Day 16 – Tuesday, Dec. 20: I remembered the reason I’m doing this

Quick, before my aunt and uncle return and he begins his evening round of Freecell, I shall post!

There’s an event coming up later this week and I have been hemming and hawing about going. Some of the activities are not fun for me, nor comfortable. In fact, if it weren’t for the company, I wouldn’t go at all. Then I remembered the point of this journey is to break past my fears. So, I’ve decided to go. I’m still a little nervous about showing up properly attired and equipped, but I’ll get over it.

I realized, the discomfort I feel around certain kinds of activities is rooted in fear. The fears are silly, actually. They include things like worrying about what people might think of me if I’m not dressed a certain way, if I don’t want to partake of certain foods or beverages, if I don’t think such-and-such is fun or any number of other things I might do “wrong.” I notice that notions of “right” and “wrong” are often at the heart of my fears, as if life were all about doing things “right” or “wrong.” Who decides which is which in the first place? And since when is our world so black-and-white that there’s a dichotomy of judgment around any given behavior or activity?

In any case, I’ve decided to attend at least this one event precisely because it’s uncomfortable and scary for me. The cost is minimal. The people who will be there include many I know and like. And I might even forget myself and have some fun. Besides, I want to exercise my “pretending to be brave” behavior so I can have an opportunity to discover that my fears were (of course) completely unfounded. As I have often discovered before, my fears about doing xyz are usually far worse than actually doing xyz.

So, that’s it for today. No major breakthroughs today. Although I did release a small item I had started to hang onto. I realized holding onto silly little things (like this envelope with Russian words printed on it – I have a thing about the Russian language) is the very reason I have accumulated such an alarming amount of stuff, including lots and lots and lots of papers, in the first place. I also let go of preconceived notions about what kind of cereals I might buy and had a wonderful experience of buying some new, cool, gluten-free cereals at this wonderful whole foods store nearby. I think my body’s going to appreciate that!

Okay, enough for now. Dinner’s a-cooking and I want to be ready to relax and enjoy it when it’s done!

Todays action step(s):

  • Deciding to go to ignore my fears and apprehensions and go to a gathering with some of my friends.
  • Signing up for more workshops to help me in my job search.

Day 15 – Monday, Dec. 19: Falling behind or catching up?

I’m not honestly sure whether I had unrealistic expectations when I set my goals for this blog or simply underestimated the challenge of limited computer access. I have come to realize that trying to take “action” toward my goals every single day does not allow much room for grace. Nor does it allow me room to grow or to integrate what I am learning – especially if I put narrow parameters on what form the steps of the journey take. However, I still prefer to think in terms of my intention to daily attend to this project and it remains an ongoing conversation in my thoughts.

 I don’t have access to an online computer right now, as I am writing this, and actually the power just went out, so I have to shut my computer down for now…

 Power’s back on for now. We’ll see if I can complete this entry…

I’m learning a lot about letting go these days. Most of my weekend, which began Friday evening after a full day’s work, was spent at InterPlayce in the Life Practice Program – our final weekend for this group. The weekend was full of opportunities to dive into the things that are “up” for me, which includes my fears. I came home too tired to even think about tackling anything “productive.” After the first week or so of working on this blog until past my usual heading for bed time, I have been reluctant to push the envelope. Even now, I should be getting ready for bed – I really need the sleep. But I’ve missed too many days already.

It would be nice to be able to say I tackled a particular something-or-other this weekend, but the truth is, I came home and either headed straight for bed or unwound a little and then headed for bed every evening for the past three nights. The mail I picked up on Friday still awaits my attention (except the two Christmas cards from cousins). The piles and clutter still linger. My resume is not yet revised after some new and helpful suggestions. Yet I know all of these things will be taken care of in time.

It has also just occurred to me that I actually did do something this weekend that I have usually been too afraid to do in times past.

A colleague said something to me that felt rude. I was taken aback and already a bit out of sorts with so much on my mind. I chewed on it for a while and resisted the urge to say something snippy. When I finally found the courage to say something (which actually happened less than an hour later), we both managed to muddle through the conversation fairly well. I told her how it had felt to me; she felt sad that I had experienced her request that way. I acknowledged that I knew it was my problem and we actually discussed how both of us might have responded differently.

