Thursday, June 28, 2012

Living in the Present, Not Just in Limbo Between the Past and the Future

Although I preach optimism in my blog, I have a real tendency toward pessimism. I am really good at finding the negative aspects of a situation first and latching on to them as if I can gain some hidden insights. For example, yesterday I spent most of my day sitting on the couch watching television and moping. I was upset that I don't feel at home yet in my new environment, mad that my friends and family aren't down here with me, sad that I feel like a stranger in my own life. I spent the day ruminating on things I couldn't change instead of trying to do something about it. 
I think this tendency of mine to focus on the negative also stems from my inability to live in the present. I describe myself as "in limbo" so much because I truly am. I live between the past and the future, but I never touch the present. I get so wrapped up in events that I can't change and things that might be, that I fail to see what is right in front of my face. I fail to live the life that I have been creating for myself. This is a real problem, and I'm beginning to recognize that. This week I've had three days off in a row, this one being the third. While I've been somewhat productive, it hasn't all been healthy. I spent day one in the past, day two moping, and here, at day three, I hope that I've made some kind of breakthrough. 
On day one, I convinced myself that I needed to rekindle an old friendship that has been broken for the past two years. Now the decision to suspend the friendship was a mutual one, but I don't think I've really come to terms with the way it ended. It wasn't messy, it wasn't nasty, but it was painful in a way. I had been really close to this guy for four years and he had become my spiritual and emotional go-to guru. After graduation, we stopped talking. His life was going in a spiritual direction and mine was not. He was not in the position to keep up a close friendship with me and while I accepted this fact, I can't say that I ever truly understood. 
We didn't speak for a year until he wrote me a letter telling me that he didn't see why we couldn't still be friends, there was no rule against it. I was both hurt and relieved, but mostly hurt that it had been an entire year without contact, an entire year in which I received as much closure as one can possibly obtain in situations such as these. We wrote back and forth for the summer although it became difficult for me to pretend it was like it used to be. We met once and it was so awkward for me that I gave up the illusion we could make a friendship work, so I ended it (for the second time). It was I who brought it back a third time this spring when I was convinced he belonged in my life. 
I consider myself a spiritual person, but have not been good at practicing my beliefs. Somehow conversations with him always eased my mind and my thoughts about God and life. So I told him that I believed he still had a place in my life, but the letter I got in response seemed colder, not the same person I had taken long walks with in college. I ignored this fact and after giving it some thought, I called him on Tuesday. I thought his opinion on my recent grief concerning my grandmother's death and on my life transition might be helpful. It wasn't. After an hour on the phone, I finally realized that I had to let it go. We are both in different places of our lives, places where the other one can no longer follow. He had been building up a wall this whole time we had gone without contact, and like an idiot, I ran headfirst into it. I was sad then mad then accepting. I was sad that such a great friendship had ended, sad that a person who had been integral to four years of my life was just gone. I was mad that he contacted me a year ago only to start pushing me away. I suppose that now I've accepted that our friendship is meant for the past. We both knew it would end because of the separate lives we both chose. I just didn't think I'd have such a hard time letting it go, but then again, I have a tendency to hold on to people, usually people I shouldn't. 
On day two, I moped around my apartment. I was upset that I didn't fit into the new lifestyle into which I had inserted myself. I became fixated on the fact that my family and close friends were hours away, that my boyfriend was at work, that there were no good Law & Order marathons on television, and that I did not know what I was doing with my life. Again, I turned toward the negatives. I really need to stop myself before I get to that place because once I start questioning or hating one decision, others follow all too willingly. By the time my boyfriend came home, I was slumped on the couch with Grey's Anatomy playing on Lifetime and a sour puss on my face. We were going out to dinner with one of his friends so he peeled me off the couch and attempted to cheer me up. I find that once you're in a bad mood, it takes a lot of coaxing to get you out of it. I also find that no matter how many people try to put a smile on your face, only you make the decision to do so. I enjoyed going out to dinner and watching them play video games afterwards, but I was still in a place of self-loathing, of wondering, of bitterness. 
It wasn't until the ride home that I began to accept my own advice and live in the present. I stuck my hand out of the window as the highway flew by, the trees throwing shade in varying degrees on my arms and the hood of my car as the sun sank lower in the sky. He took my hand from the driver's seat and I closed my eyes. I listened to the wind blowing and felt the sun and shade dancing on my face. I smiled as my eyes stayed shut and reminded myself that this was living in the present, this moment was what I was missing as I moped in my apartment or refused to smile out of my own stubborn will. We said nothing on the way home and I reveled in the silence instead of brooding. It's moments like that which remind me why I'm here and what I should be focusing on.
So today I sit in the nearby library, typing this post. Men were working on the outside of my apartment and with every blow to the house, I felt as if the windows would cave in and my patience along with them. But once again, life has a funny way of turning around situations. I walked out of my apartment this morning frustrated at the noise, ready to yell at the workmen, but instead ended up in this peaceful library which eerily reminds me of the one in which I used to find sanctuary at school. I realized I forgot my headphones and silently cursed as I sat down in my cubicle, but sometimes we need the silence. In the absence of distraction, I find my peace.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

