How can I feel like I am working too hard and also like I am not working hard enough?
When I was waiting tables, it was about doing as much as I possibly could for my own section. There’s sidework, sure, but you’re on your own out there for the most part. I was worried that if I couldn’t do enough covers I wasn’t as good as the others. If I didn’t make as much in tips I wasn’t as personable or knowledgeable or had enough salesmanship. I always had a sinking feeling that I was not good enough, and any bad review was proof that I was only ever just hanging on.
Now, in the banquet team, I feel that I do not do enough. It is all a team, it is all about helping the others. If you don’t bring in as much money you need to make up for it. You should come in before your scheduled time to make sure the room is good, in case they come early, to get it all done ahead of time, and lately, to make sure everyone else hasn’t done all the work already. I am doing so much, I am coming in early, I am running the rooms, I am making people happy. But everyone else is doing more, everyone else is able to do more things at once, or first, or faster.
Which one is worse?
A lot of times, my inside and outside are incongruent. I smile but I am nervous. I ask a question to be polite. I have thoughts but I decide how to say them, because maybe it’s not exactly relevant, maybe it’s a story that’s too long, maybe it’s not interesting to the other person.
I never feel that with you. I feel the same inside and out. I feel less worry. I feel like problems can go away for a little bit. I feel accepted.
Can I tell you something?
It’s a nice thing, but it’s sort of weird. Like, to just say to someone.
You know you’re probably one of my favorite people that I work with?
You’re very… Honest. Which is nice.
Like, even with Jon, who is amazing and a beautiful human, I get the feeling sometimes that he wants me to say something more interesting, have a better story.
To his credit, he tells me that to my face, but…
You expect decency, and that seems to be it.
You don’t expect a conversation; a story; for me to go above and beyond at work; you don’t look for failure.
But you see success.
It’s like I am obsessed with you! I can’t stand it.
You make me feel happy. You make me laugh. You make me interested in, see things, that most people forget about.
I hate that I am driven by other people. I don’t want to be driven by you! But I am, I am tied, I am possessed by an urge to impress you. I follow you, seek you out; I am distracted from myself.
It seems like, if I just absorb enough time near, I can absorb this same sort of passion–
Maybe if I get enough the world will open–
Maybe it extends to more than just
what you know?
Maybe I can eventually, finally, grow my own.
I’m too big. I feel like when Alice eats the cake and grows. She doesn’t know what to do with her limbs, feels like she’s in everyone’s way and people are rude to her for something she can’t help.
I don’t know what this is, and nobody is rude. But my proof is in my tips.
Am I being too harsh? Sometimes I get bad tip streaks for a few weeks at a time.
But why does my gut tell me it’s me?
Why do I search for affirmation of how good a server I am?
Why does my face feel stuck in a smirk when I’ve been smiling at work all day?
Maybe I give too much to my tables. I just don’t know how else to take care of them.
I am tired.
But big. I was small, I was timid, I was focused on not screwing up, I was anxious about every question.
Now I have grown to fit the room I work in. But I still am timid and clumsy, and sometimes I am forceful because now I know what can be done. But forceful, confident, these things make me feel too big. Too fast. Not good enough.
I am less without you. I continue to grow, but I feel smaller.