Thursday, July 14, 2005

I think I wet myself, again

I had two former employees get in touch with me on Wednesday to ask is they could use me as a reference.

Perhaps I should become a professional reference. I've always seemed to be better at helping other people get a job than I have been at getting jobs for myself. Perhaps that sounds odd, since I just started a new job myself. But I have always been more successful helping other people try to achieve their dreams than achieving my own.

But I take pride in being a teacher. Being a mentor. That's a pretty good gig and being a teacher of journalists, writers and photographers, is not always the easiest thing to do. People with an artistic temperament can be, well, temperamental.

I'm not sure I fit in the artistic category, but temperamental sure is tailor made. Not that I've been a hot-head lately, just lethargic and pessimistic. Perhaps that has shown in some of the blog posts. But I certainly haven't tackled the subject head on. I've been holding back, afraid to admit in black-and-white that I'm bored and unfulfilled.

For years I told myself I wanted to move back to the Northwest to be closer to my daughter, and I finally got an opportunity to do that. The job market isn't exactly sizzling here, and there aren't as many media outlets here as their are in California. Not as many as Southern California even. So, I'm fortunate to find something within an hour's drive of where my daughter lives.

I knew I was moving here for personal, not professional, reasons. Most of the job choices in my life were made to try to advance the career, or get experience to advance the career. And the family, and personal life, have suffered. So, this time I turned things on their head and made a professional choice for primarily personal reasons. And I'm flopping around like a fish out of water, ready to be wrapped up and taken home for someone's meal. The mouth keeps flapping, but there's no oxygen getting to the gills.

I've been trying to tell myself that everything is fine and I'm liking my situation. But telltale signs of stress are popping up. Drinking too much. A pinched nerve in the shoulder blade. Insomnia is coming back.

I am certainly seeing my daughter more, but it's not really quality time, like it has been in years past on my vacations. It's just time. Although, if I were honest with myself, the feeling I feel now after leaving her isn't a whole lot different that it has been after vacation visits. There's a sadness and emptiness there. So, maybe it's not so different after all. And yea, I know it's going to take some time. Yea, I know Rome wasn't built in a day and I know I can't erase 14 years of being apart in a few short weeks.

I'm just tired of feeling like this. I'm tired of feeling like the new kid at school, where everyone else knows the layout of the school, the routine and each other. It's second grade all over again.

A 7 year-old boy walks into Mrs. Harrison's second grade classroom, and feels the eyes of 20-plus kids turning, staring. If only he could melt into the floor. He's assigned to an empty desk, but it doesn't fit. He doesn't fit. The desk is too big. He is too small. His feet dangle above the floor and he can only reach solid ground by scrunching down in the seat and extending his toes.

At recess he cowers in the corner of the playground, wanting to be asked to play with the other kids and afraid to be approached at the same time. He fidgets, because he has to go to the bathroom, but doesn't know where it is, and doesn't know who -- or how -- to ask. And then it's too late. The telltale wet spot stains the front of his Toughskins. He walks up to the teacher to ask for help, but no words will come out of his mouth, only sobs exploding from his tiny chest.

The scared little boy eventually found a way to fit in. It wasn't a tailored fit, but not too bad for the off-the-rack world.

Maybe all I need is a new pair of Toughskins. And a clean pair of underwear.


Dawn said...

Sorry you're not finding that "fit" as quickly as you'd like. We grow up, hoping the pressures of childhood and fitting in will go away, but somehow... they don't.

grace said...

i used to move at least once every school year. to be honest, i kinda miss being the new kid... heh.

Weary Hag said...

The previous comment kinda nailed what I was going to say. Sometimes being the new kid on the block affords you just the license you need to be playful and "dumb" again... relying on others for a change, just for simple things like directions or local planting advice. Kinda cool if you stop to think about it. Of course, after a short time, that kind of fun wears thin and it's time to take hold of the reins again.
Best of luck to you in your new digs.

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