action · dreams · finances · performance · self-abandonment · self-worth · work

The Truth Will Out.

Normal
0
0
1
449
2564
21
5
3148
11.1287

0

0
0

(A quick note before I run off to our full-day tech
rehearsal. To Kill a Mockingbird opens this Friday!)
On the heels of the “Don’t forget your North Star” blog
yesterday and contemplation this week, I went to have a voice lesson with a
former castmate. We spoke afterwards about my job transition and how he’d
realized what his North Star was years before, and sure, he had to jump through
hoops to get there, but it was and is worth it. 
He was telling me we have to listen most of all to
ourselves, not to others, and to not let their voices drown out our own. But I
replied, Their not giving me their ideas, they’re asking “What do you want to
do?” and I keep on answering, “I don’t know.”
But I sat with that for a moment, and I corrected myself: No, That’s not true. I do know: I want to perform; I just keep dismissing it.
That, performance, is
my North Star.
I went last night to see a friend of mine perform at her CD
release party. The talent was phenomenal, but beyond that was the
brilliance of her pieces. Honed, practiced, cultivated brilliance. That’s
beyond, “You’re talented.”
I sat in the audience, and during one of her songs, I was
brought to tears with its beauty. With the privilege of being alive and able to
listen and be moved by such art. She created an atmosphere and an experience
that wouldn’t have existed if she didn’t.
I want to do that
And I think it’s possible. I just have a few hoops to jump
through. And a lot of learning and honing to do.
It is very easy for me to dismiss what it is I want, because
it sounds frivolous or flighty in the light of day. It sounds vague and too
artsy and too uncertain. But I’ve fought with myself for years to cop to my
desires, and each time I dismiss it, I pull myself back into the dance of “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.”
I can dismiss performance for many reasons: believing I’m not
good enough; that it’s too late; for financial reasons; for I-want-to-be-approvable reasons. I want the easy check-box on the form of life: What do you
do for a living?
Or, more accurate, What does your soul want to do?
In talking with my voice teacher, he basically said it’s
possible, and it’s worth it. I drove back from there to meet with two women to
get some perspective on all this job transition stuff, and to firm up actions steps I can
take in the maelstrom of “What the F* are you doing?” that invades my brain.
They said, too, it’s possible, and it takes work. Don’t give
up. Do not go back to sleep.
Here are some steps to take, Yes you’ve taken some of them
before, but here they’re being suggested again. Try again. Talk to my friend,
my sister, this guy I know.
No, it won’t look like being a self-supporting performer,
but it will look like earning enough to support those endeavors.
The artists I’ve met and spoken to this week all have day
jobs. But they do it in service of their dream. It’s not an either/or
proposition: Art or Financial Stability. Dream or Devastation.
It’s hard for me to keep my eye on where I want to go, and
that’s why I have you guys to help me. When I finally ask. And when I finally
am open enough to listening. To you, and to myself. 

career · clarity · courage · perseverance · self-abandonment · self-support · work

Ooh, Shiny!

