Nine Dollars.

I wrote this on March 14th, but ultimately decided to wait a while before I shared it with you all. It’s definitely emotionally charged and a personal look into my brain, so I wanted to give myself a little space before I talked about it all. That time has passed and now I’m ready to share my experience with March 14, 2019. Maybe you’ve had an experience of this sort in your own life?

Today at work I took out our yellow sticker price gun, turned the knob to $9.00, and slapped a price sticker onto my hand. $9 is how much I make per hour at this part-time job. This is apparently how much I am worth. $9.

At the store we use yellow stickers for clearance stuff. Stuff we are trying to get rid of quickly.

Lately I’ve been struggling to remain positive during all of the difficulties of life. Between the loss, the breakup, the rejection letters from potential employers, the health issues, the medical bills, and my lack of a plan for my life I’ve been downright messed up in the head. But last night after work I actually felt like I had something together in my life. As usual, I got up early to write, yoga, and meditate. My part-time job went smoothly during the day. I took a long walk at the park after work to “get my steps in” and enjoy the sunshine. And then I stopped by Walmart for a few things before I headed home. Lemme tell ya, I was feelin’ it. I felt like I had my crap scraped together yesterday.

By chance I saw a sign outside of Walmart advertising that they were soon to remodel and that they were looking for temporary employees to work full-time for $11/hour. I decided to bite the bullet and find out more. This might not sound like much but my current job only pays $9/hour AND they cap me at 30 hours (so that they don’t have to pay for any benefits). If I could work full-time at $11/hour AND a few hours here and there at my current job on the weekends then I MIGHT actually have some decent money in my pocket while I keep searching for something permanent.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and decided to talk with my cashier about how to find out more information about the temporary positions. She directed me to a manager who led me to another manager-type-person who went through all the deets of the position. They are looking for 60 people. Full-time with overtime for 12 weeks. Looking to hire permanently after the 12 weeks. 8-5:00. Starts at 11/hour. Full-benefits including dental and vision. Position starts on April 4th. All I needed to do was complete the application online and I could expect to hear from the hiring manager by today at 4pm.

I was PUMPED. This may seem silly to you for someone with a college degree in business who graduated with honors to be excited about an associate position at Walmart, but until you’ve subsisted on like $650 a month while supporting yourself and trying to pay off $2000 worth of medical bills then you can’t possibly understand what a blessing a job like this could be. It could lift a huge load off my mind.

I got home from a Bible study last night and was determined to crank out the application before I went to bed. I had all sorts of issues finding the job online and actually starting the application due to a web browser incompatibility issue BUT I finally got all my info into the application when I came to the final step of the application. An assessment test.

I know the drill with these tests. You fail and you don’t even get a chance to be hired. Your application gets flushed down the toilet before it ever gets the chance to see the light of day. I hesitated to start the test, but since I was uber determined to get this application in front of a hiring manager as soon as possible I buckled down and hit the START button.

I failed the test. To explain the deep loathing of myself that I felt in that moment is impossible. I didn’t know it was even possible for me to hate myself that much. It was as if all of my worst nightmares and thoughts were coming true. Not only was I being rejected by corporations and companies all over the city as I tried to get a higher level job; I was also being rejected for jobs that un-higher-educated high schoolers qualify for. Not even Walmart wants me. I am dirt. These are the kinds of thoughts that were running through my head all last night. There was not much sleep that went on last night, for sure.

I can’t really say exactly why I failed, because they didn’t provide any info other than a great big FAILED on my application and an offensive email that said something along the lines of… “your application will disappear into thin air.” Maybe I’m even more stupid than I thought. Maybe I overthought the test. Maybe I’m in some sort of purgatory and this is part of my punishment – I am to be shamed and humiliated due to my “sins.” I don’t know.

This afternoon, though, I reached out to the hiring manager to see if anything could be done to redeem myself. Nothing could be done, he said succinctly. He said I was “non-competitive.” I am on “probation” for the next 6 months and cannot apply for another job at Walmart until September of this year.

Well, okay then. Be that way.

Talk about kicking someone when they are down. I failed an entrance exam to WALMART. And I am a college graduate. Summa Cum Laude. 4.0. Published research with the university. Presented said research in an open-to-the-public lecture. And I failed miserably. It was embarrassing. It was shameful. It was mortifying. I felt cursed.

This series of unfortunate events that we call life – it’s wearing me down to nubbins.

I cried myself to sleep last night. I was crying so hard that my nose sealed off completely and I couldn’t catch my breath. Then I woke up at 4am and cried about it some more. I was disappointed in myself. The word pointless kept running through my head like ….what a pointless life I’m leadingI feel worthless. All I wanted was a way to provide for myself. And what I got was a heavy dose of shame. I woke up this morning and my eyes were so swollen I could barely open them. I literally had double folds under my eyes as well above my eyes. It was that bad.

