When I was in college one of my three part-time jobs was at a bar. Cocktail waitress. It was loud and crowded. Smoky and a bit shabby…more than once I was groped by drunk patrons (gross, I know). I worked there because I could make enough $$ that I only had to work two shifts a week. Easy. There was entertainment on the nights I worked (I mean, besides me and my hilarious lack of math skills trying to make change). Once a night, Chief, the guitarist / singer would play “Amie” and I would walk around the bar with his giant tip bucket collecting tips from everyone. It was a weird job. I wasn’t even old enough to drink. My other part-time jobs were at a toy store (yes, it was wicked fun) and work-study at the college (boring, but tax free). That’s how it was. A retail job, a waitress job and work study. I also worked at a shady delicatessen (paychecks frequently bounced), Kroger, The Loop, a Mexican restaurant (serious health violations, I had to quit when the stress of possibly poisoning families gave me hives), delivered prescriptions to a retirement home (sad), and a fancy schmancy restaurant on the river (where I clearly did NOT belong and was treated like crap). Two things I learned: working more than one job is hard and I am a terrible waitress. Like, the worst. Ever.
Working with the public (huge crowds in touristy Savannah) was a major drain. I lost fifty pounds my junior year running around trying to make it to class and work and somehow my 20 year old brain thought I needed a puppy in addition to all my other responsibilities. As I look back on it now it seems mad. I knew after I graduated that I would never work that hard for so little (money) ever again. And, thankfully, I haven’t.
I still work hard, though. My work pattern is very specific, I guess you could say I’m a “details” person. I’m in my own head most of the time. It’s alright in there (up there? in here??). Which brings me to what I really want to say: I understand that people (some people) need to categorize others. We’re so threatened by the differences between us: “She doesn’t want kids, they’re gay, she’s got two baby daddies, that one’s REALLY into JESUS…weird, defective, wrong, lazy…blah blah blah”.
Yes, I’m generalizing but I know from experience that it feels pretty crappy to be placed in a box, labeled and sat up on a shelf somewhere or buried down into obscurity, if you prefer. We are not who/what people decide we are. We are what we say and do and feel…we ourselves decide what we are..or aren’t. Let the assholes be who they are and we’ll be who we are. I actually have an incredible amount of empathy for them…the egotistical…self- absorbed, narcissistic…souls, because I believe all those traits derive from some kind of pain. The pain of feeling unworthy, invisible, unloved, ashamed…
Yeah I know…nobody gets a pass for being a jerk, Aimee. But accepting that someone is a “jerk” is simpler than wasting energy on said jerk because you can’t know what other people have gone through or are struggling with. You cannot make people “act right”. You don’t live in their head and you really can’t know what they think.
I posted a picture of me with this post (since deleted) because it makes me uncomfortable (hence the deletion)… because posting a selfie means you are a vain, insecure, self-absorbed jerk. You can put me in that “box” if you like. Your choice. I know who I am and that’s all that matters. I am not what other people decide I am and neither are you. Who am I? I’m a “nobody”, and how you treat a “nobody” will tell you who YOU are.
WE ARE ALL MAKING MISTAKES. I saw that on pinterest or somewhere recently…it was scribbled in crayon or colored pencil or something. Being different and being a
good great person are not mutually exclusive.