Visiting A New Library While Walking Through Grief

Last week I visited a new library for the first time. It wasn’t just any library. It was a library I had interviewed at, and would have potentially been working for as an Assistant Librarian in the Youth Department. A return to my dream job that had been suddenly taken away during this little thing called Covid. My interview for this job just so happened to coincide with what would become one of the worst weeks of my life.

The staff at the library were incredibly understanding when I told them I was hospitalized. They agreed, without hesitation, to reschedule my final interview for a few weeks later when I was feeling better. Only I never got better. I made the extremely heart breaking decision to cancel my interview, and close that chapter of my life.

The good news is it’s now March 2023, and I have gotten better. It’s taken almost 2 and a half years, and I still need mobility aids, snacks, and a lot of frequent walking/standing breaks, but I was able to drive myself to the library I had dreamed of working at.

As soon as I walked into the building I was greeted by two very kind circulation clerks, and realized, to my shock, that there was a full blown wedding taking place on the library grounds just outside. I could hear the string orchestra play as the bride and groom said their vows. It was a surreal moment.

It was amazing to be walking amongst the endless rows of books again, and envision what could have been. I let myself get emotional over the loss of the life I’d once had. The grief still comes at the most unexpected times, and while it used to be easier to just ignore it, and shove it down deep inside, I’m trying to meet my feelings where they are.

The friend I was with noticed my emotional shift, and we sat down and talked it out together. Would I be able to apply to jobs at a library right now? Am I healthy enough to take on that responsibility, even in a part time capacity? Should I risk the years worth of work, the labor of love I’ve poured into not only my Etsy shop, but my YouTube channels, Instagram and TikTok accounts, and even this blog and my Patreon? I have dedicated myself to these platforms with the hope that one day I’d be self-sufficient, in a way that works with my body and it’s new needs, not against it.

I am truly happy with the life I’ve created for myself. It has not been easy. There were times of fear and doubt, and there still are. I get to do what I love every day, and I get to integrate every part of my life that makes me happy: books, dancing, music, art. And yet, I’m drawn back to a time where my life wasn’t my own. I’m drawn back to the simplicity of turning my brain off, and going through the motions: clock in, complete assigned tasks, clock out.

Now I set my hours. Now I assign every task. While the pressures of arriving on time every day have diminished, the deadlines and assignments have quadrupled. I create new products. I photograph them. I design the marketing for them. I make the Etsy listings for them. I post them on social media so people know they exist. I fulfill any and all orders. I film the process of making the orders. I apply for local vendor events. I film reactions and dance analysis. I write book reviews. I respond to comments. I answer messages. I order new supplies. I check my bank account and try not to cry.

I rinse and repeat this process every day, but in that moment in the library, walking through what could have been my daily routine, I was reminded of what I used to have. What I could have had if I hadn’t gotten sick. I had to remind myself that I’m nostalgic. It’s human nature. If I stopped everything I’m doing and went down a new path, in a few years time I’d look back fondly on these moments, and yearn to do them all over again. I’d look back at this time I’ve been given with a sense of longing at the freedom I’ve cultivated for myself through my diagnosis. What can at times be confining and isolating, has also given me a chance to spread my own wings on my own terms. And this is my time to see just how far I can fly.

At the same time I had that realization, the bride and groom kissed for the first time as husband and wife. The cheers from the ceremony penetrated the quiet library, and infiltrated my own tumultuous thoughts. Maybe the grass is just as green on both sides. Maybe it’s okay to grieve what we’ve lost, while also celebrating what we’ve found.

If you’ve just found my blog, hello! My name is Sasha and I was diagnosed with dysautonomia in 2021. I’ve worked as a library page, assistant librarian, and media specialist.

Places you’ll find me online:

My Etsy Shop

My Main YouTube Channel

My Patreon

My Instagram

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