The 672 Mile Dash

A glimps of my week:

Not too bad, tbh. My three biggest events are hammering out the draft of this Assessment chapter I’m working on for a friend’s book, accepting the job in PA, and visiting my mom (which will be FRAUGHT with tension and angst because she’s not a big fan of me moving too far away).

Yeah, not looking forward to the weekend, but despite the stress, I DO love my mom, and if I’m taking this job, this may be the last time I get to see her before I pack myself up and head up north.

My weekends are booked solid until my first day of work on Labor Day: next weekend my roommate and I are taking a trip up to PA to find me a rental/new home, and the weekend after, I’m visiting my sister in Atlanta one more time. The weekend after that? The big move!

But first, a shit-ton of teaching NEXT week.

Time to end this whirl-wind month with a bang.

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Pro/Con List (for tough decisions)

Scenario: The job is AWESOME. It’s a small, private college, the library is within a year of starting some pretty exciting renovations, the people who work there are SUPER nice, and the students are pretty impressive. BUT, the town the college is embedded in is a very small, Pennsylvania town. Feels kind of conservative (yuch), but it is much more affordable than Charleston and there are some pretty awesome opportunities within drive/train distance.

If the library job is offered to me, DO I TAKE IT? (NOTE: Of course, this is only a relevant question after the job offer, negotiations, and a very important call to HR to determine if there are even any available rentals in the area.)

Listed out, I can see that my pros outweigh my cons, but UGH. I wish someone would just make the decision for me (something that has not actually happened since I was probably 17, so I need to grow the fuck up).

Lying in bed too long = back pain

Thing that people already know but forget until it happens on a Friday morning when you are supposed to be getting ready for your usual commute to work: Charleston was built below sea-level.

Long story short, lots of rain, tons of traffic, the streets of downtown overflowing with water and stalling hapless drivers left and right. Ended up emailing in that I was going to be working from home and promptly fell back asleep.

This resulted in a surprise 3-day weekend, which I have been very much enjoying.

Lying in bed, re-watching favorite episodes of old anime (Bleach, DBZ-Future Trunks saga), catching up on new episodes (Boku no Hero Academia), reading fanfiction, munching on banana-flavored dessert chips, and generally ignoring most responsibilities.

These are like Cheetos puffs except instead of the nasty radioactive cheese taste, you get deliciously-addicting, tooth-rottingly, fake-banana taste.

Which has honestly done wonders for my mental health.

Things are moving along on the job front, and with an on-campus interview scheduled for later this week, anxieties about the future buzz a little less in the base of my skull.

It’s always sharing information about interviews with people who are not librarians or members of the higher-education work force.

Interviews usually consist of two parts: the phone or video-conference interview (which usually lasts 30-45 minutes) and the on-campus interview (which can last from half a day to two days).

  • Phone interviews tend to be more stressful, but it’s the best way to get a clearer idea of who you are working with, what the job really entails, and what the hiring committee is looking for.
  • You would think that on-campus interviews would be MORE stressful, but there are honestly more tiring than anything. It’s basically a short business trip where the expenses are completely covered by the hiring institution. Flights, hotels, meals are all covered, and in exchange, you submit yourself to various strangers for thinly veiled interrogations. There is always a presentation included as well, where you have to prepare in advance to talk about your expertise in the given prompt in front of a group of possible future-colleagues

After this whole she-bang, you wait about 1-2 weeks to hear if you are being offered the position or if your performance was sub-par to the two other invited candidates.

I get to do this later this week 😀

The job in question is at a small college in Pennsylvania, and while it’s almost a carbon copy of my first institution in Iowa, it is a very easy drive to some pretty awesome cities and I can afford to live in my own (maybe even have a two bedroom apartment, WHAT)?

I’m more excited to see the place than I am with the interview.

When I first moved to Iowa, I really enjoyed my job and the affordable yoga classes. But I was also very lonely.

I had the hardest time making friends and meeting people. Socializing for me was parking myself in the Starbucks with a book or my computer, and listening to the buzz of conversation around me.