I must admit that I've been neglecting this blog a little bit lately. I have been discouraged and allowed myself to take a backseat in my own future. I went home for the weekend and while I was glad to be there, it was not as relaxing as I had hoped. I wanted a peaceful weekend spent with mostly family, but I found myself pushed and pulled in many different directions. Once people found out I was home visiting, I was scheduled into calendars and booked for lunch and dinner dates. Now I am not saying that I do not appreciate all of my friends or that I was not thrilled to see them, I just realized after my weekend home that I hadn't found the peace I had come in search of. I returned to my apartment exhausted and a little overwhelmed. I felt homesick and tired, as if I hadn't just spent the last few days surrounded by people I love. As I sit here this morning on my day off with my journal and my cup of coffee, I realize it is because I have been neglecting myself. I even brought my journal with me this weekend but it remained buried in the bottom of my suitcase, untouched for my entire stay home. 
Not listening to your own needs often becomes detrimental to your health, not necessarily your physical health, but most certainly your emotional one. I went to work yesterday and just waited for the hours to tick down so I would have a string of days off. I felt drained, felt like I needed to regain my strength and sense of being. Now for all my friends who read this and think, wow I will never try to schedule time with her again, I hope that you reconsider. It is never that I don't want to see people or I think they shouldn't call. I just believe that right now I am in a stage of my life where it is imperative that I think solely of myself. Now as I learned in my Creativity class years ago, this should not be confused with being selfish. If we don't take time to listen to what our minds, bodies, and spirits need, we unknowingly become a point of stress in our own lives. I think back to when I was living at home and how my life revolved around work and rushing around, thinking only during my breaks that I really would love to write again. I would promise myself I would write down the dream I had, I would rant about my bad day in my journal, I would write another poem once I got home. It never happened. I had become stretched so thin trying to meet the demands of others that I forgot to listen to the one person who really mattered- me. I got a taste of that again this weekend. I had been looking forward to spending time with my family, to continue writing, but what I got was a booked social calendar. While pleasing others is a great aspiration to have, it is also my biggest downfall. I often forget to ask what I want and end up in social situations that I would have rather forgone for a night in bed with a book. 
So ask yourself today- what do I want? Is someone pushing you to do something you'd rather not? Are you squashing your own creative juices in order to meet someone else's expectations? I've learned that you need to give yourself more credit. I'm trying to give myself more credit daily, and I'm trying to listen to my heart. I've told myself this morning that I have to stop thinking so much about what others will think of my actions, and just do what makes me happy. Sometimes others won't understand your motivations. Let them. You know what is best for you, and only you can understand what it is your heart wants. Don't let others devalue your opinions or passions- you are the key player, the decision maker, the owner of your life. I remind you to "[b]e who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" (Dr. Seuss). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Defining Your Story

