The bulk of my anxiety lately has revolved around work. Uncertainty, lack of contract, lack of hours, and watching the parts of the job that I love slowly dwindle.
This Wednesday I found out that yet one more piece of the job was falling apart.
I decided to see what else was out there.
First, I went to a job search website (as I instruct my college prep/job skills students to do).
Then I found a job that I was uniquely qualified for (High School ESL with a focus on college prep).
At a place less than 2 miles from my home.
And I put in an online application (at 2 pm).
Which was followed up by a phone call from the school (at 4:45 pm).
And then an interview the following day (at 11:00 am).
And a formal job offer (at 4:00 pm).
So now comes the abrupt course correction in my family life-- not so much in my work life. It will be different to be working in a K12 setting again, but many of the skills I use with my current adult learners will translate seamlessly. And the fact that I have been teaching college prep classes and been co-teaching at the college level means I know what students need to be able to do academically.
I am super ooper dooper plooper excited (as my five year old says)!
Here are the very good things about this:
I wanted a "real job" when my daughter entered Kindergarten. This is just a few months earlier than expected.
I will be able to walk or bike to work when the weather is fine (I will wimp out in the winter-- sorry).
I miss working with children.
I WILL HAVE STRUCTURE
I have been realizing more and more and more that I do best when I have a set schedule. Every day. Or every weekday. And it will be a HUGE adjustment to be working every day from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm (YIKES!) but it will be a good adjustment for me brainwise.
Now I just need to wait until all my background check stuff goes through and then wait to hear from the school when I will start. I know that they want me to start as soon as possible. But I have to wrap up things at my old job (or rather my current job) and arrange for some place for my daughter to be in the afternoons.
Grateful Crap: on a completely unrelated note, I posted a tweet to Over the Rhine (a group that I am not stalking) about a beaded cuff that I did based on their song "Meet me At the Edge of the World" and they retweeted and posted my tweet on their homepage. So now I am famous. :)
meds meds meds
Work-related ambiguity. Perhaps I had some foreknowledge that things were about to become more nebulous and that was the source of my slide into the area of the Downs. Quite frankly things were already wobbly enough.
Most of the time I like that things are change and that I can figure things out and there is the challenge of new things new things new things.
I like to know what the structure is. That there is structure. That i work within some sort of reliable confines. And what those confines are.
Too much unnecessarily vague vagueness.
I am flat affect at the moment.
I think because I need to not fall apart.
I want to be able to do nothing. To talk to no one. To be alone alone alone and not deal with anybody else's crap.
Grateful Crap: nebulous job stuff better than no job stuff
I have been stuck in a bit of a bead spiral. Which I acknowledge is a not unhealthy way of dealing with anxiety. But it is not that great either if I am--ostrichlike--burying my head in dunes of seed beads.
Not terribly worried about anything in particular.
Not sure that this could be described as any kind of mood episode. It isn't as if I'm stuck for days at a time in one mood state. Wobbly. Crabby/irritable/sad/anxious/speedy/slow. Tippy.
Not very capable of dealing in any sort of helpful way with Other People's Crap.
Leaving for school in the morning and coming home in the afternoon are two of the most stressful times of the day-- trying to squeeze three children through the same small door at the same time. So, cleverly, on the way home yesterday I tried to have a conversation about how we could better handle the problem.
Instead of solving the problem, it started the entire screaming, whining, stomping feet and tantrum throwing before we even reached the house.
So instead of turning in to our driveway I just kept driving. Until everyone had stopped screaming. Only when we got home, two people went inside, one person waited until the traffic jam had abated and one person stood crying in great juddering sobs (causing me to roll my eyes unsympathetically before opening the door to let them in)
Perhaps I should just wait outside until everyone else has had a chance to go in and scream at one another for hanging up their coat the wrong way or taking off their boots too noisily or going in first or going in last or opening the door to wide or closing the door too fast or looking at me funny.
I could sit in the car and listen to National Public Radio. Or blast an Over the Rhine album and sing at the top of my lungs while Rome burns.
Lately elder boy has been apologizing for everything. Not telling people that he is sorry for things that he has done right then, but feeling guilty for EVERYTHING later on and taking the blame for the entire climate. Which is not right or fair.
But probably fed by the fact that he is often accused of being the instigator of crap. Whenever he is bored. He looks for ways to irritate people. I guess I am glad that he realizes that he is contributing to the stress. But I don't want him to just fall into self recriminations of being terrible. I just want him to realize in the moment-- or before the moment-- that his actions are having the opposite reaction of what he is hoping for.
