My doctor warned me about the dangers of not getting enough sleep as I work to taper off the lithium, so I was a bit concerned when midnight rolled around and I wasn’t even vaguely tired after a really long day. I don’t think I actually went to sleep until around 1am, but I was still determined to get up and walk the track at the Stadium. The plan for the day involved me walking the track then catching a quick shower before heading out to the mall where they were having a Job Fair. I’d signed up at work to man our table. I wasn’t sure why since that much public exposure was likely to push a bunch of my buttons. After I signed up, I found out I was scheduled to work the table the same time as some coworkers whom I find really stressful. Great. I make it a point to limit my contact with them. Now here I was ON A SATURDAY stuck with them for a few hours at a table in the middle of the mall!!!!!! I hate the mall. If I didn’t already know what drugs I was on, I’d ask. It was too late to back out too… so I figured I’d enjoy my walk and write the rest of my day off as a work obligation.
After last week’s freak rain storm, I determined that NOTHING, but NOTHING was going to stop me from walking. I checked the weather report last night. There was only a 20% chance of rain, but I still put my umbrella in my bag. All in all, I only had about 4-5 hours of sleep, but it was consecutive. No late night nature calls, so I roughly got the same number of hours of sleep that I normally get. I was tempted when I woke up to just bail. I could see evidence of rain on the window, but I resisted the temptation and put on my walking gear. My “Persevere” shirt was in the wash, so I would have to find my inner motivation on my own.
All the cars in the parking lot should have clued me in. There are NEVER that many cars at 6:45am on a Saturday. I feared there was some kind of sporting event happening. Grrr. I might be trying to kick start my new “healthier lifestyle,” but I still hate sports. I always have. And to think that yet another weekend walk would have to be sacrificed made me want to dig in my heels. I was going to walk and nobody (certainly not a sporting event) was going to stop me. Have ya’ ever heard a defiant person in a movie, when faced with a foe trying to stop them, utter the words, “Oh yeah? You and what army?” ? I thought something along those lines when I walked into the stadium… but then stopped dead in my tracks.
Would you believe the US Army? I kid you not. There were a whole bunch of soldiers in full uniform and what appeared to be horde of cadets at the far end of the track. Looks like they were prepping for a race. Another civilian walker was leaving just as I came in. I asked her what was up with THE ARMY? She said she thought they were finishing up and that they’d been there when she started her jog. She said it’d been awkward jogging past all of them, but she did her regular workout.
You and what army? Had I really thought that? Was this divine intervention telling me to pack it in and go home? Hell no. After rejecting all the other excuses to not walk this morning, I’d be hanged if I let anything (even the US Army) stop me. I put on my music and started walking. It’d take me a little while to make it to their end of the track, but when I did I could feel the awkwardness of it all start to rise. But then I walked right through them and… nothing. I’m not sure what I was expecting them to do, but they paid me no mind. I kept walking and pretty soon I wasn’t even thinking about them and in a little while they all filed out of the Stadium. Ha! Not even the US Army could stop me!! I am the Queen of the World! Or at least the Stadium.
I was wiped out after that and came home to take a nap. I almost bailed on the Job Fair. I felt like crap and really didn’t want to be bothered, but I try to let my “Yes” be “Yes” and my “No” be “No.” If I said that I’d be there, then I needed to be there.
Boy, was I surprised. I’ve spent so many years in the Bipolar Bubble, that I forgot that I’m actually pretty good at stuff like this. I’m a UC Berkeley Rhetoric major. I speak better than I write. I was in my element at the Job Fair. Since I love my job, it was easy to talk to potentials about all that we have to offer. I even struck up conversations with some of the other vendors who might be in positions to offer our students jobs. I got some names and some cards. I felt really professional and really normal. I got to see a glimpse of what I used to be like before the Bipolar manifested.
The only blight on my love feast? I was prepared to deal with the two coworkers that I know stress me out. I find that if I’m cordial, but not overly friendly, I can navigate conversations with them. I wasn’t counting on the third, new coworker being an emotional drain. She’s not even in my department, but she spent every minute she wasn’t talking to a member of the public bashing my boss. I don’t even know the woman. This was my first real encounter with her and she opted to make that her first impression? I think she thought that I might have an ax to grind about him. She clearly knew nothing about the “Most. FAVORITE. Boss. EVER“ card that I got him for Boss’ Day this week. I LOVE my boss and take exception to this newbie trying to tear him down. I took that as my cue to go scope out the other vendors.
If she hadn’t been such a downer I wouldn’t have done this. I am SO glad that I did. I made more contacts and got a ton of really cool info and applications for my students. It was one of those “God uses all thing for the good” situations. Being trapped at that table with the three of them could have been a bad situation, but it wasn’t. I set a mental boundary of how much I was willing to put up with from any of them and politely defended my borders with the diligence of a soldier in the US army. I’m actually glad I got to spend time around her because now I know how to pray for my boss. I also know that I need to limit my exposure to this woman. She was very unprofessional dumping all of that vitriol on me, a complete stranger, but it’s going to benefit my students that this happened.
One thing that was a pleasant surprise today? Tonight as I was talking to God I thanked him for my pain. The message in church last week was on suffering. As one who has suffered long, I’ve always maintained that hell would have to freeze over first before I’d actually thank God for any suffering that I’ve had to endure. Especially since scripture says to be thankful in our suffering… not because of them. I guess a case could be made for that too, but I’ve never wanted to be the one making that case. Until now….
As much as I hate the physical pain that I am in, I am thankful for it. Tonight I realized that were it not for the pain, I wouldn’t be making any of these changes in my life. I wouldn’t be trying to get off the lithium. I wouldn’t be embarking on a plan for fitness and better health. I’d be continuing on my merry little couch surfing ways getting closer and closer to diabetes every day. After having both my mom and my sisters lose legs and then their lives to diabetes, I know I’m at risk for it. My body type and my total lack of exercise and crappy diet only made things worse. Without the compelling reason of this bone pain, I wouldn’t be doing anything. So, for tonight, at least, I thanked God for the pain. And because the Job Fair turned out to be so cool, I’m going to thank God for putting me at the table with three such challenging people. I’m also going to thank him for the presence of the US Army at the track this morning. I am no longer worried about anything getting in the way of my walk. Last week I let a little rain (ok, a WHOLE LOT OF RAIN) stop me from walking. Today? Well, today is Day 9 and nothing could stop me, not even the US Army.