It may seem odd (or not), but I believe this is one of the first times I have ever directly addressed something like this and dealt with it head on. Certainly, it is the first time I have dealt with something like this so quickly. In times past, I would have continued to stew, complained to someone else, or generally avoided facing it at all. But I work with this person and want our relationship to be free of hidden resentments. When I acknowledged that it felt scary just bringing it up with her, she understood. Near the end of the conversation, when I (jokingly) asked her if she’d write a note to my sponsor, she gave an enthusiastic, “Yes!” 😉 and we high-fived for the both of us.

I realize this is actually the sort of random occurrence I hope will happen more often as I continue to hold the intention of walking this journey.

This weekend’s action step(s):

  • Dealing with an uncomfortable and awkward situation almost immediately after it happened.

Day 11 – Thursday: Sneak attacked

Sometimes fear does a sneak attack when I’m not looking.

Yesterday I made a small payment on one of my credit cards. I closed all three accounts the first month I couldn’t make my minimum payments. I plan to catch up when I can, but the going is slow right now.

This card company called yesterday evening and I told them I’d made a payment. I’ve talked to them before. They know my situation and my intent to catch up and to pay what I can when I can.

This evening, they tried calling again! Less than 24 hours after we spoke? I was driving and couldn’t take the call. I started getting ticked off! My other CC company calls me regularly – every 5 days. That’s not great, but they keep trying to work with me and are, at least for now, willing to hang in there with me while I try to find more work. But they wait to call again until it’s been 5 days.

It has been mildly anxiety-producing to talk to the “nice” cc company every five days, but it’s manageable because they have actually been nice. Apparently they understand that you can’t get what someone doesn’t have to give you. And I appreciate them for it.

What I noticed this evening, though, is that just knowing the other card company had tried to call left me feeling anxious, frustrated, angry and fearful. It triggers for me the experience of bankruptcy some 26 or 27 years ago. Back then, I was terrified of the creditors and avoided them completely. The accounts were quickly handed over to collection agencies and things got worse. It was not fun…at all…for a very long time.

This time, I’ve tried to keep the communication open. It’s a little scary at times, but I know that avoiding problems doesn’t make them go away and sometimes it even makes them worse. So, I’m trying.

I’m not quite sure how to respond to the “other” company – whether to return their call (they never leave messages, but I recognize the number), to send them a letter (certified mail) or both. I have a website to check out to learn more about my rights. I’ll check it out and then make my decision.

The thing is, I want to do things differently than I did 27 years ago. I want to meet my responsibilities and I want to catch up on my bills. I may not be able to do it right this moment, but I’m not willing to blow all this off. It’s scary trying to do this, but it’s still what I want to do. For now. For as long as I can. I’ve been down the other road and it’s a road I don’t need to take again.

Just for tonight, I’ll do my best to let this go, to leave it in God’s hands. I may have to remind myself a few times (or a hundred) to leave this in God’s hands. It’s possible, just a teensy bit possible that I might worry, you know, a teeny, weeny bit.

Maybe it’s time to find that nifty flyer put out by a classmate’s church that has different “numbers” to call when you’re dealing with different things. Like “call” Psalm ## when you’re worried, and so on. I think I could use a bit of encouragement this evening.


Today’s action step(s):

  • Meeting with my sponsor.
  • Throwing away (with growing ease) papers at work once I’ve entered the information. (This is instead of hanging onto them “in case.” I have an annoying stack of those kind of papers already.)
  • Waiting to respond to the “other” cc company until I have more information.

Day 10 – Wednesday: A New Beginning

Dear friends,

Hopefully you find this (or receive) this post seamlessly. I have been thinking about changing my URL and took the plunge just minutes ago. Interesting to discover how scary such a simple (and inexpensive) process can be. Yet it was.

I’m asking myself, why does it feel so scary to do this? The simple answer, and possibly the most honest one, is that I have spent ridiculous amounts of money over the years starting new adventures, then failing to follow through. I know that’s what’s being triggered for me now. I have bought exercise equipment or paid for gym memberships, begun using them enthusiastically, then quickly petered out. I have bought dozens (hundreds?) of books or magazines, only to have them remain virtually untouched. I have also bought other random things to “improve” my situation or “help” me to xyz, only to realize later what a waste of money it was.

