Rational vs. Irrational Planning / How I became a Librarian in the first place

I’m trying to make rational plans regarding the fact that I am about to, once again, face a big jump into the great unknown. Now when I say this I mean I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to leave the public once and for all. However, the fact that my small two days a week here basically pays my rent every month is not to be ignored. I remember this feeling, during my first year of grad school, let’s flash back to 2011. (The story of how I became a librarian in the first place).

In 2011 I was working a miserable job in real estate that often left me in tears at the end of the day, which was, what led me to going back to school in the first place. I was doing well in my first year of grad school, but it was hard to juggle working full time and doing a part-time load online through the University. On top of all that I was in a lousy relationship living with somebody who really wasn’t very motivated in any facet of his own life, and frankly, somebody I had no interest in spending my future with. I had been applying for jobs in the library world, all jobs that I could find, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter, after rejection letter.

I was stuck. I spent my days frustrated, angry, irritable, and somewhat hopeless while I plundered on doing all those things daily that I knew were slowly killing me inside. I wanted to do an internship which I felt was so important, since I had no prior library experience, but I couldn’t with my 9-5 M-F gig in hell. So, I kept on, saved all I could, worked my butt off and gave myself enough of a nest egg so that I felt comfortable for a bit launching off into the great unknown (with the backup of student loans if need be), AKA leaving my job without another lined up. In February of 2012, I cut the cord, and celebrated.

Many people in my life told me this was stupid. I even felt like I was a bit stupid myself, but I just knew that I needed to do it. It had never felt so good in my entire life to put in that letter of resignation, I felt so free and hopeful and full of opportunities.

But, my smile didn’t last too long.

It was hard to get a job, very hard in fact. What was nice about it is that I at least had a partner that paid half of the rent. This helped quite a bit and may have been one of the reasons we (both) stayed in a bad relationship for as long as we did. The first summer and fall seemed OK. I enjoyed taking my time with my school work, really absorbing it, being present with my studies, which is what I really wanted in the first place. I got to do an internship in an archive which I am so thankful for.  I eventually found a very small PT gig at (of all places) a synagogue, where I made very little money and even less friends. I kept trying and trying, time went on, I watched my nest egg decrease and man do piles of money burn fast.

Luckily, as the synagogue became less and less of a good gig, I landed a PT job at the public in 2013 (where I am typing this from today, the very seat I started in almost 5 years ago) and I could leave the synagogue and work at the public part time only. Things seemed to be looking up, my coursework was going well, and I was getting actual real life public library experience.

Until I got left suddenly and very out-of-the-blue like by that boyfriend. Now, getting left sucks in and of itself, but the bigger devastation for me here lay in losing half of my rent and household expenses. Sounds like a shitty thing to say, but it’s true. Sometimes in adult land we rely on partners for more than just emotional payments. Things descended a bit from there, yeah, they got a bit dark. I remember a specific night where the cat and I went tumbling upside down when I rolled to the side of the Walmart futon and the weight made it topple over, that may have been the rock bottom. I laughed until I cried in my half-empty apartment. It was quite the ride. I kept on with school, kept my head up, and just tried to make it through living on the tightest of budgets but somehow always squeaking by. That was what 30 looked like for me.

More things happened, more changes. I landed a second part time gig at the U in 2015 where I still am today. I gained another relationship that I had high hopes for, then lost it. I had what was close to an emotional breakdown somewhere in there and began therapy and trying to heal myself. I broke addictions, gained knowledge really dug deep down in there and faced some of those demons I had been carrying around for way too long. (That’s wildly oversimplifying it, but I don’t need to bore you with all those details.)

Through it all I was working 6 days a week, and juggling so many new roles looking back I have no idea how I didn’t completely lose it, but I didn’t. Let me tell you, working six days a week when you live on your own and should do all the house things and try to relax on that ONE day, really catches up to you after 3 years of doing it.

If you follow me at all you will know that I’ve had a lot of failure in the library world these last 3 years, most of them very unforeseen. But it’s also reconnected me to writing, which I’ve been trying to push myself to do these last couple of years. Baby steps are still steps you know, they count.

Now I’m at another crossroads, that is pretty similar to the one I had 6 years ago.  I’m spent. Like totally spent, and I need to take time and focus on things that can move me forward, and open doors for me. I have 3 things. Public, University and Writing.  Out of these 3 the public has become a bit of a dead rot. I can’t move forward in my position, and I no longer find much happiness in being here. Worse, it takes up so much of my time that I have no energy to spend looking for other jobs in either writing or library capacities. I feel like I must let it go. But, this means that I literally will only be making enough money with the one job to feed myself very frugally after bills are paid, and god forbid any craziness is needed like dental work or medical stuff because that would just throw the whole operation for a loop. On the flip side I will have a glorious 3 days off a week to recover from this burnout, write, be productive, and think of my next big life move because well, it’s time.

