Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Turning the Page

I had to pick up my last paycheck stubs from the big, box store and went in to get them on Monday. That experience inspires this post. I called the office before I left so they would expect me. When I arrived, I greeted the female office manager who was talking with one of the male store managers. Both of these people know me and worked with me for 8 months. There were never personality problems or run ins with either.

I was given my paperwork by the office manager who did not even stop talking with the other manager. Neither one looked at, acknowledged me or said anything. I made a point of saying goodbye to both and left. It was an odd, unsettling experience but typical of this place. My feeling unacknowledged and invisible was frequent during my employment there. There were times when the top store manager would walk by and I would say hello and he also would not say anything to me. He'd just walk by. So I'm not sure if the people this guy hires are similar in disposition to him or they model the behavior after being hired to fit in.

In any case, this all got me to thinking about isolation and grief. Despite the rather bizarre experience of working at this store, I am grateful that doing so provided opportunities for me to socialize and get out and about in the world. I formed some acquaintances with co-workers and enjoyed interacting with the customers. For various reasons I didn't work much after my husband's death. And looking back am seeing that this may have been a hindrance. If I'd been working, I'd hopefully been able to tap into another social support network and my sense of confidence would probably be higher.

I am finding that grief feeds on itself. And in being isolated it can be very easy to fall into the trap of just staying in that cave longer than one should. Without a purpose or reason to get up, it can be so easy to spend endless days stuck on that page where the grief remains blinding and excruciating. There is also the element of resisting change and finding comfort in what you know. You stay on the same page because at least you know what that feels like. It can be very hard to turn the page when you don't know what is coming or how you'll cope or handle it all.

Being a working parent is tough for everyone and especially only parents. I'm not particularly looking forward to joining the daily grind again. But I am trying to look at it from a more positive view. That I will certainly be deriving many benefits, the first of which will be to have greater interaction with others and the world. I will no longer be able to hunker down in my cave for as long as I want. I will be emerging to face the sun and air more days than I have in the past years.

Today I am grateful:

1. For having shelter from the elements and cold.
2. That we have food.
3. That we have a computer and internet access.
4. That we have cell phones.
5. That we have warm clothes, although our boots seem to have been misplaced in the move. We'll try to make due.


  1. What a surreal experience with the store managers. I'm glad that you stay true to yourself, by greeting them even when they don't have the presence of mind to do so as well. I like to think of those types of situations as imparting grace. At some point they will need that smile, or greeting, won't find it, but will remember yours.

    I try to reframe situations like these, so that people's indifference does not change how I want to interact with the world.

    Take Care.


  2. I can't help but wonder if the way these people treat each others doesn't in turn effect the way they do business and their bottom line? Do they feel they can be indifferent because they are a large conglomerate and nothing they do will effect them? I can't help but feel that, we as a society, have become somewhat the same way. That a large segment of our population just can't be bothered with anything that does not directly effect them. It's like there is this huge disconnect with people.

    Thankfully, there are still people, like on here, that are connected and WANT to be connected with other people. In my own life, I have a very few people who are like this. It's mostly acquaintances who exist in their own pod and don't venture beyond their comfortable boundaries to let anyone new in. The only words that come to mind are blissful isolation. They are content in their own little self made pods oblivious to the plight of others. Maybe oblivious isn't the right word, maybe it would be better described as selective isolation.

    As I am trying to reach back out into the world I am wondering if there are going to be places for me to fit in. I feel like I am the odd ball, the 3rd wheel that just won't fit into any given social situation. There is also the fear of rejection. If I put myself out there and am rejected I'm not sure how I will handle that. So many questions and no clear cut answers.

  3. Dan - It was a surreal encounter but I like your reframe. I hope you are taking care as well.

    Kelly - I'm more used to working in the social services sector where the people are for the most part overly emotional and with a kind heart. This was retail so I think there may be personality differences in who works there. I loved your term blissful isolation.

    Take it from me - if I could go out there and remarry three years after my husband's death, survive being dumped by the new guy and get back up to face the dating world again that led me to Sam, you can too! The divorce was very painful (talk about ultimate rejection) but I survived and you'll find places to fit in again too. I know you will. Hugs.

  4. A good take on people who doesnt even have the manners to acknowledge your presence...I too have gone through such instances at my earlier office.. When you sit there like an idiot and wishing them a good morning and you get not even a glance...I even had a colleague, who used to stare back at if I just committed the biggest mistake of my life...

    I just read ur above post...and felt maybe I can corelate with you...Will surely read rest of your posts...

    Do follow me at

  5. Jzt 4 me - Thank you for stopping by and I will certainly head over in your direction!