I’m Asari (Episode 38): When Anxiety Talks, Listen

The past few weeks have been bland, I’ve been basically living the triangle life; work home, work home and back again… oh wait, don’t you need three locations to live a triangle life? I guess my life isn’t even up to the triangle standard. That’s how bland things have been for me.

Home has been good, my parents have been doing their own thing and my brother has been very busy with school so he doesn’t come home as often anymore. His final exams are coming up.

And work? Work… hmmmn, work has been… I don’t want to use the word bad; so I’m going to say that work has been somehow, very somehow. I usually wake up by six in the morning and by six thirty I am ready and waiting for my cab guy to arrive; he usually comes by six forty and by seven I am at my office entrance.

Some days are different but not so different. Either my cab guy arrives five minutes late or there is a small traffic on the road and I get to work a few minutes past seven. But in the three years that I have been working in the bank; I have never been late to work, not even the time I twisted my ankle.

I woke up this morning feeling the groggiest I have ever been. Waking up was the easiest, getting out of bed? One of the most difficult things I have done in months and I am not exaggerating but I managed to drag myself out of bed and into the bathroom. It was a quick shower; I was making up for the time lost trying to get out of bed.

I managed to beat the time and at exactly six thirty-one, I was dressed and sipping a cup of hot tea as fast as I could to help with the grogginess my shower didn’t eliminate while waiting for my cab guy.

As I waited, a feeling of anxiety took over my soul and suddenly the tea tasted like slime; I literally had to spit it out. This was strange but again… I brushed it off because that was the only thing I could do. As I sat on my bed wondering why I had feeling of anxiety, a very loud bang brought me out of my thoughts. It sounded like a car crashed into a wall nearby; I didn’t want to go and see what it was but my curiosity didn’t let me be.

I met mother at the front door also going out to see what the sound was; lo and behold it was my cab guy crashing his car into the mighty tree in front of my neighbour’s house. You can imagine my shock.

“Oga, wetin happen?” I asked and he went on to explain to me that he had little to no sleep a night before and that is why he fell asleep on the steering wheel for mini second on his way to my house.

“You for call me early say you no fit make am now. See the wahala wey don burst” I said to him looking at the wrecked part of the car “I no wan disappoint you ma” he explained and I understood.

Out of the good will of my heart, I gave him twenty thousand naira and left for work. By then I was already running late and thank god for my mother; she offered to take me to work.

On my way to work the anxiety got to another level; I felt my right leg jerking like it had a life of its own.

“Are you okay?” my mother asked, the concern in her eyes made me feel very emotional; it was a huge challenge to give her an answer without a tear drop.

“Yes I am. I’m late for work” I replied dialling my phone to tell my boss that I was running late but she didn’t answer her phone. I guess she was also running late, I prayed that she was also running late. But she wasn’t, in fact she was already conducting the Monday meeting when I entered.

“Go back to where you are coming from” she growled at me as I tried to sneak into the meeting

“I called you ma. The car I was supposed to use had an accident this morning” I explained but she was not in the mood to listen to me “Asari, go back to where you are coming from” she repeated.

Of course, I didn’t go back to where I was coming from; I went to my desk and waited for the meeting to finish before going to see her privately in her office. The meeting was over before I finished planning what to tell her and the anxiety that had been bothering me all morning went to another level; this time my palms were sweating and my hands were shaky.

“Can I see you ma?” I asked standing by her opened door. “No” she replied firmly and without a word I turned and went back to my desk. I was glad she didn’t want to see me because the anxiety that had been torturing me all morning had clogged my voice box… I was sure.

I took a minute to inhale deeply and exhale as a way to relieve the anxiety god but it did nothing. I switched on my computer to start work praying that work will help. The first thing I did was open outlook to check my emails and the first email I saw almost gave me a heart attack.

It was a query from my boss for resuming work late; the query was not the issue but the people she copied in the email. Hmmm, she copied the branch manager, our group head, the regional head and the MANAGING DIRECTOR of the entire bank!!! Oh my god!!! I was traumatized.

How was I going to reply this email with all the monsters she copied? What kind of answer was going to be the most satisfactory answer? The truth? Nah, the truth was not dramatic enough. Sadness joined my anxiety and before I knew it, I was crying in the bathroom. What did I do that was so bad she had to copy all these people in the email? I got to work seven forty five. The bank opens to customers at eight. Hmmmm… I was very sad.

After shedding a few tears, I went back to my desk to answer the query in the best way that I could and what I saw was heart shattering. All the bosses she copied except the MD had commented on the email saying how intolerable my action was and requesting my immediate answer to the query.

As I placed my fingers on my keyboard to reply, the MD’s comment entered and it read

“Resuming work late especially on a Monday morning is unacceptable. This is insubordination and the culprit must be punished accordingly. Let her be debited fifty thousand naira immediately.”

I read the email like five times to be sure of what I was reading; was he really serious? That I should be debited fifty thousand naira from the salary that was not even enough for me in the first place. Anger joined my anxiety and I gave a reply. A legendary reply I might add.

I told them how they didn’t care about employee morale and their plan in that bank was to crush the spirits of all their employees until they turned into dust. I talked about everything that was wrong with the bank not without adding how well I was doing in my position and the profit I was making for the bank.

I concluded my reply with the fact that I had never been late for work in three years but they couldn’t let it slide because they didn’t care about us, they didn’t care about me.

“If everything I have done for this organization is not enough, then what is enough? My death? I hereby quit before you kill me” this was how I ended my reply to the query.

I packed all my belongings, thankfully I didn’t have much “Asari, can I see you in my office?” my boss asked in a semi-desperate manner but it was too late. “No” I replied, my anxiety had turned to balls.

“Are you really going to do this?” she asked “I am already doing it” I replied as I began my work to freedom. I could hear my office phone ringing persistently but it was not my business anymore.

I walked outside and entered a cab as fast as I could; before someone tried to stop me from leaving. “Where to ma” the cab man asked “Home” I replied with a smile on my face and just like that, the anxiety that had been plaguing me all morning was gone.

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