Maybe It Was the Moon or Maybe It Was the Sobbing Meltdown
March 2, 2018
I went to yoga at 6:30 this morning. I had been excited about full moon yoga on the beach and easily got out of bed to get ready to go. Yoga class was up the road about 5 miles, so I drove.
Walking to the beach from the parking lot with groups of men and women chattering away at such an early hour, I closed up. I don’t know why - maybe it was all the group happiness and me alone. Maybe it was the weight of a long week that felt like a month so many emotions and moving parts. Maybe it was the moon.
My week: I added two part-time jobs to my three but dropped one of those after one day (food and beverage isn’t for me); I continued searching for full-time jobs and had a couple of phone calls regarding them (yay); I applied for jobs; I worried and and continue to worry after my friend who has just begun her fight against cancer; I received a letter from a friend who is concerned I have given up on journalism, on writing (I have not - the part-time jobs are to pay the bills); I had dinner with my parents and their friends from our hometown (amazingly was able to fit that in as will always try to make time for family and friends - and again, yay); I had total meltdown on the night after - and during - working 3 of the jobs that day - complete with massive sobbing (tough it up, I know you are saying that). Sometimes you need a meltdown to make changes or appreciate some of your life differently.
So with all that in my head on a Friday morning, by the time I stepped onto the sand and shells, I could feel the change. I mirrored the swirling gray clouds above. I wasn’t open, didn’t want to speak to my yoga neighbor who was talking aloud in my direction about the number of people and how we might not see much of the moon. I nodded and said as few words as possible, giving a clear signal I wasn’t open to chit chat. (Oscar says I give this clear signal often and I need to stop and be my regular bubbly, yellow self).
I hugged yoga teacher Laurie as I paid my $10 and grabbed a block. I saw yoga teacher Debby on her mat next to her husband. I didn’t hesitate to say hello and give a hug to this sweet friend. Debby said something along the lines of “your last post was so short. I have been waiting for more.”
“I haven’t been sure what to write,” I said. TruthfulIy, I worry about too much whining, not enough progress.
Debby then gave me some unsolicited advice about B, about how he would be with me if he wanted and I deserve more than that and deserve much better and I have so much to give to the world and that B isn’t worthy of that attention from me. She asked about flowers from B on Valentines Day and said “Why? That really bothers me.” Words I have heard from others - Dad, Mom, Lisa, my sisters, Jess, my own head.
It’s hard, I told her. He and I are close and he’s actually my biggest cheerleader and helper and finder of jobs and contacts. I love him. I know he's lost, himself. “You’re not ready, I know,” Debby said, implying I will be. I think, I hope so.
Debby added, “Ok, have a good practice - now that I’ve brought you down and dragged all that out.” That made me laugh and giggle during the first poses.
When Debby, Jess, Kate, Elana, Heather, Summer, Shane, Kristen, Jeri, Sarah, Tina, and many many more friends and family care so much about me that they watch for my blog posts, send me texts, Facebook messages and emails expressing their heartache and love for me, advice, typo notification, request for recipes and even stinging criticism for my behavior - I know it's with love and I feel it to my core. I hope I show appreciation for it. I don't always react in a way that shows it or express the gratitude I feel.
I was still closed and sort of empty feeling for about the first quarter of class, but Laurie moved us along with some difficult postures and quick moves and favorite goddess and 5-pointed star poses. She told us a story as our quads stung in low lunge - a story about the moon as a character and a large elephant riding a mouse. It was the Hindu tale of Genesha that explains the moon’s waxing and waning. It was a funny image and I watched it unfold in my mind as I moved clumsily from side lunge to low lunge to goddess pose.
As the sun beamed through the swirling clouds, I let the light in. At that moment, I was upside down in forward fold and Laurie told us to turn our hands up instead of the usual down on the mat. I immediately felt the change. Such things always amaze me. I felt a touch, some movement in my heart and mind. The picture of me jumping and smiling in a group photo after practice is the perfect image of how I felt at that moment.
