4 Weeks ago I started working my part-time seasonal Customer Service Professional position at H&R Block. There are times that I compare myself to Cinderella. The girl who left her glass shoe behind her at the ball and wondering if she would see her prince again. That might sound cliché, yet in my life, it seems true.
A few weeks before I began working I celebrated a milestone (according to LinkedIn). I had been a blogger on WordPress for many years. I have to say that is something that I cherish. The thought of being able to tell my story and give a peek into my life can be scary, yet inspiring. Each post I write, share, or give my side of the story is something that others need to know. I am not just a girl who traveled abroad just on a fancy. Sometimes I wish it was the reason. No, I had to heal and learn from my life journey. I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, and above all a mother. Sure I don’t get to hear or see my son. But that is how my blogging life started. A mother trying to figure out parenthood while she knows how to help children. I have to say it has been quite a journey.
My son is now in elementary school. When I do get pictures or news I cherish it like it is a gift wrapped in shiny paper with an easy to unwrap bow. I have to say to the reader 9 years has been a long time. Out of those 9 years, I was traveling 4 or 5 of them. Yep, that is a long time. I keep thinking someday he might find this and be in awe of this mother or wonder who she was. I never stopped loving him. In fact, when we did visit on Google Hangout I was taking pictures never knowing if the internet access in Ethiopia would drop and it would be a long time before I would see him again. Sadly that was exactly what happened. A combination of really rainy weather, network inaccessibility, and not to mention that darn electricity that rolled around until my heart broke each time it displayed an error of some sort. I couldn’t tell you how many times I would run my room and cry. Occasionally a muffled scream could be heard. That was my trying to keep my cool, yet finally felt conflicted that this young child would not see his mother. I didn’t care if people gave me strange looks. I constantly would ask if this was normal and would things get better.
For many weeks I made a choice to you less and less of social media. In my mind, I realized how in past jobs I was not able to balance my online and real life. So after a strong suggestion from my parents, I dug my internal heels in and dieted my social media intake. It started with hiding the apps on my phone and then trying to take them off altogether so I wouldn’t be tempted. I then replaced them with things that would help me focus and relax. I have to say it was very hard to do. But in the meantime, I felt less distracted with what was happening in that part of my life. It was incredible because I was doing so much more at work and focusing on my responsibilities. In one month (as of today 2/21) I have received compliments from my boss, fellow coworkers, and even others that I was doing my job very well.
Occasionally I am asked what I will do after the tax season finishes. Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it. I just focused on what is in front of me. Getting that appointment scheduled, confirmed, and move on to the next task on hand. I have found out in the past when I try to plan ahead something gets in the way like for example the winter weather we have been having taken the wind out of me (no pun intended). Normally I could schedule in my therapy appointment and be able to walk there. Sadly the layers of snow had been dumped that plan. I am talking more than 2 layers. Since I am not used to it I am prone to slipping or sliding around in my winter boots.
Who knew that writing could take so long. I don’t want it to be perfect. I just want it to flow out of my mind smoothly. Since I began writing this piece I have received so many comments that my blog has reached many people. The compliments bring me joy and peace.
During the week I am Molly, the Customer Service Professional, then on my weekends I am recharging my batteries and dabbling into my creative side. My new thing is crochet. I started learning back in September and now taking weekly lessons on Sundays. My mind is picking up on the twisting and turning that my fingers work with the hook. I am creating a portfolio with photos of my projects and lessons.
Here I am several weeks later trying to finish this post. I gave myself some time to finish my job so I could complete it as well as I began it. It is true I had a history of attempting to be both a blogger/writer, family member, and whatever I might be at the moment. When I first got the job several people reminded me about how I wasn’t able to balance the real world with the working world. As annoying as it was to hear this I realized that maybe this time they were right. I would post things on Instagram that was shared to Twitter and Facebook. I would do short random updates, yet kept my nose to the stone doing my best to make this job a stepping block in my journey of getting my feet on the ground. That first week I walked to work in a hurry with excitement and nervousness.
