An interview that turned into something so much more

Last week, I interviewed for a new job. Let me say, this was one of the longest and most inquisitive interviews I have ever had, and I think that is saying something, seeing as interviews are supposed to be pretty darn inquisitive. They asked me what my best friend would say about me, what my worst enemy would say about me, what I would do if I won the lottery, what I would do if I didn’t win the lottery (um, work?), whether I was generally happy or melancholy… This went on for over an hour. The interesting thing though, was I answered the same way for what I would do if I won the lottery and what I would do if I didn’t win. For both, I said that I wanted to work in some way with municipalities to improve green spaces, better manage water resources, and improve public transportation. The only difference was that I would do it for free if I won the lottery.

Here is why this was so eye-opening to me – I am very good at my job now. Incredibly good. Every boss I have ever had in this line of work has said that I was the best legal assistant they have ever worked with. I take a lot of pride in that. And yet, it seems that my passion lies somewhere else. Let me tell you, this is not something which I have harbored for years, and it is only now coming to the surface. I have no idea when this became a big thing for me. Or maybe I do.

About eighteen months ago, I read The Contrary Farmer by Gene Logsden. I instantly fell in love with everything this man said. I bought many (many) books on backyard gardening, on creating my own space in the world. My friend D and I used to talk constantly about buying a pecan farm in East Texas and setting up a B&B. And yes, people very frequently made jokes about how would I of the 4-inch heels, make a good farmer. I used to tell them that I would use my heels to aerate the soil. As with most of my instant loves, I quickly left it along the wayside, but every now and then, I find myself thinking how nice it would be to have a few acres to grow something.

Then, about six months ago, I found a Master’s degree program in Environmental Sustainability, and I was hooked. I want to do that!! I’m not even sure what “that” is, but I want to do it! I am not really sure what I could do with such a degree, and I am not sure that my GPA will get me accepted in to any of the schools which are offering this program, but I know it is something which I want to do. And with it, maybe I can find a way to work with municipalities to improve their green spaces, manage their water resources, and improve public transportation. For money, of course!

Someone told me yesterday that work for work’s sake was not sustainable. You have to feel passionate about what you do. Only then can you move along your life’s path. Yes, this new job would offer more money, which might help to move me closer to my ultimate goal. But I do not believe that I can sustain working for something which I no longer believe in. It would seem that in interviewing me for their job, my potential employers pointed me down my own path.

– Finch

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Identity Flux

So I had this incredibly clear message yesterday that I needed to quiet my mind, relax and meditate to find my path. It was actually a little bit like the Universe was hitting me over the head with a blunt instrument, or speaking to me as if I were a small child. But, regardless, I got the message. Here’s the thing – I don’t really know how to meditate.

I don’t know any chants, and my mind is too restless to just quiet itself. So I started by identifying some very basic information about myself, hoping to work my way to more complex issues. My name is _________________. I am 30 years old. My birthday is _______________. I am divorced.

And then I stopped myself. Why do I self-identify as “divorced”? After I had gotten out of previous relationships I did not describe myself as “broken-up with,” “dumped,” or even “dumper” (although “breaker-of-hearts” may have been a title I tossed around sarcastically every now and then). But still, after every previous relationship I have had has ended, I have gone back to “single.” But “single” means something different to me now. I do feel as if there should be a new title for me. Perhaps “independent” or “individual.” I would rather not get all 1984 and go “citizen.”

Another issue was my hair. When doing this exercise in previous years, I literally used to identify myself as “redhead.” That was a very big part of my identity. It helped me to clarify my personality and my attitude. I used to joke that I had been dying my hair red for so long that all personality attributes normally possessed by a true redhead had become mine. But I no longer feel that I can identify that way. I don’t even call myself a blonde. When cleaning out my car this morning, my hair still looked pretty orangey in the sunlight. I wouldn’t mind thinking of myself as a blonde, but it would have to be a very Hitchcockey type of blonde. Cool, classy, together – very Grace Kelly. Alas, my quirkiness cannot be contained, and I cannot stay in prolonged contact with my inner Grace.

Finally, I tried work. “I am a legal assistant.” But I’m not. That’s what I do, but even then, my job goes above and beyond regular legal assistant duties. I would love to qualify myself as a writer, and I think to a certain percentage, I do. However, I am not published – other than this blog – and I do not write every day. I do feel as if I express myself best when writing – although, to me, speaking is writing out loud, so I’m not too shabby there either!