Normal
0
0
1
684
3902
32
7
4791
11.1287

0

0
0

“Don’t forget your dreams, why you’re doing this,” she told
me on the phone.
Easy to say when you have income, I replied silently.
I’d told my friend I was on my way to an interview for a sales
position. And she reminded me where my North Star was.
But sometimes you have to steer out of the storm in order to
get back on course, right?
That said, this is the usual “Molly looking for work
pattern”: Spend a few weeks seeking the thing I actually want, see that it’s
harder than I thought, or notice that I don’t know how to go about it and give
up on it, and then go toward the easy but unfulfilling role.
This search result looks like a different sheep’s clothing, but it’s
still a wolf.
I’m trying to interrupt the usual flow of events at the point of acknowledging that “It’s too hard” really translates as “I don’t know how.”
Because from there, I can ask for more help.
That is hard, too. To ask for help when you’re not really sure
what you’re asking or who to turn to.
I feel like the simple son of the Passover Four Questions,
The one who doesn’t even know how to ask.
For the one who didn’t know how to ask, the questions and
answers were provided to him. He just had to show up, in his ignorance, and
learn.
I have been able to interrupt other patterns of behavior
mid-way, once I saw them. The flirting with the married men. Waiting until my
fridge was empty to buy groceries, and eating tuna from the can. Following
thoughts down a dark path toward isolation and despair.
This is no different. But changing, modifying all of the
above took (and takes) effort. Concerted
consciousness. Awareness of my feelings, of my triggers. All borne of scarcity
mind. There’s not enough. I can’t have any. I don’t know how to advocate
for myself.
And this — advocating for myself — was part of a very long conversation I got to have
with my mom yesterday (as I chopped and roasted vegetables, making that conscious move to feed myself well and stop eating out all the time or going slightly hungry).
The other day, after I’d boldly walked into Neiman Marcus
with no resume and no plan and ended up in an impromptu interview with the HR
director, I spent dinner with a friend. I was asking her about sales, since
that’s her vocation. I was talking about the statistic I’d heard that women
rarely negotiate their salary, and men nearly always do.
She handed me a book titled, Women Don’t Ask. And I’m devouring it. Studies that show men see
opportunities to ask where women assume circumstances are fixed. Indeed, the
cultural pressures and reinforced gendered stereotypes that keep women in
positions of not advocating for themselves are plenty virulent, too.
I said to my friend that if I got this position in sales
with Neiman Marcus, I’d hope that I don’t go all mousy-girl. That I don’t begin
to feel like an impostor, feeling I don’t belong helping women with gobs of
disposable income.
And she said something interesting: Since cancer, you haven’t been mousy-girl.
She said before then, it’s true, I can turn (in my own
interpretation) not mousy, but quiet observer. I will stand back, get the lay
of the land, and then maybe add some ideas. But for the most part, I’ll remain
fringe.
In fact, in high school, a boy once asked, “Do you ever
talk?”
You’d hardly know me by that attribute anymore! But that
part of myself exists.
Although, less so these days.
I recounted all this to my mom, my friend’s comment about my
new assertiveness, and how I’d lost that subdued, passive nature since
surviving Leukemia. I gave my mom a simple example:
That same afternoon, I’d gone to pick up some lunch at this
organic yummy place. There were two platters of smothered polenta: one had two
slices left, and looked like it had been on the warmer for a few hours. Next to
it was another that was obviously just pulled from the oven, piping hot and
bright colored.
The older woman ahead of me ordered polenta, and got a slice from that bedraggled lot. I ordered polenta after her, and I asked if I could
have a slice from the new batch.
“Sure, of course.”
The older woman waiting for her change looked at me, with a
look of, “That’s not quite fair.” But, it was. I’d asked. She hadn’t.
I am not the mousy girl I was. I am a self-advocate. Some of
it was borne of cancer and my time bargaining with nurses and doctors on what I needed (“I guess that’s okay –
no one’s ever asked before.”). I completely changed my experience to suit my desires in what one usually sees as an immovable situation.
In the present, not knowing how to proceed – how do I market myself as an
essay tutor, how can I market myself as a home organizer, all in service of the fulcrum, all to leave time available for creative and intellectual pursuits – doesn’t mean I can’t
proceed. It means I have to ask for help. I have to ask for help on how to even
form my questions.
And I have to remember that I’m no longer the woman who gets handed
old polenta. 

abundance · desire · finances · fulfillment · growth · vision · work

a short note, just to let you know I’m not dead.

