Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Power of Words

Something that I've noticed lately - and the reason I keep saying people need to OWN THEIR SHIT - is that it seems many of us are unaware of the power of our words.

I've noticed it with my daughters... when they say mean things to each other. My little one doesn't even realize she hurts her sister so deeply when she yells out "I hate you" out of frustration. I know she doesn't mean it. I've been giving her other words to use instead, such as, "You're really frustrating me right now". In the moment, however, those hurtful words explode from her cute little mouth. And my older daughter's heart breaks.

I've noticed it with friends, family, and yes, even the CEO when he was called out on why I was so upset at him. Instead of recognizing that his words were uncomfortable for me and owning up to what he said... or even acknowledging that he was out of line... he acted as if it was MY misunderstanding and that he would never imply such a thing.

...which basically disregards my feelings about it completely.

There have even been moments with Gentleman Jack. Neither of us likes to acknowledge an uncomfortable feeling or emotion when they happen. However, they DO happen. I like to accept his emotion for what it is to understand what I could do differently next time, like communicate better or reassure more. I guess I expect the same from him. Instead, when I try to hone in on something he says that may illustrate a deeper feeling, he'll defensively say, "I was just kidding, jeesh." What good does it do to hide behind pretense the truth of how you feel in that moment? There's no need to feel shame for that. It's honest truth and vulnerability... part of what brings us even closer.

Don't get me wrong. I too am guilty of saying, "I'm okay" when I'm really upset about something but don't want to address it in that moment. I understand it completely.

I've even been amazed at the power of my own words while looking for another job... and at the defensive threatening position of the CEO at work after he was told that I felt he had crossed the line. Do you mean to tell me that something I said is so powerful that a seemingly confident, secure, full grown man will crumble into a defensive child, throwing a tantrum because he didn't get his way? Wow.

I read this blog post recently and found someone else eloquently reminding me of the power of what we say.

And this... from Pinterest... speaks it even clearer.


Isn't it true?

I just wonder... do YOU recognize the power of your words, what they say about you, how they put up walls or open up hearts to the people in your life?

Isn't there authentic beauty behind telling the truth of how you feel or owning what you say? Even if what you said was unintentionally hurtful, isn't it kinder to say I was wrong for saying that?



Monday, May 28, 2012

What to say...

I've been in sort of a whirlwind since my last blog post, over 10 days ago. To be honest, my brain is so restful today that I couldn't even rehash all that I went through in details. It's been a nice, quiet weekend of just me and the dog.

I've done some yoga. I've cleaned the house. I've meditated. I've played outside with the dog. I visited a friend for dinner. I went out with another friend. I treated myself to a movie. I've slept in. I've ridden my bike. I've done laundry. It's been nice having a quiet, extended weekend. Especially since the next two weeks are a little busy. But I'll get to that in a moment.

Here's an update:

Work:

I declared I was leaving my job after being, basically, threatened. And lied to. And then, surprisingly, asked if there was anything they could do that could convince me to stay. If I know anything about me, it is this:

Once I make a decision, there's no turning back.

It may take me a while to get to that decision. I know that too. I've been complaining about my job for some time now. I take what happened as a true sign because it's what pushed me completely out of the door. Decision - MADE.

In the meanwhile, I've had interviews that seemed to go well. More people asking for help on the side. Another friend-of-a-friend who wants me to go into business with her. Lots of really great opportunities but nothing is sticking yet. I think it's a matter of moments away but I'm excited for a new career.

Gentleman Jack:

He was in town last weekend with his boys. We had a great time with the kids and enjoyed each other, as we do.

I've been so determined in the job search that I've not had much time to miss him, honestly. I feel a little chaotic and unfocused in other areas of my life because I'm so focused on this one thing. He's been very supportive and loving all while dealing with his own challenges.

I may have even been better at handling his challenges because I'm so focused on me. All I've done is give him empowering messages instead of trying to fix them myself. They seem to be working too.

Summer plans:

As I mentioned before, GJ and I will soon be headed off to Maine for an epic bloggy meetup with Canadian Bald Guy, Momma Sunshine and Jobo. It's coming up quick and I can. not. wait.

Epic Bloggy Meetup View


Before that date, however, the kids and I have a fabulous camping trip planned. Another single mom friend is joining us with her children and we've been crazy planning menus and daydreaming about new camping gear. We'll be off the grid for 5 days. So excited about it!

