Over the last few weeks, as I sat down in front of this same laptop and worked on more optimistic things, I also let the internal voice that is Brittany assist me in writing a draft that poured out all the heartache that came with being laid off. Have you ever been around a pissed-off cheerleader? They’re oddly terrifying.
Brittany and I wrote in exquisitely excruciating detail about moving through the stages of grief, built numbered lists of heartache with the company, bulleted lists on what my manager is, was and how she should have been, and a searing, heart-tugging description of the less than wonderful day that I was laid off. A thousand words later, I was still writing about how everyone still loves me, no one understands what happened, how awful it all was…Thanks to Brittany’s assistance, this was one of the more satisfying writing jags I’ve ever been on.
Finishing that missive was much like how it feels when you are walking through hurricane winds, pushing you, battering at you–and finally, a few yards away, you see a door. Opening it, you step inside, shut the door behind you and finally take a deep breath of the calmer air. Ethel waits there (the second voice inside my head). As annoying as she finds Brittany, Ethel was the first one to help her dry her tears, repair her makeup, then pat her on the back and tell her to get back in the game. Dexter has been mostly absent from these conversations. Considering how I felt in the 48 days since I heard the news, probably best not to express a need for his services.
So, here’s the deal. If you take nothing else from the passage that I’ve been walking, take these steps:
Step One: Write it out. Say all the truths you need to say in text and image forms as necessary. Put your truth out there–channel your inner Britanny. 🙂 This is not the time for understatement. Pour your heart and soul into it. Telling all those truths that you could never say to anyone that you worked with, worked for, or who worked for you will be gleefully amusing, starkly dramatic and enormously satisfying.
Step Two: go ahead and hit the “save” button… but wait! Be very, very careful–it’s really easy to push the “publish” button on a blog, or the “send” button on email. Don’t post it, don’t email it, don’t link to it. Push it to the side… but keep it. You’ll want to read it again someday, I promise you. Save it somewhere that only you have the password.
Step Three: Get on with your life.
There is so much satisfaction in finishing that rant! But you gain SO much more by not sending it. You gain the respect of those who take note of such things, among so many other possibilities that can’t even be thought of while you’re onstage posturing in grief. The comparatively tiny bit of satisfaction you get if you hit “send” will be quickly overwhelmed by the “oh, CRAP, did I really SEND that?” In a networked world, burning bridges is a bad idea…you’ll need them later.
When you’re done, take a breath. Write about something else. Revisit the yammerings of your tortured, abused soul at some later point, and delete it. By then, you will be walking in those calmer passages, and you will be able to breathe again.