The first few days went really well. I was kind of surprised how well things were going. It wasn’t that I was not confident with my abilities more like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had just moved to the town a few months before and once I felt comfortable and settled I began to start applying to jobs that were in the area and in positions that could picture myself in. Target, McDonald’s, Safeway, and a few local places in Cheney. As many online applications went out not as many responses were coming back to me. I started wondering what could be the problem. I went as far as did research on taking the bus, Uber, and Lyft as my sources of transportation. I wasn’t a college student and was willing to work weekends while hoping for Sundays off at least to make things work in my favor.
As the holidays came by I was starting to get depressed. I would get emails back saying that I didn’t match what they were looking for. I started to wonder what exactly they were looking for especially during the Christmas season starting up. I finally saw a position at the local H & R Block. At first, I thought it was too good to be true. Part-time, check, in the area, double-check, and it was temporary. Perfect and it was within walking distance of my apartment so I would be able to get to and from without too much issue. Even if it snowed I didn’t foresee that much problem. I applied and within a few days, I got a calling for a phone screening about the position.
Now it has been two weeks since I completed my job. I have to say I felt very satisfied yet overwhelmed after working an average of 23 hours a week or so depending on the workflow. When I explain my job I compare it to the holiday season yet with more involved in it. Especially during the last week. I actually had to send clients to another location since we were fully booked. I was asked a few times what I would do once the tax season was over. My response was to sleep and recharge my batteries. My cousin had invited me over to stay with her which I took up within 3 weeks before my final date. I missed writing on my blog and just getting so much done in that area. I did admit to people that I was a blogger. They had the familiar look of what do you write about. I smiled and replied living with ADD, dealing with PTSD, and whatever else might be on my mind at the moment. I wasn’t sure if I saw awe or shock in their eyes. Yes, there is a different Molly than the person that kept their appointments updated weekly.
Now as I look back on my 2019 so far I realized how much stronger I was than I thought. I dealt with clients that spanned from the nicest people you could meet to those who I managed to keep content by making conversation during their wait time. Imagine one person in the front with two to three tax professionals in an office five days week (which was my workload). I was a rock star as many people described me. I also realized that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can help in so many ways.
So now you might be wondering what is next for Mahlet Sebhat. Well, honestly I am not sure. You see during that first week I slipped on ice and hurt my back. I am not sure if I have written about having back surgery when I was 12 years old. I had a severe case of scoliosis and I had 2 metal rods inserted into my back to help correct or help my back. Well, this fall I had left me with a sorer than ever spine. Within a week I went to the clinic and saw a doctor. The doctor prescribed me some muscle relaxers and wanted me to do physical therapy. Well in March in between my work schedule I was doing physical therapy twice a week. We have come to see that my left side where the main tends to have not been healing as fast as my right side. I had noticed this whole time the pain would switch between the two sides. Also when I was stressed my back took the brunt of it. This week I am going to see my doctor again for a follow-up appointment hoping she will refer me to a back specialist so we can see what exactly is happening in my back whether it is muscle related or something else.
I started crocheting because I needed something to help me relax on the weekends. Since January I have been taking weekly lessons to build this skill. I have posted pictures on my Instagram profile of my progress. I figured I needed a new skill in between jobs. I also have been doing meditations using the Calm app. It has been something I started using when my anxiety was starting up. I recently broke up with my therapist because I wasn’t getting a lot of use and appointments just got to be hard to schedule or being kept. It was the hardest decision to make because I felt guilty about not being able to keep an appointment and then having get canceled when I do finally get it made. I averaged 7 appointments since October. See that is not exactly something I could understand. I stared seeing her in October and here it was March into April and things just were not feeling right. Another decision I made in the beginning of January was to join the 52 weeks self-care challenge on the Mighty website. I was tired of not being able to see my therapist and not sure what to help myself take care of well myself. That was how it started. We are into our 17th week and boy it has been something. I have come to see myself in a different way. How to take care of little things to help me in a big way has been a goal I had for 2019.
One last thing I am going to give a huge shout out to myself…. I am turning 40 on Saturday. This is huge because well getting this far has been tough. Dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD has been rough on my nerves. Standing up for myself has been harder. The goal of Starting Over 2013 was a way to explain life after not just my divorce, but healing from a relationship that left me emotionally and mentally wounded from words that hurt like hell. Many people tell me I went through hell and fire to get this far. It is true.
Stay tuned for more from Mahlet Sebhat aka Sara Gamachu.