Texas' Blue Hole


Also coming up is our high school reunion that I've been planning for the past year. It is finally looming in the next month so I've been hastily working on last minute registrations and details. We always have a blast together so I'm looking forward to that.

Everyone needs an LBD for a reunion

The ex announced that he will be taking the kids for most of the month of August. I'm proud of him for taking them as long as the divorce dictates but it will be extremely strange for me to have that much time to myself. Not knowing where I will be career-wise stops me from making a plan to get out of town for more "me" time. Still... I have a feeling that will be good for me... even though I will miss my girls like crazy. They will enjoy being with their daddy in that time and being involved in the wedding to his "almost-wife". I know they're very excited.

Me:

In spite of the chaotic uncertainty, I've actually stayed pretty centered. GJ is worried that I shouldn't have told my job I'm leaving. He's afraid they'll replace me before I'm ready to go.

I don't know. I have a lot of faith that things are working out exactly as they're supposed to. I have zero idea what is going to happen next but I know it's good. What else do I need to know?

I've been also very surprised at the power of my voice. Trying to sell myself to prospective employers has been very interesting. After years of feeling rather valueless in my current job, it is a challenge to explain what I have to offer. But then I surprise myself at the things I've learned, not from my job, but on my own. Self-taught. Self-determined. Self-motivated. Self-valued.

I have a feeling that this is going to be quite a summer to remember. Not in terms of off-the-chart vacations or anything over the top.

I just feel like this is the summer that... I take my life back.

Thanks for joining along.

What are your summer plans?

Have you found it difficult to be career driven as a single parent?

Give me a time in your life when you felt you took your life back. I'd love the inspiration!



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Being a Mirror: Shattering the Illusion of Who You Pretend to Be

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit with the core belief."
~ Frantz Fanon

I saw this quote the other day and was astounded how RIGHT ON it was.

Wikipedia defines cognitive dissonance as "a discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously."

For instance, knowing that something is bad for you... but continuing to do it anyway and looking for alternative resources as confirmation that it's not that bad or that you will never suffer any consequences. The problem with cognitive dissonance is that is causes fear in the mind because there is constant struggle. And fear... can cause people to do all sorts of things.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
~ Gandhi

 ****

Remember the whole CEO/sexual harassment thing? Let's just say that things have gotten really ugly.

Ugly to the point that I've now made it known, to my co-workers and management, that I am actively job searching. I'd love to do the whole "leap and the net will appear" approach - just pack up and leave. Sadly, I'm the only one with a job at my house so I won't be stupid about things.

Instead, I've hit up my network and broadcast it loudly that I'm immediately available for a new position. Interviews and phone calls are lining up. Pray for me... please.

****

How does all of this fit together, you might be asking?

Well, the past few days (and it's only Wednesday!), I've noticed cognitive dissonance at its best... and worst. I've noticed that people will hold on to a perceived view of themselves and fight tooth and nail to protect it. Even when, deep inside, they know their outward view and inner thoughts are in conflict. Or that their words and actions are not in sync. Even to the point that their fearful reaction is step so far outside of their personality that they become unrecognizable.

Sadly, I'm on the receiving end of the fighting because I'm exposing the parts of people that they choose to hide - causing panic to set in due to complete terror of their image being shattered. I'm exposing them to themselves in an effort to put down a boundary for myself, not to cause pain. If it wasn't the truth about them, these things they keep hidden, why would they react so strongly?

I am not in a position to shatter images. I am only standing up for myself.

My crime is that I have finally found some inner strength! I am honoring my perceptions and seeing beyond the dusty mask that certain people choose to wear. I am honoring myself by no longer participating in the pretend game and choosing authenticity instead.

We all go through life in many ways defensive and afraid. I understand it. I can see many sides of it. I'm aware when I'm doing it and when others are too. I don't mind owning up to my fears, getting intimate with them and looking them in the face. Maybe even dancing with them a little.

Maybe that's why it appears so frightening to others. I must look like the devil's mistress dancing with fear, owning up to my own terror and learning to sit in acceptance of not only myself but them too. I accept them, beyond the masks, but have chosen to step back anyway. I can't pretend anymore and to associate with a lie feels very uncomfortable to me. I can no longer listen to the secrets.

