I understand that I need to do a post-surgery blog post to update on my recent wisdom teeth surgery, however that will have to come later as I have more pressing information to write about today.

I mentioned starting a job with United Blood Services in another recent post. I have just finished my third week of training, soon I will be faced with my first test to pass to keep my employment. Before I get into the effect the training has had on me, I want to finally sit down and focus on everything that I have left.

In my last week of employment at the school, on Halloween, my boss had a mandatory training and was out for the day, later that day she got a call from the adoption agency. A baby up for adoption was due to be born any minute and they had to get to the hospital. There is a 72 waiting period before rights are severed and they must be present for the time being. She and her husband adopted a baby girl born November 1st. As happy, no, thrilled, as I was for her, I was even more worried about my fellow coworkers that I was leaving behind. She began her maternity leave and I never got to say goodbye. I was sad about that but actually relieved because it made it only a little easier to leave. I have not spoken to her much nor have I seen her daughter yet, but I will visit them this upcoming week. The day before my last day was an early release day, the only time we get to work in the classroom without the students present. I had about a 3 minute window of being in the classroom entirely by myself. Early release days are a day of productivity and I like to put on music while we work. That little window of time I had alone, "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac was playing. That song always makes me at least a little emotional, I teared up as I looked around the room.

In that moment, all of it started to finally hit me. That I was leaving. I had been non-stop busy in work and in my personal life that I had really no time to process it yet. That night I wrote an email to all the staff, thanking them and telling them they have become a family to me and I will miss them and while it is goodbye to the daily interactions, it wasn't goodbye forever. My last day was incredibly emotional. People gave me hugs in passing, gave me goodbye/birthday gifts, and I cried. I had made cards for my immediate coworkers and for just one single parent. She was incredible, super supportive of not just her son but of us working with him. I have never met such a great parent. She did not know I was leaving and I informed her that morning as I handed her a card. I had to walk away before we both started to cry. At the end of school when she came to pick up her son, she gave me a card and a gift and we cried together. Even the music teacher at the school gave me a thoughtful card and gift. I will never forget the people I have met in that journey, some of which are have become my close friends. While I ate the pizza and salad they chipped in for as my goodbye party, I got a card signed by many people on campus and I cried so hard. I felt hard hit with emotions and almost did not want to leave them. But I knew deep in my heart that I had to. The coworkers that had become my family are now left without me and my boss, they have two temporary vacancies, which is 2 too many. I text them from time to time and I know they are having a really hard time, I cannot stop the guilt that I feel, but in reality, I do feel better despite the guilt.

That night when I went to work with my cousin's kids as I always do after school, I was hit with more stress as the boys are having a hard time currently. They are at the age where they are beginning to act out, and sadly, I will never admit it to their mom, I think part of that is due to me. It has not been easy working with them, but I had to say goodbye to that as well. I will still work with them from time to time after I finish my training, but very infrequently and ideally not at all. Since this was the day before my birthday, my cousin came home from work and gave me my birthday gifts. She always finds the coolest shit, particularly skull stuff, that I absolutely love. We shared some wine and had a big heart to heart, and not a goodbye, but a hiatus. We are family after all, and I will continue to see them, but just won't work with them very much. This upcoming week, I will have a wine night with my former coworker, catch up with my cousin, and visit my former boss. I am happy that I will see them, but not really looking forward to the emotions that will come with it.

On my birthday, my first day off and no longer a school employee, I had a day of treating myself. I went to see Dr. Strange, which stars my favorite actor Mads Mikkelsen. I hung out with my dad for a bit, got a free birthday sub, got a massage, went shopping, had sushi and sake, and went home to watch a movie. It was the most exhilarating day I have had in a very long time. I showered and felt my literal bruises from my previous job and remembered that I will no longer get those. I will no longer work with children that hurt me, work in a hazardous environment. I felt free. I smiled all day, was exceptionally social despite spending the entire day by myself. I was glowing. I felt inspired. It completely makes up for my 28th birthday last year when I had walking pneumonia. 29 is my next rebirth.

The following day, I had a birthday party with friends, dinner, beer, bar hopping, corn hole and shots followed by a day of hangover.

That Monday I started training with UBS. Orientation was the first day and a half, very formal, typical stuff. Wednesday was the actual training, which is basically like being in college again. 8 hours a day of complete information overload. Still, my brain is turning to mush, in a good way I guess. I'm so into it that I have forgotten about my past life for the most part. But there are moments where I remember what I'm no longer doing, and gratitude fills me. I'm not going to lie, the more I learn, the more I'm intimidated by this new job, but I have constant assurance from my cousin who is an employee there, and by my trainer who thinks me and the other trainee will be highly successful.

So what are these things that I've left? I have left very abstract things such as pain, stress, anxiety, challenges, mood swings, fear, etc. I have to say now, everything I did with those kids, in that job, has prepared me in life for whatever comes at me next. I have left constant fluctuation, I have left miscommunication, I have left bursts of emotions, I have left the effect of others on me, I have left the watching eyes of untrusting parents, I have left abuse from upset children, I have left professionals that are not in any way professional. However, in my last day, I knew that I was leaving a support system, an irreplaceable one. That, I have to rebuild myself.

I don't miss the exhaustion I felt everyday. I don't miss the sore muscles and bones of my body. I don't miss constantly being alert for the unpredictable, I don't miss possible errors, I don't miss upsetting adults, I don't miss judgments, I don't miss crappy pay, I don't miss the guilt of taking a day off, I don't miss the heat of the room, I don't miss the looming fear of what the day will bring, I don't miss the screams, the tears, the attitude, I don't miss lack of administrative support, I don't miss the fact that Arizona education is horrible, I don't miss the concept of children. I may miss the kids, but once they are out of sight, they become out of mind for me. It's a coping mechanism, I've honestly merely thought about my coworkers more than anything, and my cousins from time to time.

I still talk about my old job almost everyday, but it is already in the past despite my speaking in present tense. I have always been a person who reflects and speaks often of the past, sometimes in comparison, but often as reminders as to what made me who I am and what got me to where I am. The methods and mechanisms that I used everyday to work in autism apply to just about everything in life and that is one of the hugest impact that job has had on me that is not related to effects on my personality. It has completely changed how I view, process, and approach the world. It is always applicable whether you realize or agree that it is or not. Perhaps I should discuss that further another time.

I feel a sense of pride of the work I have done. But now, the more I learn about this new job, new chapter, of my life, I see where pride will take a new form. I took a personality test recently, it was the most comprehensive and well put personality test I have ever taken, the results were astonishing. The main thing I took away from the results in regards to my life missions/work life, is that I have to help someone. I have to be helping, to feel like I'm dong anything at all. Despite the bad days, I still felt like I was making an impact, at least day to day, with all the children I have ever worked with. Now, in the new life, I get to literally be part of the process that may save a life. I will become the middle man, I will work with donors who give up their time, personal information, and blood to save a life. I'm thrilled enough just to work with blood, but really, helping others better to hell make this job worth it.

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