Day 89 – Fri, Mar. 9th (89/277): Oh, what a relief it is!

This post really will be short. I’m back at my regular job (whoo hoo!) after three rather fun, but incredibly mind-and-body-numbing days of intense data entry. I say “intense” because it was entirely repetitive. I archived some 1500 files and my neck, shoulders and wrist are barely speaking to me at the moment. Actually, perhaps they’re speaking a lot: they’re saying, Don’t even think about it!

The funny thing is that yesterday, because of the monotony of the task, what I did a lot of (besides hundreds of mouse clicks) was noticing. So that’s what this post is about.

I noticed how it felt oddly, vaguely demeaning when a male employee went by and greeted us cheerily, “Morning, guys!” The fact that we were all females and he was male left me pondering why it’s okay for me to say, “Morning, guys” to my female companions, but his doing so felt like invading my turf. It’s rather like, I can call my brother a jerk but you can’t. (I don’t consider my brother a jerk, btw.) I wondered if I would have had the same reaction to another woman calling us “guys.” (Btw, in case you haven’t checked your dictionary lately, “guys” can refer either to a group of males or a mixed-gender group – the classic linguistic tradition that defaults to male references as “neutral,” while female references can only refer to exclusively females.)

I noticed that sitting up straight and holding my posture gently, to relieve the stress of constantly gazing down at a laptop, was more helpful than trying to force a more rigid and deliberately anti-slouching posture.

I noticed the new-job, settling-in patterns of the small group with whom I was working. Even though it was only our third day there (and the last for most of us, as it turns out), there was a growing comfort in our surroundings and a growing confidence in our freedom to go down to the café to get a snack or to partake of the cupcakes and goodies by the kitchen area. I didn’t partake of the goodies, but only because they were foods my body no longer enjoys. (Thanks be!)

I noticed that, in response to a particular sound, someone asked of another co-worker, “Is that a cough or a sneeze?” When the co-worker said it was a cough, the first person did not offer the usual “Bless you” she had been saying in response to (perceived) sneezes. (She’d said that to me a few times when I coughed, apparently thinking I was sneezing.) The history of saying “bless you” has to do with the perception of keeping evil away in order to stay healthy. Why do you suppose it is that we do not say “bless you” when someone coughs?

I noticed that it’s easier to remember to move and shift around more when my body complains of discomfort or pain. This, of course, is just plain silly, since moving and shifting around more in the first place would likely avoid the pain.

Finally, I notice that I’d like to be “on the clock” at work in just a few minutes. So I’m going to post this, sans pics this time, and get to work doing lots of wonderfully non-repetitive tasks that require thinking and evaluating and making choices. Whoo hoo!!!

Day 87 – Wed, Mar. 7th (87/279): Oy! Did I ever work this much before?!

I’m torn between wanting to write this and wanting to give my eyes a rest after being on the computer for eight solid hours at a temp job I started yesterday. I am so grateful for the coming income and simply the opportunity to have another, different work experience. Yet the work is mind-numbingly monotonous. It takes just enough thought that you have to pay a bit of attention, but it’s unbelievably repetitive.

Select cell. Copy. Alt-Tab. Enter number. Click search. Click refresh. Click on document. Click, click, click. Paste cell contents. Move to next cell. Repeat. 

They're all the same...yet not...

Oy! Make that “Ooooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

It’s ironic how incredibly distressed I was Monday late afternoon when I finally learned the whereabouts for this job. It wasn’t the where that got me; it was the expectation of “business professional” attire.

I don’t own “business professional” attire. At least not if you’re speaking of the very professional attire, such as pumps, slacks, blazers and button-down blouses. Nope, nope, nope. The only thing on that list that I own are slacks – and probably only one of my three non-denim pants truly fit into the “slacks” category. (The pair I like the least, of course, because apparently “slacks” are not make of anything but human-made materials like polyester and rayon. BLECK!!!!)

However, on the UP side of all this… It turns out that the drive could be during somewhat heavy traffic, but the worse traffic is actually going the other direction. Whew! Plus, I discovered that I can not only leave early to avoid the busier traffic, I can start work earlier and leave earlier accordingly. Yay! 

Remember to play!

I also want to mention that the anxiety I felt about the dress code actually mellowed out within a couple of hours. It felt longer because I was truly freaking out before I calmed myself down and started thinking sanely again. Classic Al-Anon overreaction. I thought I was getting better. Actually I know I’m getting better. I just didn’t realize I wasn’t immune from those overreactions. Sigh… Step by step…

Back to my earlier point, I really would like to keep this short. My eyes and my right hand/wrist have been working hard all day long for the past two days. I was so wiped out yesterday, I was asleep by 8:30. Tonight I might do the same, but I’m glad to not be quite such a mush-brain.

