"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous." ~Anais Nin

30 December 2016


by Emmanuel Castañeda [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Interview!  Interview, interview, interview, interview.  Interview! 
Interviewinterviewinterviewinterviewinterviewinterviewinterviewinterview! Interview!!!  Interview.

In! Ter! View!

Interview!  Interview.  Interview.   In-ter-view!  Interviewoo-hoo!  Interview interview interview interview.  INTERVIEW!  


Finally.  Best day in a long time.

It's scheduled for the 6th of January.  Wish me luck!  Good luck.  Wish me good luck.

28 December 2016

Post panicked pity party plans (with some added panicking and more self pity!)

Blah.  Yesterday was bad.  Not as bad as the day before when I was sick and had to call into work, but it was still bad.  Everything I said was true, but I annoy myself by giving in to the trapped, helpless, and hopeless feelings that haunt me.  I've been doing nothing but reacting far too long, and have a desperate need to take some kind of action.  I know my problems, so do you, and the next step is what to do about them.  How do I fix things?

Getting a job is a big, big part of that.  At this point, though, I'm not super confident in my chances of that going my way.  I'll keep applying, and applying, and applying, but I can't shake the feeling that if it hasn't gone anywhere yet, it will probably continue that way, you know?  It's not like I'm looking for much.  Full time work, $35K/year, medical insurance, semi-decent hours, not a horribly abusive atmosphere.  And it's all negotiable.  But I need to be able to support myself.

Over the past several years, I've come to grips with the very likely possibility that I will never be able to pay off my student loans.  That's sad, unfortunate, but also something I can't escape.  Still, all this education of mine should translate into some kind of marketable skill, and from there into a way to make a living.  Even if it's a modest one.

Still, I should be able to get a job in an office somewhere.  I have all the pertinent computer skills, plus an education emphasizing organization, collaboration, collegiality, research, database design and maintenance, et cetera, et cetera.

So, what am I to do?

Thing is, I don't know.  I really don't.  Retail, food services?  Less pay, more hours, more stress, and I'd barely make more a year than I do now.  I don't want to do it.  I don't want to settle.  Not for something that will pay me $20K/year, not give me benefits, and give me worse hours.  Not for something that doesn't pay enough to cover my debts and move out of my parent's place.  I did that already.  I paid my dues there.  I deserve more.

I hate feeling like my education was a mistake.  I hate it.  I was so proud of myself for finishing my degrees.  I hate this desperation.  I hate that sometimes I think that it's good that I don't have a family of my own, children to support, because I couldn't if I did.  I hate that I don't like myself.  I hate that I feel so cut off, so alone.

Things were meant to be different.  By now I was supposed to have a career, a husband, a child or children.  I was supposed to be a grown up, to be able to take care of myself, to be content if not happy.  I wasn't supposed to be afraid all the time.

How do I change this?  How do I change me?  My circumstances?

I'm going to start by cleansing myself, and releasing all my negative thoughts as they come.  I'm going to start by meditating daily, and picking back up my exercise routines.  I'm not going to shame myself for not being able to do what I once could, be what I once was.  I'm just going to work on becoming who I want to be.

I've just got to figure out who that is.

Maybe once I do, and once I get there, everything else will fall in place.

27 December 2016

2016 Retrospective

Burn it to the ground. Photo by Fir0002 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Gods!  This has been a shitty year.

Let's not even go into the deaths of so many beloved celebrities, or those caused by the abuses of authority, or even those that were out and out hate crimes.  Let's not talk about the abomination that is the incoming presidential administration, or the horrors that are sure to follow it, or the fact that those fuckwads are only one state–ONE STATE–away from having a constitutional majority and therefore being able to create or repeal constitutional amendments at will.  Let's not talk about all the fact that we're facing the next great extinction level event, and conservative estimates think that 85% of all known species on this earth are expected to be extinct within the next 20 years unless we, human beings, drastically change the way we live.  Let's not talk about the hate and the fear, the violence and threats of violence.  Let's not talk about the global, political, or social ramifications etc, etc.  

Let's just talk about me.

I'm more unhappy than I've ever been.  I'm sick and afraid.  I hate my life, my job, my lack of options.  I'm poorer than I've ever been, and I feel it.  I don't know how I'm going to be able to continue, because this is not sustainable.  My life is not sustainable.  Not as it is.

Now, I feel I have to put a little addendum here to emphasized to those in my family who read this and are worried: This is not a suicide note.  This is not a suicide threat.  I have no suicidal ideation.  I don't care what it sounds like, I don't want to die.  Just because I am depressed, and my life is spiraling down into the dark, does not mean that I'm going to kill myself.  I get that you're worried about me.  I'm worried about me too.  I'm worried that I'm going to lose my car or possibly end up homeless.  I'm worried that I'm never going to be able to pay off my credit card bill, even though it's really not that much.  Please don't "talk" to me about this.  It's just going to embarrass and upset us all.

Back to me.

I started this year off feeling cautiously hopeful.  This is the year I'm going to finally land a full time job again.  I'm going to be able to pay off my credit card, pay back my mother, maybe even start paying down my student loans, you know?  I sent my resume out and out and out.  I even gave it to a couple of staffing agencies.  How many interviews did I have?  0.  Did I even get a phone call from a staffing agency?  Nope.  Nothing.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  

It would have been okay–not great, but okay–if I'd been able to pick up extra hours at work when someone was sick or went on vacation or something, but the other branch in our system flooded and was closed for 6 months which doubled the staff at my branch.  No extra hours for me.  Add in a couple bouts of illness, and my more recent troubles, and well . . .  

I'm so stressed out.  So ready for this year to be over.  And, yeah, I'm blaming the year because of everything that's happened that I'm not talking about.  I just need to find a balance.  I need a job.  I need to even things out.  To start at zero rather than somewhere in the negatives.  If I can stand, I can build, but I keep getting knocked flat, you know?  And the ditch I make by falling keeps getting deeper.

It all comes down to money.  It's not everything, but it's such a huge part of it.  There are things I can do, that I am doing: work on my weight and fitness, eat better, sleep more, try to connect more with friends and family.  I'm studying again, watching less TV, reading more and for pleasure.  I'm trying so hard to rediscover myself.  But the money thing is damn near overwhelming.  I'm budgeted to the penny, and there is no safety net.  My savings is gone.  I don't even have it in my budget to go out to dinner or lunch, not unless I can get someone else to pay for it.  And that sucks.  I don't want my friends and family to always pay my way.  So I don't go out.  Not really.  

I have a list, growing longer by the day, of things I need or need to do when I finally get a full time job:
  1. Pay off my credit card.
  2. Get a new phone–my old one doesn't really hold a charge anymore.
  3. Get a new bed–the one I have causes me actual, physical pain now.
  4. Pay back my mother–I owe her about the same that I owe my credit card.
  5. Rebuild my savings.
  6. Find a new place to live.