On this scorcher of a day, I have locked myself inside my apartment like a hermit. Despite not setting my alarm this morning, I woke up at the same time I have been all week. It looks like a schedule is starting to stick, which I suppose is a good thing after the unstructured, unemployed life I had been living. I make sure to get up a half hour earlier every day because I have committed to writing in my journal before work, a habit that had gone by the wayside when I was previously employed and overstressed. As I sit on the couch today, cold and comfortable, I am struck by a recurring wave of nostalgia. Per usual, a dream about an old friend brought up those feelings that I like to hide deep inside of me. Why is it we seem to miss the people that can no longer be there? The people that we're not supposed to miss? The people we don't want to admit we miss?
The memories that come to mind most readily are from college because it is the place where I learned the most about myself over a period of four years. Everyone says to enjoy it while you can because if you blink, those days will be gone. Well I made the mistake of blinking because those four years have been gone for a few years. The truth is that I defined myself throughout my college experience. I became who I am today through the mistakes and achievements I made on that campus with those people. I got my first bad grade, I had my first real heartbreak, I became outgoing, I had my first major onstage role, I fell in love, I found God, I found familiarity in strangers, I made close friends, I lost God, I found myself crying on the floor more than once, I walked around campus smiling at the beauty of life. I went through a range of emotions and experiences crammed into four short years surrounded by people who are still in my life, surrounded by people who continue to affect my life even though I've lost contact, surrounded by people who I no longer wish to have a part of my life. On days off like this one, I remember it all, the beauty and pain alike. 
I think we all can look back on a certain place in life and remember what and who defined our morals, our heart, our minds, ourselves. Maybe the present I am living right now is another defining period in my life and in a few years, I will look back and remember the obstacles I overcame- unemployment, moving, loneliness. Maybe I will continue to dream about those people no longer here. At times it is beyond annoying and makes me extremely emotional over what is probably insignificant, but sometimes it comes as a comfort, a taste of that time I miss. I can't have it back, and in some ways, I don't want it back. But it's still there, those people are still a part of me, those experiences and mistakes still define me. 
Every choice we make, every person we allow to occupy a place in our heart, every experience we have creates our road map. Everyone has one, a map that defines the kind of person he or she is and will continue to become. We are each unique, we are all individuals with a story to tell. Every day I add to my story, every day I remember the tales I have to tell, the experiences that make me different from the next person. I have been striving to keep my story alive in my journals, through my writing, in this blog. How will you tell your story?

Monday, June 18, 2012

No Reservations About Your Happiness

Living in limbo is a phrase I often use when describing where I am at in my life. I usually view this position of mine as frustrating or embarrassing, juggling two worlds- one in which I wish to live and the other in which I actually reside. Today I came to realize that limbo is not the worse place you can be provided you continue moving forward with plans for the future.
As I talked with coworkers today, I realized that most of us are in a transition phase of life; not many people can say they are working their ideal job or are making their ideal salary or are living out a perfect balance of work and play. We constantly find ourselves searching for something better. I often cringe as I say I work at a bank because everyone who knows me knows that I have a degree in English and would much rather spend my time working with words instead of handling cash. So I always feel pressured to add a "but I'm..." clause. "But I'm writing articles now." "But I'm focusing on my blog a lot more." "But I'm looking to get into publishing." But why do I feel the need to do this? I can't classify myself as miserably unhappy, I can't say that I hate the people I work with, I can't say I dread going to work. I feel bad making excuses for myself, but I've realized I'm not the only one who does it. We are all living between jobs, living between break ups, living between homes. We are all changing and transitioning. Maybe those aren't excuses I'm making, but merely the truth.
I find that I want people to know more about me. I want people to understand that I am working toward fulfillment. The more I realize this, the easier it is for me to see this happening with many of the people around me. People that are making their way through school as they pay the bills with the job they acquired outside their field. People who need to pay a mortgage and are looking to make their way up in a company. People who have found their passion, but can't quite acquire a career in it yet. We are all striving for something better, and admitting that we are working toward other goals isn't an excuse, it's the truth. I am proud to talk about writing and the ways in which my world has changed the past few months. Sometimes I do get down on myself for not having a job I'm in love with yet, but I understand that it will come in time. In the meantime, I let people know who I am outside of my work life because it is important to me that people understand I have many layers.
All of us have goals and desires and if you aren't in the right career or the right relationship or the right location, you will be as long as you pursue those things for which you long. The danger lies in becoming complacent. Once you start to become too set in your routine or lazy with continuing on your path, you endanger yourself and your future creative works. I'm not saying that a day or a week of doing nothing is detrimental, but when you get to the point when weeks, months, or years pass without attempting to take a step in the right direction, then you fail. You fail yourself in not allowing for your own growth- spiritual, emotional, mental, etc- and in turn you fail others by depriving them of those works of which the world is now void. We owe it to ourselves to pursue what makes us happy and to have no reservations about doing so.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"There's no distance too far for a grandparent to travel"

