I’ve been selling myself a lot over the course of the last few weeks.  I’ve been applying for a lot of jobs, had a handful of interviews and a lot of phone conversations with potential employers where I have detailed my background, my education, my experience and what I believe is my skill-set.

I’ve also been selling myself to myself, which has been, as it always seems to be, the most challenging sell of all.  Selling myself to me is a complex process and involves the back and forth between what feels like a panel of potential employers and a very involved board of directors.

It’s not easy-the believing in your self bit.

I’ve been trying to put some distance between me and the incessant chatter in my head.  The chatter that doubts and second guesses.  The chatter that doles out really crappy advice based on the imaginings of neurosis and over-analysis.   I’ve come to realize that the level of awareness required in order to separate from the chatter is a constant one, and when I am tired or feeling run-down I find it difficult to maintain that level.  Sometimes it seems almost easier to sink into the chatter and be consumed by it.

When I felt ready enough to begin looking for work once more, my primary goal was to find work-just about anything would have sufficed.  I romanticized serving coffee to people, or pushing papers form one pile to another.  At one point I even figured something manual and physical would be a welcome change from social advocacy and teaching.

My job searches then were fairly easy and didn’t really come with many limitations.  I applied to a few house-cleaning positions, and even a dish-washer job.  The pay was not something I was too concerned about.  At this stage I was really just looking for a means to gradually shift back into work.  I wanted something relatively low stress; something where I could punch in and punch out, without my dreams and waking thoughts being consumed by the people I might work with.  I wanted to be respected and valued, but that was about it.

I didn’t think this was asking too much.

Over the last 4 weeks, I have self-promoted for cleaning jobs.  I have advocated for myself for day care positions.  I have on a few occasions accepted on-call, minimum wage positions where my work was scrutinized and where my time and effort was not valued.  These were instances where I did not feel valued or respected.

Through a few conversations with good friends, my perspective shifted in terms of the radius of my job search and what I thought I was looking for.   In searching for simple minimum wage jobs, I was essentially limiting myself to a field where employees are not necessarily respected.  I was looking within a bubble where the paycheque itself perhaps, best reflected the worth of the employee.  A part of me very quickly realized that I wanted better.  A part of me too,  has realized that I need to start taking people at face value.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou

Life is challenging.  This isn’t news, and I’m not really sure where I wanted to go with this post, as it has been a bit all over the place.

I came back from Mexico a little over a month ago which such conviction and certainty that I was going to apply certain beliefs to my life; certain ways of being.

That conviction quickly evaporated, and was replaced with a terrific amount of uncertainty, self-doubt and crippling fear.

I don’t really know where it came from, or what triggered it.  This time of year-these last 2 months of winter are historically difficult for me as so many not so great things have occurred during them over the course of the last 4 years.  While I haven’t consciously recognized these months as an anniversary of sorts, I think it has played out that way in my head.

I’m overly sentimental on the best of days, and again, I’ve made it no secret about how challenging I find the act of letting go.

It comes in waves.  In some moments it seems effortless, and in other moments the figurative death grip I hold on certain things takes my breath away.

Despite knowing on a logical level that growth and healing is not a linear process, the perfectionist in me still expects it to be, and is shocked when I hit a dip or a slump.   A part of me still anticipates turning The Corner one day and suddenly being healed and whole.

A part of me knows it doesn’t work like this though.

These are the things I am trying to figure out; the things I am mulling over.

My worth.

The healing process and reconciling that it is not linear or perfect or a process that will one day be complete.

Some days I feel just as lost and tired as I did last March when everything turned on its head.  Other days I feel confident and sure of who I am, and what I want.

Learning is hard.  Growth is hard.  Healing is hard.

A part of me believes that it is worth the struggle.

With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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