“Untitled.” Fiction.

“As long as you care, something will always hurt.”

by R.M. Drake



by Noah Taylor

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

I take a sip of my rooibos chai, and smile as the flavor mixes pleasantly with the taste of the cigarette I just finished. I spread out my laptop, folders, and notebooks over the too-small table that I have acquired. I am hoping to at least complete most of my work for my internship before meeting with my other boss at 5pm tonight. I have five hours, which should be enough if the writer’s block, which has been present in my life for the last week and a half, doesn’t return during this time. I take off my long red wool coat to hang it on the back of my chair, and wince as the tight knot of muscles that rests between my shoulders makes itself known. I straighten my shoulders to try to relieve the tension, only to realize that my lower back is just as sore as my shoulders.
My entire body feels like it wrapped itself into a giant sailor’s knot over the span of the ten day business trip I just came back from. It has been three days since I wrapped up my ninety hour pay period to come home, and my body still has not completely healed. Over the trip, I woke up away from my biggest supporter and best friend at 6am to get ready for the morning meeting at 7:30am with my boss, and then headed immediately into the field to try to promote the purchase of a high price item at a retailer filled with ordinary people with ordinary wallets. The job calls for eleven hour work days back to back to back, over ten days that begin with the routine listed above every single day. Since my boss understands that I am still acclimating to working so long and waking up so early, she worked this campaign with me so that I would not burn out too quickly. I take another sip of chai to try to soothe the anxiety of wondering if I am over-committing myself to too many things.
I performed extremely well over the ten days of intense labor, and committed myself 100% to bettering my approach on selling a $3,400 couch. Still, at the end of ten days, eleven of the people that my boss pitched the couch to came back to purchase it, while only three of the people I pitched to returned to purchase the couch. It is not easy convincing people to spend money they don’t have on something that is worth buying, yet my boss does it every road trip over ten times at a minimum. This job requires so much resilience because no one trusts salespeople to begin with, even if they are being honest and aren’t trying to turn your no’s to yes’s. I am constantly flooded with negative, anxious thoughts, as 90% of the people that I pitch to reject my offer—; sometimes politely, sometimes not. People around me are helping me understand the healthy way to interact with these thoughts, but facing so much rejection each day, even if it’s not personal, is an added challenging variable that I wish was not present. After about six hours of blatant rejection, I begin to fret over attributes of my personality that I don’t want to change, but may have to in order to be more successful with in this job.
I worry that I come off too valley girl-ish to people who first meet me. I do have a ditzy Scottsdale, Arizona girl drawl in my voice, which makes me prone to emphasizing my vowels… along with amy flare for the dramatic. With the help of my young face and strong vocabulary, I understand that I do have this self-righteous air about me. I constantly have to be keeping my words in check to make sure they don’t come off too condescending or too submissive. Thus is the battle of being a woman: to be makeing sure that I remain respectful and humble, while also demanding that the space that I take up is respected and my words are listened to. I wrap myself up in indifference to try to promote sales and guard my attitude;, however, I do not have an indifferent bone in my body. I heave a sigh and refill my exceptionally small teacup with chai. This new job demands an assertiveness and confidence that I am still learning. Daily, I face my fear of confrontation and change. Daily, I overcome my fear of confrontation and change. Daily, I feel my fear of confrontation and change dwindle. With each day that passes, I grow into the person I want to be. But holy shit, is this exhausting work.

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