On this Father's Day, all I can think about is family and that I am lucky enough to have a very close relationship with them. Yesterday, my family and extended family came together not only to celebrate Father's Day, but also to gather for the first time since the death of my grandmother a month ago. As I sit here today, I can't help but miss all of them already. My family is my support network, and I have learned that they are not to be taken for granted, remembering this especially in the wake of losing my grandma. As we all gathered at my grandparents' house yesterday, I couldn't help but miss her because she is still everywhere- in the dishcloths, in the salt and pepper shakers, in the lists still hanging from the fridge, in the wooden calendar she so diligently reset every month. A house seems less like home when you lose a member from it. We all walked around talking and laughing, but I couldn't help feeling like I was wandering. It seemed like a strange place even in its familiarity. Going through her old clothes, standing in her kitchen, watching my grandfather sit in his chair alone, it all felt wrong. Some family members commented that it felt like she had disappeared or evaporated. It felt like she was on a trip, as if she'd soon be back. I can't help feeling like I have no closure, but then again, when does one ever feel closure concerning the death of a loved one? 
Someone recently told me that the lack of closure is merely how death operates. You go through the initial mourning period and you think you're fine. Then in a few months it hits you again out of the blue and you are reminded that you have lost someone very dear to you, that person just isn't coming home. Then it might fade, but it always has the ability to sneak up out of nowhere and swiftly punch you in the gut or roundhouse kick you right in the heart. You never can escape the reality of death, and I think that is what makes it so scary. It has a certain power over all of us. We are all affected by the death of a loved one, a friend or an acquaintance; death has the power to control us and the power to eventually take us. That is a scary concept with which to wrestle. I try not to be to morbid here, but it is a fact that each and every one of us must face in time. 
When I think about the precious life that was lost, I still remember what I have left. When cleaning out the attic, my aunt found a folder with some newspaper cuttings in it. It was a clipping from a paper dating around 1997 or so. The picture at the top of the page was me with my grandmother. It was from grandparents day at school and she was planting a kiss on the top of my head as I smiled happily enjoying a piece of bread. I don't remember this picture or the event at which it was taken, but it made me simultaneously smile and tear up. It was a piece of her that was meant for me; it was a picture of us, just her and me. This was her gift that she left for me to have. It's hanging up on my wall right now, and I am thankful that it inspires me to smile every time because its message, her message, is all too clear. The title reads, "There's no distance too far for a grandparent to travel."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why I Am Thankful

