What do you do when you get home? When your eyes open in the morning, the afternoon, the evening.  What is your schedule?  When you rise do you turn over and kiss a loved one, two, three? Are you awoken by a child’s foot in your ribs? Do you rise without a word, to another that other human in your bed and feel almost instant resentment?  Do you embrace them and say “good Morning”, “salaam”, “guten tag”?  Do you let them sleep in and start the coffee or head to the shower?  Kick out the fling from the night before?  Sneak out of a strangers bed while quietly searching for your pants? Is there a pooch or feline there snuggled in there?  A lion?  Do you sleep in your bed or find yourself on your couch with the TV still blaring?  Do you have a bed to sleep in or a roof over your head? Do you wake up looking at the ceiling of a cell dreaming of your family on the outside?  Do you wake up with the sky above you, chilled from the night before?

The point I’m making is that everyone has a different day, even if they seem similar or aligned in some weird way they simply aren’t.  Our minds are these odd, old sponges.  They want to retain and grow, but they sometimes are overfilled and packed taut with strange new germs.  Where is all of this coming from?  Well as someone who has been single on and off for what seems like forever, with an eclectic trail of exes and lovers, you start to focus on other people’s situations. You start paying attention to personality traits right off the bat.  How their gears turn, so to speak.  How they treat other humans, themselves, how they physically carry their own being.  How difficult or easily they start their days.  How their mind warms up, if ever.  How moods change.  Paying attention to how their specific situation can directly impact their mood and behavior.

As I naturally wake up in that overactive mindset, my jobs have added to it in a whole separate way.  Bartending will help you get the mindset of a criminal profiler.  You discover things about people that may shock and amaze you. At the same time, they make so much sense that it’s as though you’ve known them forever. Strangers tell you their secrets, lots of them.  Sometimes you wish they never had, sometimes you’re so grateful for that moment with them.  Some of them die, the day after you serve them and share a laugh.  Those days fucking suck.  You start to question things, all things. Having thousands of passing thoughts swirling inside your mind, like “No one knows I ate an entire block of cheese when I got home last night” or “what happened between the couple that thinks no one noticed them leave together” or just trying to unravel people’s random mutterings. Odd things people share with friends that they think others can’t overhear, like how they just washed a cum stain off their shirt in that bathroom, that they didn’t notice was there when they left the house or how sometimes they truly hate their children.  I’m talking EVERYTHING people.  The human race is a fascinating beast.  What we then start to see is that bars house, feed, contain and monitor, then release that vulnerable beasts into the night.

Don’t get me wrong,  money is fine and the entertainment is worth it, but it wears heavily on ones brain, not to mention body.  Most bartenders have drinking problems and sleep issues.  They are expected to party with the clientele at all times and patrons can get angry and mean on occasions where they want someone to cheers and you are not willing to.  People lay heavy mental loads on you daily and then it is up to you on how to process it.  They say when you leave work, to leave your work there.  Bartending is a great example of when that needs to be used.  An odd version of that, however, you now know these people almost better then they know themselves.  Their limits.  Their schedules. Their fears.   Outside of this safe room, they return to real life, you go on as well, but knowing all their confessions.  For me personally it’s a heavy weight to bear.  Nearly 11 years in bars in different cities and I still hear new, incredible stories, horrifyingly offense jokes, love between humans that’s sloppy and honest; I take it all on, trying my best to do so without judgment.  We all judge, so I have my opinions but as these moments grow I begin to turn inward.

I’ve realized how many years of my life I’ve woken up and said hi my cat or said nothing at all.  That my voice will be rough when I get to work, because I’ve gone all day without speaking out loud to another human until I get there.  How many thousands of times I’ve walked home alone at 4:30am, unlock the door and sigh loudly in relief that I’m done until tomorrow. How many “holy shit” moment I’ve had strictly in my own head;  riding, working, on a night out alone. We forget that we are all processing this differently sometimes.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  You are not the only one struggling, dealing, growing, rushing, exhausted and empty at the days end.  Once in a while, probably twice a year I’ll get overwhelmed by this feeling.  The impending loneliness mixed with the urge to be alone and satisfaction you achieve from it.  The juxtaposition of the permanent feeling single life, even when you aren’t.  One things I’ve been working on is not settling.  There’s no point.  Throughout my ups and downs, it becomes clearer and clearer to me who’s not into it, who deems me as too much, who has horrible communication issues and just who actually cares.

When all of these variables float around you, it’s second nature to feel suspended in it, letting the routine take over.  Every morning I’ve been attempting to revisit this, lightly and briefly, but to assess where I’m at.  The defense will always be my go to, relying on feelings of being misunderstood or outcasted to accept personal criticism.  It is a side effect of my background in abuse.  Learning to use it to continue growth and not as a crutch has been the key.  It has become easy for us to detach our lives with the lives of those around us.  We are all functioning on different levels, working with different parts and different pieces.  The importance of understanding each other cannot be overstated.  If you find yourself  unsure of someones life, their inner workings, I highly suggest asking them.  In our current climate it is so easy to watch our feeds and assume we know exactly whats going on with someone.  However in most cases, people’s online persona vaguely mimics their actual mental status and daily life.  So again, if you truly don’t know, whats the harm in asking.

As humans, communication, especially with emotion involved, is what separates us from the rest of the animals.  We try desperately to connect to others, pawing at any slight connection that can makes us alike, but the truth is we are not.  That’s what makes us wonderful.  That’s why it is even more important to ask, instead of trying to assume.  There are many layers to the mind.  People has specific ways of doing things for many different reasons.  Growth is a forgotten art, in a era where we preach self help and we are constantly trying to open our minds and better ourselves.  We forget that we shouldn’t always remain how we’ve always been.  We should grow with each new interaction.  That we can search for love, hope and support without bringing the other side down.  The key is to genuinely and honestly build up those we care about.  Rid yourself of the expectations of how others fill you, let them fill you their own, specific way.  The downside is when you find that level of self love, you become able to identify that sometimes people are just not that good for you.  There are people that damage our mental situations, people that patronize our positions and struggles, who take without giving and hurt you deep, usually based on the damage from their own hurt.  Sometimes you have to let go of what and who doesn’t help you grow.  Not to live in make believe that those stresses don’t exist and are part of your daily life, but to understand how you react to and how your engage those stressers, how they affect your live and your mental health.  Knowing when to put your foot down or when to walk away.

Working forward from this, I try to remind myself to practice patience as often as I can.  Severals times a day for my neurotic mind.  There is a satisfaction to times when I take a deep breath and decide to react differently than I normally would. We all require constant work on ourselves, not just for us, but to better the situation for everyone around us. Sometimes I can sound like just a straight up bitch and thats ok too.  I try to study now where that anger stems from and when an apology is in order, when to move on.  Don’t forget that we are all here together.  We don’t all need to be best friends, but we should try our bests to make the world a comforting and open place for us all to struggle through. Something as simple as asking someone how their day is.  Remember folks, we are all just stardust and germs.  So, “How was your day today?”