If this place is going to work out, I need to see options for meeting others. Yes, I’m an introvert, and I enjoying staying at home more than anything, but I like the option of having dinner with someone every once in a while, or going on a hike with a friend. Seeing a movie where we completely ignore each other for 2.5 hours.

(But to be honest, I’m so ready to have my own space again. Having roommates is HARD.)

Missing some much needed introvert time

Charleston is a VERY expensive place to live.

I managed it for about two years, but jobs here are notorious for not paying people enough to survive here, so I had to bite the bullet and get a roommate.

Luckily, it’s a roommate that I love, and while she is fantastic, I 100000% miss having my own place.

I can usually manage a day where I can just lock myself in my room and recharge, but lately, with an impending wedding coming up (not mine, but I’m the unofficial maid-of-honor and best man), trips to see family, and a constant round of visitors, I have not had the chance to recharge like I’ve been needing to.

Long days usually result in me becoming this cranky ball of emotions and that just seems to be compounding on additional expectations that I be sociable at home and at work, dealing with family bullshit, and feeling trapped as I keep searching for a clear reset button for my life.

But, some good things.

We had a visitor this weekend, but I was able to have the kitchen to myself for about 2 hours to work on some funfetti cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting. I wanted to try my hand with fancy cake decorating, and I tried to copy this awesome cupcake decorating video I found (once I find it again, I’ll link it here). 

Not perfect, but it was very fun! I wasn’t worried about the taste. I’m confident enough in my baking prowess that they would be DELICIOUS (spoiler alert: they were), but I am not the BEST at decorating. This was my first go at using stabilized whipped cream and the Wilton gel food coloring to make something half-way decent.

Not wedding cake worthy, but not bad for my first time if I do say so myself 😀

So, while not quite the introvert time I needed, it was a very lovely 2 hours.

Then came yesterday.

Tuesdays are my Mondays. I dread them and they feel like they last forever, but while I had plenty to do, and yesterday didn’t feel as horrible, I was slightly spiraling until I ended up having a minor anxiety attack in the middle of the day.

I was tired of answering the same questions over and over, my little brother is acting like a shit at home, the house is perpetually messy (thanks to two dogs and being the only roommate that freaking vacuums), and I hadn’t heard a single thing back yet from all of the different job applications I’ve sent out.

My response to an anxiety attack is to sweat it out. So with a fake smile on my face, I was able to book it across campus to the gym and run for about 40 minutes. I still felt a little bit like crying on my way back to the library, but I was able to manage it.

THEN.

Then, I saw my email.

Two libraries extended an invitation for a video interview!! One is at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (pretty close to where I used to live/work in Iowa), and the other is at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA.

I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED.

Both places definitely have their pros and cons, but I’m excited at the job opportunities and the chance to try something new (also both places are much more affordable than Charleston, which means I will be able to live on my own again!!!)

Also, they are both not in the South. 😀

 

Mood: “Why does tragedy exist?”

Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief. Ask a headhunter why he cuts off human heads. He’ll say that rage impels him and rage is born of grief. The act of severing and tossing away the victim’s head enables him to throw away all of his bereavements.… Perhaps you think this does not apply to you. Yet you recall the day your wife, driving you to your mother’s funeral, turned left instead of right at the intersection and you had to scream at her so loud other drivers turned to look. When you tore off her head and threw it out the window they nodded, changed gears, drove away.

Grief Lessons, Anne Carson

Stumbled upon this while reading a NYTimes review of Hereditary.

Just found out that our family dog died in her sleep this morning, and I’m feeling maudlin.

I miss her. And life at the house wasn’t the best. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I want to believe that she felt some sort of peace when she dragged herself to the side of the shed and closed her eyes.

I live 4 hours away and I wish I could have given her one more belly rub or butt scratch.

She was innocent and good. And such a dumb puppy.

But she was the only good one.

A good puppy.

Love you, Daisy.

Dear Iceland,

Visiting you for a solid week of hiking, camping, driving, and mind-blowing views was INSANE.

Sleeping about 4-5 hours a night . . .

Hiking an average of 8-10 miles a day . . .

Gawking at the cost of gas per LITER (WTF) . . .

That solid week honestly felt more like a month.

Snippets of the best moments of my trip to Iceland

And while I would probably not do an extreme Icelandic trip like this again, I do miss you.

