✭ alex ✭'s profile picture

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Category: Writing and Poetry

self conscious about self awareness

Today, I suddenly remembered this minute event that happened last year. Even using the word "event" -- is a decision I might cringe at later -- I'm cringing at it now. I used to work at this sandwich shop. And I was good at that job, or rather, I was good at attaching my self worth to my work ethic. And magically (subsequently), a soul crushing minimum wage job had higher stakes than necessary. I'm only as good as my Caesar salad bagels; only as good as the cleanliness of the station when it was my time to close. And a cigarette break out back meant that Picasso (me) needed time to rejuvenate. I liked people relying on me. I liked when no one else felt like doing a task, and so I volunteer ... and I pretend that it's a martyr-like burden. 

I don't think I'm in the minority when I say : I like doing things that make me feel better about myself. I like writing about my life, because putting it into words, stamping black letters on a white screen, makes it feel meaningful -- I feel meaningful -- I feel interesting, and thoughtful, and ... interesting. If my ramblings can be made into a body of text, coloured with insight, conversation, varied punctuations -- well, that's enough to make me feel like an important person that everyone should give their time to. 

Back to the "event" ... It was my last day at the sandwich shop. I worked there for an additional week because they were short staffed. This was something I did not accept enthusiastically, even though it made me feel needed. There was this girl at work, with a round face, and round eyes, and an easily earned laugh. And there was this bouquet of flowers sitting in the kitchen. It was tall, loud, its lilies smiled wide and open with their petals. I didn't think much about this magazine glossy flower arrangement, with a pink envelope leaning against it. I didn't think much until my coworkers greeted me, speculating the bouquet could be for me - the best sandwich maker that has ever crafted in this franchise cafe. I refrained from feeling vain, which is an accomplishment I failingly felt proud about. "I doubt it's mine" I said, "-I doubt they even remembered ..." I hoped a little it was mine. 

Moments later, the short-lived dream was shot down. The flowers were for Laugh Girl, given by the owner of the shop who barely knew us. But Laugh Girl had glowing exam results, so Laugh Girl got the flowers and the impersonal congratulations card. She beamed, giggled, grew bashful, the classics. What hurt is that she came to me and apologised, like I was runner up of Miss Universe. 

I had a cigarette break and thought deeply about having never received flowers -- some fussy milestone I never cared about until then. A cigarette tastes better when you feel like you've been wronged -- not by real people, but by random events that flow through you until they don't. A cigarette is vain, and I become more philosophical about myself than anything else in the world, and sadly, there are far greater things in the world that need thought and compassion. I would list them if I was aware of any. I am greatly aware of one thing, no one had thought to buy me flowers.

It's a stupid thing to remember but I remembered it regardless. I thought that I should write about it, and the thought that followed afterwards was, "Who else could possibly find value in me rambling about self-pity?" Who do I write for? I read my writing and I feel validated by this author who mysteriously seems to understand me so well. Me, the audience of my own work; I enjoy how non-judgemental I am, how I seem to just 'get it', how my stream of thoughts is in harmony with the words I stamped out. And if my audience is just me, the nonsense I tap on this keyboard will always satisfy, will always feel relevant and knowing. But I don't want to write for just me. I want to connect with people. I want to stop fuelling this loneliness, this individualism, with self-indulgent 'art'. And this whole text proves that I am failing at this. How do I write for other people? How do I leave my reflective shell? 

Does this sound like a pompous Reddit post? Is this the kind of writing you'd read on r/AmItheAsshole?

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hxlloketty's profile picture

The average Reddit user doesn't have the slightest shred of introspection, don't worry on that end lmao.
All I can say is carrying that underappreciated minimum wage, overworked shop at least deserved you some flowers.

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thank you :) my flower desires feel very validated rn :D

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