Everyone wants to succeed, to have friends, to be a part of something bigger. Looking at human instincts this drive comes from somewhere so much deeper than we can control. I’ve always felt good in groups and generally rise to the top as a leader in them. I feel good when I’m needed or when my advice is what others trust and i work sometimes too hard to be that person. I want others around me to feel at ease when im there knowing im not gonna let our group fail or fizzle out. I suppose thats truly the heart of collectivism. For me its a drive, just like needing to be a part of something bigger. Have you ever felt that feeling? Of just, connectedness. Its like all you insides, especially your heart, start vibrating in sync with those around you. Its an addictive feeling when we come together to take on the world. The most common time the general population feels this is after natural disasters. Seeing people come together and just be so beautifully human in the face of destruction. I remember all the different ways i felt it when i was younger. I played an annoying amount of sports as a kid and to be on a team, win or lose, binding together to accomplish a goal became a feeling i loved. I preferred team sports. By the time i turned 18 i had done soccer, basketball, tennis, lacrosse, dance, rugby, baton, solo swim, synchro swim, dive, softball, solo skate, synchro skate, gymnastics, and track/field. The solo swim and skate i did ok with but team sports always made me feel happy and at home. I did completely hate synchronized swimming tho. I also was in band. Theres something about playing an instrument in a band that triggers that same feeling of being a part of a team. I did regular band but also was in jazz band. Jazz band was composed of kids who were interested in taking band further. I cant remember why i chose to do it or if it was my moms doing, as so many of my childhood experiences were. But, man, thats where I’ve felt that connectedness the strongest in a sports/club setting. The music vibrates your whole being and its consuming. Although ive since quit both piano and saxophone, it isnt hard to see why musicians have so much passion for what they do. Why people move while they play. Its an intricate dance between biology and sound. (Here comes the cliche)… its a symphony.So as an adult its made sense to me to connect to groups on any level that i can. I strive to be a part of groups and generally that becomes something accomplished in the workforce. The last job i had i immediately joined committees and took on extra work to become a productive an committed member of my team. Prior to my last job ive never been a workaholic. Ive never been so in love with my job that i never want to leave. On the same token ive never felt so rejected for trying to be a leader or trying to be a vital part of a large team. Ive never had someone look at me at dislike me solely for being me and not care about the lengths i go to to achieve what i do.. or did. I can feel my heart caving in on itself as i write this. I can feel the disconnectedness and pain in my chest. Like when someone pushes on a bruise. Its heavy and feels like someones dipped my heart in tar just to watch it try and beat harder. It hurts. Its similar to losing a significant other or lover and is comparable to missing someone who has died. You wouldn’t think it would hurt this bad to lose a job but the truth is it really does. My thoughts wont stop hounding me about the ways i should have or could have done something differently. Historically when theres stress in my personal life i turn to my job and immerse myself in it. No one teaches you how to deal with the amount of stress that comes from having a job you truly are in love with, ripped away from you. For the first 2 weeks i caught myself getting so worked up that i would feel a sudden spark of relief when i decided i was going to pick up a shift to decrease the pain. Only to remember thats the whole reason i felt as depressed as i did. Like losing someone, you have the same feelings of disbelief and constant thoughts that they are going to come walking in the room or text you. Its not denial. Im not sure what that is but for a millisecond your brain desperately tries to put things back in order and for that tiny moment in time you forget that that job is gone, that person is dead, or that lover will come back. Dealing with the realization that they are gone for good is a heavy burden to bear and the part thats been new to me is unlike someone dying or someone falling out of love with you, i had my job taken away because someone didn’t like me. Someone chose this for me. They took away my control over my own life and played with it for months until they just took it away. The anger i feel towards this person and the people involved is a watered down version of what i imagine a family feels towards a drunk driver or murderer, or the way a broken heart feels towards the girl he cheated on you with and is now dating. It. Fucking. Sucks. To be powerless. To have that source of collectivism ripped away. To be persecuted for things that are needles in a haystack in comparison to the life you’ve breathed into your job. They had to remind me i was “still terminated” 4 times until i ran out of policies to challenge them with. The truth is, they loopholed their own rules to get rid of me. And all anyone can say about that is “its your own fault”, “look at the silver lining” or “sorry”. I can feel the way peoples minds waver back and forth between whether to believe me or to believe the situation. I feel crazy and because of the people who made choices for me they’ve made me seem crazy too. Self doubt from gaslighting is like a maggot crawling into the deepest part of your brain and laying eggs until you can hear the thousands of worms eating your confidence, perseverance, and resilience. Your memories become questions and you feel completely insane. On top of all that you become paranoid because through all that self doubt