I realized I didn’t say much about my last day at The Maxx. It was a good day. Everyone wished me well. Sasha got me a box of my favorite flavor of Cirkul cartridges and wrote a nice note on the box. Just about everyone asked if I’d be back to shop there.

It was evident that I was well-liked by my coworkers, which is usually the case. I’m a good worker, I don’t have an ego, and I’m kind and considerate. And sometimes, even funny. It’s a good recipe for success among your compatriots.

Being well-liked and getting along with my coworkers is important to me, because I was not liked by my peers as a child. I was misunderstood, ignored, or picked on because of how quiet I was. Thank God I found my voice.

My dad used to say being a kid was easy, and being grown up was hard, but he was wrong. Adulthood is much easier for me. Being a kid was the hardest part. Okay, I didn’t have to worry about money, but money’s just money.

When I got older, social acceptance came easier, and I had developed the skills to self-advocate and fend off adult bullies.

Also, as an adult, I have the ability to walk away from toxic or scary situations. I choose not to deal with family members who hurt me on a regular basis. I still do sometimes, but as an adult, I have more confidence and assertiveness to say: “I’m not having this conversation with you.” And I have had to say that.

I realize this is not the case for all adults, though, and it makes me sad. Some people never develop self-advocacy skills, or are stuck in toxic relationships they legitimately can’t get out of.

I guess I’m lucky. For all the complaining I do about myself and my various plights, I’ve come a long, long way from the frightened little girl, sobbing in her dark bedroom for friends, acceptance, love. I came out of trauma and turmoil relatively okay. And, despite my whining, life is easier, now.

Anyway, there are a lot of people I will miss. But the truth of the matter is I probably will still shop there sometimes; they seem to have more stuff than Somersworth, and the Walmart out there has my Fiber One cinnamon coffee cake brownies. And Sasha and I will keep in touch by text. Also, I left on good terms in case I ever want to return as a coordinator, maybe when the kids get a lot older, or we’re retired and I’m looking for something to do.

As it stands, I’m like my friend, Nancy, from The Children’s Center: death is my retirement plan.

I say it with humor, though. So it’s all good.

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