I’m all set. I have steamed my suits, shined my shoes and polished my pearls, all in preparation to return to the glorious land of the employed. I have packed my bag, trimmed my hair, buffed my nails to manicured and pedicured perfection so they are glossy. Yes, I’m all set. Outwardly anyway. But inwardly, as the first day draws closer, there’s something I am still yet to prepare for and a familiar, haunting chill has commenced a slow, deliberate ascent up my spine.
…a familiar, haunting chill has commenced a slow, deliberate ascent up my spine…
We have been unemployed for awhile now. So long, in fact, it’s become the unintended norm. Do you recall the journey that brought us here? Of course you do, we recall it well, how can we ever forget.
At first it wasn’t so bad. We thought of our new found unemployment as an unscheduled holiday. We went to the beach, read a few books, hiked through a gully or two (there aren’t any mountains mountains in Barbados) and caught up on all the day time programming. Then, in the early days, we were so hopeful, believing the work intermission would be brief, we would return (to the regularly scheduled program) in just a moment.
Then that hope was tested. We became bored. There’s only so much day-time television programming one can absorb. (Have I mentioned before that Maury and Jerry Springer need to call it quits? Seriously guys, retire.) I recall we started sleeping a lot as a means of escape and some of us fell into the steely grip of snacks, getting pudgy around the middle (but let’s not dwell on this). Then we got discouraged. It was the accumulated bills that tipped us over the edge. And here is when it all went wrong. All of a sudden we discovered the beach was unwelcoming, its waves too rough, the books were disenchanting, somehow the hero was always rich, the gullies you discovered, seemed now to be home to crawly critters you hadn’t noticed before and the TV, well, that had long ago been switched off.
We kept each other going, you and I. I tried to encourage you and more than you know, so often, you encouraged me. (Thank you). But the feelings that come with unemployment can’t be ironed out, dusted away or rubbed off easily, feelings are not like our suits and shoes and pretty 3-tiered necklaces.
With unemployment there are a few things that plague us. Feelings of guilt, doubt, despair, loneliness, confusion, frustration, anger, failure and (while we don’t want to admit it) shame. These don’t just go away. Getting your emotional state back to ‘normal’ is a job all in itself. And this is the source of that wondering chill. This battle of feelings, attempting to return to their original state of virtue, certainty, joy, security, clarity, calm, success and assurance. This fight to return to normalcy, this is the source of my panic.
Will I be myself? Can I do this? Will I be good enough? Will I do well? Am I ready? Are they?
But as I get dressed (my personal dry-rehearsal before the curtain is raised), as I slip into my suit, step into my shoes and fasten my pearls securely around my neck, something else comes over me, like a warm blanket still hot from the dryer and draped over cold shoulders on a cool night. I am at peace.
…something else comes over me, like a warm blanket still hot from the dryer and draped over cold shoulders on a cool night…
I will be fine. And I assure you, you will be fine too. What’s done is done, we leave it behind and as we embrace all that the future has to offer, I am excited. Excited for all of us who’ve endured and come through. And I am excited for those of us still enduring, an end is in sight. I am sure.
I’m all set. I really am. I am ready. So, ready or not world, here I come.