Therapy Thursday

Therapy continued well into the night, as my homework was to go home and sleep. Which I did, for nearly twelve solid hours. One of the things I hate about being as tired as I have been for the last week or so is that I have a harder time remembering what Rich said during my session, which makes it kinda hard to apply it in the coming week. One thing we obviously talked about is taking care of myself, recognizing the amount of energy I put out into the world, and making replenishing activities – like sleep – more of a priority. Not just physical energy, though, but emotional energy that needs refilling. I’m excited to get my bike this weekend, and to get her all fixed up so I can toodle around the West End on my metallic purple beach cruiser with its white hibiscus flowers. I would like streamers and a basket, but they can wait, I suppose. I’m also spending a lot of friend time this weekend, which is awesome – Chris Pureka at One Longfellow tonight, a coffee date, a lunch date, potentially a dinner date, and a drinks date tomorrow. Sunday will be my day of rest, and after all that, I am gonna rest SO HARD. And maybe start the task of creating templates for my hourly posts for the readathon – it’s only three weeks away!

I hope everyone’s Friday and weekend is stellar; what’s on your agenda? Anything good?

Thank you, Adrienne.

My first ever college course was a women’s literature course at City College of San Francisco, taught by the inimitable Lois Silverstein. My journal from that class is buried in a tote somewhere in the man-cave, but I remember scribbling furiously when the professor entered the classroom for the first time, ten minutes after we students had convened, her wild hair and oversized batik vest with the wooden toggles flying and flowing behind her. She reminded me of the Mrs-es from A Wrinkle In Time,  surreal and so real and intimidating and immediately a part of my heart. I’d recently been reminded of Lois and the women with whom I shared venting sessions and smoke breaks and emails and cocktails and life and love and so much, and when I read the news about Adriennne Rich’s passing today, I felt my connection to Lois and the girls more strongly than in a long time. I emailed Lois tonight, and pulled down my 3,000+ pages of Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, flipped to the Post-It flag that marked Rich’s work, and selected one to share here based on the fact that any woman born in the 1920’s who writes shit this hot deserves for it to be read and re-read and shared and remembered. We owe her a debt of gratitude, and a moment of pure appreciation for this and all of her contributions to women’s literature.

(The Floating Poem, Unnumbered)

Whatever happens with us, your body

will haunt mine – tender, delicate

your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond

of the fiddlehead fern in forests

just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs

between which my whole face has come and come –

the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue

has found there –

the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth –

your touch on me, firm, protective, searching

me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers

reaching where I had been waiting years for you

in my rose-wet cave – whatever happens, this is.

Testing a niche.

For someone who has a talent for resume and cover letter writing, the beginning of the turnaround in the unemployment trend presents a fantastic opportunity. While it is truly scary that so many people are out of work, how long some of them have been searching, and how many companies are still shrinking their work forces to accommodate economic necessity, I can do something to help. Yes, I charge for the service, but I know that if I had a valuable skill set that didn’t include great spelling and grammar, I’d be happy to shell out a reasonable amount for someone with those skills to put me on paper so prospective employees would see what I can do well, and not be distracted by the fact that writing isn’t my greatest strength. And the writing is only one piece of it – what about access to a computer and printer? If I’ve never had a job that required me to use a computer and I don’t have one at home, I may not even know where I can go for public access, let alone know what to do once I have it.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but the hiring process for every single job out there is classist, and inaccessible to so many people who are incredible workers – probably far more industrious than a lot of us who have a pretty way of turning a phrase. I’m not going to list a slew of jobs or careers that do not require similar skills to those that aid someone in writing a great resume and cover letter, because the argument could be made that literacy and good communication skills are imperative to any career. I get that, of course. But I will tell you that I personally do not care if my cashier at the grocery store can write a comprehensive paragraph describing his job duties – I could do that for him if he didn’t feel confident doing it himself.

And that’s what this is about. I have a skill not everyone has. People who are hard workers, fast learners, and dedicated employees are being passed over before the interviews begin because the employers use this first line of contact – the resume – to weed people out, often based on things like spelling, sentence structure, and even (yes, I have absolutely done this) the fact that they still use Hotmail. And this is only fair sometimes. But because of the unemployment rate over the last several years, it is happening always; even with a well-written resume, employers feel confident – smug, even – requiring a four year degree to apply for every minimum wage job out there these days. But you know what? The person who has a college degree and writes a beautiful letter and worked for a Fortune 500 until it went bankrupt is not going to give you her best bussing tables. She is likely going to resent the job, her coworkers, and her superiors – whom she won’t consider superiors no matter what position they hold. Not all, but many, people who possess degrees, impressive work histories, and a talent for bullshit are going to have a chip on their shoulder. I wouldn’t hire them at half minimum wage, but the ones who deign to apply to jobs they consider beneath their station are fooling the hiring managers out there, getting the jobs, and acting like they’re doing everyone else a favor just by showing up.

I want to level the playing field a bit, that’s all. Affordable resume and cover letter writing for folks who really want to work, but whose skills don’t include being their own best advocate on paper. I want to be that. And not by embellishing or “creatively presenting” or outright lying about anyone’s skills, but by communicating them in a way that doesn’t get them knocked out of the game before they’ve even put a hand on the ball.

This weekend’s project: designing a pull-tab flyer to put up around town. Contacts to make this week: The Career Center. Time to make this thing happen.