I'm really hoping–hoping against hope–that I'll be able to do these things in the coming year.  I really, really am, because I don't know how much longer I can take this.  I've been 6 years now without a full time job.  This is not sustainable.  It was fine for a couple of years because I was finishing up college, then getting my masters.  Now, though, now it's not fine anymore.  Now it's an awful mess, and half the time I feel like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

And I don't know what to do.  I don't know how to fix this other than getting a job.  And I obviously don't know how to do that.

I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Something's got to change.  Right?  I mean, I can't fail so constantly, so utterly forever, can I?  At some point something's got to go my way.

Ugh.  Just tell me when this year is over.  Maybe then I can find some hope.

16 December 2016

Poetry Wednesday #59

So, this started out as a regular post and turned into some not-bad prose poetry.  I guess I'm restarting Poetry Wednesdays! ~AJ
by Charles Hamm [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Odd Angles

I don't fit.  Not really.  Not at my job.  Not in my life.  I'm angled where I should be round, round where I should be smooth, and smooth where angles are meant to go.  Not that I actually have much in the way of smoothness.  I'm more lumps and spikes than anything.

I don't fit.  I don't say this to garner sympathy.  I say it with only the tiniest smidgen of self pity.  I say it as a value-neutral statement.  Something true, or true enough.  Like saying I'm tall (I am).  It just is.  I just am.

I don't fit, and that is not to say that I don't want to fit.  I do.  I want to fit somewhere, with someone.  But I don't.  Not right now.  Maybe not ever—though I hope to the gods that's not true.  I just haven't found my place, my puzzle.  My job.  My person.  Whatever.  I haven't found it yet.

I don't fit.  Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck, perpetually, just outside the group.  Whatever that group may be: coworkers, classmates, family, friends.  I'm the one who doesn't quite get it, get in.  I'm the one who stoops to fit in the photograph.  I shrink myself to fit in the frame, cutting away chunks of flesh and bone, and still I rattle the edges.

I don't fit.  I don't know where I would fit.  Or how.  Or with whom.  I can sand the rough edges, but I can't change the basic shape of me.  Not without losing much of who I am.  And I've given up too much already to give up that much more.  There'll be nothing left.

I don't fit and I'm sick and tired of trying to force myself to fit.  It's painful.  It makes me doubt.  It makes me unsure and unfun.  It makes me tense and afraid.  And I think it makes me stupid.  I know it makes me awkward.  Who wouldn't be awkward covered in open, oozing wounds, and missing some of the parts that make up the whole?

I don't fit.  And, mostly, I find now that I don't care.  I will heal and move on.

13 December 2016

Whelp, yeah

Life Update:

I still have a job.  I should be able to cover most of my bills next month.  Yay.

This entire ordeal has just highlighted how much I need a different job.  It's long past time for me to redouble my efforts there.  Let us hope that something turns up soon.

Silver lining: I basically got a week of paid-yet-extremely-stressful vacation.

Positive notes for the coming week: 

Our new furnace is being installed sometime today (12/13) AND they're going to clean out all of our vents—something that hasn't been done in over 20 years.  I'll soon live in a warm and breathable house!

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to talk my mother into taking me out for lunch on Wednesday or Thursday to "celebrate" my continued employment.  I'm thinking Indian food.  Or maybe that Asian-fusion place down the street...


I've got to take my little cat back to the vet tomorrow or Wednesday to get her shots updated.  The last time she had this particular vaccine she had some kind of reaction to it and nearly died.

The Orange Kat keeps ripping out his claws and walking on my bed with bleeding paws.  He's ruined both my sets of sheets, the neurotic weirdo.  And they were really nice sheets (Pottery Barn–from back when I had money).

That's it for me.  I'm still trying to get this sleep-when-it's-nighttime thing down, and I've got to get to bed if I'm going to sleep at all while it's still dark out.  Seriously, it's almost 4 AM. 

I've got issues, man.

11 December 2016

Per aspera

Towards tomorrow
The Kansas state motto is "ad astra per aspera," it roughly translates: "to the stars through difficulty."  The motto itself is a variation of the more common "per aspera ad astra" which, again, roughly translates to "through hardships to the stars."  Rather beautiful, no?  I've always felt that there is a lovely amount of hope in this motto.  Hope, and a certain amount of confidence.  It is the best of state mottos, I think.  Of course, I'm a born and bred Kansas girl, a natural-born Jayhawker (think of the historical meaning here, not just that I'm a KU alumna), so I may be a bit biased.

I learn Monday whether I still have a job and I'm not feeling optimistic about it, which is too bad because I need that job.  I really do.  Just for a bit longer.

In general, I think, I am an optimist.  Yeah, depression gets the better of me sometimes, but I've never quite lost the hope of something better.  That's what keeps me alive.  I've never been much one for suicidal ideation because I believe that things can change for the better.  I believe that I can find a job or otherwise make a living for myself.  I believe that there's a chance I can find love, though I've not dated for several years.  I believe, truly believe, that things aren't always shit.  Evidence to the contrary be damned.  Somewhere inside of me there is always at least a candle's worth of hope.

Is that because I've internalized the Kansas state motto?  Made it my own?

I don't know.  I don't really have any answers here.  I wonder if anyone does.

I'm not sure what my future holds.  I don't know where I will find another job.  I don't know when.  I hope soon.  My little world is falling apart right now and I am afraid.  But I also know that I'll be okay.  At least while my candle's still lit.  I'll make it through.

I just really, really hope things in my life will get a little easier soon.  

09 December 2016

Okay, at this point it's just ridiculous

Operation Crossroads in color: United States Department of Defense (either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy) derivative work: Wojot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What else can go wrong?

Here I am waiting, totally expecting to hear any minute not to come into work again.  Okay, I can handle that.  Maybe.  I'm applying for jobs every day.  I'm writing with an eye on publication.  I'm trying to figure out if I can stretch what few dollars I have until the end of January without having to borrow money from my parents.  Because they don't have much in the way of money either.

And our furnace broke last night.

No heat in wintertime is not an option, so we'll have to either have our furnace repaired or replace it.  It probably needs to be replaced.  I don't know how we'll afford it.  Gods, I don't know how we would have afforded it even if we weren't in this situation.

I need to find a job, and soon.

07 December 2016

And the hits just keep coming!

Two women sparring with a speed bag [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We found out today that my dad needs to have another surgery soon.  This time to repair the damage done to his abdominal wall when he had a softball-sized abdominal aneurysm removed about 18 or so years ago.  They need to remove some scar tissue and reenforce the muscle so as to avoid more hernias.  He has one currently, and apparently has had for some time (we're talking years here people) now, but didn't really feel the need to tell anyone about it.  Now, I guess, it's starting to cause some issues, and his doctors want to avoid strangulation–which is exactly as disgusting as it sounds: a piece of an organ gets trapped inside the hernia and is cut off from the rest of it's blood supply, so it dies.  It's relatively rare for this to happen, but my father has an unnatural aptitude for obtaining the rarest of diseases and conditions.  Yay!

