Thursday, November 15, 2012

Esse quam videri

I've been accused of a lot of things in my life--being too damn pretty, knowing too many things, talking way too much, stealing a mean lady's credit card*, caring too much about Harry Potter, etc... A rude person might also accuse me of being a quitter/giver-upper, but I'd rather say that I'm naturally agreeable, and if someone tells me I can't do something then I will probably agree with them.

Being easily discouraged has been a problem for me for pretty much as long as I can remember. Some people hear the word "no" or "you can't" and their response is "oh YEAH?!" and then they go invent Facebook and become billionaires at the same age I'm sitting on the couch, eating Cheetos, moping about "what should I do with my life :(". A few examples: After a lifetime of hearing "yes" for...anything I ever applied for or wanted to do, I applied for an internship with WGN and never even got a phone call about it. This minor, minor setback convinced me it wasn't worth applying for any other internship, ever. When I was told I wasn't a good fit for the Next Media promotions department (for being a girl, as far as I could discern), I promptly stopped seeking advancement in any capacity. I think it's the other side of the "oh YEAH?!" coin--the stubborn toddler side. Tell me no? Oh YEAH? Well then I'll never do anything ever again! That'll show them!

I have a new job that I've been at for a fairly short amount of time, and there's been some growing pains. It's not a defined position, so I have no clear directive other than "make the bar better", and a lot of that work involves sitting, looking around, and thinking. What physical/mechanical/structural aspects are holding us back? How can we improve upon them? What are the bartenders like? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What can I help them with? How can I help them with that? It's all very intangible at the moment, especially as I'm still learning about the new company and their standards and procedures. There's been a lot of quiet hours sitting at the dead bar top with a pen and notebook, scribbling ideas.

I'm new, there's a learning curve. I know this, my boss knows this and seems content with how I've been using my time, and yet I let the office assistant get inside my head yesterday. I don't know if she was intentionally being dismissive and disapproving, or if she was merely asking questions and has a blunt demeanor that I'm not used to, but regardless of intent, she shook my confidence. I walked away from that encounter wondering "what on earth am I doing?"

But no. No. Not today. I was excited about this job and felt confident about this job up until this woman planted a small, but powerful, seed of doubt in my mind. I can feel that seed struggling to take root in my brain, thoughts like "I should quit now before they waste more of their money on me" keep cropping up, but I'm trying really hard to stamp them down.

I'm not miracle worker and I'm not a robot-- I can't just show up and perfectly perform a function that I haven't been trained to do yet. The small things I've done have been met with approval, my ideas have been accepted and praised, and I'm getting to know the staff. One step at a time. I just need time to get my footing, to get comfortable, to actually feel ownership in this new place. I've been at Friday's for six years now and I've forgotten what it's like to be new at something. I just need to keep reminding myself that feeling lost is okay.


*I've never stolen anyone's credit card, no matter what that bonkers teacher might think

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Four More Years of the Same

I know a lot of my friends, on all sides of the political spectrum, are feeling cynical and deflated that after all this hype, we have elected what is, more or less, four more years of the same. The same President, the same parties controlling the House and Senate, what was this all for? And I hear that, and it does seem like this election cycle could be seen as a huge waste of time.

However--with this particular election, in this particular political climate, the status quo is my beacon of light. Nothing changed--and for that, a suffocating fear that had been gripping my heart over the previous 48 hours evaporated.

I know so many Americans are probably feeling the opposite, a sense of dread as they worry about their future. Will their mortgage ever get out from being underwater? Will they find a job? Will they lose their job? How are they ever going to pay for college? I understand these fears, I have them myself. I do, however, know that both parties want America to be better again. No one likes our struggling economy, everyone wants to get up and out, and I honestly don't think either party knows how to fix it.

But while I, too, am nervous about my economic future, what I am NOT is worried about my status as an equal in this nation as a woman, or the status of the LGBTQ identified Americans for whom I am an ally.

This current incarnation of the Republican party scares me to death. If I woke up today to an incoming Republican President and a Republican controlled Senate, I would have panicked. I would have panicked that my rights as a woman would be stripped away one legislative repeal at a time. I would've panicked that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, and that any choice I had regarding pregnancy would be taken from me. Would I be forced to carry a non-viable fetus to term, with abortions outlawed? I would've panicked that my access to birth control would be taken away, making actually planning a family when Alex and I are financially stable a crap shoot. I would've panicked that, once the Affordable Heath Care Act was repealed, that my asthma, ever worsening scoliosis, and multitude of allergies would disqualify me for the very medical treatment I need when prospective providers reject my preexisting conditions.

I would've panicked that my gay friends, who have just barely begun to taste the security and privilege of the protections of legal marriage, would lose it all in one shattering swoop. I would've panicked that transgender Americans, still so marginalized and finally getting noticed by our government as people in need of protection, would be cast back into the dark and dangerous world of non-recognition and bigotry.

What the Republican party was campaigning on this year was a total stripping away of basic human rights and decency, and that scared me to death. So yes, we have four more years of the same, but it is four more years of tolerance and progression to an equal, kind, and egalitarian nation.