Maybe, Just Maybe…

It’s been a rough year. From a violent stalker to dating a sociopath to work and financial struggles to deaths in the family to health issues and more, 2015.5-2016.5 has been a doozy. But maybe everything is going to work out after all. I got the call less than an hour ago, haven’t even told my current boss(es) yet but…

…I got the job.

And I have no idea how I feel. I’m stunned. Excited, but it almost felt too good to be true. And now I have to give notice (to my contract job and also to the investment company, but I also have to change my coaching schedule), but I’m going to be paid like a real person. I can finally fix my parents’ plumbing with my first paycheck like I promised last year (because I spent months on the roof, under the sink, and dealing with hydrochloric acid, but that’s another story). And it’s a huge, intimidating, enormous opportunity. I’m probably going to suck at it for a little while (actually, probably for a long while: at my third in-person interview the CEO said he would fully expect it to take a year for me to get a true understanding of the company, what they’re looking for, etc.).

But Lord have mercy, this is what I have been waiting for for the last year. This opportunity feels like the right one, even if I’m going to be scared halfway out of my mind once the shock wears off. Or maybe I won’t be (side note: super excited to officially meet the tall/dark/handsome man who poked fun at my door-holding skills at one of my interviews). Who knows. Right now, I am just so, so thankful that I found a position I’m so excited about, and even more than that, I am beyond grateful for all of the people who stood by my side and encouraged me (and listened to me obsess) as I went through this process. I can’t wait to see what’s next. <3


Self-confidence Sunday #17

Last month, I agreed to do a sample shoot for the catalog of a company in which my freelance employer invests. The product, a line of collegiate-branded women’s sleepwear, seemed right up my alley (seriously, who doesn’t love pajamas??), though it had been a while since I’d done a shoot. Although it was fun (my photographer, Tara Arseven, was just wonderful: personable, intelligent, and funny), the experience was a good reminder that I simply am not keen on attempting to use my appearance to make a living when I could (less stressfully, and with fewer creepers) use my talents to do the same. If nothing else, some of the attire was just skimpier than I am comfortable being photographed: about the least I’m okay with wearing tends to be a sports bra and spandex shorts for a sports-related shoot.

He (my freelance boss) wanted to do a re-shoot with another photographer as well, and had talked about me rebuilding my portfolio, but it felt good to be able to say with certainty that I would prefer to focus on my writing/editing/marketing and that I’m not interested in any sort of modeling right now.

There were some nice images, including the ones I’ve posted here…but what I really liked about the shoot was the glimmer of my genuine smile coming back (not counting the one with the straddle hold below: my face was showing the strain of holding the position, but cool athletic things >>> being attractive). For me, this was evidence of the fact that hard times don’t last forever: I was bound to be back to my old self again, just better, stronger, wiser, and hopefully kinder than ever before. Hurt doesn’t have to last forever. Photoshoot Tara Arseven Laughter Pillowfight Joy Auburn - Copy Photoshoot by Tara Arseven Straddle Hold Yoga GymnasticsSample Photoshoot Tara Arseven Auburn University

A Hot Mess

I don’t have anything particularly exciting or insightful to say today. For the first time since 2010, I slept through my (5:30) alarm when I was scheduled to work a promotion. Promos are a bit different than your average job in that if you are late, you frequently are not allowed to come in and work your shift because there is a back-up person on-site in the event someone on the roster has an emergency (or flakes). So, I ended up staying home today.

That’s great in one sense because I very obviously need a day off. It’s not so great, however, because that means I won’t be getting over $200 of the amount I had planned on pulling in this weekend. It’s my dad’s birthday though, so perhaps it works out that I’ll be home after all. I certainly have plenty that I need to get done today.

I’m just a little sad today. I hate that I’m still so hurt over the breakup, and it’s upsetting that it disturbs my sleep, my happiness, and (by proxy, since it was waking up at ridiculous times and then not being able to sleep that caused my oversleeping) now my work. I hate that the first thing I wanted to do when I realized I had overslept was to call him. I didn’t, of course, but it still feels like he’s supposed to be my first line of defense when things go wrong. I wish everything didn’t remind me of him.

It will help a lot when I’m back on my normal dose of Adderall. I wasn’t on top of things, so when my insurance switched (and it turned out I had to go in for the actual in-person consult instead of picking the prescription up) and my schedule got crazy, I just didn’t get it all done before running out. I have such a hard time sleeping–and doing just run-of-the-mill life things–without it. I didn’t start taking it until I was 22, but I really wish I had started much, much younger. It would have saved a lot of anxiety, issues with self-esteem (because really, how could I be such an overachiever yet remain chronically unable to clean my damn room, no matter what I tried?), stress, and frustration.