Normal
0
0
1
243
1387
11
2
1703
11.1287

0

0
0

the end.
just kidding.
I have to leave to go meet up with some folks at 9am I
haven’t seen in a very long time. I had my dailey method shift yesterday at 530am, so I
didn’t write, and sunday mornings are my check-in with my mentor, and usually
lead to more emotion than can settle enough to show up here – which is good.
so, tuesday, it is!
i just wanted to reflect on something that occurred to me as
I sat in meditation this morning, back into another one of those deepak/oprah
21-day meditation challenges: I am living the schedule I wanted.
sure, it’s not perfect! but I’d wanted my days divided into
thirds: mornings in private work, working on art, or music, or writing;
afternoons working in the community somehow – how I didn’t know; and the
evenings spent in performance.
and here I sit today, my morning spent in meditation, a
little writing. this afternoon, I’ll head over to the synagogue to teach 4th
grade. and this evening, I’ll have rehearsal (well, we’re off tonight, but you
get the point!).
without intending to, I’ve come to the structure of the day
I’ve always wanted or thought i wanted. the one I didn’t think I could achieve until I was 50, and
had more going for me.
but, today, even though it doesn’t look perfect, even though
I am only earning about a third of my needed income through teaching two days a
week… this is what it will feel like. this is what it does feel like:
awesome. fulfilling. purposeful. open. creative. engaged.
important. 
thanks, universe, for this taste of what it will and what it
is like. i was right when i discovered that’s the day i want for myself. now,
help me achieve it sustainably. thanks. 

change · confidence · despair · self-acceptance · self-worth · work

Answering the Caterpillar.

Normal
0
0
1
449
2561
21
5
3145
11.1287

0

0
0

Yesterday afternoon, I drove back from the dentist and
stopped to pick up lunch and a drink before I returned to my final afternoon at my job.
As I stood on line at Peet’s coffee, the tall cute guy
behind me rifled through his pocket, and out fell a green Crayola marker.
Without a cap.
This only happens to two types of people: wackos, and
teachers. I took the risk.
He replied he was a teacher. And then came the most dreaded
question on the face of my earth:
“What do you do?”
It’s one of the first questions people ask when they don’t
know one another. It’s a function of the desire to orient and locate you on the web of
society and potential commonality: What do you do for a living?
And, honestly, the idea of answering this question has kept
me from dating. Because what people are asking is not simply where are you
employed, (to me) it’s asking if you are
employed, what your social status might be, what your interests are, what your
value of your self is.
They are asking, Who are
you?


And I haven’t wanted to answer for as long as my response
has been, I’m a glorified secretary.
Sure, over the years when I’ve spoken to friends about this,
they’ve replied, you don’t have you put it like that. You are a marketing
specialist, you are in customer service, you are an executive assistant, an
education administrator. You support the people who make things happen, you run
offices, you hire and fire people, organize office events, facilitate publications. You reconcile expense reports.
AND ALL THIS READS TO ME LIKE GLORIFIED SECRETARY.
FUCK!
And, the point is that I
haven’t felt comfortable telling others that’s what I do for a living.
Because it makes me feel less-than. Because I interpret what
I do as not good enough for me. Because I feel that it doesn’t speak to all
that I am as a person, and surely, answering that one question for anyone is never an indication of who they are as a whole.
But, I have felt it a pretty good indicator.
I am small. I have zero power. I do boring repetitive tasks
while chained to a computer desk. I get condescended to and underestimated. I have the copy machine repair man on speed
dial.
BLECH!
Get out of here!
I don’t want to be that person. Because, I’m not that
person. It’s stuff I can do, but it’s not all of me.
Perhaps, though, it means that I need to hold others’ answer to
that question more lightly, because I’ve only had one answer to that question
for a very long time, and it’s never spoken to who I am as a person. So maybe I
can be more open-minded toward others whose answers don’t titillate me.
But, whatever comes of my relationship to others’ answers, I
know that I haven’t been able to budge my relationship to mine, no matter how
much work on “self-acceptance” and “perspective” and “gratitude” I’ve done. And so, the only thing to do is to
change my answer, not my relationship to it. Yet.
So, yesterday, when cute, marker-covered dude looked into
my eyes, and asked me what I did, I was able to answer easily, truthfully,
and proudly: I’m a teacher, too.
(you know, part-time, after school two days a week, but,
it’s a start!)

authenticity · change · hope · work

To Infinity and Beyond!

