Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One (Small) Step at a Time

Have you ever been faced with so many possibilities that you don't know what to do? Perhaps you've gone to a new restaurant with a free meal voucher and couldn't decide which of the 10 appetizers, 15 entrees, 20 sides, 10 soups, and 12 deserts to choose. Or maybe you've been to a buffet and had trouble picking the perfect combination of items to fill your first (second, and perhaps third) plate.

Well, right now I feel like I have about 6 plates worth of food waiting for me and they're all scrambling to be on the first trip.

Here's just a sampling of everything that comes to mind right now...

Research/Write Resume
Search for Jobs
Eat diet food / Not eat junk food
Clean my face
Make an effort to be presentable
Clean my room
Organize file drawers
Revise my screenplay
Write this blog
Write my author's profile for DeviantArt
Write RP posts
Write for fun
Read library books
Read my book club's book
Read the huge collection of unread books on my shelves
Watch the last 8 episodes of Dollhouse
Catch up on NCIS
Watch random TV
Play video games
Surf the internet
Draw for fun
Design shop items
Design floorplans
Keep in touch with friends

Every single one of these actions is preceded by an "I should," and frankly, I'm getting tired of needing to do things. It's bad enough to know you should do one or two things, but when there's a list of over 10 things needing your attention, you (or rather, I) start to feel a bit useless. 'Overwhelmed' doesn't even cut it anymore; I just feel downright useless.

I Should...Research/Write Resume ~ Search for Jobs
Being unemployed is disheartening in and of itself. The job market is cruddy for everyone, and being a new college grad just makes it that much worse. Well, no, I'm sure there are college grads out there who just finished med school, law school, or some high tech degree and have 3 jobs lined up at their fingertips. But for we (fools) who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and who don't want to teach...yeah, it's pretty slim pickings.

I've found a couple job listings for "Writers" or "Tech Writers" and it seems every one of them requires "At least 5 years/7 years experience". While I have been writing various things over that period of time, it definitely hasn't been technical writing, nor has it even been professional or published. How is one to obtain that experience if no one will hire anyone without it???

I did find one job that I might be able to do... Though, the more I think about it, the less I think I'm qualified. It's an Administrative Assistant/Technical Writer position that only requires '2 years experience'. Now, I've never worked as an Administrative Assistant either, but I figured there really wasn't much to it but office work. So I asked an employment agency representative if I could have more information about that job...and that's where my confidence ended. The further down the list of required skills she went, the more I wanted to apologize for wasting her time and leave. But I managed to hold my place and give affirmations of my ability long enough to get the address to send my resume to... Worst they can say is 'no', right?

I've also thought about getting a Teller job. Sure, it's not anywhere near where I'd like to be, but it'd bring in an income. And though math was not my major (hell, I haven't done math seriously since physics in freshman year), I figure I can still manage simple arithmetic and typing on a keyboard/calculator.

And that just leaves actually creating a resume. I went in to the employment agency last week to get some help, but without something for them to look at, all the help I got was a walk over to the bookshelf for some Resume Examples. I guess I just have to go ahead and slap down my accomplishments (or lack thereof) onto a sheet of paper so I can get some serious advice. Maybe I'll even print out a few sheets worth of ideas and have a counselor help me copy and paste.

One thing's for sure: I am NOT making a job-experience formatted resume. 2 cashiers positions and a glorified cleaning position does not translate to anything I have any interest in doing.

I Should...Exercise ~ Eat diet food / Not eat junk food ~ Clean my face ~ Make an effort to be presentable
Part of my low self-esteem stems from my constant struggles with my body image. I know I'm not healthy, and I know I need to take steps to fix that. I've been on a diet before, and I saw great results - down 50+ pounds in half a year. That was when the entire family went on this diet, cleaned out the kitchen/pantry, and made a concerted effort to support each other. Then, after a few months, the rest of my family started reintroducing all the junk food (aka good-tasting food), and my willpower (never being very good) broke down.

We still have a cupboard full of this diet food. It isn't the worst-tasting food. It isn't even complicated to make (add water, stir, heat for a minute, depending on the meal). It's just a matter of knowing that there are other, better-tasting options in the same place, or just a quick trip up the road, that is proving to be my continued downfall.

It doesn't matter that I've regained all the weight I lost. It doesn't matter that I don't fit into the clothes I bought at that time. It doesn't matter that I hate seeing myself in the mirror. It doesn't even matter that the diet food keeps coming every month. My guilt seems to stop as soon as I walk into the kitchen, and then I reach for the milk, box of cereal, and container of sugar. It's even fitting that the metaphor beginning this article had to do with food, isn't it?

