Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Work it out

(post partially redacted due to clearer thinking)

I've been driving myself crazy working 14 hours a day. Grinding it out because I'm not sure if either work place is going to be able to offer me a full time job. So, I'm home, and dealing with it the best way I know how: chocolate peppermint fudge truffle cake I made myself from scratch (validating that I have mad skillz at many, many things), tea (always good for calming me down), mellow music (Jack Johnson and Freelance Whales), and e-mailing my dad, who apparently I talk to now. For the first time in... my entire life. So... that's a switch. We've been e-mailing every night, sharing pics and little personal things. I told him about all my job bullshit. I figure I spend enough time seeking father figures, I might as well tell it all to my actual father. He reassured me that sometimes the best people don't get the jobs they're best for whatever reason, and it's happened to him. It's nice to have a little father daughter solidarity. And he's really excited to be talking to me. This is so great.

I just checked out some music by a new band, Fitz & The Tantrums. I got invited to join a friend at their concert in January, and I really dig their stuff so far. I'm looking forward to it. He and I both love this one venue, Port City Music Hall, so we go see whoever we've vaguely heard of that comes there. I'm also planning on seeing Eytan and the Embassy next week, who I saw open for Okgo before. I'm really enjoying going to concerts. It's good to be in a place where there's so many opportunities to enjoy music. I saw Dashboard Confessional recently, too. Mostly because I have a friend who would have loved to go but never would have if I hadn't just bought the tickets and said "good, we have a date on the 12th." But it was a hell of a show.

Trying to decide which pictures of my knitting to send my dad. I need some that aren't photographed so shittily. I can only take attractive pictures of myself with my webcam, but then the color quality is off. And my camera may or may not be being held hostage in Boston. It's making me want to actually finish the bunch of things I have almost done right now, if only to get some needles back. My interchangeables are currently holding on to a hat made to donate to a shelter currently overloaded with knitted hats and not really well-sized, half of a fair isle sock, and the beginnings of a chair cushion that was rendered moot by receiving two much better colonial blue chair cushions for Christmas. And let's not even discussion the curtains I've been making for 3 months, which get worse and more complicated every time I try to work on them. Fun fact: I can't cut for shit. I'm currently most invested in a sweater I'm doing right now, which has a fair isle pattern at the neck. I took some time between jobs yesterday to work on it at the Public Market House, drinking flavored cocoa and eating really awesome vegetarian soup that a very cute girl sold me. It was a nice break from this 14 hour day bullshit I've been doing lately.

It bothers me that my most popular tag is "work." On facebook, it's the word that comes up most in my statuses. Jenna... get a life. There's so much more to the world.

Consider that a New Year's Resolution.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Get it over with.

Waiting to hear from a job that any reasonable person would say should be mine. Every day I get up, turn my phone on, check my e-mail a hundred times, try to fish for info. At night, I numb out with Nyquil if I have to. I should have gone to bed an hour ago, considering I have to get up in 7 hours for a 14 hour work day, as I am 100% incapable of saying no to anyone. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to say yes when someone asks if I want to take their shift without even giving me a reason. SURE YES I'M ALREADY AWAKE LET'S DO THIS. At least if I get this job, it would allow me to work less since it's at the place that always sucks me in for those extra hours. Of course, I'll just end up waitressing again. Because I never, ever stop. Nor do I ever learn.

Apropos of nothing:
For at least 6 months, one side of my hair has been significantly longer than the other. Because I'm Cyndi Lauper. What I don't get... NO ONE has ever addressed this. And my clients are the bluntest people on earth. I get compliments. But never "why the hell is your hair long on the right and short on the left?" Which makes me worry that perhaps it's SO awful that no one dares say anything. But I suspect it's more an issue of people just taking these things as a given with me at this point.

Went to the Homeless Persons' Vigil tonight. Cried. Knew I would. Started choking up when my friend started playing bagpipes. Choked up as I was walking. Deliberating on the seriousness of my role in people's lives, while coworkers around me were playing with phones or complaining about the cold. During the moment of silence I prayed for everyone we lost that I knew, that they were finding their peace, finding the home, safety, security, sobriety, food, health care, and services they damn well should have had down here. Prayed that I could help others. Prayed for all I was up against. Prayed that next year, I wouldn't hear the three names I fear the most. Watched someone I'm close to silently hold it together, knowing he was fighting. Lose my ability to hold it together when we addressed that the person whose name I read "would be - no, IS" happy it was me.

