Friday, February 25, 2011

Revolving confusions, many frustrations and one anthem

So I quite often get confused, it happens at least once a day. I'm not sure what it is that changes at a faster pace, the world, nature/weather, or people's opinions. I get confused with my role sometimes in both the employment world and my own personal world.
Maybe it's all me. I just don't understand why things that should be easy need to be stretched out and made to be so dramatic. I don't understand why "trying your hardest" or "putting your best foot forward" isn't necessarily always good enough. I'm not entirely naive, I get that things sometimes just don't work out, it's just the going on and on about what went wrong I don't get. And I'm not talking about venting, everyone needs to let off some steam once and a while; I'm referring to the crazy assumptions that can be made, the "blame game", the self-serving actions. It can be frustrating! I've seen people brought to tears and hair pulling frenzies because of it; me included. I probably get more frustrated than confused, though I think the two go hand in hand; most of the time anyway.
My confusion and frustrations in part stem from my life barriers. Having to take a little more time at things or processing certain information slower, if at all, can be daunting. Forgetting things and not being able to focus when rushed or trying to do more than one thing at a time. But it is also everyday stuff, things that I think most people go through..... like traffic! Inflating gas prices! Slow computers that take forever to load a page!!

They're both a part of life and there is unfortunately nothing I know of to change it. But I have learned how to deal with them. The first and foremost is my writing, putting words to paper (or screen) and coming up with a story or interesting (I hope) blog. There are quite a few other things, depending on personal taste, that can be used to divert these nasty bits that get in the way.One of these diversions I think that most people take advantage of is music. There are so many great tunes out there that one can find themselves dancing to, humming or signing aloud with. Songs can be motivating and inspirational.
One song that I really enjoy that comes to mind is Katy Perry's "Firework". There is R Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly"; Amanda Marshall's "Believe In You"; "It's a Beautiful Day" by U2; the classic "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" originally sung by Judy Garland; or the ever inspirational "Chariots of Fire" theme music. There are so many other wonderful songs to list; it could go on and on. And even though I may be found singing along in my car at times and enjoying some of these and other songs, my true anthem that my lungs sometimes burn out to is Avril Lavigne's "Take Me Away."
I'm a fan of most of her stuff but it is this song that has struck me. Whether it is the lyrics, the tune, her voice, the way she sings it, I don't know; but as soon as I hear it, it sinks into my skin. I realize that some may say that the lyrics in this song aren't exactly inspiring, but to me they are. When things go wrong, when I feel I've made a mistake, when I feel alone or misunderstood or frustrated at everything going on in my life, I listen to this song and it gets me through. I turn up the volume, I listen to it, I sing along with it, I get pumped up, I bop my head and shoulders to it and all of those crazy things that are dragging me down get pushed aside, stomped out, and I realize just how small all of those problems are. I explode inside and I know I can stand up and handle anything! I have and always will.
Whether it is the same song I chose, one of the ones I mentioned above, or one from a wide variety of other phenomenal tunes, everyone should have an anthem; or something, even if it is not a song. We all have our confusions and frustrations and we all need something or someone to help us realize that we can stand up and handle things.

Though sometimes you'll just want to listen to the song for sake of listening to it, frustrations or not. So if you'll excuse me, I got to go find my anthem.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello, I'm Shy; And You Are?

Shy = timid, bashful, awkward in company; reluctant.
Shyness (also called diffidence) is a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Shyness may come from genetic traits, the environment in which a person is raised and personal experiences. There are many degrees of shyness. Stronger forms are usually referred to as social anxiety or social phobia.

Two words used to describe me would be shy and quiet; those words have followed me pretty much my entire life. Most people who know me, I'm sure, would have those two words on their list of adjectives for me.
I am shy. I am quiet. It is my nature.
When I was younger (10 or 12) I hung out with the neighborhood kids putting on plays and making up stories in our basement, but that was just showing off my creative side.
I'm pretty good with kids and the elderly or the sick, but that is just my patience and understanding and kind nature.
Take a look at my resume or work history or ask around and you'll find out that my customer service skills are quite accomplished. I'm good at talking with others because it is usually part of a job and I like making people feel comfortable and at home.
Really though, I prefer to spend down time doing my own thing. I do like hanging out with my friends and taking part in conversations, but usually I prefer to sit and listen. To observe and let others lead.
"Where is Mark?" Off sitting in a corner or in the background, silently trying to blend in.
I am shy. I am quiet. It is my nature.

When it comes to meeting new people it is usually done through work or the handful of friends I already have; most of those through my sister. (Thankfully she doesn't charge me a social networking fee)
I don't like standing in front of groups giving speeches or making presentations.
I don't care to be anywhere near the centre of attention.
I have difficulty when it comes to asking a girl out.
I embarrass fairly easy and my cheeks turn a rosy hue.
I am shy. I am quiet. It is my nature.

