Good News!

Hello, dear readers! At long last, I can share with you the good news I’ve been hinting at for the past couple of weeks – I got a new job! Starting March 9 I’ll be moving out of the nonprofit world and into doing tech support at an app company. I could not be more excited.

It’s been a wild ride getting here. Back in October, I was very casually looking at positions online, and I came across a posting for this company that I thought looked really interesting. They were based in New York, but were gearing up to open a Chicago office. I applied, and in December ended up having a couple of great interviews with them. I didn’t get the job, but when they sent the rejection, they told me they wanted to stay in touch.

Now, I didn’t want to read too much into that, but it didn’t seem like quite the standard, “Sorry, you’re not a good fit for us,” email. So when I noticed a new, similar position go up at the end of January, I decided to take a chance. I emailed the HR recruiter I’d been talking to in December, and asked if the hiring manager was the same person, so I could address my cover letter more personally. I didn’t really expect to hear back…and I didn’t, for about a week.

Just as I was about to go ahead and apply, I got a response apologizing for the delay (she’d been on vacation), and letting me know that, yes, it was the same hiring manager. She also said she had a meeting scheduled with that hiring manager later in the week and would be happy to mention to him that I was interested. She encouraged me to apply, so I did.

The very next day, I got a response. They let me know that since I’d interviewed so recently and had already talked with the hiring manager, they were skipping over the initial interview part of the process, and dropping me directly into the next step, which was a trial project (basically using their help materials to answer some sample client questions). I took the afternoon off to go home and work on it (since at that point, I was too excited to focus on existing work very well). I did what I thought was the best job I could do, and sent it in.

About a week later, I heard back that they were impressed by my project and wanted to move me along to the final interview stage. After a last-minute reschedule, I ended up having the final interview last Tuesday. I had great conversations with three people on the team. The hiring manager made a point to let me know that my trial project was the best work he’d seen on that in a long time. I felt like I nailed it. I was told I’d hear back by the end of the week.

Fast-forward…about 24 hours. Wednesday afternoon I got an email from the HR recruiter saying she and the hiring manager wanted to give me an update, and could I spare 15 minutes for a phone call that day? I responded with my availability and sent several, “cross all your appendages for me!” texts to the friends who knew I’d had the interview.

I got an offer. I was expecting, based on the conversations I’d had in December, to be offered a salary that was a bit below what I wanted, and was prepared to argue for more. Instead, the number they offered me was my pie-in-the-sky, I-don’t-think-I’m-allowed-to-ask-for-this, never-gonna-happen number. I said yes.

This all happened in a span of 15 days.

Last Thursday, I turned in my two-weeks’ notice at my current job and informed my teammates. Friday I wrapped up telling the folks I needed to tell privately, and then Friday afternoon my boss sent out the official announcement to the agency. I’m getting a lot of practice in setting emotional boundaries and not trying to manage other people’s emotions (my therapist is going to be so proud). There’s a lot of sadness, and a fair bit of anxiety about what’s next.

And part of me is sad, too. I’ve worked with really great people, and I’m sorry to say goodbye to them. I’ve also learned a lot at this job – when I started, I had zero IT experience. I’m grateful for my time here.

I’m also really, really excited for what’s next. Every person I’ve talked to at this company has gotten me more excited about working there. It’s a great opportunity, and the way things fell into place, it feels like it’s exactly where I’m meant to be right now.

So that’s my big news! Special thanks to everyone who’s reached out in the past couple of weeks to check in and get updates – it’s been great to have your support. I’m a lucky queer.

Optimistic

Happy Thursday, dear readers! I feel like I have been confused all week about what day it is, and so I very nearly forgot to write something today, but here I am. Part of my confusion is, I think, related to the fact that I’m still fighting some sort of cold/allergy bullshit that’s fogging up my brain (and making me feel physically pretty blah). I’m working from home today because I woke up achy and feeling like my body temperature was all over the place, which is usually a sure sign that I’m fighting off something.

It feels like there’s a lot going on in my life, but a lot of it is at a stage where I can’t talk about it yet. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll have more on that. I will say that thanks to some of these secret goings-on, I am feeling more optimistic about many areas of my life than I have in a while, and that’s a really nice place to be.

