I arrived at the office EARLY.
Early enough that a coworker (and friend) said "What are you doing here so early?"
And then she saw the boxes in my arms.
And the reality of what was happening hit.
"I'm quitting. Today. Right now."
And with that I walked upstairs to my office and proceeded to pack up what little belongings I had left. I had been slowly taking things home for weeks - preparing for the day The Bully fired me for breathing wrong. Only a few people had noticed that my office decor had changed. I didn't care how noticed. I quickly packed my photos and candy dish and turned on my laptop for one last email.
After sending off the email that I hoped was the VERY FIRST thing The Bully saw upon her return from vacation, I ventured down the hallway to visit the regional director - a person who, at one point in time, I considered a friend and confidant within the confines of the office walls.
"You're here early. What's going on?"
"Where are you going?"
No. I don't think you understand. I'm leaving. Quitting. Here's my resignation letter. I can no longer work here and be treated this way.
I turned around and walked out before she could respond.
I said a couple more quick goodbyes before walking to my car.
I wanted to be out of the office before everyone else showed up.
As I was getting in my car, the regional director (and former friend) walked out to ask my password for the computer.
"I know what you think of me and what you've said about me. The people you talked to don't keep secrets as well as you think."
And? So what? I'm beyond the point of caring right now.
"I hope you find what you're looking for and it makes you happy."
I'll be happy as soon as I pull out of this parking lot.
And with that...I got in my car and drove away.
And the minute I pulled out of the parking lot I felt free.
I didn't know what the next 12 months would bring with it - the challenges, roadblocks, frustrations, annoyances, and unlimited amounts of stress - but I knew that whatever was ahead of my had to be better than what I was dealing with in that office. Anything was going to be better than suffering at the hands of a bully.
The last year hasn't been perfect. It hasn't been without disappointments. It hasn't been without moments of hysterical crying and feeling as if I might just lose my mind.
But it has been a year without The Bully and her minions.
And that makes it a great year.