To those who are frightened of me and lashing out with claws of terror and shame:

I am not here to destroy you, cause you pain or shatter that which you cling to. I have no ulterior motives of harm. I am a mirror, reflecting that which many choose not to see. I'm sorry if you're not able to handle that. I'm sorry that you'll continue to live a lie. And I'm sorry that I am no longer able to stand with your deception.

I will happily take my dancing elsewhere.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Notes from A Positive Weekend on a Negative Monday

Well, it's definitely Monday.

The CEO's ignoring me so more than likely, the owners had a certain discussion with him. Oh well.

Lots of weirdness going on today. People be trippin'. People need to OWN THEIR SHIT.

Ok, that's enough of that. Between no sleep (due to too much iced tea yesterday - grrr) and PMS (hormones - grrr), I could turn this into a bitchy rant but I'm so over bitchy rants. I had a wonderful weekend and thought I'd share that instead of the negativity.

How's that for a change in attitude?



Friday night - The ex had the girls so I did nothing but sit on my couch with a vodka lemonade and catch up on some Oprah's Lifeclass. I was very warm and cozy after that and went right to bed at about 9:30.

Exciting life, huh?



Saturday - I had lunch plans with my Mom and hoped to catch a movie. Before that, however, I was at a charity event for single parents where you could register your vehicle to be fixed for free! I'm having air conditioning issues (not healthy in Texas) and arrived bright and early at 7:30 only to find I was number 80 out of 130 cars registered.

I didn't mind, however, as they had free WIFI, breakfast AND lunch. I brought my laptop, got some work finished and then began watching a movie on Netflix. That's when I looked up and saw Mom. (YAY!)

We'd discussed where I'd be and she decided to join me. My brother happened to be in the area and stopped by too. After 8 hour wait, they informed me that my car was washed (WOW!) and ready to go. Except... they'd not had time to fix the a/c. But they gave me a card and asked me to call this week because they're still going to fix it for me. (HOORAY!)

Mom and I went out for dinner and then enjoyed the Dark Shadows movie. Then on the way home, she bought me that bottle of whiskey I wanted for Mothers Day. (WHEEE!)

Boy do I sound like a boozer! I happen to enjoy a drink now and again but I also happen to be very selective about which drink I will have. Age does that to ya. 



Sunday - It was Mothers Day and the kids were still with their dad. I slept in that morning, which was very nice. The pup and I went for a long walk and enjoyed the cool morning.

I did some house cleaning and paid a few bills. It was very relaxing and quiet. Then I found the Mothers Day card from my Mom. She'd left it on the counter the night before. That made me bawl like a baby.

My brother had offered to cook dinner for Mom and me at her place so I went there Sunday afternoon. He made us a fantastic dinner of grilled salmon, asparagus, corn on the cob, rice and sweet tea. Mom and I made banana pudding. Yum. It was better than an expensive restaurant, for sure! Plus I was able to spend more time with my Mommy. I miss her. I don't see her near as often as I'd like.

Leaving Mom's, I drove directly to the ex's "almost-wife's" house to pick up the girls. They were happy to see me and filled me up with lots more hugs.

Once we were home, they showered me with homemade gifts that, once again, had me bawling like a baby. They'd already been making me gifts all week and now they had loads more. I just wanted to hold them both in my lap and keep them there. Except my lap is small and they're growing up so fast!

Last night was a rough night of little to no sleep but today, I've taped to the wall in my office a new paper bouquet of flowers and read over the "I love Mom" book from my girls.



Tonight will be a quiet evening of couch snuggles.

Between my mom and my daughters? I'm the luckiest daughter and mom in the world.


** all drawings and paper flower arrangements care of my sweet babies***

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From my Mommy on Mothers Day



I have watched you through the year, raising your girls, and you truly amaze me. You are such a great mom. You always find time to do things with the girls, and when they grow up, these are the things they will remember. You are always there for them, on top of the million other things you have going on in your life. Keep on doing what you are doing. I hate that I don't get to spend more time with you and the girls. I do miss you guys like crazy.

I am giving you a gift card from Kohl's. (YAY!) Wish I could give you the world, because a mom like you deserves it.

Keep up the good work and I am wishing you a WONDERFUL HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

I love you very much.
Mom

The card says:

Those early years went by in a flash.
There's so much I want to teach you,
so many more little moments
I'd like to have back...
yet, when I look at you, it's clear
you are exactly who you're supposed to be.
A strong, beautiful woman and mother -
the daughter I'll always love.
Happy Mothers Day

(Well the whole thing brought me to a mess of tears. We spent the day together yesterday, had dinner and saw a movie last night. Then, we closed down a liquor store chatting with the owner and buying booze! Haha! I love my mom!!!)

