Standing in My Truth

“Do you have a legitimate job yet? Maybe you should get a job at the Container Store…”

The words were flung at me without malice or ill intent, but they stung all the same – like sprinkling a generous heaping of salt on an already festering wound. They were thrown into a conversation with a family member known for spouting off hurtful words without truly realizing the effect they might have. I know this. But it knocked me off my feet all the same.

The truth is, when you work alone without someone checking in to see your progress or handing you outlined tasks to complete, its easy for people to question your work ethic. And it’s common for people to say, “So what do you do everyday??”

Layer this on top of the idea that tackling creative endeavors isn’t worthy of a paycheck and can never be funneled into a real career, and under the intense scrutiny of certain people, I’ve achieved nothing more in my day than the beggar on the street corner.

That’s a little hard to swallow. 

It’s interesting how many people allude to the idea that I’m following some pipe dream that can’t possibly result in anything substantial. They’re waiting with bated breath for the day when I’ll take any job that offers benefits.

My inability to see the reward in doing what I should do makes some people uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

Yet, I know that words don’t carry any substantial significance. They only carry power if I allow them to through my own belief of they’re validity. I don’t see myself as a raging success as a writer, so anyone questioning what I’m doing with my life adds fuel to an already burning fire.

Ironically (or not so ironically if you believe in divine timing), I was asked by an employer to write a blog today summarizing a video of Bob Proctor (one of the big-wigs from the movie The Secret).

I’m not a huge fan of Bob Proctor, but given the fact that he’s a self-made multi-millionaire, I would assume he knows a thing or two about making things happen. His message was this:

We have the ability to choose what we allow into our conscious mind. Once we allow things into our conscious mind, they are funneled into our subconscious mind. What takes up residence in our subconscious mind profoundly affects the results we see in our lives – so if we allow what someone says to trickle down into our subconscious mind, we’ll begin to see it become our reality.

Clearly it’s not about getting my well-meaning relative to say less hurtful things, it’s about getting to a place where I can stand so firmly in my truth that what they say just doesn’t matter.

It won’t happen overnight – as evidenced by the fact that I still have a pit of anger burning in my stomach – but coming to this realization is a healthy start in the right direction.

What truth do you need to stand in?

 

 

Yeah, I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Inspiration is a fickle thing. I can spend the entire day staring at my computer screen completely unsatisfied with everything and then miraculously, right when I’m on the brink of sleep, ideas seem to sprout from nowhere. And of course instead of sprinting to capture these thoughts down on paper I curse the mind chatter and hope for some much-needed r&r.

In the midst of turning my world as I know it on its ear, I’m also trying to navigate my way through the world of writing. Luckily I have some paying gigs under my belt, but I’m quickly discovering that writing as a business and writing as a form of self-expression are two very separate things. Finding a way to mix the two (at least in the beginning when my name holds no clout), seems to be like finding a football loving jock that doesn’t mind shedding a tear over a chick flick. Not easy to say the least.

So right now, as I churn out blog after blog on topics of other people’s choosing, the self-expression part has been added to that list of things that I would do if I only had the time. And of course after spending hours on end in solitary confinement with only the sound of clicking keys to keep me company, the last thing I really want to do is sit down and write some more. Even if it serves an entirely different purpose.

Just like any other area of life, I need balance. Or just some more gigs that would allow me to mold my writing with inspiration and not from a list of topics and approved resources. Maybe this would create a flow of ideas that wouldn’t interrupt my already fragile sleep pattern. Yes, I know, all in good time.

On a brighter note- after complaining about an upcoming phone conference with a “boss” from one of said writing gigs, my dad informed me that they would actually be considered my client. A simple issue of semantics? Maybe. But it sounds much more liberating, doesn’t it? Yup, I have clients. In some small way it seems like I’ve hit the big time. And that feels fantastic.

Cashier or Stripper: It’s All a Matter of Perspective

I woke up in a drag yourself out of bed and curse at the world kind of mood. I’m not entirely sure where all this bad energy sprouted from considering I drifted off to sleep repeating the mantra “everything is right in the world and good things are coming my way.” Maybe my brain just went into overdrive with all the fantastic things I was creating and it blew a fuse. Just a thought.

Today I allowed myself to be sucked into that “let me turn on everything with the ferociousness of a rabid dog” mentality. I picked out a few choice situations that were nagging reminders of how my life wasn’t playing out exactly how I had intended and ran with them. The result? An hour-long reprieve from the work that I should have been doing in order to look up secluded retreats in odd corners of the world with the intention of escaping it all. Bad choice for someone who already feels a festering pool of lack in the financial department.

The thing is, what was nagging me was nothing of significance. Worry makes me do ridiculous things- like not looking at what I already have and paying attention to the plethora of signs that say everything will work out just fine. And despite all the amazingly progressive things I was taught growing up in a family that embraced spirituality with open arms, I tend to be archaic in how I label things. Yes, I am a label whore- but not in the Louis Vuitton and Coach kind of way. I am the queen of deeming things bad, horrific or even life-ending. To top it off I am brilliant at going into crying frenzies that make even me feel sorry for me.

