Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Working for a living

I need to be doing it. This is the longest stretch of time in my adult life I haven't had a full-time job--four months. I do some freelance writing and photography, but not much of late.

I'm trying to write a book. I've started writing books my whole life, and about 20-40 pages in, I discard them in disgust because they're never good enough for me. Perhaps I was destined for short stories and poetry; I have finished, even published, a couple of each. I wrote my first book about third grade; I would so pay to have a copy of it now, just for the laughs! It was about a dog named Fluffy (for real), and I wrote it on some horrible 1977ish stationery that probably had a mushroom print across the top. I gave it to my third-grade teacher in the box the stationery had come in and never saw it again. (I would have probably ripped it up later, anyway. I've always found ripping up my writing to be incredibly cathartic. Burning it is fun, too, but I have a little phobia about fire. Shredding is also the bomb, but in reality I usually end up ripping it up if I don't like it. It just feels good.)

I've also been doing other things since I've been out of work, like turning 40, cat wrangling, taking pictures, reading books, putting my vinyl LPs on CD, scanning old pictures and putting them on CD, putting up a Flickr site, and researching and pursuing this surgery.

I'm not feeling very motivated or optimistic about the job search. In particular, I am becoming gun-shy about Craigslist job postings. I've had a couple of in-person interviews from resumes submitted to employers that posted positions there, and one actual job that lasted two months because they lied about just about everything and didn't pay what they had promised. The last in-person interview consisted of me sitting in a waiting room all dressed up with copies of my resume for half an hour.
Probably fifteen people walked by while I was sitting there. Several of them made eye contact with me, and I smiled at them. One of the receptionists kept paging the person who was supposed to interview me--or pretending to. After about half an hour of this, she came out and said she was sorry, but they'd have to reschedule my interview.

They never called me, of course. I noticed that the company posted the position again on Craigslist this week.

Of course, my immediate default reaction was to think it was because of my weight. When I related this experience to a couple of friends--neither of whom has a weight problem, but they both happen to be twenty years older than I am--they said they had had the same thing happen to them. One of these friends was a man and one a woman, so apparently this kind of thing isn't always gender-specific, either.

I know there have been many jobs I haven't gotten because of my weight, and there are some I will never even attempt to apply for because of it. When I was younger, I took it much more personally when things like this happened. I was still trying to fit into society's ideal--or I still thought I should be trying to--as if my brain, skills, and personality had nothing to do with my value as an employee. (I also actually show up for work, am not a drama queen, don't steal, and can make people laugh, among other things.) I also knew in my bones, even at that time, that I was never going to fit into society's ideal. I could have had 15 plastic surgeries, thrown up every day, and never even come close.

The difference between then and now, for me, is that I have since learned that many people who fit societal beauty standards often never feel like they are good enough, either. Some of them feel like no one listens to them or values their brains because of the way they look. Even back then, as much as I wanted to be "gorgeous", I would have rather had someone really listen to me than look at me and stop listening. Every.single.time.

I also feel that getting older means the pressure is off. I don't want to be 19 or even 25 or 35 again, so why should I wish I looked as if I were? Outer beauty fades. Gravity happens. And when it does, I should hope that I have developed an above-average amount between the ears and in the heart, or life is going to be very, very empty.

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About Me

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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