Refuse to be Passive

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Pain. Focus. Dream.

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

Focus. It doesn’t always come easily to me. Sometimes the very act of sitting down to write is an act of perseverance and will. Writing isn’t easy. Sometimes you just vomit words out onto the page, but other times, it’s like a slow, painful extraction. What to say? What to write? Why write? Will it make any difference? All these questions. The answer, to them all is that it doesn’t matter. I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I write, because it is an integral part of who I am. And so I find myself at the keyboard again, fingers hovering before the clicking of the key signals once again the exploration of thought.

These days, I should feel freed up to write. I have recently found myself in the position of being without a job. While I worked hard and did my best, my former employer said I just didn’t have enough experience for the role they needed filled, and they didn’t have the time to train me. What does one say to that except what I did, “Thank you for this opportunity. I hope that you find what you’re looking for.”

And just like that, I was out of a job. No two weeks, no severance. After all, I’d only been in the position for seven weeks and was still on probation.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the experience leaves me shaken, questioning my career path, and wondering what the future holds. When you’re shaken, it’s difficult to dream. It’s difficult to see past what you can only view as your own failure, and on to the silver lining—to what things could be, and are yet to come.

As I share this news with the people who share my life, I can’t help but be thankful for those who express annoyance, anger, and empathy on my behalf. It means I don’t have to. After all, what good does being angry do? All it would do is make me miserable, allowing me to wallow while the rest of the world goes on without me. My anger would only hurt myself. But one feeling I can’t shake, is a general feeling of doubt in my abilities, and a tendency towards despondency. I remind myself frequently of the good in my life, of all my blessings. I get out of the house each day, heading to a local coffee shop to work on crafting resumes and searching for volunteer opportunities to do in this employment gap, and hopefully beyond. These things keep me going. They keep me from slumping down into depression.

Some people have told me to take my time, enjoy being free from the shackles of employment. The truth is that I enjoy employment, and while I am a risk taker, when I get cut, I still bleed. It is not in my nature to be able to enjoy being unemployed. I take joy in work, although I am in no way a workaholic. I believe that a good life is a well-balanced one, and right now the scales are tipped. So off I go into another day. While Saturday used to be a day of rest from the week, I now find it bears down on me, reminding me that after the weekend I have nothing to go back to.

A small smile breaks across my face, assuring me that the dreamer is not dead. While reality may weigh heavy, it is not enough to douse the fire of my dreams. One of my friends pointed out that I now have a blank slate before me, the chance to start again. At the age of 28, there is no such thing as a truly blank slate, but I appreciate her encouragement. By the time you are 28, employers expect you to have experience on your side. They don’t expect to have to train you up from scratch. But I digress. At 28, my ability to dream is still alive and well. In some senses, I truly am open to choosing whatever road I wish.

The other day I asked my sister what my quirkiest trait was. She answered, “Your tendency to put things on your head.” (It’s a family thing. The other year when I opened a gift and it was a rather large mortar and pestle, I immediately donned the mortar like a hat. It was very heavy). My brother-in-law, however, had a different answer. He said that it was my “ability to see through space and time.” I’m still trying to figure out what that means exactly, but I think I like it. I haven’t had the opportunity to ask him to expand, but one of these days I will. Beyond that, I’ve had a lot of people in my life tell me recently that they appreciate the fact that with me, they always know where they stand. Others have told me I have strong gifts of wisdom and discernment. Can you put that on a resume? Can you apply for a job for Wisdom and Discernment Coordinator?

For now, the future seems hazy. My dreams are discombobulated. But I take comfort in knowing that they are still there. I take comfort in the belief that everything happens for a reason. And I take comfort knowing that I live a life of courage. It takes guts to be a failure, because it means you’ve tried at something without knowing the results, without the guarantee of success. Like a child with growing pains, sometimes the move forward and upward is filled with aches. But once those aches are gone, you are one step closer to being the person you are meant to be.

 

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

She stands on the corner of my block. Her jacket is three sizes too big—black, purple, and teal—a windbreaker from the early 90’s. Her legs are toothpicks, clad in black. Simple black Keds adorn her feet. A large, black, faux-leather purse with plastic gold hardware hangs off one scarecrow arm. Her skin is bronze, like it’s the middle of the summer, when really it’s only the end of March. Her dark eyes are narrow slits, her lips a thin, wide, red line.  

The jacket is wrapped tightly around her. She shifts her weight back and forth, gazing hopefully at passing cars, occasionally giving a little wave, inviting someone to stop.  She may be in her early 40s, but she looks like she’s nearing sixty. The challenges of life have ravaged her features. Life as a prostitute has clearly not been kind to her, and has likely left her with addictions to deal with, along with other health issues.

Here she is, standing on the corner, across the street from me as I wait at the bus stop. I look down at the birthday cake I’m carrying and can’t help but feel guilty at the affluence and lifestyle I am afforded, when I can see how brutally this woman has been failed by our society—a society I am a part of.

I think I just found the next neighbour I’m going to get to know.