Spring? Yes, please

It’s amazing how much better a person feels just getting out into warmer, dryer air.

The daffodils are out. Pink blossoms are popping out on trees. Green shoots are popping out of the ground. The infinite shades of new green are everywhere, and the blue sky has never been more welcome.

People throw off their Winter coats, and find their sandals and shorts again. The parks are full of laughing children and adults trying to remember how the gears work on their bikes. Faces squint at the bright light coming from the sky.

Spring.

This is only a preview, of course. The tease before it comes to stay in a few weeks. Or August.

It always comes right when we need it most, don’t you think?

We breathe it in, and then we can stand to battle gray skies and rain until May. Or July.

Our green plants and trees are paid for with a rain tax here. Sometimes, when it’s February and we haven’t seen blue sky since October it seems like an unfair thing to require of us.

Mostly, though, we’re thankful to have the rain if it brings us green grass, cherry blossoms, lush ferns and rivers and streams full of fish.

Don’t ask us how we feel about it in August when we haven’t seen the rain for a while.

Don’t ask us in November, when we still have months of rain in front of us.

Ask us in that week in late February or March when we get a sneak preview of what Spring means.

If you ask us then, we’ll tell you it’s worth it.

Small victories…so very small…

What does it say about a person that there are times when the victories in life need to be measured with a micrometer?  Yes, I am the person. It’s my blog, of course I am the person.

What does it mean if my major victory of the last several weeks is just getting through them at all?

What if sometimes my victory of the day was making it out of bed to the couch?

What if my victory was not curling up in a ball and wailing? Much.

It’s been that kind of a year overall, and the last two weeks have been particularly brutal both professionally and personally.

I’ve been dumped. I’ve watched my colleagues and friends at work get laid off. I’m still waiting to find out if I’ll share their fate. I’ve been sick not once, but twice. I failed a professional certification test. I feel battered, depressed and powerless. I have the focus of a gnat. Not even an adult gnat. A toddler gnat. I’m not sleeping. There have been days when I have been almost entirely without a sense of humor. I know things are grim when my sense of humor goes. It is the most robust thing about me.

Am I taking steps to get past it?  Well, yes. I’ve actually been handling things fairly productively considering that I would really love to be curled up in the fetal position. I’ve had one meeting with a life coach/career counselor and another scheduled. I have also met with a psychologist to verify that my emotional responses are not totally out of line with reality. She concurred that life is being a bitch to me right now and I’m responding normally.  In fact, she was pretty impressed that I was making it through this without either bourbon or potato chips. Yay, me!

I’ve also made several contingency plans for handling possible future poverty, I’ve updated my resume, I’ve cut back on expenses and I’m saving as much money as I can in case I need it later.  My diet is (mostly) healthy.

Still.

I am a ball of stress and anxiety, and anxiety isn’t really one of my usual issues. I overthink things all the time, but it’s more recreational. I enjoy thinking, but this is a different thing. It’s a sick to the stomach kind of feeling. I don’t get that. Ever. So I’m trying to remember that my shoulders do not belong up by my ears, and that there are simple steps I can take as many times a day as I need to in order to make sure that doesn’t happen. At least not very much.

What’s  that? I can use my mantra. I’m still having some trouble remembering to use my mantra when I need it.

My mantra? Have you all forgotten what my mantra is?

Repeat after me–it works for anyone:

GIVE YOURSELF A FUCKING BREAK.

(and breathe)

I just added the part about breathing. It felt a little stale with just the yelling part.

What could I be doing better? I am all about continuous fucking quality improvement even in this time of misery.

I could be getting more exercise. A lot more exercise. To that end, I will set up one of the spare bedrooms as a little gym this weekend. And use it. I will also be better about going for at least one walk while I am at work. Getting closer to Spring will help both because the additional light will make me feel better and because it will make going for a walk less of a raindrop avoidance task. I was going to do it last weekend, but being sick intervened.

I could be reaching out to my friends more. Why is it that when we really need the support of our friends, we feel like we’re bothering them and fall out of touch? That’s what I do, anyway. Probably because I feel like I’m boring and whiny, and who wants to be around someone who’s boring and whiny? MY FRIENDS DO!  Right? You do, because you’re awesome! So I’ll try to do better. Yeah. I’m a lot more likely to get more exercise…

Work-wise, I need to start studying for another professional certification so I can get that done before any possible unemployment ensues. Testing is already scheduled because what I need in my life is MORE FUCKING PRESSURE. Sigh.

Lastly, I need to take some time to get a creative workspace set up again. I’ll probably feel better with a saw in my hand.

What? Don’t you?

