About Me

I have something to say... But a blog let's me spew until I figure out what it is.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Home Stretch

I am fighting "Senior-itis" this week. Unsure as to whether I will end my job with my current position this week and begin training in my new position on Tuesday or if I will be staying through the end of next week, I am doing my very best to stay on track and to be "mature and responsible" in my exit.

I have done everything I can to resign myself to this departure - to reconcile in my mind that leaving a job is part of life and that very few people (these days) stay with one company for a prolonged period of time and that growth and progress are things which are "okay" to want and to aspire to.

Yet, I cannot help the sense of grief and sadness that I feel.

Today, I am working hard to outline the pieces of a project that was scheduled to begin in August or so - I am doing everything I can to put onto paper what was in my mind in terms of the look and feel of a change to our software - and for anyone who has tried to write out something that is mostly visual/conceptual it can be a bit of a bear. Ultimately, its a big possibility that they won't even use my notes - they may decide to scratch everything I did and start over from the beginning because "its easier". Ultimately, trying to make sure that I leave everyone in a good spot to continue the forward progress really doesn't affect me at all - if I were to say "whelp! So long! It's been real!" and succumb to my Senior-itis... floating happily out the door without a care in the world, the repercussions of that don't affect me - I would be like many other separated employees who do the same thing.

But yet, there is this big part of me that says "Be nice - leave them with everything they need".

*Whining* But I don't WANNAAAAA. I want to be irresponsible and jump around campus with a cup of coffee, shirking responsibilities and not holding myself accountable for anything! I want to run up and down the hallway doing not-so-graceful ballet moves while singing a song from the Wizard of Oz. I want to interrupt EVERYONE from doing their actual job and monopolize their time with stories of what Olivia did over the weekend.

So what is a perfectionist to do? Perhaps I will find a happy medium - and work diligently through Wednesday before engaging in purely irresponsible behavior.

All in all, I am trying very hard to get excited about this next position. I don't want anyone to think that I am NOT looking forward to this position - I am! I think that it will bring with it a whole new array of experiences and opportunities for me to learn something new (in an industry I have no experience in!). But when you KNOW your projects, know the impact of those projects and can see the real benefit to the company, it's a lot easier to get "turned on" by those projects. With a new company, you just have to hold your breath and meander through your start... learning what you can and building your value over time.

Come back to me in a few months - you will be able to pick me out of a crowd by the smile on my face, I'm sure. (I'm hoping!).

And hey, with any luck I will get my own office - that'd be a first! - and maybe I can have a coffee maker and a mini-fridge in there. That'd be heaven....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life's Full of TOUGH Choices - Inn'it???

Yes - that's right. I quoted The Little Mermaid.

Well, I can finally say it. I am leaving my current job for another opportunity. This, primarily, has been the biggest point of contention for me in the last few weeks.

Why I am leaving is not so important - but the stress of making this decision has been rather impressive.

I never cease to be amazed at how difficult it is to make a change. Whether its losing weight, moving, or changing jobs, change doesn't come all that easily. No matter how you believe the change is going to be better for you in the long run, there is something that holds you back. It's inexplicable and non-sensical but its there all the same.

I have considered leaving this job a few times. Its a wonderful organization in which I have earned my stripes - I have matured over the last few years and this position has seen me blossom from an over-confident sassy pants to a centered, business-minded diplomat with a strong opinion (some things will never change). I love the people that I work with. I have a tremendous respect for our fearless leader and what he has been able to accomplish over the last three years. The place has sucked me in, loved me, hated me, and helped me to find my legs.

Ultimately, I became bored - I found myself lacking daily challenges that keep me enthusiastic about going into work every day. For a long time, I got angry about it and raged against it like a spoiled teenager who didn't get the car she wanted. Then one day I woke up and said to myself: "You have two options - acknowledge that this is what it is, that it isn't going to change, and shut the fuck up OR take inventory of what you have been able to accomplish and see if it translates into something other people want and take the risk. (and shut the fuck up)"

So - accepting the things I cannot change - off my resume went. All two of them.

And within two days - I got a call on one of them.

