Working was never a choice, it was a must.
Everyone in my family worked because they had to. Life was not just going to give itself to us, we were not the privileged kind. My dad forever worked his body to the ground as well did my mom. She had to start from scratch at a very late start in her life. So it made it extra hard, but her determination to provide latched itself onto my mind set. My dad always traveled for work, as well did his brothers, so working far was just common place. In my mind, there was no excuse for not driving to work, because work was work and we needed to eat.
When I lived with my mom, she pushed me to never stay in the same spot. College was not my path, so work it was and I was okay with that. I did not want my mom to work 24/7 just to support me, I wanted to be the one to support her. My mind set was I NEED to provide for my family without fail, and I would work hard no matter what. Never did I think that work would beat me down as much as it did. Years before I always had this creativity growing in me and I was always able to create. Then I soon found out the reason to why adults walk around with this zombie like vibe.
Just a year later of working at this mad house it had already broken me. Thirty minutes of just pure miles to get to work, never mind if there was rain, traffic, some random idiot that figured they were the only ones on the road. Everyday, I wake up feeling more tired then the day before. I found myself begging my body to please stand up, please wake up, please just try! One more day to fight, one more night to cry. As months past, it just seemed like I was working for a strip club rather than an office. The owners would undress us with their eyes, ask you to do simple tasks that they could do themselves but just preferred to watch you do it. They would randomly show up next to you, like you were not allowed personal space.
It finally got to me.
After work, I would swing into the nearest gas station and buy my first pack of cigarettes. I remember when I first lit it, not knowing what to expect, finished the first in a matter of minutes. I did not choke on the smoke, I just breathed it in. Not feeling any affects I lit another. Finally, My arms grew numb as I felt the nicotine take effect. My mind cleared as it became slightly dizzy; I lost myself in the nicotine. The stresses of having to watch my back all day just lifted away. Thirty minutes of miles later I would come home calmer, and at peace. Still, I hoped and prayed no one could smell my secret.
There were the mornings I would wake up late in a panic, crying and cussing I would speed passed everyone in only hopes of making it on time. I could not bear the sight of the Boss seeing me walk in late. It was like the walk of shame of a one night stand, like there was no excuse for this. It was bad enough I was doing the work of eight people, I could not be late! The work load was too great and too many good people depended on me being present. Everyday it got harder and harder, but every day I would think to myself that you are working for your future. You are pressing hard to better the lives of you family. So everyday I would wake up and do it again.
Smoking became an every time I drove home habit, and there was no stopping me. A few times I would smoke too much and I would get really sick, I wanted to throw up because I had an empty stomach from no lunch break at work, and every time I closed my eyes it just made it worse. During these days Garu was working at a new job to help provide, but it made him work away from me at days at a time. It was making our working lives even harder. The less I saw him, the less I felt. I was numb, my skin was thicker, and my mind never wandered. I would just space out into nothing, just darkness.
I never wanted to leave this job without a back up, so I searched and searched for nothing less then what I knew was my worth. So many interviews! I cannot remember how many, for what companies, all I remember was wanting out of this job! I had no standards for another job, just that it be anything but a restaurant. So many times was I confronted by men who would demean me right in the interview! I was so infuriated that I took the time, lied my way to get time off of my job to deal with the likes of you! Eventually I gave up, thinking I guess it’s God’s will I stay here. For now anyways.
I took a break from job hunting and stay for another year. Another year of little to no lunch breaks, working 9 -10 hour shifts with no food. Cigarettes that burned my stress away, skin that hardened to keep me safe. Eyes that saw nothing and said nothing. My mind felt like it just left me, eventually I began to believe what the owner told me. “You are not paid to think.” So I was just a numb being, getting paid to do whatever I was told. It was a rut I could not escape.
Garu, bless him, stayed with me through these years. Always letting the tears fall freely, always asking questions, and clearly wanting to beat the living pulp out of my Boss. There was no way around it, my family suffered from my rage, depression, and all the anxiety that I gathered from this job. My mom would wake me from dreams I would be screaming in, she would walk me back to bed after I wandered around from sleep walking. People never will ever understand my rage or my journey, but It’s not for them to understand nor judge. It was for my growth and advancement in MY life. It was the choices I made that help me get through this, but it was my faith that kept me going. Faith that there was a better ending then what I was living.
I would not stay here, and I would personally make sure of it.
*To be continued*