How are you?
I've already been to Seattle and back this week, and am now clutching ginger tea in my kitchen, a broken shell of a jet-lagged woman.
Workwise, it was a productive three days. I even snuck in a shoot for updated #ELB photos on Monday night with my favorite Seattle-based lifestyle photographer.
(What, like you don't have one?)
But while I was out there, something weird happened, and I'm trying to process it.
I found out that I'm about to be coworkers with someone from a past job. And I got... triggered, yo. Very triggered.
It's not this woman's fault.
But just hearing her name and realizing we were going to be working together again after all this time (we were colleagues during my Worst Year Ever™ inSan Francisco) set me off on this heavy panic I hadn't felt in a long time.
I had explicit stress dreams that night. I dreamt that my awful ex-boss also got hired. And that her boss got hired. Like this team from my past was being recreated and everyone else thought it was going to be fine, and I felt like I couldn't breathe, and no one could understand why I was over-reacting.
Needless to say, it was not a peaceful night's sleep.
This woman is not going to be working in my office, but I suppose I'll see her in person a few times this year. I'm not looking forward to it. I know I'm just projecting. I know it's going to be OK. I know a lot of time has passed.
I know it's not really her I'm triggered by--so long as she doesn't refer my awful ex-boss, anyway.
It's going to be OK. I'm going to be OK.
But this experience has taught me that we really, really don't address our own emotional career baggage enough. And we all have some, me included.
This baggage can be just as heavy and weighty as family drama or ghosts of relationships past. It can fuck with our self-worth, our sense of boundaries, our dignity... and, yes, our professional trajectories, too.
God, we spend so much time with these people who can really dig their claws into us. And we often don't validate how emotionally impactful that can be. We brush it under the carpet, call it a 'professional' relationship, and try to pretend like it doesn't have such a hold on us.
But sometimes, it does.
And even if you leave the job, even if everybody else leaves too, the memories stay. Your brain sees new situations through this scratched lens of history.
It's going to be OK. We're going to be OK.
But we're allowed to acknowledge it sometimes, too, so that we can check in and make sure the wound is healing in a healthy way.
PS: Rooting for you, always.