I am writing today to say that I am thankful. I was published by yesterday and have received a lot of comments on my article and on my blog as a result. For anyone that only reads my blog, here is a link to the article that I have written- I encourage everyone to read it if they have the chance. I am so excited that my words can resonate with other people and that others can relate to my experiences. I came home to a message that my article had been published and was full of joy all night as I kept clicking on the page that had my words written across it. It is a huge feeling of accomplishment, and I am grateful that someone took a chance on me and recognized that my words were meaningful. I do not write in search of praise or recognition, but it is an amazing feeling to be read and admired. I remain humbly grateful to all the readers of that post and this blog. It makes me feel as if my goals are not that far out of reach. This is only one step to continuing a career in writing. One reader called my post, "refreshing," "honest," and "real." I think that was the biggest compliment because those are qualities I look for in good writers, and as such, they are qualities I hope to emulate with my own writing. 
I want to work on more articles for in the future, as well as find other places where I can be published. I would love to be able to find a way to make this my career. Even if it is a hobby on the side for a while, the more I get published and recognized, the better chance I have of making a career of something about which I am so passionate. I like being able to tell people I am a writer or aspiring writer. To have others validate my work is an incredible feeling, and I am remarkably indebted to everyone who continues to encourage me daily. 
I am thankful to have had these last few months to be able to work on myself. I've found that if you don't have time to take care of you, you start losing a bit of yourself. I had been so stressed and overworked to the point where I didn't feel like doing anything. I knew I wanted to go home and write, but I had zero motivation when I got there. The television and my bed became my best friends after long days at work- that's when I should have known I was in trouble. You should never be put in a position where your best interests are placed last. You should always come first, and not in a selfish way, but in a self-loving way. Anyone who puts your cares and concerns last, shouldn't be in your life. Any job that makes you feel inferior and not recognized, isn't the one for you. It's all about having the courage to listen to that inner voice and take action. For me it was that leap of faith that changed my life for the better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


My focus shifts today to the topic of grieving. I lost my grandmother almost a month ago, and I feel as if I still have not grieved the loss of her. She didn't want a funeral, didn't want a service, and so my family is left to struggle with her loss. I had a dream about her last night which brought up all my emotions again. I dreamed that she was there with all my family, but I was the only one talking to her, the sole person interacting with her. She bent down to get something by the fireplace and I turned around for a second only to find her gone when I looked back. As my eyes searched the room, all I saw were sympathetic, sad faces around me. That's when I remembered that she was gone, she had been gone for nearly a month and I had imagined her there with me. I feel that way most days. I feel guilty that I don't think of her; I don't make any conscious efforts to change the term grandparents to a singular person when speaking of an upcoming visit or their home. I still think she's here sometimes, still think I can drive to visit as I was planning before she took a sudden turn for the worse. At times I feel guilty for not visiting sooner, but having spoken to her on the phone a couple days before her death, I am almost glad I did not see her in the sickness that consumed her at last. Her voice was weak, she was confused and on too much morphine. As I sit here today, the world seems a little too gloomy. It is supposed to rain and I find that fitting because I just want to think about the world as a place where she no longer resides. It is hard to mourn someone who doesn't want to be mourned. I appreciate her not wanting us to worry, not wanting us to be left with lots to do in her absence, but it's hard to feel like she is gone for good when I haven't put her to rest in body and spirit.

Monday, June 11, 2012

That Place Between Dreaming and Waking

I seem to be in the contemplative mood today which is conducive to writing for me. I have been thinking recently of relationships and human nature. I often have dreams about people from my past- people I no longer want to speak to or think of, people that I miss, people that I didn't know I missed. I am a huge believer in dreams having significance and I often analyze my own dreams (maybe over-analyzing at times). I go through periods where I will dream about one person consistently for days or weeks and it always leaves me wondering why? If it is someone in my past who has hurt or betrayed me then I often acknowledge that I have not forgiven that person so they continue to visit or haunt me so to speak. If it is someone I was very close to I wonder if I am merely missing that person or if I still need him/her in my life. Perhaps I over-think the events that happen in my dreams but I recognize that they tell me things, things I might not want to acknowledge in waking life; things that I can probably push to the back of my mind and bury. But how healthy is this? My dreams are screaming at me to address an underlying problem in my life yet I analyze and brush it aside. It's fear that makes me do so- fear of reestablishing a connection, fear of rejection again, fear of getting hurt. Being hurt is the number one reason that I do not act on most of my desires. I cut people out for a reason, why let them back in? 
This also leads to other questions. Nowadays we can delete people or block them, but can we ever really erase someone from existence? I can answer that right now. No. You can't. But then we are sort of trapped, aren't we? Because I also believe there is no such thing as closure. Even if you truly forgive someone for hurting you, even if you supposedly have a clean breakup, do you ever really find that sense of peace? Can you ever feel the same way again? Do you go on living as if nothing happened? I don't think so. I have had a hard time dealing with forgiving individuals in my past. I convince myself that I am over the hurt, that I have forgiven everything that I formerly thought unforgiveable, until one mention of the person or one harmless dream sets me back a few years. There is always something to remind you of those things you never want to think of again, so can we ever truly forgive and forget? Or does life feel the need to remind us continually of the past so we can remember how to think and feel going forwards?
When I get reminiscent, my judgment is clouded. I think I can make things like they were; I think that I was mistaken letting someone go. Things can never be as they were and maybe I was mistaken letting that person go, but what am I supposed to do about it? It's hard to know the right answer. Trying to replicate the past is always a bad idea, I can say that with certainty. But what if you let someone go and it was the wrong decision? Do you try to make them a place in your life again, or do you deal with the consequence of losing?
I also think that each person represents something different as well. Maybe that person I am dreaming of was my emotional backbone for a long time or maybe they were the best friend to whom I always turned. One person can't be your cure all. One person doesn't have everything to fulfill your needs. It's why we have family, friends, soulmates, significant others, neighbors. You get something different out of every relationship you are in and you can't rely solely on one person for all the answers; it's why each of us forms our own support network that constantly grows and changes. I know what the people who visit my dreams mean to me and I know what message they are trying to bring me. It's just hard to know whether they are the ones to fulfill that need or whether I should be looking elsewhere. It's hard to bury the past because it defines so much of who we are in the present. Recognizing when to hold on and when to let go proves to be a constant challenge. 