I know it’ll get better, but it sure feels like I’m not doing anything right in life right now. I’d like to curl up and sleep, but I know there are more productive, empowering things to do. Maybe I should cut contact with him after all…

Everything Changes

One thing that has really struck me about the process of moving on (or whatever it is that I’m doing) is that my emotions and energy can vary extremely widely from day to day. It seems that this often is dependent upon my sense of control over the situation and whether or not we have interacted (or interacted positively). When I am patient enough to let all interactions be initiated by him, it is a lot easier to feel competent, confident, and in control of what “us” is for me and of my life overall. He no longer dictates my emotions to that degree if I let him be the one who approaches me.

Last night, even though our team lost, I had a wonderful evening after coaching just hanging out at a bar in uptown with other members of my city’s alumni network. I met other former Vandy athletes as well as talked to a couple older alums, one of whom immediately got my contact information and has already mentioned several ways in which we could work together. I remain absolutely blown away by the genuine caring, helpfulness, and selflessness of the other VU alums with whom I have interacted. This job search process has been hard, and sometimes it really takes a lot of the wind out of my sails, but the reassurance, planning, and networking other grads have provided has really been the equivalent of a life saver. Someday, I will have my career together and will be able to do the same thing for other emerging professionals. <3

Last night, he texted me while I was out at the bar, and then for about a couple hours afterward. With the way he was talking, it made it sound like he was missing me, but I was careful not to get into anything similar to talks of “us.” He was a bit less careful, but that’s fine (and I played dumb when necessary). The ball is in his court as far as that goes; I’m not going to pursue him. It’s just so dumb that hearing from him through any medium still makes me happy, still makes me feel reassured and at peace. -_- Dumb man…

I got to stunt and tumble some at open gym tonight after work, and I left with this nagging need to get my head on straight and get all my skills back (and then some)! I’ll work with the other coaches when time permits, but I’m considering asking him (yes, seriously) at some point to work with me… He still wants to get together and stunt again, so I may as well ask for him to help me get rid of the mental craziness I’ve developed around my tumbling while we’re already out and sweaty.

He may be a ding-dong sometimes in relationships, but he’s also an incredible coach, sooo… I think I’ll hold off on asking at least until he contacts me again though, since that seems to be better for me. Maybe I can offer some of my editing and marketing skills in exchange, which he could surely use for his business? Then it would be less of a favor from a friend/ex (or whatever we are) and more of a business “deal.”

I know I’ve had some rough knocks this year, but it just feels like life is about to get so, so much better. Everything will be sorted out, I’ll be working in a job that will provide me with challenges and opportunities to learn new skills, I’ll be coaching, out exploring all that Dallas has to offer… Goodness, I just can’t wait to be on salary and able to help my parents financially instead of just around the house. I’m planning on taking my first “real” paycheck and fixing the plumbing in their front bathroom. Someday soon, I will feel like a “real person” again. 🙂


Running on Empty

Today was a little hard. I got two hours of sleep, the address for my job interview ended up being in a field, and I’m missing you.

When bad things happen, I instinctively reach out for you; now, you’re not there. When good things happen, my impulse is to call you. You said you wanted to know about both…but I don’t need to depend on you for love, support, or encouragement if you won’t be there through thick and thin.

Can’t have your cake and eat it too, m’love.

Here’s hoping life looks better in the morning (after a much-needed extended nap!), at which time I can celebrate all the positives from today. Right now, I think I’m going to sit with my sadness, allow my mortal wounds to sting a bit, and then recharge my battery to take on another day. Things will get better, and soon. They have to.

Woes of Work (or Lack Thereof)

Perhaps it’s the head cold that has me a bit down; maybe it’s the breakup aftermath. Either way, I’m having trouble avoiding a fixation on my job woes today.

I know that breaking into a new field is hard, especially with a master’s degree in a different field (and simultaneous graduate assistantship experience *in* the relevant field, which doesn’t always count because it occurred while I was in school. ugh). Despite that, I’m pretty irritated about how the process has gone so far. Especially when the interviews go so well, even to the point of my receiving detailed employee benefits information (costs and everything, I mean)…only to receive an email a couple days later that they are “moving forward” with other candidates–except that it looks like it just went to a guy already in the company. Internal politics, I suppose.

I love coaching, and I am determined to keep that in my schedule. I’ll still do promotions on the side, but I realized last night that I really just don’t want to do them anymore. I started working promos when I was 20, right at the end of my sophomore year of college. It was great money–and indeed, I used to make a living off of them–but I’m just done, I think. I’m ready to go back to being in an office five days a week, having a salary and benefits, and not having to worry about living paycheck to paycheck.

The February Trifecta

We always talk about trouble coming in threes, and though this often seems to (randomly) match reality, I generally consider the phrase to be the equivalent of folklore. After the past week or so, however, I think I may need to reevaluate that stance.

One: Significant other broke up with me (on Valentine’s Day, though that was partly at my urging that we make a decision rather than let it hang over us any longer).

