Thursday, September 16, 2010

So a contradiction walks into a blog and will not shut up

The way I've been going about this whole not-in-college, not-ready-for-grad-school-yet deal is simply to talk to people. It's the one good piece of advice I really got out of the (more hokey than helpful, are we really surprised?) career services sponsored pep talk last August, though granted, it's probably something I knew anyway. Sure, there are some evenings when I'll feel uber inspired (I'm talented! I'm smart! I'm flexible and competent! Look at me, I have a blog!) and will google JOBS JOBS JOBS (not that exact phrase, but y'all get it). There will be something out there for me! Tonight! I feel it! There will be something that's geared towards my interests, my passions, my hopes, in the location I desire! STARS ALIGNED THIS IS IT GOOD TIMES NEVER SEEMED SO --!

Forty-seven seconds later...

Well shit.

Yeah, talking is better. It makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere, taking st-st-step after st-st-step, expressing and explaining. Forgive the slightly weird simile, but it's like I keep returning to the pottery wheel to spin and mold another bowl. Is the clay sludge going to slump and crack between my fingers, or will it have firm even edges and a smooth surface where I can proudly carve my initials?

I'm my dad's daughter, and if you haven't met him (you really should, and my lovely mama too), that means I have one very helpful genetic trait on my side: I like to talk to folks. I can do it well. I feel my tongue and teeth spread into a smile and I roll through words like "opportunity" and "regardless of" and "I'm considering the possibility somewhere down the road" and "granted, that might not be as feasible as I imagine it might be." I was an English major

(an opportunity I wouldn't trade for the world, regardless of the seeming dirth of feasible job options it provides me. I could teach, as the whole world reminds me almost daily, but I'm just not passionate about it; I may consider the possibility somewhere down the road, and what I think I could do well is teach writing workshops to people of all ages -- granted, that's probably not as financially feasible as I think it could be. Did I mention feasible?)

and if being an English major taught me one thing, it was transitioning -- how to navigate smoothly from one sentence to the next. (Actually though, I could use some navigation assistance for some other transitions, and Norton, as much as I love your thickbound ricepaper anthologies, don't think you can help me here. Beowulf, Donne? Aaaanything?) I'm writing a paper out of my mouth during these casual meetings, chatting run-ons and laughing qualifiers and squeezing in parentheses with a self-aware nod to my 22-year-old innocence. I'm engaging. I'm fresh. I've gotten good at this.

I don't mean to treat this process with an extra dose of cynicism, or undermine the importance of discussing life and vocation with those who've had more experience; I'm very grateful for the connections I make and for the people who are willing to spend this time with me. I wouldn't do it any other way. It's how I have my current internship, it's how I'm forming other ideas, and I do love meeting new people. I guess what I'm trying to get to is the feeling of... not guilt, exactly, but -- shame? No, not as strong as that either. Whatever it is, it comes from the self-aware bit. Because when we reach that point, when, while I'm awkwardly chewing (spewing?) or nonchalantly sipping (dripping?), the question gets dropped (slopped?) --

"So what do you want to do?"

-- I'm very aware of how I feel and how I come off. I'm reminded that this is not an interview for a specific position. This is my chance to say what I'm interested in and how I could utilize this person's particular connections to further my job search, which means that I need to grab my gifts (this is my story this is my song, what's yours?), get 'em in a box and think inside it. It means I need to have a mindset where I choose and explain a field that I want to be part of and am simultaneously asked if I would consider something else -- and then I feel guilty when I give a pursed, halfyesbutreallyno smile, because somewhere in me is still this idea that I can do whatever it is that I want to do. I'm split -- sweetly naive because I won't give in and overly cynical because I don't want to be stupid.

Eyelids fluttering and for some reason, I'm thinking Aladdin. PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER! iiiiiiitty bitty living space. Floating with chains. Open and closed. Full to burst and dry to thirst. I know in due time it will balance itself, but right now, I don't know the punch line to this very long joke, and I feel like everyone is waiting on me.

Hell, I'm waiting on myself.

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