My father's surgery will be a much larger surgery than a normal hernia operation because of the need to repair all the scar tissue he has in his abdomen.  He has a scar that runs from just below his sternum to his groin.  It's a messy, ragged scar because the stitches from his abdominal aneurysm surgery were removed before the wound had completely healed and he tore the barely healed flesh open when we brought him home and he sat down.  The man has literally been falling apart since I was a child.  Seriously, it's been a heart attack, some sort of aneurysm (small brain or large belly), a joint replacement (knee, shoulder, and he'll soon need new hips), some weird bone spur thing, a disintegrating spinal column, blood poisoning from an unknown infection, an infected pancreas, a defective gallbladder, or some other such nonsense since I was 11 years old.  And I remember him having to get knee surgery before that too.

I'm 35 now.  He's had at least as many surgeries as I've had years.

Now, I wouldn't be the self-absorbed millennial the media tells me I am if I didn't tie this all back around to me, so:

I have GOT to start taking better care of myself.  I need to lose weight, get in shape, and do all the other things that doctors tell people to do.  I do NOT want to end up like my father.

I've been eating less and better lately, so I've got to start with the exercising again.  I've also got to find a way to manage my stress levels and get. More. Sleep.  Or better sleep or something.  I've a tendency to go completely nocturnal when left to myself, and when I'm not, I'll alternate between getting 3 hours of sleep a night to crashing completely for 14-16 hours.  That does me no go, and probably adds to my stress.  I've really got to get all that under control.

And I've got to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.  Not referring to the future her, but the other stuff in my life: my physical and emotional junk.  I need to straighten it all out.  Tiny steps to a better tomorrow and all that.

Still, even with working on my life junk I need a way to make a living.  I've got to figure that out too.

06 December 2016

Of bosses and brain-worms

I'm stuck just hanging out.  Photo by Dodger nzl [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday my boss called me and told me not to come in for the rest of the week while they investigate the incident on Thursday.  Silver-lining?  I'm still getting paid.  Happy Christmas to me.  So I'm to be kept in limbo.  Yeah, I'm thinking this job is done, though I'll find out next week if whether or not that's true.


I'm not sure how I feel about this.  The whole situation has been blown way out of proportion.  And I trust neither my luck nor my workplace to stay with me.  I only hope that I find something else soon, because even if my boss and the administration above her decide to keep me on, I don't know that I'll want to stay.  At least not very long.

So what instigated all of this drama?  Maybe someday I'll tell you.  It's incredibly stupid, but at the time it was really, really upsetting.  Like, it left me shaking, and not with anger, but with fear.  I was totally freaked out, and I maybe could have handled things differently, but I didn't handle them bad.  Definitely not bad enough to warrant this.  It's almost amusing, in a tragic sort of way.

Gah!  My life!  It's unbelievable.  I have Such. Bad. Luck.  I mean, nothing has gone quite right since 2011, and the only thing that went right that year was my final semester at KU.  Even starting grad school that fall was a bust.  Wrong path, I suppose.  One I never should have walked down.  It's ended with me in job-limbo with only enough money to last the rest of the month if I don't find something soon.

I'm trying to stay positive.  After all, that brain-worm of mine is working, formulating a plan for me.  If only I knew what it was.

05 December 2016

I'm okay

By NASA (NASA Image of the Day) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Really.  No more rash.  Not much in the way of utter despair.  I still don't know whether I have a job or not: my email to my supervisor on Friday prompted her to respond by telling me to take Saturday off as well.  That does not give me high hopes for my workday on Monday, but you never can tell.

Of course I spent all of Friday in a blind panic.  And Saturday I spent several hours therapeutically baking.  Seriously.  I spent 3 hours making caramel–from scratch–for my chocolate and caramel covered shortbread cookies.  Now I'm somewhat uncomfortably numb with just the-tiniest-of-hints-of-blind-mad-panic-buried-under-about-ten-feet-of-generic-muzziness, but, you know, essentially fine.  Not that different than one of my recent "good" days.  Terrible if I compare myself to a few years back, but I don't have the stomach to do that to myself right now.

It occurs to me that I've spent a lot of time, these last several years, reacting to things outside of my control rather than acting on what I can.  A bad habit, one that I must unlearn if I'm to have any chance of a real life.  It's a bit of cowardice too.  Not making a move until it's forced on me.  It's because I'm afraid of making the wrong move.  There are so many choices.  Also a bit of my depression-caused laziness.  I mean, if nothing's going to change for the better, why make a change at all?  A stupid way to look at things that probably boils down to fear.  Fear of being rejected, fear of pain, fear of failure.  Like my life doesn't make it glaringly obvious that doing nothing is a much more thorough way of failing than trying and not succeeding.

Now, there's no doubt in my mind that things can get worse.  Every time I've thought that I've hit bottom something has happened that drops me a bit further, so I'm not going to tempt fate that way.  However, I think there are more good possibilities at this point than bad.  There's more up than down, is what I'm saying.

So what do I do about my life?

The simplest answer is to take some kind of action.  MOVE.  I have this whisper of an idea wiggling around in the back of my mind.  Something I want to do, some action to take.  I can't quite articulate it, and I can't quite figure out what it is, but it's there, a lonely beacon calling me thither.

I have no road, to guideposts, no map, just a small, dim, and flickering light in the far distance.  I am afraid.  I am so very afraid, but this I know to be true: if I stay where I am I will drown, and if I go I will likely be torn apart and remade.  There will be pain and great difficulties, but there will be life.
It's not a hard decision to make—I want to live, I want to move—but I just can't seem to take that first step.

That is something that must change.

So I'm going to work on changing it.

02 December 2016


I think I got a rash from stress.

Is that a thing?  Like, is it possible?

My left wrist itches and it's all scaly.  

Beyond the telling of it

My life, on occasion, sucks.

I don't know what it is, but the last few years it seems like every time I get my feet under me, every time I find some little, baby seed of positivity inside myself to attempt to nurture and grow, things conspire to knock me flat again.

I just can't seem to figure out why, or how to negate the damage done, or how to avoid it, or *sigh* anything.  I don't know what I'm going to do.  I've been operating without even the smallest safety net for a little over a year now, trying desperately to find something to hang on to, something I can use to build a new safety net.  I just need more time to find it.  Until then, though, I'm living on the edge.  I have no savings any more.  I'm literally living paycheck to paycheck.  I can barely afford to miss a few hours a month and still (kind of, barely) meet my financial obligations.  One slip and I lose everything I have left—which is pretty much only my car.  I'm so, so close to having nothing but debt.

Anyway, I may have lost my job today.  Surprisingly enough, I'm actually unclear on that point.  My boss may have just sent me home early.  I'll have to email her tomorrow (my normal day off) to find out.  Either way, it's the beginning of the end.  This job was always supposed to be a stop-gap until I found something full time, it's just I haven't been able to find that full time job, and now it feels like I'm out of time.  I may lose everything before I get back on my feet again.

