introspective periscope : 17 years of peeking inside

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a diamond at the bottom of the drain

day 347, via satellite - 20 october 2017

"i stopped caring what you think about me / i gave up / we’re told we are capable of anything / but you don’t seem to think that you are / capable of anything"~ben folds

on monday, after pretty precisely 349 days of unemployment, i'll [finally] start a new job.

the process of getting to this point has been wholly different than any time i've conducted a 'job search'. the last time wasn't even a search so much as a matter of applying for a job i wanted and getting hired. done. as simple as that. when i was just setting out, i figured i was on a career path and really bought into that bullshit line they feed you: "it's harder to get hired by us than itis to get into Harvard,don't you know?! you are all special unique brilliant commodities now!"

seven years later, i discovered that the thingwhere they make sure you feel that super special warm fuzzy feeling (and if you don't feel it then you know, maaaaaaaaybe you're not really a good fit?) was just a pretty skin ona rather creepy shadow-monster with a rotten dirty underbelly. it really had just been a game all along...and so, onthe advent of a second layoff from the cell phone company, i signed the paperwork to opt right the hell out of all of it. thank you for the severence and the unemployment i am gone you don't have to tell me twice but also making this choice while weighing my personal mental health and the relief
of having a reasonto move on against the fact that i'm 7 years older and i have a little family to support. it certainly hasn't been so simple as find/apply/gethired this time around. that took more time to wrap my head around, i suppose.

perhaps it was that my unemployment began on november 6th 2016, just as the country was about to cast their ballots for (and also very much against) this administration. my family and friends all wanted to know what i was going to do next. 'i'm going to spend time with buster. i want to just be his mom for a little while. a few months, tops.' and so that's just what i did. the time with my little dude was amazing but but man, i was also swallowing up this poisonous administration in toxic doses from any place i could score it--twitter, the news networks, newspaper articles. each ding of my phone heralding an alert of the next bad thing. it makes you jump out of your skin,that feeling of powerlessness. everything stopped for spicey's daily press conferences so much so that my newly 2-year-old boy started reminding me
it was Spicey Time! a constant diet of bitter miasma hardlined right to my nervous system. it was paralyzing. i swear i could barely breathe for months from dread last winter. 345 days we've ridden out from that election night and that knot in my stomach hasn't really unraveled and i admit i still consume way too much political media. i used to joke that politics was always a hobby of mine (debates are my playoffs! election night is superbowl! sports!) but now i'm trying to sort out how to balance self-care and staying keenly aware. to those of you juggling this with full-time life responsibilities and jobs, i don'tknow how you're doing it.i guess i'm about to find out.

if it wasn't the administration blues that brought me down, then probably it was a lot of coming to terms with how angry and cynical those last years at the cell phone store made me. i know it was the area,the affluence, and the s ystematic sexism in the industry. the sales team where i worked was predominantly made up of men. i don't wish to entertain those things that made me so angry or revisit my compliant complacency of the status quo at the time. the bills were getting paid. we had healthcare. who was i to complain about my collegue calling me 'baby'? utter stagnancy was stifling the life out of me and i was letting it happen. it tooksome time to detox from that and i'm thankful that i had the opportunity to really do it instead of just jumping to the next thing and struggling to stay with a company that didn't seem to value women very much.

and ifit wasn'tthe shitty administration or the shitty last job then i bet you could really point to that little boy of mine. what a gift to have been given this time with him. i only meant for it to be a few months but it became harder and harder to want to leave him after getting to be his mom all day every day. we had so many amazing adventures together for which i'm grateful. a trip down the coast to the beach in florida, zoo adventures, meeting up with friends at the playground or to swim, museums, and allthose amazing walks in the woods. he will be 3 soon and can identify deer and dog tracks in the mud. he knows what sounds woodpeckers and crickets and squirrels make. i am thankful for the time to have been able to potty train him myself and to fully appreciate how much our lives have changed just because of that. we have made our way through piles of books. we have donned our aprons and cooked meals together. we have listened to music together. i wasn't very good at mom-ing when this all started because i wasn't used to being withhim 24/7, i admit. it took a little time for me to settle in to being full time hands on momma bird and i'm still figuring out how to be better at it but there isn't so much yelling. i don't know how you stay at home moms do it. or maybe you start from the same place and just figure it out like we did. i have never felt naturally good at this but i've definitely gotten a few things right. mostly, we laugh and talk. it is going to be hard to only get to see him for a little bit of most of my days again. i am bent on making the most of every minute we have together.

and it if it wasn't those things, then it was a weird breakup. it was moving for the 4th time in 2 years. life happened like crazy in these last 347 days and the plans just fell apart. i'm thankful to have had the time to deal with all of it the way in which it needed to be dealt.

so yeah. they want you to explain the gapbut please do it without mentioning any of these things because personal things get so messy don't they? but robot heart truth: ithink i pulled it off okay. what i'm saying is i own the time between my last job and my next job and i will tell you that i waited too long to really dig in but when i dug in, it just took a little time. have you ever tried to write a resume with a 2 year old in the same room? i dare you to try. it wasn't all fun and games but there were days that certainly were nothing but fun and games but then the plans get upset and the money was dwindling and jesus, it's time to get a job jones. how are you such a rotten procrastinator? eh, i just am. get off my back.

