I'm not sure that these words are going to translate the gratitude that wells in my chest every time I visualise you and re-feel your presence and kindness...
This job was the hardest role I've ever had in my 30 years of working. Even managing 90 fickle cleaners for a year, three quarters of whom made it clear they didn't like me from Minute One was a Princess Fiona themed party compared to this. You know what I'm talking about. Everyone on the production would know what I'm talking about. And that's what made it bearable - knowing that every single person involved in the production was struggling as much as I was. But I won't go into the details for obvious reasons.
What I do want to share is the way you not only got me through it, but helped me to heal from it.
The first time we met, we'd been emailing and by then I knew who you were but you'd never seen me yet the second we came face to face yours exploded into a mosaic of smiles and you lunged toward me, wrapping your arms around me with a hug I could have lived in for the rest of my life. And from that day, our greetings were almost always the same.
We didn't get to chat much but whenever we did, I felt like you weren't just listening to my words - you heard everything I wasn't saying and saw deeper than anyone had bothered to look. Seeing me reflected in your eyes reminded me of who I was and not who I was worried that I was becoming.
Towards the end I felt infected by my surroundings and I was scared I would never get rid of the layer of smelly behaviour that I was forced to soak in each day, then you gave me the perfect gift. Some Weleda Body Wash. Each night I would come home to my apartment, literally stripping off my clothes from the door to get in the shower as soon as I could - using the body wash to cleanse away the days cloying emotional corruption as if my souls salvation depended on it.
We all made it home from location, battered and bone weary.
By now my body and mind were starting to shut down to the point that I was unable to talk to anyone and just kept my headphones on to avoid any interactions. I was in an office full of people yet never felt so isolated. We were so close to the end yet those last few weeks felt interminable and I felt depression creeping into the gaping wounds in my mind.
Your role had essentially finished so I didn't see you much but you promised to come and say goodbye so when I came back to my desk one morning, I knew the gifts of two bars of chocolate, a card and some lavender were from you. I called the chocolate lunch that day but the card...that card became bandage and salve...
I got home from my last ugly day, to more ugliness in my inbox. I kept reminding myself that They couldn't hurt me anymore, that I was free and immediately deleted everything associated with the role, including the website I'd taken weeks to make. I then wandered forlornly around my house almost hyperventilating with both distress and relief. I slowly unpacked everything I'd bought home, rolling all the events, interactions and words over and over in my mind until I'd almost convinced myself that I was unworthy of the few friendships that I had, and that I'd done such a bad job of my role that I'd never work again.
Then I unpacked your card.
I related immediately to the woman on the front. To me she looked emotionally devoid. But when I turned it over and reread the words you had written on the back I sobbed, saying out loud "This may just be enough to heal me!". Then I clutched that card to my chest for the rest of the afternoon, rereading it every time clouds of doubt threatened and when I was finally able to let it go, I tucked it up in my bathroom mirror so just the sight of it could build on the strength that was seeping back in to me.
So, all of this to say you made a difference. What, to you, might have been small tokens of appreciation were my salvation. They've also taught me not to underestimate the immense power a spontaneous kind word or small gift might have. You weren't to know what was going on in my head and heart and even though all that I've shared here might seem melodramatic and even pathetic to some, it was my reality at the time.
It's only been a week since I walked out that door for the last time without even saying goodbye to those around me and already I've been contacted about three different roles. Also, my friends have been lining up to see me, all helping me to morph back into my strong, positive, happy Self.
The words Thank You don't even come close to the cuff of your jeans. You might never read this and I'll probably never see you again but I had to share the impact you had on my life while you were part of it and to tell you that you are the only memory I chose to keep from this experience...
Pimp My Attitude
This is where I think out loud as I transform my appearance, thought processes and most of all, attitude - no matter how unpretty.