And yet, despite the fact that it is a MIRACLE to get a call so quickly in this economy, I wasn't able to be excited. The prospect of change has locked me up so tightly that I couldn't even process what was happening. I had developed so much security in knowing my job, where I was working, who I was surrounded by, etc. that the idea of going anywhere else was about as feasible as becoming a super model.

To add issue to injury (yes, I changed the phrase), I have always been the type of person that believed the idea that when something is "right" it comes together easily and when it's "wrong" it won't be easy and you will feel like you a forcing it.

So, when I couldn't make a decision about the job, couldn't find a care provider that I felt great about for Olivia, realized that I would be dramatically adjusting how often I would see Olivia during the week and the additional responsibility that would be put on my husband (who already does SO much around here), I felt like the universe was trying to tell me not to take this position.

But - then my damn therapist kept repeating the same phrase: "We do things others will not do so we may have things others will not have" and so I insisted on reaching for the opportunity that I knew would ultimately support me and my family better in the long run and insisted on this opportunity even though it went against every comfortable feeling in my body.

I took the three interviews.
I fashioned my thank you notes.
I kept it low key.
I didn't get over-committed to the idea of leaving.
I didn't tell everyone and their mother what I was doing.
I got the offer.
I found alternative childcare and got Olivia enrolled even though I hated how far away it was.
I gave my notice.
And then I was offered the PERFECT care for my daughter that would allow me to drop her off every morning AND Skype with her during the day.

So I went from not loving the arrangement, to actually winding up with the perfect arrangement despite every concern and ever obstacle thrown at me.

So what does it all mean?

I guess it means that what you perceive as instincts aren't always actually instincts. Sometimes instincts are actually "fear" masked as instincts - and they creep in to your psych, shake you of your confidence and laugh at you as they destroy your ability to achieve whatever it is you have been planning.

I have no idea if I made the right choice or not - in fact, I have never been so unsure of myself - but maybe that's the sign of my maturity. I know that I confident in my work and what I bring to the table professionally and that they saw something in me that they liked and believe that I can make a contribution to their company - that's it. Everything else is speculation and doubt.

So... here I go. Another Chapter in the life of a 30-year-old New Jersey transplant trying to prepare for her thirties and the life of her little girl.

Monday, June 20, 2011

... and then the fog rolled in.

Life's ebbs and flows have definately knocked me around for the last 4 weeks. I sit in my living room thinking about how I haven't written a blog in a while - sad that I am being inconsistent and losing readership - unmotivated to write anything.

For the last few weeks, I am assuming in part to certain activities in life which have been happening around me, I started coping with some mild depression. Not the "woe is me" kind of depression and not the "I can't take it anymore kind of depression" but the kind of depression where you feel like something is pushing on your shoulders all the time. I have been unmotivated, tired, crabby, and non-excitable. I can smile and laugh when something is funny, but generally I have had very little desire to do anything or to talk about anything.

I miss New Jersey.
I miss my dad.
I miss my family.
I miss my brother.
I miss my cousins.
I feel invisible at home.
I don't have any confidence in my potential.
I over sympathized with friends and cried uncontrollably for what seemed to be no reason.
I feel fat.
I'm tired all the time.
I feel trapped.
I feel sad.
I feel angry.

Anyway. I spoke with my therapist about it, identified when things started to change and I am working to fix it. Generally speaking, I rarely to never have boughts of this kind of feeling. I think that this is the second time in my life that I can recall feeling this way. We are trying some St. John's Wort to see if that helps at all (generally, it has been working pretty ok - the anxiety attacks have stopped and I don't cry over nothing but still have the feeling I want to cry).

I am going to start working to put together a list of topics - I really do want this blog to be consistent and dependable. If not for the 13 people I have reading semi-regularly, for the random web-searchers that hobble accross my page. Its been hard to find a voice for the blog - somewhere between mommy-centric stuff, general life content, and coping with George's suicide.

So I guess I want to turn this on you - the reader. What has "spoken to you" the most about my blog? What are the things that you like to read (and that you think have been my strengths)? Sometimes we get so close, we can't see the forest through the trees - and its best to ask someone for perspective.

What'dya think?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Overnight

For three days leading up to The Overnight walk in New York City I had stomach pains. Virtually everything I ate seemed to be making it worse.