Transition Phase

Once again I am in transition mode, but when are we not transitioning? I start my (kind of) new job on Wednesday and with every passing day I grow more nervous. I am anxious to be working again after such a long period of stagnation. I worry about how the people will be, how the job will be here, how many hours I can get. If money was not a consideration, there would be far less worry in my life and everyone else's (I assume). We could all pursue our talents and interests instead of settling on jobs that people deem are worthy of us. Again I state that I have a real problem with the entry level versus experienced candidates because those of us who are entry level are never given a chance to become experienced. I believe experience shouldn't be solely classified on what jobs you have worked and how long. It should be based on your knowledge of the field and the willingness you have to do the job- so many other things should be considered in the hiring process.
However, I am pursuing optimism as this week progresses. I hope that this job will provide further opportunity for me. Since I have been working for this company for the past year and a half, I am considered "experienced." I hope that in my case my experience will pay off and that I will be comfortable in considerably less time than it would take if I was brand new. I also hope that my experience allows me to be considered for bigger and better opportunities in the future. I have started thinking beyond my current role and want to take every opportunity I can to grow within different roles, to become more valuable to the company, and to add more to my personal resume of accomplishments as well as my professional one. I believe we are as valuable as we give ourselves credit, as we alllow ourselves to be. The number of jobs and bullet points on a sheet of paper doesn't define who you are, but your sense of self-worth does.
I pray that the right opportunities will come my way and I will be able to recognize the right paths for me as I continue learning about myself. I've gained a lot of self-confidence through doing and learning. I hope to continue to be open to taking chances I might find along the way. All I can do is remain true to myself and work towards fitting the rest into place.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"So don't be afraid to let them show, your true colors... are beautiful like a rainbow."

