yours, tiramisu

this week has been, without a doubt, one of the weeks of my life

(here's your recommend listening as you make your way through this double post. life sucks but nina sure doesn't, thank god)

Work has been stressful this week, but not for the usual reasons. Since most of my team traveled to a conference this week, they left me a list of tasks to do with decent instructions. And what do you know, on the rare occasion they actually spell out what I'm supposed to do and how to do it, I can do exactly what I'm told to do!

No, work has been awful because my boss has suddenly taken an interest in my expense reports. I don't know if it's because the last trip was a company-wide one or because our company isn't doing so hot financially this year, but he's sniffing through my receipts with a fine-toothed comb and finding lots of things he doesn't like. Today he called to chew me out for what he called my "questionable judgment"1 in buying a breakfast when they'd catered food for us2. I knew it was kind of unfair, as I've never really had an issue doing the same sort of stuff before (and neither have my coworkers), nor did I spend that much money. I had to bite my tongue when he told me he'd be taking the money out of my next paycheck to keep from making any snarky remarks. It's not worth it, I told myself as I apologized to him and seethed silently. It's not like I can do anything about it that won't end up hurting me anyway, so I protest the only way I know how, by skipping every company event I can wriggle my way out of (happy hours, Christmas dinners) and giving him nothing to work with when he asks about my weekend3.

yours, tiramisú

I went to my third therapy session this week. It's going okay, I guess. My therapist is nice and sympathizes with me, and the sessions feel like they end too soon. But I don't feel like I'm getting any better. She listens to me and shows me that she understands my issues (at least superficially), and of course it's nice to have the time and space to be heard, but her suggestions (at least for my work-related woes) aren't very helpful. She says she understands the kinds of negative feelings interacting with my boss gives me, but then asks me to try to set more clear boundaries with him. Ma'am, I've tried—he just pushes past them. The whole problem is that I don't feel the psychological safety to ask for anything in the first place because of the way he treats me!

I also realized in my last session that I'm dancing around the difficult topics, unconsciously steering the conversation towards things I'm more comfortable talking about, like the way work stresses me out or how my boss pisses me off. It's a lot harder for me to talk about the way I can't let go of what my ex-girlfriend did to me half a year ago now, and the accompanying anger, searing pain, and lingering confused love that keeps me up at night. I don't know why it's so hard for me, considering how easy it is for me to open up with my friends (and even here). When I try to examine the emotions making me shy away my best guess for what I feel is ... shame, I think? I'm ashamed of showing her what I'm actually like deep down inside, which is lonely, often dejected, and struggling to get over being cheated on. That's the next big hurdle I need to overcome. If the first was getting to the appointment, the second is opening up about what's really bothering me and exploring sides of me that I'm not all that comfortable revealing.

(I laugh now, because when I told all this to my friend she said, well you need to tell your therapist all this! And I went, oh heck no absolutely not are you kidding?!? Who do you think they are, my friend?)

  1. The corporate speak he uses is so fucking funny to me, I have to laugh in spite of my stress. Questionable judgment? Oh for fuck's sake, call a spade a spade.

  2. I went to the catered breakfast the first day of the event and left having found nothing good to eat, so the second day I went to a café and bought a banana and a yogurt parfait instead. (When I told him how I couldn't find anything to eat, he responded, "I thought there were some pastries," as if I should have just filled my tummy with nutritious week-old frosted apple strudels for breakfast.) And this man told me to talk to HR if I had "dietary issues" in the future. Aye aye yes sir 🫡 let me just march my way on over to Human Resources to complain about how the hotel served us rocks for breakfast. What are they going to do other than tell me to go fly a kite, or I don't know, maybe buy me that very banana and yogurt parfait I got for myself anyway?

  3. When I first started (oh I was once unbelievably young!) I used to prepare on Monday mornings a short bulleted list of things I did that weekend (real, fictitious, and embellished) to seem interesting to him and the rest of my coworkers. Now I just wave around my copy of Infinite Jest which serves as my doorstop as I tell them I spent my weekend reading that and watch them shuffle uncomfortably and move on as quickly as they can.

#english #journal #life #therapy #work