Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Identity Crisis

Since becoming unemployed last month, I've felt lost.  My job didn't define me, but having the rug suddenly yanked out from under my feet put in me the position of trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  The problem is, I don't know.

I know that I enjoy working in an office environment.  I also know that I enjoy cleaning.  (Other people's stuff/homes. Not my own.  Mostly because I have to watch as all my hard work is overlooked and destroyed by the people I love most in the world. It's a special kind of torture.  They call it "motherhood".)  I like interacting with people and tend to get along with all sorts of varying personality types, but I recall many instances while cashiering and carhopping when people were absolutely wretched to me for no good reason.  That was terrible.  I don't want to deal with that again.  I like working in a fast-paced job b/c I tend to work quickly and it makes the day go by.  At the same time, I couldn't survive working somewhere that was overwhelmingly busy all the time. It would kill my spirit.

For a month I've been inside my head, wondering what I want to do.  I know I want my forever job.  It's called a "career", or so I've been told, and apparently people my age have them.  I'm not dumb, I'm mostly qualified for any kind of admin work, and I've even got 3 pair of respectable slacks, 3 shirts, and 2 pair of shoes that some would call "business attire".   Then the idea of trying not to look like a fraud when I dress like a professional makes me so anxious, I get sick to my stomach.  I worry that I'll wear the wrong style of shirt with the wrong color slacks, or that I'll visibly sweat through my cotton/rayon blend open-front sweater.  And don't even get me started on the fact that I *literally* don't own one single bit of makeup.  Not so much as a tube of mascara or bottle of foundation.  Can a receptionist not wear makeup? All the ones I see have good hair and perfect eyeliner.

I considered becoming an independent contractor and doing housekeeping for a living.  Working for a cleaning service means low pay.  Working independently means I make my own schedule, keep all the money I earn (minus what I pay in taxes, healthcare, and supplies), and only answer to my clients.  The idea is incredibly appealing until I allow reality to sink in.  To be an independent contractor, I need clients.  To get clients, I need to have references.  I have none.  Since becoming unemployed, I've cleaned one house, and that was my father-in-law's.  None of my family or friends have a use for my cleaning skills.  I don't know how to network and get my name out there.  So my hair-brained idea of being my own boss is over before it starts.

I made some birthday posters using photoshop and thought about selling those.  I tried to sell a few things around the house online.  I had this crazy idea that I'd finally get to finish painting the cabinets in Presley's room and get it organized.  I have since discovered that it is impossible to get much done with a toddler around.  Painting is 100% out of the question.  I can barely get the regular daily stuff done.  Then there are the billion and one errands I'm sent on each day because I don't have a job.  And job hunting.  I haven't slept in one single day since I lost my job, and yet I still can't get anything accomplished.  We have friends coming in from out of state this weekend and I haven't even made a dent in what I need to do to make room for them to stay here.  I feel like I'm just running in circles and never actually doing anything.

And then there's the depression.  Something I've attempted to ignore, but find myself sinking steadily deeper in the hole.  I feel isolated.  I feel like no one understands how hard this is for me and if they know, they don't care.  I feel like I want to run away.  Losing my income placed us in a financial strain, too, so that only compounds the stress.  The emotional toll is significant.  I need to feel useful, at the same time I need a freaking break from it all.  The constant job searching, the demands of being a stay-at-home mom, the errands, the house, netflix, facebook, pinterest, my thoughts...I need to put it all on pause and get away.  But even if I could, where would I go?  With no money, I can't afford a vacation.  If I'm not home, even less will get done and I'll just come back to the same mess (tangible and emotional) that I hid from in the first place.  Also, if I say anything about needing to get away, it's met with frustration instead of compassion.  No one understands.  I don't know who I am or what I want to do.  I can't get anything done to feel the satisfaction of finishing a long-overdue project.  I want to do something creative.  I want to take pictures and play with them in photoshop, and cross stitch, and scrapbook.  I want to garden. I want to plant flowers and pull weeds.  But there is no opportunity for me to do any of it.  The world is moving, days are passing, and I'm completely lost in it all.

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