AOC Challenge Week 6 & 7: Break Time

Photo via Unsplash

Hi All! I’ve hit a wonderfully busy time of my year, and for my own sanity, have decided to give myself a blogging pass for a bit until things settle down. In the meantime, last week’s On Being episode speaks to a lot of what I’ve been contemplating here. If you need a nice lift this morning, have a listen to this episode.

One of my favorite clips from the interview transcript, referring to a distancing that has occured since the election…

MS. BROWN: Yeah, no, we’ve sorted ourselves into ideological bunkers. And what’s so crazy is how that social demographic changing — of sorting into those ideological bunkers — tracks exactly with increasing rates of loneliness. And so I would argue that — and this goes back to your paradox — nine times out of ten, the only thing I have in common with the people behind those bunkers is that we all hate the same people. And having shared hatred of the same people or the same — I call it “common enemy intimacy” —

MS. TIPPETT: Yeah, right. That’s such a good phrase.

MS. BROWN: Our connection is just an intimacy created by hating the same people, is absolutely not sustainable. It’s counterfeit connection.

MS. TIPPETT: So it’s not true belonging.

MS. BROWN: Oh, God, it’s not true belonging, it’s hustling of the worst magnitude. It’s just hustling. And so my question was, for the men and women who really carried this sense of true belonging in their hearts — they didn’t negotiate it with the world; they carried it internally; they brought belonging wherever they went because of their strength and their spiritual practice around it — what did they have in common? And so this first practice of true belonging is, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in.” When you are really struggling with someone, and it’s someone you’re supposed to hate because of ideology or belief, move in. Get curious. Get closer. Ask questions. Try to connect. Remind yourself of that spiritual belief of inextricable connection: How am I connected to you in a way that is bigger and more primal than our politics?

MS. TIPPETT: Actually, I think, the real spiritual practice — or at least hand in hand with that — the spiritual practice you’re pointing at is reclaiming our belonging, our human belonging, and having a courage to stand alone in our own groups, to transcend the tribal politics. Is that fair?

MS. BROWN: Yes. That’s exactly right.

MS. TIPPETT: So that we defy the sorting. We just say, “We’re not gonna live this way.”

MS. BROWN: I’ve probably been in front of — let me think — realistically, 25,000 people since this book came out, on a book tour across the United States. And every time, I ask the audiences, “Raise your hand if you deeply love someone whose vote in 2016 you find incomprehensible.” And 99% of hands go up. And we have to find a way. Then I ask, “How many of you are willing to sever permanently your relationship with the person you love, because of their vote?” And maybe one or two hands goes up.

I’m not; I am personally not willing to do that. Now I’m not going to tolerate abuse, or I’m not going to tolerate dehumanizing language. I’m not going to have a curious and open dialogue with someone whose politics insists on diminishing my humanity. Those are lines that were very clear with the research participants. But short of that, I’m going to lean in, and I’m going to stay curious.

Wandering on Mother’s Day

Yesterday could have been a disaster.  I woke up to some all-too-familiar problems at my parent’s house, that lead to scrapping all Mother’s Day plans.  I had a very sweet offer from Ben’s family, and normally I would have happily joined them.  But at this point I wanted nothing to do with the Hallmark holiday, and was in a very cynical “I’m better off staying in bed all day, eating a block of cheese, and watching Say Yes to the Dress.”

cheese Plus   say yes

Luckily that didn’t happen.  Because I left my sunglasses at a friend’s house the night before…

Trusting you wandering intuition…especially when you feel like crap

A consistent thread in many of my blog posts is that good things happen when I have thrown my plans out the window and gone out wandering.   Some of the most unexpected and lovely days occur after a very discouraging event.  My “plan” yesterday was to mope down to Dan and Kim’s to get my sunglasses simply as an excuse to get out of the house before climbing back into my blanket cave.  But alas, they suggested food, and so that lead to a lovely brunch.  That lead to ice cream, which lead to a suggestion to check out a church book sale, which lead to me buying an awesome book, which lead to sitting in the park for 4 hours surrounded by toddlers and dogs, which lead to Helen running into me, which lead to drinks at a new bar, which lead to a great tipsy nap when I got home.  All because I forgot my sunglasses.

