Thursday, November 12, 2009


Our brains have a certain affinity for patterns; some more than others. My brain really likes symmetry and right angles, balance, and proportion. Unfortunately, somehow that led to a tolerance for behaviors that were unacceptable, only because they fit a pattern. I have suffered for that adaptability to pattern.

In my still-new kitchen, I keep reaching for a drawer that isn’t there – I am so conditioned to expect the silverware drawer to be opposite the wall that my brain just goes there. For almost twenty years, the drawers were in the same place, and now – after four years of not cooking and not spending much time in a kitchen at all – I keep turning around and reaching for something that only exists in memory. It is kind of frustrating. Because these simple daily tasks are done in such an automatic way; we don’t really think about making coffee or needing a spoon, and so it isn’t thought out – it just fires on its own. And I’m misfiring all over the place.

I’ve been looking for a job. That challenges the patterns all over again. What led me to this job or that in the past? Didn’t it have a lot to do with what was going on in the world or the community at the time? I remember job hunting before and after 9/11. The “Tech Bubble” had just burst, and then the business community was in the midst of such turmoil. I took a job that represented a 50% pay cut, but was relieved to get it. Now, I am trying to explain that “career decision” in interviews. I am used to being put to use where ever and how ever I am needed. I see what needs to be done and I do it. I am great in an emergency – I have a guaranteed seat in a lifeboat. I kick into high gear and I get a job done. I have fabulous first aid skills and I don’t cry or freak out until it is all over.

It is only after the smoke has cleared that I can begin to consider whether this was a situation that I wanted to be in. I have been on this planet almost a half century and I find that I have spent an inordinate amount of that time cleaning up after other people’s messes. I have a pattern of coming on to a new job while they are in the throws of some major upheaval, or takeover, or crisis. They need someone who can think on their feet, be “self motivated”, and endure trial by fire.

I don’t think I ever signed up to be that girl. It just happened. And frankly, I’m getting quite tired of it. It means that I never get any mentoring or training. I don’t get to contemplate my direction. I haven’t had the luxury of finding where my true aptitude lies. Other than triage.

I am feeling like I want to stop being so malleable and maybe be more open to what suits me instead of what I can do for them. Because I know first hand that a lot of people really like being taken care of. And it is high time I knew what that felt like, too.


  1. I hope you do get to see the 'other side' - what it feels like to have people take care of YOU. It will do your soul good to try on a different persona.

  2. Damn, but the girl can express herself so well.