Normal
0
0
1
267
1524
12
3
1871
11.1287

0

0
0

True to form, I’m running late for work. With today’s direct
deposit pay-out, I was reconciling my financial situation before getting
started for the day.
Seems like if I can manage to gain steady employment by
December, I don’t have to touch my savings. If not, I have until January. But,
who wants to touch their savings, especially if it’s modest?
I have a third interview with the private high school in
Walnut Creek on Monday, to be their Homework Tutor/Student Mentor. Seems like a
good sign, but I’m not counting chickens; I’m still looking around for sure.
But, I gotta say, not having a full-time job as of tomorrow,
I feel like I’ll have more time to look – but also to focus. To get clarity and
not just fire off resumes willy-nilly.
I won’t write a maudlin blog about how much my place of work
has meant to me over the past 2 years – I’m going to see most of my coworkers
frequently, as I’ll still be teaching there on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
There was a nice send-off snack at our staff meeting on Wednesday with my
favorite snacks. And my boss wrote a really warm blurb about my departure for
our weekly e-newsletter.
There have been more hugs this week than before, mostly from
members of the synagogue, who I won’t see as often. But I do feel like I’ve
become a part of the community, not just worked in an office. And for that I’m
grateful, and it’s something that won’t change. I’ll still be there at our big
events, probably.
But, I’m also immensely
grateful that I won’t be sitting at that desk come Monday morning.
I won’t leave my newbie replacement alone too long this
morning, so I’ll sign off now. Perhaps there’ll be another more sentimental
missive about the place with time and distance, but, for now. It’s just a
change. And, right now, change is good.
Trick or Treat, muthafuckas!

action · caree · exercise · recovery · scarcity · self-care · work

The Dailey Grind

So, here I am, back to my Monday morning shift at The Dailey Method exercise studio! My 5:30am Monday morning shift…!

I arranged to have a sub for me during the weeks Addams Family was in performance (and then an extra one last Monday, since, hey, I was tired!). Now back to a 5am Monday morning wake-up call again. But I do think it’s worth signing people into class and folding towels for three hours in trade for the free unlimited classes I get. Granted, I’ve been so tired and busy lately, I haven’t been able to come at all. And my muscles feel it. But I’ll be back soon.

In the meantime, I get to use this time (despite the thumping music in the studio room) to do job research, … and do a little line memorization. Today will be the first run-through of Act 1. There’s a lot more for me to learn, but I’m glad I decided to take it (more) easy this weekend.

I still didn’t get done all of what I wanted, or study my lines as much as I’d have liked, but progress. I feel like I’m staving off the cold that I was about to succumb to. I got to clean some things up in the apartment, and I cancelled the non-necessity engagements.

Interestingly enough, I was approached yesterday after rehearsal with some potential work opportunities, but until there’s more conversation, it’s all ethereal. That said, it was gratifying to see that people notice what assets I can add and what skills I have. More will be revealed on that part.

It’s also time to work on the final (for now) section of amending relationships that don’t sit well with me. Third and final is, huzzah, work. Specifically my current employer.

Funny to me that I wrote this list back in the summer, and now as it’s my last week of work there, I’m getting the chance to work on this now. There’s nothing in specific that I need to necessarily “make amends” for; it’s more about attitude. It’s also about showing up on time(!), which this week will be harder, as I flit from dentist appointment to interview to… another dentist appointment.

Did you know that Covered California doesn’t cover dental? I didn’t! Until I was reclined underneath my dentist’s light last Friday afternoon, and she said, Yes, you do need these fillings — and then dropped the “not covered” bomb. Hence the several appointments this week.

So, that’s more information as I continue on my “looking” path. In fact, my dentist had a great recommendation for an alternative private school, and I just applied to them a minute ago.

I have my second interview tomorrow with the alternative private school I met with last week — whom I told I would only be available to work 30 hours per week. And that seemed to go over fine. With the wage I asked for (which I’ve been regretting I didn’t increase), I’d be able to make the same amount as I do now working 40 hours a week. I have my fingers crossed — but if it’s a good fit, it’ll happen, and if it’s not, it won’t.

