For the hundredth time, it seems like, I started a new blog.
I have had so many of these throughout the years. All the way back to Livejournal, which was such a pandora's box of truth, lies, hilariousness, hurt, coming-of-age and coming to terms with life's many disappointments.
I also started a couple of "anonymous" blogs in attempt to turn my random musings into the next big thing. No such luck, it seems, as with everything else, I quickly lost interest when my heart began to hurt again and I lost interest in making anything of myself.
So here I am again, anonymous as can be expected, I suppose. Though I also suppose that if anyone wanted to figure out my identity, it wouldn't be too difficult. I am okay with that, since I can't hide major details of my life if I am to find catharsis in writing in this blog.
I have been told many times over that I am a gifted writer, and I think I believe this to be true. I enjoy writing a good piece and re-reading over it and feeling a sense of pride that I was able to make sense of the frenzied mess of thoughts that resides in my mind at any given moment. It also helps me to re-read things a few days, weeks, or years later to gain perspective. The problem is, when I do re-read things…I always know when I was lying. Take for example the moleskine diary I keep in my nightstand. All lies. Terrified that someone will find it and read it, it only houses the mundane "I think I have everything in my life figured out" or "I think I am going to join the peace corps" bullshit that you think people want to hear. So, you see, even in my "private" diary, I am still putting on a show for others.
And this is what I do. I am dishonest to a fault sometimes. Not in a lying about important things type of way, but just in a sense that, I am only ever saying and doing what I think people want to hear. I don't want to frighten people with my dark thoughts, I don't want them to worry about my instability, and I sure as hell don't want them telling me I need to see a psychiatrist. I am capable of acknowledging these truths for myself and yet, do I do anything about them? Hardly.
The major thing that is stressing me out in my life right now is my job. I am a waitress in a small but well-known eatery that serves organic and locally sourced food, has very high volume, and in turn, very high stress. I am stressed out by just about every part of this job except for the fact that I honestly believe in what I am doing, I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the owners, I stand by the product I serve and, lets face it, I make a lot of money. It's almost too good to be true, but it's not without a high price.
I started waiting tabls at 15 when babysitting didn't cut the mustard anymore. I just couldn't bring myself to change any more dirty diapers, and my favorite kid was getting too old to need a babysitter anyway. So I thought I'd pick up waitressing. Temporarily. Fast forward 11 years, 9 restaurants, 2 bars and more shitty tips than I care to count and I am still doing this. I never knew I would be good at it, as a matter of fact in the beginning I was probably a world-record contender for World's Worst Waitress. I would take 15 trips to and from the kitchen for every individual straw or side of ranch, instead of consolidating my trips, and I greeted each table as though they were my executioners. Somehow, all of that changed and I now work at a joint which is finicky as hell about who they hire, where every bad Yelp review could be your demise, or any missed detail can cost you a prime shift or section. I have managed to avoid disaster for the most part, but it's still very difficult to uphold the impossible standards set by the owners and management.
As I stated before, I respect and admire the owners of the restaurant. However, with such high stakes and their entire lifes' savings on the line, they lose their cool sometimes, and frankly I don't blame them. The nature of the beast is that Chef can cuss out every person in the kitchen, yell at you two inches from your face, and stomp and scream and bang pots and pans, and 20 minutes later, he is joking around with you. The other owner shows up periodically to practice his own unique brand of OCD which tends to be counterproductive on extremely busy shifts, such as a Sunday brunch when you are painfully short staffed and on a 2 hour wait at the door.
I used to love this job. On my first day of work, I met the man I hope to spend the rest of my life with. I never intended it to end up this way, but after about a month of conspicuous flirting, we went on a date to the zoo and the rest is history. I swore up and down to never date a coworker again (yes, again), especially given the rampant gossipy nature of the restaurant industry, but there was no denying this relationship. And now, I cannot imagine my life without him. We have had our ups and downs, one major down in fact which I may write about at a later time, and there were times when I wanted to run away from home and never see his face again. But now, he is literally the only thing that makes me happy, most days. Thinking about our future together is what meager motivation I can scrape up in the mornings. He is aware of my depression and my issues, and still stands by me. However I know that if I don't learn to control my emotions, lighten up and calm down, I may lose him forever.
Back to the restaurant. The camaraderie is fickle, at best. Although the staff is incredibly small and close-knit, there is constant bashing and bickering behind people's backs. Again, nothing new to me personally, but this is one of those oddball cases where, you take the high-stress environment, add the chaos of the business, and multiply it by a lot of very capable but very opinionated and strong-minded people, well, you get a lot of problems.
