Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to the pit of despair

At the end of War and Peace, Tolstoy is writing about the old Countess, and that because she has physical needs at various times of the day she cries and laughs and sleeps, and they think it is because of one thing or another, like that when she cries it is because she is thinking of her dead husband, but really it is just that her body needs to do that. I have some doubts about his theories, but after yesterday it almost feels probable.

I feel like in general, I have been becoming more patient, and better about bearing this entire situation, but yesterday was a “last straw” kind of day. It all started off wrong when I went to brush my teeth and found my toothbrush in the garbage.

Now, let me be fully clear, I understand that it was an accident. There had been an extra one in there, which may be what Julie had before she switched to the electric one, but no one really knows. Maria had been getting annoyed with it, because it made things confusing (though maybe not as much as the fact that our brushes looked very similar). Anyway, she thought she was throwing out the extra, and she threw out mine.

This is not to say that she was not thoughtless and reckless. Considering that she has woken me up to have me fasten a bracelet or do something that I had offered to do the night before and she brushed me off, I just feel like she could have come and shown me the brush before tossing it in the trash. Still, she was not malicious, and I know that, but it just didn’t help. I was having crying jags about not being able to brush my teeth. It sounds idiotic, and even at the time I felt that it was ridiculous, but still, I kept coming back to the fact that my mouth felt gross, and I did not deserve to have this happen.

It didn’t necessarily make me ineffective. I still mowed the lawn and hung the laundry and wrote a grocery list, but in between I was having crying jags and trying to drink or eat things that would make my mouth feel fresh. (It was also a really bad allergy day, which probably did not help.)

When Maria got home from work she brought me a new toothbrush, and it was a relief to use it, but I was still angry and frustrated, and I had worse things to come. I had to go clothes shopping. I had mentioned it a few times, but no one remembered, or realized it was something I had to leave for, so I stomped off for the bus stop, changing to my sunglasses because I was in the middle of an extra long jag, and was dismayed to find the developmentally disabled teenager who lives across the street there as well. I could not muster being social, so I muttered a response to one thing he said and then avoided looking at him until the bus came. So, yes, I was mean to a special needs kid, just to add to my reign of terror.

Now, when I think of my worst snappish, depressed periods, many of them centered around times I needed to try and find clothing, so maybe part of my emotional state was knowing that this was coming. I am more likely to come out of a clothing store suicidal than ecstatic, and I know it. And honestly, how can an unemployed person justify clothes shopping? Well, I needed to go because of a job.

I have not had any good job leads, but there was this one for eight hours of work at ten dollars an hour. I was just at the two-hour orientation tonight, and then I will have a six-hour shift tomorrow. This is helping with this train tour that Disney is doing to promote their new A Christmas Carol movie.

Disney is very strict about the appearance of their cast members, even if only for a day, so I needed khaki pants or a khaki skirt (fortunately, I already had a pair of white shoes). I know, this is a very basic clothing item, and most people already have something, but I don’t. In terms of that whole dockers and button-down shirt or polo, office casual vibe, with my body, glasses, and curly hair, it sends me into “Pat” territory. You remember her—she was a Julia Sweeney character on Saturday Night Live, and no one could tell whether Pat was male or female—that is how I would look.

So I avoid those things. I know I am not exactly a fashion plate in my black knit pants solid-colored knit shirts, but they are inexpensive, and I feel like they don’t make me look worse than I need to. (Aiming high just isn’t realistic with my budget and body type.)

Basically, there is only one place to go, given the size that I am. Catherine’s carries large sizes, and there is another plus-size store, the Avenue, just on the other side of Marshalls, so you have a back-up (though the selection and service at the Avenue seems to be a lot worse).

There was not a lot of khaki. Shorts and capris were okay according to the guidelines, but with my gross leg, I never wear shorts. I found a few pants, and tried one pair. They were too long by quite a bit, and I could have tried hemming, but the middle section looked bad too. I tried the skirt.

The skirt did not fit quite right either, but it was better. Still, I balked at the price tag. It was $46.00. I couldn’t spend $46.00 to make $80.00! It was ludicrous. I started to feel like maybe I should just call in, and say I couldn’t do the job. I did check the Avenue, and seriously, there was nothing. I thought about calling in some more. Because there are four max trips also, all zones, meaning it is another $9.00 there, so once taxes and tithing come out, I am barely breaking even.