Wouldn't it be magical if I could realize this too?
Dang it is cold here. I chose to sit by an outside wall at a coffee shop and great waves of cold are washing over me. I don't think the walls are insulated. Or not well. It is an old building. They used to insulate with old shredded newspaper or horse hair or ladies's corsets or whatever was lying around at the end of the construction. Presumably this is true.
I am trying to break up periods of beading with periods of writing. It uses different muscles and different brain cells. I have set up a twitter account and a Facebook page and an Etsy site for my beadwork in addition to my gallery page.
And I think once they are all really set up it won't be difficult to keep them all current and coordinated.
But I would really like to get back to my fiction writing. It takes me out of my head in a different way and I think makes it easier for me to get back into my head in a good way. Because writing semi-trashy regency romance is a very amusing thing to do and is not at all depressing or stressful or anxious. And I am not worried about my characters.
I have pretty much talked myself into writing. After I move. Sheesh, my hands are freezing up and my super-fast touch typing is becoming sluggish and inaccurate. Blarg.
Grateful Crap: connect 4 with preschool child. I will remember that playing games with children is a good plan. I should rotate between the three of them. connect 4, backgammon, and rummy 500 perhaps.
at gym most weekdays (not today-- sinus/earache crap)
meds meds meds
I called and left a message to schedule an appointment with OFP... maybe I will call them back to actually make the appointment. They really should have after-hours scheduling or online. It is always outside business hours when I want to call.
As someone who was raised as a secular humanist, I escaped a lot of the guilt that is part and parcel of many religious traditions. But I can conjure up a fair amount of secular humanist guilt.
I graduated from college with a degree in Music Education. My cooperating teacher for my student teaching was a horribly bigoted human being who told inappropriate jokes about everyone who was not a white, protestant male over the age of thirty-five.
For the two years that I was afraid to get a teaching job (for fear that I would end up with colleagues like my "mentor"), I was unable to watch any heartwarming stories about teachers. Because I felt terrible that I was not teaching. I really wanted to teach.
Last night I had a terrible dream that I was supposed to be teaching orchestra but I had been forced through some weird scheduling quirk I ended up teaching other classes like science and math and aerospace engineering-- worthy classes, but not orchestra (which I could only teach once a week). I was single-handedly responsible for the demise of instrumental music in the public schools.
Now I am in work disequilibrium. I don't know what I will end up teaching. And I feel unsettled and weird and... guilty? Because my schedule is not what I thought it would be. I will still be teaching. And the things that I am teaching are worthy of instruction.
Today I had what should be a "support class" for a college course on Child Development in which ONE person came. And she is probably the least likely person to need any support. She stayed because she likes class and had another class a while later and figured she might as well learn more stuff.
I just feel blah and gross and inadequate and guilty and like I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing. Now cue the guilt over the fact that I am not (like many of my friends from high school and college) a doctor or lawyer or college professor or head of a department or Someone Significant.
Don't placate me by saying that I am perfectly adequate because I am a mother and involved in my children's lives and blah blah blah. Big frickin' deal. That is not the kind of accomplishment that is toted up in the imaginary roles of Significant Jobs. I don't want to feel like I am raising the next generation of Awesome People. I want to feel like I myself am an Awesome Person.
Because I should feel Perfectly Adequate.
Now I am going to go cry.
Grateful Crap: Being a mom. Really. And being able to be home when they are home. I wouldn't trade this for anything. But it does not make me feel that I am doing Impressive Things. I am not keeping up with the accomplishments of my classmates.
When it is cold and kids have to stay home indoors and there is a break from school, it is not a break for the adults who are taking care of them.
I am down and crabby and irritated and guilty. Regretting that I didn't haul the kids out of the house to do something. Regretting making the children feel guilty by pointing out that they don't play with gifts that they received in this and past birthdays/Christmases. Regretting all the things that I have not done an am not currently doing and likely will not do.
Although I did spend half an hour in the basement with the boy children going through old papers with them to clean up the playroom. Divided things into recycling and not recycling. They were very excited about seeing old artwork of theirs. I think I will drag them down there on a regular basis-- possibly daily-- to get things in working order.