So, what’s different about this? The truth is, I don’t know – yet. Only time will tell. Why do it? Quite honestly, because my original domain name doesn’t really do much for me. It was simply part of an email address I’ve sometimes used when I want to be somewhat anonymous and it’s what I used when I first started nibbling at an earlier notion of this blog. However, “Lucia’s Journey” echoes how I feel about this blog, about this process and about my life in general. It feels like a blog title that can lead me anywhere I may choose to go.

Yesterday, I saw what may have (formerly) been a Porcupine on the side of the freeway. When I got home, I looked up Porcupine’s message (according to at least one author). Porcupine reminds me to trust, to have faith, to remember to play. Porcupine’s ‘contrary’ message reminds me that it is time to start anew by having faith in my ability to move through this challenging time with joy. This is what I want to remember for this day.

Blessings to you!

Today’s action step(s):

  • Registering/purchasing a new domain name.
  • (Not sure if it counts for me exactly, but) Helping my aunt and uncle load all their released clothing/shoes to take to a shelter. I’m not sure, but I’m wondering if my goal to clear stuff out might be contagious! 😉

Day 9 – Tuesday: Yikes!

So much for the sense of grace floating me on a cushion of gentleness. Today I met with my employment specialist at JVS. She gave me some forms to start on while she checked her parking meter. As soon as I encountered questions like “Can you give 20 hours a week to your job search?” and “Do you have a stable place to live while you look for work?” I started feeling overwhelmed and disconcertingly close to falling apart. Thankfully, I had distracted myself by the time she came in and she did not actually go through all those (for me) deeply personal questions with unsettling answers.

Instead our conversation centered around what kind of work I want to do and where I might like to do it. This all sounds so simple, but it doesn’t feel at all simple for me right now. It feels distressing and confusing and dreadfully insecure when so much of my life feels up in the air.

Because I need income, I feel I must look for a “survival job” to pay the bills and regain my footing, but I dislike the implications of the term “survival job.” The truth is, I want to work some place – or places – where I enjoy working and want to continue working. I think I may be what some call a “nester” – I want to be able to settle in and enjoy being in one place for a long while. I like the stability; I like the familiarity; I like the opportunity to become better and more efficient at what I’m doing; and I like having a consistent rhythm to my days and weeks. The idea of looking for work that is far more “permanent” than the place I’m staying feels very disconcerting indeed.

My employment specialist encouraged me to start networking, researching some places I might like to work, setting up times to talk to people, considering volunteering, and generally putting myself out there. I could feel my body cringing at the thought. My “ohshitometer” was hitting near the red zone. (That’s pronounced “oh-shi-TAW-mi-tur,” btw.) I kept thinking of all the reasons I had other, more important things to do. You know, like sorting the papers on my desk, or reading about the things I should be doing, or sorting papers, or reading how to use WordPress, or… Well, I know I had some really “good reasons” to do anything but moving toward the many suggestions she gave me. (Lack of convenient online computer access is my current favorite.) She even recommended Toastmasters! That is totally too scary to contemplate just yet.

Still, I’ve finally officially connected with an employment specialist and now have someone who is specifically there to encourage me, send me job possibilities now and then, and generally provide some accountability for my efforts in connecting with job possibilities.

Yesterday’s Linked-In class was very helpful, yet even that kind of connecting feels scary. For reasons that baffle me when I stop to think about them, I tend to presume that everything needs to be done just so or there will be either disaster or acute embarrassment. Of course, neither of these things happens but rarely, but try telling me that when I have that bunny-in-the-headlights expression on my face and the corresponding feelings in my head!

However, to be honest, this day was actually surprisingly graceful despite the scary steps (or should I say, talking about the scary steps). Without planning to, I let things unfold this morning, rather than trying to fit everything I usually do into the time between waking up (or thinking about waking up) and getting out the door. I still have some reflection writing to do, because I tried unbending my self-imposed rules this morning, but I’m looking forward to it ending my evening. It felt good to let things happen with greater ease. I’m still thinking about how I might – or might not – want to do things differently on the mornings I work. Because I went with the flow, I left later than I’d hoped, but right when I was ready, encountered surprisingly unclogged traffic and easily found close parking to work, a blessing that happens inconsistently. Between work and returning home, the transitions went surprisingly smoothly and I feel good about what I got done.

