I just realized my last post here had been a year ago.
Things got crazy. Just about everywhere in my life. I know I’ve said this before but… damn. My life exploded. In… good and bad ways. Some more bad than good, but some more good than bad. Anyway.
First, last summer, my boss started a slow downward decline into what I’m assuming is some kind of mental illness. And like, even though it was noticeable, the entire office didn’t really know what to do with it. He became irrationally angry at a drop of a hat. He seemed perpetually unhappy with everything, and at turns, so blindingly optimistic about things that honestly seemed too good-to-be-true. (And this being said by someone who is usually blindingly optimistic about everything.) He was very unstable.
But I thought, you know? I can tough it out. Maybe he’s having a bad spell, or a mid-life crisis, and things will even out.
By the fall, things had gotten insane (and I don’t mean to use that term lightly). Every employee (all 3 of us) were tiptoeing around him, afraid of what might set him off. Every day was another disaster, another war zone. He tore threw our offices, “cleaned” our desks for us–throwing out valuable client papers and entire files alike–became angry at us when we couldn’t find anything or realized that he had thrown something away that he later needed, hired life insurance attorney who proceeded to sit in our offices looking entirely lost as to what he was doing there, and changed our client management processes approximately four times a month. All of this, in between him yelling truly aggressive and demeaning insults at us, and generally making it known that any one of us could be fired at any minute and he wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
The final straw, I kid you not, was the shoes.
Let me first tell you that I worked as a legal secretary at a small law firm. This will become important later in this story. I was a legal secretary. Law firm. Got it? Good.
My boss had always been the kind of person to dabble in a lot of different hobbies. He wrote a children’s book. He golfed. He rode motorcycles. He fixed up houses (being the kind of person that could afford to buy extra property just to “fix up”). For the most part, he kept those things to outside of office hours, like everyone else does with a hobby or secondary job.
But then he started designing shoes. Which okay, neat. Then he got it into his head that he had designed the best shoe. (Sure, pride in your product, I can get down with that.) Then he flew up to Pennsylvania to talk to a custom shoemaker/cobbler about making these shoes, and when he came back, he had a huge announcement for all of us. (Can you feel my sarcasm?) “We” (ie: the employees of the office) were about to embark on a journey that would get us all rich. “We” were going to open the first joint law firm/shoe store. For me, specifically, he told me that if I played my cards right I could become head salesman (“Salesperson,” I interjected weakly.) of the entire shoe line.
It was very hard not to shout “What the fuck?” in the middle of the meeting.
The most bizarre thing during this? He had, for some reason, taken off his shoes during this speech and had his naked, un-socked, un-shoed feet propped up on the table as he talked. I kept staring at his naked, ugly feet, trying to comprehend what nonsense he was telling me about shoes.
It was a very surreal moment.
But in that moment, I realized that all of this made a kind of terrible sense. He had been declining since… god, April? Even before then? This was just the next downward step into his spiral of instability. There had been no up-swing in his health for months. And I realized that I was just his secretary. I wasn’t his mother or his wife or even a friend–I had no stake in his mental health. I had every stake in mine.
I stayed until the end of October (for about another week after the shoe meeting), and then I quit without notice. I typed up a resignation letter, turned up at work just long enough to get the first client settled, then handed him the letter and left. Right out the door.
It was utterly freeing.
I spent my November (Nanowrimo time!) finishing a draft I had started and dabbled on that July. By the end of November, it was done. December I edited it, and got it ready to send out to a list of people to clean it up for me. That draft turned into Queen’s Rogues, a comic I started posting this March. I am super proud of it. (Yes, also, I see how much improvement I still need to do, especially art-wise, but pride. It is present and encompassing.)
I spent two weeks in Seattle, seeing if something would pan out there, living and vocation wise. It… didn’t really. The city is lovely, but I would have to make so many changes just in my…. state of being, never mind my life, in order to live there. (And honestly I do think that the constant gray skies would get to me, no matter how many bookstores and coffee shops they had). I’m back home now. Maybe someday I could do the Seattle thing, but not right now.
When I got back home, I moved out of my apartment and back in with my parents. Not exactly ideal, but holy hell does it save money on rent. And they’ve been generally supportive of me and my creative endeavors, so that’s a huge plus.
And to top all that off, this April I got a job working part-time at a comic book store. It doesn’t pay that much (see: part-time) but it’s fun and way less stressful than working at any law firm. I’m making money, I’m helping clean up and organize the shop (something that I get this super weird satisfaction for, despite my inability to clean my own house). I get to play with comics all day and, even better, my job allows me ample opportunity to ignore the fuck out of people if I don’t want to deal with them.
Ha ha, that’s right, I work in the back. \o/
So all in all, things are… moving. Hopefully in the right direction. I’m a lot happier now, way less stressed, and I get to do art and things that I enjoy all day. I have no idea if this is financially feasible in the long run but… honestly? I can’t be arsed to care about that right now.
So.. uh.. how has your year been? 😛