But I was expected at work in like an hour, so I drank a bunch of water and smeared my eyes with MyMatcha moisture stick and told myself that if I blinked my eyes a lot then the excessive sad juice would drain from my overexerted eyes.

For the record, blinking is to no avail. Do not try this at home, kids.

I did find a precious note on my backpack, though. My little sister experienced my mental breakdown last night and out of the kindness of her heart wrote me a wonderful letter to encourage me not to let this setback keep me down for long. Thanks, Em. Love you to the moon and back.

I got home from work today and immediately sat down for a brain dump here on the blog. I don’t know if it’s the writer in me, but I cannot function if I do not write. The words will simply roll around in my brain if I do not get them out. So I oblige them. And I write. So I wrote. I forced down a small bowl of Raisin Bran cereal because I wasn’t feeling like eating much of anything, pulled on a cable knit sweater, and was about to head out the door, when my sister asked me about “things”. She was fixing her dinner in the kitchen a few steps from the back door, and I looked down and realized that I had dribbled tears all the way down my front and onto my shoes. I was distractedly talk-crying out my frustrations from the day to her and forgot where I was going – to therapy – so I only managed to make it out the door with my laptop + charger, but not my notebook or reflective notes from the previous 4 weeks between sessions. Oops. I was already teary and really not feeling any more desire to feel my feelings or be vulnerable. at. all.

Thank goodness for therapy tonight, though. Now it’s 8pm and I’m settled in at a local coffee shop with a (decaf) ginger vanilla latte ready to do some serious decompression after a therapy session well done.

House-made syrups make all the difference…

I always think I’m a good therapist to myself (HA) until I sit down with an actual trained, licensed therapist. So there I was back on the therapy couch, clutching the ice-cold root beer she handed me, with tears freely flowing. But I was at least crying like a winner because I had preemptively removed my eye makeup and was allowing the collar of my sweater to act as a dam of sorts for the tears.

By the way, the “key” to a long cry is to remove hindering makeup and allow to the tears to flow freely and quickly. Wiping the tears causes facial redness. Holding back the tears causes the nose to run, so let them flow and you’ll have to blow less. You’re welcome. Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to blow your nose with a nose ring? It’s challenging fo sho.

You know what my therapist said to me when I admitted that I failed that test?

She said she was glad.

GLAD.

OK, so she didn’t say that right off. She said that at the end of the session.

But she said she was glad that I failed the test because I was too smart for the test. She said she didn’t have to know me for very long to realize that I was overqualified for the job anyway and that by missing out on this position I am making room for something more in line with me. Because Walmart was never gonna be enough for me. It was gonna be a placeholder. A bandaid for a money problem. She said I’m too creative for a position at Walmart.

She guided me into a mindset and into thought pathways I had never thought to take. I felt instantly better from that moment on. I felt like a boulder had been lifted from my chest.

I’m here tonight not to whine or seek sympathy for my misfortune, but only to encourage you when I say that… sometimes crap happens. And difficult thoughts and emotions come. And sometimes your self-talk is just awful. And sometimes you get depressed and mope around and feel lost. And I want to encourage you to reach out. Vulnerability is not a weakness – it’s a strength.

As my therapist likes to say:

“People in therapy are the best people because they are willing to be vulnerable and to put in the work to improve their lives, their relationships, and ultimately the world around them.”

My Therapist

Maybe she’s biased since she’s a therapist and all, but I’m inclined to believe it’s true. Reach. Out. Therapy is such a blessing.

After a particularly rough day it’s usually a good idea to end it with a Gratitude Countdown. So here’s mine – counting backwards from 10!

Gratitude Countdown:

#10. My part-time job – Because I at least have some employment even though it’s not full-time. And even though the pay is low it is somehow sufficient for my needs and is a low stress position.

#9. Coffee shops – Because there is something so calming and encouraging about chilling in your favorite coffee shop. And now that I have a nose ring I actually fit in at this coffee shop, haha.

#8. Comforting drinks – Because something hot and frothy or even something rich and iced can turn around a sour mood instantly.

#7. Warm weather – Because Spring is on its way which means warmer temperatures and MORE sun!

#6. Therapy – Because with my creative budgeting I am able to afford this helper into my life. And she has already proven to be invaluable to my mental health.

#5. Sisters – Because having supportive family members through all that life throws at you makes all the difference in the world.

#4. My car – Because it’s paid off/completely mine and that means I can drive to places like therapy and coffee shops.

#3. Libraries – Because even when funds are too low for purchasing new books for my Kindle I can still have thousands of books at my fingertips.

#2. WordPress – Because for little to no money I have an easy-to-manipulate web hosting platform for a site all my own. Running this blog is one of my favorite parts of my day.

#1. My black leather Ecco high-tops – Because they are my favorite pair of shoes and I automatically feel more excited about my day just by putting them on.

Onward and upward, my loves! I hope your Monday has treated you well!

XO

Me

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