Also, the orientation conflicted with the memorial service for a friend’s mother, and I started having all of these other doubts, like what if I got there, and they didn’t have a t-shirt large enough for me, or they decided that I didn’t meet the criteria in some other way. I guess logic had gone out the window, but it just started feeling like nothing was right about this job.

Ultimately, those would have been good reasons not to take the job in the first place, but part of my thought was that it was getting me into the Volt database, and maybe I could get other jobs through that. Having said I would go, I had to go. So I bought the stupid skirt, and I guess it could be worse, but I also can’t really say that things are going well.

Things are just hard, and ultimately, when I was crying, it wasn’t just about the toothbrush, but also about being fat, and having a crummy wardrobe (which, maybe the best thing about Intel was that the wardrobe did not matter), and having been unemployed for nine months (with no end in sight, and being scared about that), and missing the times when I was the financially solvent one who helped others, and never having been in a real romantic relationship.

But the toothbrush did not help.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dream Gina

No weight today. We thought it was the battery again, but we should have realized it was too soon for that. Nope, now the scale is broken. It might not be so bad, except we finally got the lawnmower replaced, only to have the dryer and vacuum break, and then Mom is going to require a lot of work on her car. Now we have been very blessed to have the dryer go out in the summer, when we can hang the laundry outside, and I know the scale is really very minor, but come on! Can we get a break here? Okay, rant over.

A friend of mine on Facebook just posted that she had a strange dream about me, where we were at the mall, and someone damaged my car so we were waiting around to confront them and the police came. The problems with this dream are that I don’t spend a lot of time at the mall, I don’t have a car, and I’m unlikely to get involved in a police incident, but she knew the dream was weird too.

This is actually less weird than some other dreams I have appeared in. Tricia once had one where I was teaching Sunday School, but I was smoking. People were a little freaked out, and I was snapping that I was trying to make a point, and they needed to give me a minute. That would be very uncharacteristic behavior.

More recently, Karen had a dream where I was naked. This one actually made perfect sense, which we both grasped right away. She is amazed by my openness, and sometimes worries about how vulnerable I am making myself, so that is a perfectly logical way for her to see me. If I dream myself naked, that means I am feeling vulnerable, but if you think about it, open and vulnerable go together so well they are practically synonyms, so it still works.

The interesting thing to me is that in the dreams of others I am doing things that I wouldn’t do, but when I dream about people they are usually being very much themselves, behaving in very typical ways. More than once I have relayed a dream to my sisters and had them ask “Are you sure that was a dream?” Not that they think I confused a dream event with a real event, but just that it all sounds so probable.

I have been pondering about dreams today because that difference is interesting to me. Now many people will tell you that in a dream, all of the other characters are really you. I’m not sure that’s really the case, though I think it holds with Karen’s dream. Yes, I truly am open, and she truly does care about me, but I think on another level she desires to be more open and is held back from it. That is why I did not bother asking her whether I looked good, even though I was a little curious.

So why doesn’t my family do anything wild and crazy? Maybe I know them too well for them to make good blank canvases. I’m not sure how much I have written about this, but about the time I was finishing up the document (you know, the one where I analyzed every aspect of my life for 200 pages) I had a dream that became the basis for my first screenplay. At the time, I thought it was just a sign that I was ready to move on, and really start my writing career because I had worked out all that stuff. That is probably true, but there may be more to it.

In the dream, I was walking down a street in Italy next to Barry, who is in a wheelchair. There was some sort of magic thing in a safe, and what would open the safe was a mask, and although he was supposed to be doing this as a job for someone else, his motivation was that the object he was after could help him to walk again. We were arguing because he wanted to just steal the mask, which I felt was wrong and impractical. (The supernatural elements did not end up being part of the screenplay, but the arguing did.)

I was concerned that I might have borrowed the thing with the mask from somewhere else, because it was such a strong image, so I asked if it sounded familiar to anyone on the IMBD message boards. One old friend there posted something interesting. He said the real question was what my mask was, and what treasure would come from uncovering it.