I have a lot of problems with one fellow server in particular. We did not get along at all, I emphasize…AT ALL…in the beginning. We were hired around the same time and when I realized we weren't going to be bosom buddies, I just did my best to stay out of her way. Months into the job, however, she decided she wanted to be the official mouthpiece of the restaurant. She began to be more friendly toward me, and we became happy hour regulars together. I grew to trust her and confide in her things that I thought she could shed some light on, being that she is 11 years my senior. We became a lot closer than my original gut instinct would have liked, and now, would you believe it, she hates my guts. I don't know what I did to her but she will literally roll her eyes in my face when I speak, bad mouth me while I'm within earshot, and harrumph her way around anything I try to say or do. She is a bully. On top if it, thanks to her cult of personality, she has the whole restaurant following her lead and laughing at the jokes at my expense. I'm not being paranoid…I've really seen and heard it happen.
I am 26 years old and I have been through a lot. I don't know why this particulat creature is so deep under my skin, but basically, it's where she wants to be. My solutions to dealing with her have run the gambit from standing up for mysef (LOL…never going to happen!) to just ignoring her until it goes away. Neither tactic seems to have yielded many results.
So aside from this one coworker (I'm sure there will be more coverage of her heinous behavior in the future), the stress my bosses put on me, and the need for cash, there is one other part of the business that keeps me up at night. I feel like I'm constantly on display, and it's true, I am. The regulars are what keep the lights on, and they all know me by name. I hate feeling like every move I make is being analyzed but that's exactly what happens here. I can only imagine how celebrities deal with it. I used to want to be famous, true story. I would have loved to be an actress or at least a reality TV socialite at any other point in my life…until I worked at this restaurant. Every syllable I speak is scrutinized for undertones of arrogance, abruptness, or audacity. It completely wrecks my nerves.
I obsessively check Yelp reviews to make sure I haven't gotten a negative nod because, as I said, that's your ticket out. I keep thinking one day I will read one that says something, along the lines of this:
"Our waitress (my name) had chipped nail polish and looked like she hadn't slept in weeks. She spoke too fast, probably she was doing lines of coke in the bathroom, because that's what all waitresses do. She's probably also a high school dropout and an unwed mother, because all waitresses fit that description too. There is absolutely no chance that she hasn't slept because she is writing term papers and studying for finals, she can't afford a manicure because she just had to pay a $400 hospital bill, or that she just naturally talks fast because she is truly excited to be recommending an entree. You should fire her. She is a disgrace."
One day, that exact review will probably turn up. Why? Because my negativity has created it, already, it is in someone's mind, waiting to be made public.
I am trying so damn hard to think positively. I hear so many accolades about the power of positive thinking. Unfortunately, I like to be prepared. I would rather assume the worst, because, after 26 years of being let down by people I trusted…what other choice do I have? My negativity is a fortress. It is preventing me from being hurt by others…but it ultimately just hurts me. I know this, but I can't do a damn thing about it. Not today anyway.
I know what you're thinking. Quit your job. Easier said than done, because…
a) I make good money, better than I have at anything else besides bartending, and that sucked becauseI can't stand being up until 5 am eating Taco Bell and watching reruns of Entourage. This is what happens when last call is at 2, you don't stop drinking yourself until 3, it takes until 4 to clean up and close up, and the only thing to do is hit the drive-thru (yup, drinking and driving…score!).
b) I truly believe in the restaurant I work at. As a matter of fact, I care too much. I volunteered to be the designated trainer, because I have experience in that field, and I am aspiring to be a teacher in my, eventual, life after restaurants. I tried to fix the training program, and got shit on by Miss Bossy (aforementioned problematic coworker) and never asked to train another new hire again. I care too much about the small details that go wrong in a shift and when I try to make my concerns known, literally no one cares.
c) I don't graduate until sometime late 2012-ish…we're talking about 9 years working toward a Bachelor's degree…in English. And oh, what a lucrative bunch of career possibilities I have awaiting me after I receive that diploma!
I don't want to leave my job, no matter how hard it hurts me sometimes. I hate to say this but the only thing I even want anymore is a little acknowledgment for my efforts. Someone to appreciate me. But, such is life and I know especially one day if I am a teacher…I need to get over this sense of entitlement to being given a damn about.