The air was cool and humidity free, but the sun had dipped somewhere behind a grey sky sometime between my travels from Astoria, Queens and the corner of 10th and 53rd where dad was waiting to pick me up. We would drive into Brooklyn together.

We headed downtown making light, somewhat strained conversation. I say "strained" only because I was having a hard time concentrating on anything. As we approached the financial district, we were in awe over the progress of the Freedom Tower and the revitalization that has taken place in downtown NYC since 9/11. The artistic stone dividers, the slews of people milling about with their family and friends - the bikers, dogs, skateboarders. We had never seen this area of downtown so active and full of life.

Dad shared some storied about NYC and Brooklyn - something I always loved. It has a charm all its own, but I feel like dad is woven into the fabric of New York and Brooklyn so for some reason, I love to hear him talk about it.

At some point between the Freedom Tower and Camden Park West, under the grey veil that had settled over Brooklyn, it finally occurred to me what I was doing and I couldn't help but be distracted.

The park and surrounding side streets were a flutter of activity with people where powder blue Overnight shirts. The park was bustling with people - the crowd growing as we approached 7pm. I stopped at the Honor Beads table - taking an orange set of beads to indicate that I lost a sibling - and then headed to a small patch of park to sit with dad and wait. We had ice cream from a nearby truck, we decorated my shirt and waited.

When the event finally began, it was hard to hear the person on stage singing, but they eventually adjusted the levels and you could more easily hear the speaker behind the podium (especially when they spoke up). I think dad could hear most of it, but I was straining so I presume he was having a hard time.

Someone walked us through warm-ups - not enough.

Someone spoke about their battle with despression and suicidal ideation. The crowd cheered her for her bravery and the accomplishment of her coming to the walk in honor of her father and of herself. I started crying and didn't know why.

A woman spoke of the 7 people in her family who had committed suicide. I cried with my mouth open slightly and still didn't know why.

The CEO stated that AFSP is working toward lobbying antibullying laws and the 2,000 person crowd cheered.

The Keynote Speaker introduced people who were there for different reasons: Jane walks for her son. Fred walks for his brother. Amy walks for herself. etc. There was a family of 6 next to me - Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle, Aunt/Friend, and two young girls - one about 12 and the other about 17. The 17 year olds shirt read: "I walk for my mother" and as the keynot speaker shared the stories of the Jane, Fred, Amy, etc., the 12 year old began to sob, uncontrollably, rocked by her uncle who was also walking in The Overnight.

I at the crowd of people who were in front of me - their backs all to me - and began realizing that the great majority of those who were being walked for were men. Out of every 10 shirts that I saw for men, 1 was for a woman.

I realized that the honor beads we all wore informed each of us, from a distance, of the loss that we felt. You could pick out who they lost by the beads around their neck and so while you were surrounded with people who KNEW what you were going through, you could also understand the RELATIONSHIP that they had with the lost loved one. There was so much peace that came from this, for some reason.

The opening ceremonies came to a close and they signaled our start. Tearfully, dad and I said our goodbyes and dad started back to his car.

I stood there. Frozen and unable to move. Crying.

When I finally managed to take some steps (I didn't want to wind up at the back of the pack), I cried harder.

Here I am - the girl who never does anything by herself - walking an 18 mile trek through New York City in honor of her brother who took his own life.

And then the ton of bricks hit me hard. George is dead. He is not here. And that girls mother isn't here anymore. And all of these people represent HUNDREDS of lives lost to suicide. We are a walking protest. George is really dead. George took his own life. Why? Why couldn't he know how much I loved him? How much mom and dad loved him? How much the people who knew him loved him? Why am I in this fucking park in the middle of New York? What am I DOING!?

It was sadness mixed with grief, pain, anger, love, admiration, awe, happiness, and pride all wrapped up into a few minutes and I cried almost with wreckless abandon. Hell, I didn't know anyone there and I was all alone - so maybe some things are blessings in disguise.

As the cattle made their way accross the first street, I jutted ahead and got ahead of the crowds.