Maybe that's what's supposed to happen.

I don't know.

Things have got to turn around soon, right?

28 November 2016


I'm wondering whether or not to apply for a job, and I just don't know.  I've got about a week and a half before it closes, so I have to decide quick.

The Pros:
It's in my field.  It's full time.  It's in the same town as my best friend.

The Cons:
Crappy pay.  It's not a professional position.  Semi-crappy hours.  The town is about  3-4 hours away from my family and support system in a town where I only know 3 people (my best friend, her husband, and their kid).  A quick google search of rents in the area revealed that I'd be paying about as much as I would here if I had my own place, and I wouldn't even try to find a place of my own for that pay here—it being about half or more of my monthly take-home.

If it paid better I would jump at it.
If it were in my town I would jump at it.

However, it's pretty damn far away from my current support system.  I'd have to find a place to live, pay rent, utilities, continue to pay for my car (loan payment, gas, upkeep, etc), buy food, and pay for other various expenses (my credit card, clothes, my phone, internet, etc).  A lot of that is stuff I don't have to worry about now.  Add to that, the small raise in my pay may end up requiring me to pay more towards my student loans, and I don't know that I'd actually be able to live.  

On the other hand, it's in the town where my best friend lives and we haven't lived in the same town in years.  

This is so frustrating because the job could be perfect.  It's not too far away from my family.  It's in my field.  It's full time.  With benefits!  But it's not enough.  I need more money, and I don't want to have to work two jobs to survive.  

But I'd be near my best friend and I miss her so much.

I don't think I'll apply.  In the process of writing this I talked myself out of it.  If it paid more—but it doesn't.  I'll just have to keep looking.


24 November 2016

Walking the knife's edge

Baxter and Knife Edge by Greg Neault [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
I have a real problem with discontent in my life right now.  Of course, if you've known me or have been reading this blog for any length of time then you know this already.  I struggle.  It's tough, and I hate it.  I don't like being this way–brittle, angry.  It's not a good way to live.  I wouldn't recommend it.

I'm so angry all the time.  It really sucks.  I'm angry that I can't find a job.  I'm angry that I'm living with my parents.  I'm angry that I'm always, always broke.  I'm angry that I spent all this money on an education that I'm not using.  I'm angry because I figured out that if I hadn't gone ahead and gotten my Master's my student loans would be halfway paid off by now.  I'm angry that I'm considering taking my Master's off my resume–I mean, what's the point?  I'm angry because I feel like I paid my dues: I worked low-paying, terrible-hours retail positions for almost almost two decades, and it was okay because it was temporary—until I finished my degrees.  Now I can't find anything but low-paying, terrible-hours retail positions, and I don't want that to be my life.  I want to actually be able to do things.  I want to have weekends and evenings off.  I want to have money to travel, or at least pay off my bills.  I want to be able to hang out with my friends, meet new people, date.  I live in an area where there's no bus service, and I can't afford the gas to go anywhere but work and home.  My life was supposed to be better now, but at 35 I make half of what I did at 17.  Why?  Because I can't find anything but part time work, and it makes me so angry.

And that, of course, affects my entire life, from how I perform at work to how I interact with my family.  I walk this knife's edge, balanced precariously between freaking out and going catatonic.  I don't like it.  There's this repeating cycle of anger, explosion and/or shut-down, guilt, sadness, anger, and so on.

And I just need to let it all go.


I know the world is different than it was in my parents' and grandparents' times.  The job market is much more unstable, middle class jobs are disappearing–or even nonexistent in many places, housing prices are–I think–artificially and disastrously high.  If I someday have children, I will not be able to give them what my parents gave me, not unless I'm very, very lucky.  And my children will have a worse time of it.  Our way of life is crumbling, and there's really no stopping it.  Ecological limits restrict our future growth, and while I believe that's not necessarily a bad thing, it will hurt.  There may have been a way to mitigate most of the damage, but we passed that point long ago.  Now it will just hurt more and sooner.

Still, that's the big picture.  That affects me, it affects us all, but it's my little picture that holds my attention.  I should be doing better than I am.  I know this.  But things just keep getting worse.  Lately I've begun to despair that anything positive will happen to me.  This helpless, hopeless feeling comes and I wonder, "How much longer can I live like this?"  Like, what if nothing changes and I'm suddenly 40 and living the same life?  Or 50?  Can I stand it?  Not having any life?  Not having a way to support myself?  What will I do then?

I don't like the answer.

So, I've got to push myself towards some form of positive change.  I cannot continue down this path.  I cannot.  But herein lies my problem: I have no idea where to start with that.  For a long time I thought if I could only land a full time job, but I don't know that I will . . . At least not soon enough to matter.  So what can I do?  How can I change my life and maybe make a little more money?  How do I keep myself from drowning?

I know I'm overlooking a lot.  I've been so focused on trying to find work, it's taken all of my attention.  How do I rediscover my bit of calm, my flexibility?  How do I learn to be–if not happy, then–content?  Where can I find hope?

I feel like it's something small, something I'm overlooking–that first step, I mean.  Because it is going to be steps–a great many of them–before I find stable footing.  What can I do?  It's like I'm stuck, dithering, at a crossroads, and there are a million directions in which I can travel, but I'm so afraid of choosing wrong that I don't know quite where to place my feet.  But I have to move, because I don't want to be this person anymore.  I don't want to be sad and angry and afraid.  I don't want to feel brittle and bitter.  I want to move.  I want to dance.  I want to live.

So I guess I've got to get going, huh?  Cast my die and take a chance.  Maybe I'll find myself becoming the person I want to be in the process.

10 November 2016

I really need to do this:

This post is to remind me of something to do that will both benefit the library and look good on a resume for a future (maybe local) full time library job.

I want to put together a list, a pathfinder, or even a website like my Gothic literature website compiling every author I can find who has a connection to my area.  I don't know how far out I want to go with this, whether, for instance, I want just authors from the Kansas City metropolitan area or all authors from Kansas and Missouri.  Nor do I know whether I want to list authors who were born here (or around here) but were raised (and/or lived) somewhere else, or vice versa.  I'm leaning towards an all-encompassing list incorporating Kansas and Missouri in their entirety.

Things to include:

  • biography
  • bibliography
  • links to author site
  • links to free reads (if any available)
  • links to library systems in the states? maybe
  • links to booksellers

Any other ideas out there?

02 November 2016

Poetry Wednesday #58

My niece's first birthday last week.  We had a terrible time finding a card that wasn't hideous, so I made my own using some faery notecards I bought years ago and writing a message inside.  This is the little poem I wrote a a message.  It's a little Hallmark-y, but, whatever.

For my most magnificent and wonderful niece, M— S—, on the occasion of her first birthday:

It's been fun to watch you grow
And learn the things you didn't know.
Of course, it will be more fun still—
O! Just the thought gives me a thrill—
To watch as you grow bigger yet,
And cast a wider knowledge net.
It's so much fun because it's you,
And you bring fun to all you do!

