It’s been so long since I’ve camped out and stayed long enough on my own site to eke out a post.
Well..it’s about time I change that. And why not join that most grateful of blog hops?
Thankful for Employment
First things first: I’m immensely thankful for my job. But that’s the biggest reason I don’t find myself visiting my humble abode of cyberspace nearly as much as I had in the past few years. I went from being “just a teacher” to an administrator, managing 35 people plus 54 students, translating and interpreting for the families of those students, ordering supplies, running daily operations, being a liaison for four agencies working together to pull off this program, among other things.
In other words, I’m doggedly tired when I get home but relish in knowing that I have this incredible opportunity to mentor college students and young minority students whose first language is probably not English.
It’s kind of mind blowing, sometimes, when I think about it.
It brings me to muse about how I’m a clark and an INFP personality.
And how, those days when I’m feeling quite stressed out and wondering why I put myself into such an interesting job situation – that is grant funded and never had any guarantee of continuing beyond June of this year – for better or worse.
Well, for one thing, I crave change. You usually don’t hear people say that.
I once wrote here on nearly a daily basis (and oh how many times I’ve thought of deleting this site to get rid of the potential baggage I’ve created for myself here…and in the end I always decide that this is a running record of my journey and that, no matter how little or how much I write here, this is an indelible part of my own footprint, whether I recognize that or not. I recognize that enough to keep it here, me thinks). But see, since I crave change, I don’t write here as much now – obviously.
But that’s the thing.
I used to chastise myself for not “sticking with it.”
I’ve dabbled in palettes of creative: photography, drawing, painting, writing, knitting, crafts and more.
I did all with the notion: ooh, I’m going to make a full time living out of this! I see people online do it all the time! Two Zazzle shops, one Etsy shop, and multiple sites later….
Eh…my focus ebbed.
Do you know how many times I’ve felt like I’ve failed myself?
But before you think this post is going to be oozing lumps of depressive ectoplasm, I promise it’s not.
It’s about the journey. The journey of understanding and accepting yourself.
The Wakefield Doctrine
So the second thing I’m thankful for is the discovery of sites like the Wakefield Doctrine and reading everything I can about INFPs (introverted, iNtuitive, feeling, perceiving) according to Myers-Briggs.
I never stop thinking. It’s the “clarkest” of clark characteristics.
Apparently many INFPs struggle with finding their place in life. And often lack follow-through.
This is me. I want to make a difference. I want to inspire. I want to get those emails in my inbox that read, “you do not understand how you’ve changed my life.”
But then after I’ve gotten all caught up in the moment and my heart is bursting with “I’m here. I’m on it! I’m making a difference!” I sort of get this burned out feeling because I suddenly need to go hide. And recover from the massive energy expenditure of just being me and absorbing the energy of everyone around me.
I swear, if it wasn’t for the “you’re locked in” nature of having a job, I’d probably float all over painting sidewalks one day, volunteering at the nearest Hispanic agency to translate to Spanish the next, and still on the third day I’d be taking a hike with my slightly deranged dog who looks like he drank one too many kegs of beer. And well, sometimes he acts like a mean drunk.
But that’s neither here nor there. I accept and love him.
Which leads me to number three. I’m thankful for meditation.
This practice alone has saved me from many a nervous breakdown. And by that I mean going from being “just a teacher” to managing an organization with all eyes on you is not exactly what an INFP would do. We’re those sorts of people who do not want to lead or follow.
Honestly, that idiom, “marches to the beat of a different drummer” is quite true. Except, I’d probably take that drum, paint it in all sorts of geometric shapes and put a hole in it from too much banging.
I find myself in the reluctant position of being a leader. It’s a strange feeling of attention that you get and every day I’m grateful for the smooth-running nature of the program and how my employees say they feel like they’re all extended family and that the students in our charge are like adopted children.
That’s pretty cool. That very notion keeps me going – despite me feeling like all these folks are watching every move I do, down to the last footstep.
I wonder if they’ve figured out that I’m a free spirit, yet. I’m sure they have; some of them know I have an artist website….
I try to keep it under wraps. But I still find ways to express myself, despite the serious attitude I have to adopt each day: I wear crazy socks that usually only I can see, I go home and draw or watch bad Spanish videos at night (it’s for practice…but I do get hooked), and on the weekends I find myself reading books about Buddha; still, I’ve recently taken an interest in yoga.
Back in January, I finally decided to create a site where I’d put all my “sharpie art” drawings in one place. Yeah, once had a “Sharpie Artist” website, but alas, blame it on the INFP, it didn’t stick.
I go through bursts of creativity – feverishly creating work after work after work, and then I have to take a break.
