King Prawn, Revisited

Two months ago, I applied for, and was hired, to work as an assistant children’s librarian at my local library. Dream Job. Or so I thought. Today was my last day in the job, as I’ve decided to go back to…being a bank teller.

I floor myself.

I am still a bookworm. Not a banker. Except that I am great at banking, enjoy talking to people all the live-long day, love being in a climate-controlled building made with walls of glass, and love having coworkers who uplift one another, who treat customers with dignity and kindness, who are incredibly motivated, and who see me as (and I know this because they’ve told me) a ray of sunshine.

I am a ray of sunshine. And I’m so very grateful to be told so!

Three or so posts ago, I wrote a poem called King Prawn. It was inspired by a bout of depression, and usually when I’m inside the cloud, all the world seems metaphorical and misty and strange. King Prawn was born of a dream, a meditation, and my love of the sun. Working at the library, I was in the basement, no windows, and usually no coworkers to spend time with. And being that my town is tiny, there were generally no patrons, either.

I’ve learned in the last several months that I am a daughter of the sun, a person in need of people, and that my self-worth is not defined by my j.o.b. What does define my self worth is my interaction with people. I’ve learned that I am not an introvert, a label which I used to brandish proudly. I am, in actuality, an extrovert with depression. And the less busy I am, the less I am around people, the more depressed I become. What an epiphany!

Sometimes late at night, when my mind starts to wander and stew, I feel a literal tightening in my chest, and my thoughts become frantic, jumbled and obsessive. I’ve always been this way, especially when I’m alone. I have taken up the practice of yoga, and somehow, it seems to squeeze the knots out of my heart, mind and body, and allows me to see clearly when the monkey-mind tries to take charge.

Yoga has become my church, and happiness my religion. 

I eat only whole foods now, treat my mind with gentleness, am traveling through the days with Lakshmi, and when things start to churn, I turn to my yoga practice. It is the most effective anti-depressant I have ever used.

I start back at the bank on Monday. I am thrilled. It’s true that I am still a bookworm, rather than a banker. But, I am a people-person, and if the job that allows me to interact with dozens of people a day happens to be at a bank, then that is where I belong.

When closing the children’s library today, I had a moment of tearfulness, thinking how sad I was for myself  that this thing I thought was a dream come true actually wasn’t. The job was fine. I was not miserable. I love working with children, love being around books, love libraries. But loneliness does not serve me well. Humanity is medicine to me. I believe that my past habits of avoiding people, of avoiding social interaction, of being afraid to visit with others, contributed heavily to my falls into depression. I was afraid. Afraid to disappoint others, afraid to be seen as a fool, a fraud, a phony. Afraid to be called crazy, afraid to be seen as the weird one in the room. Afraid that I carried around all of the labels given to me by certain people. Afraid that what they had said was the truth. And acting as if it were the truth.

It was not the truth. It was lie upon lie upon lie. I am a good person. A loving person. A creative and motivated person. And, remember, a ray of sunshine. I’m feasting upon that.

We can believe good things about ourselves, without the burden of guilt. King Prawn has truly knitted me back together, shown me my connection to the sun, as well as the moon. We are each light and darkness, beauty and barrenness. All of the elements of ourselves fit together in a unique way, in an Indira’s Net that connects all of our bits and pieces together, and what weaves us one to another, as well. We are not simply aimless things floating through space and time. We are connected.

We are all rays of sunshine, lighting up the universe.

Namaste, Bright One.