Well, a writing career would be a real treasure, but you could say that there has been more to it. For one thing, I thought finishing that document was it, and I was done, but then I found the need to revisit so many of the issues in the blog. I did need to be more open. I wouldn’t call myself a particularly dishonest person before, because I wasn’t in the habit of telling lies, but there was so little that I shared.

Now, it’s more like what have I not shared? And that may not be the answer for everyone, but it was necessary for me. I still don’t quite have my writing career, but I have a lot more courage and happiness, and I think I have helped some people, so there is treasure there.

Perhaps a more interesting question is “Why Barry?” We weren’t particularly close. Now, I suppose he may not have been acting like himself, because I don’t think he is a steal first, apologize later kind of guy. He was an interesting part of the process though, because later on I felt like I needed to tell him about the dream, and I did, but I realized I had not told him enough, so I needed to write him a note later. Becoming more open has been kind of a journey for me.

Maybe I should spend some more time paying attention to how others act in my dreams, to see if there are some keys there. If I know my family members too well for them to vary, maybe it will be different with non-family members. I do have a dream journal, though I am not consistent with it. Right now, I have just been having random image dreams, that fade away as soon as I wake up, so there has not been anything to write. That will change again.

I will say that if my dreams are special, and people are consistent with their true selves in them, especially if they are the same in each dream, then “Mitch”, you do love me. For crying out loud will you quit fighting it?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lifelong fitness – 306.5

Yes, I am fluctuating again. It’s especially frustrating because I actually squeaked in under 300 (I should have posted on the day when I was 299.5), so I never wanted to go back up. Still, I have lost and kept off forty pounds this way, and I will slowly get the rest. This does make it a good time to write about exercise though, especially since I feel that is currently the most important area of focus.

For a lot of grade school I did really active things at recess, like jumping rope and playing basketball, and I played after school sports. When I was in sixth grade, we went roller-skating almost every week, and it was still something I did frequently in junior high. Also, I rode my bike everywhere. In reality, I was pretty active.

In my mind, I wasn’t. After all, I knew I could not run for long distances without feeling miserable, climb the rope, or do the flexed arm hang. Sometimes I would score, but I usually didn’t, so, I was not a star athlete. I was probably just average, but I think this is where that inferiority complex came in. I did not give myself credit on what I could do, but focused on my weak points. This is just as damaging as having an over-inflated belief in one’s abilities, and it is probably possible to do both. Anyway, I wasn’t balanced. I thought of myself as fat and clumsy, and slowly became so.

It didn’t happen all at once. A lot of the belief in my clumsiness happened in junior high. In one semester of PE, I got hit in the face with a softball, a soccer ball, and a basketball. The only unit where I didn’t get hit was weightlifting (and believe me, I know that I’m lucky that it was that unit). Plus, one field day I knocked over almost every single hurdle, and that was something I had always been able to do before. When I got back to my friends, Joel started singing “I’ll tumble for you” to me.

To some extent, the system was broken. Doing things requires training, and with field day we didn’t practice any of those events, but were just thrown into them. I don’t remember anyone explaining anything about gradually building up endurance, and pacing yourself, for running laps on Fridays—they just sent us out there. So, really, I have to feel that to a large extent, PE has been a poorly-planned torture ritual that kills the self-esteem of those who are not naturally gifted, when it should be an important step in learning the joy of physical exertion. It’s unfortunate.

One semester of PE was required in high school, which was pretty much more of the same, and that was it for me. I played on some church teams, but as I was getting more out of shape I ended up on a basketball team where no one could shoot, on any of the teams, and apparently no one could rebound for their own team, so we just kept running up and down the court after each short possession. Basketball had suddenly become less fun.

I also started riding my bike less as traffic became more dangerous and as it became less convenient. Growing up I kept my bike by the side of the house, unchained, and could always hop on at a moment’s notice. Then people started stealing bikes, and I had none, and now that I finally have one again it is hanging upside down in the back storage room, and getting it up and down is not easy. A lot of the streets have added bike lanes now, so there is less of a safety issue, but I’m out of the habit.

Back when I was thinking that maybe becoming a team manager was a mistake, I tried thinking about what other paths I could have taken. Could I have actually joined a team and been an athlete myself? Because it amazes me sometimes, when I get a chance to kick a soccer ball around, or dribble a basketball, how good it feels. I used to play those things; could I have kept it up?

