I said, "No."
"No, I will not pretend I did not come to a meeting we scheduled and be ignored because you have other people you are meeting with or talking with on the telephone."
"No, I will not attend a meeting the following week that we never confirmed."
"No, I will not work as the Editor of a magazine for the wages of an intern, at a job that is supposed to be 10-15 hours per week but turns out to be 30-50 hours per week. "
"No, I will not meet with you even after I resigned or answer e-mails as though I am still your employee."
No, I will not be abused by employers any longer.
I have stayed in way too many relationships and way too many jobs for way too long to be stupid enough to let this kind of behavior continue. I am finally learning to listen to my instinct and follow my intuition. I am finally learning to put really important priorities first (my health, my husband and our families) and everything else later.
I feel so relieved to have jobs that I only have to work on during the time that I am at that place of business. I feel so relieved to have the time that I am not at work actually belong to me; to not have to feel guilty that I am not doing work for someone else when I am at home, or going out instead of working, or doing something pleasurable instead of work-related during my free time. I barely understand how to live like this: free.
But I remember that when I was on disability and I had time to go to the gym and paint and walk just because I felt like it, sometimes, when I left the house I thought to myself, "I can't believe this is really my life. I am so privileged. I am so lucky." And I am getting some of that feeling back. It is taking up the space where a voice was telling me, "I should be doing such and such for so and so; maybe I can work on that while I do whatever it is I really want to be doing."
I am free again, and that is what makes my life worth living. It's not the modeling or the hostessing. It's the time that I'm not spending worrying about something that isn't that important in the first place; it's the time that is mine to enjoy and spend as I wish that makes my life worth living.
I am finally discerning my work life from my real life.
This is what living really is.