This work week started off with the notion that I was going to have to deal with a kind of crappy situation.
If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, I am sure you can commiserate, especially with the fact that burn out is inevitable, no matter what your position is.
Whether you are a bartender, wait tables, cook, seat people, run a cash register… there will come a point in time where you hate your life. I’m sure this goes with any business, however, in the service industry, we are more likely to blame our hatred on our career than our actual personal choices.
I caught wind on Sunday night that one of my morning cooks was on the verge of a full-blown freak-out, and from the snippy email she sent to my mother in law, her rage was directed solely at me.
Being that I wasn’t to see her until Wednesday, I had to carry around this knowledge for days. I tried to keep it from building, beat myself up over being a shitty person and a shittier boss, then just began building myself a piece of invisible armor – one that would surely keep me safe from the verbal attack I might have to endure.
Unfortunately, I also started constructing some invisible emotional weaponry in the process as well. I was ready to be on the offense. I was ready to chop off heads and leave people crying in a pool of blood. I was ready for war.
Carrying this stuff around gets heavy. It makes you tired, both physically and mentally. I kept to myself, not being able to articulate my feelings to anyone. Not even my fiancé and business partner. I was quietly laying in wait for what I assumed would be a brutal confrontation.
On Tuesday, I got a letter from my grandma. The contents weren’t as important as the feelings that this letter stirred up. My grandma has never been a hugger, a spoiler, or even particularly close to me.
But for some reason, she always loved my writing, from the time I was very young. She would save poems I wrote, and share them with her friends, and she was always interested in what I was putting on paper, no matter how unsavory it was.
When I opened this letter from her, I had two immediate urges.
I had to write her back.
I had to write a poem.
So while it’s been awhile since I dabbled in poetry, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it came. For the first time in years, Martha the Poet has woken up. I wanted to share it with you all, because I kind of like this one. I thank Grandma Ski for being such an unlikely and unusual muse.
The burdens of the world
are clouds of smoke, filling my lungs filling my chest.
Stinging my eyes.
Tainting my words – I run at the mouth trying to expel these burdens.
I flail through the days.
I dream spastically through the nights.
A letter from my grandmother, embellished with phrases like “sorry I missed you”
and my guilt that coincides with being burdened and unwell stopped me in my tracks.
I wrote back about you are loved
and God is love, and small talk on a cheesy $1.59 convenience store card.
When I put it in the mail, the smoke cleared.
My eyes clear, my words thoughtful
my sleep restful.
The burdens of the world shipped away in an act of right after weeks of wrong.
In case you were wondering… I got myself worked up over pretty much nothing. Apparently day cook was just venting. And although the terms of her employment changed, my decision to approach the talk not as a war, but as the concerned boss I typically am worked out in all our favors. It’s a wonder what one simple letter can do.