Saturday, July 17, 2004

I Hate Myself

I really do.  I can't seem to be happy.  I have an interview in Houston on Monday, but probably won't take the job because I can't afford to move.  A friend offered me a way to get back to Pittsburgh, complete with a job, and I can't take it.  I'm sad when people don't care about me, I'm sad when the do.  I thought I had a good chance at an awesome job in Connecticut, but the guy hasn't gotten back to me since he asked me for my resume, references, and transcripts, so I probably put him off, too.  Then, people profess to give a damn about me, but desert me when I need someone.  There must be something wrong with me that makes people humiliate me, hate me, abandon me.  I would fix it if I knew what it was.
God, I sound like a damn cliche.

Friday, July 16, 2004

So, I was watching Northern Exposure a couple nights ago (yay to the Hallmark Channel for putting it on, boo for putting it on so late - midnight central time!).  One of my favorite episodes was on.  It was the one where Joel's favorite uncle dies, and he (Joel) wants to say kaddish for him.  The problem is he need a minyan (10 other Jews) for ritual reasons, and Alaska isn't exactly a center for Judaism.  Well, the whole town comes together and searches the entire state and western Canada in an effort to find the people he needs.  As they search and start bringing these people to him, he comes to the realization that what is important about the kaddish isn't so much the ritual, it's the support and love shared among the community.  The very last scene shows him and the entire community gathered in the small church in Ciciely (I probably spelled that wrong) praying together, each in their own way, as he read the kaddish.  I think that is one of the most beautiful scenes ever put on television.
It occurred to me as I watched that that the writer of that episode had a true grasp of what liturgy was.  Liturgy means "the work of the people."  And that was what this was.  A community of people coming together and worshipping in a way that fits that particular community.
I plan to write more later.  I need to go get paid now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Why do I torture myself?

Even though I'm still a parishioner at the church where I was formerly employed (even though I don't go to mass there), why do I bother with reading the weekly bulletin? It just makes me tense and angry and then I end up more depressed.

What did it this time? I just saw that the woman who was the bane of my existance, the thorn in my side, the person who most made me want to either commit homicide or suicide, is the new high school religious ed. coordinator. The woman not only has a sketchy theology backgroud (despite starting her Master's in pastoral studies), she has not one whiff of empathy for her fellow human beings. She has repeatedly made me feel like the tiniest person in the world. She has humiliated me not only in front of other adults, but also in front of young people. And I've seen her do that to other people, too. When I went to the pastoral administrator for help in dealing with her, since we had a rather obvious personality conflict, I was told to grin and bear it because she is so influential (she is the CFO of the largest medical practice in Baton Rouge, and over half their physicians - about 50 - are parishioners of St. Al's CCC). This is what money and influence get you - another opportunity to have your ego stroked and to pat yourself on the back and say, "Look how wonderful I am."

Wanna hear something funny? This...witch with a capital B is studying spiritual direction. HA! Why would anyone want to go to a spiritual director who is going to tell them that they are worthless and wrong? We were talking about prayer styles one time, and she actually had the audacity to tell me I was praying wrong. Since when is prayer right or wrong if it is doing what it is supposed to? Another time, we did Myers-Briggs on a leadership team retreat (her type, ESTJ, is the exact opposite of mine, INFP. Even our numbers were the same in the opposite direction). She intimated that my personality was the wrong type to do the type of work I did, despite the fact that all research on type indicated that ministry, teaching, etc, are careers that INFP's are drawn to and do well in. In that conversation, she stopped just short of saying I was an inherently bad person. I didn't stop crying for a long time over that.

I need to put this whole, nasty mess behind me, but I can't. As long as I'm here and within St. Al's CCC's sphere of influence, I'm just going to continue to drive myself crazy with this stuff. I hate having to pretend to be happy and content when I'm not. And I hate having to pretend that I think the Catholic church is the be all and end all of churches everywhere. It may claim apostolic succession, but it is anything but the church the apostles founded.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Too tense to title

I'm sitting here crying right now because my dream job is staring me in the face, I stood a good chance of getting it, and now I think I'm about to mess it up.