NOT GIVING UP
I’m not giving up on journalism. I AM trying to figure out how I fit now after a world at a news company that was incredibly different from traditional newspaper journalism but not different in the way of the new digital journalism that would make me immediately attractive to those employers. I’m also mid-career - another difficult spot to be in. I’m trying to navigate through this new world of shrinking traditional journalism and fewer jobs. I know I'm talent. I know I have the experience and expertise to do just about any job in our field - I just have to find the right one.
It has been almost 17 years since was in search of a job. I have never been looking for a job and not had one I wanted to move up from. I also have never looked for a job and not been ready and willing to move for it. I would prefer not to move. I will travel as much as needed.
But perhaps I SHOULD move? To Kentucky or Tennessee to be near siblings (though I fear I see them more living on my island than I would there). Do I move to North Carolina where I have wonderful memories and many dear friends living there? Do I move back to New Jersey/Philadelphia where there are also many memories and friends? I want to keep this piece of paradise I worked hard to obtain. I couldn’t afford to buy a home in New Jersey/Phily when I lived there and rent was more than my mortgage now.
I don’t know.
I am pursuing local jobs - possibly an alteration of the journalism career to writing and editing but perhaps not news. There are a couple of companies here I would be excited to work for. So - perhaps.
I want to stay in news. I want to make a difference, which I believe is still being accomplished in journalism despite many outcries it doesn’t. I see it everyday in the work of friends still fighting the good fight, who wouldn’t know how to write “fake news.” I see it in my friend Josh’s newspaper columns that bring laughter, tears and outrage on a regular basis. I see it in the memorial work of my amazing friend Chris Hondros who was killed in Libya in 2011 making pictures in an effort to make people pay attention. I see it my hometown friend’s work in national network news. I see it in my ex-husband’s year-long effort to make the incredible body of work that is "Chain of Command" with National Geographic. I see it in the work and care that friend Rita Henley Jensen - who died last year - put into her pioneering efforts at Women's eNews. I feel it in the book I just read (actually I listened to it as I ran this week and finished it today) - J.D. Vance's "The Hillbilly Elegy."
Another Chris, the one who wrote the letter about my giving up, said he knows I have lost my confidence - it’s true. He wrote in an effort to help me, not to be cruelly critical. My previous employer had a way of sucking the lives and confidence of long-timers - perhaps that’s why we stayed because we were scared of the “real world” The company’s good pay and benefits persuaded us to blindly follow along with the rules and intensity and ignore any inkling to create an alternative path or prepare for any huge change like the layoff that befell me in June. This is my story, of course, I’m sure there are some former colleagues who have entirely different descriptions and experiences.
Being sick can destroy one’s confidence. Losing a job in itself can suck one’s confidence. Losing a love can do that also. Having all three in succession - well, I think I needed to actually be the Wonder Woman I often play on Halloween to not lose confidence in that situation. Chris also said I tend to fall into self pity - there’s no arguing that. It’s no secret. I know it. My dad has pointed out I did that - and I have never argued I was wallowing. I’m over that (I hope).
I think it took my most recent breakdown and the confidence to NOT continue the job that wasn’t for me to truly appreciate where I am, how far I have actually come and what it's going to take to move forward. It was a start. Now, I’m looking for the big confidence, on the road toward it, trying to build it back and trying to find my place in the world.
Meantime, the fourth part-time job I added is doing clerical work for friends Lisa and Scott at their physical therapy clinic - I'm helping them, learning new skills, getting paid and getting precious time with them that often eludes us. I managed to make dinner Friday night after working for them instead of eating out or eating organic Starbursts for dinner as had been much of my week aside from amazing dinner with my parents. And no matter what, for now, my office when I'm working on finding work or working on blogging or hopefully working on freelancing is spectacular and something to be appreciated.
I’m looking. I'm working hard at work and looking for work.
I’m trying. I promise.