Hope at the Violet Hour of My Despair

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My mother spoke comforting words into the pre-dawn night’s – her voice steady and calming through the phone, soothing my rampant, dark panic.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” My mother said.

“But it’s been a twelve-year dawn, Mom,” I would counter, smoking, nerves frayed.  Then…

“Even for us there will be a softening in the wind.”  She said, wisely, like a prayer.

And my spirit took comfort.  She, I believe, has found a softening in the wind, through death, though my spirit dwells with her still.  But at last, after a year of praying, meditating, howling, roiling, and raging at my destiny, I have three job offers on the table.  As the strain drains from my body, I find a softened, tired, grateful shadow, hands raised in a boxing position, still battering at windmills.

God came through at precisely the moment when I was drained, wondering how and if I could reinvent myself, fashion my being into something and someone that was marketable in this changing labor landscape.  I’ve sold 25k worth of jewelry and had about two months of liquidity left before hammering my meager stock portfolio.  A long over due bank loan against my apartment was the last resort and that’s scheduled to come through, though they are rechecking my loan since I am in Zone A – high risk area – post hurricane Sandy.

I need time to process the offers and to at last choose the one that is best for me.  I will take time to find gratitude in a battle wearied spirit.  I will thank the friends who have stood as encouraging banners against the winds of my despair.  At the violet hour of my discontent, there is relief.  I can rest without thinking that I may need to move, without dreading the next day.  Now I have to reapply myself to work.  This vast expanse of time has also given me some space to heal and pursue other hobbies, jewelry-making, boxing, writing….late nights and early afternoon mornings. http://tinyurl.com/a7m5ras

I no longer have an excuse to indulge in self sabotaging behaviors like refusing to eat because I can’t afford decent restaurants now; gnawing my cuticles thinking that is nourishment and protein; dating men who don’t interest me because I’ve lost interest in my tired story; driving through the hurricane soaked streets of New York with no gas left in the tank; waiting on gas lines during a blizzard; obsessively watching Rock of Ages because I find Tom Cruise unbelievable sexy in the role; waiting until dawn before trying to sleep.

My cats cuddle next to me in winter’s awakening dawn, fur-thickened Persian bodies comforting me and telling me that they knew all would be well.  I feel their silky purring reassurances and close my eyes – tonight there will be rest.

When you’ve walked the last mile on your road and can no longer see a clear path before you, believe in yourself and a higher power who holds you steady against the bruising winds.  A friend recently wrote that I should “keep knocking on those doors” and that “kindness rebounds.”

Thanks for the reminder.


Sixty Days Searching for a Job or Losing My Sanity – Which will come First?

For those of us who rely on the structure of adult underpinnings like employment, family, children, aka, the human race, it is devastating to be cast adrift finding oneself without the security of these normal adult structures.

Who am I and what will I be without these guideposts to illumine my way?  One can attempt to write the great American novel, but there’s that pesky little problem of mortgage or rent that asserts itself every thirty days or so.  Travel would be an enriching pastime if you’re not dissuaded by the soul shattering consequences of increased debt and financial obliteration. Volunteer work is a laudable pursuit if you can stop your shaking hand from popping another Xanax as you proofread your LinkedIn profile for the millionth time.

The chasm seems vast and deep and even the comforting new jobless rate of 8.1% can’t stop you from desperately wanting to roll over every morning, pulling the covers over your head, as more worthy mortals slog off to a job and a regular paycheck.

This blog is about my commitment to remain positive, engaged and proactive during a time of crisis that has many of us considering careers as dog walkers or baristas and feeling that we’d be lucky to be paid for our services.  I’m underemployed and have officially raided and sold my jewelry collection and need to find a more substantive way to supplement my income. I’m grateful that I was obsessed with something that maintained value rather than something like say, shoes.  I even sued, and won, the former employer who fired me without cause when a $25,000 commission was due.

These are the times that define one’s character.  I feel like I’ve already been chiseled by Sondheim’s infamous blood thirsty butcher and don’t feel that I can withstand further definition.  How I will slog my way to the other side of safety with my sanity and self-esteem in tact is in God’s hands, because I no longer have a clue.  Anxiety induced loss of appetite has chiseled thirty pounds from my frame and I’m counting on lower food bills.

I’ve consulted with a plethora of bottom feeding companies who have sprung up with the promise of a free work force. And I’ve toured favorite Madison Avenue establishments to ask if they need sales help.  I figured that I could indulge my obsession with jewelry by working for a favorite designer, Alexis Bittar, but have just missed a recent hiring phase.

I’ve pondered the feasibility of propelling my pampered persians into the sluggish economy but I settle for cuddles and warm tongue lickings realizing that their qualifications are far inferior to mine, I think.

I’ve been hired for jobs and have then been told that there is a hiring freeze. I’ve been told that I am the right candidate and then heard that they are going with someone whom they feel has better contacts.  I’ve been asked if I can walk in the door with guaranteed accounts and if I can qualify and quantify those accounts. I’ve provided lists, contacts, references, past income figures, and enthusiasm.  What’s next guys, a pint of blood?

I’m struggling to scratch my way back into the belief in the American Dream, queasy that all is not well on Main street and frightened by the prospects of a corporate raiding President like Romney taking the reigns in November.  And I’m no longer mollified by the integral diligence of a partisan seeking cooperative gentleman like Obama.

So I’ve decided to conduct myself with dignity and clarity.  I pledge to respond to every reasonable and not so reasonable job application.  I will remain positive.  I will structure my days by working on the job that I do have, going to the gym, and pounding the cyber pavements of Media Bistro, LinkedIn, Career Builders and Craig’s list.  I shall leave no stone or contact unturned or untapped.  I will continue to value myself in the face of diminishing returns and believe that my experience and savvy will win the day with some luck.

I’ve weathered economic storms before, though not as fierce.  I believe in my talent and acumen and know that I will set shaking feet on yonder shore and once again have some mad money to spend with discretion.

So this is one voice joining the chorus of disenfranchised or just disgusted.  Keep believing in yourself and do the next right thing because  the greatest opportunity of your life can be one click away.