I was working from home by day, mothering by night. My big outings were walking the dogs and taking my son to school — neither of which required showering, dressing, or interacting with humans for more than a brief exchange. I had been depressed and exhausted for so long, I had lost my reference point for how a happy and balanced person might feel. I knew I needed to make a significant change. After 15 years of thrilling self-employment, it all seemed suddenly too much: running a business alone, running a household alone, mothering alone. It was clear that I needed to be a team player in some arena of my life–doing my part, but not all of the parts. I needed to know how much would be going into my bank account every two weeks. And, I needed to circulate with adults. It was time, I decided, to get a job.
For a year, I half-heartedly looked for employment in an immobilized job market, knowing I needed to apply, but also quite scared to let go of my independent identity and lifestyle. Then I came across a job opening with one of my clients — work I loved in a workplace that I had never imagined wanting to be a part of full-time. The job was offered to me, and I took it.
Gratefully, I found the work challenging and interesting. Surprisingly, I really liked and could relate to the people. Having the same amount of money show up in my bank account every two weeks was an eternal miracle. But the most interesting find in this new office environment was this: My desk sat in a sea of desks, without even so much as cubicle dividers; in each direction I swiveled my chair: a man. I was surrounded by interesting, smart, hilarious, well-dressed, happily married men.
Because I had worked from home for so long, most of my relationships with men over the years had involved a few friends, a few bandmates, and whomever I might be dating, if anyone. In retrospect, this had been a very small pool with very occasional contact. Now, being in the company of 25 or so men every day seemed to give me a hormonal contact high. I would occasionally get lost in reverie at the sight of arm hair or facial hair.
Simply being in the company of men I enjoyed, with whom I did not have an intimate bond, was clearly a significant part of my healing process. There were men on the planet I liked! This revelation lifted some kind of burden I didn’t know I was carrying. And it let me return to a more inclusive sense of myself as a woman (not just a mother and worker) that was a critical step in coming back home to my body and my self.