Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Can I Do This?

Last Monday, I facilitated a group.

On Monday afternoons, I attend the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group, because I have bipolar II, which I’ve mentioned before.  I’ve been going for about 3 years now.  I’ve worked through the book more than once.  I know the answers, haha, as if I could know the right answers to mental health when it’s different for everyone.

The regular facilitator was having a hard day and asked me if I would lead.  None of this is surprising, since he is a peer and the group could be led by any peer.  I said yes, and I was happy to do this favor for him.

It went surprisingly well.  We worked our way through 2 pages in the book.  That may not be much but it included some conversation and it was the end of a section.  Didn’t make sense to start a new section with only 15 minutes left.  The group appreciated the chance to chat during the session.  It was a little more active than the usual facilitator likes, but we have different philosophies.  He is trying to get through the book, whereas I use the book as a jumping-off point.  Nothing wrong with either one, just different.

At the same time, I have been hearing about women who lead seminars to help other women.  I think I could lead one about vision boards and creating goals.  It would be maybe 3 hours, give or take.  Part of it would be about setting goals, where do you want to be in, say, 5 years?  Or indeed, ever?  Part of it would be making the actual vision board.  And part of it would be about sharing our dreams and visions.  I think I could manage about 10 women, and they would have to bring their own scissors since I don’t own that many pairs.  Glue and magazines I’ve got, scissors not so much.

So I am looking for goal setting exercises.  They are surprisingly hard to find.  There are a lot of sites devoted to professional development and goal setting in that regard but really almost nothing about personal goal setting.  The principles must be the same however so I just need to tweak them.  Of course I would need to tweak them in any case to make them my own.  I’m about being inspired by other people, not stealing their work.

I believe I can do this.  It seems very do-able.  It also doesn’t overlap the government job so there should be no conflict of interest.  The first one or two would be free while I get my feet under me, then I would have to start charging.  I wonder if I could even do it monthly.

Words of encouragement and suggestions only, please.  I have enough nay-sayers in my own head as it is.  I could stand some support around this idea.


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Ode to Coffee

Wake up and take up today’s burdens.

Perk up and work up your drive.

Groggy, brain foggy, day starting.

Not yet ready to be alive.

Motivation in a mug,

A warm hug,

A shoulder shrug,

Black and rich and steaming

Pour a curl, a swirl of cream in.

Cup to lip, a sip, caffeine trip.

Slowly eyes open.

Here’s hoping adulting goes easy today.

But in this place, a moment of grace in a vessel of clay.

Sweet respite.

Time to stand up, reach your hand up, get on with the day.

 


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Haters Gonna Hate

A large number of people feel the need to motivate me.  Okay, maybe not a large number, maybe just a few people who are really persistent about it.  “You just need a kick in the ass to get you started,” they say.  You think so?  Let’s talk about that.

I live in an uncomfortable situation.  The people I am staying with do not want me there.  They have not wanted me there for a long time now.  However, I have no place to go.  So now, they are working at making my situation increasingly unpleasant, clearly so I will leave.  Leave and go where?

But besides that, what is being accomplished here, by acting like this?

Based on rental guidelines around here, I need to be making about 50% more income per month than I am right now.  Has kicking my ass caused my company to give me a raise or increase my hours?  No.  Has it changed rental guidelines?  No.  Has it lowered rents so that I could afford something?  No.

I should get a full time job.  Hmmmm.  I have been, and continue to be, looking for a full time job but lets be clear about this.  The jobs I have heard from want to pay me about 2/3 of my current hourly rate, maybe a bit more.  When I multiply that amount times 40 hours and subtract taxes and health insurance, guess what?  It’s the same dollar amount I make now.  Why would I work more hours for the same pay?  That doesn’t make sense.  I need a full time job at the same rate of pay, give or take 10%.  That would increase my income.

