Posted by: emjb | April 9, 2006

Letting go of pride and paranoia

I am an Agonizer, as this blog makes abundantly clear. I have the amazing ability to torture myself about any major decision by thinking about it in terms of what other people will think. On this job thing, it was fear of what my husband would think, my tiny blog audience would think, my mom, all the rest of my relatives, the people who were to be my coworkers, my temp agency, and probably even Nathan himself, when he had to get therapy as an adult because his mother had forced the whole family into homelessness due to her loathing of jobs involving making bulletin-board decorations.

But there is always the payoff, when you finally make a decision and accept whatever consequences will come and however many people will think you are crazy/stupid/selfish/whatever. When you know you’ve made the right decision, and have decided not to care, and also are still at the point where whatever negative consequences will come haven’t happened yet. A little breathing space where you let yourself dream that all of this will pay off and someday you’ll look back and say “I’m so glad I did that.” And you pick up your kid and go outside, or buy yourself a book you’ve been wanting, and give yourself permission to just not care for a little while.

So yeah, that’s an involved way of saying I’m not going to let my temp job become permanent. Tomorrow I call my agency and make them put me on temp-only status, because the chances of them finding a job I can do permanently are slim to none. I thought I could go back to admin work, but nope, I just can’t give up all hope of better things yet. And yes, this may mean transferring to living with my gracious in-laws in a few months to take the strain off my mom’s finances if things don’t get better.

I couldn’t have done this five years ago. I had too much pride to let my family help me. Nathan has taught me different, not just because his birth was so hard on me, but because I know beyond a doubt that I’d do for him what I’m asking my family to do for me. What I want to do with my life requires leaning on other people, temporarily. I don’t like doing that, and won’t do it one second longer than I have to, but at the same time, I’ll take whatever help they give me, because I want to build a life that means something to me. Without their help, I would be forced to take whatever came my way, and risk never getting back on the right track.

Besides, I have done plenty of things on my own, and helped other people when I could. And I’ll do that again. I couldn’t have prevented the circumstances that brought me here, so I won’t spend any more time beating myself up for where I am.

And the more I read of history, the more I realize that Great Leaders or Discoverers or what have you don’t actually do their work all alone–that Picasso had patrons and mistresses, Einstein had wives to cook his dinner and wash his shirts, and that the real history of the world lies in the ability of some few great thinkers to do their work because they were freed up from gritty survival and day to day problems by wealth or the support of other people. Not that I’m comparing myself to Einstein, etc., just that even he had to have someone to buy and cook his pork chops while he scribbled his calculations or stared into space.

We have this weird lone wolf ideal in America that great people get to be great without any help from anyone, but that is crap. All the famous people got a leg up at some point from someone who had something they needed, whether it was a shot at a great movie, a key political appointment, or a couch to sleep on.

So I guess if I need help to reach my much more modest goals, then it’s not so surprising.


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