I’ll try not to think too much about the scary steps I hope to begin taking soon and look forward to a full night’s sleep.

Thanks for being there.


My action step(s):

  • Meeting with my employment specialist.
  • Registering for more JVS workshops in the next two weeks (Developing an “Elevator” Pitch, Networking Techniques, and a Resume Lab).

Days 6-8 – Saturday-Monday: Discovering grace

Today (Monday) I experienced what it’s like to make room for grace.

This weekend, I hit a wall. When I imagined doing this project, I had a Pollyanna vision of daily sorting through this box, working on that job application, and generally being “productive” in some way toward the goal I set for myself. I anticipated endless energy, as if things would suddenly be different simply because I had set a goal that was far enough out to give me time to get somewhere, not realizing I would become a task master, fearing that a single day missed might become two, then three, then more. I figured that pushing myself was the answer. Except I forgot one tiny thing – I respond poorly to being pushed, even when I’m doing the pushing.

Because I had been blogging late each night, knowing it was late but determined to push through, I got up Saturday morning, showered, had breakfast, then ran out of steam! I went back to bed for two hours, then felt fuzzy for most of the day…and weekend. I did go by my storage unit on my way to a meeting, however, and picked up some things to sort.

Fortunately, I had a built-in reprieve on Sunday. After church, I helped my aunt finish spiffing-up the house before my cousins arrived for a family dinner. I enjoyed the visit, but kept yawning. They left early (around 8:00) and I was asleep shortly after 9:00.

The post I had started yesterday (Sunday) was startlingly different from my experience of today. My impatience was evident: “You see, I want all the stuff in the room next to me to be cleaned up, cleared up, organized and either in storage or neatly accessible for me now! I don’t want it to take a few weeks. I don’t want to have to have this messiness right next to me where I see it every time I open the door! I want to be surrounded by the order and neatness that has virtually never been a part of my surroundings, except in isolated instances (like before I move in and live for a few days) and I keep wondering why things aren’t happening faster!”

That’s how I was feeling – and I was exhausted from the constant pushing. But today, things shifted for me. By the end of the day, I had discovered how much more gracefully things go when I take time to listen, to let go, and to be gentle with myself.

I was wait-listed for a workshop at JVS this afternoon. It was full, but you can show up early and hope to get in. So I totally let go of expectations around getting in and made the trip to the City. If I didn’t get in, I would only be out some time and about $7.80 of BART fare. It was when I was driving home from the BART station after the trip that I noticed just how much grace had accompanied me this afternoon.

  • I found close, free parking.
  • I had a short wait for the train.
  • I had a delightful conversation with a stranger on the way to SF.
  • I got into the workshop (and it was pretty full).
  • A classmate next to me alerted me to the Linked-In II class next Monday.
  • I immediately registered and got in!
  • I got to the BART station quickly after class and had barely a 2-minute wait for my preferred train.
  • I easily got a seat – facing forward!
  • And I was greeted by carolers near the station exit – singing one of my very favorite Christmas carols, no less.

I even had easy traffic driving home.

Where does grace start? Was it the decision to follow my intuition to attend this workshop? The releasing of expectations around getting into it? Or was it in choosing to be kind to myself for the last twenty-four hours?

Every day this week, I have something scheduled and each ‘event’ is something that moves me in a healthy, helpful direction. Today, it was the workshop at JVS. Tomorrow, my first appointment with my employment specialist. Wednesday, a massage. Thursday, a meeting with my sponsor. Friday through Sunday, (InterPlay) Life Practice Program. Maybe I can carry what I learned today into the rest of my week…

(Btw, my mouse, which has not worked to scroll both directions for months now, is suddenly working properly. Who says miracles can’t happen every day?)

As for “progress” on my project each day (or each blog), I’ve decided to put those notes at the bottom each time. They aren’t often interesting, although I rather like keeping tabs so I can appreciate my progress.

