JUST DO IT

this is the look on my face. . . all day, every day

You may remember that I’ve recently started a job in a field of which I know relatively nothing about, and that’s okay, I have folks (many, many folks with the patience level of Trappist monks) at the ready to help me and I rely on them every single minute of every single day.

Here’s the thing; I’m learning so much, but even so, I am vastly uncomfortable in my new role. Let me remind you that I have worked as a temp frequently within the last ten years and you would think that I would be comfortable in the not knowing, but I am not. I understand there’s a curve and no one is faulting me for my lack of knowledge, as that’s part of the process. They’ve hired me for my borderline dysfunctional  “outgoing” personality and they say that the skill set can be taught.  Well, up until they hired me they certainly thought so.

Let me use an analogy to further explain my situation. Ten years ago I married my husband, who had two young daughters from a previous marriage. I brought with me to our household an older (slightly spoiled) junkyard dog named Mr. Cooper.  Mr. Cooper was used to just living with me and although he became quite attached to my husband, the children were a different matter. It wasn’t that he didn’t care for them, he just hadn’t been exposed to that level of noise and chaos in his entire life and had no reference to base his experience on, so. . . for the first two months of our marriage, I swear to you I could see the entire WHITES of his eyes as he skidded from one drafty room in our farmhouse to another, looking for a hiding place and some silent solitude.

this is not Mr. Cooper but this is an extremely accurate portrayal of his bewilderment/concern

He desperately wanted to be part of things, but he just wasn’t sure how to go about that, and he was terrified. This is how I feel pretty much every day before I punch the time clock. I am also a fifty year old woman who has managed to stay alive thus far (even though 2015 was admittedly a little touch-and-go) and have made some solid decisions in my lifetime.

I posted earlier and used a rope bridge analogy about my feelings then and I’m a wee bit chagrined that not only have they NOT dissipated, they seemingly have taken over more of my bandwidth than I anticipated. Yet, I am coping. I am breathing. I am taking one day (or one shift, more like it) at a time. Each and every time I crawl into my raggedy Jeep at the end of the day, I have to chuckle with an all-encompassing relief that I survived . . . again. Sure, that’s a bit dramatic but feelings aren’t facts, are they? Seriously, I am legit shaky at the beginning of every work day. On the plus side of things I have not gone fetal and locked myself in a bathroom stall yet, so I’d say that’s definitely a win.

Ruth, from Ozark, sums it up eloquently

I’d say that it just all boils down to fear.  Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, and ultimately, fear of not being enough and I know alcoholics don’t have the market cornered on that specific fear. We all know this, thanks to my higher power Oprah. I feel like a fake, an imposter, an actress. I imagine that sooner or later they’re going to realize their mistake and the jig will be up and I’ll be back to wallowing in self-pity during the day while perusing terrible receptionist positions in dirty industrial offices with Trump supporters surrounding me disguised as co-workers. Fuuuuck.

My kick-ass co-workers keep telling me “you got this!” and their encouragement is everything. Every time I make a mistake someone will regale me with a tale of their own misstep that leaves us both laughing and cringing at the same time. They’ve all been here, where I am now.

I find it ironic that when I was boozing it up for decades, my approach to these matters was more, say, ‘wrecking ball’ then my approach now. Younger, drunken Jen would just have steamrolled her way in, with an unapologetic devil-may-care attitude, and never mind her actual knowledge base – she’d figure it out. Finding out how to extract some attributes of the ‘old’ me and fuse them with the better attributes of the ‘new’ me will probably take some time, and I have to allow for that. I’m not the same person, and that is not being dramatic.

“I do a weird thing when I am nervous where I tilt my head back like I am super confident. This is my attempt to fake it until I make it, or at the very least make it easier for someone to slit my throat.”
Amy Poehler, Yes Please

 

So, I will keep on keeping on. On a scale from one to Beyonce, my confidence level falls somewhere in between, and that’s okay, although one could argue that an electric boa and a glittered codpiece could be what REALLY separates me from the herd in this new role. #careergoals

What do YOU do when met with a challenge?  Rise up to meet it headfirst or cower under your covers in crippling self-doubt and anxiety? Or somewhere in between? Lemme hear it! I never could really grasp that ‘moderation’ thing, obvs. Thanks for reading, y’all.

 

Hear me roar

I admit, these days I’m playing a wee bit loose and fast with my posts while searching for gainful employment that doesn’t make me want to drink myself onto another transplant list and/or hang myself.  Blurgh. However, I must pull my cranium outta my rectum and get on the bus for the month is closing in on us and I still haven’t covered Step 4 in my monthly series.

To recap, we’ve covered honesty, hope and faith so far – step four, simply put, is courage.

COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE TRIUMPH OVER IT.

