Monday, June 08, 2009

Walking Tall(er)

If you know me in real life, you’re aware that the last six months have not been stellar. If you know me only through my blog, you may or may not have picked up on this.

After finding myself unemployed in November and then minus one longtime friend in April (she didn’t die or anything; rather, she decided that I was too judgmental for us to remain friends), this has been a pretty down time for me. So throughout this recent chapter, through a job search, a Fiddler experience, and et cetera, I’ve been irritable and impatient, and the ever-present Vampire of Despair has been flashing his fangs again.

The double-whammy of “Tell me why I should employ you” and “Prove to me you’re a worthy friend” has been hard for me to deal with, and I have to say that I’ve not done a very good job of attacking either whammy head-on. Even though I know I’m funny, smart, and talented or whatever, I’ve never been good at articulating my Unique Selling Propositions (see also: Why I Don't Date). This, combined with my tendency toward being judgmental (of which I, myself, am my own primary target) has led me to this six-month period which, when we look back 20 years from now, we might refer to as The Great Wallowing. This time of lethargy, apathy, and isolation will forever be remembered as Why Late 2008 and Early 2009 Sucked.

BUT! I have it on good authority (which I have just now made up, really) that The Great Wallowing has run its course and things are looking up.

No, I don’t have a new job – or any leads, really – and I haven’t convinced myself that I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me. I have, however, noticed some seriously healthy life changes. I’m eating more intelligently than I have in the last 15 years, and I’ve introduced some exercise-type things into my routine. I’ve been writing more stuff and better stuff lately (my opinion – you may or may not agree; but it’s a big step in the right direction that I can appreciate your praise and/or listen thoughtfully to, but not be devastated by, your criticism, right?). And with the support of some entrepreneurial friends, I'm moving forward on publishing the board game I invented.

Even the way that I walk is changing. I’ve noticed lately that I am walking more confidently and with better posture than I have in a long time. I remember one summer about 15 years ago, when I was hanging out with some friends from the IU Orientation Program staff. We were talking about how, even if we couldn’t see someone’s face down the road in front of us, we could tell who they were by the way they walked.

Syrilda Tharpe, who will forever be the face who comes to mind whenever I hear the word "poet," told me that she saw in my walk “a heads-up, forward-looking warrior confidence.” And I can visualize, as though she were here in front of me, the determined facial expression she made and the kind-of muscle-man gesture she made with her arms to indicate the vibe my walk gave off. I feel like, after these last few months of head-down, purposeless walking, I’m back to that “heads-up, forward-looking warrior confidence” outlook, and I think it shows.

Happiness, success, and all those things we aim to “achieve” are, I think, just a frame of mind. I know I need to get the job thing straightened out, and as I solve that problem, I’m focusing on the good things in my life: healthy and hilarious family, dear and caring friends, delicious food, the sunshine and the moonglow and the summer breeze.

And I hereby declare that The Great Wallowing is over.

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