When I was walking up the hill to my house, I realized it was 5.  I left my house at 10 that morning.  What was supposed to a quick walk to stomp out my family frustration, became an entire sun and friend-filled day.

Hamilton Park in Jersey City

Hamilton Park in Jersey City

So I can quit my job, right?

Oh most definitely.  Because of yesterday, I made peace with that fact that I am leaving my temp job.  Any logical person would look at my situation (saving for a wedding, terrifying student loans, desperate need for dental insurance {stupid wisdom teeth}), and say “Do not leave that job!”  I make a somewhat decent hourly wage, and in theory, this is supposed to turn into a “permanent” position; which by the way, I think is the dumbest/scariest word you can put near a job title.  Permanent.  Ew.

Anyway, I can’t do it.  Every bone in my body for the past four months has told me that I simply cannot justify sitting in a chair all day with barely anything to do, except occasionally file a form.  I am not contributing to anything or anyone, especially not to myself.  I am just making money, and barely enough to save, which was the whole point in the first place.  So when I was reminded how much I missed the acting lifestyle at an amazing audition several weeks ago, I scrapped this plan.

When I gave my notice, my boss thought I was insane.  Like out of a movie, she started yelling about the “stock options and vacation days” that would await me if I stayed for several more months.  One day I’ll look  back at that moment as one of those funny crossroads of when I could have accepted some financial security in return for my sanity.  Or I may look back and kick myself.  Who can say.

It’s not for everyone, right?

I realized that I couldn’t have explained my plan to her even if I tried.  It’s not in everyone’s nature to choice an artistic career over a steady job.  I wasn’t screwing her over technically.  The job did not remotely end up being what she described at the start so the situation was now, “stay as long as you can and it may go permanent in a few months.”  Still, I see how doing this all day makes more sense to people than jumping from job to audition to job.  A friend of Helen’s once described the acting lifestyle as “running off a cliff.”


I got thinking this morning as I watched the push-and-shoves marching down 42nd street.  I bet many of them love their jobs, maybe they’re in the career where they feel fulfilled.  And maybe monotony to them is just consistence.  I couldn’t help but wonder if any of them would view things differently if they let themselves off their daily trail once and a while.  I wonder those things a lot actually, but who am I to judge them?  It’s just a sea of suits after a while.

This difference may be why I have felt so left out recently.  I’m here, and everyone is perfectly nice, but I feel like I don’t get something.  I am sent the simplest projects and people ask my if I need days to complete them.  No.  A robot could do this.  Also, the things that people complain about in offices blows my mind.  So all in all, I leave at the end of the day frustrated and bored, and not that much richer.  So whoever this lifestyle is for, power to ya.

My point

The moment you stop worrying about your plans working out, they usually do.  If you’re feeling lost, or if you feel there is something wrong with you because you haven’t chosen the 9-5 life either, give yourself a break.  There is something to  be said about trusting an inconsistent work schedule.  And about giving opportunities a chance, even if they seem illogical.  Some of the best things that have happened to me have been because I’ve trusted my gut instead of my paranoid logic

.If you have found a 9-5 that makes you happy, I’m not crashing your parade either.  I know that’s not the expression.  But I like the image it creates.  Very Ferris Bueller.  Anyway, I’m just reiterating the old “get lost to get found” adage.  I’ve been getting lost and running into wonderful things (and people) for about four years now, and I “plan” on continuing.

Your 9-5 Parade.  That I am not crashing.  Or raining on.

Your 9-5 Parade. That I am not crashing. Or raining on.

P.S. If you would like hire me to do anything while I am auditioning, let me know!:)  I am great at hot gluing, entertaining large amount of toddlers, and showing up to things on time.  I also accept pie, alcohol, or wedding craft project help as payment.

Thanks for reading, all.