The goofy thing is that most of my life I’ve worked 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. Although it’s been several years, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to get back in the groove. And maybe it isn’t. Today was a tad easier than yesterday – although that was in part because we had some anomalies to help capture our attention. (When you’re doing literally hundreds of repetitive entries, anomalies border on excitement!) I’m curious to see what it might feel like to be working 8-hour days again. It’s been a long time. Although I am clear about one thing: I do not want to be a full-time data-entry person!

Before I started this, I received an email in response to a resumé I have posted on a job-hunting site. After doing considerable research, it turns out that the company contacting me is another staffing agency. (This was not the least bit obvious on their website.) I let them know some of my preferences, in terms of logistics and availability, and asked them to tell me about their application process. At the moment, I’m too tired to care (especially given the location and time-requirement of this particular, possibly-available position), but I realized I can always keep the options open.

I'm learning to bloom where I'm planted

  Now I’m going to enjoy having the house to myself and having a couple of hours before bedtime. Early to bed, early to rise may not make me healthy, wealthy, and wise, but it sure let’s me enjoy my favorite time of the day a little more easily. 🙂

Hmmm. So much for keeping it short…

 

 

Noticings:

  • How important it is to shift positions often while working in virtually the same position all day.
  • How lovely it is to have some stairs to walk up just to get the blood moving through my legs!

Action step(s):

  • Kept the option open to get setup with another staffing agency.

Day 85 – Mon, Mar. 5th (85/281): Standing on the precipice

How can it be that I visit so many places on the emotional map in such a short period of time? In the past 48 hours, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in serenity, taken a few brief stints through anxiety, started to visit confidence but only stayed a short while, spent about half an hour in tense apprehension, then found myself in mortal fear when I realized I was on the precipice of accepting God’s abundant grace. 

All it took this morning was remembering the words I had glimpsed in my reflection journal the day before: Ask and it will be given you… The tears and the fear came in an instant as I asked, Is that all I really need to do? Ask?

I am astonished that such a simple thing as accepting the fact that I am worthy, I am lovable and God does want to bless me abundantly is such a frightening and difficult concept to grasp. I’m struggling here… The words aren’t flowing. They feel awkward, too thought out. They lack the emotion, the deeply intense emotion I was feeling just a couple of hours ago. And that’s what happens: I come to the precipice, the diving board, ready to jump off, start thinking about what it means to be able to jump off – as in trusting that I am loved that much, that I will be supported, even abundantly blessed – and I back off, turn around and run the other way, not daring to believe I could possibly be worth the dreams that I hold.

 That’s when the deep emotions, the fear and the tears it brings, subside and my logical brain shifts into gear, trying to reason out the whys and wherefores of what’s going on. I’m not the least bit convinced it’s entirely helpful that this happens. However, I did notice that one of the fears that holds me back from really being able to see myself as being financially comfortable (not “wealthy” necessarily, but reasonably comfortable) is that my image of people who can easily handle their usual expenses and have the means to enjoy some of the “luxuries” (like health care, vacations, the occasional new computer, etc.) seem to always live in these beautiful, if simple, immaculate homes where everything in place and clutter doesn’t exist.

I remember visiting some in-laws a number of years back. They were a young couple, with two or three young children. I don’t remember where he worked, but she was busy with the kids and with doing a side-business they had. I wasn’t in their home more than a handful of times, but every time I was there I noticed that it was beautiful and immaculate. There wasn’t a speck of dust or a bit of clutter in sight. Granted, I didn’t go poking into the bedrooms and closets, but still… This moderately nice, non-luxurious home was absolutely beautiful and typifies my image of what it means to be financially stable, even comfortable: everything is supposed to look nice all the time because that’s what people who can manage their finances do.

When I lay this out here, it sounds ridiculous to think that financial comfort and stability somehow equals lovely, well-kept, neat-and-clean-at-all-times homes. But that’s the imprint on my brain right now. I won’t even talk about the one visit I paid to a truly wealthy home, owned quite literally by a billionaire. It was simple, beautiful and, of course, you guessed it, without a speck of dust or clutter in sight. And I’m pretty sure they do it all themselves. (They don’t live like one might expect billionaires to live.)

So, what’s the point? I’m not sure I know. I’m a big fan of metaphors and God often uses them to speak to us, certainly to me. This morning I was coming to grips – or wanting to come to grips – with the fact that receiving blessings and abundance can be as simple as asking God for what I want in life. Yet the idea of asking for all the things I want, trulyasking, not just hemming and hawing about it, but sincerely coming to God and making my requests known, scared the pee-waddlin’ out of me! Then, when I got to the office, I thought the “sweet spot” parking space was already taken. So I parked and walked to the office door. There, directly in front of it, was the space – empty and waiting for my car. I moved my car and thought about how sometimes the gift is right there, waiting for us and we just can’t see it.

One small step at a time

I’m standing on the edge of that precipice of abundant grace. I can feel it. I can sense God’s desire to bless me in wholly unexpected and amazing ways. Maybe, just for today, I will simply remember this and trust that I am walking through that wall of fear one step at a time.

