Saturday, August 13, 2005

I've lost that lovin' feeling.

First, the job. Or the lack thereof. I don’t even know how to begin to explain what has happened with the job search. To refresh: there are two job opportunities I’m currently pursuing. One is a job that I’m creating; the other is a job I was assured I’d get. The Friday after the bar, while I was moving out of my house and about to leave the town I’ve called home for the past three years, I received news that there was a possibility that there were fundamental differences of opinion about the job I was working to create. This was quite unexpected, and if any shred of my sanity was intact at that point, it was thereafter razed. I did not respond to this news, but instead took a few deep breaths, and only a few moments later I was on the phone to the job I was assured I would get. I left a message, inquiring as to when I should expect to hear from them officially, since I was long ago assured an offer? Since that time, I’ve lost any feelings I’ve had about each job. I’m no longer capable of feeling attached to the job I created, nor am I able to feel excited or happy about either job opportunity. My senses have been dulled by what has now been a year-long process, and that Friday was the last shred of my own sense of self in this process. Since that time, I have only been capable of looking at this all with a cold feeling of economics and the muted desire to escape this reeling madness.

And then, out of the blue, a third opportunity reappeared. This organization has sought me out three times now for a job. And every time, I assure them I’m still very interested. And then I follow up, and my contacts go unreturned. And then months later, I hear from them again, same inquiry, same reassurance from me, and same silence from them. When I heard they had offered my friend a job, a job I wanted so very badly and a job I knew he would not take, it made me ill. So this time, yet again, I assure them I’m interested, but this time it is without feeling. I don’t care. I don’t care if they hire me tomorrow or if I never speak to them again. For now, I will neither be happy nor disappointed.

The job to be created was restored back to its original level of uncertainty, and I still have yet to hear back from the other job. I will follow up again, but I sense the answer cannot be good. Some moments, I care very little about what result that follow-up phone call will bring – any result is result enough. Other moments, I frantically cling to the hope that this madness was not all in my head; that when they said I would have the job, they weren’t lying. Because if that wisp of certainty were to fade away, I would really and truly be homeless and unemployed.

I’m not taking time off now because I don’t know what I want to do, or because I need to do some soul-searching. I’m so proud of what I’ve done. There is no doubt in my mind that law school was the right choice, and that the law school I chose was perfect. I have not one regret about my three years, and I wouldn’t do anything differently. I’ve worked hard and learned a lot. I know what I want to do; I’d go almost anywhere to be able to do it. I’ve put all my effort into being able to do it. I know that public sector work can take a little while. I’ve worked long and hard and in return, have asked for nothing more than a job that I will love.

And for all that work, I have nothing to show. For all of my effort, and my education, and my debt, I’m starting to fear that this is what failure looks like. That fear is what paralyzes me and it inhibits my ability to interact with anyone. The moments when That Fear creeps up into my gut also wraps a tight fist around my heart, makes my eyes sting, my stomach shrink, and my head fill with a throbbing pain. At those moments, which arrive at any time, in any place, and with no warning, I know that my face changes, and the curtain of confidence drops, revealing a sullen or scowling look. I feel the angry tears come to my eyes but know that those tears won’t drop – I know that they stay, pooled and burning, in my eyes.

Several times a day for the past few months, and especially in the past few weeks, I’ve had to field questions about what the future holds for me. Every time the question is asked of me, I get the same feeling as when I see the check engine light come on. I get tense, and anxious, and I’m afraid that my world will come crashing down around my ears, and please oh please sweet Lord, I’m not asking for much, not even A/C or power locks or a radio that can scan both up and down the channels, but just get me to where I need to be next. Please, just get me there, or at least to a gas station or a place with cell phone reception.

I want other people to know that I believe in what I’m doing and that I’ve foregone other opportunities because I believe so strongly in what I’m doing. Except it gets harder and harder to put on a tired smile and explain, yet again, that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m hardly in a position to convince someone else if I am no longer convinced myself. No, I don’t know where I’m going. Where I’m moving. What I’ll be doing next. Yeah, I took that state’s bar. I don’t know exactly what that means for my job process, but I do know that these other states will hire me if I’m barred in that state. I don’t know where I’d rather be. Let’s talk about you now.

The day that I left LawSchoolTown was one of the worst. My departure had been delayed by several days because of the aforementioned Friday News, and the necessary work that went into restoring that opportunity to its original level of uncertainty. As my last ounce of energy had been sapped by the Friday News, it took an extraordinary amount of borrowed energy to diligently work things out in the subsequent days. I had to forego a day trip on my way back home, to a destination that I had so desperately wanted to see, and know that I will not have the opportunity to see again. Then, on Wednesday morning, I went to my car and found the words “FUCK U” carved into my trunk in large letters. At first, I didn’t care; I was more concerned about the more vulgar language on my friend’s car, and how he would react. I was afraid that he’d be much more upset. Since I’d had a dream that my car had been broken into and all my belongings stolen the night before, I was just relieved that my car was intact.

But as I embarked upon my several hour drive, my misery deepened. I was leaving my town and my community on an anticlimactic note, to say the least. I had to whittle the importance of my life to three suitcases. I was heading towards an uncertain future that, for the immediate present, is an indefinite stay at my mother’s house. I have an extreme amount of debt that I cannot even begin to repay, despite the monthly loan bills that have come due. My check engine light came on every 15 minutes for many, many hours. And to top it all off, I was driving around with vulgar, billboard sized words carved into my car. I can’t afford to get it fixed because I’m broke and homeless. I’m broke and homeless because, more than anything in the world, I feel compelled to tirelessly advocate on behalf of the assholes who decided to senselessly vandalize my car.

And then my landlord informed me I wasn’t getting my deposit back because the new tenants whined that the ceilings were dirty.

And they wouldn’t let me on the plane because they informed me that I had been on the previous plane to that destination, and despite the fact that I missed my connection because this airline is utterly incompetent and eternally late, apparently I had managed to both get on the previous plane and miss it.

And then they lost my luggage.

Those angry tears sprung to my eyes again. I want someone to acknowledge that this is an inhuman amount of stress. I took the bar and moved, all while juggling job bullshit, I have no place to live and no money, my car is a total piece of shit that I cannot afford to fix or replace, and now I’m driving around with the words “FUCK U” on it. The bar exam itself is enough to drive one person mad – and yet, the bar exam was the least stressful event of the past few weeks, if that’s any indication of how horrid my life is. I do not want pity or coddling. I want someone to see not weakness but strength in my angry burning tears. I want someone to acknowledge that my dedication to this population of clients is so strong that I have given absolutely everything, and have accepted every conceivable burden, and that what I’ve done is incredibly, incredibly difficult – much more difficult than any comparable pursuit of employment. I honestly, truly, plainly, and sincerely have absolutely nothing more to give. Maybe the vandalism on my car really does express my sentiments. Fuck you too.

1 comment:

Audacity said...

I've deleted twice what I've wanted to say about this post, but I just can't find the words.

I applaud you.