I am trying to do a better job of getting to bed on time. But I have a hard time getting to sleep. And when I wake up I have a hard time getting out of bed. I just want to stay closeted away by myself in my room, but I simultaneously feel lonely and down. So I get up and then there is much yelliness and bickering and I regret leaving my room. As if staying there is actually an option.
Grateful Crap: tag-team parenting with Spouse
Except that sometimes I have to try really really hard not to ignore all the things that I know I need to do so that I can sit and bead and write. I haven't done either of those things all day. And now I'm writing. And soon I will be beading.
Did not work out today. Have plans to meet a friend tomorrow at the Y.
Ummm... nope. I got nothing.
Grateful Crap: oldest son went to Young Scientist Round Table today and learned about the theory of relativity with Spouse. They did not get home sooner than they left.
(This is not a labor and delivery story.) I was just remembering today that when I went into labor with child #1 I was home alone In The Suburbs and Without A Car while Spouse was having a root canal and my midwife was no only in a different city, but Across The River.
I was in early labor and I figured there was no rush. In fact I even asked my midwife if she really needed to see me that day. She laughed quite hard for quite some time.
So I sent a calm and succinct message to Spouse to call me, you know, whenever...
Then I sent five more messages. Or so. All equally breezy.
Later it occurred to me that when you send someone five messages saying the same thing (or even slightly different things) it is NOT a sign of calm. But for me it was a sign of trying to convince myself that I was calm. To encourage myself to think of calmness.
I am sitting in the library writing this... trying to get back into the writing habit. Also spent a fair amount of time throwing together an Etsy site. I'll let you know when it's done. I can't launch right now because I don't have access to my credit card.
Because I have had a series of cold-related forget events. Regarding items that are typically with me when I leave the house, but seem averse to this unusually seasonable weather we are having in Minnesota at the minute. So instead of paying the $2.50 it would take me to open my Etsy shop, I am slowly assembling the bits of crucial items that I typically have in my purse.
It went like this:
It was super cold when I put gas in the car and I was wearing my Super Warm Coat and I accidentally left my credit card in the pocket instead of putting it back in my purse on the weekend.
Then, because it was Super Cold on Monday, I offered to sit in my friend's car while she went upstairs to fetch our children from preschool so she wouldn't have to disturb the sleeping baby in the warm car.
Because I had not worn mittens or gloves, I jammed my hands in my pockets before leaving her car and left my purse behind.
Luckily I had forgotten to put my phone in my purse that morning, so when I got home there was a message from her telling me that she could bring it to preschool the next morning.
Then I decided not to wear my Super Warm Coat because I put on Solund - the only named sweater that I have. It comes from Norway. It is awesome.
So even though I now have my purse and driver's license and some cash and my phone... still missing the credit card.
I realize that this is not a captivating narrative, but I'm not going to get stuck on that fact. I would rather post the mundane than fall into not posting again.
Mundane is good. Mundane is fine.
Why do your fingers get wrinkled when it is cold the same way they get wrinkled when you have been in the pool for too long? My fingernails have gone purple. Only at the nail bed. I dislike having cold hands. It slows my typing down and makes it hard to bead.
Oh yes, my current beading project was in my purse last night so I was forced to reorganize all of my beading supplies all over the kitchen table before making dinner. Luckily we had leftovers.
To sum up: I am calm. I am a bit forgetty. It is cold.
Beginning to consider that I might very well need eight hours of sleep at night which is a total bummer.
Soon giving my first "Make it OK" talk for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Taking my meds
Tracking my sleep
Exercising almost daily (didn't make it out this weekend, but weekdays I did-- because the YMCA is on the way from home to pick up the children. Location, location, location.)
cockatiel. I like my bird. I mean our bird. I can share. I also like that teenager has realized that when he is overly unsettable, he can calm down by playing with the bird.
Yesterday I went back to work and for some reason I woke up feeling really down and sad and crappy. Day two of the Downs. So I made sure to go to work early so I could establish myself there and get in a good headspace to teach.
But then I got all discouraged that my desk was a mess (big surprise) and I didn't have a chair and there was a note for me in orange pen that reminded me of how I hadn't connected with coworkers even though I had done a marginally okay job of keeping up with emails except for the last few days of the week and I didn't have enough time to finish all the things that I wanted to finish...
And then the big boss walked in right when I was trying to get done being weepy.
Ironically he said that he wanted me to do orientations for new students because (in addition to helping fill the hours that I am losing due to a missing class this semester) he thought I would be a good fit since I am such a positive person.