Sadly, I don’t think so. First of all, I do think there would have been real issues with time and transportation and financial commitments. Also, you have to try out, and there are limited spaces, and although I may not have been as horrible as I perceived myself to be, I am still pretty confident that I was not good. Could I have started a biking team, or maybe a touring bike club? Probably not. And maybe it was best not to have joined a team. Sports movies always make me cringe because at one point the coach has to break them down, and be mean, and I would have hated that.

Maybe the best thing would have been merely to have some accurate self-awareness—to know that being able to bike ten miles was something, even if I could not clear a hurdle, and that when I found some activities to be hard I could practice them more, and build up strength and cardiovascular fitness.

So here I am. I have no upper body strength, and not much cardiovascular fitness. I have at times been in the habit of regular aerobic activity, at one time stationary bike at the gym, and more recently with aerobic dance tapes, but I am out of those habits now. I can walk for a long time on flat ground, but I am bad at hills. I am no longer graceful on roller skates (I was never graceful on ice skates). For some stretches and moves, my body gets in the way. I do not have great knees. Also, it is important to note that when I was exercising regularly, it did not budge the scale. I felt better, and that is important, but I probably need to add a strength-training component to really see any improvement.

I feel like my best bet is to start with walking. I feel good doing it and it doesn’t require any special equipment. I can start keeping a food journal again, and I really probably should. The other area where I really feel that I need to improve is the fresh fruits and vegetables thing. And that is the paradox for so many of us. There are lots of times when I enjoy exercise. Certain types, no, but there are plenty of forms of exercise that I do like. There are also plenty of fruits and vegetables that I like. Yet somehow, incorporating them feels like work and I don’t do it enough. Well, I guess I am going to have to anyway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drama Queen – 302

It seems ironic that I left drama behind when I have so much interest in working in the dramatic arts now. Sure, I want to be on the writing and production end of things, but given the right circumstances I could act, and it would certainly not hurt to know actors. I mean, I still like a good play now and then.

I mentioned that I had not been satisfied with drama in ninth grade, but I still took a class as an elective my sophomore year. A lot of my friends were in the same class as well, and we had some fun with it. Ms. Coburn did some really good exercises, and told some good stories, and I guess it was reasonable to give it one more shot after I had been doing it for so long.

I think the real problem was that I would not play to my strengths. I was good at comedy, and I could get good results with comedy, but every time I had a chance I would do something serious, and it would just be too serious. I helped other people write their sketches and we made them funny and they were great, and then I would play a troubled youth or do something really sappy and really something that I was not ready to relate to. I guess one issue was that I always wanted there to be romance.

Anyway, I feel like I was not really being true to myself. Sure, acting is about being someone else, but I think you need to be comfortable with yourself first, and I never really got there. Acting may be the path for some people, but it wasn’t working that way for me.

That is not to say that speech team and sports management got me in touch with my true self either. Really, that just took time, and an extended period of clinical depression, followed by a lot of in-depth writing and then blogging.

For social reasons, I am glad that I left drama behind. I still had a lot of friends in the department, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that department was the most corrupt and had the worst snobs of any group in school. No, they were not all snobs, and they were not all corrupt, but there was enough. The stories I heard later were horrible, containing depravity I could not even have imagined then. With all that I did not know, even then I saw people being used sexually, and damaging mind games, and lots of underage drinking.

I’m not saying that these things never happened outside of drama—I’m sure they did, but based on their prevalence among the people I cared for, if I had been a part of that group, I would have been facing them all the time. I don’t think I would have given in to temptation and participated myself, but I just think I would have been sad all the time, and I was sad often enough without that. I’m just grateful the almost everyone emerged okay, but they had some pretty rough paths getting there.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Music in Me – 300.5

Last time I mentioned taking beginning guitar because I was the guitarist in my band, so learning to play seemed like a good idea. That should give you a pretty good idea of the band right there. Honestly, I am not sure how we even assigned parts, but it would have made no difference.

We were all very into music back then. This was the mid-eighties. Music was danceable, you could see videos on two channels, and girls just want to have fun, right?