19 October 2016

Poetry Wednesday #57

The nights grow long

The nights grow long,
The wind brings chills,
The moon whispers
Of ghostly thrills.
I'm excited,
It's just so keen!
Only two weeks
'Til Halloween!

17 October 2016

My life's a bit of a tangle: an update

Rat King preserved at Museum Mauritianum in Altenburg, Germany
 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Isn't that a nasty photo?  I love it.  I'd say it's a good visual metaphor for my life right now, but that's totally not true.  The picture above reminds me that, yeah, I'm tangled up, but I'm not gross.  I am not made of rats, nor am I dead and somehow, disgustingly, preserved.  So that's awesome.

I mostly made it through my first week of no television or streaming.  Mostly.  I broke down Sunday night and watched the movie Mascots and two episodes of The Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  Still, not bad, all things considered.

I had a couple of bad nights and one bad day.  Friday was horrible, but mostly because I somehow strained my back the night before and was in pain.  Much pain.  I really don't recommend straining or otherwise hurting your back.  Saturday and Sunday night though were the worst.  Saturday was fine while I was at work, I was still a little achy, but everything was manageable.  When I got home, though, it was all dark thoughts and despair.  I had to go for a long muttering walk* to burn off my anger enough to sleep.  Sunday was much the same, as evidenced by my last post—rewritten several times to not sound quite so insane.

Mostly, I'd count last week as a success, and will continue with my moratorium on TV and the like.

There are a few things that I realized about myself during this week, and those are:
  1. I need to learn how to deal with my mental scratches.  You know how when a record is scratched, the needle jumps, and it will sometimes play the same few bars over and over and over again?  My brain does that.  I'll get on this track–generally thinking of something unpleasant–and my mind will replay the same thoughts over and over and over again.  Driving me to rage and despair.  To continue the metaphor, I need to find some healthy, non-destructive way to interrupt that cycle, and move on with my song.
  2. I am WAAYY more aware of myself when I'm not watching TV.  This is a good thing.  I eat less and healthier.  I don't let myself dehydrate.  I notice what I'm doing and thinking more.
  3. I have a seriously fucked up sleep schedule.  I can probably blame this on my retail experience.  You haven't known misery until you've had a schedule where you close one night at midnight or 1AM, and are expected in the next morning at 7AM to open.  I did crap like that for years.  Now I'm not working retail, but I am working mostly evenings.  It doesn't matter what time I go to bed the night before, left to my own devices I won't wake up until after noon.  I have to set 2 or 3 alarms to be up at 8AM on Saturdays.  This needs to change.  So for the next several weeks I will work on resetting my internal clock, and waking up and going to sleep at decent, not college student/retail worker hours.
  4. I am not nearly physically active enough.  I need to get up and get moving.
  5. I freak out when I don't have access to the internet.  It doesn't matter if I'm planning on using it or not, the second it's out I'm desperate to get it back.  Thursday night out internet went out, resulting in one such freak out.  I had planned on joining one of my best friends for tea, a walk, and a gab session, but when I got home I discovered the outage and cancelled it all while I desperately ran around the house trying to fix it.  Turns out our wifi router needed to be replaced.  We got the internet back on Friday, but my Thursday night plans were shot.
  6. It's easier to zone and not think about things.  Of course, that's how I got so tangled in the first place.
So that's it.  In the coming weeks I will be working on changing my sleep schedule and learning how to deal with my brain when it decides to go on a maniacal repeating cycle.  Oh, and finding a job.

My language studies are going well.  I can't say that I can actually say anything, but I'm on track.  I think I mentioned this last post, but in two weeks I'm planning on slowing down on the Irish and picking Mandarin back up.  

Also, I'm going to try to write a story worth reading, hopefully before this month ends.  We'll see.

*A muttering walk is one in which I walk and talk to myself to work out my problems.  I may or may not also make angry gestures at the air.  I look like a madwoman while doing it, but it makes me feel better.

16 October 2016

I adult now? Really?!?

Poster for WPA education program. Public Domain.

I don't know how to adult.  I don't.  I really wish they gave classes on it.  Mostly because I know how to student.  I student well.  I should, I spent the majority of my life studenting.  But I've had a hard time making the transition from student to adult.  I just can't seem to manage it.  And you'd think, at 35, I'd have some ideas of how to go about it, but I don't.

Well, I know I need a job, but I don't know how to go about getting one.  I know I need to move out of my parents' place, but without a job . . . That's not happening.  That first step, getting a job that pays a decent wage, one on which I can freaking live, that prevents everything else from falling into place.  It's so frustrating.

So I'm living–and have been for some time–provisionally.  Which is the worst way to live.  Because all I do is make plans, and never follow through.  Someday I will (ha!), maybe.  What is, by far, the worst part of this is that I have to live provisionally.  I have no other choice, my options right now are so limited.  So–grrr–frustrating.

What I want to do–when I can–is get my own place, join the woodworkers and wood-turners guilds and take classes so I can learn to build something solid.  I have plans drawn up for bookshelves, a settle, a bed, and a few other pieces.  I want to visit Ireland, Barbados, and Croatia.  I want to pay back my parents, pay off my credit card, and make at least a dent in my student loans.  Eventually, I'd like to buy a house–or build a house–on a few acres of land and have a garden.  All these things are contingent, though, on me being able to make a living.

I don't understand what went wrong in my life.  I'm smart.  I'm educated.  I'm generally outgoing–though I must admit that that aspect of my personality comes and goes with my overall stress level.  I'm hard working.  I learn quickly.  I'm punctual, organized, and I rarely get ill.  I don't know why I'm struggling so, so much.

Looking back, maybe I should have pursued office jobs earlier.  I definitely should have completed my BA years before I did.  But that shouldn't matter that much.  Most of that you could chalk up to me being a bit of a late bloomer.  Now, though, I feel like I've crossed the threshold between late bloomer and that creepy guy living in his elderly parents' basement.  Maybe not, but I'm pushing it.

—As an aside: Can you tell that I've begun applying for jobs once again?  I took a mental health break for the summer.  Now that old stress is upon me again and I'm being melodramatic.

I don't know.  I'm trying to fill my time and not compare myself to my contemporaries.  (Though that last bit is difficult).  I've begun studying Irish, and constantly seem to be finding myself trying to make sounds I never learned how to make.  Irish probably won't help me out on my job search, but it's an interesting language–fun.  And I feel the need to keep my mind supple.  I have plans to pick back up with my Mandarin studies–which may help me in my job search–after Halloween.  If I can talk my mother into covering expenses, I want to redecorate the family room.  I have a design already in my head.  I read a lot.

It's tough though.  I want to take dance classes, or yoga, or woodworking.  I want to be able to go out with my friends.  I want to be able to do normal fun things that women my age do.  Hell, at this point, I even want to go shopping for clothes–something I absolutely loathe–because my wardrobe is fairly raggedy and I like looking nice.  I want to do things.  I really, really do.  But things cost money and every penny I make is already accounted for.