Two: Unexpected death of a family member (extended family, to clarify) Monday

Three: Job offer that seemed right on the horizon pretty much evaporated (aaand when I turn 26 Tuesday, my health insurance evaporates too; at least I had a back-up plan in case I didn’t get this job, so I won’t be paying a fee). I think they hired internally, in which case there was never much of a shot in the first place…and I do not quite understand why I was given the encouragement that I was given.

At least there has been movement related to the first “trouble,” and I have requests for interviews other places related to the third. But good grief, can a girl catch a break this February?! 😉

If nothing else, I am very grateful that a “switch” seems to have flipped in 2016: I simply no longer have the energy to be sad this year. Coaching has helped tremendously with that. I admit that I was pretty down in the dumps about the boy, mostly because I am not working full-time+, but I feel much better about that right now (probably due to phone calls with him, but I digress). I suppose I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, trying to find the lessons in all this, and remembering that a year from now, I will not still be in this position.

True Life: I Made My Recruiter Cry

“Not to jinx it, but…”

With as frequently as I have heard not to count my “eggs” before they hatch, one would think I would have learned by this age not to get too excited before I know that a prospect is a sure thing. In keeping with my naturally obnoxious optimistic nature though, I just can’t help but to bounce around excitedly way before I have a certifiable, set-in-stone reason. Maybe that isn’t wise, per se, but I think I’d rather let myself experience the sort of elation that truly makes me feel alive rather than carefully curate my feelings out of some fear of disappointment.

A week ago, I set about applying for jobs (“real” jobs anyway, as opposed to the coaching and freelance work I do currently) like a madwoman (and a poor one at that). Two days later, I got an email asking to set up a phone screening. Although I was excited about the prospect of working for this company–which has a mission about which I am very passionate–I was not prepared for how awesome an experience it would be simply to interview with them (seriously).

When my recruiter called me Friday morning, she started the interview off on a wonderful note by sharing with me the fact that when she was younger, she loved Vanderbilt so much that she used to cut out photos of campus in the autumn and hang them on her wall. Even though it’s already been four years since I graduated, Vanderbilt made such a huge impact on my life that I always love hearing stories from others who are of a same mind.

What I really did not expect was that two short minutes later, I would make this lovely woman cry right in the middle of my interview. She asked me why I wanted to work for the company, which gave me the opportunity to explain why education and outreach (both related to the job for which I applied) are so very important to me. I spent a good bit of my childhood below the poverty line (though my parents certainly had it harder than did my siblings and I) and it is education that allowed all of us to hope for and make a better life. If there is one thing I would love to do as part of my job, it would be to help make educational opportunities accessible to others, especially women, members of racial minorities, and others who are traditionally disadvantaged in our society.

So basically, if I get this job, I will absolutely be surprising this woman with Vandy gear.

This morning I had the second phone interview, this time with the hiring manager (a senior marketing manager, who would be over me were I to be added to the team). It seems as though my luck held: we hit it off well enough that my interview went 10 minutes over the allotted time and she recommended a book to me that reminded her of my current academia-to-vastly-different-occupation life change (I plan to order that ASAP).

My in-person interview–with the manager and a VP–is this Friday. I know I “shouldn’t” get ahead of myself and be too excited, but it’s hard not to hope that this could be “the one.” The location is great, I like the people I’ve met at the company so far, the pay and benefits look to be exactly what I have been hoping for, I could expand my skill set, and I would be able to find a sense of purpose in work that I believe to be for the greater good. Crossing my fingers and studying to do my best at this interview Friday, but I just can’t help but to think that this could be the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. =)

Money Blues

Just thinking about my finances today, I am overwhelmed. From loans for graduate school to the car note (my car was totaled last November when I got rear-ended) to surgery bills to regular old “life” bills, it feels like I don’t even know where to start. After graduate school, I moved back home to help my parents with a lot of much-needed, much-overdue work on their house and yard. I felt they more than deserved that help, and after how miserable I was during my time in Missouri, I just needed to be able to work with my hands and be near people who love me. We’ve made wonderful progress on that on renovations and organization, but it has been a real challenge to my identity. I hadn’t lived at home since high school, and my tendency toward financial independence at a young age and working ridiculous hours had been big parts of who I was.

Although I’m coaching, transcribing and copyediting, and working promotions, that still doesn’t feel like “enough.” I’m not working a full-time job at one office that provides me with all my insurance, retirement benefits, etc., and as a result I have begun to question whether I should have even pursued what I did in graduate school. I suppose it was a bit of a bait-and-switch, since I had planned to complete my PhD there…but I don’t regret leaving after my master’s for one minute (and my assistantship, which was completely outside my degree program, was absolutely wonderful). There’s a reason (well, plenty of reasons) every one of us in the cohort left. The ethical practices were shoddy at best, and many of us ended up with debt that we shouldn’t have to couple the lack of advising and the poor academic standards. I know that I am exactly where I should be right  now, and in all honesty I am happier than I have been in years, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy place to be, either.