I woke up today, and on the way to work, I got into a fender bender.
I did not plan to get into a fender bender. I would say that at least 99.997% of our world does not try to get into a fender bender. The .003% of the world are the teenagers who like a good malicious joke and the James Bonds of our time. But the other more sensible percentage do not go out of their way to create the pains of tapping one end of their vehicle to another vehicle’s end for recreation.
I wasn’t extremely tired. I wasn’t looking at my phone. I wasn’t really doing much but concentrating on driving and the traffic stopped faster than I anticipated so I slammed on the breaks and slid into the car in front of me anyway.
It’s funny, but as I slammed on the breaks, eyes wide open, I thought to myself, “Fuck my life, I can’t afford this right now.” I would hope if it had been a more life threatening situation, I would have thought more, but my biggest concern that flashed for those few seconds was that it would cost so much money that I would have to postpone my trip to New Zealand.
My car is completely fine, per usual. She’s a trooper. She also has two steel hooks placed on the bumper to help with dragging anything out of trouble, thus they tend to tap the offending car while leaving itself unscathed. Not that ol’ Bloo has been in a lot of accidents.
Nah, it’s been maybe two at most. The last I remember is the day I found out my grandfather had cancer. Looking back, no, I shouldn’t have been driving through tears, but I had to get home so I could make it to the hospital in time to be with my parents as they met with my grandfather for the first time in over ten years as our family is rather estranged in that we have problems with people who worship Rush Limbaugh.
So, we swapped our info while waiting for the po-po, made small talk about what we were supposed to be doing this morning, and then the state trooper came out of her car to inform me that when I purchased my license plates a few years ago, the county accidentally wrote down the wrong license plate number, one off, so there was some slight suspicion (despite her pointing out that she has seen it before) that I had been trying to work the system for a cheaper license plate/registration.
I could tell the person I swapped insurance companies with was wondering if I did, indeed, have insurance as I said. Which was understood because I hadn’t gotten the most recent insurance card from my dad yet. I had to show them my last years along with a text message from my mother a few seconds earlier.
I finally got to work an hour later to find that my computer would automatically update as soon as I connected to the company’s network. Not only an update, but a full fledged re-imaging. This update took an hour and a half. During this update, I was unable to use my computer to do anything on, so I used this time to write out my crash report while texting my mother that, indeed, I was okay, and apologizing to a coworker I thought was at work today and had told her I’d be late due to the accident.
That is when I got a promotion.
I wasn’t expecting that either.
As you can imagine, while my boss continued to tell me about his want to take me along with him to a VP role, his knowledge that I have already proved myself to do the role, and my raise, I was more:
Thus concludes one of the top ten most emotionally confusing mornings of my life.
The rest of the day was me racing options through my head. Make more money, but want to leave for adventure. Stay with amazing friends, but then work with people in the dotted line I’m not too fond of. Wouldn’t have to worry about moving, but I’d be bored with where I was.
Should I just make it a few months of a trip instead, taking a sabbatical? Should I tell my boss he made a mistake because I was thinking of leaving? Why am I even considering this right now?
I poked at everyone I knew for them to talk at me. I didn’t care if they were for or against, I just needed to hear someone outside my head as I was trying to smooth out my bat cave of a mind. And I kept coming back to the same thought, over and over again — if I don’t leave now, when would I?
While this notion kept me strong in knowing what I should do, it wasn’t until I saw my boss later that afternoon to sit down and talk about what this meant for our future that I really got my answer.
He said he knew about but didn’t care for the admin political bullshit I rarely spoke about, and that he hired me because he wanted me. He said the main dotted-line boss wasn’t going to tell him whether I was worthy to come with him because she didn’t write my reviews — he was my boss, and that was that. I was getting particularly more fond of my boss for telling me how he stands behind me on my decisions, and I began to feel more guilty about telling him later that I’d be leaving…until he went on to say, “You and I just have to be more concerned about how we present ourselves. Step up our game. We’re both very casual people, but now we’re going to be meeting with some bigger people. It is definitely not a question as to whether you can do the job because you have proven yourself over and over again. It is that we need to look at the interactions with others, and being more involved within the admin community. This could be a really good chance to show that you can not only rock doing the job well, but bring about this other side to prove that ESVP admin wrong about everything else.”
Maybe it was because I have worked my whole life going against this theory. Maybe it was because I have been reading Men Explain Things To Me. Or maybe it is because I had just finished watching the latest Tropes Vs. Women from Feminist Frequency. I could tell my boss was trying the best he could to delicately tell me that he thought I wasn’t dressing girly enough, and that my “boyish” talk wasn’t going to be as appropriate now that we were going VP — despite being completely professional at all times around anyone not considered a close working friend. The reason I could tell this was because just last week I had been complaining about wanting to see more female leads, good ones, within the sci-fi/fantasy realms, and he had responded with, “Mallory, you just need to realize that you are a minority in the gaming/nerdy world, and you need to accept this reality.”
And my reaction was the same then as it was now: I gave a strained smiled, blinked, then said, “Of course.” and proceeded to remember that this was the reason why I couldn’t work in these companies anymore. I know what reality is. And I’m tired of others continuing to be willfully blind. And I’m tired of having to strain a smile when I really want to say, “Fuck that, you’re wrong, and I’m going to change it.”
I have an opportunity in New Zealand that could be considered a dream job. It may take a few months, but the objective behind it is something I want to be a part of. It is certainly scary to go for the job that may not pay as well, that is difficult to get to, and that will definitely need hard work in order to make it happen. It is scary to jump — I’ve written about it before. And anyone who makes the jump to what their dreams are made of will tell you the same thing: they smiled effortlessly while doing it.
I don’t want to fake my smile at work anymore. And I certainly don’t want to have to change myself entirely over in order to please someone I wouldn’t even pay for with my own feces as currency.
I’m reminded of a Top Ten Favorite moment of mine while reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants:
Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit …
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.
I want to live in New Zealand, bring about a socialized gaming experience that is positive and supportive for ALL genders, and, while I’m at it, be unabashedly myself while doing it. My first thought while trying to brake my car so it wouldn’t hit the car in front of it was never getting the chance to jump at my dream. I’d rather be happy as fuck attempting that rather than milling along life wondering when I’d ever get the chance again. I’m going to New Zealand.
And I don’t fucking care if you like it.