Friday, February 10, 2012

...and they all fall down.

It's a neat thing when you come across something in your everyday life that impacts you to your core.  It's a really neat thing when you are struggling with something in your everyday life, and that difficult something finds a way to impact you to your core.  Such a thing happened to me.

Since losing my job in April 2009, a job I began right after college and a job that I loved, I have yet to find my way to a new career.  I've worked places to pay the bills and that's about all I can say about the jobs I've held.  Over the past few years, I've applied for countless positions I would love to have, and I've had many interviews, I've had many second interviews, and I've had a lot of buildups that all led to let downs when I didn't get "the job".  Rejection can get you doubting yourself; I know it did for me.  My college internships, my degree, my experience, my personality and energy and possible contribution to a company - why is this not enough?  Why am I, and all of the things that make up "I", not enough?

I reluctantly began my career search again a few weeks ago.  I found a dream position with a dream company with incredible pay and I had the exact experience required for the position.  At least I thought I did.  This past Monday I landed an interview, and this past Monday I bombed the interview.  I mean bombed it.  I was nervous, had doubts about myself swarming in my head, and my insecurities and past failures got the best of me.  Following the interview, as I walked upstairs to my apartment, my internal voice, a.k.a. The Frenchman, was large and in charge.  The thoughts that were going through my head - I'm not good enough, why do I even bother?, obviously something is inherently wrong with me since I'm not getting any of the jobs I've interviewed for, I should have done better in college, I should have been a better employee at the job I enjoyed, I've burned too many bridges, my unstable work history is a flaw that will affect all of my interviews...and the statements continued.

After an hour or so of hopelessness and shame, I finally began hearing this voice and all of the thoughts spoken by this voice as a separate being from myself.  This is not me.  These thoughts are not me.  What good can come out of this failed interview?  I was still bummed at my performance, but I was able to shift my feelings.  It was like a claw came down and picked up the self-loathing Kristin, sprinkled her with Engel Dust, and put her back into reality.  And only in an hour's time.  This is a significantly improved self-loathing turnaround time.  Trust.

Now, this whole thing that happened isn't the "thing" I was referring to in sentence three.  The "thing" I was referring to happened today.  I was searching job postings and came across one that interested me.  I applied, and then proceeded to the company's website to do a little research.  Like most companies, it had a link to its Facebook page, and like most 400+ million Facebook users, I clicked said link.  The hiring company is a health company, so its Facebook page is a source of motivation and story-sharing for its clients.  I'm scrolling down, and I see a quote that was posted as a status update several weeks ago.
"Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down."
Core impacted.  I know this quote might not affect those reading this as much as it did me...but these words spoke volumes about my journey.  I put up walls.  I know I put up walls.  But I never knew why I put up walls.  As I've progressed in my journey, I've learned that these walls are a defense mechanism, that I am very distrusting and insecure, and I forever protect myself before anyone can ever hurt me.  In the past few months with the help of Beverly Engel's Healing Your Emotional Self, I've gained a bit of security.  I've given myself a tad bit more value, and I hope to gain a tad bit more.  But my walls remain, as is evident with my boyfriend and my standoffish, aloof behavior around other people.  I'm healing.  I'm learning and growing.  Why are there still walls around me?

Enter quote.  There is strife in my relationship with my boyfriend.  I push him away with jealousy, insecurity, anger, and The Real Housewives of Orange County/Beverly Hills/Atlanta/New York.  I was standoffish toward his friends, his best friends, and their wives during our trip to DC; I question his relationship with any female.  I even asked him about a "flirty" Facebook wall post...which he told me was from his cousin.  Embarrassing.  I'm almost 30 years old.  These walls are immature.  These walls that are meant to protect me are only hurting me.  But after coming across that quote, I see that these walls serve another purpose.

I am constantly making other people prove to me that they like me, adore me, love me, need me, want me.  Yes, these walls are meant to protect myself, but the crumbling of these walls are proof that my boyfriend, a new acquaintance, a potential employer, etc. really likes me.  And the effort it takes for anyone to knock these walls down...there are no words.  It involves a lot of self-sabotage on my part and a lot of overcoming my sabotage on the other person's part.  I fall down to see who will pick me up.  I run away to see who will chase me.  I show hate to see who will show me love.

This week I've been listening to a lot of Joyce Meyer podcasts.  As an unemployed person, needless to say, I have a lot of time on my hands to do such things.  The other day I listened to like five podcasts in a row - I couldn't get enough of her words, of The Word.  I am searching, it's obvious.  My counselor speaks often about seasons - this is a season of grieving, this is a season of clarity, etc.  Well, this is my season of searching.  Not just for employment, not just for the next interesting Joyce Meyer podcast to pick me up, not just for the next put-it-all-out-there chapter in Healing Your Emotional Self that will help raise my self-esteem.  This searching goes deeper than surface problems, than what is tangible and within reach.  Yet all of those tangible, surface things I speak of send me further into my journey.  I am finding myself reaching for God, needing and craving the things only He can give me.  Yes I need a job.  But God, I need trust.  Yes, I want to believe my boyfriend wants to be with me.  But God, I need to know I am lovable at my core, I need to know that I have been good enough since the day I was born.

When I look back on my life, at the walls I have built and the people who have or have not succeeded at knocking them down, I feel sad.  I feel alone and I feel foolish.  I see that these feelings are walls themselves, separating me from the people and places who can, and maybe even want, to bring me relief and contentment.  But these walls are keeping me from something far more, something far better than I can even comprehend at this moment.

This path I am on during my season of searching has brought me to face the very walls I have built.  Brick by brick, these walls are memories cemented together, hateful, shaming words of my mother, past mistakes and regrets stacked against me, haunting me and taunting me and thwarting my progress to places anew.  But unlike my past wall-breaking strategies, I don't want proof of anything from anyone.  That's gotten me nowhere.  I want my fingers to tear at the cement, the force of my legs to kick through the bricks.  I want to crumble these walls myself.  This season of searching has brought frustration and pain, but it's brought hope in the season to follow, the season I've glimpsed of through my cravings and yearnings for something far more, something far better.

Let the construction begin.

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