Day 235 - Invitations
Today was a pretty good day. I facilitated an employee relations meeting in the afternoon - my client asked me to mediate an issue happening in their office, and I was able to give all of the participants feedback that will (hopefully) help them to get along better, and more to the point, communicate effectively. I was pleased that it went well.
In the evening, dear friends Scott and Harold invited me to dinner and a movie. I can’t tell you how much this simple act of generosity touched me. Not only was I treated to a wonderful meal at Pastini Pastaria (during which I talked way too much) and a phenomenal movie at the Century 16 theaters (“The Iron Lady”), I was made to feel... well... I don’t like this word for personal reasons, but it’s the only one I can think of that adequately describes what I felt:
Something only the long-term unemployed can understand is what happens to you when you cannot find suitable work despite being willing and able. (I’m going to set aside for now the different conversation about “survival” and “bridge” jobs.) I don’t feel as if dinner and a movie is a wise way to spend my money right now, and I loathe asking my friends how much things cost or to tell them I can’t come to an event because I can’t afford the price of admission. I feel cheap doing so.
It has been too long since I’ve felt the freedom of choice that comes from making my own living. It’s humiliating to be unsuccessful for three years at finding work. It’s dehumanizing. The judgment you feel from everyone around you eventually becomes oppressive. (Sometimes they tell you everything is fine, but will later say something else that betrays the platitudes; sometimes you find out what they have said behind your back from others just trying to help.) I can tell myself they aren’t really judging me - it is only my own projection based on my feelings of frustration. I wish that were true.
Tonight, on the other hand, I didn’t feel judged. I felt accepted - just as I am, with all my faults - that it was OK to talk too much - and that I was among true friends. Another few hours of feeling normal.
It is interesting what you appreciate once you lose it.
Thank you, Scott and Harold. You mean the world to me.