Thursday, July 29, 2010

wherein it becomes obvious that 95% of my thoughts somehow come back to my mother


Today I went to see "A Piece of Work" in Philadelphia with my friend A-Train. It's a year in the life of 75 year-old Joan Rivers, and MAN is it depressing. It's not as much of a downer as, say, "The Ice Storm" but it comes pretty close. It could be because I'm terrified of getting old. And that part of the reason I'm terrified to get old is the thought of retirement. And she has, like, no retirement savings. None.

Cue. Panic. Attack.

At the end of the film, though, besides feeling the weight of a thousand nonexistent grandkids sitting on my chest and asking for hand-outs, I felt kind of jealous of Miss Rivers. This woman knows what she wants, and it's what she always has wanted. She has known FOREVER the thing she wanted to do. And that is to be an actress. It's turned into mostly comedy, but at the root of everything, she considers herself to be as much an actress as a tree is a tree. She can't be anything else. It consumes her.

I can't even nail down a direction for my blog, let alone my career, or a focus for my entire being. That's so...intense.

A little over 2 months ago, I gave notice at my job. The reasons and how it went down are kind of a long story, and I don't think very appropriate to post online. Last Friday was my final day working there. For the 2 months that I knew my last day of work was approaching, I was absolutely terrified to tell my parents.

Working and supporting myself and having a job in a stable, lucrative field have defined me for as long as I can remember. In high school I didn't even like to ask for face wash because I hated NEEDING things. It's not like my family was poor. They're not rich, but they're very much not struggling, either. Still, I felt ashamed and embarrassed for needing their money for anything.

I'll skip over a lot of details to save you from reading the step-by-step of my self-discovery. Ultimately, I ended up going to Goldey-Beacom College for my accounting degree, and along the way started working full-time. In fact, every single job I have had to date I was offered even though I didn't have a Bachelors Degree. The most recent one was as a public accountant. The job I'd been working towards having for the past 5 or 6 years.

Turns out I hate public accounting. Like, a lot. Almost as much as I hated the soul-sucking telemarketing job I had for a year. And, again, the way it ended is a long not-blog-worthy story. And I'm glad that I'm not in public accounting anymore. But I still felt so ashamed for leaving a job. For leaving a job that paid well. And that had a clear, safe career trajectory.

So I didn't tell my mother until 2 weeks ago that the following week I'd be unemployed. It took a few hours of sitting at the dining room table while my youngest sister watched trashy television to work up the nerve. I explained what had led to leaving, and what I thought would come next. And then I tried to shut down the part of my brain that feels feelings so I wouldn't shatter to pieces when she told me I was an idiot. And I waited. And then after a couple moments of silence my sister said, "whoa," and my mother said, "I'm sorry."

Because there are 2 things you should know about my mother*:

1. She feels guilty for everything, ever. Especially when it comes to her children. Literally...everything.
2. She's what you might call a serial careerist. Or life pathist. Or some other term that would indicate to you that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, but sometimes she decides on a particular goal and then runs at it faster than a crash test dummy.

I inherited both of these traits, and she feels really badly about it (see #1, above). So after sitting there in silence for a few seconds while it felt like the world was imploding, and I waited for her judgment, she offered her condolences, and I was all, "well DUH why did I think she would hate me for this?!" Because I'm paranoid sometimes is why. And by "sometimes" I mean "UNCEASINGLY." Duh.

In my lifetime I've watched her (and once I was old enough, helped her) start/revamp/dream up businesses. More than I can count. A lot involved food, and they all involved art in some capacity. But none of them made her happy. And she's always beaten herself up for not being satisfied or for a venture being unsuccessful.

But I've decided that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have a REALLY well-rounded resume. I have a natural, strong sense of curiosity that is never satisfied. Honestly, I'll probably get bored after a few weeks and will apply to every accounting/finance job I can find. I really do like finance (it's PUBLIC accounting that's off the table...I still really enjoy financial management).

As it is, 4 days in, I've already lost all sense of time. But today I went to Philadelphia. During working hours. And I didn't care who saw me. And it was awesome.

*I mean for the purposes of this post. The woman is COMPLICATED and there are lots of things that a lot of people should know about her, because she's incredible. But that's more of a novel than a blog post, and there's no way I'm going to sit here and write it all down at the moment. Sorry. Maybe tomorrow. Or not.

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