Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

In which I hide in the bathroom and pretend I’m in Epcot.

on January 28, 2013

I’m sleepy. This is a sleepy post because I find it easier to talk about upsetting things when I don’t have enough sleep to censor myself. So, we’re there.

This past week… this was rough. I wouldn’t say I have “anxiety disorder,” or that it’s all that intense, but I have episodes that are worse than others. It’s why I haven’t posted too much over the past few days.

My new job is great, and I’m so happy to have it… but I’ve been burned in the past. You think things are going well, but there’s that little voice inside of you that just won’t let you relax. You can’t just be happy. You wake up each morning waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My manager is a micro-manager. That’s not to say he’s mean, or incompetent; he’s very good at his job. Too good, maybe, to let someone else fumble a bit and make mistakes. But it’s tough when everything you do is under a microscope. Have you ever tried doing something at work while someone is sitting there, looking over your shoulder? They’re watching you. They’re judging everything you do.

I didn’t put in a dotted line fast enough.

I didn’t switch out two names, even though I didn’t know I should… I guess I could have figured it out…

It’s been 11.5 months since my last job ended, and let’s just say, it didn’t end on a high note. I was 5 months pregnant… you draw your own conclusions. So I’m out of practice. I don’t have my game face on. Sorry about that; I left it at home on my nightstand next to the Desitin and the box of baby wipes.

And then, at some point, it just became too much. And in my head, I pictured being called into my manager’s office. In my head, they tell me that this isn’t working out. They’re letting me go. My blood pressure rises. I can’t be unemployed again. My family is depending on me. I have a baby. We have a mortgage.


Don’t do this…

I’ll work longer. I’ll be better…

Am I overly dramatic? Maybe. Probably. But not intentionally. I had to take a few minutes. I walked into the bathroom and closed the door.

Am I the only one who does this?

My friend texted me: “Take a deep breath. Again.”

Some people have “happy places” of verdant fields with… I don’t know, lambs or some shit. I went to the Maryland Wool and Sheep Festival a couple of times. Sheep smell like… well, like dirty, wet wool.

Which I guess is appropriate.

MY happy place is Epcot Center in Disney World. I went there last year when I was pregnant with Max. Unlike the other parks, Epcot is really more about science and discovery and learning and I am a giant fucking nerd because I loved it so much, and couldn’t understand why anyone would go to any other park.


So I sat in the bathroom, hyperventilating, picturing that time my husband and I rode the tour around the Disney science lab, and telling myself that everything would be ok.

When I got out, one of my coworkers pulled me aside. “You’re really good at this, you know?” he said. “You just need to stop thinking you’re failing. You’re not. You’re actually making people annoyed, because you’re downplaying how good you really are.” It was a smack to the face.

Work is hard.

Managers are hard.

Sometimes though, you’re hardest on yourself.

37 responses to “In which I hide in the bathroom and pretend I’m in Epcot.

  1. genext13 says:

    You are awesome! Just sayin’

  2. Why do people suck so much? And by people, I don’t mean you, I mean your micro-manager (yes, I’m picturing him two inches tall) and your co-worker. Hang in there. Now I want to visit Epcot.

    • H. Stern says:

      Epcot is amazing, and my coworker was trying to be nice. He was trying to tell me I was doing a good job, but psyching myself out. Which I did again today. The reality is, you do your best. Maybe I’m forcing the pieces into the wrong places; maybe I’m trying to make the wrong picture out of my puzzle.

  3. hang on in! i don’t have a happy place as such, when i have blood pressure tests though, i think of my favourite friend, it works a treat, i drop to low from high 😉
    you are amazing, new job so soon after having a baby, keep breathing nice and deep….

  4. rainey says:

    Oh, my friend, this is one of those posts that i need to write a long, meaningful comment, but as i am late for work, it will have to wait until this evening. Just know you are my fave bonkers friend whom I love and yet have never met!

  5. Used to be a manager with good folks and would recommend that you hang in. Your manager (if good) will let you run free when sure you won’t fail. The deep breath text was good advice. I used to use a paper bag to overcome the hyperventilating although people thought I had a bottle in there. Great piece. Thanks – John

  6. at epcot, did you ever eat at a restaurant with an aquarium..a giant glass wall?
    i had the best sole ever, but this shark kept swimming next to me against the glass.

  7. I love Epcot. I love all of Disney really. But that hydroponic garden tour? Yeah I rode that sucker like three times. TOMATO TREES!

  8. Wait, the little voice in your head that wont let you relax isn’t normal? Crap…

  9. rainey says:

    YOU ARE A DAMN GOOD EMPLOYEE. I would hire you just to keep me entertained. But then, we would have so much fun together that we would both get fired….
    Seriously, I think you are over-reacting because of your last job experience. Add to that being unemployed for a while, the life-altering hormonal changes that go with birthing the little peanut…AND the fact that you probably obtained a whole lotta humongous boobage from having said peanut….you’ve been through a lot! Give yourself a break. Mr. Mirco is being anal because, well, he is anal. He cannot help it any more than you can help loving your son. It’s just the way it is.
    And, by the way, kudos for having a friend who you can count on to text, “Take a deep breath.” We all need that friend every now and then!

  10. You know, I just can’t mock you after this blog. I just want to hug you. I guess that makes me all stalky again.

    Giant. Fucking. Nerd. Those are three words that just don’t seem to fit together. Then you said “cucumbers” after saying fucking again. I am struck by the irony.

    I’m trying hard to be strange. Is it working?

  11. holdontoyourpants says:

    I have to be honest… Every time I read your blog I feel like we lead a double life. That probably sounds awfully creepy, but know that you are not alone at all in the way you look out on to the world. I always enjoy reading, thanks again!
    Also… HiiiiiiFiiiiive for rocking at work!

    • H. Stern says:

      It actually doesn’t sound creepy at all. It sounds reassuring, and I appreciate it! I had to be reminded again today that I’m doing a good job… because MAN those little demons who whisper in your ear are convincing, aren’t they? Lying little bastards.

  12. punkycoletta says:

    We are most definitely too hard on ourselves!

  13. Teeny Bikini says:

    You are amazingness! And don’t you forget that… But I get it. I so get. And I hate being micromanaged. Hugs.

  14. lillylion says:

    “Sometimes though, you’re hardest on yourself.” True-fucking-dat!

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