 

I did have an actual victory today, which is that I did manage to pass my Epic Inpatient CE exam. Barely. It should have been easy, but apparently toddler gnats don’t test as well as I usually do.

Late addition:  yet another victory today. I found a boot that I lost last week. It was in the laundry hamper. Because of course where else would it be?

 

 

 

Imposter syndrome

We've been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.
--Amanda Palmer

Several years ago, I read a book about asking for what you want. Several things resonated with me about the book (being your true self, asking for what you need, trusting being a default position) but what she said about imposter syndrome just kind of glanced over me at the time.

With the current situation at work, I’m finding that my feelings of being a fraud are coming to the surface again. I can admit that I’m a lot of things, but internally I always feel like that teenager whose father told her she was fat, ugly, lazy, stupid and would never be able to hold down a job.

You’d think I’d have gotten over it by now, but some things stick at a subconscious level. Like never feeling  quite competent.

My boss tells me I am very unlikely to end up without a job. Her boss tells me the same thing. Other people in the department tell me. I have 27 annual reviews that say amazing things about me. Do I believe any of them? Nope. Not really.

I feel like I’ve somehow managed to fake them all out. For over 27 years. If I have true talent for anything, apparently it’s being an imposter.

What set me off? We’re having a  reorg at work. It happens every several years. My team is being eliminated in order to create a new team which will support all 371 of our applications. A huge idea. It’s not the way applications are typically supported. It will be insanely difficult at best and a crash and burn at worst.

The woman who is tasked with the project of wrangling all of the teams into providing input and coming up with a project plan asked if she could pick my brain about my team’s current work in the next few weeks. My mouth said something about being happy to help, but my guts said “why does she want to talk to YOU?”

My logical brain said that of course she wants to talk to me. I wrote a good chunk of the documentation used by my team. I was one of the first people to join the team when it was formed. I am a big contributor to everything about the team. Why wouldn’t she want to talk to me? I know what I’m talking about because I was instrumental in creating “it” in the first place.

My guts think I am a fraud who has finally been discovered. All of the people who have ever given me jobs I’m not remotely qualified for that I kicked ass at have been wrong. I’ve been faking them out all along.

So I not only feel like a fraud, but that it’s my fault this is all happening. If I wasn’t such an imposter, maybe my whole team would be safe now.

It’s both wildly, fantastically egotistical of me to think I have that much influence over what happens in the department and wildly insecure of me to think that I am as utterly lacking in competence as my inner voice thinks I am.

Are there things I could do better? Absolutely. There always are, and I learn all the time. But I’ve also learned from years of working with people that I am better at a lot of things than most people. (Is it egotistical if it’s true?)

So this last few months, or really the last year, has been the perfect storm of reinforcing every one of my worst inner beliefs about myself. Since I’m not sure how to fight against it, or if I even should fight it. I’m trying to just let it flow over me and keep doing the best I can until my inner voice just shuts up about everything.

Maybe fighting it just gives it energy. Just letting go will let it..go.

Side note to those who are wondering if I will ever quit whining and do anything about it.I already am “doing something about it”. Career counselor appointments made, general counseling appointments made, using every last bit of medical care I can while I know I still have insurance, updating professional certifications, seeing friends etc etc etc. My resume is up to date, but I’m not quite ready to fling it out there yet.

On a more practical note, I have several provisional plans in mind in case I do become unemployed or get a big pay cut. I’ve cut expenses back and can live on about half what I was making before if I have to. I can get a roommate if I need to. If I get two roommates, that will cover my mortgage completely.  Or, I can sell my house and buy a small condo with the equity if I need to. Hell, I can sell my house and buy a house in Lincoln and mooch drinks and dinners off of Brenda. She’d even take me to some football games. Or I could even rent out my house and move in with Ma and Little L.  Or rent out my house and go to Costa Rica and live in an AirBnB until my severance and vacation time run out.

There are a LOT of options. I just need to pay my mortgage, buy food and get medical care. It’s unfortunate that I can’t take medical care for granted in an allegedly civilized country, but that’s a political topic I don’t care to dive into at the moment.

Oh, and I probably won’t quit whining about this or anything else any time soon. Once they let us know what our fate is at work I will quit whining. Maybe.

Or I’ll whine about something else.

As ever,  even when I am being bashed around there are silver linings. Hanging out with Paddy again. Getting beautiful new eyelashes from Shayla. Thinking about when I should have the next Cap’n Crunch Brunch.

There are still clouds and tree parts I haven’t photographed yet, and Spring is almost here.

Relationships and work may try to put me into limbo, but it can’t last forever. I’m fairly certain I will weather the temporary storms.

Even if I am an imposter.