Happy Mothers Day to all of you strong beautiful women and mothers!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Mother's Day Thoughts

Randomness part 1:

I don't want to go into too much of a tangent about a certain magazine cover and how freakin' hard we are on ourselves and each other as mothers. Because I could. I've already gone off on a #IamMomEnough Twitter rant so I'll spare you.

Instead, if you're interested, I'll direct you to a post I wrote a few years ago about how we always try to OUT DO other moms... for better or worse. And why?!?

Does it matter who has it worse? Really?

***

Randomness part 2:

It's Mothers Day weekend and everyone is asking me about my plans.

I wrote on Facebook that all I want is a good bottle of whiskey and a bouquet of these flowers:



I think people assume I'm kidding.

First of all, most days are like Mothers Day in my house. Honestly. My girls make little presents for me and tell me they love me all the time.  I feel very fortunate to be so loved.

They'll be with their dad this weekend - who also asked if I had plans and wanted them around. My mom and I may get together for some margaritas and a movie. Other than that, no plans.

I'm okay with that. The whiskey is something I like in my liquor cabinet and that bouquet happens to be my two favorite flowers in the world which are only in season RIGHT NOW.

It'll be a nice, quiet weekend. I like it.

****

Randomness part 3:

Gentleman Jack and I hoped to see each other this weekend but our children had other plans.

As a single parent dating another single parent, it is imperative to sync up custody weekends... if you're lucky.  We're also lucky enough that my children and his children really enjoy being around us and each other.

That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. We'd love a weekend of only us since it's so rare. However, the kids see each other even rarer than that. So we're delaying our visit until next weekend since both of us will have our children.

Then the plan is to see the new Avengers movie together and take in a baseball game. We're all looking forward to that.







Have any of you seen the Avengers movie yet?

What are your Mother's Day plans?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sexual Harassment - Did I ask for it?

Hi there.

Remember me?

I'm the girl who once threw around her sexuality so much that she ended up having an affair. At work. While married. With a married man. Whose wife worked there too.

Yep. That was me.

Over the course of time, especially since being in a relationship with my man, I've realized a lot about my sexuality and my flirtatious nature. It doesn't feel comfortable anymore. I have too much respect now... for myself, for others, for those that might be affected by my flirting with others. This is a new place for me as I never saw past my own immediate guilt-free pleasure in the reactions of my not-innocent-at-all flirting.

Don't get me wrong. I still have the mind and thoughts of a teenage boy. I still very much love sex and will continue to write about the subject. Innuendo is fun with people I know and trust. Lately, however, I've just not really enjoyed the in-your-face-ness of the subject with a certain person at work.

I wrote last month of an encounter with the CEO where I was basically told I was "too hot" for a particular job opportunity. It wasn't the first time he's said such things. We've been pretty raunchy around here for a while. They had to work with me while I was not-so-secretly being a personal porn star for a deployed soldier.

I know that wasn't that long ago. 4 years? My affair was well over 10 years ago. I've been a highly sexual person for as long as I can remember.

But still.

Does that excuse the behavior? Does that give him ample freedom to tell me that we have to figure out a way to "tone down" my "hotness" to just "merely attractive" if I'm to be considered for a job?

I've been frustrated with my job for a while now. I love the people and many other things. We're a small family who enjoys working together. CEO, however, pushed it too far with his comments last month and many more that I've not written about. He goes TOO far while I've toned down A LOT. It's uncomfortable and because I know it started with my lackadaisical attitude about it initially, I've not felt the place to call him out. Instead, I ignore or walk away when he says inappropriate things. Hey, at least he stopped slapping me on my ass when I told him to.

*sigh*

So out of frustration with my job and my current job search, I told someone in the office about the job opportunity and my (*ahem*) being over-qualified for it. He then shared it with another executive in the company.  And now, they're going to speak to the CEO about it.

Because I'm new to this whole self-respect thing, I feel dirty. Now I'm THAT girl who gets someone in trouble because he went too far on the whole sexual harassment thing. After all, they could have spoken to me about it years ago and didn't. Instead, they just joined in.

I know... I KNOW... if it were anyone else but me, I'd be kicking their ass for saying that. Why does it feel so strange?

Is it because I'm ashamed I didn't speak up for myself and now he has to hear it from his colleague?