Gods! Please!  Someone hire me soon!!!

12 October 2016

Poetry Wednesday #56

By en:John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Oftentimes, at least with my rhyming poetry, the first verse comes to me all at once.  This is a perfect example.  I just started singing it a couple of days ago, adding more verses as I did so.  I'm thinking it needs at least two more verses, which I'll write–or won't–sometime in the future.  Enjoy! ~AJ

Untitled, Unfinished Song or Ballad

Away with the faeries
The girl goes to play,
In the land of enchantment
Between night and day.

She runs with the spirits,
And dances along
To the instruments playing
Their magical song.

Forgetting her sorrows,
Forgetting her woes,
She leaves all behind her,
As away she goes.

She leaves for the weekend,
And is gone for a year,
Since, through fae magics,
She's forgotten her fear.

10 October 2016

Plans for the coming days

Meditation by Moyan Brenn
I quit Facebook at the beginning of summer.  I missed it like mad for the first week, but now I don't really care one way or another.  That got me thinking, and I recently decided to call a moratorium on all my other social networking sites until the start of 2017.  Though, if you follow my Instagram you may still be able to catch a photo or two of my cats now and again between now and then.  And you can always find me here—I do plan on picking back up with Poetry Wednesday again this week, and hopefully adding some more content of one type or another.  But my other sites?  Nah, they'll be cold.

Actually, after spending some time soul searching, I plan on doing more than that.  I'm cutting myself off from most other forms of mass media too: television, Netflix, Amazon Prime, et cetera, et cetera, several blogs and news sites, and every form of video game from my brother's new PlayStation 4 to computer solitaire are all getting cut from my life for the next several months.  Maybe forever.  I'm just tired of it all, you know?  They're huge time sucks for me—used to avoid doing things that I want to do but are more difficult than laying around and staring at a screen—and I don't really get anything out of it.  I don't even really enjoy it.

So, I'm cutting my screen time.  By a lot!  I plan on only using my computer to apply for jobs, write, and to study languages (Mandarin Chinese and Irish).  There are a few blogs that I follow that I'll continue to check in with, but only once a week.  And, of course, I'll still be using a computer at work.  I'm a librarian, 90% of my job seems to be looking something up online for someone.

I think of these things as small changes, but I think they'll have a big impact on my life.  I think they'll lead to bigger changes, but who knows?  Though, I imagine I'll find myself with a great many hours of free time soon, and I hope I can use that constructively.  I hope to use it to transform my life into what I want it to be, as soon as I decide what, exactly, that is.

I deleted most of the apps from my phone a few days ago, and found that, like Facebook, I don't really miss them.  I spent the day–aside from while I was at work–away from both the TV and the computer, and I think this can work.  I'm actually looking forward to rediscovering the real world.

Wish me luck!

01 September 2016

Poetry Wednesday #55

I wrote this some 10-12 years ago.  It's a song, meant to be sung in a march.  It's infinitely unfinished.  I wrote it with the idea that I'd just keep adding names and stories to it.  You'll get the picture when you read it.  I hope. ~AJ 

Army of the Damned

There's a ghost.  There's a ghoul.
I'm a fighter.  I'm a fool.
In this army of the damned.
We will march.  We will fight.
We will bleed through the night.
O! This army of the damned.
Look there's Fred, lost his head
In a battle with the dead.
Now he's joined their ranks instead
Of still breathing.
Here is Jon, he marches on,
He swears he'll never see the dawn
Pretty soon he'll be long gone
From the living.
So we march.  So we fight.
I hope I live through the night
In this army of the damned.
We have men.  We have might,
But we don't know what is right,
We're the army of the damned.

17 August 2016

Poetry Wednesday #54


I see Manannán's horses crash upon the shore
Transforming into foam
And slipping back to sea—
An abundance of colors chase them,
As the moon and the sun 
Chase each other.
Reflections of reflections
Turning into something new.

10 August 2016

Poetry Wednesday #53

I got this from here.

Call to Manannán

Wave-riding magician,
Guardian of the Blessed Isles,
Mist-cloaked guide over open waters,

Keeper of the Crane Bag,
Wielder of the Answerer,
Lawgiver among the Tuatha Dé Danann,

Hail Manannán, son of the sea,
Lord of the Strand.
Hail Manannán,
Lord of the liminal realms,

I call to you.

03 August 2016

Poetry Wednesday #52

Stormy Seas by Graham Richardson

Whispers of Manannán

The first time I saw the ocean
I was twenty-three
And already half in love with the idea
Of the vast and unreachable
Depths that it contained.
It was nothing like I expected–
It was more.
I didn't feel awe.
Not then.
What I felt that early-autumn day–
Standing on the southwestern coast
Of Alaska–
Was a deep and unrelenting
A tranquility that I had never before
Encountered in my waking life.
In my dreams the sea was
Green or blue or tumbled-grey.
The color I remember most,
Looking back,
Is purple–
The dusky-violet of the sky at night–
And I understood what the
Greeks meant when they named it
I heard you,
While I stood there,
Whispering to me.
I heard you,
Though I didn't yet know
Your name.

27 July 2016

Poetry Wednesday #51

Evelyn Simak [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Three More Lunes

The myths of freedom
And romance
Forget poverty

Dreaming the wild,
The untamed, the constant movement–
Traveling the wind.

More is in this world
Than we know
We imagine dearth.

20 July 2016

Poetry Wednesday #50

湖南张家界国家森林公园 By chensiyuan [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


At the height of summer I wish for the cool of mountains,
The deep shade of forests, and the wind that whispers through.
I want a life among the fingers of the earth,
A cottage shadowed by woodland canopy,
And the quiet cacophony of nature at dawn.
I want to breathe the oxygen-rich air with you,
And lounge in bed 'til noon's well past.
We'd eat fruit and laughter with equal avidity,
And need only each other for companionship.

13 July 2016

Poetry Wednesday #49

I found this photo on a Pinterest board.
The outfit is sold on Etsy.

Woman, 3 of many

She always wanted to travel against the status quo, and walk on paths less beaten,
But she was met with a resounding "No!" when she tried to dip her feet in.
In greater than ten thousand ways she was told she was worth zero—
For a girl is only good for lays and can never be a hero.
Her courage, once great and true and strong, could not stand against the constant pecking
And soon the disenchanted throng had her to do their becking.
By the time she'd grown she'd lost her joy, and her bravery, spirit, and brain.
All because she was not a boy, she lived her life in pain.

