I am. Not just breathing. Not just with a heart pumping blood. Alive.
I should fill in some of the blanks on my unexpected, unplanned absence. Such a long list of "uns"; unhappy, undecided, unable. Unemployed. To name just a few.
I've come out of one of the most difficult times I have ever been through. So much unhappiness and anger, that some days I sat on the sofa (unwashed, there's another one) completely stalled. No cogs turning at all. After more than a month of this I thought "I should probably get some professional help".
I didn't, as it turns out. But I am writing this all in the past tense, so it is passed. Past. And good riddance.
By the end of last year I couldn't shake off stress and anxiety, and as the new year rolled around things seemed to be conspiring to up the ante. In late January I was fired from my job. Not retrenched. Not "let go". Not having a contract non renewed. Fired.
Fired by email in fact. By a boss who was so chicken shit, so inconsiderate and so unwilling to see how that might make me feel that he couldn't even speak to me face to face. A man who I thought considered me a peer. I still to this day don't have a real handle on the actual reasons, but I have (largely) gone past the point of caring now. It took a while.
Amusingly, and astoundingly, my boss fired me by email on a Monday and because of a busy week and a midweek public holiday I didn't read my home emails all week. I kept turning up for work, sitting at my desk alongside my boss, all week and he didn't say a thing. Not until he sent me a text message on the Friday night to tell me to read my emails. Such is the measure of the man, I figure.
So I never went back. Never said my goodbyes. Never got to give him the finger he so richly deserved. (And yes he broke the rules against unfair dismissal, and no I didn't pursue the legal action I could have. At the time I just couldn't.)
I spent all of February and much of March bouncing backwards and forwards between melancholy and rage. I ate. I sat on the couch. I cried a bit a few times. And then I decided that things had to change.
And they have. After being unemployed for about 7 weeks I landed myself a great job at a university. Working less hours, and taking home around $120 a week more than in my old job. Then about 4-5 weeks ago I decided I needed to get a grip on my depression era weight gain, and be more pro-active about my high blood pressure, and I started dieting and exercising more. I've now lost just under 6kgs and the gut is well and truly in retreat.
Things are good. I feel like I'm achieving something. Participating. Contributing. Being appreciated. And importantly feeling like I'm in control, energised and excited. Losing weight is a big part of that, and both a catalyst and a symptom of the process. I'm pulling my shit together, being disciplined, and in return I'm getting feedback and reinforcement every time I jump on the scales.
While I'm carefully watching what I eat that's not to say that I don't still want to serve up a big bowl of fuck you to my old boss. But maybe one day that dish can be served up cold.