My “action” step(s):

  • Saturday I picked up three containers of herbs and vitamins from storage to sort and clear out what I no longer want or need.
  • An ongoing step: to use (up) the lotion in the partially empty bottles I’ve been hanging onto to consolidate into a single bottle.

Day 5 – Friday: Is it just me?

Today, I let myself sleep in and decided not push myself. I needed to do laundry and I wanted to go through something – some box or bag – to get rid of some things. In and of itself, going through stuff doesn’t necessarily feel scary. But that’s the tricky part – I don’t always know what will trigger fear or simply lead to my feeling overwhelmed by life again. Sometimes the clearing out of some box becomes exhilarating. It’s a toss up and I’m never certain which side of the coin will be face up once I throw it in the air.

This evening, I found myself wrestling with fear again (and not necessarily winning). I did a bit of throwing things out earlier in the day, once again enjoying tossing some things I used to think I needed to hold onto. Once I was done with the one small plastic tub, though, I didn’t quite know what to do. I’ve been thinking more about the need to again start looking for employment opportunities, but couldn’t quite seem to get there. My uncle’s frequent presence in his office (did I mention he’s 91?) inhibits the freedom I have in hopping online to see what’s out there. It can be a convenient excuse. I vaguely thought of rewriting my recent cover letter – the one that didn’t get me an interview – to see how I might improve it, as practice for future letters. I just couldn’t seem to get there.

When I was later enjoying a long phone conversation with one of my best friends, something about looking for work came up. I was soon in tears, feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole process. Was it really so simple to look for work back in 1998 when I landed my last full-time job? Is it actually harder now? Or is it just me?

I keep hearing that things truly are different, that with the economy the way it is there are simply more people looking for work and employers are overloaded by the sheer volume of applications. If your application isn’t dazzling, it quickly gets tossed in the reject pile. Yet even in hard economic times there are people finding work and people making money.  There are opportunities out there.

So, how do I stay afloat, buoying up my courage and confidence (make that developing the confidence) to learn the things I need to learn to find the work I need to find to be able to provide myself with such mundane things as a roof over my head?

My friend tells me I’m doing a lot of hard work right now. She means the deep inner work I’m doing. Sometimes it feels like I am; sometimes it feels like I’m just avoiding doing what seems like the “hard” stuff – like looking for work. I’m not a “pavement pounder” and the thought of “knocking on doors” to see if people are hiring scares the peewaddlin’ out of me. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, if ever. But I can put one foot in front of the other. I can take tiny, baby steps in that direction. The tiny steps feel manageable, especially when I don’t think too far ahead.

Maybe the real work is to resist the temptation to turn tail and run when I feel scared and overwhelmed and completely intimidated by the daunting task of stepping into unfamiliar territory, learning to “network” and “present” myself well in an interview (should I be fortunate enough to reach this stage of the hiring process). It’s much easier to go through a box and dwindle its contents down to the things I truly want to keep than to think about looking for work. Of course, I’ll have to remind myself of that the next time going through the “stuff” feels overwhelming. Then again, it usually feels overwhelming because it’s all connected – the too-much stuff, the skinny finances, the stepping out into the “job search” arena, and so on. I’m not sure, but I think it’s called “life.”

So when and why did life become so dang scary?

Day 4 – Thursday: Bumpy beginning – gentler ending

Here’s the challenge I’m discovering about this blogging process – at least in my present circumstances. I am what might technically be called “homeless.” Although I have a roof over my head (thanks to the generosity of my aunt and uncle), I do not have a place I can actually call “mine.” My stay here is temporary and the room I am using is partially occupied by my aunt’s things. My uncle has a computer I can use when he is not in his office (and he enjoys doing things in there often), but I have no internet access on my own computer. Thus, I end up doing my posts at odd hours – most often while my aunt and uncle are enjoying their dinner after eight-something at night. (And I thought only people in books and movies ate that late!) Then, in part because of the neuron-activating nature of being on a computer and in part because of the mental activity of writing the blog, I end up getting to sleep much later than my norm, which makes getting up in the morning that much harder. (I prefer the 5:00-6:00 window for arising – preferably closer to 5:00 than 6:00.)