There were three of us. Danielle was on keyboards, and did get her parents to buy her a Casio SK-1. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Lise was the drummer. I did buy her a pair of drumsticks, which was only a small start, but after all, you can drum on anything.
I was the lead singer and guitarist. Nowadays, I can’t even conceive of forming a band without a bassist, and I no longer think it’s practical to have the same lead on vocals and guitar, but we were young and na├»ve.

Yes, since I had taken piano lessons I might have been a better fit on keyboards, but I think I was the only one who felt capable of learning guitar. Also, my uncle’s old guitar was still in the house, plus at that time Lance’s electric guitar might still have been around, so I certainly had better access, and I had the free slot in my schedule. Still, I wildly overestimated my abilities.

Yes, I did slowly pick up the ability to pick out Ode to Joy on the guitar, but I was not progressing much beyond that, and in trying to figure out if I should start taping my fingers, or just power through the pain until the calluses formed, well, I’m just not sure that I had the commitment. The biggest problem, though, was my ear.

I could not tune a guitar. I could hear that it was not in tune yet, and I could fiddle with the knobs and try and get it right, but I never actually reached the point where I could get it tuned. The other students were all very nice, and so after I tried a little, eventually either Jennifer or Scooter or Max would do it for me, but clearly I was not on my way to becoming much of an axe-man.

I don’t think Danielle or Lise ever made more progress, so what, you may wonder, did No Socks ever do? (Yes, our name was No Socks. One day Danielle and I were looking at the Duran Duran poster on her ceiling, and on of the guys was wearing loafers with no socks, and that’s where it came from.) We never played any sets. I was at one early point optimistic that we could play in a school talent show, but with our skill levels the only thing we could have possibly done would have been the one rap number, London Talk.

That is what we did right there, actually, is that we did write a lot of music. Okay, I wrote most of it. Lise showed up with lyrics for two songs, but I created the tunes for them. Even after we gave up on the band, I still wrote music throughout high school, and at various other times when inspiration comes. The last song I wrote was during the winter before last.

Unfortunately, write is kind of a strong word, because that ear is still a problem. I would try picking out on a piano what I heard in my head, but it was never quite right. So, I would write down the lyrics and just need to remember the tune. In my French class one year, doing the assignments would only get you a B. For an A, you needed to do some extra project to stretch you, four hours worth of work. I wrote two French songs, but to turn them in I had to record them because I could never have represented the proper notes. (And I could still sing either one of them for you at a moment’s notice.)

Now, as a teenage girl, with immature ideas, most of what I wrote was very pop, and would probably have limited worth. However, what I had not realized at the time was that you have to spend a lot of time writing badly before you write well. I could feel the inadequacy of my music more that I could of my prose, so I stuck with the prose. I can go back now and look at old writings and just wince, but it was part of the process.

My sisters and I often have theoretical conversations about what we would do with children if we had them, and one thing we have decided is that we started piano too late, when we had too many other distractions. We decided four or five is the right age, and then your odds of success go way down. I know I could have practiced more than I did, and I was aware of it at the time, but I didn’t, my choice.

Now I wish I had stuck with it. First of all, it can be very handy to play piano, but also I know that I have more to do with music. There are ideas for songs within me that will need to come out, and if I had stayed consistent with music all along, that would be easier.

I also wish I had written more consistently all along. Ages ago I was at a presentation by Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch. When they opened it up for Q and A, a young boy asked Wynton about how much to practice. He was trying very hard to get an answer about how long he should spend on his music each day, but Wynton kept dodging that to focus on playing every day. Did you practice for one hour? Two hours? Sometimes, and I played every day.

I have had days when I felt like I could not write anything, and I didn’t write anything, but there have been other days when I ignored that feeling and made myself write something, and I actually was able to do it. A lot of it really is showing up. This is why now I have to write something new every time I want to get onto Facebook. I’m not getting on as much as I did, but I am writing more. I was probably getting on too much anyway.

When I was young, probably even as young as three or four, I was always making up stories inside my head. The first time I remember writing a song I was six or seven (it was a short song about cats, but it still counts). The creativity has always been there, but it changes and improves as you harness it and get it out, so that’s a big part of my life now.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The girl I have been – 303

I’m still trying to get around to that second round of regrets. Well, I guess I did get somewhere with the saving money thing. The way I thought it would go down is that after exploring the question of whether or not I was a nerd, I would go back to that long ago post where maybe becoming a sports manager was not such a good idea.

