I don’t know what’s been going on, but it’s kind of been a weird week for me. I’ve gone back to being anxious like I was over the summer with racing heart, sick stomach, little tingly pinpricks of sweat under my arms or on the back of my neck.
But ONLY when I’m at work and a little isolated (quiet cube, no email response from supervisor, no recent text messages from loved ones). And it feels like a betrayal. I waited so long for this job. I spent 4 months editing my résumé. I networked with so many people who were all willing to vouch for me. But is this what it’s supposed to be like?
Don’t get me wrong, the rest of my life is great. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I’ve gone through some growing experiences. I stopped drinking soda two months ago, and while I know it sounds small, it was an addiction I had been resigned to carry around for life while having anxiety that I would experience the same severity of diabetes and health problems my grandmother did, before succumbing to pancreatic cancer (strong link to diabetes). I now exercise regularly, and it’s nothing too strenuous, but walking 3 miles 2-4 times a week also is not a habit I ever saw myself forming. It even seems small now compared to the health goals I still want to achieve. I gained a lot of confidence personally and overcame a pretty huge hurdle that involved my numerous social anxieties, my self-consciousness, and my stage fright by taking an 8 week beginners improvisational comedy class, then performed in front of a (small) theater full of strangers. I’ve begun to be more open and embracing of my spirituality. I can pray comfortably and openly now. That. Is. Big. I’ve found great professional mentors who have expressed deep confidence in me. And I have the beginning of a pretty impressive business casual wardrobe now.
If all this is true, why am I sitting at my desk writing this and feeling so anxious? If all this is true, why is something not clicking the way it’s supposed to? Why don’t all the articles I read about careers and résumés and work ethic and business practices and non-profits matter to my supervisors who have worked at the same job for 17 years? They just want me to get it. A liberal arts degree means nothing to them. Sometimes I wonder if non-profit even means something to them. Time management does. Efficiency does. Competence does. I don’t know if passion and compassion do.
All I want is to share my story with people. All I want is to mentor and be mentored. All I want to do is make connections through life history and shared experiences about what it means to be a woman in a society that doesn’t even really like women except as things that give you sex or give you children. Even more, what it means to be a woman cut off from a maternal figure, the main source of knowledge and comfort, in that society. How that changes the way you think or brush your hair or do your makeup or engage in relationships with other people. How it affects your confidence, your perception of your gender role, your femininity or lack thereof, and how people respond to that (besides saying you look like a lesbian). Basically I want to talk to women and about women about our relationships with each other and how gaps in those relationships affect us as women. And how we can build each other up in a cold world where all we know is competition.
Boy, this is tough. What I want is so far from what feels achievable in an environment that so far feels pretty gossipy and hostile. And the worst part is that I can’t do anything today. I know I’ll meet my goals because God had picked me and spent the last 11 years preparing me and this is just too big not to happen. I’m just struggling with how I get there and what I do in the meantime. Finance, I guess. Accounting assisting, I guess.