I went to bed last night with an idea for today's post. I should have just written it last night because I was thinking about it and on top of that, I got zero sleep. I had two very different interviews yesterday and the day turned out the opposite of what I had predicted. I was dreading one because it was for the same company that I left three months ago, and I was excited about another one because it was a chance to do something different. 
Well, the first one, the one I was dreading, went wonderfully. I met a group of people that I felt comfortable around. The manager sat at the middle of the conference table because he didn't like being the head of the table. I spoke with him and another supervisor for almost a half hour and was completely at home. While I had rid myself of negative thoughts going into the interview, I confess that I couldn't completely get rid of the dread. I left home and a job that I disliked, a work environment that had become detrimental to my health, yet here I was three states away and three months later interviewing with the same company I had formed such a strong vendetta against. I was pleasantly surprised by the demeanor of the employees there and by the amount of time the supervisors had been with the company. I left with a smile feeling that it was less of an interview and more of an informal meeting. Less than a half hour later I got a job offer from them. 
An hour afterwards, I sat in another office. This was a second interview for a company that I was on the fence about but nevertheless I had geared myself up for the new opportunities they might bring. I was semi-dreading this interview too because I wasn't sure how I would get along with the owner, of whom I had already been warned. Like the earlier interview, I pushed aside my reservations and decided to accept what the experience had to offer. My interview was at 4:00 pm, I was early per usual, and I was back in my car leaving at exactly 4:00 pm. I met the owner and after a couple hurried questions for me, the bulk of which including whether I would be staying at my place of residence for more than a year and who I was living with, etc., and a series of questions for the employee whose job I would be taking, he said goodbye. He had sat at the head of the table, as the administrative assistant said he liked to do, and grilled rather than talked to me. It was all very rushed and set me off a little. I spent forty times as much time in my car driving to and from the interview than I did speaking with him.
The whole incident got me thinking about work, the perfect job, the perfect boss, the perfect work environment, etc. I know it has been the topic of my musings for most of this blog because the last few months have been dedicated solely to the purpose of finding employment, but I've learned some valuable lessons. I've learned who I can and can not work for and with. I've learned what I want in a boss and in a job. I've learned what environment I am comfortable in and which one I feel like fleeing from. Yesterday taught me what I already knew but hadn't written down in words yet. If you don't feel comfortable in the interview or if you don't feel respected by the person interviewing you, is this really a place you want to be working? The last few weeks have been rough for me as I have been sliding into a semi-depressive state over my unemployment, but when I walked into interview #1, I exuded the self-confidence that has been buried under the surface. The people I spoke with and the people I met allowed me to show my true self and embraced my exuberance. They allowed me to feel like myself for the first time in a few long months of interviewing, I didn't have to hide behind a suit or regurgitate my resume, they wanted to see me for me and I showed them. The second interview of the day left me feeling unwanted and kicked to the curb. I felt I had just been interrogated, that I wasn't important. I felt like a potential place holder, not a desired employee. The first job showed interest immediately and recognized my potential; the second job gave me a handshake and a few days to think. I don't need time to think. I knew the minute I walked out of the first interview, and my opinion was validated the second I walked out of interview #2. 
So I leave you with this advice- go with your gut. If an interviewer doesn't make you feel wanted or a work environment makes you feel uncomfortable than why fight for a place within that company? Go somewhere your talents are recognized, go somewhere you'll be acknowledged. Most importantly, go somewhere you can be yourself. By the time I left my last work environment, my true self was buried so deep below criticisms and mistakes that I barely recognized who I was. It's taken a while to get back that confidence. It's taken a while to show everyone who I am again. Don't let people take you for granted, and don't let them tell you who to be. You're significant, you are special. Don't ever put yourself in a position where you feel less than that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Being Honest With Yourself