But I’m scared. What if I can’t make it? What if I don’t? I just don’t think those are options. Why do I never consider the What if I die tomorrow? Fear is the number one reason I would think with money being a close second that I don’t do SO many things in my life. FEAR. Just plain old fear. I think about the things I can’t buy like any new clothes or frivolities like smell good candles or massages, all these things I’m able to do now to try to quell the misery that the job that makes me the money evokes. See the vicious cycle here? But we don’t NEED these things and it really doesn’t stack up to much when you weigh it against following what your heart desires and what you know your person needs does it?

It’s like operating without a safety net. I’ve done it before, I’m pretty sure I can do it again. *Sigh* I always thought by 34 I would be settled, whatever that is. It could be that I’m afraid of doing the work all over again. Either way I know all the “rational” plans I have made for myself up until now never panned out, maybe it’s time for some irrational ones.

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Patron Muses

There are times when I feel a bit lost, or bored, or just lacking some sort of hope or direction.

When this happens, I often like to play this game with library patrons (I use them because they are the most random and know the least about me personally), but the same can be done with anybody really in your everyday life. Ask for a message, some encouragement, some direction, and wait for it.

I often find these “messages” in situations that entail something that I normally wouldn’t do or in a place where I go out of my way to be especially kind to somebody. I have 3 such occasions this week after thinking over the weekend that I needed some sort of “shove” in a direction or a reminder of something

One: An older man comes into the public often and gets study rooms. I am usually salty with him a bit because he is annoying and weird. But, Monday I moved his room around for him, changed his name on the paper because he said it was spelled wrong, and talked with him about his ex-wife a bit. When our conversation ended he looked at me and said, “You’ve been such a good girl, this is for you.” –yes I know that sounds a bit creepy and I didn’t agree with being addressed as if I was a dog, but the oddness of the remark made me realize this was my first thing to pay attention to- He reaches in his bag and pulls out a fortune cookie from panda express. I waited until later and opened it in tech where I didn’t eat the cookie but found this fortune:

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I’m not crazy and I know that fortune cookies are so generic in nature and only say about 5 things, but seeing this just reminded me that I am on the right path. Today is not forever, and things will change for me, as much as there is frustration today, life is a turning wheel, and tomorrow can be success and happiness. Keep at it me, keep at it.

 

Two: Yesterday at the U a lady who often comes in approached me and told me that her headphones weren’t working. I went over to the computer, messed with the volume and tried a different computer. Turns out her headphones were shot, and I told her I could check her out a pair with her ID. She then told me that she’s not a student so I let her know I couldn’t do that without an ID. I could have just been like, sorry, but I felt like helping her so I went to the lost and found, got a clean looking pair of cheapie ear buds, cleaned them off for her, and told her that she could borrow them for the time being. She was so grateful and looked at me and said: “You know it’s all about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.” I smiled and walked away, but the message stuck with me.

Sometimes it is just that random. Some act of magic that can happen when these things line up and you can’t really force it, just try to notice when it does and capitalize on the possibilities that con come of it. Most magic moments, I think, are accidental in nature, and come from mixing the right amount of place, time and people.

 

Three: A month or so ago I had one of those seemingly random interactions when a person sits with me for a long while and talks with me about life’s purpose and our passions, and all that fun stuff. This particular person was somebody applying to be a professor here, and she had just uprooted her life to do so based upon some signs she had received. When we first met she was just checking out the University while trying to make the move up here from San Diego. She was inspiring, and intelligent, and just all around great to talk to. We ended on a hug and kept loosely in touch with emails. When I got into work yesterday she had stopped by and left me a nice note with her phone number:

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I did smile, and I called her, and we have plans to go on a walk next week. I’m going to be all ears to what she has to tell me, because it’s what I asked for, after all.

Saint Valentine (love lessons)

I’m feeling really, really, gushy tonight. (Can I blame it on the full moon that just passed, or the sappy songs I’m listening to?) I just got home from work at the U about an hour and a half ago, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to clean, or read, or do anything really. I’m just in this mode where I’m thinking about love and life and all these deep things, this happens to crazy single cat ladies from time to time. Not brotherly love, platonic love, or the kind of love you have for your pet, friends or family. I’m talking about THAT kind of love, that love you spend most of your life searching for, dreaming up, seeing in movies, reading about in poems and novels. Romantic love has always eluded me in a sense, I don’t know if I really understand it, but for the first time in a long time I feel a slight bit of clarity in the matter of my own heart. Because of this, I felt compelled to write a love letter, to my past, present and future, and even more strangely compelled to share it here. Love is an important thing, love is life, and we all need it no matter who we are. It may even be what separates us from the machines that will one day run our world. (what?!) Ok here goes, if you are not feeling sappy, do not read on, because it goes there.