The school is also located in the middle of an industrial park, office-building wasteland in Walnut Creek. Which is quite the far cry from the verdant landscape outside my current office in North Berkeley. But, sometimes you make compromises!

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on what I can do at the job I’m at now, watching my attention, (my facebook time!), and how I’m interacting with my coworkers. It’s not any of their faults that I am not fulfilled at work and therefore it’s not fair for me to seethe toward them, or show up late as a petulant rebellion.

I have no doubt that part of my amending my relationship with my current job is, a) to leave, and b) to understand what it is that got me into that relationship to begin with so I don’t end up here again with another employer.

All of those on my list are relationships I have stayed in too long, out of fear, out of scarcity, out of an idea that I can’t get what I truly need.

(I hope) I am taking action and self-inventory that will help me to move forward differently. That I’m gaining a semblance of understanding that I don’t have to sell myself short; that with work and vision, I can get where I want to, and be the person I want to. I can have the life I want to live, and I don’t have to demonize those who are not behaving how I want them to.

The only person’s behavior I can change is my own — and, well, I believe I am. (Come what may!)

change · faith · recovery · self-care · spirituality · work

A word, if you don’t mind?

Normal
0
0
1
528
3012
25
6
3698
11.1287

0

0
0

Dear Molly,
First of all, congratulations on closing the Addams Family.
I heard it was a fantastic run to packed houses nearly every night. And brava
on finally getting that one song that was giving you trouble. Fist pumping is
highly appropriate!
But, I’m moved to write to you today because I want to make
sure you realize how many irons you have blazing right now, and ensure that
you’re taking the proper time for yourself. (Although, I must say, I wouldn’t
be writing if I thought you were!)
As soon as the show closed, you began a new one the next day, yes?
Rehearsing almost daily with a dozen monologues to memorize by next Friday? You’ve been
searching for a new job or jobs, as well as having interviews or coffee dates with folks several times a week. You’ve been sitting on weekend
mornings for a portrait artist in order to make some cash, and you’ve begun
teaching on two weekday afternoons after work and before rehearsal.
Forget about your dishes, we’re way beyond them now! Have
you seen your car? Your apartment? Where is the calm space you so crave at
home? How about that outstanding parking ticket you need to dispute at the
Berkeley parking office? And the fellowship meetings you are barely attending and
the crispy, crackling nature of your office interactions right now?
Is it fair to say that you’ve got a few things on your
plate… AND that you’re not taking the normal care of yourself that’s necessary
for your health? Is it true that you’ve been feeling tired and coming down with
something?
Something’s got to give, my friend, and I don’t want it to
be you.
Yes, I know this is an uncertain and shifting time, and your
home is always a reflection of your mental state. I know it feels like there’s
no time for meetings, but doesn’t there have to be? It’s terribly uncomfortable for you and those around you when
you’re this wound up.
However, I do want to come back to say, I am writing all
this because I am in support of you. I
want you to achieve your best in all you do. I just want to remind you to set
first things first. Weekends, which have been your farmers market and cooking-for-the-week days, as well as nesting and organizing days, have been robbed by
all this new work.
Maybe — and I’m just throwing this out there — you tell the
artist you can’t sit with him until after your show opens? I mean, the worst he
can say is no, right? Maybe you ask a friend to help you with the enormous
bookcase you inherited from your upstairs neighbor that’s been standing, disassembled, in the
center of your apartment for a week? Maybe you really schedule that time to go
to the parking office, and don’t blow it off this time because you’re running
late for work?
Look, the bottom line is you’re in a huge amount of
transition right now. You’re taking a leap of faith that you’ll land somewhere
new and different than where you’ve been. You’re doing this to support your
art, and to support the idea that you have more to give to the world than a
well-crafted spreadsheet. I am in awe of you for taking the risk.
In truth, both ways are risky: to stay is a risk to sanity,
to leave is a risk to livelihood. But, I do have faith that things will turn
out well for you (Yesterday’s interview was promising & the second interview is set.). You are doing all the right things… you’re just not leaving
time for the rest of the “right things,” and that’s where I’m concerned.
So, take a minute to consider my suggestions. See if you can
come up with your own solutions, and talk to your friends to help you through
this quite chaotic but exciting time.
As a friend once said, The only difference between anxiety
and excitement is breathing.
So, breathe, Molly. And I’ll see you when you land, safely.
Yours, 

abundance · career · change · community · courage · friendship · hope · love · scarcity · work