i have never applied for a job that i didn't get before. it was a strange feeling to interview for that first position--just a little bit of stretch but it was both a position for which i was extremely qualified. when it was said and done, i was second choice for that job and a few similar positions with the same company. but i was killing it at networking and kept asking for feedback. 'you were our second choice for both positions there is no negative feedback we loved your energy but we had to go with the internal candidate' is hard to hear but it only emboldened me to keep going in spite of the fact that the old college acquaintance couch-surfer i was letting sleep inmy living room temporarily(and who ultimately ditched me on his part of the rent and disappeared, a real cool guy) kept telling me that i was aiming too high and should just go pick up a stockgirl position at aldi because hey, maybe it's more of a job you're qualified to do. he had no knowledge of my background, qualificiations, or my end goal. all he could hear was that i needed to make some money and maybe, if i couldn't land the jobs i was going for, i wasn't quite as qualified as i thought. he was so wrong. here's the thing, asshole: i've had that same negative self-talk in my head for most of my life and if i've learned anything in the few years since my son was born, i've learned that i need to strive to be my best self to not only provide for my little family-of-two but to set an example for my son. we don't sell ourselves short in our house. we are honest about what we can achieve and we keep reaching. i've stopped letting imposter syndrome drown me. i can't do that anymore. i'm smart. i'm strong. i can only get what i want if i am brave enough to articulate what that is and go. for. it. somehow,that must have come through in that first interview. i made a connection with the regional manager and i nurtured that connection. rather than apply for jobs, i was being asked to apply and interview for positions. i was on a first name basis with the company's recruiter. while couch surfer got a job at a speedway as the food manager and boasted about how lucky he was to get 70 hours a week for a salary less than 30k, i signed up for food stamps and cash assistance and swallowed his insults because i know better than to argue with men who don't have a fucking clue. now, a couple months later, i am going to work for the same woman who interviewed me in the very beginning. it took some time, a well of patience, and some earnest resilience. i went to a bunch of other interviews. i even accepted a different job for the same company which was another tangled complication. but i'm here. i'm where i set out to be in the first place. i can't even tell you how many new pairs of pantyhose i've had to buy for these interviews and second interviews and man, it's hard to keep your energy and positivity up when you've answered the same question so many times. it starts to feel rehearsed and plastic.

these have been hard months but i've still managedto pull it off with the support and love and help of everyone i know and love. whether it was a woman handing me an extra ticket to a marching band festival while i stood in line to buy a ticket or a bag of fall toddler clothes from the lady at daycare or my brother and his wife letting me clean their house to make some money or my mom just making dinner...we've gotten through it. i have learned so much about the welfare system from people who have been raised init that i've gottento know through various programs. it is virtually impossible for a single mom to make this system work and getting a straight answer to a question takes a good bit of research and diligence but that's kind of the point. you can drag anything out with appeals and closures and reopening. rather than allowing you to be focused on your end goal (for me, finding a good job) you have to focus on getting the system to just move. thereis a jam in the cogs at every turn and you just come to expect it. you learn to make copies of everything. to document every call. to keep the voicemails from caseworkers who make shit up to cover mistakes. this system requires modernization to acknowledge that we live in a time when a woman can potentially swipe right on a picture, meet a person and maybe not even know their real name, and find 6 weeks later that they have no way to contact a guy who ghosted to tell them there's a baby on the way. now come on, we know that's not how my story went but if a woman chooses to raise that baby anyway, if she ever finds herself in need of help getting on her feet, she isn't going to find it in the welfare system. it's still the scarlet letter. they don't want you to have an abortion but even when you're doing the best you can not to be a burden, they penalize you. i've been pretty deep in it...but now i've got my job for the man all lined up but just the same, my eyes are on the civil service test...if only our federal and state governments would get it together.

347 days of love, happiness, being a human creature with virtual freedom, a good helping of depression, and finally figuring out how to get moving again. i am so full of gratitude for the privilege of being able to have even taken this time to be a mom at such a critically enjoyable time in my son's life, for the programs that are supporting me through figuring out what comes next when i felt lost, and for the friends and family who always manage hold me up. i've been through some of the hardest months of my life but i managed tokeep things pretty stable for that sweet joyful little boy. everything has slowly fallen into place with precision. there is a rhythm. there is motion. there is relief. there is unexpected joy. i am thankful.

xo,
jones



ps:oh, hey, wasn't that fun? the space bar on the keyboard of this satellite location is faulty and who am i to correctit? i've been using this computer for weeks and i know the space bar is bunk but it's doingthe best it can at what canonly be it's end stage of life...much respect.

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.what came before. - .what happened next.

a diamond at the bottom of the drain - 20 october 2017
baseball season to football season, abbreviated - 25 september 2017
the doodles - 11 july 2017
at arm's length - 4 july 2017
like a sea-mammal needs a bicycle - 30 may 2017

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