In therapy this week, my therapist and I talked about how hard it is for me to find language to express what I need (which, as a generally language-oriented person, is suuuuuper frustrating). I’ve spent much of my life trying very hard to make other people happy, and in the process have neglected to learn how to recognize what it is that want and need. I’m making huge progress here, though – my therapist pointed out that all the work I’ve been putting into creating safe space for myself is paying off, because I am finally getting to a place where I feel like I can try to name what I need instead of ignoring it. And it’s true. I’ve worked really hard to establish a sense of safety for myself, and it feels really good to have that work noticeably making a difference.

I’m not totally sure where I’m going with this post except to say that while the world is definitely still on fire and there’s a lot that I’m upset about on a global scale, things are actually going pretty okay for me personally right now. I feel like I’m getting closer to a place where I can move past just surviving and getting by and into engaging more with the world around me. So hooray for that!

Progress, Slow and Steady

We’re officially done with our old apartment! It took more time to get everything out than we expected it to. We wound up walking out the door for the last time exactly at noon on the 31st, which was exactly when our lease was up.

While the reality of this is still sinking in, it is great that now we can actually focus on settling into our new place. We’ve gotten ourselves together enough that we’ve been able to do some cooking, which always makes a place feel more like home. We’re still getting our stuff organized and figuring out where everything belongs, but we’re making steady progress.

I’m loving our new neighborhood. There are so many lovely trees, and it’s pretty quiet, which is nice. I have to walk a little farther to the bus in the morning, but that’s not awful. Being walking distance from the Old Town School of Folk Music is lovely – my class on Tuesday ended around 9:30, and I was home before 9:45! (In the past, it took 45 minutes to an hour to get home on transit, which made for very late nights.) Tonight, my partner and I are both volunteering at OTSFM – we’re looking forward to having the option of doing that more often!

Life feels pretty okay right now. I just want to nest in our new apartment and make it fully home. It feels like there are a lot of other things happening right now, but nothing I’m ready to talk about yet (some of which I don’t really have words for yet). I’m looking forward to a fall of writing and introspection and creating the space that I need to thrive.

Life is Good

Last weekend, my partner and I drove up to Minneapolis to see 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities‘s current iteration of their Naked I series: The Naked I: Self-DefinedIt was SO GOOD. If you’re in the Twin Cities and haven’t seen it yet, go. They’re technically sold out, but there’s a waiting list every show and several people off the list always get in.

The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, but we got to spend some quality time with some of our favorite people, which was lovely. The whole trip made me grateful for friends and chosen family and safe spaces and the fact that I have all those things in multiple cities.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how great my life is. It’s absolutely not at all what I expected it would be, in most ways that I can think of. But what I have is so much better than anything I ever would have dreamed up for myself.

It’s not all sunshine and roses – there’s plenty to deal with between bipolar adventures and adventures in fluid identity. But even when the less-than-great stuff comes up, it feels…more manageable somehow. Maybe not in the middle of every dark moment, but it feels like I’m better at finding the light than I used to be. And that, in itself, is a big deal.

Happiness

Have you ever hit a point in your life, particularly after a rough patch of some sort, where suddenly things were going really, really well, and you didn’t really know how to handle it?

Last year was, largely, a good one, but it definitely had its rough patches: I started the year in immense amounts of pain thanks to a badly spasmed back, I began a slow process of acknowledging that I experience chronic pain (and a slower process of actually doing something about it), I made the decision to cut off contact with my family of origin (which has been an overall positive for my mental health, but has still been hard), and I started dealing with body-related dysphoria in a way I hadn’t before.

The fact that I did NOT have to kick off this year with my back out was a major positive in itself, but really, the past month and change has been pretty wonderful. Even though I’ve been in more of a downswing in my bipolar cycle recently, I’ve had so much to be genuinely  happy about that the low moments in between have been quite tolerable. I’m excited about the creative work I’ve been doing. I have an incredibly supportive social network both at home in Chicago and elsewhere. I’m making plans more than a few weeks in advance, and have a feeling of certainty that these plans will actually happen.

And it’s all great, until I stop moving, and suddenly I wonder how on earth this happened and whether I’m actually allowed to be this happy.

But those moments of doubt keep growing fewer and farther between. I’m realizing there’s nothing wrong with being happy. If I’m coming from a good space, I’m better equipped to deal with the injustice of the world, which I really can’t handle when I’m all wrapped up in my own problems.

So here’s to happiness, and to gratitude, and to using that positive energy to do some good in the world.