I wrote this in December, and never got around to posting it. I’m not sure why, since it seems like I was just about “done” with it. but the perfectionist in me seems to have reared its ugly head once again . . .
anyway, a conversation tonight with a dear friend who cares enough to speak the truth to me made me think of this again, as I tried to explain the reasons behind my despair and sense of hopelessness. Sooo . . . here goes. I’ll try to edit somewhat, but for the fact that I’m still feeling exactly the same way, four months later, it’s worth revisiting.
Yesterday, I had the most disturbing/discouraging experience. It came under the guise of a seemingly benign, perhaps even happy, event . . . having lunch with a friend that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. But in doing the requisite “catching up”, of course I was faced to look back at what I’ve accomplished (or more to the point, what I HAVEN’T accomplished) in the time since we last saw each other. And that simple question: “So tell me, what’s been going on with you?” was enough to put me into quite a funk.
What HAS been going on with me? What do I have to report about my life? Nothing good, as far as I can tell. Nothing has changed for the better in the past two years . . . and in many ways, much has gotten worse.
Let’s start with my career, or as I like to say, “would you like fries with that?” Last week in therapy, I was recounting my pathetic little journey since leaving the phone company. And it occurred to me—I really have tried. I’ve pursued different things, at least partially. And doors have been closed in my face. Now, granted, I could have continued to pursue these things, but the fact is still there that I really have been trying . . .
I applied for the NYCTF (although, granted, I screwed up the interview by not preparing well enough). I would have re-applied, if I hadn’t so convincingly heard God’s “no” to that.
I looked into getting funds through No Worker Left Behind so that I could go back to school. I was actually pretty excited about this. I figured out that I would really love to get a certificate in Human Resources, and that perhaps from there I could find a job that would help me pay for the rest of a master’s degree. Training! Paperwork! Teaching, in a way, but minus the adolescent angst I might face in a classroom.
I jumped through all of the hoops. Even when I found out I’d been directed to the wrong set of hoops initially, I jumped again. I did my research, went to workshops, and made an appointment with a caseworker. And then . . . I was left behind. Because, despite my “underemployed” status, I am not eligible because they consider my undergraduate psychology degree to already be a “high-demand” degree. (As best as I have been able to determine, they’ve basically lumped my psychology degree in with other social services degrees . . . but with zero casework experience, the only “high-demand” job I can get using my degree would be as a patient care worker at Pine Rest or Forest View—for about $10.50 an hour. Ooh, sign me up, please! or not. I suspect that, like Target, the psych hospital is more “fun” to experience as a customer than as an employee.)
I also applied for two different jobs at my church, and while I’m grateful beyond words that I did NOT get either one, the process served only to add to my angst.
So really, I have tried. I’ve taken some steps to try to get somewhere other than where I’ve been stuck for what feels like the past ten years . . .
But the reality is that I don’t see any hope . . . I don’t see any way that I am going to get out of this. And this does not leave me feeling very hopeful about my life and my future, to say the least.
And I have friends who care about me, who believe in me even when it seems obvious that I don’t believe in myself. People who love me for reasons I can’t understand. And they want me to find “it”, to find my way, to be happy . . . and they don’t give up on me even when I say that I don’t see any way, when I whine about needing to give up because it’s all just so hopeless . . .
I know what I love . . . this week. But I feel like it changes so easily, like I’m so easily swayed by circumstance and whim.
I know that I love to write, and I would love to be some cross between David Sedaris and Anne Lamott, but my chronic procrastination gets in the way. Or maybe I just get in the way . . . I don’t know.
But I’m 39 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
When people catch up with me on Facebook, they often say to me (grasping, I always assume, for something to say, although maybe I’m reading too much into it) “Well, it looks like you’re still enjoying life.” or “well, it looks like you’re having a great time with life!” Is this what they say to me to cover up their pity once they’ve discerned that I have no man, no children of my own, no career to speak of? Or am I missing something, and are they seeing something I’m not?
If their words are really NOT mere flattery, then maybe I should just suck it up and agree with them . . . “sure . . . I’m loving life . . . having a great time!” . . . but it’s not the truth, and I don’t know what to do about it . . .
More than once, friends whose opinions I value and trust have encouraged me not to give up . . . and I have to try to believe that there is something to what they see, even when I myself am just not seeing it.