Fired more than 2 months ago and still not back to normal

Georgia sunset
A friend of mine submitted this sunset photo from a trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. | LAUREN OWENS

When it comes to finding the time to evaluate what you want, nothing quite gets the job done like getting the rug pulled from under you. I mean, snatched from under you—teacup flying in the air, chair tumbled over, barely having time to catch the cell phone you’ve been desperately clutching most of the day. For me, the rug was pulled quite unexpectedly.

I was fired from my job as a Senior Staff Writer the day before Thanksgiving after having worked for my former employer for three years. I had not a single plan to leave. I loved my work, flaws and all. But what I learned in no longer having the option to work was just how much of my life I had allowed being a writer to occupy. Building up someone else’s company had become a source of pride and inspiration for me, and I lost sight of my dream. I had replaced it with someone else’s, so imagine the sense of betrayal I felt to learn how disposable I was. There was no pattern of disciplinary action or warning that my job was in jeopardy. It simply was until it wasn’t.

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And when it wasn’t, I was devastated. I am still devastated, but I am finally ready to pick myself back up and start piecing together the life I want. For me, that has meant beginning therapy again, prioritizing time with friends, and putting my husband and family first. They have helped me grow amid such immense pain, and they have reminded me that I am not alone in what I’m going through.

They’ve watched me start the business of applying for other jobs almost immediately, and they’ve watched me approach the unfamiliar territory of seeking unemployment benefits. (Word to the wise: Apply in the state that collected taxes from your paychecks not necessarily where the company is based.)

My family has watched me handle it all, preparing Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday meals for my son and daughter in the meantime. Then, my loved ones watched me fall apart.

That’s the thing about being fired when you have children, your world has to keep moving. You have to keep being the person to your babies that you’ve always been while also managing the trauma that comes with having that dependable rug snatched.

I felt unappreciated. I felt taken advantage of, and I felt misrepresented. All the feelings seemed to hit me at once, and I couldn’t control when. I still can’t. I wake up everyday replaying everything that happened.

I’ve written the story so many times, I could probably regurgitate most the details on command. And on a good day, I could keep those details, that replay, confined to the early morning hours. On a bad day, the events that transpired the day before I was fired would catch me off guard, sending me into a teary rage. It was like I was reliving the trauma all over again.

The only lifelines I could recognize in those moments were my husband’s dependability and my mother’s words. She told me that I needed to try to move on for my own sake. Control what I could control, and let go of the rest. Do it all knowing that I have a good man in my corner, rooting for me and going through the ups and downs with me.

I’ve been holding on to her words for the last couple of weeks, just trying to focus my attention away from my former job, and in the process, I am learning to lean on others.

I am learning that it is okay to invite joy in my life even though I don’t have every aspect of it figured out. I am simply being right now, and I am doing the best I can to move on.