I did think about it after writing that, like what I should have done differently. That’s not to say that I wish I had never been a manager. It’s not the only thing that I did, and there were some good times, but when I think about different paths, and their deficiencies, then maybe it will give me clues for things I should do in the present. I explore the past because the past created the present. Maybe I could correct things in the present without looking at the past, but I like understanding things fully.

So, what was my arc? Well, when I started grade school, I was mainly doing imagination games at recess. We would play Star Wars or Buck Rogers, and other movie-based things. In third or fourth grade I created Graveyard Airlines. I know it was then, because Jennie was my co-pilot, and she did not move out here until third grade. I was the captain, of course, and Joshua and Jonathan were our crew. Actually, we were pretty liberated now that I think about it. There never seemed to be any gender conflicts. Other people would join us sometimes as passengers, but we were the basic four. We played on the tire trees, and due to the unwise choices of the wacky pilot (me), we would end up in scary situations like meteor showers or landing on lava fields. It was fun while it lasted, but after a while we had done everything, and needed to move on.

When Jennie and I were outside of school, we would play Dungeons and Dragons. There were no dice or maps—we just had characters and they did things. Jennie’s sister Sarah played too.

I know I went through a jump-roping phase, but as I got older, I started playing basketball almost every recess. We had one class (meaning year) play another. So it was sixth graders playing fifth graders, or what have you. To lessen the advantage of being older, we were wildly outnumbered. So maybe you would have four sixth-graders and ten fifth-graders. Usually it was just Billy, Jason, Sean, and I, but sometimes David or Derek would come in. I was the only girl (I had been for Star Wars and Buck Rogers too). If sometimes the extra guys made the teams too equal in number, they would send me over to the younger kids. I suppose in some ways this was a compliment, but it still felt kind of bad, and then I would get irritated and try and score a lot.

I also did after-school sports all the time, and loved it. I was not one of the better athletes, and I was usually chosen towards the end, but not usually dead last, and I don’t think it was as much anguish as some people seem to remember. Maybe we were not the meanest kids. I also rode my bike everywhere. I did not consider myself athletic, because some people were so much better, and because I could not run distance or do the flexed-arm hang. I was above average on all of the other presidential fitness tests, but I only really thought about those two. I had no perspective.

When we did a full-on musical, Fiddler on the Roof, I did that too. I tried out for Hodel, but ended up as a villager. I did have a solo line in “Anatevka”. Actually, it was the opening line. I was not impressed enough with myself. I was the one who sang “A little bit of this.”

I never joined a sports club, not only because I did not think of myself as a good athlete, but also because it would have taken money. Also, through TAG I was always getting notices about Saturday Academy classes and Olympics of the Mind and things like that, but I never did those either.

So, once I got to junior high, the natural fit was drama. It did not cost any additional money, or require any athletic ability, and for reasons that I am not sure I understand, most of the smart kids did drama. There was no longer after-school sports, or recess. There was still gym, but every Friday was running laps, and it just kept getting less and less fun. (I was still riding my bike a lot though). Anyway, I took drama class and I did drama club after school.

I did sort of have this thing going on where I wanted to try and learn and know everything. One nice thing about the electives open to seventh graders was that there were two exploration ones. The Fine Arts exploration had one quarter each of foreign language, language arts, drama, and music, I think. In Applied Arts exploration, there was one quarter each of home economics, art and drafting, plastics and leather shop, and wood and metal shop. I was really horrible with wood, plastics, metal, and leather, but I still got to try a lot of different things. Junior high was where I started getting into foreign language, and it should have consolidated my drama aspirations, but it didn’t.

Recent events have caused me to feel somewhat better about the incident, and I may write about that later. For now, I think I did not realize how much it affected me. Tracing my weight gain, I think it started there. Initially I thought that was puberty, but technically I started that two years earlier. My sense of humor changed then, where I first remember cracking mean jokes at that age. Maybe when I got fed up with drama, that was a factor.

I do know the terms of my getting fed up, and that was something along the lines of “realizing” that I was never going to get any good parts, because they were always musicals and I couldn’t sing, and I wasn’t pretty and that was going to hurt me too.