The job is teaching English in an alternative school for kids who are bright, but have emotional challenges. The school has 30 students in grades 8-12. The program the school's director has designed is really innovative and incorporates a lot of cutting edge research. His philosophy just deeply impresses me, and I think working there would be the chance of a lifetime.

I've been corresponding with the director over the past few days and today he asked me to fax him my resume, transcripts, and letters of reference. The resume and transcript are easy, but I have no pre-written letters of recommendation. The ones from my student teaching vanished in my move, and I never bothered with getting others. I have references, but I'm scared to death to ask them for an actual letter. What if they don't want to be bothered? What if they just laugh me out of the room (or out of cyberspace, as the case may be)? I'm so afraid that I'm going to give up on this position because I'm afraid to ask for letters.

GAH! I'm just so messed up right now. I feel like I'm whining, but since no one is listening, I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm just terrified in general right now. I know that If I don't find a teaching position (or something else) the company I'm working for now will offer me a job. But I don't think I can make ends meet for what they will pay me, and I know I can't have any job satisfaction. I'm just feeling like I have about as much worth as the wasp I smushed outside my door when I got home tonight. I don't know what's wrong with me.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The wisdom of fanfiction

I was reading one of my favorite Harry Potter fics tonight (instead of writing a cover letter I wanted to e-mail today for a job I don't actually want). I'm not going to link to the fic because it is above a PG-13 overall, and I don't want to risk a youngster happening upon it by chance. But I will give credit to the author by her pseudonym's initials - IGToW. Anyhow, the war is over, Voldemort is gone, and Harry and Snape are dialoguing in the Astronomy Tower. I just read these few lines, and they struck a chord with what I am feeling:

(Snape is speaking first)

"...You wonder if you're condemned to forever rest pathetically on a fading past glory, or worse, damned to always do the things you hate the most?"

"What good am I now?" he heard Harry whisper. "It's all I have and I don't want it anymore."

Severus felt his way along the issue carefully. "It may have been all you've accomplished to this point of your very young life, but it is certainly not all you have." He realised he was talking to himself as much as he was to Harry. He continued in a soft but intense voice, "One does not have to be useful to have worth, Harry. Don't ever forget that."

Harry was silent for a long time, obviously thinking on his words. "Yes, it's a whole question of worth, isn't it? Do I have any? Do I have any value left?" he asked quietly. Snape was suspicious he'd not intended to say that last bit out loud.

"Tell me Harry, what is it you like to do? What might you want to do if there were no obstacles?" he asked trying another tack knowing he wasn't going to convince the young man of his value in one moonlit conversation.

"I don't know." he replied, at a loss.

I am Harry in this conversation. Except I never defeated a dark lord in order to have past glory to rest upon.

A friend tried to tell me the part that is bolded, but she did it with Phillipians 1:3-6. I've read it before, I've studied it with students before, I've proclaimed it at mass before. I used to believe it. I just don't know that I have any good work in me for God to bring to completion.

The one thing that I've never hated doing is writing. But every time I open myself up and actually share something I've written that isn't work-related, I get hurt. Either I get negative responses or I get no response (which is worse in a lot of ways). Now my work-related writing always gets positive comments, but I've never been in a job where writing was my primary responsibility. Therefore, I can't find a job where writing is primary. Not because I lack skill, but because I lack experience.

I wish I hadn't been a secondary education major. Then I could have done an internship in technical writing or something like that. But I did so many field placements during the school year, and I had to work full time in the summer so I couldn't take an internship then. It just stinks.

But the thing that really stinks is that deep down inside, buried under all the self-doubt (and, if I'm to be honest right now, self-loathing) I know I have a bunch of different talents. I've just never been a situation where they have been allowed to be expressed fully.

Take St. Al's Church and Country Club. I thought I was coming in there with the opportunity to take over the YM program and really take it to the next level - true comprehensive youth ministry. But I get there, and they tell me that for the first year they want me to observe, make no changes, etc. Well, that pretty much destroyed any authority I might have had, and any chance I had to make the position my own. I honestly think that if I had come in and I had been allowed to be in charge from the beginning things would have been different. And I told the pastor that in a letter I wrote when I was let go.

