Friday, May 31, 2013

Bless Me, Father

It's public confession time here on the Katherine Gotthardt network. 

I find it amusing that I've written some posts recently that reflect my Catholic roots and that the word "confession" just sprung to mind because there's not much to "confess," really.  The word indicates a wrongdoing, and I've done nothing particularly wrong.  But "confession" also has a duel meaning in the literary context, as in, confessional poetry.  So when I confess, I am opening myself to the audience, exploring subjects that might create discomfort in some, provoke ridicule from others or elicit understanding from a few.  Being publicly candid can make you feel empowered, but it also makes you vulnerable.  Unfortunately, outright honesty can hinder your chances of being successful in a world of fabricated norms and expectations.

Here is my problem.  I blog.  I blog about everything from policy to my menstrual cycle.  I post public information on a variety of topics that interest me.  And while the press releases and announcements are fairly innocuous, the more personal posts are probably detrimental to my career, not as a writer, but as anything that requires working in an environment outside my home.  Combine this with my anxiety and basically, I'm the crazy lady who needs to be locked in the basement--which is making me crazier.

When I am engaged in a project, I am usually fine because I have discovered ways to pace myself in order to reach deadlines. But when those deadlines don't require interaction outside of my home, they end or are on hold, I find myself sitting on the couch, staring into space.  And I eat too much.  Yes, I do laundry or exercise and take care of the animals and go to appointments, but mostly, I wait for the family to come home.  I ask them about their day, and I don't get much response which is disappointing because my days are usually boring.  At my most recent visit to the shrink, I told her, "This is the highlight of my day."

Probably more pathetic than that is my feeling of inadequacy.  I question whether or not I can actually function in a larger organization.  Though I've been successful in my work, I've never been successful in a hierarchy, not only because I view the structure as inherently false but because I'm easily confused.  Bureaucracy automatically yields mixed messages and a certain amount of chaos that I try to sort through and discuss, but when I do, people who "get" the system don't seem to understand what my problem is.  When I try to explain and then tell them what I need, they think I am criticizing and incapable.  This does not bode well for my self esteem or career.

In the higher scheme of things, I really don't want a lot--just a two day a week gig that gets me out of the house for a few hours, connects me with something other than my computer and my dog.  Yes, I have a wish list for this mythical job, which I will share with the world because I don't think wanting at least three or four things on the list is so unreasonable.  It's not like I expect to get everything I want.

1.  Two days a week, just a few hours a day (prefer mornings).
2.  Something that keeps me moving (no desk job, but nothing strenuous).
3.  Something that requires my brain and makes me learn.
4.  Something that allows me to help people.
5.  Something that gives me the opportunity to talk.
6.  Something with adults.
7.  Something that pays $20 an hour or more.

I've been told that I need something in government where there is a coach or someone else to guide me, keep me on track when I get confused and anxious about the system.  Adding that to my wish list, though, could further hinder my attempt to get a job.  On the other hand, once I am in, an understanding mentor of this kind could save me my career and reputation.

Make no mistake--I am grateful for the work I do at home and grateful I've been able to have such flexibility.  I need that in order to take care of my other responsibilities.  I am grateful for the income, which our family requires.  But the isolation gets to me, the quiet, the hours of boredom that I can't seem to fill with anything that seems meaningful.  I feel like I am not achieving my true mission, that I am not making a real difference in the world, that I am not really living. 

When I worked at the jail, I had fulfillment.  The stress got to me, though, which is not surprising.  Sometimes I think if the bureaucracy had been a little more forgiving, I might still be there.  But there was so little connection between departments, it was impossible.  In a perfect world, I would have my jail job plus my writing work, but the world does not function that way.

So I continue to write, volunteer and fret.  I thank God and the universe for what I have and try to not to focus on what I don't have.  But I do not succeed as often as I should, and this is indeed a downfall of mine, something needing confessing.  So please bless me father, for I have sinned.  I should have a better attitude.  

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