I fought so hard for confidence. And in all honesty, even when I had more confidence I never had enough. It is both a source of continued strength—I am open to what I don’t know and eager to learn to fill the gap—and a source of weakness—I question what I know and often over-value others’ knowledge if they appear more confident than me. In either scenario I learn and grow, but the latter is infinitely less efficient and more difficult than the former.
I am not even a square peg trying to go into a round hole. I am not even a peg. I have never fit this world. I feel like I did in high school: an outsider looking in on everyone else who to be so much better at this life than I am. Why am I like this?
What little confidence I had has been decimated.
I get rejected for jobs I have had students I’ve mentored get.
I get told to accept entry level jobs on posts where I am literally explaining the response I get when I try to do entry level jobs—as if my own ego and sense of entitlement is preventing me from succeeding.
Once upon a time, I was a dishwasher. Then a line cook, head cook, baker, chef, then executive chef.
Once upon a time I was a receptionist, then an administrative assistant, executive assistant, then customer service manager.
Once upon a time I was an undergraduate student writing tutor, then a graduate student writing tutor, graduate assistant in the writing center, then an assistant director of the writing center and writing faculty member.
I have worked my way up three different industry ladders. I know how this works, but after three climbs I am somehow tainted. Why is it a bad thing to be curious and adaptable enough to learn and master so many different things?
If I apply to any job that I feel qualified for and seems like a decent fit, I get chastised for not being focused enough in my job search.
If I am focused I get criticized for being elitist and entitled and not open.
I am over qualified for most everything I apply to, apparently, and yet still not qualified enough simultaneously. My experience both counts and doesn’t count. It’s a paradox of logic. Shroedingers resume.
I have decades of work experience, a lot of it management level. And I just don’t bloody understand why I am so undesirable an employee.
It’s enough to make me retreat even further. Back into a cocoon of isolation and healing. One where I don’t venture out or make waves or impressions of any kind. No one notice me. No one talk to me. I will sit in my house and garden and cook and think and write and read by myself.
Hide. I just want to hide.
No, correct that, I just want to work. Other people work all sorts of jobs. They earn a living wage, have enough time left over to volunteer for their kids’ activities, and enough money saved up to take a vacation.
Why is it so hard for me to have that?
What is wrong with me?
What is wrong with our system? Please let it be our system.
I am so very tired of blaming myself—me, a woman who encountered trauma and eventually emerged out the other side with a lot of life wisdom and a desire to know more, learn more, do more, and support others so they don’t have to.
That’s why I cooked.
It’s why I wrote.
It’s why I taught.
And it’s why I’m here right now.
There’s a magic in putting words onto the page. It’s how I have always transformed myself into someone who fits.
Writing and reading one another’s writing makes us all fit together, pegs or not.