words are my favorite form of art. they always have been and probably always will be. but lately, my words are confined to the hard edges of job applications, resumes, and cover letters. most days it isn't so bad; i set aside just a couple of hours each day so that my brain doesn't dissolve from doing it all day. some days it feels a little monotonous. but lately it feels suffocating. i feel really, really small; i can't believe it's been a year of this.
i needed a break this morning, so i let my mind wander to what i often think about -- what i wish i could say. i could choke myself on the words i wish i could say to people from the past year, but i don't think drinking poison is beneficial for my health. so instead, here are the words i wish i could say to the people who might let my future include them.
to whom it may concern:
it's been a hard year. i know you are not my therapist (and i do have one, by the way), but i want you to know it's been a hard year. i think people usually say things next like, "but i wouldn't trade it for anything", or "i've learned an immeasurable amount about my professional goals," however, i don't feel those things are true about me. i would trade this past year for anything. for everything.
i used to have what i considered to be my dream job. i put everything into it -- i am all heart. i gave my time and energy, my thoughts and prayers, my blood and sweat and tears, my graduate degree, and my entire heart's capacity to that job. to my coworkers, to my students, to my vocational goals; everything was wrapped up in that world because i believed in it. i still do, i think. but it came without surprise that i was a square peg in a round hole, and i can't survive that way for long. i admit; i didn't know it was this hard to be unemployed. i didn't know that the job search process would make me feel so inadequate. i simply didn't know it would hurt like this.
so i searched and applied for my next big adventure for months. each cover letter and application chipped away at parts of my soul. i started to rebuild those pieces when i found the amazing organization i currently work for. i, once again, am putting everything into it; my heart, my time, my tears, my creativity. it's breathed new life into me, and drastically changed 2015 for the better; i am forever grateful for this little orange tab in my story -- but when the academic year ends, so does my contract. so i'm back to the cover letters and the applications and the soul-chipping.
my mother is hispanic and my father is white. there's a spanish phrase i've often used to describe myself when it comes to my ethnic identity: "ni aqui ni alla." it means "neither here nor there." i'm in between. it hurts deeply to no longer feel connected to the job of my past, but to not quite have my finger on what my future looks like either. i have no "here" and i have no "there." i'm neither. or i'm both.
i can't promise you i'm perfect. in fact, spoiler alert, i am so very human; i bruise quite easily. i can't promise you that i possess all of the skills you list on your job description. i can't promise you that i won't cry during meetings sometimes because of the passion seeping through my pores. i can't promise you i won't have long conversations with co-workers because conflict excites me in the way that learning a new instrument or flying on a plane does -- an opportunity to step outside of myself and relinquish control with the sole hope of growing.
but i can promise you that give my entire self to everything i do. i am desperate for something to pour into and i have a shit-ton of skills that help me do that. i am a hard worker. i am smart. i am compassionate. i am creative. i am hilarious at happy hour and a nightmare before coffee. i am fragile and sometimes i take things personally but that doesn't make me a liability to your company -- it makes me perfect for it. those of us with thin skin and a lot of feels tend to work with people incredibly well -- empathy binds us way more often than it divides us. trust me on that one.
above all, i can promise you, without a doubt, that looked at your organization amidst the litany of results that showed up on my computer screen, and i chose you. it would mean so very much to me if you would choose me back.
thank you for your consideration. i promise i do not suck.