*This is not super eloquent. I’m not feeling so hot (just a cold).
When you’re chronically ill guilt and worth are something you really struggle with. I think I’ve talked about guilt on here before and how it can be overwhelming. Guilt is on the same level as worth. When you’re really sick, and can’t take care of yourself, not only do you constantly feel guilty but you start to feel worthless. For me, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t pay my bills, couldn’t drive myself to doctor appointments, etc. Basically everything that made me feel guilty also make me feel worthless. Worthless may sound dramatic, but when you break it down, it makes total sense. What am I worth? What do I bring to the table? What am I contributing? When I was sick…that was all nothing.
Last week I started my graduate assistant position, and while its not a full time job, its the first job I’ve had in a year and a half since I got fired. I had a whole new respect for the interview process because once I got the job, it was even more clear to me that they wanted me for this job. They trusted in me and my skills, and I was worth the risk of a new hire. This position gives me a salary and it pays my tuition, so the university takes a chance on grad assistants because they dump a lot of money into them.
When I finished my first week of work, I felt like I had accomplished something. Someone thought I would be good at something, they gave me a job, and I did that job. …..and they’re going to pay me to continue to do that job. All of this sounds so obvious, but after being without work those basic concepts have been refreshed in my mind. Sure, living on unemployment was nice, but you really start to feel worthless. I really started to question my skills, my degree, hell, my work ethic. There is a lot to be said about working. Everyone hates their job from time to time (or even all the time) but when you accomplish your job, and you’ve earned money to sustain your own well being….that’s a great feeling.
I had my first job when I was 11. It was a paper route. My parents both instilled in me at a very young age the pride in making your own money. What it feels like to provide for yourself. When I was sick, I was actually thankful to be free of my job, but since I had my colon removed and I was more functioning, I’ve had a hard time being unemployed. Its hard to be proud of yourself when you’re so dependent on other people. You spend all your time and energy trying to show them that you’re grateful and that you will make them proud. Now I feel like I can make those same people proud but by accomplishing things academically and professionally, opposed to medically. Instead of being proud of how fast I recover from a surgery, they can be proud that I’m excelling school and work, and also by devoting myself to volunteering and awareness. I feel like I have so much more worth now than I ever did before. And this might be a fleeting feeling because I’ll probably become jaded by having a career again but in the mean time I’ll be thankful for my job and that someone thought I was worthy enough to have it.