Who sits alone in her classroom and cries for no reason.
I did let him know that I am a positive person in front of students. Which he knows. And he handled the whole weepy thing quite nicely, I thought. Asked how things were going, I told him I was not doing so well, but there was no particular reason. And then he just matter-of-fact went on with regular conversation. Which was probably the most helpful thing he could have done. Then later--once I was no longer weepy--asked if I wanted to talk to him about anything (meaning Sad Crap).
Nope. Although I like that he asked. I told him--and I think this is true--that I am just coming down off of the holidays. That the all sugar and no sleep plan, while enjoyable at the time, is something that I pay for later with the inevitable crash. That I would just need a while to reach equilibrium again. That I do better with routine--with a schedule.
Today I discovered that my T-shirt designs did not meet the aesthetics that the editors are going for on tee public's website. Which made me sad.
Until I remembered that I did not design the T-shirts to be sold. Just for me. And perhaps rabid fans of my beading. The beading is the art. My children's drawings are the art. My mother in-laws paintings are the art. The T-shirts are just a byproduct.
So instead of enrolling in an online course on graphic design and attempting to create designs that would meet the aesthetics... (don't think I didn't look into this) I decided to write this post instead.
Posting is good for me. I need to do it often--which had fallen off in the past few months. Really since November when I started going into high gear in preparation for the sale.
Gotta go now. Time to practice being Quaker.
Grateful Crap: understanding boss. good tea. daughter who makes paper helicopters. bird named Yorick. Sons who build worlds for one another. And their sister. Friends who point out when I am going just a bit whackadoodle.
Plans for regular YMCA attendance
Kids started back this week. I will start again on Saturday. For the most part this is good. Routine. Leaving the house.
In fact, yesterday I was thinking (or was it on Wednesday) that I was doing REALLY WELL. And wondering if perhaps January is typically a good month for me. Like maybe this is just the right amount of light and darkness. Whether I am more balanced at this time of year.
Then today I felt TERRIBLE. Spent a bunch of time in the morning reflecting on what a disappointment I am. How I am not living up to my potential as an academic/intellectual/economic contributor/human being...
But I decided that I needed to follow my plan to go exercise at the new YMCA by my house, arrange to meet a friend for coffee, and just chill about the fact that I am not Eleanor Roosevelt. Or someone else equally impressive.
I don't think I am terribly interested in being impressive. Only it seems like I could be if I really put my mind to it. But does that mean that I should? Or is this just the bloated ego of bipolarism talking?
How is it that I can have grandiose ideas about my own skills, abilities and overall potential AND low self esteem at the same time?
It kinda sucks.
Not going to list all of the stupid negative messages I was giving myself. But many of them focused around the idea that it is selfish of me to continue working at a job that I love instead of seeking out more regular employment with more hours. And that if I were not so enthusiastic about the work that I am doing I would find it easier to make a career change. Which I really do not want to do.
Often I feel like my multi-symptom educational background is a bonus. I like that I can do many things and have education on a broad range. Only when I am talking to people about career options (in an idle, intellectual sort of fashion) I often hear that I should have been more focused. (Too late!) That it is unclear what I want to do...
Bachelors degrees in Music Education and East Asian Studies
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
I didn't think I was going to write about jobs and education at the minute. But I guess that I did. Mostly I just wanted to write a post very quickly before I needed to pick up the Daughter from preschool.
Which brings up the next important reason that I have not sought full time employment up to this point... for the past thirteen years I have been a mostly-stay-at-home parent. Allowing me to spend $0 on childcare (other than preschool for my children at ages 3 and 4). Which is quite amazingly awesome.
P.S. I got my hair cut by an actual professional. And when she didn't cut my bangs short enough I went back (after arm-twisting by friends) and had her fix things.
Also P.S. Spouse is moving toward healthier lifestyle for his own health, which means that I am eating less sugar and getting more exercise. Kind of like when women are pregnant and their partner gains sympathy weight. But the other way around.
Additional P.S. I have undertaken the task of getting rid of clothing that does not fit. I was several sizes off in the jeans I was trying to wear. I had to pooch out my stomach and wear a belt (in which I poked an extra hole with a sewing shears) just to keep them on. This is good because I am not technically in the healthy weight range. It is also good because the weight was lost by incremental changes to diet and exercise rather than a giant switch in all behaviors.
Quaker, teacher, parent,