Often times, once the storm has passed, what I was so quick to label as “bad” unravels itself into something that was probably even better than what I had hoped for in the first place. I have gotten into knock down drag out fights with friends that were only a smidgen away from turning into full-out brawls only to notice that our friendship blossomed from it. I have fretted over job hunting that made me feel as if I would end up living in a box down by the river only to realize that the perfect situation just wasn’t available at that very moment I was looking.

So in keeping with this idea that all of life’s situations are a matter of perspective I thought I’d share this email that my dad sent me. Hilarious yet appropriate..

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment:

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child’s illustration.  It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint.  I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.

Finding Balance (via a hazmat suit)

The potential of earning a paycheck and lessening the intensity of my money-induced panic attacks causes me to grossly overestimate what my mind and body can handle. So last week when I was offered a three-day stint in a hazmat suit for a little extra cash, I quickly accepted without much thought as to how it would fit in to my already busy bee of a work life. (And somehow the outfit didn’t serve as a deterrent either. God I would look good as a meth dealer.)

Being a card-carrying member of the promotional job market I often times agree to promote products or other such things I know nothing about. This time I was pushing the 3rd season of the television show Breaking Bad (involving a meth dealer thus the appropriate outfits)- one that I had never heard of before but will now most likely be hooked to like a multitude of other shows I DVR.

The cherry on top of this little adventure was that it took place outside the RV, Boat and Travel Show. Two of said days were on a Thursday and Friday- both prime days for the 60+ crowd to peruse the fantastic display of trailers and sign up for RV clubs. The problem? We were handing out free iTunes download cards to a massive group that either didn’t have computers or were blissfully unaware of what constituted a download in the first place. Oh the joy.

While the event served its purpose of paying off my debt to the IRS (yes, I blame taxes for the hazmat suit), my tendency to fill my plate with unnecessary obligations needs to stop. ASAP. My week was already filled to capacity with writing assignments and SLEEP when I said, “what’s one more thing?” Balance, I am learning, does not mean juggling twenty projects at once but only accepting the projects that I can complete without pulling out large chunks of my hair.

But where I used to BEG for new opportunities to float my way, I now feel as if I am firmly rooted in a stream of opportunity abundance. I am grateful that I have plenty of money-making jobs to choose from- now I just need to learn to say no. Or at least learn to only take the jobs with the attractive outfits.

Sloppy Hugs and Make-Believe

When I was earning a paycheck by watching after other people’s kids, there were plenty of times I loathed going to work. I couldn’t stand the thought of being called to the bathroom to wipe another little behind, to reread Curious George for the 28th time that day, to explain why we couldn’t watch another hour of TV (although if I didn’t fear that I was being nanny cammed I might have given in to that one). There were those times when I seemed to relive the same five minutes 20 times over because entertaining a child miraculously made time slow down to an excruciating speed. I remember hating pool time, dreading bed time, and thinking of ways to get out of make-believe time.

But yesterday, during a spontaneous trip to the Natural History Museum, I found myself stopping to smile at a group of kids holding hands, eyes glued to a replica of Mars. And I suddenly remembered how much I miss these jobs. I miss all the little ones that I watched grow from diapers and trains to big kid beds and homework. I miss the times when I had to sit down and explain multiplication in a way that a 2nd grader could understand. I miss the sloppy hugs and the faces that would light up when I walked through the door. I miss the kids whose lives I had hoped to touch but who really touched mine instead.

I thought, as we often do, that this was a part of my life that was better left in the past. I thought that with a degree and a dream there was no time to slow down for something that wouldn’t put me on the direct route to where I want to go. But with writing jobs banging on my door and a future that is brighter than I could imagine, there are times that playing a game of make-believe with a kid that still talks about Santa Claus sounds absolutely perfect.

To all of the families who brought me into their homes and trusted me with their most precious possession- thank you. Without your kids, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Side Note:

*ATTENTION: to my fantastic blogging friends and fabulous readers*

I entered into a writing contest on Trazzler. Because I would fancy nothing more than the awesome trip to San Francisco that they are offering I need all the votes I can get. Find me here: http://www.trazzler.com/users/kayla33, sign up, and click save under each one of my trips. Thanks in advance for the support and I’ll be sure to mention you all in my acceptance speech (not that I get one, but you catch my drift).


What My Stomach Tells Me (and other intuition tales)

I turned down a second interview today.  Not only because the job didn’t fit for the direction that I am attempting to funnel my life into but because I am a sucker for following signs.  As I frantically searched craigslist the other day (I still haven’t been able to get rid of that nervous tick that makes me do this every five minutes, even though I am now convinced that everything on the site is a scam), begging for some guidance on which direction to take my potential “career” in, I received two unexpected responses to emails that had been sent out weeks prior and promptly forgotten about.  These told me that there were opportunities and avenues out there that I didn’t even really know existed, and taking something simply because I am sick of searching wouldn’t really sit well with my psyche.  And god damn it, I just can’t be tied to this state because someone offers me a salary and benefits.  (This is what I have to keep repeating to myself…bear with me here). 

