So, I did it today. I drove that old route, walked that old path, saw that old desk.
I went to visit work.
A place so many go each day and don't give it a thought. For me, it was like going back in time. Going back to that last day of a normal life. Many other BLMs say that going back to work was relief. But for me it was strange.
I didn't actually return to work. I just went in to "visit". I needed to have the physical experience today, so I knew what it was going to be like on 8/30. It didn't feel right. I drove that old route, and listened to the radio like I always did on the way to work. This time though, the music meant something more and I saw everything around me, not just the road in front of me. I saw the bird that flew from the trees and the stick that was laying on the edge of the road. I saw the man in the car across from me and wondered what his story was. I saw the leaves blowing in the wind and the rain drops as the fell lightly on the windshield.
As I walked up the path to the building's door, I remembered what my last walk in this direction was like. It was painful. It hurt to walk last time. I could barely breathe and the pressure from the baby made me hurt. This time walking to the door hurt too though. But it hurt differently. It hurt because I was returning to the only thing that was "left over" from my old life. My job.
As I entered the building I felt sick. It was hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but I made myself do it. I eventually made it to the third floor. I came off the escalator and rounded the corner. I thought, "get ready to face everyone" and I took a deep breath.
As I said hello, I found myself fighting with mixed emotions. I was happy to be back in a place where I knew people. But I was upset because I knew they didn't know me anymore.
I received several hello's from many different people. But you could tell things were different. People who would have normally held a full conversation with me, just looked up and smiled and continued on. Or I had a few who said hello but didn't bother making eye contact. I even encountered people who held a conversation but you could tell they just didn't know what to say or how.
However, I had a few who understood. They held a full conversation, knew what to discuss and what not to. They knew that it was okay to approach the topic and exactly how to approach it. That is when I realized that THEY understood. THEY were the ones who always knew me and to them change meant nothing.
I guess that is what it is going to be like for a while. A lot of blank expressions and somber conversations. However, I have said it before and I will say it again. What I have lived through the past two months has helped me to see the world better, helped me to understand life. I have learned what to care about, what to devoted time and attention to, and most of all who THEY are.