Yes, We Can.

Normal
0
0
1
607
3460
28
6
4249
11.1539

0

0
0

  • emailed
    landlord to ask to use 4th floor abandoned room as art room
  • emailed
    vocal coach to inquire about lounge singing, how to start
  • emailed
    friend to ask about going up in a small engine plane again. (flew one myself this year, and as always predicted, loved it. eventual vision of napa valley tour pilot.)
  • have interview on monday for two teaching positions with a jewish
    organization
  • have interview set up for another teaching gig
  • have modeling/portraiture session set for next weekend
  • replied
    yes to get minimum wage to usher at a Cake concert in two weeks
  • will
    be reading tarot cards at good friend’s Halloween party on donation basis
  • called friend’s mom who’s a professional home stager about being her assistant
  • have
    coffee info interviews set up with a few high-ballers in the community
  • have
    action items from previous info interviews to follow up on
  • emailed
    work-out studio to inquire about becoming an instructor and was told it’s
    possible (with a lot of work)
  • have a
    solid lead on fine dining waitress work if comes to that
  • registered as a model with a “real person” modeling agency
  • updated
    my profile on modelmayhem website
  • got
    exact amount of pto i’ll be paid out when I leave my job at end of month
  • inquired about health insurance exchange
  • got
    flu shot and all blood tests up to date (all negative – which is
    positive!)
  • made
    appointment for teeth cleaning
  • ordered
    new shipment of contact lenses before these fall apart in my eyeballs
  • replied
    to private tutoring gig from tutoring website I’m registered with (which…
    i’d completely forgotten about until I started getting these emails
    two weeks ago… coincidence?)
  • emailed
    yesterday’s blog about t’shuvah to a jewish publication (a little late,
    obviously, but still.)
…to name a few of the actions I’ve taken in support of my work transition!
I am nervous about leaving the safety of my
40houraweekdeskjob. Yes.
But, I am taking a lot of action. Even as I drag my
feet in some places, and have certainly
been watching more Netflix than is good for any one person.
But I have a phone call with a mentor today and we’ll talk
about smallness and scarcity and healing and changing. We’ll talk about, “Do not
go back to sleep.” We’ll talk about the beguiling and insincere safety of being
quiet and small. We’ll talk about the pain and bravery of stepping out of the cage
and the tenacity and audacity it takes to stay out of it.
It’s not that I haven’t taken or thought to take any of the
above actions before. It’s not my first time at this rodeo. But I just feel
different. To quote Elisabeth Gilbert quoting a Balinese healer: “Even in my
underpants, I feel different.”
But I also know my habit and pattern of swift work followed
by years of inaction. I know what it’s like for me to engage in a flurry of
activity and then allow it to languish by my lack of follow-up. I know what
it’s like to abandon myself.
Which is why I’m telling everyone and their mother
(literally) about my impending transition.
I cannot do this alone. I am a creature of habit, and I need
you to be like my wagon train – I need you to lead me away from the ruts. If I
let you know I’m on this path, you can help me stay on it. If I let you know
it’s terribly painful for me to work toward something new, you can hold my hand
and tell me you believe in me.
I know the source of all this change must come from within –
I know it’s up to my own inner work to be the foundation for a new life. But I
also believe in you, who believes in me, and we cycle one another into our best
selves and our best lives.
Yes, I am the one who needs to actually look up that
professional development course. And I’m the one who needs to continue
looking at alternative work websites – and actually reply – but without you to
cheer me on, without you to help me hold the lantern of faith, this change wouldn’t work.
That’s what feels so different this time – I feel supported
internally and externally in a way these transitions have never felt. I feel
optimistic and hopeful, giddy and aware.
Yes, the future is uncertain. But one action at a time, with
your help and your heart, I am clarifying the vision of a
future (and present) me who is freer than I’ve ever allowed myself to be. 

action · change · community · deprivation · excitement · expansion · faith · fear · work

Undocking is not the same as Unmoored.

