Closed doors, open windows

You know, it’s funny that I don’t seem to be capable of writing here especially often these days. I guess my day-to-day life is so uneventful that the few thoughts that come to mind, the few events that make one day different from another, seem more suited to the 140 characters of twitter than to a longform writing.

I’m taking photos of the spring, and I’m exercising, and I’m working on projects for babies, and I’m job hunting madly, but none of those things seem especially bloggable. Last week I had the most exciting day in months, because a job I applied for back in January, a job that seemed tailor-made for my skills and experience, looked for a brief, shining moment like a job I could be offered. It was the first job interview I’d been on since May of 2004, and I got all in a fluster about what I should wear and how I should prepare. The interview itself went well, I thought, with four people in a tiny windowless room asking me questions about things. Afterward, Dan and I had lunch with a friend who lives in the area where I interviewed, a friend who is now 35 weeks pregnant. It was lovely to see her, but perhaps not the wisest choice, as I was a) very hormonal, and b) stressed out about the job interview. I managed to hold it together until we got home, and then I cried because that nearly baby was conceived on the second try (the first try resulted in a very early miscarriage). She’s due right around our wedding anniversary, and we know these friends because of our wedding (she and I met on indiebride and we found our wedding photographer through them). They own a house and are having their one child and both of them are in established careers.

And where are we? Jobless, living off the largesse of my mother (thank you again, Mom, for letting us live in your house), in a small town. No children, no pregnancies, no house, no careers. Not much to show for the nearly three years we’ve been married when you look at things in a conventional way. I cried when we got home, because my friend will soon have a baby and I will not, and because she was beautiful and very pregnant, and because I hadn’t had the guts to go to her baby shower, instead making excuses about gas money and wear and tear on the car. I told myself it was because I didn’t want to make that long drive for just a baby shower, but I made it without comment for a job interview, and the real reason I didn’t go was because I knew I couldn’t handle a baby shower. I sent a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Blueberry Girl (friends, if you have baby girls, this is a book I will give you) and the blanket for their daughter is about half finished, but I just couldn’t make myself pretend to be happy for someone else’s impending baby that day.

From the initial call to schedule the interview, I knew that they had more first interviews on Tuesday of this week, so I knew not to expect any word about additional interviews or job offers until late Tuesday at the earliest. I spent the weekend alternately excited about my chances, making logistical plans about how to commute, and looking at houses between the east bay and Sacramento on craigslist (I found one both awesome and affordable, in case we needed it.) I didn’t write about it here because I thought, what a story to tell if I ended up being offered the job – first interview, job offer, an excellent, well-paying position doing exciting work for a brand new program. And if I didn’t get the job, then there wouldn’t have to be any follow-up about it.

At around 8:30 PM Tuesday night I got an email thanking me for my time and letting me know I would not be considered for the position.

I felt like a complete idiot, getting myself all excited and worked up. I thought I had an excellent chance for a variety of reasons, but apparently there was someone they liked better for the position, or at least they didn’t like me enough to ask me to come back for a second interview. Poof went the pipe dreams about the house and adding to our savings account and moving closer to family and friends and all that time I would have been commuting on the train. Poof went my (admittedly quite fragile these days) self-esteem. I let myself cry a few times on Tuesday night, and I spent part of Wednesday watching Downton Abbey via netflix in the bed while Dan baked me cookies. I needed to be kind to myself, because clearly the world wasn’t doing me any favors.

Really, the biggest reason why I’m not writing here much these days is that I don’t even know who I am right now. I’m a wife, but I’m not a mom and I’m not an employee. I’m a daughter, but I don’t have a vocation or a passion. I’ve been trying like mad to come up with a name for my wee side business doing wedding flowers I’ve been trying to start up for ages, but every name I like seems to either already be taken or not convey the message I want potential clients to get. I need a name before I can put up a website, which I need to do ASAP because I’ve already got some clients (including a high-profile one) and I want to put myself out there because at least it would be a project to commit myself to and work to do, even if it’s just a little bit here and there.

Late yesterday afternoon, Dan was in the middle of taking the first batch of cookies out of the oven when the placement agency he’s been working with off and on in San Francisco called to offer him a one-day job in the city. He’s on his way home now, having worked (for pay) for seven hours, his first actual job since before Christmas. At least one of us is.

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8 responses to “Closed doors, open windows

  1. There’s not much to say except **hugs** The name will come to you. And blah blah blah better blah for the other stuff. You don’t have to be anything in particular. Sometimes it’s quite all right to just be you and not have a label, even though it may be frustrating.

  2. Name the business after your favorite ornamental? I understand the impulse to overthink these things, but maybe you don’t have to make the name super personal and awesome and earth-shattering. That’s where your designs come in. 🙂

    Then again you’re talking to the woman who wonders if she should have been publishing using her initials all along because there are two other writers with my name, one of whom writes about music and pop culture, so we are easily confused, and one who writes what look like seriously goofy picture books about kitty cats. So, yeah.

  3. Please don’t feel bad about not making it to a baby shower. If you’re not up for it, you’re not up for it, and I think it’s better to know that than not, you know?

    And I’m wishing you sincere luck in finding yourself (again). I think this downtime is a great opportunity, even if it doesn’t always look like it. Here’s hoping you find your groove.

    (Sorry the interview fell through. Sucks.)

  4. I have felt on a number of occasions what I imagine you’re feeling: a) generally thwarted by life and b) wondering how the fresh hell do people get pregnant on their first or even second tries all on their own?

    Cookies in the sheets help, but for me it was all in the husband until things turned around.

    And, you know, they *will* turnaround. Really.

  5. I hate that you’re going through such a rough time, and I know that right now you can’t imagine a time when so many things won’t be a struggle, but I’m telling you that things will get better. Borrow my certainty if you need to.

    I absolutely hate it when my life in is flux, as I know yours is right now. It paralyzing. But something will change, and then everything will change. I’m thinking of you, girl.

  6. For me, it’s always reassuring to hear there are others out there feeling like me…and I felt myself nodding along to this post. I too am not sure who I am. I have a job, yes, but it’s not a career path. And I feel like my husband and I are drifting along while others are taking action. So thank you for writing this, and I wish you lots of luck as you travel on this journey!

  7. I’m sorry you’re stuck in a bit of a funk, lady. I know how overwhelming life can feel when you just want one thing – ONE THING – to go your way to make up for all the other shit that isn’t. Things will get better, surely, and until they do please know that I am cheering you on from the sidelines. Good things will happen. You deserve them.

  8. Ugh, I am sorry about the interview and the general feeling of lack of identity in life. As someone who is venturing (slowly but surely) into the world of job search, I am not looking forward to all the rounds of rejection/frustration that are sure to come my way. So I know there are probably not any magic words that will make you feel better, but if it helps there are lots of people rooting for you and quite confident in your ability to do good things with your life. Also while you may have already found this (and I am always quite hesitant to offer advice, even in the form of links, so feel free to completely disregard) I found this Dear Sugar advice column endlessly helpful in thinking about the work it takes to make our lives the ones we desire them to be.
    http://therumpus.net/2010/07/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-44-how-you-get-unstuck/

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