Sunday, March 19, 2017

Work in progress...

I got my first job working in a restaurant when I was 14, or 15. The process confused me because over the phone the lady conducted a short interview, and helped me pronounce a few words in a language of which I was not familiar. She said I was hired.
The job was fast paced, and kept me on my feet my entire shifts. I did my job, and worked very hard to do it right. I learned a lot about the food service industry.
I didn't really need to talk to anybody, so to me, things went well. After some time, I made friends with a couple of co-workers. One day, one of the cooks asked me about my nationality. He was just making conversation. I told him of my mixed origin, half of which is Hispanic. Suddenly, someone stormed out of the office that was connected to the galley kitchen and started screaming in my face. Of all the things he yelled, I only understood, "Not good worker, I thought you nice Arabic girl!" and then he yelled "Get out! Get out! Just, go!"
First of all, I was scared to death because I know what happens when I get screamed at. Then I braced for the inevitable hits that usually came with the yelling. I could feel tears welling up as I became engulfed in fear. Then, I just turned and ran!

What had just happened? Oh... I was so, so confused...
The restaurant business sucks! Never doing that again!

Remember the job I got at the daycare center? Working there helped to open my eyes to a few things.
The most important was that children are innocent tiny humans thrust into this world of misery. With that, I was able to bury anger and rage with compassion I never realized I had.

Spending so much time with those children, I realized they spent more of their waking hours with us, their caretakers, than they did with their own parents. Mostly, just simple victims of circumstance.
I grew to love them. I wanted to protect them much in the way I was NOT protected as a child. When they went home, I worried about whether they had enough to eat. Will their parents play with them? Will they get to hear their favorite story before going to bed at night?
Of course, there were the little stinkers that were disruptive, unruly & never listened to anyone. Still innocent, and in need of love and care none the less. At the time, those were the kids that made me think I never wanted to have kids.

As it goes, when things are going well, things change.
The daycare center was sold to a franchise, and most of the staff was laid-off, or quit.


I started to work at a florist/greenhouse. This was another chance to learn more good/bad life lessons.
I didn't care for the people I worked with, except a few.
Most of them were of Hispanic origins and related to each other. They didn't take kindly to new, strange employees. Especially ones they considered, um... well..'white'. Didn't matter that I'm half Hispanic. At that time, I didn't speak Spanish, so I was too 'white'.
So, what happens? I get into a fist fight, of course! Oddly enough it was with another 'white' co-worker. HEY! He was asking for it! My boss sided with me, and he got let go.

On the good side, this job reinforced my interest in the plant and flower industry. I fell in love with the whole process! My boss took the time to teach me the ropes. My favorite part of the job was getting up at 1am to go downtown to the open air market to sell the plants and flowers wholesale, then retail. At one point he told me that I could sell ice to an Eskimo. :)
12-14 hour shifts? No problem when I'm surrounded by all these flowers! After the short season of market days, I was given an outdoor stand to run by myself. Perfect!

This was, by far, the best job! I learned how to be nicer to people. I learned how to talk and interact with people. I learned about manners.
Hey, I was raised like a wild animal in a zoo, remember?

But once again, there were serious cut backs. I was again out of a job...

So, I decided to try to get back into childcare. I became a nanny for a very nice couple with 3 delightful children.
I grew to love them so much! Another job I adored!
By then, I had become mild mannered and 'domesticated'. I learned how to cook a little, how to bake, and even learned how to clean house! My heart felt so full with contentment I could hardly contain it! I knew then I wanted a family! My own family! Why not? At that time, I had been clean and sober for a few years and learned some life skills. Plus, the anger and rage was as tamed as I was!

I swore an oath to myself that the abuse stopped here with me! Not to be continued, or endured by any tiny humans under my watch, EVER!

I would make it my life's mission to always look after the innocents as much as I humanly can!

Happily, this is a work in progress, and always will be!

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