Paying attention to that queasy feeling I get in my stomach when I know that something just isn’t right hasn’t always been my way of operating.  Last year I accepted a job nannying for a family I had worked for a few summers before.  I promptly stuffed the memories of dealing with their insolent brats to the back of my mind and smiled through gritted teeth as I said I would love to take the job.  I was so desperate by that time that I didn’t even think twice when the mother told me that they would be firing their current pregnant nanny in order to give me the job.  It was ok she said, the girl was overweight and rarely wanted to play with the kids.  Instead of paying attention to the flaming red flag that was flailing in front of my face I told her that I would love nothing more then to take her little tykes on ten mile bike rides and play strenuous bouts of tag at the park.

A few weeks into the gig (this was about the time when the extreme acid reflux that set in upon entering their house began to feel like second nature) I was in the middle of completing their meal prep when the universe attempted to show me just how absurd this job really was.  After huffing and puffing through slicing and dicing vegetables I couldn’t pronounce and dousing them in fish sauce I tried to turn on the food processor-to no avail.  Thinking that my employer might just tell me to move on to another task (like scrubbing their dirty laundry or the like) I was flabbergasted when instead she told me to pull out the mortar and pestle she had in the pantry and muscle through it.  Let me just say that grinding cloves of garlic by hand is nearly impossible for someone that has literally no muscle mass. 

This situation, I realized after some much needed reflection, was simply the icing on the cake.  I had put up with unnecessary power struggles with an eight year old that could insult me better then most adults I knew, and the insane antics of a five year old that I swore had to be crack related.  And of course I had nodded understandingly when the mother had told me that they couldn’t afford to pay me more then they had a few summers before (when I had little experience under my belt) because of the poor economy.  Come to find out they were both lawyers and her husband had made partner.  Funny, I didn’t think lawyers were really struggling, but I digress…

This, I would say, was about the time when I began to appreciate my body’s ability to instigate illness when I wasn’t in the right situation, right job, or simply the right state of mind.  And everyday I am learning to be better at tuning into my intuition- even when, irritatingly enough, it starts to sound like something my parents would say.

The Things I’ll Do For a Buck

I had a job interview yesterday.  The morning began with me ransacking my closet for that perfect “hire me on the spot” outfit and ended with my mother telling me that leggings and a sweater that barely covered my ass was probably not appropriate.  To this I told her that I wouldn’t want to work for a company that didn’t allow me to wear said outfit and that I would hold out for another job if they were going to be so strict about my fashion sense.  Although I did change the outfit (that damn perfectionist in me isn’t so good with making a statement), I silently vowed to myself that I would not let the promise of a steady paycheck compromise my idea of what is or is not good for me.

In leaving the company’s fantastically hip office yesterday after a speedy interview (not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing…) I began to think about all of the jobs that I had pushed for in the past and all of the interviews that I would undoubtedly sweat through in the future. 

After high school and a dramatic decision to not join the ranks of alcohol induced hipsters at the University of Colorado Boulder, I found a job as a para-educator for special needs kids at an elementary school.  Sitting at the principal’s desk as he perused my resume that seemed to just shout “INEXPERIENCED!!” felt odd considering that a few months earlier I was merely a student myself.  I was as shocked as perhaps some of my future colleagues were when he called me a few days later to tell me that I had been hired.  Ecstatic and horrifically nervous at the same time, I attempted to help some of the best kids I had ever met navigate their way through a world that just wasn’t conducive to their abilities.  I loved it- and broke down when I left.

When I finally bucked up and went along with society’s plan of getting a college education BEFORE entering the “serious” workforce I thought that I might try my hand at being a restaurant hostess on the side.  I guess I had forgotten that the one other time I had attempted this seemingly easy feat I had walked out sobbing the first day.  This time I was hired at Chili’s- where I thought I might make some bosom buddies and have a little fun (think Waiting without all the perversion).  I promptly realized that I just don’t like waiting on people.  Period.  One day a woman came in in a wheel chair.  In my attempt to be logistically intelligent I attempted to seat her at a table where a regular chair could just be replaced with her wheelchair.  She then proceeded to yell at me (in front of other customers mind you) that I should have sat her at one of the raised booths.  I smiled broadly and tried with all of my might to bite my tongue.  I quit against the chiding of an acquaintance that got me the job in the first place.  “Don’t burn any bridges,” she said to me.  This, I had thought, was a bridge I would set on fire myself.

The next four years I spent as a nanny, caring for a wide variety of ages and figuring out all of the reasons why I wouldn’t want kids anytime soon.  This venture, however, created a hodge podge of stories too fantastically awkward and rewarding to put into one blurb.  It deserves a blog all its own.  So I’ll just call this part one of my venture into being a working girl–and an exploration of the things I will and will not do for a buck or two.