I don’t know about you, but there’s some days I just want to sit on the couch and wallow in self-pity. My life seemed to be so full of promise, but lately I just feel like everything is pointing out how much I DON’T have.
I’ve had low self esteem since I was about 10. I don’t think it occurred to me before one way or the other before that. College did a lot for me, because finally! there were people like me out there. Some of my current best friends (who I stay in touch with by e-mail) changed my life so much, they keep me grounded, keep the doubts in my brain from taking over. They remind me of how great I am (to them). My hubby quickly gets tired of me being down on myself, but sometimes, I think a person just can’t help it. You have to wallow a little bit. If you don’t care about my life story or feel like wallowing with me, skip to the next entry.
So here’s what my friends say about me: That I’m really a great friend, a good listener, empathetic, that I can be a great leader when I want to be and when I have a chance. My husband says he can’t live without me, that he wouldn’t be the man he is without my help. My boss’s have said that they can never replace me. All of them. I keep them sane, on task, on schedule, organized. Without me, the office grinds to a halt. Really.
Me? Well, I guess I see what I don’t have. I see that I don’t have any natural talents that would lead to a career. No singing, can’t play an instrument, not hard-nosed enough for politics, can’t stand the thought of disease enough to be a doctor. Can’t stand the thought of crazies enough to be a therapist. I CAN help you develop a kick-ass resume’. Most of my talents seem to lay outside the world of work. The work I can do is hard sometimes, but it’s seriously undervalued and underpaid in most areas of the country.
What I really want to do has been blocked from me time and again. I still think it’s “discrimination by marriage”–my 3.93 GPA in college (out of 4.0), continued taking of classes and receiving “A’s” in all of them, and near perfect writing skills still weren’t good enough to get me into a program that only requires a 2.5 college gpa–with allowances for those who had “bad freshman years” which means you didnt even have to have a C average to get in. My “academic preparedness” was put on a “2nd string” list- which kept me from getting an assistantship, and into the master’s program. My mentor (who found out about this)–was pissed. So was I. I made no secret that I was married. I wore my wedding band and said how much I loved the college, that I talked my husband into going back to school at my alma mater, that we were committed to staying for graduate school. However, this field is heavily populated with the perpetually single. It’s hard work, and long hours, but I was ready to dive in. I have those “talents” that you need for working with the individuals that are insane (college students), I just am not going to be able to use them until either “A” I can find another college that doesn’t mind if I’m married, or “B” enough time has passed that it seems irrelevant if I’m married or not–like I have grown children, that won’t get in the way of my work responsibilities. It’s crap, but it’s true.
So can you see why I’m down? Not that my life isn’t great, in it’s own way, and I’m trying to pick up the pieces and move on, but it’s tough. I want to be a good role model for any kids I may have, especially girls, but I’ve been blocked so much that I may never get there. Then what do I say? Do better? I just wish I had something rewarding in my life. Like my hubby.
It’s hard not to contrast my experience with my hubby’s. We both had it rough growing up. Him a little more on the money side, me a little more on the getting picked on side. Still both pretty weather- beaten by the time we were teenagers. He was never talked to about going to college. So he went into the military. He put in his time and got out. We got married. I tried to talk him into going to college right away. In the state we lived in (IL) you get free tuition, books, and fees for service. Just pay room and board and you’re set. He wanted to work, pay off some bills. So we did. Then he wanted to go to college. He did it through my work part time for 2 semesters (free tuition from my job) while working, and then wanted to go full time and get it over with. He did for 3 years while working part time and had an awesome internship in Seattle with a major company for a summer. He did get a job offer right after graduation, 2 actually, oh and HE WAS accepted to graduate school. He had to turn it down to take the job. His skills? Working with computers. He’s a software engineer. He grew up learning to put computers together, had a best buddy that programmed with him (he’s a chip programmer in Boston) as teens, and has had jobs that have encouraged him to further his education all the way. And then he’s had me, to support and encourage him. Feed and clothe him, provide health insurance and income. He knows how important that was. I’m not taking anything away from him, he worked hard to get where he is. But I guess I’m just jealous. He has a natural talent for something that (with the degree) netted him more than double my salary after working for 6 years, AND having a degree. AND, he’s happy. Friggin happy to sit and do that all day. It’s a challenge to him, he gets to expand his mind and solve problems and provide a service that makes a difference. That’s what I’m jealous of. That he gets to flourish and I have to sit and wait. My talents are being wasted and I feel I’m not good enough, that EVERYONE thinks I’m not good enough. That people wonder why I got a degree at all if I’m not “doing anything” with it. Like I’m a faker. ARGGHH! If only they KNEW. But I didnt tell anyone I applied. Because, I guess deep down I guess I was afraid I’d fail. I did. Twice. But still, I guess it’s a challenge I’m just supposed to get through. But it makes me question my purpose here on earth. And why I’d be given so many brains and such obvious talent for something I’d be separated from, kept from when I actually could do it. Okay, done wallowing. Go read somebody else that has something happy to say!