Thursday, March 31, 2011


My last post was about taking meditation time, looking at the moon, reassuring myself about the coming changes in my life. Some are good, some are bittersweet, some are wonderful, some are terrifying. But all are happening and all are important.

I won't go into the ones that need not be on the internet, but I've made it clear that my job at a homeless shelter was extremely important to me. Note the use of past tense. I've had an opportunity to take a full time job with a new agency. Having a full time job that won't disappear after 4 months due to grant funding is huge, and a massive step for me. It's also one if those things that's too good to pass up, even if that means incurring losses.

I grieved my job at the shelter, grieved the friends I'd made there on staff, grieved the relationships I'd built with clients who I no longer have the time to check in on. This has been my world, my self-definition for the last year. And now everything is different.

The first two weeks have been sort of a terrifying learning experience. Week one was orientation, which I suppose I got something out of, like long drives in the snow, which can be nice if you're not trying to get to an unknown place on time. This week has been the real thing. Or at least, shadowing the real thing. It's been a variety of things to watch, some useful, some perplexing.

As with all things, this transition will work out for the best. I'll get the hang of the job. It's just exacerbated by everything else going on with school, family, relationships. I'm at a point with school where the assignments have piled up and I so don't care, much like happened last time I started a job. And because research methods is a horrible class. Which I am currently sitting in.

All things for a reason, and a plan for everything. Always my mantra, no matter the transition.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Tonight, a friend texted me about how the moon was amazing. After another friend and I lamented missing the "super moon," I figured I better go see while I still had a chance. I wandered all over, somehow being unable to find a giant moon, which resides in the sky. I ended up at a giant grassy hill that overlooks the water, sort of my happy place for the last year. I looked at the moon and the stars, and I contemplated life's transitions. I thought about a lot of the things that change for me this week, and how it'll all be okay. About how peaceful this all is, and how it's ok to just be idle, no book, no phone, no knitting. Trying to stop my mind from racing, always racing, is hard. And why I don't sleep so well. But maybe I'm on my way there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A rundown of Jenna's day

7:15 am: Wake up, contemplate death, meeting for job #6 in Augusta.
7:45 am: Get to work, work on the desk from 8-10, then do the mail from 10-11:15.
11:15 am: Get gas, after one failed attempt when I can't get to the pumps on the same side as my gas tank. Go to library, pick up Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Attempt to make phone calls to figure out where this meeting is, fail.
11:45 am: Back to work to supervise lunch. Eat cheesecake.
1 pm: Bail as fast as possible to car. Plug in GPS, having used phone's mobile internet to figure out where I'm going. THROW THE HAMMER DOWN.
1:15 pm: "Drive 52 miles on I-295 North."
2 pm: Is that the State House? Do I have time to slap Paul LePage?
2:01 pm: Oh dear God I have no idea what I'm even looking for here
2:05 pm: Oh, hi, giant sign with the name of my employer.
2:15 pm: Begin meeting.
3:30 pm: Finish meeting. Feel hungry. Decide to look for some nice local place.
3:40 pm: Eat at Burger King.
4:15 pm: Back on the road. Become consumed with finding a Wal-Mart to buy a blender. Ignore fact that there is $125 in Wal-Mart gift cards in my apartment.
5 pm: Pull off random exit looking for Brunswick Wal-Mart. Am actually in Topsham. See sign for Target. Rejoice.
5:15 pm: Locate blender for $17.99. Declare victory.
5:40 pm: Back on road. Decide to go to Freeport to go to LL Bean to try on hiking boots for no apparent reason.
6:00 pm: Somehow succeed in totally driving past all 5 exits for Freeport. Get off interstate in Yarmouth, backtrack via Route 1.
6:10 pm: Try on many pairs of hiking boots of various heights. Am slightly unsure how these are any better than my clunky black shoes from Payless. Decide I like the higher cut better because they look more like hiking boots and thus I can lie to myself that I need them.
6:30 pm: Attempt to leave, somehow run into two different past-coworkers from two different former jobs.
6:45 pm: Back on road again. Still not planning on going home. Go to school to go to gym.
7:00 pm: Go to gym, work out while reading book. Feel so intellectual.
8:15 pm: Change clothes, go home.
8:30 pm: Put away yesterday's laundry, wash some of yesterday's dishes. Make smoothie. Fail at getting the balance of ice right. Do not spill all over self and kitchen. Therefore, victory.
9:00 pm: I should probably work on that paper.
9:15 pm: Add two sentences and a cover page. Decide any further editing will rip my soul in half.
9:16 pm: Begin endless blog entry, try to remember exact minutes of entire day.
9:35 pm: Write this sentence. Remember have endless job application to fill out.
9:57 pm: Finish application. Remember rest of smoothie on counter 10 feet away. Contemplate how little I want to get up to put it in the fridge. Back to Facebook.
10:18 pm: Seriously. Get the smoothie in the fridge.
10:23 pm: Sleep for the next... not enough... hours.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Push it to the limit, give it more

I've had this bug up my ass about wanting to go the gym for a while. See, I live in Portland, Maine, where everyone rides bikes and swims and runs and my body slowly decays. Honestly, my grandmother, who's been smoking for 60 years and has cancer (more on that later) and I probably have similar lung capacity. But I'm skinny, so you wouldn't know.

Every once in a while, usually when my pants don't fit, I get gung ho about the gym. But if I have to pay for it, fuck it. Of course, I've been a graduate student since September, and it finally occurred to me that implies I could probably get into a gym for free. But whatever, I don't like to sweat.

But then there's that cancer thing.