Normal
0
0
1
834
4756
39
9
5840
11.1539

0

0
0

A friend of mine was a CPA working in the corporate world.
She was making good money and working long hours. And was not happy.
She gave up her apartment, put her purged belongings in
storage, and moved to India for 6 months, studying at an ashram, with no need
for income or work, except inner work.
Then she came back to the States.
You can’t pay your bills with enlightenment.
She found that she had to create a middle-ground, and now, 10
years later, runs a private practice counseling others toward their own
financial/spiritual balance.
I have a feeling I’m about to embark on a similar journey of
finding my middle-ground between financial independence and creative
expression.
Well, I guess I can’t really say embark, when what I mean is
“continue” to simply push the boat out of the harbor. A boat isn’t meant to
stay moored, and you’ll never find out what its strengths or weaknesses are, or
what your skills as a sailor are if you don’t leave the safety of the dock.
To be concrete: I have informed my job that October 31 will
be my last day there.
And the options that I have before me are less than
concrete!
I’ve known for a while that it’s time to move on. In support
of that notion, earlier this year, I not only put in for my own promotion at my
job, but when I was told, “No resources for that,” I went on an active job search,
engaging the help of friends to revamp my resume, made networking dates, and
went on many interviews.
I was even offered a few jobs. Jobs, that perhaps before, I
would have taken.
But the jobs offered, I came to realize continued marching
me up a ladder and on a path that didn’t feel like where I wanted to go.
Despite my “big realization” many months ago about wanting to
move in the direction of an executive director or program director position… I
began to find out more about what that kind of job and life would mean. And it
would mean more hours of my life than I want a job to be.
I found, through that job search, that I don’t want a bigger title with a mildly bigger salary.
That the trajectory on which I am positioned and was looking to be headed was
not one that ended in work-life balance. In a non-profit, there is rarely such
a thing!
So, in came the notion of the “fulcrum,” endeavoring toward
a job or jobs that generated more income with fewer hours. Leaving me the time I
need to create.
When was the last time I picked up a paint brush, or even a
pencil? Have I worked on that essay my aunt suggested I submit to publications?
When was the last time I could really call myself a poet, despite my Master’s
degree in it?
Time. I discovered I wanted to literally buy myself time.
And so, I began to vaguely think about career paths or jobs
that would be in that direction. Then came the High Holidays at work… and the
play… and a halt to any developmental thinking.
But, the holidays are nearly over. It was finalized that
there can’t be a different place for me where I’m at, and after too many days
crying at or after or on the way to work, I am making a leap … not of faith,
but of action.
With the faith that my action will lead me to something
different.
For the past 16 years, since I was 16 years old, I’ve been a
secretary. I’ve adjusted more margins and input more data than there are guidos
in Jersey.
And so I am doing what conventional wisdom says never to
ever do. I am quitting without a job lined up.
I have had a professional-direction conversation nearly
every day since my decision, am having and have had coffee with people to
bounce ideas off of and to network with. I have closed the browser window when
I find myself looking again at jobs that say “Administrative” anywhere in the
title.
I have been in a rut, and the only way to un-rut yourself is
to lean into the discomfort and the growing edge of change. To watch when I’m
teetering into despair, into habitual job search words, … into a Netflix binge,
and to push myself onto the high ground again.
Another email, a sudden “crazy” idea, a phone call for some
more information.
The experience I find most different about this job search
than all my previous “quit with no plan” moves, is that I feel supported by my
current office and all the people I’ve met there. This doesn’t feel impulsive, even though there’s “no plan;”
everyone at my work supports my move, and though they’re sad to see me go, they
have every faith in me that I can do whatever it is that feeds me.
I am reaching out to so many people I’ve met there. This
isn’t a “here’s my two-weeks’ notice” email, as I’ve done a dozen times prior.
This is actually slow and supported in many ways, and I feel it that way.
I am nervous, of course, but I am excited. I feel glad to
notice that my brain is coming up with ideas that might be viable that would
have been totally out of the box, and therefore dismissed, before. I’m not
looking for another 40 hour a week desk job. I am finally willing to look at a
patchwork living.
This is my own “move to India” move, though maybe it’s
closer to the center of rational than I know. I’ve never been willing to have a
few jobs and put them together for a living, because I thought it was too hard,
or too undisciplined, or too “artist.”
I’ve been afraid of judgment: my own, my family’s, my peers’.
I’ve been afraid to try to cobble together a living, because that “sounds” so
hard.
But for 16 years, I’ve worked the 40 hour job. I’ve had the
regular pay-stub with the paid-time off and the health insurance. I’ve had the
computer log-in and the number to the copy machine guy memorized.
I’ve done “normal.”
But, dears, I’ve never exactly been normal.
Here’s to Voltaire’s Candide-cum-internet meme:
“If we do not find something pleasant, at least we will
find something new.”