Nelson Mandela

I’ll be the first to admit that when it came to courage in MY story, I’m not sure that I possessed it, but I wasn’t really given a choice.  One could argue I was given a choice and I could’ve chosen to continue to drink myself to death in the summer of 2015, but I guess the universe had a different plan for me.  I guess I also had a different plan for me – I really didn’t want to die. I don’t know if that’s courage or survival instinct or just stubbornness, but I do know that giving up wasn’t ever an option and I’m genuinely not saying that because I want a slap on the back, I’m saying that because it’s the truth. Also, in absolute candor, I don’t think I realized just how sick I really was back then. I know – you would think that lying in a hospital bed having your abdomen drained repeatedly after having a shunt inserted INTO YOUR LIVER that you’d think perhaps a problem was afoot.  Not this dumbass. You couple a slow learner with a late bloomer and you’ve got…well, me.

Of course, courage doesn’t always have to be so grandiose and epic. Courage can just be getting out of bed some days, amirite?!?  I recently shared a fantastic life-affirming breakfast with a dear friend who I don’t see nearly enough.  We covered the usual topics, i.e;  what we’re reading, our current president quite possibly being the antichrist, and incorporating trans fats and avocados into our daily diets. As we were chatting she expressed some anxiety over a new water aerobics class she had just signed up for. We both commiserated about just how nerve-wracking it can be to try something new. Especially alone.  Now, let me just remind you that we are two grown-ass accomplished women, as if that matters. I shared with her a recent story from my own experience.

Since returning home from my GOLDEN JUBILEE (read:  50th birthday extravaganza) my yoga practice has been reinvigorated and it’s really about time. I had let it slip down the priority chain as finances are abysmal fleeting these days.  In an effort to try different types of yoga and additionally save money, I found a hip and highly regarded yoga studio in my city that offers donation-based “Karma” yoga. Perfecto!  Well, kinda.

As I drove up to the studio I noticed a gaggle of young and taut gals decked head to toe in trendy yoga wear heading into the building.  They were smiling and laughing and EVEN THEIR PONYTAILS WERE PERFECT.  Instant insecurity made my stomach plummet and my throat tighten. I started sweating and pitting out in my generic yoga-wear.  I quickly glanced at the clock HOPING that somehow I was late for the class and therefore it would be RUDE to interrupt it and I’ll just come back some other time when I’m feeling a little better. Like in fourteen years.

If you know me in real life you know that I have never been late in the entire capsulation of my existence. I’m dead serious, and if you DO know me in real life feel free to comment below with one of the times I made you damn near murderous because of it.  So, I knew before looking at the clock that tardiness was not going to be the case so I quickly began reciting the litany of other reasons I could tell myself why I wasn’t going in.  As I started to spazz out I realized my reaction for what it was;  fear – plain and simple.  I’m too old, too fat, too uncoordinated, too farty and entirely too out of style to join that yoga class.

I looked at my reflection in the rear-view mirror and I could see the miserable and familar panic in my own eyes, and just like that, I was sick and tired of being afraid. The reality of the situation hit me and in a flash of mock bravery I opened the door to my Jeep and before I knew it I was standing in front of yet another beautiful gal with cheeks the color of pink rose petals and eyelashes like the open wings of angels, asking me for my name and donation.  “Jesus Christ, what is this . . .yoga for supermodels?!”, I asked, only half-way joking.

“I know, right?”, she replied. “You should try working here, it’s enough to give anyone an inferiority complex!”  I let THAT SHIT sink in for a moment and said, “well then, I’m obviously in the right place”.  She nodded vigorously in agreement and we both laughed.

Guess what happened?  NOTHING.  Well, yes, something DID happen – I went to said 90 minute yoga class, met some other kick-ass gals, LOVED the teacher and walked out of that hip and trendy bonsai-zen-incense burning studio with my head held high and my body energized. If only I had a mic to drop, I would have dropped it. That’s how good it felt to conquer that insecure and scared voice inside of me.  I can only imagine how it might feel to live your LIFE that way, and I’d like to think that some days, I’m on that path.  I relayed this story to my sweet friend and she and I too shared a laugh at how NO ONE feels completely self-confident and cultivated and proficient and has their SHIT TOGETHER all of the time.

I received a note from her yesterday. She went to her water aerobics, despite the voices in her head that tried to convince her otherwise.  She admitted she was fearful but she plundered forward and you know the rest, don’t you?  She enjoyed the class, met some other fantastic ladies like herself and can’t wait to go back. COURAGE, guys.  It doesn’t have to be thunderous and monumental. It can be the quiet and sometimes fragile voice inside of you that is just one damn ounce braver than your fear. Courage is changing your trajectory.  Courage is being honest with yourself, and your addiction.  Courage is facing down your demons and confronting what needs to change, head on. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Courage is recognizing the patterns in your life that aren’t serving you anymore.

So, if you have a chance sometime soon, step out of your comfort zone.  I promise you won’t regret it.  You may even have fun, or learn something, or discover something new and wonderful about yourself, or the world.

But remember, there’s a very fine line between courage and stupidity.  Please don’t cross it.