there is still that tiny little voice inside that says “kellie, you’re not crazy.” At the same time you can feel peoples bad intentions. So while trying to convince yourself you are justified in your thinking and memories you also have someone trying their absolute hardest to catch you messing up. Every action is deliberate and thought through which drains you of any energy you would have had left to be happy. You become exhausted by the smallest things and eventually you start to get physically sick from all the stress. Your job gets more difficult because the demands get more intense and people take you away from where you thrive and immerse you in job assignments you’ve mistakenly told them wear you down. Something i hadnt expected to happen but did was people i was close to began being punished for simply being my best friends. When you hold on long enough they will try anything to break you down. There are people who still dont openly want to be close to me because they are fearful of retaliation, even tho im gone. Thats one of the worst, most isolating feelings in the world. To just exist and hurt other people because of existing. It makes you feel like a disease, like anything you do or anyone you get close to suffers from it. On top of the self doubt, distancing, exhaustion, illness, paranoia, and difficult assignments life becomes swim until you sink. Eventually you will become too tired to swim anymore. You try so damn hard through all of this just to smile and to feel like you’re an important piece of a team. My connecting was reduced to the only thing i had energy for and that was being silly and having strong friends to lift me up every day. I tend to make friends easily and i connect with people well. But to have to hid the strongest connections amongst all connections becomes difficult. There were coworkers i didn’t trust one bit as well as one i trusted with my life but in order to protect the people i truly cared for i had to care for the people i knew were stabbing me in the back too. (To be clear there were only a few i could not trust. 93% i truly trusted and felt close to).
Don’t tell me this was good for me and to see it as a positive. In the end will it be? If i gain my confidence back then absolutely. But this is right now, in the rawness of heartbreak, immense change, and grief im not ok and im not ready to be ok yet. This is the place i went almost everyday, being restricted. This is the friends who made me sane everyday, being too busy working to see. This is the conversation topics, inside jokes, and daily interactions being taken away all within an instant. Did i know this was a risk of speaking up, yes. Did i know that there were people watching my every move just waiting for me to trip, yes. Like losing a loved one it is a process to be ok again. Theres some people who aren’t ever ok again and never resolve that grief. Its called complicated grief. I dont want to be a year from now still feeling all this anger and hate within me. I dont still want to be asking “why me”. I want to be succeeding somewhere new. Kinda like a phoenix. I want this anger to be left in the last life so i can rebuild that connection and collectivism in a new life. I want to be happy again. Am i sad? Very much so. Am i mad? So much so it consumes me. Do i regret the stand i took? Nope. Would i have done it differently if i could redo it. Maybe in someways but i don’t choose to dwell on that. The most important life lesson come from the worst situations.
I called my parents sobbing and asked them why the world is so cruel. How can there be people that evil in the world. How can we live around all this worldwide evil and people still choose to hurt others on an individual basis. I asked them why no one believes me. How they could be so quick to point fingers and label me the way they did. Often ive been “the person who makes it better for the next person” which is a really hard position to take on. Because you’re challenging things that others haven’t. You are a catalyst for change but it means you will likely have to watch your change slowly take place and benefit “the next person” while you deal with the consequences of being a catalyst. It makes the world better for someone else. Im not yet used to this but I know its important and one day i hope to be able to find more joy in being the catalyst. Its not something that comes naturally for me. Its something I’ve had to start growing into. I cant change who i am or where my passions lie. Unfairness lights a flame so deep in me i cant put it out. I wish this road wasn’t so lonely. But for now theres no turning back, nor do i want to go back to being the person who just takes it. I’ll always be a target, so why not make the most of it.
I know I’m a good person and i try every day to show the world that i want to leave it better than when i came here. Part of my adoption complexity is i feel i owe the world my humanity in its entirety. Maybe its not even my adoption. Maybe i just feel like thats my job as a human. To live and breathe pure and progressive intentions. To help. To advocate for the right things and actively stand against the wrong ones. Throughout history our greatest most celebrated people are those who stood up when all odd were against them. My heroes are the ones with the shortest chapters in the history books. The ones like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Elenor Roosevelt, Mary Edwards Walker, and so many more.
We see them as historical warriors for change now but at the time they were catalysts too and often condemned by the majority and societal normal of that time.
These are the people i think about when i try and make change. Even just on a small scale. Im more powerful than i know and so are you. Together we can change the world. One small step at a time. Im not abolishing slavey but i want to leave this world knowing i did what i was able to improve it in any way i could. I think thats my purpose here.
Advice – Christina Grimmie