"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment." 
~Pema Chodron

Another day and the job search continues. I found a few writing/editing jobs this morning that brought my optimism level higher than expected. I get that temporary high as I write cover letters explaining my love for writing, hoping and praying that those on the receiving end will perceive my enthusiasm and look past my entry level status. I spent yesterday afternoon watching a marathon of Sex and the City in lieu of relaxing from an interview that was rescheduled at the last minute. I envy Carrie Bradshaw, and not because of the multitude of shoes in her closet, but because of her passion for writing. She gets to write daily about the things that are most important and most intriguing to her. I want that. I hope some day to have it. I'm a creative writer, not a cutthroat journalist. I come to conclusions based on my own experiences, not by poking and prodding at the lives of others. The picture of Carrie sitting in her quaint New York apartment staring out the window at the changing seasons and writing about matters close to her heart sticks with me. If I could sit at my computer every day making a difference in the lives of readers while simultaneously writing about each and every thing that pops into my head, I would be in heaven. Turning my musings into words, my experiences into stories, my life into a fictional novel- it's all I want. I continue to strive toward that goal, despite having to interview for jobs that are not within the same inspiring realm. 
Have you ever felt that possibility and opportunity was so close yet simultaneously so far away? It is as if all the possibilities in the world are limitingly endless or endlessly limiting. It is as if you're stuck in that limbo that I always preach about. Writing and expressing emotion mean everything to me and if I could share that passion outside of the few people who read my blog, I would do so. I have found my own voice in writing, I just hope that I can look beyond the fear that I am no good, that I am too emotional, that no one will understand my writing and just be able to write fearlessly. All I want, all i have ever wanted is to write the next bestseller, is to publish a book of my poetry, is to become a better short story writer. What is stopping me? It's fear. Fear that I won't be accepted, fear that I can't accomplish the goals I set for myself, fear that I will fail. But how can I fail if I never try? Ask yourself how many goals and ambitions you have put on the back burner because you're afraid. I'm afraid to even begin sometimes. I discourage myself before my pen hits the paper. But I know I need to conquer those fears just as I conquer fear every day- fear of rejection at an interview, fear that I'm not good enough for the job to which I am applying, fear that I won't be able to pay my bills on time. Step past that fear, just brush past it and keep walking. 
Yesterday I put off writing in my journal all day. I told myself it was because my interview for the morning was cancelled so I was off my intended schedule. I told myself that relaxing in front of the television was more important. I told myself it could wait another hour. Finally, I muted the television and dug up my journal. I started writing what I feared- that I was depressed because I had been unemployed so long, that I missed people I haven't seen in years, that I had no clue what my future held. And when my twenty minutes were up, I went back to the couch, but I felt relieved. That composition book was no longer a ticking time bomb in my closet, it never detonated because I overcame my demons and wrote. I am often fearful of what I'll find when I write, afraid someone else will find it some day and think I'm crazy, afraid the phantoms of my past will haunt me for days afterwords. But what I've found is that if I don't write, I become the time bomb, my emotions bottle up to disastrous proportions until I explode irrationally at everyone and everything that have the misfortune of walking in my path. Not saying what you're feeling is far more destructive than being honest, even if that honesty is difficult to face. I face my fears every day- new ones, old ones, ones I didn't know existed. It's frightening but it's life, it's reality, it's my reality. With every obstacle I overcome, with every negative thought I manage to combat, I win a little. I hope my tiny victories catalyze a major life change. A lot has changed over the past few months, and I hope it continues to change for the better. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Falling Down and Getting Back Up Again

I haven't been writing because I'm afraid of what I'll say. I've been living in a state of semi-depression over recognizing the necessity of settling on a job. Due to my reluctance to take a job that does not further my search for an actual career, I have found something wrong with every job for which I've been interviewed. I seem to only be getting responses from jobs I absolutely don't want while the ones I can see myself doing float off in the distance, too far to be reached. I have to remind myself that while they may be out of my reach right now, they won't always be. I promised myself when I moved here that I would do whatever it took to support myself and figure it out. Now that I actually have to do whatever it takes, meaning settling for a job I don't want, I'm scared. I'm too afraid to face reality because I've been living in this limbo land of possibility for so long. I've become so dependent on unemployment that I'm scared to be employed again, scared of rejection, scared of finding another job to be unfulfilling. But the fact is, if I don't even try, I will just be stuck in this limbo forever and as detrimental as it is to my health now, it will be far worse if I allow it to continue. I have been letting myself lose confidence and the only one suffering right now is me. When we give up on ourselves it is worse than others giving up on us. The last defense we have is our belief in ourselves and our abilities, once we let that wall fall then we are really in trouble. I know I have to pick myself back up and believe once again that I can accomplish my goals. If I take a job in a field that I don't enjoy, it does not mean it's forever. I will never be trapped in a job that I can't quit, I will never be forced to do something that I don't want to do. I have been viewing settling as a sign of failure when it's not, when I used to say it was sometimes necessary to get where I wanted to go. I have to remember the attitude I had three months ago when I started this journey and revive it. I've lost faith in my abilities when I have no reason to. I know I am smart, confident, a quick learner, and a hard worker. The rejections I've received should be the catalysts to keep me going, not to give up trying. We all fall down sometimes, and while getting up can be extremely difficult, I'd like to believe that it is worth it in the end.