Sunday.

I feel like I’ve not stopped going going going for about a year, although it’s really only been a couple of weeks. I have so much crap to do at home, but first, I’m going to take an hour to just be. I’ve been letting life propel me, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s starting to feel less like a lazy river and more like a rushing current. And I’m not that strong a swimmer just yet. Though I suppose recognizing the need to slow down, take some time to reflect, and strike out armed with preparedness and purpose is a good change from past practices. I can’t promise myself catharsis or enlightenment or some major revelation, but I can be kind, loving, and forgiving; being hyper critical of myself doesn’t encourage me to effect positive change, it just makes me feel like a failure. And if there’s anything I can look at the last year in particular and know that I am not, it is a failure. So, on to celebrating successes small and large, and setting myself up for more today and each day moving forward.

Right after I browbeat Joshua into finishing his Science homework.

Fooling myself.

I’m not. That’s pretty much the size of that.

Change isn’t effective if it’s only where others can see it. And sometimes something happens and you realize that you’re only hurting yourself by “faking it til you make it,” or pretending to be okay with the way things are because you’re waiting for them to be different, and are so certain that they will be.

But guess what? There is no certainty. There are no guarantees. The only difference I can ensure is the difference in myself. In my actions. And I can only hope that, if I make the changes all the way – stop seeking, stop hoping, and start living in the moment, that I will come to love this moment as much as the one I keep hidden as a prize in the back of my heart. Maybe I’ll even come to love it more, since it’s the one that is real, and really happening, and isn’t dependent on anyone or anything but me.

Therapy Thursday

Everyone got a bunch of big “yays” in therapy tonight. I know this should make me super happy, and don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of me and most of the choices I’ve made lately. I’m proud of important things happening that are all pieces of a larger, healthier, more sustainable future. I’m excited about the weather and how well my interview seemed to go and plans with good friends and all that.

I also kinda wanna kick a fit all. the. time. I don’t know what’s up with me, but I am just feeling all kinds of angsty reckless teenager when I’m not being super together healthy choices sister-mom. I want to ignore the rules. I want to pretend things can be however I want them to be without all the work. I want to be stupid and happy instead of doing the right thing and kinda miserable about it.

But, that’s why I write, right? So I can say that here, realize that I’m being selfish and short-sighted and that I can be patient and grownup and will be glad of it in the end.

And now we take a deep breath, reread the last paragraph a few times, and make it so.

Oh, therapy. I love and hate you so.

Really?

I understand crying uncontrollably over something little when I have PMS. I understand crying for no apparent reason at all when I’ve had a few drinks. I understand crying over everything when I’m stressed and overtired and overwhelmed. But when none of the above apply and I’m sitting at the computer crying for all of the above reasons, I just don’t even know what to do with myself besides write and write and write and hope that the tears and the words work their way out and I can leave them on the screen and on the keyboard and not take them to my pillow with me. This song is probably not helping, but I’ve just heard it for the first time and it is so simply and painfully beautiful, I have to share it with you and listen to it again. And maybe once again after that.

Opportunities.

While I truly hate the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason,” I do believe that sometimes the reasons are easier to see than others. I’ve applied for a position as an administrative support to one of the executives in our organization, and I learned when they scheduled the interview that I know a member of the interview panel socially. I knew she worked here, but we’re on different campuses and the one time we saw one another, it was one of those moments when you see someone out of context and can’t place them right away; I’d only ever seen her at friends’ houses, community events, that sort of thing, so it took me a minute to recognize her in a work setting. It turns out that she held the position I’ve applied for until last week, when she moved to support another administrator, so she’s helping to select her replacement. I emailed her to comment on the pleasant surprise I had when I heard her name, and we wrote back and forth a few times, discussing the position a bit, the folks with whom I’d be working, and what the candidate pool looks like so far. I felt pretty confident going into the process already, but this helped quite a bit – as I said to her, a friendly face on an interview panel makes it feel a little less like a firing squad :) So, tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, I shall strut my stuff over to the Veranda campus (p.s. the grounds are GORGEOUS, the employee gym is over there, they have a professionally equipped kitchen – would love to work at that site) and do my best to wow the panel while getting to know the people I’d be working with most closely.

So, yeah. I guess we’ll see what happens, but I have a good feeling. I have a lot of skills to offer to the position itself, and I feel like it would be a good place to be as far as making myself more visible as an asset to the organization in general. Any positive vibes you wanna send my way, I’ll take ’em!

Night off.

I don’t ever really get one, but sometimes I give myself permission to skip whatever I felt was necessary on the grown-up list. Sometimes a girl just needs to slip into comfy jammies and ridiculous slippers and prop up some pillows and curl up with the heating pad and knit and watch Wall-E. So that’s what I’m doing. Because sometimes the grown-up tasks and the grown-up thinking and the grown-up everything is stupid and needs to go away for a minute. So there. I shall resume being grown-uppish tomorrow.

Maybe.

Sometimes…

… too much life happens in a couple of days to compose a pithy post that sums it up adequately. So I give you more music.

Kimbra: Melissa posted this song a couple of weeks ago and it’s become one of my kickoff songs on a daily basis.

Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know. Interestingly enough, this features Kimbra – sweet segue, no?

And one more Florence + the Machine – the lyrics and vocals so perfectly express rawness and need and… yeah.