Recently when talking about some of the things that I do I was told, "you're really not that shy." But we were talking about a different world; online, cyberspace, and more to the point, the writing world.
I have a website that I've created for my book. I also share other written stories, some of them personal, other artwork I've done and I have a page dedicated to friends, family and other inspirations. (Although only some as the list of things I find inspiring could get very long) My most recent prose piece is a very personal view on my life and some of the things that I have gone through.
I Twitter, I Facebook, and now I blog.
Through my writing and this technological world I have learned to open up, to be honest, to evolve a little. But the way I see it, it is not about NOT being shy. It is about sharing and learning and understanding. The more I write about myself, the more I share, the more I think I grow and understand. I need that. For various reasons I find life scary and confusing at times! But when I write and tweet and blog and then read other blogs and tweets and Facebook messages and listen I begin to understand and feel more comfortable and not be afraid. Most importantly though, sharing my writing and my thoughts allow me to express myself in a way that I really don't consider to be about me; I get to contribute and to share my experiences with others. And if, by chance, I get to help with my words..... even better. And still, all of this, at the same time, can help me in my own way, if that makes sense. And when I do all of this stuff I am sitting alone somewhere, by myself, at my computer.
I am shy. I am quiet. It is my nature.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Job Search; I Hate This Part.

I currently have a great job that is unfortunately under contract and not knowing if your job will last beyond that can be hard. It has been made very clear that it is not me and my ability to do the job, it is funding. I work for a non-profit, provincially funded organization. (Though I am one who believes in never saying never when it comes to something like this, because you just don't know. The probability may be slim, but things can still happen)
So I am facing unemployment in a few months time and it is a scary thing. Times are tough and being unemployed is not a great place to be. Trying to re-establish oneself once unemployed is not easy, nor is trying to get back into the job market. It can become depressing and the umpteen problems someone can end up facing financially can be huge! Bills are high; taxes are high; gas is crazy! Even grocery shopping can be a strain. I personally have responsibilities to take care of and I need a paycheque to do that.
I've faced it and been unemployed before, and even though difficult, things have always seemed to work out. But it is still hard; staring into that big unemployment abyss!
I try not to think about it a lot. I think to myself, "I got time" or "things have worked out for me before" or "something will happen; I'm very capable and have a lot to offer". I try to remain positive. But I still get scared; and though the thought of running low on "funds" should be my primary concern, it is not. (Which probably sounds crazy!) I'm more fearful about losing the "atmosphere" of the job I have. And it's not just this particular job, it's been other jobs I've had in the past as well.
I'm afraid of losing that comfort zone that I've established; the feel for the job, the people I work with and the acceptance. I'm not just referring to the acceptance of co-worker friendships, I'm referring to the acceptance of my ability to do the job. I have a learning disability that hinders me from functioning at a level some "employers" may expect. I need patience, I need space and I need time.  The question of whether or not "slowing things down a bit" and providing me these accommodations will be accepted,  is something that scares me.
In the past, I have disclosed in some instances and have not in others. When I have disclosed it has sometimes gone over well, but more than not it has left me with a negative feeling. Deep down I know, and am confidant, that I can work through or around any of the barriers I may have and prove to be an exceptional employee, but when asked if I will “disclose” at my next interview, I really don’t know how to answer. Thinking about it gives me great anxiety!
Over time the entire process of speaking about my disability, or really more to the accommodations that I need, has become easier. I am learning more, understanding more and adapting to my barrier about facing and dealing with my barriers better; make sense? Writing, and most notably this blog, has and is helping me in so many ways. I have always worked hard at any job I've had, I now need to continue that hard work to include my confidence. Confidence and not letting things get to me can be the factor to overcoming unemployment and some, if not all, of the difficulties I mentioned above.
I’m fairly sure I will still continue to have a bit of a problem about disclosure and asking for accommodations for some time come. I have been told too that if I am going to disclose that I should do so after I get hired. Regardless of all this stuff though, I am pretty certain that something will work out. Maybe too, someone will be reading this blog and word will spread and my disclosure can be a silent gift to my future. My positivity and learning to be honest can and will balance any of the barriers I carry... I am certain of that.

And I really do need to get those bills paid........

