“I don’t think I’ll ever get over the irony that the day I got my first ‘real’ job was also the day my grandmother passed away.”
I think, one day, after I’ve actually had a few novels published and have accomplished a few meaningful things in my life, I could start a memoir with that line–or something like it. But for now, I have some thoughts I want to get out of my head.
So let me tell you a story.
That date is undoubtedly one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I remember one day my grandmother called from her care facility and said she wanted to speak with me. I wasn’t sure about what (I didn’t see her especially often, aside from family get-togethers), though I went expecting it to be important.
She was worried about me.
The past half a year or so up to that point had been difficult for me. (Times are still difficult for me, actually.) During that time I had no luck in finding a job in my prospective field of interior design–or at least something related to it. Part of this could have been my stubborn narrow-mindedness in what I was willing to accept; I really wanted to work at an established interior design firm and was holding out on taking anything else. Months spent unemployed, however, can make a person see the value of any employment whatsoever, so I at least found something part-time. (It was the least I could do, considering my parents were letting me live at home.)
In any case, when I went to see my grandmother she shared a little about her past–how she started on the lowest end of the totem pole in a place she least expected to work (a hotel) then eventually worked her way up to management, how she took commissions as an artist…though also how she kept her faith in God. (Most of my (extended) family is Christian.) She offered words of encouragement and reminded me that even if things seem hopeless to me, I must still do my part to make sure I’m doing all I can to seek out employment opportunities. Don’t give up hope; trust in the Lord. These were her primary points of advice.
Being that I’m pretty much in limbo on the matter of faith and religion, I walked away from this meeting with mixed feelings though generally was able to find inspiration in her words.
Eventually I found the part-time job, though still no luck with something in the design field. I considered striking it alone, starting up my own business, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that my resolve to set out on such an endeavor had nothing on the sheer terror this idea alone gave me.
So, I kept looking for something.
February 2 soon rolled around and I got the news that my grandmother had passed away. (She’d been suffering from bladder cancer.)
Okay. Well, then.
Not really sure how to process this at the time, I’d already planned on inquiring about a job ad I’d found online the day before, so I took a deep breath and went out to run some errands. Only now there was this dark cloud hovering over my head.
Still, I tried to remain hopeful.
I finally get to this place to ask about the job ad. ”Sorry, but the position has already been filled.”
You are fracking kidding me. (I’m about at my rope’s end now, people.)
“…But would you still like to fill out an application, in case something else pops up?”
“Okay…sure!” *trying not to sound utterly crestfallen*
So I fill the thing out and then I leave–ten times more depressed than I was when I first came in.
Now, the previous week my mom and I had stopped at a furniture store at the mall by chance; she’d happened to see a guy holding an advertisement sign on the street. I went in grudgingly, as we’d already spent hours traipsing about the city and I was deadbeat tired. We get inside and my mom, being the gregarious social bug that she is, starts telling people how I’m an “interior designer” and have my interior design degree and all.
Surprisingly, the guy we’re talking to–who just so happens to be the store manager–is impressed. Apparently they could really use someone with an interior design degree!
And what do you know: they’re hiring.
Are you kidding me?
Thing is it’s furniture sales, so to be honest I’m a little wary, since I’ve never done anything like this before. Still, I take an application and keep it in mind. (I end up turning it in a day or so later.)
Fast forward to February 2, after all the depressing stuff has happened. I’m really in no mood to go anywhere by this point, though something tells me to go back to this furniture store and follow up on my application.
And before I know it I’m being offered a job.
It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t even comprehend what the guy has just asked me: “So, when’s a good time to start?”
Needless to say, I walk out in a daze. It’s settled; I start the following Monday.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, the first place I’d applied to calls me two days later saying, “A new position has just become available. Would you be interested in setting up an interview?”
Congratulations On Your New Job!!!
I get home, plop down on the couch with some dinner and start watching To Kill A King ’cause it’s on demand and I don’t have to pay for it and hey, why not kill the king? Parents soon get home and they’ve got one of my aunts with them. (I think she was just helping out with all the post-death stuff.) They’re in a mind-bogglingly good mood, considering the news we’d just received that morning, all bubbly and laughing…
I am not, and they soon realize this.
“I’m just tired,” I say. ”Had a long day.” An emotional roller coaster ride of extreme Gs, more like.
Fair enough. Life goes on.
So I’m half-listening to them talk about stuff…and eventually I realize I can’t even hear the movie anymore. I turn the dang TV off and mope into the kitchen to put my dishes away. I’m about to retreat into my cave-room upstairs when it occurs to me that I haven’t told them my bit of news yet.
So I tell ‘em.
“Well, congratulations!” everyone says, beaming.
Thanks, I say, but I don’t really sound that enthused about it. In fact, I sound pretty darn sad. Pathetic, even.
And they cannot, for the life of ‘em, understand why .
Is it okay to feel joy about anything when a family member has just passed away?
I didn’t think so. (Still don’t.) In fact, I actually felt guilty about it. Why should I be rejoicing about anything when the family has just lost one of its eldest members?
It just doesn’t feel right.
Anyway, I’ve never really let myself feel unadulterated joy about getting this job, and to be honest I’m still conflicted about it. I don’t even know if I’m capable of doing it well, really, though my manager seems to have faith in me. So far, sometimes there are moments I think I could do well, and others I’m up to my eyeballs in self-doubt as I’m trying to soak up as much information as I possibly can in as little time as I possibly can.
Because the idea of being new at something–aka “not good”–absolutely irks me. I simply cannot stand it. (If you are a perfectionist, then you probably understand.)
As such, it’s been an especially tough place for me to be in right now. Suddenly, not only do I have a full-time job, but I’ve also got options. Though, I really do think I’m at a crossroads for a reason. My mind is not made up, folks. Still, no matter how I decide to play my cards, I plan to give it my all–if not because I unequivocally believe in myself then because I know, for some strange reason I’ve yet to decipher, that everyone else who matters does.
I think, just maybe, that the grandma would feel a bit of joy for me if she were still around. And maybe, one day, I will, too.
…If I can get past the bittersweet irony (and, of course, the crippling self-doubt).
No, this has nothing to do with writing fantasy.
It’s just me, writing. Reflecting on life. On myself. Me attempting to process things my helpless little brain has so far not managed to process in all that has happened in the past week and a half. Part of me thinks I probably should not be openly blogging about half of this, and part of me is glad I did–because for the first time in the last two weeks, this stuff is actually starting to make some semblance of sense.
So yeah, folks. That’s been my month so far.
How about yours?
Less dramatic, I hope?