You know, I'm sorry for continuing to rant on this whole St. Al's CCC situation, but this is becoming something like therapy for me. Since I have no one to talk to ever, this gives me a chance to get things out. I'm still not thinking rationally (if I recognize that I'm being irrational, does that mean that I'm relatively stable?), but at least I can express somethings before they eat further holes in my stomach lining.

Blurg. I feel kind of ill tonight. Maybe I can get to sleep early. Like before 3 a.m.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Well, it's the fourth of July

Not that I'm going to write about it, but I just thought I'd make an announcement.

Had a conversation with the Big Guy last night. Went something like this.

"So...hi there, God. Sorry I haven't talked to you in a while."


"Yeah, well, hope everything's good on your end, 'cause it's not on mine."


"You know, this is precisely why I haven't talked to you much lately. I do all the talking. One sided conversations aren't much fun, ya know?"


"I mean, I know you have about 6 billion people to worry about down here, not to mention all the other little creatures and plants and stuff. Being the 'Creator of Heaven and Earth, of all things see and unseen,' must be a big job, but do your think you could spare a few minutes for li'l ol' me?"


"No answer, huh? Oh well. Guess I wasn't expecting much. But you know, I kind of miss our dialogue. I mean, you were never exactly loud about things, but I could at least know you were paying attention, you know?"


" Well, here's the deal. You know I've been hurting lately, right?"


"Yeah. Well, we'll just take that as a yes, shall we? Anyway, I just feel so alone in the world. I mean, the only person I ever talk to is my boss at work. If it weren't for that, the sum total of human conact I would have would be clerks at the grocery store. And I hate that. I really do. But I'm so afraid of being rejected again, like I always have been. I just don't know what to do."


"And then there's the whole job thing. You supposedly gave everyone gifts and talents. Did you forget me? I can't think of anything that I'm really, really good at. I can't think of anything I can succeed in. I'm just a failure. Is that what you had in mind for me?"


"Silence, huh? Why doesn't that surprise me. You know, I always told my students that if they opened their hearts, they would hear you. Well, my heart's open, why can't I?"


"You know, I'd settle for a hint. Where do you want me? What do you want me to do? You name it, I'm there. I'll find a way, no matter what."


"Hmm. Why am I not surprised?"

See, that's where my crisis of faith comes from. I have no doubt that God exists. I have no doubt that He's up there (or whatever) listening. I just have trouble believing right now that He offers any guidance. That he speaks to us. He just lets us fumble our way along down here and we suffer for it.

I don't know.

I'm just so freaking sad.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


I've decided that I'm going to abandon this whole job search thing, roll up my sleeping bag, grab a few changes of clothes, and find a nice underpass to live under. I can't decide if I would be better off or not.

I'm tired of writing cover letters. I'm tired of looking at job websites. I'm tired of all of it. The only thing this whole mess has succeeded in doing is making me realize just how incompetant and worthless I really am. If I could get just one interview - just one. On the positive side, my new resume format seems to be getting a little more attention than the old one. I switched from a format that was basically chronological to a functional one. It's supposed to highlight your skills more, but when you don't have any to highlight, what's the purpose?

I'm pretty sure I'm actually, really, depressed. I have most of the symptoms. Problem is, when you don't have insurance, you can't get help. Heck, I can barely afford to pay my rent, truth be told. It's ramen noodles for me for the next week. I thought that phase of my life was supposed to be over by the time I turned 33.

This whole St. Al's CCC thing just really bothers me still. I can't leave it behind. It bothers me that things had to end that way. And it bothers me that they hired some kid fresh out of college in my place. And it absolutely galls me that he will probably succeed where I didn't because he is a favorite son of the parish. And St. Al's is, after all, a members-only establishment. While they may have to put interlopers on the official membership roles, they aren't really welcome. Just a token minority in their little club.

Gosh, I'm getting bitter in my old age. Must be the depression. I never used to be like that. I never used to hold grudges. I never obsessed about injustices, real or perceived. I don't know what's wrong with me.

I never should have left Pittsburgh. I'd give anything to go back, but I can't. I don't have anyone there. I don't have anyone here. I'm all alone and I hate it and I can't do anything about it. It's just not fair.