Is it because I know he's going to come in and defend himself to me and I'm going to have to sit here and listen to it?

Is it because now he's going to be super edgy around me and I have to continue to work for him?

Is it because I fear some sort of retaliation and feel guilty because I know my background?

Did I ask for this? For how much of this am I responsible?

This is a complete 180 degrees from the person I've been for so long... always working with men who are sexual, flirtatious and silly. Always being part of the gang who could dish it out and take it, never offended.

And now, I am.

Lying in the bed I made.

Feeling ashamed.

I'd love if y'all could give me another perspective or experience to help me turn this around in my brain? I'm feeling rather alone.

Thank you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quirks and a Bloggy Meetup

As noted on Canadian Bald Guy's blog last week, I have another bloggy meetup in the plans.

TOTALLY not on the radar except in comments here and there, CBG, his love Momma Sunshine, Jobo and I have all said the same "we need to get together" thing for months. Then one day a few weeks ago, I received the following email in my inbox from Sunshine:

"Picture it...

Rural Maine.

Me, CBG, Jobo, M.....

....all we need is T and Gentleman Jack.

You in?"

And just like that, we were in.

You see how we just invited ourselves to Jobo's summer fun upta camp? :)

Since that date, us girls have had fun talking about what to eat... lobster rolls anyone? We've giggled at our men and how they think potatoes are a vegetable. We've chatted about the wine we would drink, the games we would play, and how many times the phrase "That's what SHE said" would be uttered. It appears that we have a fun weekend in the works.

Then Jobo went and up-ed the stakes with a post about her man's quirks just so we'd have some idea of what we're in for. And she challenged me to do the same.

All righty then. Here we go:

Gentleman Jack's quirks:

Blue collar? White collar? The best of both: My man can hunt, kill, skin, marinate and cook his own food. He loves to fish and watches fishing and hunting shows all the time. Many of his friends are blue collar.... but he also used to be a golf professional and owns his own very white collar business. He is very romantic, loves music and watches American Idol with me every week, sharing comments with me via text. He can pick out a great wine and tell you what every single piece of silverware is used for in a table setting. I love that he goes from one world to another so easily.

Okay maybe that's not a quirk so much as a fascinating fact. How about this...


He irons everything: That's right. The same man who will sit in a duck blind all day in freezing temperatures or who can skin and drain a deer of all its blood and then butcher and freeze the meat to feed his family for a year or who will fish for 10 + hours in a tournament in 100 degree weather... irons EVERYTHING. Well, he doesn't iron his fishing or hunting clothes but it wouldn't surprise me if he did.

Because he irons everything...

He takes forever to get ready: I know all about having a man wait for me while I primp and prepare for a night out. I've never had to wait for a man. He'll be the one asking me, "Do I look okay?" or "Didn't I wear this the last time?" while I sit and wait patiently. It's kinda cute and endearing and it makes me feel better that he's not waiting on me! There have been times we've even stopped to shop for a new shirt on the way to wherever we're going!

Which means...

We're usually late: I was married to a man who always wanted to be early so my habit is to be right on time or just a minute or two late. Combine that with Jack's clothing challenges and we're usually running to wherever we're going. I joke that we may not make the wedding but we'll damn well get to the reception party! This has been true in all 3 cases of weddings we've attended.

He greets with a hug: To clarify, let me say he greets pretty girls with a hug. He is NOT SHY about that. And generally, the girls don't mind being wrapped up in him because that's what his hugs are like. Completely. Wrapped. Up:



Which means that if we're late, he is forgiven instantly.

He will say what no one else will say: One of the reasons I love the man is that he is so forthright and honest. Sometimes, he's a little TOO honest. He's the one, in a crowd, that will say what everyone else is thinking. When he's been drinking, he even says more. I think that's when I sit back and observe. I think he's one of the most intuitive men I've ever met. His observations are spot on much of the time. It's fun for me to listen to him. Even when I don't agree.

He thinks I'm hilarious: And I'm not. He just makes me goofy. When we're together, he wants nothing more than to take care of me... which makes me a little silly because I feel so safe with him.... which in turn both irritates the "protector" in him and makes him laugh at me. He loves to take pictures of me in my silly states and put it on Facebook. I'm a dork and he loves to exploit it to our friends.

The Pec Pop of Love: As demonstrated by the uber hot Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, my man's pecs dance when he's talking. He claims it's completely involuntary. *giggle* I can't help it. I find it sexy and silly at the same time.



