Sea Legs

9 05 2011

It’s strange, how things work out.

I’ve been sweating and despairing for such a long time to get work as an English teacher/instructor. I actually STOPPED looking for work some time ago. I mean I don’t even bother to check the vacancy websites. Partly given up and partly focusing on other things.

Yesterday, I got a call from a school manager, which means I am very important, or so she thinks, to ask me if I was interested in accepting a job as a supervisor in her school. She introduced herself at length and told me where she got my number, in detail. Her overly respectful/formal tone threw me off. Usually, when I get calls like this, I am talked to “from above.”

“Our school needs an English Language Supervisor,” said she in a polite-request tone.

!!!!

I’m still quite speechless. Typically, I would have been ecstatic, amazed by the happening itself. “I am not even remotely close to being that important,” my mind would say.

But someone else was talking to that lady yesterday, someone strange. Someone I am not familiar with, at all. Someone I am still slowly trying to understand. Very nonchalant, that someone asked her questions, ALL the questions I had. Instead of my typical self-defeating self-talk: “Don’t bother her with your stupid/silly questions. Be thankful for the opportunity. If/When you go, you will find out more.” No. This time I was like, “I have questions I think I have a right to ask. If she doesn’t want to answer, she will say so. So, here are my questions.” I asked about everything. Technicalities. Money matters. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel I was imposing and so my voice wasn’t affected in that way. I felt it was my right to ask and I claimed it. I was being “practical.” I am done being “polite” with job-related matters.

“Ok. I have the information I need. I’ll need a couple of days to get back to you. If I am not available, I can recommend someone to you.”

“Sure. That would be great. Thank you.”

I had already known that this job was not for me. The stress, the full-time commitment, the endless nights working at home, the incompetent authority figures which I would have to work under, and above all, the owners . . . . When she said, “ .I’d like to know your salary expectations for you to give us all your time,” I knew the deal was doubly off.

After I hung up, I took a few minutes to smile. (I should probably mention here that once again, I was with a group of people, but not really “with them” in any way. I was there and simultaneously in that separate universe of my mind). “I may be qualified to do this job. I have tons of ideas and things I would like to do in a position like this. But I don’t want to. This is not where I want to go. It is not good for me and will not help me. This doesn’t fit on the road I am walking now. But it feels good to be offered, endlessly good.”

I took it in. I let it sink in. I bathed in it. For some reason, I didn’t get confused enough to even seriously consider the possibility. I don’t know why my mind didn’t quickly take me back to square one (where I know nothing about myself and my limitations and blindly run after everything that sounds appealing) like it always does.

I called my friend and asked her if she was interested.

“Oh, yes! Please! That sounds great! Thank you very much. But why won’t you take this job?”

“You know me (she doesn’t really know me because she knows neither about my mind nor my OCPD), I can’t handle a position like that.”

“Sure you can! You can even take it and I don’t mind working under you (she’s practically a teacher to me).”

“Maybe. Let me rephrase. This position is not something I want,” said I in my resolute, inaudible voice.

In older times, in my wild excitement, I would have told family members, who would, in turn, FREAK OUT. “There she goes again, destroying herself with her ambition, chasing after a wild goose. She’s setting herself up for failure again. We have to save her. We have to protect her. We have to show her. We have to explain to her. We have to talk her out of it.” Then they would say the same thing to me, using much of the same words. The looks in their eyes: piercing bullets. My reaction: sad, hurt, resentful. I would try to prove them wrong. And I could/would step in puddles of quick sand to do it.

No more. I am slowly learning to say more of, “No, thank you,” and “I don’t want this.”  My sea legs are pretty wobbly right now. I am still nothing short of terrified of making wrong choices and decisions. But I am liking the muscle-building feeling.

I know that my clever mind will not let go easily. I am sure of this. OCPD will not vanish. The sweet solitude imposed by my mind is not something that will leave me. Depression will still knock at my door, and get in, no matter how hard I lock it. But the key is, “It’s ok. You will be fine. You are already ok.” (I still need to get better at hearing these words from me.) I am slowly feeling that I don’t have to pretend anymore, or not that much. Sometimes I feel like that endless world of a gap between how people see me (the outer me I maintain) and who I really am (my crazy, yes, crazy thoughts and feelings) may be slowly shrinking. I guess it’s because the more I see people, the more I see how flawed we all are. But, more importantly, I have been blessed (Thank you, Dear God) with a powerful, life-changing glimpse of “acceptance,” in spite of all my monumental flaws. So, I have hope, hope because if another can accept me as I am — not after I become what I hope to be one day — then maybe, just maybe, one day I too can accept myself as I am.

Then perhaps, one day, I will openly say to that friend of mine that I am spending the day with my mind and that I’ll make it up to her later.

Insha’Allah.

“We never know what will happen.”

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