The Sad Puzzles*

So I have been really bored lately. I am trying really hard to find things to occupy my time and give me some purpose, but it’s not really working. Funny that the thing I have chosen is puzzles. Some of you may think that that sounds super lame, but I really love puzzles. But they also have some sadness too them. When I was growing up I wasn’t always the happiest kid. We lived in a really small town in Northern Saskatchewan and so there was not much to do or many people to do anything with. This, accompanied by the fact that my parents fought what seemed like constantly, led to me sitting in the basement with my sister watching cartoons and doing a puzzle. Even when I became a teenager  I still would do puzzles anytime I had a bad day. My family eventually started equating puzzles to depression. If I was doing a puzzle in the basement it meant that something was wrong. If I also happened to be watching Pearl Harbor then something was really wrong.  I guess it makes sense that when I’m going through a hard time in my life I turn to a childhood coping mechanism. It makes even more sense when you know that my parents are going through a divorce, hence they are fighting a lot. I think I turn to puzzles because I can focus all my attention on solving something. I am naturally a problem solver, so when I can’t fix something I get frustrated. According to Steve Harvey’s book Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady this is a strong quality of a man. He says that men will listen to the problem, give a solution, and then move on. They get really frustrated if you keep talking about a problem after they told you how to solve it. So apparently I am a man.

I think another big reason that I am so frustrated with not finding a job is that I don’t have that thing to go do and distract me from other issues. I don’t have a routine or reason for getting up and going. Every day I wake up, run, shower, get dressed, do hair and make up, then go to hang out with my sister and niece (who are amazing). I’m starting to feel as though I’m just complaining, and no one finds that very attractive. Many people would kill for a couple months off. And I’m sure that once I actually get a job I will be wishing I had more time off. It’s similar to when you start dating. I used to date a lot when I was younger, but I always seemed to seek out the biggest loser around and date him.  Now I have realized that I dated them because I wasn’t happy with myself so I sought approval through men. Once I realized I was doing this I stopped dating all together for the last 3 years. Seems like a long time, and it is, but I am so glad that I took that time to work on myself. I finally feel confident in who I am and I am happy being alone. I want to find someone, fall in love, and get married but I am truly okay with it not happening immediately. After going through that process I now believe that unless you are okay enough with who you are to be alone, you shouldn’t be dating. I’m thinking that I should adopt that philosophy with job hunting. I need to get to a place where I am cool with not having a “purpose” as defined by a job. My purpose should be to learn be happy and passionate with life no matter the circumstances. That seems like a better focus than puzzles.

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When Only The Ugly Boy Asks You Out*

This past Monday I went for an interview to be a Crisis Intervention Worker at a woman’s shelter just outside of Lethbridge. I have experience in working with abused women so I thought that it might be a good fit for me. I show up to the interview and it looked nice enough from the outside, but then I entered. My nostrils were assaulted by the smell of urine and general uncleanliness. Turns out the smell was cat spray and general uncleanliness. I knew instantly from that smell that I really didn’t want to work there, but what was I going to do, run away? I entered the office and saw a cat bed and further knew that with my severe cat allergies that it wouldn’t work out. I politely finished the interview and then told her about my allergies and that if the cat was there I wouldn’t be. I don’t feel that it was a bad thing to go through the interview, in fact I think it was really good practice and a learning experience. I learned that when someone asks you what your weakness is you probably shouldn’t say “tact” as that would be a very bad quality not to have as a counselor. The most important thing I learned is to trust my instincts. I knew walking up to the building, before I was assaulted by the smell, that I didn’t want to work there. Even so, if there had not been the convenient allergy excuse to get out of there I don’t know whether or not I would have taken a job there. I really didn’t want to, but I wanted a job. However, going  through that interview I realized that I deserve and am worth more then working at a job that smells like piss. I think that when we’re job hunting for so long and money gets tight we tend to think that we just need to get a job doing whatever just to pay the bills. And in some cases that’s true. There may come a time when I need money desperately and I’ll have to go work at Blockbuster. But until then I don’t think I need to let fear drive me into working in some dump when I know it’s not what I want or what I deserve.

As I’ve mentioned before I am reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. She talks in her book about how people overeat because they have this fear and panic that there won’t be enough food for them and that they’re not worth enough to get everything they want. When I was reading this I found it so relatable to my situation with work. I’ve actually been offered four jobs so far, and the job at the woman’s shelter isn’t one of them. I have been offered four jobs back  in Prince Albert, SK where I am originally from to work as an addictions counselor, community outreach worker in two places, and a school counselor. When I kept getting these offers I must say I was very tempted. It’s like when an ugly boy (and lets be clear that I mean ugly body and soul) asks you on a date and your self esteem is so low you think that maybe I should just go on the date and the worst that could happen is I get a free meal. That is unless he’s one of those losers that want to “join forces” on the check. And lets face it, if an ugly boy asks you out he’ll likely have less dating experience and is all the more prone to try something like that. I feel like right now my job self esteem is pretty low because I don’t have that purpose that comes from working and getting up and contributing to something everyday. I think that self esteem in both work and dating plays into the same fear, the fear that Geneen talks about, that we don’t believe that we are worth enough to get everything we want in life. When I got offered those jobs in Prince Albert I knew that I didn’t want to take them because I don’t want to leave Lethbridge. But I still found myself trying to be convinced that I could go to Prince Albert and it would be alright. All because I am afraid that I am not good enough to get everything that I want in life. That I deserve to live where I want, be with the people I want, and have a job that I want. In my experience life always involves sacrifice and hard choices, one or the other. But that was in the past and I don’t need to be afraid that what happened in the past will always be my present and future. I find it funny that I have decidedly said for a long time now that I will never settle when it comes to love. That is why I never say yes to the ugly boy and that is why I have been single for the past three years. And while I don’t want to be unemployed for the next three years, I know that I won’t settle for an ugly job.