Exercise is in the same boat. It'd be so simple to just get up and pop in the Wii Fit, but the TV is already on something else. Or my mom's watching it, and I don't want to interrupt. Or I just showered, and I'd just get sweaty again. Or I want/need to go somewhere in an hour and don't have enough time. Need an excuse? I've got a ton of 'em.

Cleaning my face is a(n admittedly) recent addition to my plate. Throughout high school and college, I will admit that my personal hygiene was not up to par. However, cleaning my face and applying makeup (mostly just a base and eyeshadow) have become almost necessities now, since they have managed to allow me to look in the mirror without grimacing. And, really, the smallest amount of self-esteem is worth it. But it still takes time, and I often find myself unwilling to put forth the effort if I don't plan on leaving the house (an unfortunately often occurrence).

I Should...Clean my room ~ Organize file drawers
Cleaning my room is just one of those tasks that (a) I have it in my mind that it should be done in one sitting, (b) would probably only take half an hour so I put it off until something else comes up, and (c) never seems fun to do. Honestly, my room isn't the messiest in the house (that honor belonging to my mom or sister), but I can't say that I enjoy looking at the disorder. It's just easier to.

Organizing my files was a task that I decided on after I moved back after college and still hasn't gotten done. I need a box or two for my high school stuff (or maybe just a recycle bin), and then another one for my college stuff. I'm a bit of a pack rat, though, so I'd love help doing it...and I don't see that happening any time soon. Le sigh.

I Should...Write this blog ~ Revise my screenplay ~ Write my author's profile for DeviantArt ~ Write RP posts ~ Write for fun
Yes, writing, though one of my loves, requires an effort that I am having trouble conjuring up recently. Even this blog (as I'm sure you've noticed) is a week late. And while I could conjure up a whole list of excuses (see those above against exercise), it all comes down to not having accountability. The deadlines are gone, the guidelines are gone, and I'm still reeling from the shock. I could never be my own boss, because then nothing would get done.

My senior thesis was a screenplay, and frankly, it turned out quite shitty. I think my plot is solid, I tried my best to keep my characters grounded, and the dialog is probably passable... But I was rushed on the ending, and on revising overall, so I'm still not happy with it. It's been a couple months since I last tried working on it, and it's just sitting there gathering figurative cobwebs... But a small voice in my mind asks, "What's the point? Who's gonna read it anyway?" So, even though I want to revise, I push it off to follow behind 'more pressing' tasks.

I mentioned before that I've joined a group on DeviantArt that involves writing partners. Well, my writing partner may be writing her heart out, but I've yet to see anything of it. I've told her I'm more than willing to take a look at what she's written, but other than an exchange of 'hellos', and my readings of her journals, I've not received anything else. Thus, I have decided to post an open profile directly to the group, advertising, if you will, myself as a proofreader/criticizer. I wish I could have a partner who would tug on my hair and force me to write, but I highly doubt anyone I meet online could have that influence on me.

As far as the RP goes, it comes and goes in waves. If you didn't know already, I'm part of a group who each take a character (or two...or three) in a collaborative Harry Potter roleplay. While I have people waiting on me to post...I find myself really not caring. There are maybe 15 active members, and during the school year we have maybe 5 of them actively participating. I think I've been left hanging for weeks one too many times, because right now, I can't be bothered.

And writing for fun...it's almost funny how little I want to do that. I mean, I think I'm good at writing, and I think (that's right, they've gone from 'know' to 'think') that's what I want to do with my life, but with motivation at a zero and paychecks at the forefront in my mind, fun/frivolous writing almost makes me sick.

I Should...Read library books ~ Read my book club's book ~ Read the huge collection of unread books on my shelves
I currently have 2 books checked out: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie (Blackadder, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, House M.D.) and Fire by Kristen Cashore (Graceling). I'm about halfway through The Gun Seller, and I find it fun and engaging, but when put up against the ease of watching TV... Well, it's due Saturday, so I'll have to finish it by then. Fire still has a week after that. But, maybe it's just me, but I HATE reading with other people in the room. I don't know, I just find it rude. It's probably the biggest reason I don't read much, and then only at night or in a bookstore.

I've pretty much taken over the running of Diffindo's (the HP website) book club. I make the posts, I pick the themes, I set up the polls, I try to remind people and get them interested, and I've read every book (well, except Watchmen, but actually no one ended up reading that one). But I can only do so much. I seem to be the only one who is interested in discussing books, even when I'm not the one who suggested it! This month is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, so I'm hoping that we'll get a little more interest. Anyone who's interested in this or any of the other 8 books we've read, just go here!

I recently made a list of the books on my shelf that I haven't read (Hitchhiker's Guide being one of them) and came up with around 100. Moral of the story, besides my book club selections, I think I'm staying away from the library for a while.

