Went to another brilliant meeting tonight. The 7.30 at Hop Gardens, secretly my favourite AA meeting in London. I keep the fact that I like it a secret because, well, it’s a bit embarrassing. It’s a bit like enjoying the music of Bucks Fizz – millions do, but few would ever admit to it. Hop Gardens on Friday night is often like going to see a show. You see all the faces there. All the sharing has an extra layer of glitz added to it. Famous people have even been known to do the chair there. It is a hotbed of glamorous sobriety. Over the years I have found it is not all style over substance, either. Every week you are guaranteed to hear genuine sobriety in what people say. It’s a strong meeting. As well as being funny, sexy and downright cheerful, it has provided me with some bloody good life lessons, I’m telling you.
I needed it tonight, after another horrendous day at work which I completely ruined for myself. The moment I sat down at 8 o’clock this morning I knew I hadn’t gotten over yesterday yet. That lump in the throat and the aggrieved disappointment in the gut was still there. After an hour of feeling tearful I tried to remember why I was so upset, and I couldn’t. I had almost no idea what was up with me. When my team strolled in at 9, both of them cheerful as children (“it’s Friday!” they hollered, as if that mattered,) I had irritation to add to my list of negative feelings. I wanted to go home. I just didn’t want to work today. I was fed up of feeling pissed off at my colleagues, none of whom had technically done anything wrong.
As the day wore on I watched myself get worse. I was trying to listen to 90s eurodisco on Spotify to cheer myself up, but the phone wouldn’t stop ringing and people wouldn’t stop talking at me, making it hard just to think, let alone listen to and enjoy some Ace of Base. When Adam made some pithy comment about Ace of Base being played slightly too much for his liking, I put my headphones on to drown him and the world out. “Ooh, he’s putting the headphones on!” Adam squealed scathingly. I felt like hitting him.
A few hours later I deigned to take the headphones out, realising that I may be acting in a slightly childish manner. Unfortunately Adam chose that moment to start being pithy again, commenting on some things I’d said yesterday about the company. “Have you actually tried talking to these people you claim to find difficult?” he demanded. I instantly knew that he was right, of course – I haven’t tried speaking to any of the people in the company whose behaviour I’ve had problems with.
“Why should I talk to them?” I snapped, putting the headphones back in before Adam could swipe back with another point-scoring remark.
It wasn’t until 4.30 that the temperature of my blood started returning to near normal levels. Having been in since 8am I was lucky enough to have the choice of going home at 5. With just half an hour of compulsory working time left, I removed the headphones once and for all. Adam was making one of his cerebral jokes and I couldn’t help smiling. Yet I couldn’t help feeling an awkwardness with him: our friendship had been rocky all day, and I couldn’t just get over that. It was exactly the same every time I fell out with Jan. There would always be a few hours or days of unusual silence between us before things could return to some semblance of normality. To see the same pattern unfold with Adam is quite unsettling, you have to admit.
I have the first three days of next week booked as annual leave – thank God. I think a five day weekend is probably just what the doctor ordered. I don’t know if such a minimal period of rest will be enough to let me calm down and regain some peace of mind, but I’m going to give it a try. If I can get through at least one day without worrying about work, I’ll be sorted. I’ve grown tired of the nightly worrying sessions, which can last hours and get me nowhere. I don’t need that in my life. I have to find some way of getting over my grievances, most of which are really petty. I didn’t ask my manager for that meeting yet. I may never ask her. Unless I can go to her convinced that I am doing the right thing, I can’t do it. The concept of her scares me too much.
The day I’ve had is a symptom of my biggest problem, my core belief that I’m not good enough for my job. Adam threatens me because he is so clever. And he challenges me on nearly everything. You can’t say anything that isn’t true around him. You can’t make generalizations or bitch about people or moan about your lot in life: he’ll pull you up on it. I snap at him in my low moments because I fear that ultimately, he could take my job. For whatever reason, I am presently living in doubt about my job. Any threat to the little security I have – whether it comes from the boss’s lack of engagement, the company’s lack of interest, or Adam’s constant cleverness – will contribute to the ongoing erosion of my self confidence, an erosion which I know I bring on myself.
I hope I get some good sleep over this long weekend, and I hope I can return to work next Thursday feeling not so pissed off with everyone. Sleep, sleep. Please allow me to sleep!