He's actually trusting me to take him on this bloggy weekend even though he doesn't understand the level of trust I have with people I've not met yet. I can tell he's a little nervous about the fact that we know each other and, after this post, even more about him, but he doesn't know any of my bloggy friends.

Still, with as much love as we all have for our partners - all 3 couples -  and as long as we've been reading each other - 3+ years or more! -  I can't imagine the weekend being anything but a complete blast!

Can.

Not.

Wait!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Every Single Mom needs one....(part 10)

A time to say "FUCK-IT-ALL".

Spiritually known as acceptance of what is.

Heh.

You see, for the past few years, I've put pressure on myself to accomplish some things.

I started doing triathlons.

I was never really great at it but it gave me a goal for myself. It also gave me great pride to cross a finish line and do something I never thought I'd ever do. Sadly, I've been injured for some time and unable to train like I used to. Then again, maybe this is a good thing.

I started my own business.

Ok, to clarify I began taking side jobs to help increase my income. I thought since my current job wasn't offering a raise (like ever) or challenging me in any way, the least I could do is nurture my own talents and interests in my spare time.

....

Ha! Spare time.

Then...

I started looking for another job.

I've networked, brown-nosed and interviewed with countless companies and haven't found the right fit yet. It's like dating... and just as frustrating.

I started a long distance relationship.

Though that means I have more space to accomplish the above goals, there are other moments where I do nothing but nurture my relationship. Our time together is precious so I take those moments to stop working so hard and focus on the man right in front of me.

I decided to offer the same focus to my children.

Things need to be done around my house and towards the goals... but my children deserve the same nurturing and attention as my man. So, when we're together, we're focused on communicating, listening and enjoying our time.

I decided to offer the same focus to myself.

Instead of putting so much pressure on myself to do everything on my own, I decided that it was okay to let some things go. The laundry doesn't have to be done ALL THE TIME. The dishes can wait. That doesn't need to be fixed right this second. I can file this later. And so on.

And now, because I've set all of those goals and have decided to let some other things go, I feel like I've lost control. Life feels chaotic and pulled in one thousand different directions. I feel like I have to or should be doing something all the time. Even when I decide to do nothing and enjoy my children or my man or myself, there are still looming goals, chores and progress that needs to be made.

Is this the life of EVERY single mom or is it just me?

When I reach the point of burnout, I say, "Fuck. It. All."

What else can I do? I'm tired. I have no control. There is too much to do and not enough ME to do it.

Maybe this is good. Maybe this means I can stop with the pressure and have some acceptance. Maybe this means I can look at it, the overwhelming amount of it, smile and really mentally let it go. Maybe this is me giving myself a break for all that I try to do. Maybe there's space in the not knowing, the not controlling, the letting go.

Maybe sometimes we all just need to say "Fuck it all!"

Right? It's okay to say it. This is good! Letting it go is good!

Say it with me, LOUD AND PROUD!




Every single mom needs one... (part 1), (part 2), (part 3), (part 4), (part 5), (part 6), (part 7), (part 8), (part 9)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Job Hunting... Like Dating without the Random Casual Sex

For the past few years, I've been passively open to a new job.

Which basically means that I've sent in a resume here and there, interviewed here and there, and kept my options open should any great opportunities come across the radar. Recently, however, with certain people rubbing me the wrong way (excuse the pun), I've decided to kick the search into active high gear.

What a whip.

I've had to re-do my resume several times... as there are lots of things I could do based on my past breadth of experience and each job wants the resume to highlight specifically what they're looking for in a candidate.

I've had to get out and meet people. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE meeting people. I'm quite a social being. However, having a full time job and being a single parent, in the evenings when there are happy hours and networking, I just wanna go home and crash, ya know? Especially when I have a single evening to myself per week... the last thing I feel like doing is getting dressed up, driving downtown and schmoozing with people who don't or barely know me. Then there are those who are fresh out of college with no children and I'll-do-anything attitudes who seem to garner more attention than I do as someone older, experienced and more particular about my job considerations.

I get tired of talking about myself, telling my history, selling my talents and positive traits. I get really tired of the endless taking time out of my already busy schedule to talk to or help someone only to never hear from them again. A girl can start to feel used after a while, ya know?

Sometimes, I just want to hang out in my PJ's with a glass of wine. Can I get a job that way?