But still…drawing is meditative, people want to color, I like to draw things that have spaces to color…so Contemplative Coloring was born.
It’s a way to build a portfolio over time, yes. But I’m a giver. And not a seller. I like to give my work away. If it somehow leads to something else in the future, well…it won’t be because I’ve stuck to it religiously like a daily ascetic practice.
It’s because I had fits of starts and stops, and decided to not delete that website, too…and sort of kept going with it for years longer than I thought possible and surprised even myself.
I have a lot of fun drawing and sharing these. And I’ve been spending a lot of time there that I otherwise would have spent here. So, now, I have a sort of “personal musings” website and a completely niche coloring one.
The other day, I made a comment on Bill’s blog, Artistry with Words. That’s the inspiration behind this particular strand of grateful.
Bill is an Energizer Bunny: he cranks out articles, books, hubs, and blog posts. He’s done it for years. I commented on his remarkable endurance.
And that post he did also made me think of the four or five (I honestly can’t remember! Isn’t that slightly nuts?) novels I have sitting on various jump drives and such. I tried to write fiction. Short stories. And other such things.
But, my brain isn’t wired for creative crazy imagination like that. It’s okay. I had to write that much to figure it out.
I’m into nonfiction and personal reflection. I always have been.
Interestingly enough, JK Rowling is an INFP. One of the hallmarks of an INFP is the person’s ability to write. J.R.R. Tolkien was another INFP.
Somehow my expression of being an INFP came more on the artistic side of things.
I’ve always resorted to painting, drawing, and finding colorful activities to entertain my optic synapses. The writing I’ve always done? Journals. I just love to write and express myself through secret entries that will never meet another’s eyes.
It’s just what I do.
It’s taken until I’m 36 to accept all aspects of this: the fact that I’m not one to go blindly into the crowd to celebrate the end of a hard-won work week (please, can I just go home, have a glass of wine, read some more on being a Buddha and go to bed after an episode of Águila Roja?). I change my mind a lot. The thought of having to work at a job until I’m 65 fills me with a simultaneous sense of dread and quiet acceptance of what is.
And still I dream of what could be.
I’ve never shared this much before, but…
I think I’m electing to live the childfree life. Being an educator, I do get a lot of raised eyebrows at that one.
It’s due, in part, to a family background that yes, made me write a secret memoir that I’m too afraid to publish.
It could be the miscarriage that occurred two months after my brother’s death in 2011.
It could be the fact that I’ve faced infertility since then and there have been times that I thought, “I’m gonna be a mom!” and then it doesn’t happen over and over again. And no, I’m not one to do anything about it except the fact that if it’s supposed to happen naturally, it will. (The thought of fertility treatments, the expense, the spending time as a specimen in antiseptic offices? Yeah, no. I’m lucky to get my own self to the doctor once every five years.)
It could be the fact that I actually do like my life as it is and I’m learning to embrace the notion that, perhaps, I’m supposed to make a difference on a wider scale than the route of having a family.
Maybe I’ll adopt. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll foster. Maybe I won’t.
But I’m grateful for the acceptance I’m starting to feel at it all.
I picked up this book at the library in October or November. And it’s entirely related to the theme of being grateful. It’s by Rhonda Byrne, the same author of The Secret, though I admit I didn’t like that one at all.
But, The Magic? The whole book is about being grateful.
I make grateful lists everyday now. Sometimes I write them down, and sometimes I do them mentally.
But I’m learning to feel gratitude as often as I can throughout the day: there’s a special power in the feeling of feeling your blessings through gratitude. It’s the kind of thing that, no matter what’s happening in life, you have blessings beyond that which you’re even aware of.
Until I read this book, I never thought to be grateful for the asphalt street upon which my house sits. But I am. I’m grateful for the labor of the people that endeavored to put all that yucky stuff down so that others might benefit. I’m thankful to the earth for supplying the resources necessary for the street to come into fruition. I’m thankful for all the people who planned all that out. I’m thankful for the streetworkers who come and maintain the roads in the summer and winter.
I am grateful in countless other ways, too.
I never thought to walk 1,000 steps, saying the words “thank you” over and over again.
I have been thankful for my health before, but never on a daily scale that I can walk, talk, and lead a normal life.
I have been thankful for my vision before, but never in a way that understands how lucky I am that even though I’m blind in my right eye, I have nearly perfect vision in my left.
Gratitude, meditation, and acceptance of who I am – on every level – are not only changing my life, but they are practices that often make me deliriously happy at best, and mildly discontent at worst (a condition that, honestly, is short-lived).
I’d better end this post here, lest I end up writing some sort of e-book on all the intricacies of a right-brained girl in a left-brained society…
This is a post in the Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop