Letting Go of Shame
Looking for a job with the right kind of fit for my life is incredibly difficult. I’ve always had very good luck when it comes to applying for jobs I’ve wanted, I rarely have to apply several places before I land somewhere I fit. Key: Jobs I’ve wanted, not needed. I think the hardest part of all of this has been how limited I am in what I want to do, and where I want to do it. Need makes us do the things we said we’d never do. Bending standards, donning humility.
I am in a community that is not mine. It’s not like carbondale, or where I come from, it isn’t home. I’ve been here since 2008, but I’ve never loved it. The novelty wore off for me a few weeks into my job at the newspaper. Point being, I don’t want a service job in the community where people see me. This is one of the shittiest things about all the work I am finding that’s currently available. I don’t want to have to deal with having had a career and then being a waitress or sales clerk. It sounds elitist because it is. I’ve mentioned not being able to have something to hold up,
"See, here this! This is what I am doing! Look isn’t it as smart and capable as I am? I won’t be working here forever."
It’s not that I want that for showing, I want it for me. I want to know I won’t get stuck, that where I am is not forever. I want to be working toward something, but not have to compromise my standards in the meantime.
Until, I am back in school it’s going to be hard for me to be seen. This is the worst thing to admit, because people hold these jobs as their careers. I am being a total snob right now, but it’s honest. The job I hold, now, is a community service job. I walk away every day feeling like I’ve done something. I enjoy it, far more than a lot of things I have done in my short life. It’s something I am proud to talk about, even when it is essentially high school part-time work.
I just don’t want to even feel like I am back-tracking. I also don’t want to be my Mother. Which, let’s face it is the real issue going on here besides the embarrassment of being pitied by those I knew in my career role who may or may not think I’ve failed. I don’t want to become blue collar. I want to put a qualifier here about how I mean no offense to those who’s lives are not like mine, but I don’t feel like it’ll do the true meaning of what I am saying justice. I think as I was growing up this was the role I chose for myself, to not become my Mother.
To not have to scrape by. To not have to work over-time in a mentally draining and soul-crushing job. My mom also hates change and balks at the opportunity to have more responsibility. She has dedicated her life to answering phones and dealing with irate customers. Every now and again someone will call to express gratitude, but as with most things, people always want to talk about the bad and never just call to say,
"Thank you for existing."
She always came home looking faithless, unhappy and tired, but always got up the next day to do it again. She spends her free time sitting alone, watching PBS because going out to do something takes away from the only free time she has left in a week. She has found a way to pull joy from her life, even if fleeting.
That’s not the life I wanted, not even in the transitory.
I grew up knowing I wanted to make a difference in the world around me. No babies or marriage in my fantasies. I was conducting orchestras, discovering new lands, building secret communities. I knew I wanted to go to college and be able to support myself, never needing to scrape by when it came to living. Obviously, I originally chose a social servant job in journalism, also a career not focused on making money. Though I never wanted to struggle to get by, I was also never focused on making money. People around me were choosing careers that would set them up for financial success, while I chose something that was middle class but that I could be proud of on a daily basis.
I feel I’m getting away from what was originally bothering me, which is that I am finding it tough both in general and personally to find a second job. I know I need to let go of my preconceived notion that I will somehow become my Mother if I work at Olive Garden for a year. I need to quit worrying about if I see someone I used to work with and I can read their expression of condolence, or worse that they feel and recognize nothing of what I had to do in the in between.
I’m the only one standing in my way. I need to do what I need to do to get through this time. I have three classes left. Two semesters. I need an apartment, I need to be able to afford that apartment.
This is what needs doing.
I just don’t want to lose prospective along the way.
Please, don’t let me lose my way.
I need to keep moving.
“For I am—or I was—one of those people who pride themselves in on their willpower, on their ability to make a decision and carry it through. This virtue, like most virtues, is ambiguity itself. People who believe that they are strong-willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialists in self-deception. Their decisions are not really decisions at all—a real decision makes one humble, one knows that it is at the mercy of more things than can be named—but elaborate systems of evasion, of illusion, designed to make themselves and the world appear to be what they and the world are not. This is certainly what my decision, made so long ago in Joey’s bed, came to. I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me. I succeeded very well—by not looking at the universe, by not looking at myself, by remaining, in effect, in constant motion.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room