Miles 1-4 were simple. I had a great pace, the sun was up, the views were wonderful. Miles 5-6 were a little harder. I was lonely, getting a blister on the sole of my left foot and my hamstrings were starting to tighten up despite multiple stops to stretch them out. I stopped, stretched and changed my socks but the tightness wasn't letting up. At mile 8, tired of having only time to think on my hands, I decided "to hell with it", pulled out my iPod, turned it up and proceeded to sing - loudly - up the West Side Highway. Halfway through the Chorus Line soundtrack, I was approaching mile 10 and was feeling intense pain in my hamstrings and the sole of my left foot.

It was all downhill from there. The seed of doubt blossomed quickly and before I knew it, I was making the decision to stop walking. Failure swept over me - more tears - and this sense that I let everyone down - and most especially Big Guy (though there was a part of me that laughed at that fear because a) I knew that BG would have INSISTED that I not make a big deal out of this and honestly would have probably asked me not to do the walk at all and b) because he would have thought that I achieved way more than I should have as an undertrained overweight chic with a desk job.)

"Jenn! You raised so much money! That's an accomplishment!"
"Jenn, you raised awareness. Because of you and others a statement was made about the impact of suicide"
"Jenn, it's a priviledge to walk - you paid for the privledge to walk"
"Jenn - we didn't expect you to make it past mile 6!"

Yes, I know. But you just can't possibly know the sadness that comes over you when you feel like you couldn't do anything to save this person's life and you don't even have the physical fortitude to REPRESENT THEM in their death. You can't help but say to yourself "I can't even do THAT. This kid felt incredible pain and agony and you can't even finish WALKING". I know it's defeatist behavior and very negative, but it's what I was feeling at the time.

Depressed, sad, embarrassed and feeling defeated, I left the trail and found a cab to take me to Penn Station so I could get back to New Jersey.

When I woke up, I still couldn't "live with myself" for quitting, so when Josh's aunt and uncle invited me to go the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, I actually agreed to walk some more. Together we walked about four miles. And, when I returned to Tampa yesterday - I walked another 2.

So, maybe I couldn't do 18 in one shot - but Goddamnit, I am going to finish just one thing in my life. I have two more miles and hope to complete them by Friday. I could easily complete them by bike, but feel like I am cheating and really ought to finish them on foot.

At the end of it all, I feel in this very strange place - that I have accepted that my brother is no longer with us, but never mourned. I cry randomly.

Sometimes I feel like my parents are looking to me to "feel something", but I feel ashamed of being emotional sometimes - and other times I feel like I just DON'T want to talk about it. I am not repressing at all, I just don't want to talk about it.

And somehow, while working on this blog - I got to that same place. I don't want to talk about it anymore... so...


Friday, June 3, 2011

Waiting in an airport

I'm sitting in a quiet wing of Tampa airport for the flight that will take me to New Jersey - one leg of my adventure to NYC for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness walk. I can't help, for some reason, to be slightly sick to my stomach. Am I really DOING this? Am I really flying 1200 miles to join others who have lost someone they love to suicide? I can't help but be surprised that this is a part of my life now. I can't help but be mad about a few things. I can't help but think of my brother more often than I normally would and cry.

I miss him so much. Why isn't he here anymore? Why couldn't he know how much we loved him?

I have been thinking long and hard for the past nine months about those awful days in September and how about so few people knowing "what happened". Yes, there are some people who know what happened... Some have talked to those of us that we're closest to the situation and there were able to glean some details out of us... But I consider my fair and balanced attitude a rare gift and something and the honesty with which I write this blog an equal rarity.

So.... It is my plan, leading up to the one year anniversary of George's death to write a series of blog entries about what really went down. Everything that I know - the last things that we said to each other, the events of those days, and anything else that strikes my fancy. This is not a decision that I have taken lightly... It comes from MONTHS of thinking about it.... But I feel like a year is more than enough time and I have gotten to a point where if need the closure for good. Without these entries I will just be holding on to a lot of stuff.

Some of you may choose not to read it ...that's ok.
Some of you may not agree wit it... Thats ok too.
Some of you may think that it's in bad taste... I don't really care. I love you. But I don't care.

So if you are interested, keep an eye out starting in august. In the interest of keeping everything short enough to read, I'm going to break it down into weekly mini chapters.

They are boarding My plane. Here goes nothing.

God give me the strength to finish this. I really should have trained.