I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On the road again

I work in a bike shop again. I can't tell you how monumental this is for me. This isn't merely a retail job where I do my time and collect a paycheck. This isn't just a great job because I get to be around bikes and get a discount. This is a big deal because I get to see who I really am in a setting I once enjoyed, even when my life was miserable.

I'm 5 weeks in and each day was pretty thrilling as far as a learning experience. I've learned that my anxiety level is low, not at a 0, but at a completely manageable level. I don't feel like I use to, I don't approach people the way I use to, I don't see things the way I use to. It's like a heavy burden has been lifted and I just get to be myself. It's a magical fucking thing. I get to act and feel as myself, which is something I didn't quite have before. I live, exist, talk, and act as the person who was always hiding inside wanted to. I get to be me.

People respond to me entirely different. This has to be the craziest and most unexpected part of the whole experience. I use to think it was the hair and makeup that would put people off but that might have only been a small part of it. I'm still covered in tattoos and have fake eyebrows but no one seems even slightly aware. I have little old ladies that are 2 generations of standards behind today come in and take to me right away. They walk in pretty much warmed up to me the minute I greet them. They laugh at my jokes and have a great time while we talk bike baskets and water bottle cages, not once looking at my physical appearance (I'm still not 100% conventional looking, even if it's almost night and day from before). I have middle aged businessmen (they would always look at me the strangest in my prior bike shop job) talk to me without any sceptical side glances or judgement in their voices.

They're responding to the person. Me. The real me.

There must be complete difference in my expressions and body language that I can't personally observe. I *feel* different, even though it's more of not being different but having the layers of struggle peeled away. I spent 3.5 years in a shop before, and even though the shops are different, there's still the same elements involved when talking to customers.

Feels good. Feels really good.