06 July 2016

Poetry Wednesday #48

By Jnn13 [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Independence Day, or thoughts on the 4th of July

We are the conquerors,
The conquered,
The slavers,
The enslaved,
The Privileged,
the poor.
We are the huddled masses,
and those who bar them from the door.
We range in color from the darkest browns
to palest pinks,
And our world is not colorblind.
We make up a nation that is less a melting pot,
and more a large tureen of stew
With the scraps thrown away—

The air tonight is thick with smoke,
Smelling an equal of gunpowder, barbecue, tobacco, and marijuana.
The pop! and BANG!
of celebratory bombs
Seems unending.
Someone tonight is going to lose a hand
Someone tonight is going to be shot by accident
Someone tonight is going to die
as even bullets obey the law of gravity
And being blasted into the air
by the careless and carefree
2nd Amendment loving
self-proclaimed "freedom fighters"
Or perhaps the simply drunken gun-owner
wishing to look badass in front of family and friends
Shoots his gun into the air
forgetting that the bullet must needs come down again.
It doesn't matter.
It won't come down on them,
But a block or two over,
An adjacent neighborhood,
Where they won't have to see the carnage.
Fireworks are pretty,
Barbecue is tasty,
And everyone feels a pinch of patriotic pride.
We celebrate.
And don't think of the consequences.

30 June 2016

Poetry Wednesday #47

By ESO [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I dream the crescent moon

I dream the crescent moon—
Pouring out darkness into the sky
Wild-me running, night-hounded,
Chased and chasing madness.
I dream the hunter hunted,
The haunter haunted.
I dream the cold hours of darkness,
With miles to go before the sun.
Colors deepen,
Crimson running blue.
I dream the crescent moon—
Pouring out darkness into the sky.

22 June 2016

Poetry Wednesday #46

Pink Sky via Wikimedia Commons

Thoughts driving home after work

Pink sun,
Awash in a orange sky that's
Blued at the edges–
Daylight lingers now,
So, so long,
In high summer.
Daylight lingers, but
Darkness drops fast
And hard
Upon the awaiting world below.
And it's upon you–
Shadows hiding in shadows–
And for a moment,
Not even the stars are out.

15 June 2016

Poetry Wednesday #45

A crow was run over by a car in front of my house.  Photo by me.

Have you heard a heart breaking?

So, Death visited my street on Monday:
A crow, perhaps distracted by a mite,
Waited a moment too long to take flight,
And met a car that refused to give way.
It's broken-hearted mate desperately cried
As the crow struggled hard against it's fate,
But, broken and battered, it was too late—
The crow succumbed to injury and died.
'Tis a common occurrence in this life
That Death, as pale and quiet as the moon,
Steals in and away with loved ones far too soon,
All those who live–at some point–know this strife,
But the mate of the crow whose life was shorn
Cried so pitifully that I too mourn.

08 June 2016

Poetry Wednesday #44

Dancing with flour, apparently.  Neat image though.  Creative Commons through Pixabay.


I want to feel the fluidity of motion in my limbs,
The scrape of muscle against bone,
The pull and stretch of my joints
As my body shifts and flows.

I want to feel the arch of my spine,
The balance of my torso,
The elongation of my arms and legs,
Through my fingers and my toes.

I want to move, to dance, to move.
I want to spin and leap and laugh.
I want to bend and twirl and wobble
And fall.

There's not much worse than not moving at all.

01 June 2016

Poetry Wednesday #43

I apologize for missing last weeks poem.  It was drama-drama over here, and I was totally freaked out by the possibility of having to put down one of my cats.  Thankfully, Alice Strange (my youngest and least cat-like cat) is still with us.  But it was touch and go there for a while. ~Amber

http://www.ForestWander.com [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


The sky is filled with the souls of stars
Who burned themselves out reaching this world of ours.
When we look up to the night sky
We see but phantoms of an age gone by.
They light the road to the world of dreams
Where everything is and is not as it seems.
These specters dance all through the night
Then fade away at dawn's first light. 

30 May 2016

Memorial Day 2016

US Casualties (Iraq War 2006), Dover Air Force Base Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.


Hail to thee, Warrior Dead!
Whose numbers are lost to time and propaganda.
Hail to those who fought for an ideal,
For a country,
            For a people,
                      For a price,
For survival.
Hail to those who had no other choice
But to fight—
Only to fall,
Only to die.
Hail to those who were removed from this world
By force of arms,
Who were at their peak
Of strength,
And health,
And potential.
Hail to the soldiers,
Hail to the sailors.
Hail to the airmen.
Hail to the marines.
Hail, you who died as heroes to your country.
Hail to the conquerers,
              And the conquered,
The remembered and forgotten, both.
Hail to those we memorialize
In story and song.
Hail to those we mythologize
In legend and campfire tales.
Hail to those who came before,
And those who will fall after—
In the centuries to come.
Perhaps, one day,
We'll have no need of war,
Or warriors,
Or the wanton destruction and death
That inevitably comes with the
Battles between nations,
But that dream is too far off to tell.
Until then,
Hail to thee, Warrior Dead!
You who sacrifice all
In the hopes that others would not have to.

18 May 2016

Poetry Wednesday #42

Foxglove. Photo by me.

By Any Other Name

Digitalis Purpurea
Faery Caps
Faery Thimbles
Dead Men's Bells
Bloody Fingers
Lion's Mouth
Virgin's Glove
Goblin's Glove
Faery's Glove
Folk's Glove
King Elwand
Floppy Dock
Gloves of Our Lady

Such a pretty poison.

11 May 2016

Poetry Wednesday #41

Testered bed with alcove, Ming Dynasty, 15th-16thC, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
by Daderot [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


I need a soft bed and a hard pillow
To sink into nothingness
And keep from drowning in dreams.
Conventional wisdom says
A hard bed is healthier,
And most pillows are made
Too soft—flattening themselves
Under the weight of my thoughts.
No, the conventional is wrong for me.
The conventional pours me
Head first into the rapids,
Anchored only by my feet upon
A steep and slippery bank.
Too soon I'm swept away.
I lose myself,
And breath is hard to come by
As I tumble,
As I fall.
Swift and terrible is the river of dreams.
Terrible and wonderful and full of awe.
I dream with joy and fear.
I dream with wonderment.
I dream with apprehension.
I dream with no guarantee of waking
And no sense of safety.
I need a soft bed
To envelope my waking self,
My worldly body,
And keep some shaky semblance of sanctuary.
The pillow, of course, is my flotation device.

07 May 2016

I've Been Dreaming Paradise

Full Moon over Diamond Head by Daniel Ramirez
I recently applied for a few jobs in Hawaii.  I don't really expect anything to come of it.  Why would I when I can't find a job at home?  But I needed to allow myself to dream for a bit.  I think I could do it, you know?  Make the move—as long as I had a job to get to.

I understand the pitfalls and disadvantages.  I know that it's much more expensive to live in Hawaii than it is here—of course, it's much more expensive to live almost anywhere than it is in Kansas—but I know how to live cheap.  And I know the feeling of being cut off from the lower 48 from my time in Alaska.  I figure Hawaii will feel the same in regards to the mainland.  I also remember how much I missed my friends and family when I was in Alaska, and think it is/was probably a good gage of how I'd feel if I were to move away anywhere, including Hawaii.