So while I seek to quiet my mind and find my path, I will keep some simple truths in mind. Who I am. How old I am. When I was born. The fact that I love deeply, and am loved deeply. After that… well, I guess we’ll see what my psyche has to say!

– Finch

Sometimes people can’t hear you

I was so freaking mad yesterday, and you know what I was mad about? Movies. Specifically, about $200 worth of DVDs that Ex “borrowed” last summer. These included the first three seasons of The Clone Wars, all of which he had purchased for me as birthday presents; High Fidelity and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I had owned long before we got together; and Love and Sex, which was Tripp’s and my movie, so I think Ex just took that to break the DVD. He was supposed to bring them back, then he couldn’t. Then he was supposed to mail them back, and he forgot. Then he “did” ship them back, but they never made it to me, and he had no delivery confirmation or insurance placed on them.

I wanted to email Ex and tell him what a horrible person he was, explain how freaking pissed I was that he had taken these and never returned them, and let him know that he was lower than low to steal from me, especially when he still owes me $8,000 in unpaid bills (can you tell I have some pent up anger here?). Before I could dash off the email, I decided to go for a walk to work out exactly how I would tear him apart piece by piece when mi madre telephoned me. As I was explaining all of this, she started laughing, which is something she often does when I am mad abut something stupid.

“I’m sorry, I just think it’s so funny that you are mad about these movies when Ex owes you $8,000. Like, you know you’ll never see the money, but at least the movies he should be able to send back to you.”

She then went on to explain something to me which should have been self-evident, but which I very much needed to hear from an outside source.

“It doesn’t matter what you say to him in an email, or over the phone, or even in person. He can’t hear you. Do you remember how surprised you were when he didn’t understand why you wanted a divorce? You had explained everything for months, you all had been fighting for over a year, and yet when you finally said ‘I want a divorce,’ he felt it had come out of left field. That’s because he is not in a place where he can hear what you are saying. So while it might make you feel better to tell him off and curse him out, he will just continue to say the same things he always has, and he won’t understand why this is such a big deal, and you will only get mad all over again.”

This made total sense to me. How many times had I been in a situation where I just wanted to explain it to someone? “I never want to talk to you again, and let me tell you why.” “I need you to know why I can’t have you in my life anymore.” “Let me just set the record straight on why I am going to do what I am going to do, no matter what you say.” More often than not, I did not get the response that I was looking for in any of these situations. I would pour my heart out, end the communication, and then… they did not come running back to me with the correct response. Or if any of them did, it was way too late, and I no longer cared that they got it.

I did not send the email to Ex. Instead, since I get upset every time we speak, I think I should take some parental advice and not talk to him for awhile. Maybe not speaking will get my point across in a way that explaining things never has.

– Finch

Mmm mmm bad

About a week ago, I came to the conclusion that I did not need to do the online dating thing anymore. I just was not meeting anyone who was compatible to me. The guys whom I found attractive were all partiers and players, and the guys whom I did not find attractive – well, I didn’t find them attractive! I am not a shallow person, but it is important to me that I have some sort of physical attraction to the person I’m dating. Otherwise, we might as well just be friends. So yeah, decision made, no more online dating.

Except, there was this guy who I had been emailing outside of OKcupid. I had responded to his email about a week before, never heard back, chalked it up to my obviously great taste in men, and went on my merry way. Except, on the day that I make my bold decision, he emails me back. My email had gotten lost in his spam folder. So I take this as a sign from the Universe that I need to not give up so easily, and I need to give this guy a shot. I have come to discover that it was actually the Universe saying, “Oh yeah? Are you really done? Let’s see, shall we?”

I rushed home to get ready – shower, get all dressed up, full hair and makeup. This guy had been killing it on the emails. He was totally on the same nerdy wavelength as me, had similar tastes in movies, etc. I was pretty stoked to meet him, I will admit.

And then he arrived. And I was no longer stoked. I take a sense of pride in that I can find something attractive in everybody. Tripp terrified me when I first met him, but he had such great eyes and such a nice smile, that I gave him a shot and fell in love. With Ex, I wasn’t swooning when we first met, but, again, he had beautiful eyes, a great smile, and he was very kind. He won me over. There was nothing that I found redeeming about this guy. There was nothing about him that I found physically attractive – for the first half of the night, he kept looking at me as if I was a bug underneath a magnifying glass (he later switched to leering at me), he continually interrupted me, and he just gave off this smarmy, creepy vibe.