That said, I may end up writing my blogs on my computer – as I did with this one, then transferring them and/or writing them a day late. Of course, writing them a day late challenges my memory! 😉

Today, my day became about self-care. I began my morning with a most interesting event at work. I leaned on a shelf, apparently with too much weight. The shelf broke, I smashed my nose on a glass-sphere paper weight (I realized later) and hit my head on I-don’t-know-what. Fortunately, no one was around to see or hear the ridiculous chaos, including my shriek of pain as I clutched my nose.

After grabbing some paper towels to apply to my battered nose, I made my way downstairs to the bathroom to apply a cold compress (i.e., a wet paper towel) and to clean up a bit. (Thank goodness, my hands and the paper towels had kept my clothing safe!) I then went upstairs, cleaned the few small drips of blood from the carpet, and wondered when someone would arrive to be properly sympathetic to my ordeal. Naturally, it was a late day for everyone but me.

It actually wasn’t an ordeal at all, though it was startling and startlingly painful for a short bit. I took a few ibuprofen and approached the rest of my day with due caution. It was odd to discover how battered I felt.

To be quite honest, I’m not the least bit certain I tackled any fears this day. In a peculiar kind of way, the painful experience with my nose (which, fortunately, barely evidences the earlier trauma) freed me from feeling overly anxious about breaking the shelf. I’m still puzzling how exactly it all happened in the first place. I know I have leaned on that shelf before. Perhaps this was simply the straw on the camel’s back. (I don’t think I’ve gained upper body weight…)

Something interesting is happening though. I am noticing small ways in which my journey out of the fear is manifesting at work. I find myself tossing things into the recycle bin more easily, rather than hanging onto them “in case.” And today, after the morning’s excitement, I found myself willing to set a healthy boundary. I was concerned about getting certain parts of my work done today, especially after having missed all of last week while I moved out of my apartment. Yet I knew I needed to go home earlier, rather than later. So, I did all of one type of correspondence (the more urgent kind) and organized the remaining correspondence to be done next week. The truth is, there is no end to the tasks at work – too little time to do too much work tends to work that way.

After heading the wrong way on the freeway when I finally headed “home,” I ended up buying some foods my body needed and giving myself permission to treat myself gently for the rest of the evening. That has included a long phone conversation with a friend, watching a movie that makes me both laugh and cry, writing these blogs, and letting go the obligation to “work” on this project. Is that a letting go of the fear of not performing the “obligatory” fear releasing activities? Could be…

Day 3 – Wednesday: Different journeys?

In the midst of this process, I am often amazed to discover parallels between my journey from a year ago and my journey today. In one of my journals from last year, I wrote: Piece by piece, I find myself pulling together the tattered edges of my life. They have become tattered through neglect and through simply not knowing how – or perhaps being willing? – to go at them in a more effective manner. Shades of the Al Anon journey.

Years ago, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. In 1998, I read Janet Woititz’s book Adult Children of Alcoholics, recommended by a family member who wisely recognized that we were, indeed, raised in an alcoholic home, even though the alcoholic was no longer present in the home (or in our lives for the most part). I was startled to feel like I was reading about myself. One of the things Woititz said was that adult children of alcoholics “guess at what normal is.” How true that is! Lately I’ve begun noticing more and more things that I don’t know how to do. I find myself wondering how others seem to do so many things with ease. I wonder what class I missed while growing up. I wonder what class I can take to catch up. I feel anything but “normal.”

I’m not sure what I meant by “tattered edges” last November. The entry was written just three weeks before I had my hyperactive, unhappy thyroid gland removed. The surgery brought blessed relief to my body and I suspect the transition in my health is what has enabled me to work at deeper levels in other arenas. Being freed from the persistent physical challenge has allowed me to notice more the things going on inside my mind, including the fears to which I turn my attention through this blog-journey. The first two days, I was focused on letting go of stuff I don’t need. This day I reached into other arenas where fear has held me back.

Wednesday was a day of attending to one of the bigger challenges in my present life – learning how to (effectively) search for work. I have a part-time job at a place I love and hope I will be able to stay there. Needless to say, though, having only one part-time job makes life a bit challenging. Thankfully, a friend recently introduced me to a wonderful organization, “JVS” (Jewish Vocational Services) in San Francisco ( This organization provides a fantastic array of workshops and training to prepare people for finding work and it’s available to whomever needs the help and support, regardless of faith affiliation. There were two JVS activities on my calendar this day.

