6bd98-jennychristen_nyc_052615_02

Something about a year going by

I took this photo on May 25, 2015. Here are a few things I never mentioned.

I’d put in my two-weeks notice on May 1, 2015. It was a job I’d started the previous April and had been crying in the bathroom about twice a week ever since. Turns out advertising wasn’t for me! All good. With a little time (and working on my portfolio over afternoon cocktails while my boyfriend kept me on track), I’d decided to start freelancing again.

My boss convinced me to stay three weeks instead of two, so I finished the job on the afternoon of May 22nd and promptly went to a doctor’s appointment, where I received heavy news; what was more, my health insurance terminated at midnight that evening. I broke down in the doctor’s office and apologized profusely. After an awkward 10 minutes, I put on my “you got this shit” half-smile, wiped my tears and marched out the door. I probably ate Shake Shack afterward. The rest is a blur.

On this Monday, May 25, 2015, I woke up early and walked to Prospect Park. It was a quiet morning and I sat in the grass and took this fucking picture of my feet, to announce to social media — and myself! — that this was my zen party. It was my first day not going to a job that left me so sad and empty — finally making a decision for myself that wasn’t based on money, but on mental health and personal wellbeing. I was incredibly scared, but so proud that I’d stood up for my feelings.

For the first week I had several disheartening meetings with recruiters. They had no interest in matching my hourly rate and were reluctant to disclose their commission (I did my own math and it’s 30–40%). I waited for the phone to ring, I stalked my email inbox. Soul crushing projects entered with the classic promise of a “perfect fit.” Days passed. I ate lots of grapefruit and went for walks to maintain my sanity. Some days I stayed in bed. I thought about all the money I was losing out there, at times even the money from my sad job.

After two weeks I had nothing. Sick and unemployed, I flew to North Dakota for my grandma’s giant 90th birthday party. I lied to all my family and told them my job was going well and everything was great! I held a squishy awful prune of a secret inside me all day. Then letting the guilt of lying build onto my already crumbling facade, I ducked out of my grandma’s birthday party — poorly timed, right as the family picture was about to be taken — and had yet another good cry!

Eventually things came together, THEY ALWAYS DO (for the time being). But here is this: I buried everything in this photograph, and now it’s on the table.

jc

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