Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Life Update 2 // Upheaval and No Internet

I never got around to finishing my series of life updates before November rolled around, so this blog is going to maintain its status as update central for the next few posts, I think. Let’s take a quick break from writing to talk about life. (What am I saying? Writing is life.)

I guess the first thing I want to cover doesn’t come first chronologically, but it’s the easiest to talk about, and so I’ll lead with it. I moved. Not far—I’m still in Virginia. This has been my third move, and my third town, in as many years. Our original deal with our landlords was that we could rent their basement until their daughter decided to return home to live with them. Long story short, that’s what ended up happening, and they were able to give us sixty days to find a new apartment and move out. For some of you, sixty days may feel like a wealth of time, and we managed, but we were also supposed to be traveling for roughly two weeks of that, which made it more interesting.

We’ve been all moved into our new apartment for three months now. The downside to our new place is that we don’t have internet. My understanding is that our landlords have tried to get internet, but providers aren’t willing to come out and give service to this area. VA encounters issues like this, despite how wealthy this county is. Actually, in some ways, because of it, since when you’re rich you think you can afford to demand that there be no ugly eyesores like cell towers and at the same time ask yourself why you never have more than one bar of reception. So yeah, no internet, and while my sister and I have unlimited data on our phones, there are only a few spots in the apartment where we can access the LTE network. Eventually we will look into a booster, but that hasn’t been our priority.

The silver lining to this whole situation is that, while it’s not especially convenient to not have internet, and I’m not being rewarded a million dollars for my suffering as certain memes have hinted, my productivity has skyrocketed. I no longer have the option of sitting around on YouTube, unless I wanted to stand outside and enjoy the brisk, below freezing breeze. This has turned writing into a generally more appealing option.

We live in an expensive county, and while we were blessed with low rent two apartments in a row, our new place is significantly more expensive, so I’ve been picking up more hours at work. (We also pet sit for our landlords on the regular, which lowers the rent. Their dogs are adorable, too, so that’s a perk.)

This all leads me to my next update, which is a long time in coming, but for months I wasn’t ready to share, and I couldn’t give you all the details, even if I’d wanted to. I got a new job ten months ago. I work at a pie shop now, and I love it. Sure, I have to deal with rude, angry, thoughtless, indecisive, clueless people all day, intermingled with the regulars I’ve come to love. But I love my boss, my coworkers, the location. (It’s smack dab in the middle of town, houses squeezed together and businesses clustered like close friends, but there’s a field WITH COWS IN IT, like, RIGHT BESIDE THE ROAD. Businesses, houses, COWS, more buildings. *shakes head*) The work is physical and challenging, but even though I’m on my feet all day, lugging around heavy trays of pie, I don’t go home every night feeling like I have to crawl into bed. I don’t spend my days off trying not to have an anxiety attack at the creeping thought that it’s a matter of time before I will have to go back to work. Probably I will talk someday about what it’s like as an eating disorder survivor working at a pie shop, but today is not that day.

I needed to take another step in my personal growth, and getting a new job was that step. Phrasing it that way feels a little dishonest to me, because it implies that there was an abundance of agency on my part, and in retrospect I did make a life-changing decision and act of my own accord for my own good, but at the time I felt like I got backed into a corner. I was extremely unhappy in my old job. It had been getting worse, and I had been buying into the lie that another job, especially in a secular environment, would be just as bad. Things reached a breaking point when I finally decided to speak up about something that had been happening to me. The whole situation was really dark (to the point where I drove around, for several days, with a teddy bear in my passenger seat as moral support), but the bright spots were equally bright. Prime example: the day after I quit my job, where they were kind enough to let me leave without an official two weeks’ notice, and where they also gave me thirty days paid leave, I had my job interview at the shop, and I was able to start work the next week. I could have started sooner, if I had wanted to, but I needed time to collect myself.

Now I work more hours than I used to, at higher pay, and while I’m not rolling in wealth, I have a better shot at independence than I did before. Mostly I’m just happy to have more money for Starbucks.

I’ve had to gloss over a lot of details in this update, and I will have to skip a lot more before it’s done, because there are people I don’t want to hurt, and there are people who will be angry at me if I talk about what they did, are already angry at me for telling the truth in other venues. But if I’m going to tell you everything that’s been happening in my life, I am not going to skip over the most glaring section. You have the right to know, and I have the right to talk about it.

The bare bones is this, and maybe I’m saying too much, but I want to say something. I left my job because it turned toxic, and while that specific issue was resolved beautifully, and the person I had to forgive is a better friend than before, another issue popped up after that. And another. Because it wasn’t the job that was toxic, it was the people and the environment they created. These people were my friends; this was my church. I came to them for help when someone was leaving me afraid for my safety and well-being, and they punished me for it. They punished my sister for standing up for me and trying to clarify details that had been lost in the mix. They betrayed us in ways we should have expected and braced for, but didn’t because we thought too highly of them. I worked for almost three years to achieve a level of vulnerability and trust with my church friends that I now regret. I think it would take an actual miracle for me to go back to attending that church, and there are certain people that I never want to see again.

Someday, I think I want to talk about how Christians fail, because not enough people are having this discussion, or allowing it, and it benefits no one when we hide our ugly. Now I understand why people leave their churches, leave the community, leave the faith. This is not a hurt that is easily described or overcome. So if you are the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers. This happened five months ago, but I’m still living in the aftermath, and I’m going to be honest with you, I am having a very hard time forgiving these people. I have spoken to my therapist numerous times about how to do this, and I am trying.

I realize this update got dark pretty fast, and I apologize if it was too depressing for you. I appreciate you sticking with me. If you’re worried about me, please don’t be. I have my writing, and I have my job. I have a new house, and I have a few friends still left to my name. I will be okay. But I wanted to be honest with you about what’s been happening, and this is where I’m at.

What about you, coffee beans? What are some hard times you’ve been experiencing lately?


  1. I'm glad you're doing better and have a better job! I once had a job (nearly two) where the people were very toxic, and I stayed for three years because I believed different lies. It's so relieving when you leave that place. It's hard entering into something new because you're not sure if it's actually going to be any better, but if it is, it's so nice and worth the effort of leaving.

    I'm sorry about what happened with your church. That's an awful experience. I agree, we do need to recognize and call out the ugly parts of the Christian community. I think we're too afraid that people will think more poorly of us than they already do, but some of the many reasons they do is that they think we're hypocritical and wear fake masks all the time. Not admitting our flaws only feeds into that, and we need to start being sincere about our flaws. Thank you for being honest. It's always hard especially when you know it's not just you you're affecting when you admit something.

  2. Thanks for the update, and I'll definitely be praying about the situation! And don't apologize when it gets dark: I read your posts because I want to what you're up to and how you're doing, even if what that entails isn't always the prettiest.