Ten Years Ago Today a Job Saved my Life
There are certain events or times in life that hold more significance or importance than others. Markers of time that change the way you live, view yourself, view your life. Moments that shake things up and put you on a path that bring you to where and who you are now.
Ten years ago today was one of those moments for me. The only reason I remember this exact date is because it was 6/6/06. Kind of hard to forget.
A decade ago, on that day, I was hired at Starbucks. A place where I started to find myself, my work ethic, my ability to commit to taking care of myself.
For the next two years I would learn more about who I was than I had in the twenty two years before. I would learn I was capable of being a fully functional human. That I deserved and was worthy of being alive.
I am aware of how strange that may sound, but you have to have an understanding of where I was up until that day.
Sometimes I feel like it is redundant to speak on this since I have written about it so much, but in the off chance that you came here without knowing my history let me fill you in real quick.
When I got hired at Starbucks I was twenty years old and only a few months out of a six month inpatient stint at a hospital in Virginia. When I entered that hospital I weighed 312 pounds, had survived two suicide attempts, had multiple hospitalizations for both eating disorders and mental illness, and had been basically living in my bed for a year.
At the time I got hired I had already started to relapse into my eating disorder again. I thrived in hospitals and it was clear that I needed structure, but after traumatic experiences of being body shamed at previous jobs and job interviews I was terrified to get one. I also didn’t think I was capable of being trusted. In the past I would call out of any job or responsibility I had. The only thing I was reliable to was my illness.
As a born people pleaser this habit I had formed embarrassed me to no end. I was filled with guilt for the amount of times I was a no show for therapy or work. I had never been able to hold a job before, but I knew that if I didn’t get one and change my ways that I was going to end up in another hospital or dead. It was loud and clear that those were my two choices.
Somehow magic and the stars aligned this time. Exactly what I needed to happen happened. Immediately I started to thrive. I got promoted really fast. I learned how to talk to people and make friends again. And I started on my healing journey for real.
By the time I left that job I had lost 160 lbs., moved to Brooklyn on my own, and was in a relationship with the man who became my husband.
The two years I worked there stick to me in a way I don’t know how to explain. They were two of the more significant years of my life. It was as though I was an adult who was learning how to walk and was conscious of it as it was happening.
Hilariously I now live on Long Island again. The store I worked at closed many years ago but I pass that shopping center and that area almost every day.
Last year I started writing a YA series loosely based on that period of my life. I haven't talked about it to anyone except the people closest to me, for the fear of jinxing it getting published. It seems significant to mention it now. Especially since last week not thinking that this milestone was happening so soon (or at all), I finally went back to it and started writing again.
It’s funny how life always works that way.
It blows my mind that it has been a decade since that day. I owe that job and that time so much. It truly saved my life at a time that I needed a life raft and I honestly don't know what would've happened to me or where I would be today if I hadn't gotten hired.
A big thank you to that time and that job and the people who graced my life. You are forever in my heart.