Today I went looking for a knitting needle and ended up completely cleaning out my bedside table. It's now far roomier, less dusty, and vaguely organized. I also found the knitting needle, as well as the quiver of DPNs that have been hiding from me since the move. It was one of those late-night ADHD moments that I've been trained to think are suboptimal by every study guide I've ever been given, where I count entirely on a whim to spark enthusiasm for an important task; but on the other hand it works and not very many other things do nowadays.
My mom commented the other day that I've been working forever with no payoff in sight, and that's absolutely true. Mary Pipher's Letters to a Young Therapist has resonated that statement all the way down to glum hunger, because she has almost exactly the life I want--six sessions a day at a clinic with colleagues, working with a diverse clientele of individuals and families, owns her own house, has a husband and kids and family, writes, supervises grad students, goes on little trips, does good work. It's funny that I come back to her because hers was the life I wanted when I was 13 and read Reviving Ophelia, and even though the intervening years have opened up many different potential careers, settings, and households, in many ways I still want the same thing. (Except I also want a farm.)
But for years all I wanted was income, which I have now, though not the amount I was hoping for. I've spent so long--it feels like one continuous push since I left childhood--and I got a little taste of what it was like to get there in the first two years of my Master's, and I could bear with money frustrations by saying when I get a job as a therapist, but now--
But cleaning out my bedside table meant I found even more cards from people. I keep the cards people send me, and display them on a little ledge on the wall above my bed, and they're immensely cheering--I think my favourites are the thank-you-and-goodbye card from the school I worked at, where every staff member left a personalized message, and the very long rambly ones that are absolutely filled with handwriting, mostly from fannish people. I found two fannish cards and the thank you card from my last internship, put them on the "paper to deal with" pile (my ledge is getting crowded and rather like a stack of dominoes, so I need a new system) and went up to shower with a smile on my face.
So I decided something, since I need a goal to work with. I still have those 12.5 dratted hours of internship left, and no idea of where I'm going to fill them. My plan, drawn up with the people at school, is to be done that internship by May 2015. So how I'm going to work to that goal is to start a list of potential internship sites, and research what I think are the absolute best places for me to work in Victoria. I have to approach the sites cold since my school's prearranged sites are mostly on the Mainland, and if I'm signing up for polite rebuffs they might as well be from someplace good. Then I'll do my best to network like hell during that internship, and see if that can't crack me in. You know, what an unpaid internship is supposed to do.
Which means hanging with my job even longer. I thought I would moan about that part more, but I've realized something about why I do it. It's got work I won't slack off on. My work ethic is terrible when it comes to things I find irrelevant, and in jobs where I know I'll have a lot of free time on my hands or the work isn't important, I struggle not to stay in bed when I wake up on a bad day. With things as bad as they currently are, I can see myself just failing to show up for a job as a cashier--Nope. Can't be arsed. Whereas with what I'm doing now? I need to be there. I'm working alone and there's no one to cover for me without a lot of fuss. And when I'm with the kids, I cannot help but give them everything I've got--sure, sometimes that is pretty tired and pathetic, but that's because my reserves are so low.
So I simply wouldn't get out of bed for a job that was less difficult. (Unless it was therapisting.)
I often wish I could be a different person, someone more trusting and expressive and dramatic and able to solicit help, but lately I've been toying with the thought that the things I'm annoyed with in myself now have been virtues in others, things like endurance and fortitude and resourcefulness. Maybe even independence. If they are, they feel like very lonely virtues.
Though now that I write them down, none of them seem incompatible with friendship or other ties. They might not even have been for me in practice. That's how I've always thought of them, though.