I have had trouble with sleep for my entire life. As a little girl, I can remember lying in bed awake, listening to my twin sister’s tinny clock radio playing the local radio station’s nighttime programming for the full hour she’d set for the sleep timer as she slept peacefully next to me, knocked out within minutes of closing her eyes. It was the loneliest feeling in the world for me. My older sister and I both had issues falling asleep as early as the rest of the family, and would spend hours reading in the bathroom or sometimes closet when we were on family vacations in single hotel rooms.
When I was 20 years old I was diagnosed with depression and given Zoloft. I was in college and it seemed like every woman I knew (and some of the men, too) were on various mind-altering medications to fix their moods. It was the year after 9/11, we were in DC, and I lived in a basement room that got little to no light, like a cave. Job prospects were bleak. Things were dark. There was no point to anything. I slept a lot and watched the Independent Film Channel between naps.
In the past couple of years, I’ve gained a chunk of weight that has made most of my wardrobe obsolete. I’m uncomfortable in my skin and have lost a lot of muscle tone, which is not something I want as I edge closer to 40. I’ve been working to change this, especially with my impending wedding fast approaching, and have been searching for ways to get fitter. So a few months ago, thanks to a ton of effective Facebook advertising, I decided to try the weight loss app “Noom”, which touts itself as Weight Watchers but updated for millennials (more or less).
I recently ran for and was elected as an alternate member of the Austin Pedestrian Advisory Council, a volunteer group that makes recommendations to the municipal government regarding pedestrian issues, like sidewalks, mobility access, public transportation, and, of course, walking safety in the city. We meet at City Hall once a week and discuss a publicly-posted agenda that members of the community are invited to comment on, either during meetings or via email.
Last night’s meeting included a discussion of the city’s proposed rules on dockless mobility, aka the rules the DOT is hoping to impose on companies like Lime, Bird, and Uber for the regulation of those electric scooters that have taken over Austin and other tech-forward U.S. cities. The City passed an emergency ruling last spring to allow the companies to operate on a provisional basis.
A few months ago I watched with interest as a woman unfolded a bit of drama on Facebook. “Who else knew?” an acquaintance posted, and her comments filled with, “Knew what?” A few rows down she exposed that her long-term boyfriend had been cheating on her, for a long time. She felt betrayed, obviously, by friends and family who may have known about his actions and never told her.
I watched another woman friend lament that she had a bad picker and had her heart broken by a jerk. “Dogs are the only creatures worthy of my love,” she said, and her friends told her not to throw out all men just because of one bad apple.
I didn’t know they were talking about the same cheating jerk until talking with another friend who had fallen under his spell several years ago. This third girlfriend had had a hunch when they were seeing each other that he hadn’t broken up with his serious girlfriend, in spite of his insistence that it was over, consensually, and he wasn’t seeing her anymore. It ends up he was lying to everyone.
I have been working for a few years with a digital marketing agency, and have had the honor of developing a friendship with the founder. We often refer clients to each other, and today I was thinking about what a relief it is that I can trust her judgment.
“It is so nice to have a friend whom I trust professionally,” I messaged her. “I trust recommending you to people and when you recommend me, I trust they’ll be good clients.”
In the coming weeks, some of my largest long-term contracts will be wrapping up, and I’ve found myself wondering if I should try to put myself into the workforce as a full-time employee at a single company again, rather than as a freelancer on several different projects.
Of course, the main thing that keeps me from applying to the full-time grind is a reminder of the horrors of the application process: the rejections with no explanation, the clear lack of a recruiter or hiring manager even looking at your experience, the understanding that only people who knew people could get in to an interview, and even then, you may be disregarded as a piece of human resource rather than a person with feelings.
But another of the hardest aspects of diving back into the application process for me is having to rewrite my resume.
Ever since I was 13, I wanted to have blue hair. I can’t remember what enticed me to want it exactly, except the wave of Manic Panic colors that tinged the heads of my favorite punky bands in middle school and high school with a bit of late-night anime cartoons for good measure. Changing my hair to an unexpected shape or color was always a thrill for me, from the first time I cut it all off in fourth grade on. Some people get tattoos; I just change my hair. I shaved my head several times in my teens and 20s, but never quite got around to bleaching my light brown hair the platinum required to do a real true blue. I had teal bangs for a day or two one summer, but it washed out pretty quickly, much to my mother’s relief.
In 2002, I was a junior in college, and I met Chris, a senior, with whom I would spend the next several years in love.
Within a few weeks of meeting, I decided to take the remainder of the fall semester off from school and go home to Albuquerque, due to my first serious bout of depression. Chris’s and my relationship moved from working together at a coffee shop and hanging out once in a while to writing emails to each other, and then handwritten letters to each other, and eventually calling each other.