When did working 40 hours become the standard for judging suitable employment? I get that it’s considered full time and in theory we all want to work full time. However, it isn’t the only criterion for a good job. I mean, you can take home $400.00 a week. Would you rather work 40 hours for it, or 25? Having less time to pursue my interests without gaining income doesn’t seem like a reasonable trade. What happened to “work smarter, not harder”? Oh, that only applies to folks working 40 hours, the rest of us are slackers. (Please recognize sarcasm, it doesn’t come across in print sometimes.)

Has kicking my ass changed the available jobs?  No.  Does it change the pay on those jobs?  No.  Does it make me complete more applications?  Well, I have already applied for everything I can find that I might be remotely qualified to do, and a few things I know I’m not at all qualified for. I am limited by actual hours and location, because I am on public transportation. I can’t take a job that starts at 7:00 am or ends at midnight simply because there is no bus in my neighborhood at that time to make sure I arrive on time or get home safely.

Oh, transportation is a problem? Then buy a car! Uh-huh. So right now I have barely enough dollars to pay bills and support myself and my daughter, but I should take on greater debt? Mobility and freedom? Better jobs because I am not tied to buses and trains? Maybe. If someone wanted to sell me a working car for say $500, I’d do it in a heartbeat. “Working” for me, in Texas, would mean engine runs, it has air conditioning so I don’t arrive at work all sweaty, and hopefully a working radio. But people want $2000 even for cars they know needs a major repair (major = $400 and up) which would totally wipe out my savings which I need for the downpayment to get into an apartment.

I could maybe get a loan and buy a newer, more expensive vehicle, maybe. There’s no repair coming up but instead there’s a recurring bill for a couple of years. Plus there would be the ongoing costs of insurance and gas. I figure I’m looking at close to $400 / month for a used car, maybe more depending on payments and gas prices. Any increase in pay is going to be eaten up by increased transportation expense. Not sure that gets me ahead at all. By which I mean, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Makes it easier to buy groceries. $400.00 a month so I don’t have to tote cat food or laundry on the bus? Seems, well, almost frivolous.

Surely there is low income housing in my area. I’m not the only person with low income after all. Well, there is, and I don’t really qualify. I have talked to both city and county housing. City has a 2 year wait list, county is 5 years. I could move up the list if I was elderly or disabled, but I’m not. Or I could get up there if I was in a homeless shelter. Okay, let’s see:

Most local homeless shelters want you to check in by 5 in the afternoon and be out by 8 in the morning. I suppose that makes sense because it’s around regular working hours which are 8 am to 5 pm here. I work 4 pm to 8 pm, so I can’t check in at 5. Can I check in early? Some places say yes, but then you can’t leave. If you leave, you lose your place in line and there is a limited number of beds. By the time I get out of work and make it downtown, it’s close to 9:00 pm or maybe later. The shelters I’ve talked to so far are either full or locked down by then.

Besides, I have pets. And I love my pets, I don’t want to put them in a shelter or on the street. And I have this computer. I haven’t always been poor; I bought the computer when I had a job that paid more (more dollars per hour, full time hours, and I had a car back then). I already own it, I’m not gonna get rid of it just because it doesn’t fit people’s idea of what poor folks own. I also can’t leave it or my phone unattended in a shelter when I use the bathroom or take a shower. Most of us are honorable, but there’s always someone who isn’t. I hate saying that however my experience suggests it’s true.

So why didn’t I try to get help from this place sooner? I’m sorry, I’ve been struggling with this issue for 2 years now and you think I’m just now looking for help? You think this is my first round of calls to social service agencies who have nothing for me? You think I’ve been sitting on my butt for the last 2 years doing nothing because clearly the fault has to be with me personally and not with the way the system is set up or people’s perceptions of who needs help compared to who actually needs help? Not saying other people don’t need help, just saying there are more categories of people out there than fit the criteria for many agencies.

All of which is to say, I don’t need you to kick my ass. Life is already kicking my ass. I am close to the point of learned hopelessness, you know, where you stop trying because whatever you do is wrong. I could use a hug. I could use a lead to job that will actually support me. I could use a little hope and encouragement.