To all the loves of the past,

I hope that I haven’t done much damage to any of you emotionally, if I have I’m sorry and I hope you will accept my apology. For a very long time I didn’t have much love in my heart to give, I didn’t love myself, and I was sad and angry all the time, stifled by addiction and pain. I’m not blaming you, my happiness and emotional and physical health are all my responsibility, not any of yours. I wasn’t capable of love in the past, at least not the way that I think love should be now. Also, that’s not to say that I didn’t love you, I did, but just in my own fucked up, muted, and disillusioned way. Again, nothing to do with you but more to do with me. We had some good times, some milestones were met, the first 30 years of my life seemed turbulent and confused in retrospect. I’m thinking it was a time when we were all just trying to find out who we were and where we fit in this life. I hope you had some fun, and learned some things. I learned a lot from all of you, some were hard lessons, some were easier, some hard to decode and some clear. I wouldn’t be the person who I am today without all of you that’s for certain. I’m not good at being friends with past lovers, now that I think of it I’m not friends with one of you. I don’t ever plan on being friends with any of you down the road. We all didn’t end things so well, and I feel like now, the lessons we needed to learn from one another have been taught, and our karmic candles have been snuffed out. That doesn’t mean you don’t exist in my town, or even in the distant corners of my mind and heart. I see you, I know you are there, I’m not trying to hide, but I draw my boundaries for my own safety. As of today, you all are no longer an active part of me, just a whisper or slight breeze of you will cross my path from time to time but that’s it. You don’t define me, or the way any of my future relationships will pan out, the dysfunction and pain I faced in the past won’t be doomed to repeat itself because I have learned from it, and again, I hope that you learned from my dysfunction as well. I hope you are all doing better today than you ever have in your entire life. I hope you all find the grand love that you deserve. I hope you find peace, understanding, and stillness in your life and that all your grandest dreams come true. Thank you for loving me, knowing me, and ultimately sharing in this experience of life with me.

To my present love,

Hey you. I’m glad that you took this time out, away from the madness to pick up the pieces of your old life that shattered so hard around you. You are strong, you are amazing, and you are on the right path to being the best version of yourself that you can be. You are me. I am my greatest love at present, and I’m insanely happy about this fact. You hear about loving yourself, that it has to come first, you know you have to try, so you do, but self- love doesn’t come from merely saying the words. Just how you can’t force yourself to love a stranger. You have to fall in love with yourself, and it’s a process. First, get to know yourself. Listen to what you are telling yourself through your emotions and intuition. Feel all those fucked up and painful emotions that you have been trying to run from for so long. Feel every ounce of pain that you’ve carried around your entire life, that’s the only way it passes through you is to feel it all undiluted. Second, find all the dark corners of your soul, sit in those corners, alone. Even if you are afraid of the dark, sit there, and know them, know they will always be there, and be ok with this. Get help, go to therapy, find a spiritual guru, do it, it’s worth it.  Go and sit and cry your face off in front of a professional that you are paying to listen to you bleed out your soul, be open to them and don’t lie to them it helps a lot. Third, know that it’s alright to be alone. Understand that it’s simply because if you don’t love yourself as cliché as it sounds you know that you really can’t love anybody else. Not in the pure and true way that you’ve been craving, that you deserve. But you can’t get lazy, you need to stay in love with yourself. Like in any relationship this takes commitment. Continue throughout life to treat yourself like a precious object, and only surround yourself with people who do the same.

To my future love,

I’m so glad I waited for you. I’m glad that I get to meet you as a whole and complete being, full of light and love and ready to share. I don’t know who you are right now, or where you will come from. Maybe I already know you, maybe you run over my foot at the grocery store, you put my braces on, or rear end me while you are texting, maybe you work with me at a new job, or you walk straight into one of my libraries and ask me where the poetry books are. Life doesn’t tell you how these things happen. You may be the last person I expect, or the opposite of what I thought I wanted. That’s ok, it’s more than ok, it’s perfect. Here’s a couple of things that I wanted to share with you preemptively. I’m so glad you chose to hang out with me, life with me will never be boring I promise you. I want to get into all kinds of trouble with you, I want to play and dance and sing with you, jump in piles of leaves in the fall, get dirty, go places I’ve never been with you; geographically, physically, spiritually and mentally. I want to stay up with you when you can’t sleep, I want to look at the stars with you, I want to dream alongside you. I hope to create things with you, whether they be small humans, books, works of art, or just memories. Our union will be able to bring something new to the world, open doors that we didn’t even know existed. In this, we will find that we are much better together than we could ever be apart. I don’t expect you to fix everything for me. But I do expect for you to hug me when I’m crying, to sit with me when I’m depressed or anxious. I expect you to tell me when you need something, or when I’m not doing something that I should be. I want to give you everything and tell you everything, and I want the same from you. I understand there is a dark side, but I want all the parts of you. I really do hope that you like books, and to read them and discuss characters in these books and their motivations. It’s ok if you have a dog, but they should get along with my cat. This may sound like a tall order, but if things are as they should it will all fit together naturally. I’m not afraid to work, I know it’s work, all the best things in life are work. But I’m happily willing to do it for you. See you soon… (somewhere?)