The sun decided to come out on Sunday afternoon, and I sought spiritual solace by meeting the arrival of spring with a long walk. My steps took me to the affluent western side of town, where I happened to attend church with my Catholic sponsor a few times last year. I walked into the beautiful church, knowing it was almost time for the fortnightly special LGBT mass. I hadn’t had any intention of going to church again until I got there. Last time the seats were too uncomfortable; the congregation too large and anonymous, the rituals too traditional and confusing. This time I needed what it was offering me, even though the seats were still uncomfortable and the details of what was being recited still eluded me. The church was packed, the congregation larger than I’d ever seen it. A full gospel choir complete with instruments was there to accompany the musical parts. I gathered that they appear every now and then on interesting occasions. It was easy to be uplifted by the soulful, celebratory singing, the quality of which was superb throughout. The whole atmosphere of the mass was uplifting, somehow. The melange of the gospel choir with the traditional Catholic mass, the happy, diverse crowd and the sun shining through stained glass together gave me the lift I had needed all day. The icing on the cake came when I spotted my sponsor and another AA friend sitting up near the front.
When the mass was over the parish LGBT group had its regular tea and cake gathering in the parish hall next door, which my fellows were strangely keen to attend. Last time I went to it the stuffy cliqueyness could have put me off for life, but since I was in a good mood this time I was prepared to give it another go. I was prepared to stay for a cup of tea, smile and say hello to a few people, then leave. Expecting to make friends would have been my downfall. So we did what we intended to do – show our faces, say a few hellos, smile and enjoy a slice of cake – and then we all left together. My sponsor and I were hungry so we went for pizza in our usual spot nearby. I was glad to round off the day with a good sponsorly chat over pizza. I could have been alone at home, still moping over what had happened with Alan. I didn’t have to think about Alan much that evening.
Yesterday I started the day with the usual unshakeable apprehension that is part of Mondays. The two insurmountable problems associated with my job – not having enough work, and my icy colleague P – stayed in my mind, as they always do, as I got on the train. Normally in the mornings I like to read on the train, but yesterday I decided I needed some relaxing mood music to calm me. I played a playlist that I’ve not had on for a while, my “relaxing afternoon” playlist that features a lot of soul and soft rock alongside classical piano pieces. It’s one I’ve come to associate with sitting on beaches in the past, so it hit just the right note on a dull Monday morning. I arrived at work not in the terrible mood that I might have arrived with otherwise. I was able to approach my two insurmountable problems with a certain level of openness. I was willing to think that I could always find things to do, and that I didn’t have to be P’s enemy. The day passed smoothly without incident. In the work lulls I wrote some words for my counselling assignment that’s due next week; after a slightly cold start with P, things thawed a little over lunch and we were interacting like a couple of normal colleagues by the afternoon.
Today was similarly ‘normal’, for want of a better description. I spent the day trying to let go of the resentment against P that keeps rearing its head, and I think this resulted in us getting on even better than before. There wasn’t anything significant to do work-wise, so I just got on with my counselling essay again. I don’t want to feel bad for doing non work-related stuff at work because I’ve already told them plenty of times that I don’t have enough to do, and they seem fine with that. It still seems ridiculous that a charity is paying staff to do nothing, but it really seems like it’s not going to change. So I shouldn’t feel any guilt for using the time more effectively. I still ended the day with a panicky feeling, though, which I could only attribute to this never ending worry about the job and the increasingly frequent periods where there are no meaningful tasks on my list. As much as I can justify the situation by saying it’s just a boring admin job, I shouldn’t worry about it so much, I can always find other things to do there without getting caught, the conviction remains that I’m wasting time, that I should be doing something else for this charity. I’m purposefully studying towards a counselling qualification because I want my life to go somewhere, I don’t want to be forever stuck in meaningless jobs, but the qualification’s at least another two years away and, as I’ve said before, I don’t know if I can stick it out that long. It’s not the boredom that gets to me, it’s not the sometimes desperate search for something to do; it’s the over all feeling of not being needed. Anyone would be demotivated by that. In a society that puts so much value on what job you do, one’s self worth is bound to take a knock when you’re so unimportant the boss refuses to give you any work.