However, I now have, or rather, I now lack something I didn't when I moved to Alaska, and that's ties.  Depressing as it is, I have to admit that I don't have many close ties here.  Family, most of whom I don't see, and a few friends (a very few), most of whom I also don't see.  I have no lover.  I'm not in school anymore.  My job was always meant to be temporary, plus it's very part time.  I have really nothing to hold me here.  And a good reason to go: here I am a burden to my family.  Away, they would worry, but they wouldn't have to support me, financially speaking.  And I know they're tired of me.  They're tired of having to deal with my freak outs and panic attacks—which become more and more frequent the longer it takes me to find a job.  I don't blame them, I'm tired of me too.  Still, I'm very lonely here, and I figure that if I've got to be lonely it might as well be in paradise.  Which may be a bad way of looking at things, hence my quest to find a doctor and antidepressants.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a several thousand mile move and that worries me a little.  I question whether I'm running towards something or away from something.  The answer, when I really think on it honestly, is a bit of both.  I think it would be nice to live somewhere with no memory of me.  That way I have a relatively clean slate to reimagine my life.  With a job and some breathing room and a beautiful new place to explore, I may be able to begin to heal.

Don't get me wrong, my glasses aren't rose-tinted, I know that moving won't change who I am inside. But maybe it'll allow me (or force me) to grow and ultimately blossom.  I'm not looking for a quick fix, I'm just looking for a chance, and a place to breathe, a place to be.  I'm so tired of being stuck in one place.  I'm tired of being an adult who lives at her parents house like a child.  I feel trapped.  Mired in muck.  And nothing changes.  I've been searching for work for more than four years.  I've been back at my parents for twelve.  Nothing changes.  I can't breathe.  I can barely think.  I feel so trapped.

I've come to terms with a lot of things in the last couple of years.  Well, mostly come to terms.  I can accept that I will never fall in love.  I can accept that I will never have children.  I can accept that I will never own my own home, that I'll have to be a perpetual renter.  That's fine.  Disappointing, but fine.  I can live my life without those things.  But I refuse to accept that I will never do anything with my life.  I refuse to accept that I will never be able to support myself.  I refuse to accept that I'm stuck here—I'm just stuck here now.  But that has to change.  It has to.

I have to do something.  I don't know what that is.  I keep applying for jobs and applying for jobs and applying for jobs, and nothing.  Not even an interview.  I don't know what else I can do.  I barely apply for library jobs anymore.  Mostly office work.  I don't know, I don't keep an accurate accounting of how many jobs I've applied for or what or where I've applied.  Not anymore.  My poor heart couldn't take it any longer.  It broke every time I added another to the database I created.  I know a year and a half ago, before I destroyed the database in a fit of hopelessness and rage, it had nearly 850 entries.  I'd estimate that since then I've applied to around 200 more jobs—all over the country, but mostly in this area and to the North (I don't fancy being a single woman of child bearing years with liberal sensibilities and a non-Christian/non-monotheistic religious views in the American South).  The jobs I have applied for are one that I more than qualify for, and still nothing.  But I keep it up.  I spend hours and hours writing cover letters, and rewriting my resume, and searching for jobs online.  I don't know what else I can do.

My brother (the successful one with a new daughter) doesn't understand.  I can't stand being around him anymore because he always manages to say something cutting to me about my situation.  Like he thinks I'm not trying.  And I'm trying so hard.

Look at this, I've gotten all off topic.  I didn't start this to complain about my lack of job prospects.  I wanted to talk about the hope and fear that followed my applying for jobs so far away.

Hawaii is WAY out of my comfort zone, and this was the first time I've applied for any jobs there.  And I didn't apply for library jobs like I normally do with my out of town applications.  I applied for office positions.  For companies that interested me, or paid well enough to live on my own.  I did so on a whim, which makes me sound flaky, but is true regardless.  I felt stupid applying for the jobs.  Why would someone in Hawaii hire me?  But then, I feel stupid applying for any jobs anymore.  And why wouldn't someone in Hawaii hire me?  I believe, disregarding my lived experience over the last four/five years, that I'm am eminently hirable.  I'm organized, hard working, smart, and generally friendly and respectful.  Anything I don't know or don't know how to do I can learn–and quickly!  I show up, and I stick around (sometimes much longer than I should for my own peace of mind).

The thing is, after applying for these jobs I got to thinking about what it would be like to live in Hawaii, and I found that I rather liked the idea.  I like the idea of being able to go to the beach after work, or hike the mountains on the weekends.  I like the idea of learning about Hawaiian culture.  I like the idea of being on an island.  I like the idea of being a racial minority.*  I like the idea of me being in Hawaii.  I don't know if it would work, but I find that I really want to find out.  So maybe I'll focus my attempts there now.  Maybe I'll find some way to make it work.  I don't know, we'll have to see.

One last thing and then I'll go: One of the jobs for which I applied was as an Executive Assistant for Keiki O Ka 'Aina.  I don't think I'll get it because I think they want someone more familiar with Hawaiian culture than a white girl from the Kansas suburbs—though I will say that I think I'd be brilliant at it—but it seems like a terrific organization.  (Which, not coincidentally, is why I applied.)  Anyway, I like them for a number of reasons: 1) they got back to me almost immediately after I sent my resume with a request for more information, so their HR is really on the ball, making it seem, at least, like communication is not just a buzzword they use to sound professional; and, 2) they're a non-profit that provides education and assistance to Hawaiian youth.  They do cultural programs, Parents-as-Teachers education, literacy advocation, and so on.  You know how much I love anywhere that advocates literacy, and I think it's important to for native populations (or really any population) to hang on to their cultural identity, language, and religions.  I think it'd be really cool to work for them, even though I'm not qualified to be on the more fun side of things.  I rather doubt, though, that I'll even be given an interview, but even if I never hear from them again, I'd recommend anyone reading this to head over and check out their site.  Maybe make a donation.  It's a worthy cause.

Hawaii Culture Show by Tommy Wong

*For those of you who don't know, the first half of my life I lived and went to school in the inner city. I–a white girl–was, for all intents and purposes, a minority in my school and neighborhood.  I grew up surrounded by brown and black faces, until halfway through high school when my family moved to the suburbs.  I don't think I'd ever seen so many white people in one place before.  All my neighbors were white.  Most (about 90%) of my classmates were white.  I knew, but it never really hit me, that whites were a majority in this country, and the realization was . . . weird.  I've never really felt comfortable since.  It's not the discomfort with minorities that a surprising amount of white people have, it's more of a feeling as though I'm out of place in society.  Or maybe it's the witnessing of white discomfort (fear, anger, guilt) with minorities and wondering why people can't just be treated as people.  That's probably something I should explore here sometime.  And that's not to say that I don't have racial bias, I do, everyone does, it's just that maybe I'm more comfortable taking people as they come.  I don't know.  This is definitely going to be another post.