I can't really fathom not doing this for the rest of my life.

One person got an apartment today after I helped him get to GA, helped him find security deposits, made the appointment, got him the taxi out there. One person isn't homeless today, of all days. I know I can do this. Have done this 34 times over. But God, it's just a drop in the bucket. And that's very, very overwhelming.

I'll be okay. Whatever happens, once someone finally makes the decision I'm waiting for. I'll be okay.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blogging for Paul.

One of my favorite people on earth mentioned finding my blog recently, and that always spurs me into wanting to write again. I just have been a moderately functional human being for the last 3 or 4 months. I haven't gotten anywhere near the amount of sleep I should, and I was fairly willing to sacrifice that, thinking I was doing fine. But of course, pushing and pushing and pushing catches up with you eventually. I've been doing at least 50 hours a week between the two jobs, and going to class for 6 hours a week, plus studying or researching or paper writing, if I felt like it. There were a few times I was ready to drop out, realizing that I was going home to read about applied psychodynamic theory instead of accepting an invitation to go bowling with a guy I have a crush on, and wondering what the hell I was doing with my life.

See, I'm already living the dream. At least 30 people aren't homeless because of me. Because I've been grinding my ass as hard as I can for 3.5 months to solve a major problem. Because I've been watching some of these people since March and I've always had a "if I want action taken, take it myself" attitude. So my life has been bursting with success stories. My focus has been on what to do with difficult cases. When I was in class, my mind didn't drift to TV or hanging out with friends or relationships. It drifted to "if that assisted living home won't take him, where can I put him?" and "I need to call that property management company to see if they have a 1 bedroom" and "I haven't seen this guy in a while - is he safe?" Eventually I caught myself and got caught back up with work. But for a while there, I felt like I didn't need a MSW, because I'm already doing exactly what I want.

Of course, there will come a day when I'm not doing exactly what I want. In one sense, that day is January 1st, as, due to grant funding, my job is over at the end of this year. In another sense, I thought I was living the dream as a special ed teacher until I found my gift for the homeless population. But maybe I'll find something else. Something that requires an MSW. And then I'll regret dropping out.

So, I stuck with it. And I aced it. I really don't enjoy the thought of having to rearrange my life every 3 months for the next 4 years to accommodate USM's asinine scheduling - if someone's going part time, chances are, they have a full-time job, and how the hell are they supposed to keep it with a class at 1:15 on a Wednesday? That's one more problem I have to solve in the coming weeks. If I have a full time job. I'm interviewing. But there's already been rejections and bizarre interview cancellations. I'll be up for a while longer tonight, so I imagine I'll draft at least one more cover letter. I loathe it, but I just don't feel safe with anything right now - organizations can always surprise you with rejections.

I sobbed uncontrollably in the soup kitchen today when I heard about a client's passing. Perhaps I might not have been so devastated if I wasn't such a mess myself right now. And I hadn't quite realized what a mess I am until that all processed. Sure, my apartment is cluttery and junky and my sink was full of dishes until I finally did something about it tonight. And I hated that yet couldn't work up the motivation to fix it. I can fix everyone else. I just don't care enough to fix myself sometimes.

I always put myself last. I've had very bad relationships where I refuse to acknowledge that perhaps I'm entitled to equal treatment, to also be shown love and support. I just give and give and give because I don't want to see someone hurting, so if there's something I can do, I will. I've actually used the phrase "I don't matter. Let's just worry about helping you." To be fair, I realize the hundred things wrong with that statement. Now. But why not do extra hours when they're needed or a cover a shift for someone with an appointment or come in early unpaid to do more research on apartments? I'm needed. And I've always needed to be needed.

I don't foresee any change any time soon. I'm somewhat at peace with that. It's part of what makes me me. I just need it to be a little less damaging. Or recognize when it's doing me in a little sooner. But as awkward as it is to cry in public, and have clients ask you what's wrong, or ask the person that told you "what did you do to her?!" with a hint of menace, I hope I never stop being that torn up about something like this, and never stop putting my heart into everything I do. It's so immensely valuable not to be jaded. I may only be 24, and may not have experienced much loss, catastrophe, heartbreak, or trauma, but I hope I keep giving my heart to every situation that has the opportunity to produce it. Otherwise, I just wouldn't be Jenna.

And I'm not okay with that.