Noticings:

  • How different it feels in my body when I’m experiencing the intense emotion of getting ready to take a big, scary step and how quickly the feeling in my body shifts when my logical, figure-things-out brain takes over.
  • How much I enjoyed watching a documentary on Muslims – it was wholly relaxing, in contrast to the “half an hour in tense apprehension” I experienced Sunday with the discouragingly biased agenda of the presenter in our adult ed class.

Action step(s):

  • Watched an excellent documentary on Muslims to help give me more balanced information and considered how I might expand the conversation at church to include a truer, more informed picture of this faith tradition.

Day 82 – Fri, Mar. 2nd (82/284): It’s official – depression is depressing and sneaky

My goal at the beginning of the year (i.e., January 1st, rather than the beginning of “my” year, which began December 4th) was to write at least four posts a week. Up till this week, I had maintained that goal. Of the eight (Sun-Sat) weeks so far this year, not counting this one, I posted 4 times four weeks, 5 times three weeks and 6 times one week. This is only my second post this week and tomorrow is the end of the week.

Feeling the strength of a strong support...thinking of God

Yep, depression is sneaky. I started posts on Tuesday and Thursday, but couldn’t summon the energy to finish either one. Tuesday’s effort was so short, I’ll post it here:

“When I left work (i.e., my ‘regular’ job) today, I was not feeling very adventurous. I was feeling nervous, stressed and uncertain. I had received a call and accepted a temp job. It’s nine days (or a bit less if I’m fast enough, perhaps) and I can truly use the income. So, what gives?”

It began in my head on the way home from work, I “captured” my thoughts on the computer with plans to write more later, and it never happened. In fact, within a couple of hours, my thoughts had already moved on to other things and my energy was low. Tomorrow, I thought, I’ll finish up. Except I don’t seem to have so much as started a post on Wednesday.

Thursday, I got a little farther on a fresh post. I got 330 words written. It began like this:

“Ooh. Bumpy waters again. And the waters are coming in the form of unexpected tears of unknown origins. It’s one thing when I know what’s bringing up tears. It’s disconcerting and sometimes frustrating – as in I feel powerless to change it – when they seem to come out of nowhere…”

It “ended” like this: “Depression sneaking in again…”

Someone had said something this week to which I was inwardly overreacting. It seemed to consume much of my day and I was soon feeling depressed. I didn’t know how or where to release the feelings bottled up inside, so I held them in.

The cycle begins...

Depression is, for me, often subtle in the way it can creep up gradually before I even realize I’ve opened the door. I’ve heard that the repression of emotions, keeping our feelings bottled up inside, can lead to depression. Well, it was working. I was holding in my feelings of hurt and rejection and was soon feeling depressed both physically and emotionally. I was grateful to have a get together with a friend that evening.Before we met, I decided to do some “drawing” in my doodle-journal. I wanted to track the sequence of my thoughts and feelings during the day using pictures and words. (Are unsmiling smiley faces “drawings”?)

...and the cycle continues...

It was helpful to notice the  route my mind had taken: uncertainty –> fear –> more uncertainty and more fear –> attempts to control –> seeking affirmation (i.e., Tell me it’s going to be okay!) + a not-right-now-I’m-busy response –> feeling rejected –> two reactions: (1) feeling hurt –> holding it in / (2) feeling guilty –> feeling angry at myself –> feeling angry toward others –> holding it in ==> back to more uncertainty and more fear.

In sharing this with my friend, I don’t know that I exactly found the way to break the cycle but it definitely helped to not be holding all this in by myself.So much has been happening that I could write a few posts. I won’t hold my breath on completing two more before Sunday, but it feels good to at least get this one done.

I need a little help keeping my balance right now...

Noticings:

  • Holding my emotions in is not helpful – it takes me too quickly into feelings of depression.
  • Moving and talking help my body, mind and spirit to let go and release the energy that’s bogging me down.

Action step(s):

  • Paid several bills and already have them entered in my checkbook and my checkbook total updated. (As compared to having a few weeks worth to enter just a week ago…)
  • Invited a friend to join me in developing another blog/website. Doing so felt good and re-energized me!
  • Took about 200 pictures to start a library of pics I may use on my blog. (Aren’t digital cameras fabulous?)
  • Honored my need to slow down today and let go the feeling (translate: illusion) that I had to rush to and at work.
  • Worked more on my other website! (Now that felt good! I’d love to have many more hours of time and internet access to do this and look forward to when that happens.)
  • Received a call for a job interview (from an application last September!), told them I was, indeed, still looking for work, yet also honored my commitment to work Monday at my “regular” job and my commitment to a temp job from the 6th through the 16th. They said to call them when I’m done with the temp job. Not sure if this is the “right” opportunity, but it occurs to me that I can get some interviewing practice at the very least! Whoo hoo!

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