I’ve been kind of intimidated lately – by a coffee pot.

See, I’m only a part-timer at my place of employment. I enjoy my job, and I have good relationships with my coworkers. I am treated kindly, and I feel like I am part of the team.

Except when it comes to getting a cup of coffee.

Someone will always make a pot of coffee in the morning. It’s not as if the coffee maker is secluded or hidden in some way. It’s on a table where everyone can access it. There’s even Coffee Mate, sugar, and honey (I sometimes put honey in my coffee. It’s actually a nice change of pace.) to put in your coffee. There is no reason to think any employee would be frowned upon for pouring themselves a cup.

I, however, have somehow managed to turn the simple act of procuring the morning java into a major decision.

I suppose it has to do with the feeling that I am not worthy to drink the same coffee as my coworkers. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s entirely true. I feel like, as a part-timer, I do not put in enough work to justify robbing coffee from the mug of someone else. I feel lesser somehow, even though no one here has ever given me reason to feel this way. When I do get coffee, I try to do it when no one else is around, as if being seen would result in some type of scolding or punishment.

This feeling of not belonging is a common one for me. Part of it is self-inflicted. I tend to approach everything in life with a healthy dose of caution and skepticism, so I often don’t throw myself into jobs or groups or events the way I should. I find myself surrounded by very passionate people while I am merely lukewarm about what is going on around me. As a result, I don’t feel as if I’m contributing what I should, and I withdraw to a lesser role. I don’t want to get in the way of the people who are really serious about what they’re doing.

Apathy is a dangerous trait to possess, and I seem to have it in spades. Of course, I can’t lay the blame entirely on myself. Sometimes workplaces or groups of people can be clique-y. Sometimes you just don’t mesh with those around you. Sadly, there will be times when you’re really not regarded as equal or part of the team. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.

My problem with the coffee pot, however, is strictly in my head. I have somehow lessened my own value to the point where I can’t even share a beverage with my coworkers. This doesn’t seem right to me. I put in my hours and do my work just like everyone else. I am just as deserving of a cup of coffee as the next guy. More than that, though, I really do belong, no matter what I keep telling myself.

So raise your mugs with me this morning, and we will share in the partaking of everyone’s favorite morning libation. Because you know what? Not only do I belong; you do, too.

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