This was not completely fair. Yes, there was always one big musical, but they did smaller non-musical things too, and lots of different people got interesting roles. Also, you can do a lot with small roles, and giving the whole thing up because you can’t be the star is really obnoxious and immature. I just know that I was dissatisfied with my life and wanted change. So I quit drama class and started beginning guitar, and quit drama club and joined yearbook staff.

Yearbook staff was fun, and I did learn some new things, like how to develop film. For beginning guitar, I was the guitarist in the band, so I figured I should learn.

Anyway, this is the background for the person that I was when I started high school, and picked my path through there. I did try a drama class again, and that is worth exploring. There is also more exploration to do in terms of athletics, academics, and music, and yes we will probably get into dating again. Obviously what’s important is what I do now, but I know the seeds of what I should do can be found in then.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A new iteration of fear – 306.5

I attended a networking group Wednesday. No one knew of any job openings, so in that regard it was a wash, but some of the information was good. It has led to a new concern.

I was talking to someone else who does training and development. We were discussing working out my key selling points and one thing she suggested was that I write out my ideal job description. Working out exactly what I want most should help me to focus my job hunt better, and also apply for jobs better, because that passion comes through in tangible and intangible ways.

It’s sound advice. The problem is, I don’t truly want most of the jobs I am applying for. Really, what I want most is to concentrate on my writing, and to get paid for that. I apply for customer service jobs because I have experience there, and training and development jobs because I can do them and would like them better, and low-end jobs because I think maybe I can actually get them, but none of it is really about wanting. Is that why nothing has come through?

I do want to have money again, and be able to help my family. I don’t want to be part of the grind again, but I am willing to accept that. Can’t that be enough?

I know it sounds horrible, asking for permission to settle, but I think a lot of that is just life. My previous jobs were not ideal, but I was still able to do well at them, live off of them, and get at least some satisfaction from them. I’m willing to do that again.

There have been things that have been good about this time at home. I have been able to be helpful to Mom as her arthritis gets worse. It was especially good that I was here when Suzy was deteriorating. The seizures were happening more and more frequently, and getting worse, and I handled them well. I have become a better cook. I have lost some weight, and yes, I think being away from the cube farm was a key part of that. And I have been able to write a lot, which has been great.

However, I am not getting paid for that writing, and I don’t know if I will. That scares me. I’m tired of the collections calls (yes, they only started a little more than a week ago, but they call eleven times a day), and being afraid to plan anything, and of not having health insurance. I’m tired of having to ask others for help, and not being able to help when they ask. It would be nice if I could get a good job, but I know there aren’t that many anymore, and the demand is high. I will take a bad job and make it a good job. I don’t feel my soul dying a little when I write that at all.

Okay, so I need to be passionate. My ideal job will be in a casual environment, because I have no business clothes and will not be able to afford some for a while. It will be working with smart, competent people, who can be above stupid game playing because they are smart and competent. Hillsboro and downtown Portland are both great, as well as Beaverton.

I will be writing something, whether it is an instructional handbook or policies and procedures. If it is something that requires studying and analysis before it can be put together, great! I love that kind of mental challenge, and I ‘m good at it. My real strength in expository writing may come from my skill in storytelling. Even if it is not an actual story, with events, there is still a logical sequence, where the information is more comprehensible if you put it that way, and each section builds to the next. In other words, I take the web or network of information and make it linear. I like it.

I do have some of my usual fear of commitment, because what if I do take a job and I get trained and they are invested in me, and then something sells? I do worry about that, but I would work it out, even if it meant staying at a job for longer than I needed it because they needed me. I take responsibility really seriously.

Maybe my ideal job is temping. The one that hurt most lately was for TVF&R. It was a temporary technical writer position, helping to document this new software they are switching to. I wanted that one so badly, and I would have been great at it. They didn’t even call me in for an interview.

Well, all I can do is keep at it, meeting the problem head on. I am scared to only apply for training jobs, because I do not believe I can get them. I do not want to go back to customer service, but I am afraid they are the only ones who will take me (except when I am afraid that no one will take me at all). Actually, those are manageable fears.

I’d look for a job where courage was a requirement, but those are usually jobs with fitness requirements.