Something about the fact that my grandmother has a tumor has made me do a lot of re-evaluating of my own life. Like that makes me so unique or something. I feel like I have a lot of energy - as noted by the thirty seven jobs - and I often feel like I could really be pumping it for all it's worth and really pushing my body. So I walk to work when it's nice. I realize this is bullshit. But when I used to try to run, I'd make it about 10 feet and feel like my lungs were about to explode. I can walk for hours. But fuck running.

But everyone runs.

And goddamnit, if there's one thing I've always wanted to be, it's marginally normal.

And then of course, someone had to ask me WHY it is I don't go to the gym. And that little question stays inside you and eats you and makes you think and makes you contemplate ridiculous things like "I couldn't run from a rapist" until you can't take it anymore and DO SOMETHING. So I packed up my sneakers and my stupid windpants and my big Electric Six shirt and went to the fucking gym.

I spent about half the time I was there texting a friend about how much I hated it. But I was texting while treadmilling, so, I've got that going for me. I'm not like other girls that go to the gym. I do not want to be seen. I want to be invisible. When I saw all the guys lifting weights, I wanted to sink into the floor, lest anyone see me power-walking on the treadmill or using the bike at zero resistance. I do not wear short shorts. I do not wear spandex. The large yellow shirt with a cobra on it may be pushing it, but at least you can't see my figure. I wear the giant windpants I've had since high school gym, when I also wanted to disappear in shame. And not shave my legs for class.

I hated this so fucking much. My pants are too big and I was terrified of tripping on them. And then, against all reasonable judgment, I got on the godforsaken treadmill. And it wasn't too bad. No incline or anything, but when I turned it up to power-walk speed, I felt like I could go faster. And I actually found myself jogging. At a respectable speed. And this was after I found 5 pound weights too light and moved up to the 7.5s. Suddenly, I had confidence.

So I came back the next day.

And then the next.

And suddenly, I loved this. I could feel it. I could feel my body being able to be pushed more. I could see that I could move a little faster up the stairs at work. I could sustain a harder pace longer on the machines. I felt okay around other people. I texted a friend about the quality of the "mancandy" here. I found myself dancing on the elliptical as I worked it. Because I'm sophisticated, I was listening to Usher and Willow Smith and actually whipping my hair back and forth. I... actually like the gym.

I sicken myself.

I took the next day off, since I didn't want to be sweaty for my evening plans, and I took Friday off because those evening plans involved puking at 7 am. But Saturday, after I baked a cake (so clearly, weight loss is not the goal here), I went back. And I ran 10 minutes at my fastest pace ever. And I lifted more weight on some machines. And I had a great time. No time to go today, but I'm sure I'll be back Monday. I even bought decent workout pants on Friday so I could feel a little more confident and a little less at risk of imminent harm.

The most important part of the gym is the iPod playlist, of course. So here's some of songs that always get me going.

1. Willow Smith - Whip My Hair
I don't care how shameful this is. I love this kid, I wish her nothing but the best, I admire her positivity and confidence and style, I love that this isn't about getting validation from a boy. And it gets my confidence way up. Even if I did just cut my hair and can no longer whip it back and forth.

2. Electric Six - Jam It In The Hole
Anything by Electric Six is good for the gym - upbeat, fast tempo, and easy to keep pushing yourself with.

3. OKGO - You're So Damn Hot
After all, when I'm doing cardio, I'm so damn hot. In order to be so damn hot.

4. Usher - More
I like any song that I can generalize to what I'm doing, as every moment I spend on the repetition of exercise, I'm pushing it to the limit and trying to do more. Plus, it's just so uplifting.

5. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing
Most any Scissor Sisters song is good - anything that just keeps me rocking keeps me from saying "oh god, it's only been two minutes?"

6. Jay-Z - Dirt Off Your Shoulder
When I get full of myself for actually going to the gym, well, I am the motherfuckin' greatest.

7. Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
One song I can't help but sing along with... while wearing headphones. Ain't that some shit.

So, if we've learned anything here, it's that I really, really like pop music. Oh, the shame, it burns my hipster soul.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It hasn't gotten any better.

I have a job interview Tuesday.

I started a job yesterday.

I still have strong potential to be interviewed somewhere else as soon as the interviewer is back from medical leave.

I've already worked at five other places this year.

This is not how normal people live.

To be fair, with the exception of the forthcoming interviews, all of these gigs are per diem. As much as I'd like hours at some of them, they just don't exist. Or one schedules a month in advance and another schedules 3 days in advance. I might rather work at the 3 days place, but I can't risk not getting called and losing hours I could have gotten at the 4 weeks place. So what the hell choice do I have but to keep increasing my ability to get some work? There's only one solution, and that solution is a job with a SCHEDULE. For four blessed months of my life, at the best job I ever had, I had a schedule. I changed it up once in a while if I didn't have classes or had to come in or leave early for whatever reason, but in general, I knew what days and what hours I would be working. Because I'm an asshole, I also worked more hours everywhere else on top of it, and those fluctuated, so my free time didn't hold to any schedule, but at least most of my work week could be predicted with accuracy.

And of course, not having a job with a schedule means your employers don't have to give you benefits. I have not had health insurance since May of 2009. It is March of 2011.

Everything is wrong with that sentiment, but that's a rant for another time.

And then of course there's the fact that while I've had jobs with schedules, none of them have been permanent. I was a long term sub when I was teaching and I was grant funded when I was at the shelter. I can assume I'll always be able to get a few hours at least at the day shelter, but there's no guarantee of getting enough to live on.

In lieu of all this, it gets easier to see why I hoard jobs and why right after I got contacted for an interview today, I went back to to see what else was out there. I haven't felt safe for a long, long time. If I could just land a regular, full-time job, or even a regular part-time job, just to have some sense of permanency in my life, I'd finally breathe a little easier.

So I still have a work addiction. But under these circumstances, wouldn't you?