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I've been told to "spit it out" before. I've had people encourage me to move it along with hand gestures. I can see frustration on peoples faces, waiting for me to make my conclusion, watching me stumble over the things that come out of my mouth. Simply put, I sometimes, more often than not, have a difficult time making my point. No one has really confirmed this with me, perhaps it is all in my head. But I'm pretty sure the confused looks that I see and impatience that I get is real. It is why I normally remain quiet and say nothing.
I have trouble in group settings, I don't like the need of having to fight for air time, because if I do get it, I need more than others do to be able to say what I'm thinking. I don't like being cut off and I've found myself cutting into other people for fear of losing my focus..... I don't like that either. Remaining quiet and saying nothing is sometimes best I find, because trying to keep up with the pace can give me a headache. Even during one on one conversations I can sometimes find things difficult, spinning a little; although I know that when it is only one other individual with me the choice is minimized to either being patient enough to listen or walk away.
Words sometimes get mixed up in my head and I find myself searching for the right thing to say. If I'm in with multiple people the conversation usually rolls right past me before I can get a grip on it. Too much information at once or precise, technical language seems to go whoosh, over my head. I can grasp a lot, I just need to be able to move and digest certain things at my own pace; which is a few steps off from most others.
I find it funny, at least to myself, when I say that words tend to get lost or stuck in my head, because I'm a writer. Words are my thing, or at least they are supposed to be. I have a Creative Writing Diploma that says I graduated with honors, I've published articles, I have a book, people have given me compliments about my writing! So why is it I get my words and thoughts flowing from pen (or keyboard really) to paper smoothly and not from head to mouth so well? When I sit down and write I'm usually alone, no crowd, no pressure, I can go at my own pace. Saying that I am not writing "in real time" doesn't sound right to me, but it is the best explanation I have right now.
I don't consider myself a technically savvy person, I  don't understand or remember computer lingo too well, binary digits, numbers, etc.... But I have accomplished more than I sometimes acknowledge. I have my own website, all created by using HTML code; I am the website content Manager for our website at work; I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I have my own personal twitter account as well as one for work that I monitor. I'll admit though that it took me a while to get with all the Social media stuff; I still find Twitter a little difficult to keep up with, but I'm trying.
I think the reason  I do so well with all of these things, including writing this blog, is that I am in my own space, working at my own pace with no one around. A few difficulties still arise when it comes to Twitter, or Facebook "chat", or MSN or even texting on the phone. Just as I tend to get derailed with words from the brain to the mouth so do I have complications with transferring words from head to keyboard, it takes a while. When and if I enter a chat I often find myself sitting there observing what the other party has to say; or type.
I communicate better when I have my own space and can take the time to write my words. I can send you a beautifully written email. Don't get me wrong though, I will never want to abandon my interaction with others and I don't think I'll always be just sitting there on the sidelines and never saying anything. I'll still get the looks of confusion, the impatience, (which can lead a person to completely walking away) the "spit it out" phrase, or simply being ignored or passed over, but I'm ok with that.....'cause I can't really change it. And I appreciate having my friends around me too much.
It is who I am.
I'm just glad that I have an outlet that works well for me and that people accept.
I'm a writer...... truely.

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Day

What am I doing here? Do I have enough to say? Do I have anything interesting at all to say? Will people want to read what I write? Why would I open myself up for public scrutiny like this? These and other questions have gone through my mind in not only creating this blog, but almost everything I've done in my life.
By nature I'm a quiet and somewhat shy individual, but there is a bit more to it. I have a disability, a learning disability. I've struggled with challenges in my life since I was six years old and I have felt like I was alone through a lot of it. It has been a long time since my illness, and I've learned a lot, but I still have difficulties to face and barriers to overcome. I have trouble understanding certain things and keeping up with the pace of everyday, "normal" life. This is the main reason I second guess myself, never quite knowing whether or not I'm doing the right thing or if it will be accepted. But the second guessing has improved over time.
I still do it. I still second and third and forth guess; I contemplate and twiddle my thumbs, rub my head in thought, bite my lower lip, and worry about possible outcomes and my response to those outcomes. Overtime things have changed. I have been wasting less and less time worrying about the "what ifs?" and just doing it. Most of the time I land with my two feet on the ground and standing upright. But even if I wobble a bit (or fall) I can now see that I'm not the only one who goes through stuff like this and that I have people there to always support me. I'm not alone and I really never have been.
I don't think my "second guessing" or fear will ever quite diminish itself into nothing, it is something I will always carry around with me just as I know I will always have challenges to face; barriers to overcome. I'm learning and growing all the time and "just doing it" is becoming easier as I gain experience. One of the things that has helped me the most is this, right here; writing. And I think that maybe I have something, or somethings, worthwhile to say...... or write.  Some stuff may be frivolous, but it is all an experience. A tool, a process, a way of learning; for me, and maybe for others. It is one of my own personal challenges in life and we'll see where it goes.