Ash Gutierrez
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Saying Goodbye

To the Job That Gave Me Everything I Knew I Needed

It was over two years ago, I'd walked into the living room where my father who rarely showed signs of distress looked almost unrecognizable in his sadness.

"They found Erica."

I knew it was going to happen, I unleashed my last angry words to her over the internet. What a sad mistake to make. I was so angry I couldn't save her, we were all so angry we couldn't save her.

I had my dream job, I was a web administrator at a million dollar art enriched company. I helped people every day, made great money, spent great money, and found myself at another mental breakdown.

I brought my laptop in adorning a post-it note stating "I can't do this anymore." I didn't say one goodbye to one person as I left behind that lonely and loud building.

Jobs like web administrator and artist tend to keep you in a single place of solitude and comfort. I was comfortable in my place, living with a devoted father who would carry the Earth for me while asking nothing in return. 

That comfort started to bring me some incredible discomfort. If I was to die having done nothing else he'd love me the same, but I needed to prove that if something should happen to him that I could put together the pieces of my life. 

I need to prove I could go out, pay rent, get health insurance, write checks, all the things one might need to know how to do for a functional and independent adult life. I didn't have any of these things. 

I saved up everything I could and said goodbye to Pensacola ready to embrace Portland. I knew it was time to tackle my social anxiety, paranoia, and depression problems head-on. I decided I wanted to get a job at a grocery store. I know, I know, a grocery store job seems kind of strange to aim for. 

My goal was to reduce the negative feelings I had about people and myself. 

When you're face to face with how you speak or act towards people, there's an energetic exchange and you become more responsible for your actions. It wasn't an easy job in my disposition and the bittersweet taste of knowing this is my last day before our next great volume comes with gushing excitement. 

Getting a job at a grocery store was one of the best things I did, I was the nutrition assistant manager and I loved our customers. Every day I was physically pushed further and further while showing impressive emotional restraint in exclusive situations. There were days I couldn't keep it together, and after a talk with great coworkers, I was able to finish out a day and bring home what I deserved.

It's not like social anxiety, paranoia, and depression have suddenly disappeared. There were many people I never quite pushed myself to hang out with even if I wanted to. There were many artistic events I could've attended that I chose not to. 

I did take myself out to a few things like the Resin Rose BJD Convention. Thanks to the internet I'd known my friend I met the first time at the convention, since Florida! I swept myself away to the Soul Pose event and loved my Portland Miniature Show self-date.

There were so many things I got to do that I hadn't before, like seeing snow for the first time and having to travel through that same snow for work every day. 

I'll miss this job, and this city, but I'm ready to find new things. So, I say goodbye until we meet again. 

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