That's when I realized... this is JUST like dating. And I hated dating. And offering help is sort of like random casual sex except I'm not getting much out of it at all.

Huh. Kinda like random casual sex....




Think about it though:

Signing up for online dating, creating profiles.... Meeting people. "Trying new things". Telling my history. Selling myself. Trying to remember to be ME instead of competing with the bouncy youngin's who are willing to wear, say or do whatever it takes to get noticed. Oy.

When I was dating, I badly wanted to meet someone while sitting at home in my PJ's with a glass of wine.

And ya know what? I did.

Frankly, every job and relationship I've had up to this point just happened. Just showed up in its own time. All that I had to do was make the space for it.

Hmmm... there's more to this making space than I thought. I guess I'm getting this lesson for good reason.

And P.S. Though I had to find out for myself, I'm not one for random casual sex... or randomly giving up any of my time or talents for free. I've finally learned I have more value than that.  Another good lesson I had to live through to learn.

Maybe sometimes making the space for the lessons is the best use of space anyway.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Space and the Long Distance Relationship

In continuing from my last post, I've learned that finding space allows for appreciation and clarity.

I know this first hand, you see, from being in a long distance relationship. I have space of all sorts when I'm not with my Gentleman. The problem with space, however, is that it makes us feel very uncomfortable.

While listening to Pema Chodron's Getting Unstuck audio book on the drive home Sunday, I noticed the main message was to learn to sit with the discomfort. She noted that we're constantly seeking comfort or distracting ourselves - even when those distractions and comfort are temporary. She referred to her daughter-in-law who is practically killing herself with alcohol and liver problems. The quiet mind, stillness, space... makes us so uncomfortable that we die for our next fix, our next thought, something to fill up the "empty". We either numb ourselves, crave like crazy or act out in aggression towards others.

Interesting, no? I found I could relate to this. I've been guilty of filling up a bigger house with more stuff that I didn't really need. Or filling up a bigger purse with more junk to carry. I've even written about my restlessness in many of meditate or masturbate posts. If there's space, dammit, something's wrong! Even my man noted that I intentionally distract myself when we're not together. It's true that I do. There is a lot to be done. There is also something to be said for just sitting with the empty feeling or even the discomfort, without judgment.

***

Gentleman Jack hosted an annual party at his house over the weekend. This weekend was my 3rd year in attendance. The first year, I flirted my ass off, we both drank too much and had a pretty big fight at the end of the night. Ironically, that fight made us even more honest and closer than we'd been previously. Blessing in disguise.

Last year, I was more subdued but didn't feel very comfortable. I found that I was touchy and irritated most of the day. I think I wanted more attention from him than I was getting but I never said anything. Instead I was pouty and passive-aggressive. He enjoyed himself anyway. As well he should at his own party.

This year, I began the day with a meditation (as I wrote yesterday), and enjoyed myself as more of an observer. I know more of his friends now and found that those that didn't know me wanted to know me.

They WANTED to know me because HE LOVES ME.

Being an observer meant I had to get out of my own head. Being an observer meant I had to let go of the anxiety of previous year parties. Being an observer meant releasing judgment, staying present and allowing things to unfold without the noise of an added layer of history. Being an observer meant giving space for the love to show through.

That night, I heard countless stories from friends who noted how he talks about me, the things he says, how he lights up that I'm in his life. At one point, he was across the yard laughing with his buddies about the night one of them met his new wife. Apparently they'd all been flirting with her but her choice was clear. Now GJ's buddy and the object of their flirtations are happily married and expecting their first child.

I was in conversation with someone else and didn't hear much of his conversation except, as clear as day, I heard my man say, "It worked out perfectly... because if that night was different than it was, I wouldn't have THAT." I looked over to see him pointing at me and all his buds smiling at me.

OK, that was swoonworthy.

He constantly tells me that he loves me because I allow him to. I give him space to be who he is and he offers the same to me. I never knew that, in that space, he carries me with him and shares me with all whom he knows.

As a girlfriend said to me last week, "You know when a man talks about you when you're not around? That's love."

***

Filling up the space with distractions, history and noise doesn't make us feel any better. It's like scratching an itch only makes it worse. Eating a cookie after every meal doesn't fill a "need"... it creates a craving for a cookie... after... every.. meal.

There is beauty in the space and the empty. There is surprise and joy and... LOVE like you've never known.

I think I'll sit with that for a while.