This trip would not have been possible if it were not for my sister and brother-in-law. They were SUPER kind enough to invite me along for their third trip to Iceland (they are true world-travelers). This was my very first visit to a European country and I was ENCHANTED.

Puffins, hotdogs, amazing waterfalls and landscapes. Stupid inside jokes and confirming that Icelanders are INDEED Nordic Gods and Goddesses.

This was a full week where I didn’t have time to think about “real-life.” I was too busy trying to survive off of supermarket food, and keeping my balance during dangerous hikes to be depressed or anxious or ANYTHING but alive and happy. (To be honest, second to all of the experiences, THIS was the biggest gift that Sophia and Brian could have given me and I will forever be indebted to them. I so rarely have people in my life encourage me to really focus on myself and my happiness and without them, I don’t know where I would be now fuck I’m tearing up)

I can see why people (who can afford it) make an effort to travel at least once a year.

I wasn’t really able to afford this trip, but my family made it happen, and I am 10000% grateful to them for this opportunity.

Nothing like a once-in-a-lifetime trip to help you reset.

…..

……..

I now want to drop my life as a librarian and own a bed and breakfast (with a bakery attached to it because YES)

Icelanders know how to BAKE.

Thank you for the lovely memories.

I hope to see you again. Cheers,

Christine

Session #1

Dear Therapist,

Thank you for welcoming me (quietly) to my very first session with you. You are my first non-physical therapist (which is kind of sad considering I’m a grown-ass woman with health insurance that STILL cannot afford an actual therapist).

But whatever.

I have many things to complain about. The state of this country. The fact that I miss living on my own. Marriages. Shedding dogs. Childish parents. Childish siblings. My weight.

This fucking eye-sore of a chin (think Bob’s Burgers characters. Just FLAT, straight down to my clavicle).

Today, I want to complain about guilt.

Guilt is something that I’m very good at. There is a very colorful history of being a first-born child burdened with high expectations and responsibilities, being an introvert, and a bad habit of putting others before myself, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that I list the current guilt trips I’m simultaneously vacationing on:

  • That twinge of guilt you feel when you are job searching (and still employed)
    • But COME ON, you know that you are not growing at your current job and you DESERVE  better job damnnit
  • The additional guilt of not letting your roommate know that you are 100% job searching because she never wants you to leave
  • The guilt of thinking you may be slightly annoying to your brother and sister-in-law who may be consciously separating themselves from a pretty fucked-up family (divorce, childish-parents as mentioned above)
  • Wanting to make plans to see friends and family WITHOUT telling other friends and family so that they won’t make you feel even MORE GUILTY about not making a trip to see them/or include them
  • Eating another doughnut even thought I can feel the rolls EXPAND

I am aware that all of the bullet points above are self-inflicted. I am the QUEEN of self-inflicted guilt.

It’s why I’m anxious all the time. And depressed. And I sometimes sleep a lot. Or don’t sleep at all.

So I’m ready for a change. But I’m also worried that change will just reset the cycle and in a few years I’ll feel like I’m trapped again. I’m a librarian and there is comfort in that. Having a job that includes a steady paycheck, steady responsibilities, steady insurance. But I kind of want something else?

I love to bake. I like getting tattoos. I like to read and pretend I’m a good writer with words and thoughts that people give a shit about (which is probably wrong, and damnnit, there’s that fucking deprecation).

I need someone to tell me what to do to be happy. I know that NO therapist will actually tell me how to do this. I have to find out the answer on my own.

But fuck.

I’m 31 and I’m tired.

I’ve spent my years being there and shouldering the struggles of others. Giving answers that I had no real clout to give (but it made people feel better and it was enough).

I need someone to give me some answers. Tell me what to do. Help me get to someplace better where I’m not questioning everything the moment I wake up.

2018 is halfway over and it’s just not my year (but isn’t it really? I have a job and I’m not homeless, and I have NO FUCKING ROOM TO COMPLAIN GODDAMNIT).

Will 2019 be my year? 2020? (Lets be honest. It won’t be anyone’s year until this fucking clown and his administration is GONE).

Fuck.