I Should...Watch the last 8 episodes of Dollhouse ~ Catch up on NCIS ~ Watch random TV ~ Play video games ~ Surf the internet
I loved Dollhouse, I really did, but knowing that it's over makes me in no hurry whatsoever to watch the episodes. Probably the best initiative coming up is that my TiVo is running out of room (with it recording every episode of Invader Zim).

I fell behind with NCIS last year, I think heading in to the winter break, and am now so far behind that I'll have to find the episodes online. It's just one of those that I've forgotten about with the 7 other shows I watch weekly.

TV in general is an ever-present distraction. Be it stupid cartoons (Fairly Odd Parents, Spongebob), addicting kid shows (iCarly, Phineas and Ferb, Avatar), interesting history shows (Life After People, Modern Marvels), or stuff that I really don't care about but am too lazy to leave the room (food/design shows). It also provides a good background noise to play video games to.

Besides the games we have for the Wii, I am also currently addicted to the DS game Black Sigil: The Blade of the Cursed. It's an role-play (somewhat) turn-based game that allows for leveling up a la Pokemon and gaining money and items in battle. It's something that allows for TV-watching and playing at the same time...though it's best if you aren't actually watching the TV, as it seems to be slightly time-based.

Then there's the random video-watching, article-reading, music-listening surfing that one likes to do on the internet in general. It may not make you feel accomplished, but it sure helps distract you for hours on end.

I Should...Draw for fun ~ Design shop items ~ Design floorplans
I haven't drawn in years, really. Not since my art class in junior year of high school, anyway. But I don't think I'm completely devoid of talent and I'd like to draw some characters I've been thinking of, just so I can stop 'borrowing' from other artists. It's just a matter of sitting down with some paper, a pencil, and a big eraser.

Diffindo recently got a money/shop code, but we've yet to create anything to buy/sell. As one of the graphic designers (and the only one seemingly with time on her hands), it falls to me to come up with things for those slots. Granted, the code isn't perfect yet (you can only sell a maximum of 5 things), so we aren't putting anything up for sale yet, but it's best to have things ready.

I've also created floorplans for the RP site (visible on my DeviantArt), but when one building has 10 floors and I've only finished 6...I still have work to do. I find these fun to do, but they do take a lot of time and can get rather repetitive, so I find myself putting them off until I get a LOT of motivation.

I Should...Keep in touch with friends
You'd think this would be fairly easy with my small pool of friends. That's right, I'll be the first to say that I'm quite the recluse. I have low self-esteem (as explained earlier) so I often don't want to impose on others. A year ago I would have said I had a large number of internet friends, but with them all moving on to increasing 'Real Life' activities, I'd draw that number back to 4 or 5. As far as people I've met in my own 'Real Life', outside of college I never see them. I don't have co-workers to hang with, I don't have a bowling league to meet with...I don't really have anybody.

I Actually Do Sleep
Practically the only 'good' thing I do constantly is sleep. Granted, I do it at a bad time (around 4am to 2pm), and I rarely actually want to get out of bed (gee, I wonder why), but at least I'm not an insomniac.

But even with all that stuff crowding me, I still look to the future and am taking small steps forward. Cleaning my face and starting to apply makeup is my first step, and I'll probably set finishing The Gun Seller as my second. Job hunting is definitely at the forefront of my thoughts, but overstressing it won't get anything done, and that is a step that I'll probably have to divide up into smaller steps. Dieting correctly and exercise will be especially hard steps, and might even take multiple tries, but I'm positive I'll tackle them and succeed eventually.

And, funnily enough, as if on cue, this song happened to come on my shuffle just as I was finishing this post:

Relient K ~ More Than Useless

I feel like, I would like
To be somewhere else doing something that matters
And I'll admit here, while I sit here
My mind wastes away and my doubts start to gather

What's the purpose? It feels worthless
So unwanted like I've lost all my value
I can't find it, not in the least bit
and I'm just scared, so scared that I'll fail you

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me

I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

So I say if I can't, do something significant
I'll opt to leave most opportunities wasted
And nothing trivial, that life could give me will
Measure up to what might have replaced it

Too late look, my date book
Is packed full of days that were empty and now gone
And I bet, that regret
Will prove to get me to improve in the long run

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me

I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I’m a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna the day, gonna be the day
That I would do something right
Do something right for once

I notice, I know this
Week is a symbol of how I use my time
Resent it, I spent it
Convincing myself the world's doing just fine
Without me
Doing anything of any consequence
Without me
Showing any sign of ever making sense
Of my time , it's my life
And my right, to use it like I should
Like he would, for the good
Of everything that I would ever know

I'm a little more than useless
When I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I’m a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna the day, gonna be the day
That I would do something right
Do something right for once

Until next time,