls, teleconferences, meetings, conferences…is draining!

    As so many of your kind friends have said, practice self-compassion and keep that pen moving. You’re an amazing woman! xo

    • I am so touched that you printed out my mind-numbed ramblings – and that they struck a chord with you. I am indeed an introvert, though most people who’ve met me have trouble believing that. I can be happy and social and bubbly but then I just want to go home and hide under a blanket with a book. It is, as you say, draining. I’m glad you understand. And I’m glad to have so many kind and lovely friends here – like you! – who are hugely supportive and make every tough day a bit better. xo

      • I’m chuckling! My co-workers are always surprised to find out that I consider myself an introvert, too. They can NEVER get me to go out with them after conference meetings and it takes quite a bit of chocolate to coax me to dinner after hours. Tee! Hee! I’m so glad to have found a kindred sister 🙂

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