career · dreams · exhaustion · fulfillment · meditation · theater · work

Day 21

Today ends the 21-Day Meditation “Challenge” by Deepak Chopra and Oprah I’ve been following this last month. Today’s “thought” is about Fulfillment.

And despite coming home on Tuesday night (finally tucking into bed after a chaotic day of work and a busy night of rehearsal) and bursting into quiet tears of overwhelm, today as I get ready for the day, the soft tears are of a different sort.

Fulfillment.

Two years ago on Yom Kippur I was diagnosed with Leukemia. Last year around this time, I hosted an “I Didn’t Die” party and played in a band on the bass I’d carried for over a decade but never learned to play. This year on and around the anniversary of my diagnosis, you’ll find me onstage in musical theater, another dream set down for over a decade.

Fulfillment.

In workland, I continue to feel like the hockey player who gets checked into the boards, my own path crowded out by the demands of others and by the very nature of the perpetually-behind game in which I find myself. I continue to know that things need to change, want to change them, do research on changing them, … and haven’t (yet) changed them.

I continue to desire giving myself the “right” kind of time to flesh out ideas for a different mode of working, one that means more fulfillment, less time, more stability. I continue to lament that the nature of the game I’m in doesn’t allow for pausing. Except when you’ve been sent to the bench. Which I call Netflix-binging. But that kind of pause isn’t productive, and I know this.

I am looking for the space in which to create a different kind of life, to have the space to dream and plan and implement. And, it’s not this exact moment. Which can be really hard for me. Believing as I do, that my stasis in this position (over-working and underearning) creates a dissatisfaction in me that bleeds into other areas of my life, and keeps me feeling less-than and stuck and not ready or viable or worthy.

And yet.

As I’ve spoken of it, one foot may be in the bear trap, but the other is passionately trying to walk anyway – or, as in the Addams show, to tango. I continue to have one foot in the direction … no – in the reality of a vision and a dream of mine. It’s not the direction, it’s the reality.

And truly, how different I know this is than it was. To be in it, instead of dreaming of or lamenting it.

Can you be half-way fulfilled? I dunno. But, I do know that the hours spent in band, in rehearsal, in laughter, and in friendship are times of pure engagement, presence, and self-forgetting (sometimes!). That absence of commentary, of doubt, feels like the presence of fulfillment.

If I have created, and worked hard toward creating, a third of my waking hours to be ones of fulfillment, I have to acknowledge that the scale is tipping. It isn’t there yet. I still lament and cry and question if I will pursue, but those hours spent in joy …

*insert silent wonder*