We get some drinks, we sit, we talk. After I finish my drink, I start trying to make excuses to leave – “Well, I’m feeling a little tired.”
“Yeah, I was so tired today. There must be something in the air. So where do you like to hang out?”
Okay, no luck there. I waited for him to give me an opening.
“Would you like another drink?”
“Oh, no thank you, I’m fine.”
“How about something to eat?”
“Oh no, I’m good. I’ll probably need to head home soon.”
“Yeah, homes are awesome. Let me tell you another inane story about my house, and proceed to bore you to tears.” (Maybe he didn’t actually say that. Maybe that was all I could hear.)

Finally, after 2 hours, I was able to say, “I have to leave now.” So we leave, and as we’re walking out, he does that “bump against me, arm to arm” thing. And my immediate response was to step away from him. Then, he kept trying to grab my hand, and I kept finding ways to look through my purse, grab my keys, etc. We get to my car, and I swiftly evaded the oncoming kiss with a hug, where he literally grunted “mmm, mmm” as he hugged me. As in “mmm, mmm good,” like I’m freaking Campbell’s soup or something. I do the “Well, I’m really busy for the next few days, but maybe we can get together sometime and watch a movie.” Yes, I realize it was not nice for me to throw out a possibility when there is none, but I just wanted to get out of there as soon as humanely possible.

Because here was the thing. Every single quality that I disliked in Ex was plainly visible in this guy, and every redeeming quality about Ex was absent. The thought of waking up next to him literally made me shake, and not in a good way. A friend recently told me that you should find someone who loves you more than you love them. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to be with someone who you are absolutely crazy-go-nuts for. I know plenty of couples who are equally wild about each other, and there is nothing wrong with that. You can be adored by someone whom you adore. You can be respected by someone whom you respect. I don’t think that people should go into situations with preconceived notions or strident requirements. But to want to experience that spark is not too much to ask.

So my OKcupid account has been deleted. No more online dating – I am checking out the real world. The next time someone bumps against me, hopefully my reaction will be to bump them back.

– Finch

Quick Thought – Levels of Happiness

A few weeks ago, J and I were at Blue Dahlia, and one of the server asked us what the meaning of life was. I answered “to love your fellow man;” J answered simply “to be happy,” which is usually my other response.

Flash forward a few weeks to my recent rant about wanting my exes to be happy, and wanting to be more happy, and T rightly pointed out to me that different people operate at different levels of happiness. How many relationships have you been in or observed where one person is miserable and the other person in blissfully unaware of their mate’s plight? T reminded me of a relationship that I was in where I was so horribly unhappy it was almost unbearable, and my guy at the time was totally happy. When I split with him, he was genuinely shocked, and had no clue that there had been any trouble, despite our fights and my outward signs of misery – weight gain, all black clothing, lack of any cooking whatsoever. T stated that his level of happiness was the same as my level of miserableness.

So the next time you are checking out the green grass on the other side of the street, remember, it may be AstroTurf. The only level of happiness you can ever be sure of is your own, so don’t worry about other people. Just make yourself happy.

– Finch

Quick Thought – Levels of Happiness

A few weeks ago, J and I were at Blue Dahlia, and one of the server asked us what the meaning of life was. I answered “to love your fellow man;” J answered simply “to be happy,” which is usually my other response.

Flash forward a few weeks to my recent rant about wanting my exes to be happy, and wanting to be more happy, and T rightly pointed out to me that different people operate at different levels of happiness. How many relationships have you been in or observed where one person is miserable and the other person in blissfully unaware of their mate’s plight? T reminded me of a relationship that I was in where I was so horribly unhappy it was almost unbearable, and my guy at the time was totally happy. When I split with him, he was genuinely shocked, and had no clue that there had been any trouble, despite our fights and my outward signs of misery – weight gain, all black clothing, lack of any cooking whatsoever. T stated that his level of happiness was the same as my level of miserableness.

So the next time you are checking out the green grass on the other side of the street, remember, it may be AstroTurf. The only level of happiness you can ever be sure of is your own, so don’t worry about other people. Just make yourself happy.

– Finch