On Monday afternoon, I lost my job. For those waiting for an epic rant from me against my former employer, ya’ll can just keep on waiting. It’s not going to happen, bless your generous and loving hearts.
I am working through the five stages of grief at the moment (I’m pretty sure I am neck-deep in the depression stage), and trying to make sense of this change in situation. As I posted on Facebook, change can be enormously transformative if one is willing to grow with the change and not against it. The question is – grow how? Grow where?
I’ve been doing technology-related work for the past fifteen years. It was what that paid the bills while I indulged my passion for creative work. The dream was always to return to school, move into the creative arts as a full-time gig, and be a Fulltime Professional Weirdo. All I asked was a converted bus, the open road, a map and a compass. Life is way too short to be spend it in a cubicle.
Don’t get me wrong, the money was good in Cubelandia. Not good enough to make me a rich woman, but good enough I could buy paper and ink every once in a while. Good enough that, with six or seven months of saving, I’d be able to buy a new camera lens for my Sony. Good enough that we could take a Vacation every two-to-three years, and actually, now that I really think about it, maybe the money wasn’t so good after all. Anyway…
Now I stand at a fork in the road. Like the books I read as a child, I can choose my own adventure (hopefully with less death). On the right is finding another Cubelandian gig with its relative security and excellent health insurance. On the left is the path of reinvention, renewal, passion, and hope. The pay is crap, but the fullness and peace in my soul would be worth it. Which way to go?
When I remember what fifteen-year old me wanted to do with my life, I think about how I wanted to help people help themselves. It was a Calling to Serve, certainly, but one that I could not fulfill at the time. Even after I ran away, the Divine waited patiently. She is now quite pleased with Herself that Her prodigal daughter has returned home, even if said daughter is a more than a bit scarred, bruised, and scared.
I know She wants me to serve, but I wonder what I can do. Where can I go, how can I serve, what do I need to do to fulfill that Call to Service, that call to minister to a world struggling to find peace in a time of strife and discord? The answer is simple, but oh-so-hard to admit: I don’t know. The fight against making myself irrelevant is as difficult as it was when I was twelve, and admitting that I have no bloody clue about it all is harder than you can imagine. Or maybe not, and you know all too well what I mean.
I don’t know. I don’t, really.
I don’t know. There, I said it again.
I don’t know. Say it enough times, and the phrase begins to become a mantra. It has a lot of power in it, doesn’t it? Power to transform, power to transcend, power to grow. It’s freeing to say it, so I’ll say it again: I don’t know.
What is my first step? I don’t know.
What is my next step? I don’t know.
I don’t know, and somehow, that’s okay.
I still have a trip planned to Las Vegas in April for the USBC Women’s Championships. I still have a major surgery planned for late Spring/early Summer, and I am, quite honestly, fucking terrified.
I am two and a half years away from my undergrad. In the traditional model, no undergraduate degree means no graduate degree. No graduate degree, and your options to serve become limited. I’ve also never qualified for need-based financial aid, even when I was in school full-time with a part-time job and an apartment. Education, for me, has always been a quid pro quo involving my wallet and the bursar’s office. Of course, now I am unemployed, and unemployed means no money in my wallet to give to a bursar’s office.
I know that there are seminaries that will accept folks without an undergraduate degree, provided their life story is compelling and they have a demonstrated ability to perform graduate level work. So Rev. Sean has told me, and I believe him. Like I said above though, I don’t know where to start on that path. It is time to ask for help.
Now, gentle reader, I am not going to ask you for money. Not yet, at least. What I will ask is for advice, anecdotes, stories, suggestions. Help me find a direction to take that first step, and help me find my way out of this particular festering darkness.
And Rev. Sean, if you read this, help. This girl needs a plan.