Friday, July 25, 2014

What Does She Have To Lose?

She's already losing her life. But then again, aren't we all?

My Mom has been through quite a myriad of tests and re-tests. It's almost five months since The Mass was first noted on her lung from a chest x-ray while in the emergency room back in January.  She was subsequently admitted for the flu, and upon discharge, a biopsy was performed whereby she and I learned she does indeed have lung cancer.

There. I said it.

It's been a frustrating dance, if one can even call it that. Perhaps I'm trying to make light of the situation, the process, of getting some answers and treatment options.  It really is an exercise in patience for me; I cannot imagine the agony My Mom is makes my heart shudder in angst and sadness.

Mom and I arrive at the oncology center yesterday, awaiting to meet with a radiation specialist (for a second time. The first time, Mom was told she was not eligible to receive radiation.).  This Air Force veteran walks in, disheveled, unshaven with the salt and pepper scruff thick enough to scrub burnt spaghetti sauce off a pan.  His lips are zig-zaggy and his periwinkle scrubs are baggy. He has tired eyes, the kind that exhibit a mere glimmer of caring. He left an impression, though not a good one.

Mom elected to have chemotherapy.

I wonder why she chose that? Maybe she thinks, "What do I have to lose?".

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Shame

Shame is one of those words I try not to utter in such a context of belittling or correcting a person, especially my children. I consciously choose to refrain from saying "shame on you". I have said, "what a shame" when certain kinds of crimes have been committed, or some sort of injustice that's occurred.

Shame, the feeling, is so raw, isn't it? I mean, could you feel any worse about yourself when someone who loves you says they're ashamed of you? Could you feel any smaller than when you're told you "shame on you"? 

Ugh.  Just typing it makes me feel disgusted - and disgusting! 

I've often wondered what purpose that word, that feeling, even plays in a lifetime?


I recently attended a series of lectures given by a priest. He took one lecture to discuss the human feelings of anger, fear and guilt. He also talked about shame.


Healthy shame.


Healthy shame.

There's such a thing?

There's such a thing!

There is?

Doesn't quite compute -- yet.

But he opened the door for me. His words were enlightening. I'm not sure I understand - yet - what "healthy" shame is, but I like the idea of healthy anything being the mechanism to progress and growth....transformation. Conversion.


What do YOU think it could mean? Feel free to leave an example or share a story!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thank You Notes for Job Interviews

I'm sitting at lunch right now, unemployed, reading LinkedIn articles. I see one about sending 'Thank You" notes to a potential employer after interviewing.

And I roll my eyes.

Big time.

My husband, also unemployed, recently wrote a "Thank You" note to a potential employer. Having just interviewed somewhere myself, he asked me, "Did you write your 'Thank You' note yet? I have one..." as he hands me a blank card. 

Refusing to accept the card, I replied, "No. I don't do that."

He then said, "You must not want a job then!"

I was pretty upset by his comment and the assumption that I won't have a job somewhere because I didn't send a handwritten "Thank You" card. Evs.


Needless to say, this conversation has stayed with me for a few weeks now. I'm not upset at him, per se, but upset at the gesture and expectation as a whole. I clearly need to reconcile this angst.


Let me preface the following paragraphs with these thoughts: if you're a regular reader of my blog, if you know me "IRL", you know that I value gratitude immensely. I believe in saying "thank you" for good things AND the "bad" things (remember, I believe all bad things spawn a bigger good thing). I also LOVE and ADORE a great hand-written note or letter. I teach my kids to write thank you cards to friends and family who live out of town that have sent gifts for holidays, birthdays, illnesses, etc.

Now, having been on the hiring side of the workforce, I found NO value in receiving these handwritten "Thank You" notes. Not one have I received did I sit back in my chair and say to myself, "now THIS is the reason I should hire a person!". Alternately, never did I reflect on time spent interviewing a candidate did I say, "that person better send me a 'Thank You' note or all bets're off!".