But by all means, feel free to continue telling me I lack motivation and I’m not trying hard enough.

Just don’t be surprised if I have no sympathy for you when the tables are turned.


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The Voice of “Reason”

So the question was, what is stopping you?  My friend’s sister, who may or may not be some version of psychic depending on what you believe, asked me what is stopping me from pursuing my dreams.  I had to sit with that a while and then I decided to draw it.

286

So there she is.  That’s the thing, she isn’t scary or evil or a monster.  She is the little old lady voice in the back of my head, the voice that says “Are you sure?” or “That’s not a real job” or “What if you fail?”  She’s about age, because there has been so much failure for me in the financial sense and she is worried that she won’t be able to take care of herself now that she isn’t young.  She’s afraid of being sick and alone or at least less than optimum and alone, afraid of needing someone and not having someone there to help.

It’s not like these are unreasonable concerns.  My great aunt fell at home and it was 3 days before anybody realized that none of us had heard from her during that time.  She was a busy lady so not connecting was not a sign something was wrong in and of itself.  It got me thinking about myself, though.  I was living alone, working a temp job, seeing my daughter maybe once a week if I could get away from work.  If I had fallen in the tub, not shown up at work, missed a visit, would anyone have thought to check on me?  So being alone and having something catastrophic happen is not unreasonable in my world.  If I can’t take care of myself and I can’t rely on someone else to be there, I’d better either have money or  avoid catastrophe, and it isn’t always possible to avoid catastrophe.

I think if it was unreasonable, I could ignore it or address it.  But since it’s shrouded in terms of reason and self care and minimizing risk for safety’s sake, that’s a whole ‘nother level of subtlety.

And it’s still fear at its root.  It’s fear that I have wasted resources pursuit of the impossible and now I need those resources but they aren’t available. I don’t want to end up the badly-dressed vacant-eyed old lady wandering the halls of some dirty half-lit old age home looking for a daughter who doesn’t come to visit because it’s just too damned depressing.  Finding the way to avoid that is my current goal.

If this man can overcome his issues, I can overcome mine

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This is Arthur. He was doing the right thing, and it basically kicked his ass. So he got his determination together and kicked life right back. I cried for him, and I’m not a weepy person. Watch to the end, and look how happy he has become!


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Setting priorities

Now that I’m not working, I have time to accomplish some of the things that hang around the back of my head waiting for the opportunity to become real.

I find two problems with this:

1.  I don’t always remember what I meant to do.

2. When I do remember, I lack motivation.

This first problem is easy to address:  Make a list.  That’s right.  Just write it down somewhere, blog it, tape it to the fridge, carry a notebook in my purse and when I think of something, add it to the list.  Easy.  Okay, not so easy as in it takes effort to develop a habit so this will take effort however it’s easy in the sense of being simple.  Do-able.

Motivation, now, that’s a different thing.

I am not a highly ambitious person.  Never have been.  Never really had a career goal or a path through life.  I’m not a high energy person and I don’t have a dream or a vision.  Not in the world-changing sense anyway.  I do have passions, but “I crochet because it’s a fast way to play with color and texture” isn’t a career statement.  However I AM working on finding something that generates the same kind of interest, I just haven’t found it yet.

Everything seems like such an effort.  I know, that’s probably mild depression because there IS a downside to being unemployed, even if it’s only been 3 days.  I don’t have time to waste, though, since there are no savings to speak of.

Getting out seems to help with motivation, but I don’t have my stuff with me to work on.  When I get home, well, it’s like the Buddhists say, it’s the 10,000 things that also need my attention and I putter around and piddle away time, but I can’t say what got accomplished.  Two days of that won’t kill me and knowing that it happens means I need to get it under control.

I think having a designated workspace will help.  So my task to day is to clean off the dining room table and begin to use it to accomplish goals like rewriting my resume.  Stay on task, stay on task and power through.