Gina Wars: Return of the…Um…Not Jedi, but Something Equally Cool.

*THUD! A girl you recognize has appeared before you, accompanied by a loud crash.*

Oh, hi, Polyskeptic readers! It’s me, that other writer who gets a blurb on the bio page.

*Our narrator has fallen out of nowhere and is having a bit of trouble getting up.  She looks around and notices that she is being watched by the entire internet and resolves to get her ass up.  She dusts off her shoulders and notices that she’s getting old as she bends down to pick up her glasses from the ground. She turns to face…the internet…fixes her hair a bit, though she knows that it doesn’t really make a difference.  It’s hard to get rid of that “I just fell off of something” look.  A smile curls across her face.*

Good to see you’re still here.  Thank goodness Shaun, Ginny and Wes decided that writing was a good idea because yeesh.  I have been at a complete loss for words over the last several months!

I know, you are shocked and I don’t blame you, but honestly, had I been writing all this time, I likely would have been doing a whole lot of whining and no one actually likes reading that crap.  If it makes you feel any better, I also wasn’t particularly updating my Facebook page! I KNOW! Sacrilege.  But again, had I been less disciplined about that, I would have possibly put up a bunch of vague “Oh I’m so disappointed in…people…and I am so…upset…and stuff…” kind of statuses, prompting people to send me eHugs and while I would possibly appreciate the sentiment, it wouldn’t have really helped.  What I’m saying is ranting to Facebook is only acceptable to me if I can be hilarious while doing it.  I used to illustrate the ups and downs of my day with appropriate YouTube videos, but alas I cannot access them at work anymore.

So, where have I been?  What have I been doing?  Well, to put it simply, I have been engaged in an epic battle for equal pay at my job.  The story itself is boring at this point.  The important thing is that I started this debacle in January and just today got final written proof of my victory.  Yes, 6 months of fighting.

Now, firstly, I say that it was epic because it felt that way to me…but part of the frustration I was experiencing was that it wasn’t particularly epic to anyone who could make important decisions.  What happened was several months of me arguing and fighting by proxy at the powers that be and getting odd responses that, in some ways, amounted to “well, yeah, I know she’s been here a long time and is important and stuff, but is she really that great?  I mean, what does she DO?”  I internalized a lot of that and it started to seriously take its toll on me.

Secondly, when I say “equal pay”, I’m not referencing a gender inequality thing. At least, I was never able to fully buy that any of this was related to that.  I suppose the case could be made, but I really don’t think so.  The crux of this whole thing was that I wanted to stop limping along to getting my market value.  I wanted to stop having to scream about this every couple of years. I wanted it done so that I could stop fighting and just work…and I didn’t think that was a ridiculous thing to ask for.

It is, however, rare to manage what I have managed, and based on the fact that I felt like I was getting the crap beat out of me often during the process, I can certainly see why.  But I won, damn it, and now I can get back into doing what I’m good at and feeling balanced and calmer. And I know that I am valued enough to keep me happy, at market value…and that’s pretty excellent.

This was an important experience though for a whole host of reasons, the biggest being that I needed to show myself that I could fight for me like this.  I was relatively convinced that I was going to lose and almost gave up a few times, but my family wouldn’t let me.  I would come home and tell them the latest piece of the saga and they would echo my initial reactions and I wouldn’t feel so nuts anymore…but it was hard, because in the end I was the only one who could do anything.

The experience also reminded me how much depression lies and how hard it is to separate yourself from it even when you know what it is and what is causing it.  I felt very lucky to be medicated, because I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without Zoloft honestly.  I still had days where I was having to go to the bathroom at work to cry and I wasn’t able to leave it all at work when I went home.  I was sensitive and insecure.  The stress was wreaking havoc on my mind and body.  It got to the point where I was convinced not only that I was unintelligent and worthless, but also that I was ugly and completely unsexy.  I could barely look at myself in the mirror some days.  And I knew that it was an illusion, that I was looking at myself and thinking about myself with an ugly, terrible filter, but I couldn’t remove the haze.  Finally, I ended up with strep throat and antibiotics waged war on my innards and my thoughts too and I came into work after Memorial Day weekend completely fed up with the entire process.  And finally, after all of that, I got the first good news I needed: a reasonable proposal of compensation and a promise that it was being discussed and that decisions would be official soon.

It took several days for this to sink in.  Even when I got the official word, I was still in disbelief and I was still fighting off residual negativity (this is why primal scream therapy would not work for me at all.  Allow rage and negativity forward leaves burn that takes a long time to heal), BUT I could feel the haze lifting finally.

So I’m back.  I feel like writing again and I have things to say and I don’t have this general feeling that nothing matters and that no one cares.  I missed my own passion and gusto and not caring about whether I looked like an airbrushed magazine mutant.  I was aware of all these seemingly ridiculous notions, and being aware that they are ridiculous served as a light at the end of the tunnel.  “You know this is circumstantial and chemical.  This is not eternal.  This is a down in a life of ups and downs.”  And now I have burlesque shows to write about and the hilarity of family life at the Polyskeptic compound.  I am stronger now than I was before…or at least, have a bit of a sense of humor about it.  That’s pretty much the same thing, right?

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3 responses to “Gina Wars: Return of the…Um…Not Jedi, but Something Equally Cool.

  1. I probably should have sent you an email sometime in the last two months to tell you how awesome you are. As it is, though, congratulations! This is way overdue and you more than deserve it 🙂

  2. It did me a lot of good to read your article. When professional concerns refuse to stay at work and instead bleed over into our self-image, it can–as you said–create an awful filter through which we see our world and ourselves.

    I’ve been going through my own version of that recently. It can be so difficult to explain to those closest to me that I can sometimes feel unattractive or somehow less deserving of love for no discernible reason other than my professional uncertainty. It’s a connection that isn’t readily understood, but strongly felt. Reading about your experience really helped to put those concerns back into perspective.

    I’m so glad that things have come together for you, and that you have the medical and personal supports to help you through the low times. Here’s hoping for better times to come!

  3. That’s great. I’ve recently come up from a 3 year down myself. It is hard to explain to pretty much everybody why them telling me to just be okay or just do this or that wasn’t going to work for me. Only now can I share with a few selected friends how I was really feeling and it usually makes them a little uncomfortable but they still are there for me. I’ma relatively pretty new reader so I’m looking forward to read more from you =)

    Lots of hugs!

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