It is late at night that I find myself either battling demons or hiding from them. The voices of “you’re not good enough” and “you’re not doing enough” seem to dwell somewhere between sunset and sunrise which is, to me, a bit ironic, since the night tends to be when I am at my prime. I suppose that tonight part of the battle is that I spent hours struggling with resume writing, trying to get it just so, trying to put abstract things into concrete words and having an intimate awareness that it is likely not quite good enough for what I want. I have spent a bit more time seeking out other opportunities and wondering just how I am going to make it in this crazy world. Sure, there are the obvious answers, but there has to be something more. Struggling to get by is unpleasant at best and downright depressing at its core, and yet finding my way to that mythical “making something better of myself” place that grown-ups are supposed to find seems to be filled with setbacks and quiet, personal failures that are determined to quash every step of progress I may or may not have made.

I am good at crushing myself. I have a lot of practice. I have had a lot of help with it over the years and I have perfected the art until it is almost second nature to shoot myself down long before I reach the point of selling myself. Resume writing requires a person to reach the opposite of self-crushing and instead, strive for self-selling and I suck at it. Sure, logically, there are things that I know I do well, but I do not always know how to quantify them into black and white. (And the tawdry part of my sense of humor suggests that some things are better left off a resume to which I will simply sigh and move right along.) I can, in theory, put my abilities into words, but when I start to look at it on paper, it looks like so little. Any real experience I have is piece-meal at best. I am very good at a lot of things but have no real defining situations where those skills are clear. I have been using computers regularly since I was fifteen. I am proficient in multiple versions of Microsoft Office. I need to learn more Excel and likely several other spreadsheet programs. I can type quickly and accurately and I am damn good at taking notes. I am a professional at taking notes. Hell, it’d be kind of fun to get paid to go take notes for people in their college classes but I’m pretty sure that would verge on unethical. But…I’d be fucking good at it. I am fantastic at interpersonal skills and more often than not can manage to diffuse stressful situations easily. I have not worked professionally at the university level but gods know that I have a lot of work at learning how to manage the university system. I like to talk to people. I like to help people. I like to see people achieve the things they want to achieve. I am good at helping kids though I don’t want to teach at the K-12 level because I despise the way the politics play out in that arena. I also despise the current fetish for standardized testing because I believe that at the end of the day we are teaching our children next to nothing for the sake of numbers that will get them nowhere when they are adults. We are, in short, sending them to professional baby-sitters, throwing darts of information at them, and praying that some of them stick. I see it in my daughter and I work to ensure that she takes more than just the basic lessons from her school work and instead actually is able to use those things long after that lesson has passed. I like research. No, I love research and I need to get back into the habit of doing it. I need to start writing academically again, not just for professional work but because I need the mental challenge. I have had my brain on hold for too long and I need to kick-start myself back to using it for something more than a place to store information about Facebook games. (Don’t get me wrong, they have their place, but it is time to actually -do- something with that degree I am going to be paying for for years to come instead of simply writing witty Facebook status updates.)

I am veering a bit from the topic I started with but I suppose that, in itself, is normal, but the sentence above this one got me to thinking about the example that I have that pretty much backs that theory up. I have a Kindle. Granted, I only have a Kindle because Tadhg figured out that he liked the Kindle DX better than the Kindle 2 and also because he sold the Kindle 2 for way more than he was expecting which pretty much let him make a profit and still buy the Kindle 3. Ironically, I am only laying out the how because I don’t want my protestations of “I’m more broke than I have ever been” to be read alongside the sentence “I have a Kindle” so that people think that I spend money frivolously. I have been known to do so, but right now, I couldn’t have bought myself a Kindle if I had wanted. There’s just no money for it. So, yes, Tadhg bought the Kindle and is letting me use it but it’s much easier to say it’s mine. Hell, it’s linked to my account, so right now even the Kindle says it’s mine which is kind of neat, too. At any rate (aka sweet Jesus shut me up), I know that I need to be using my brain again because I have been almost voraciously reading since I got the Kindle in my hands. Sure, Dragon*Con got in the way of that a little bit, but for the past few days, I have been doing bits on Facebook and reading at the same time…and most of the time, it’s trailed off into just reading. What am I reading? The Scarlet Pimpernel which I have found to be surprisingly and delightfully engaging. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a book in awhile and I suspect a large part of that has been because no matter how much I love Anita Blake books (some of the last things I’ve read), hardcovers are heavy and they get really damned uncomfortable to hold after awhile. The Kindle moves around in my hand and I can prop it in various places and I don’t end up wanting to whimper from having to hold a book in my hand. It freaking rocks so much because I -miss- reading. I used to read all the time, then school kind of kept me from it and then I simply got out of the habit. But if I want to a) write well, b) teach my daughter the importance of reading, and c) not end up sounding less educated than a 3 year old, I have to read. It’s that simple.

Of course, sitting here writing this down is easy. Putting these things into practice is hard. Turning in the resume I turned in tonight was hard as all hell because I kept thinking “I’m not qualified enough for this job,” but another part of me was going, “Well, maybe I am not perfectly qualified for it, but I am mostly qualified for it and I could be very good at it, so I need to at least try.” It’s just frustrating because the “I can’t do it” monster is so damned strong. There have been so many obstacles in the way and I have let some of them eat away at other parts of me and at this point, I can’t always manage to say, “I can do it,” and actually mean it. I can try to fake it, but that only gets you so far. Job hunting, then, is its own learning curve. Learning to read again and learning to apply information again is its own learning curve. Reminding myself that my opinion does matter and that people actually give a flying frak what I have to say has a learning curve.

*sighs* I am supposed to be in bed. I need to be in bed. I am trying not to get anymore sick than I already am. I am trying not to have to go to urgent care because we can’t really afford it. Hell, I am trying to figure out how to handle the fact that I sat down with my doctor back in Georgia and got him to write some prescriptions based upon things like Target’s $4 and found out on Friday that they changed that list the same month. So, yeah, going in and finding out that after talking to him about a couple of things and getting him to write a new script for a new anti-inflammatory since Relafen is so dadgummed expensive only to find that said anti-inflammatory is no longer on the list and that it costs as much as Relafen is a bit disheartening and frustrating and angry-making and a lot of other things. I have to call the pharmacy tomorrow and see what information they found for me, but it looks like I may have to go to the third-string option which is slightly worrisome on its own. We shall see what happens…right now, I have no clue beyond I can hear Dory in my head going “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

*faint shrug* What will be, will be as frustrating as that cliched phrase is and there is not a lot I can do about it right now. What I can do is look back at the fact that I a) sat down and wrote something and b) turned in a resume tonight and say, “Hey, I did accomplish something after all.” And then tomorrow, I can do a little bit more. Granted some of that little bit more will likely include housework, but hey, it has to be done and I’m not doing much anything else right now. I think it also needs to include another resume being sent in and at least some basic hunting up of academic papers that need writing. After that? Who knows? But at this point, I am starting to repeat myself and not in a fun way, so I am going to wrap this up and attempt to go to bed. I think.