I'm really curious to know how many employers ACTUALLY give this gesture any real thought and allow it to influence a call back or extending an offer? This is a serious question, so feel free to leave a comment!


Dear Future Employer

1 - Please do not expect me to send you a "Thank You" note, unless you are going to send me one too. After all, we are in a partnership. You do not lord over me, nor do I lord over you. We are in an agreement. Just because you are in the hiring position, does not make your time and talent any more valuable than mine. 

2 - If you DO expect me to send you a "Thank You" note, you'll be disappointed.  I hope, and would like to think that, after spending time with me, reviewing my QUALIFICATIONS and having the face-to-face (or phone-to-phone) interaction is what ACTUALLY attracts you to wanting to hire me. I don't want to be judged and hired on my ability to write "Thank You" on a piece of paper.

3 - When gratitude really counts, and when it will mean more to me AND you is *drum roll* ON THE JOB! Tell me when you appreciate my work and time and talent. Tell me you appreciate my attitude, teamwork, jokes, the way I bring challenges to their knees. In the spirit of reciprocity and just general kindness, I will do the same to and for you as well as my peers. It's a healthy practice and lifestyle to live - personally and professionally.

4 - If you do not hire me because I didn't write a note, I won't take it personally.


Forgive my arrogance, but assume my gratitude.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

It's Been A Long Time...


*soft smile*

I, uh, know it's been a long time since we've seen each other. It's mostly my own doing, my fault, y'know? I do this thing where I clam up or, *shrug*, go into a cave, so to speak. I really don't understand why I do it, and truthfully, not sure I really want to. It's part of who I am. I'm learning to accept those Jackie-quirks; hoping you do too. 

For too long, I've let other people kinda dictate what I do, what I say, how I say it. It's really not healthy.  *slow inhale/exhale*  Gah, this is hard - so hard. *nervous laugh* It's one thing to think it quietly in my own head, and another to *wipes brow* say it OUT LOUD, to YOU. I mean, I have it perfectly scripted in my headbrain. There's a pretty, red, sparkly bow at the end of the conversation -- just like in all the sitcoms on TV. Then, we actually do the actual talking in actual facetofaceness and, well, bow and stuff. 

Feelings have been hurt. Feelings have been unheard. Yours. Mine. 

Been doing some meditation and trying to understand myself better in that whole *air quotes* FEELINGS thing -- taking ownership, giving permission to myself to rock a boat, to go against the popular opinion, allow feelings to enter and leave like a visitor, or *more air quotes* consider the right thing to do. What the eff is *violent air quotes* RIGHT, anyway? I mean -- aw, screw it. It's just that..... *head shake*... well, I'm worried you'll judge me or blame me for stuff that, frankly, isn't my fault. Do you need me to call more often? Send emails or private messages via Facebook, text? For that matter, do you have to be the scheduler of when we can meet? And why isn't an hour or two here and there better than nothing? And what's wrong with meeting at MY house sometimes? 


Ah yes....and there it is. The scorecard. Somewhere along the way, we started playing these stupid games of keeping score of who calls who more and why can't you see me at time X instead of time A? Do your kids have to be there? Can you bring your kids, too?? I don't see you enough. I guess I'll see you next year. 

The GUILT. Damn the guilt. WHY? Why do I do that? Why do I let you have that power ove me?

Oh. Right. Because I'm not a heartless bitch. I'm too nice, I guess. 

*pregnant pause*

Look, maybe I shouldn't have come. I probably shouldn't have even said anything. Yeah, bad idea all around, I'm thinking. Pretty sure this'll stress our relationship even more, whatever's left of it. I just wish SEEING you didn't have to be the measure of value of my love for you, that's all. 

*step-stutters toward the door*

So, uh, I'll leave you with that, I guess. Not sure what to say or do from here, so I'm gonna go. 

*tucks hair behind ear*

No matter what, my love for you never diminishes. The value you have in my life doesn't either. I'm done playing the games. K? K.

So, uh, take care. Love ya.

*awkward smile*

---- SCENE ----