In the morning, I went into the City to attend a cover letter and thank-you note writing workshop. All through the workshop I thought about a recent application I had submitted. I had learned that I was not being considered for the job, though my resume “impressed” the hiring committee. After attending this workshop, I could see several things I would have done differently in my cover letter that might have given me a better shot at an interview. This part of my day was more helpful than intimidating. The scary part came later – the “networking event.”

I’ve never been to a networking event and the mere idea of going someplace for the express purpose of “networking” intimidates me enormously. I barely know how to socialize with a group of friends. For whatever reason, when I’m with more than one or two people – even friends – I quickly turn into a wallflower and disappear at the first opportunity. Being intentionally with twenty or so people to “network” felt most intimidating. But I’ve made a commitment to “job searching” and learning how to do it. The truth is, I know these events are also teaching me skills that will serve me well in the work I want to do.

After a hesitant start, I found myself rather comfortably visiting with a few different people at various times during the 90 minutes I was there. I had no expectations of finding a job connection at this, so I had let go concerns about how I presented myself and practiced just being me. I was nervous at first, but I’m glad I went. I didn’t stay long, but I learned enough to know I can do this – and to realize that I’ll get better with practice.

Day 2 – Tuesday: Unexpected bump…

I am appreciating the responsibility of attending to this blog and to doing something that “counts” toward my goal. Yesterday, clearing out some things, then writing my post energized me. In fact, I was too energized to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. Today, I was yawning all day. I’m thinking that clearing stuff out and writing these posts should happen a bit earlier in the evenings.

Today, I feel as though I did far less, yet I notice that fear is starting to creep in… I noticed some mail I had recently picked up and went through that. It was easy to throw most of it away. The student loan notice was disconcerting, reminding me that I will soon need to do some paperwork around that. I actually can’t do it before a certain date, so it looms there rather ominously, an intimidating deadline.

I have a couple of meetings tomorrow, one for which I want to dress a bit nicer than I normally need to do. I spent some time trying on different clothes, realizing how little I have that’s suitable for interviews and similar situations. It was deflating. I also decided to switch to my new, more-professional-looking purse. You’d think that would be simple. But I started feeling nervous doing that simple, but not-so-easy task.

Moving out of my comfortable, casual, back-pack-style purse, in which I’ve been able to carry all sorts of things, was surprisingly disconcerting. You see, my comfy purse provides a kind of security blanket for me. I can carry a bottle of water, snacks, my planner, a small book to read, and all sorts of “in case I need them” things. Which is also why the silly thing ends up being so heavy – and decidedly unprofessional looking. So this one small task of moving into a more professional, conspicuously smaller purse started triggering the fears that accompany looking for work and doing interviews and all the steps in between.

Sometime between the trying on the clothes and putting together my new purse, I got a call from one of my credit card companies – the company that seems less willing to be patient with me as I make tiny payments on my overdue balances. It’s as if there was a convergence – a conspiracy even – of several nervous-making things come to shatter what serenity I might have had.

In fact, this is exactly the reason I started this blog, for it is these kinds of little things of combinations of things that derail me from forging ahead with so many bigger things.

Tomorrow, the meeting that actually has me nervous is a networking event sponsored by a vocational services organization. I am partly looking forward to it and partly (make that mostly) wanting to chicken out. But I’m not willing to avoid doing this. I am reminding myself that it doesn’t really matter what I look like (although I kind of think it does – just not as much as it feels like it does) and that my career and future do not depend on this one semi-social, semi-business event. The thing is, I have little experience “networking” and even less confidence in my ability to do it gracefully. Sometimes I can picture myself acting confidently, but inside I’m quaking a bit. And it isn’t even time to go there yet!

Alas! I know I want to keep moving ahead, even if it gets bumpy. Perhaps especially if it gets bumpy. So now, with wardrobe planned and purses exchanged, I will spend some time doing some journaling, reading and talking to God to wind down for bed and dispel this growing apprehension about tomorrow.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

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