…I’m Still here!

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Hey there!

Admittedly, I’ve been kinda quiet the past few weeks…. By choice. (who would have thunk, right?) I finally get permission to be loud; to do and say whatever…. And I get quiet. Reverse psychology at its best, I suppose! Haha!

More than a few friends have said, “Ok, facebook got real quiet, no new blog posts, what’s up?!?!”

So, sorry for my absence! While I feel like I really don’t have much to actually write about, because as of this moment, it’s just the same old thing, I’ll give you the update…

I am thrilled to say that I passed my NCE (National Counseling Exam) and have less than 100 hours remaining on my internship! I’m more than ½ way through my summer semester and will register for my LAST SEMESTER of grad school classes this week- it’s AMAZING!

Many, many things will be wrapping up for me in the next few weeks. It’s exciting, and I am beginning to feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching a major goal. My masters degree felt like it was an enternity away when I started it, and now it feels like these 3 years FLEW by!

…and it’s a little sad, and a little scary, and very confusing!

I have truly LOVED my time and my colleagues and my clients at Family Service. While I am happy to be done with working for free, I’m REALLY gonna miss that place! This past week I’ve started discussing termination with clients, and talking with my supervisor about who my clients that want to continue therapy will transfer to… and it made it real. Ugh! I ALWAYS hate goodbyes!

I also have a unique challenge in that while my internship finishes up in the next 6 weeks, I have two online classes in the fall semester and I don’t receive my degree until November. This makes August-November a very awkward time for me, occupationally speaking.

As many of you know, I quit full-time teaching last August to do this internship and to begin my transition out of teaching. While I LOVED my 6 years of teaching, especially teaching psychology, I knew it was time to move on. Teaching was an unexpected detour for me after Katrina, but one that brought many amazing gifts to my life. At this exact time last year, I remember being completely petrified about how “my life was gonna work” and how “my bills would get paid”.

This past year has been remarkable- again, I was blessed to have more work offered to me than I could accept, and all things I LOVED doing- rich musical experiences, challenges, and fun. As a good friend pointed out to me, for all my worry last summer, this past year was better than I could have even imagined it back then.

But, there’s a part of me that wonders if a person gets two magical years like that in a row….

For the first time EVER in my life, I’m sending out cover letters and resumes.

Yes, I know this means I am incredibly fortunate…I have never applied for a job before… But it’s a really uncomfortable time for me. I LOVE the fact that my Google calendar is generally planned AT LEAST 16 months in advance, at least for big things… Like work.

Right now, I get to August, and well, Google calendar kinda goes blank.

I have my part-time teaching gig firmed up… and that’s it.

While I love that gig, and LOVE those kids, a part time gig does NOT a salary make…. And that makes me nervous. I’ve been hesitant to commit to some of my other part-time work around NOLA because too much of that makes me very unattractive to a potential full-time employer…

I’m also nervous about all the cuts in healthcare and mental health in Louisiana… and after watching job postings for a few months, and watching my own internship site have to cut staff for 3 months straight, I began to think my anxiety was kinda justified…

I realized this was going to be a different kind of experience for me. I was going to have to look for a job. …And I may want to look beyond just my small fish pond here…

So, I guess my “news” that I haven’t been talking about on here or on Facebook is this: I’ve been busy, sending out cover letters and resumes here in New Orleans, but also in Chicago.

When I think about cities I love, and cities where I have some connections/ friends/ feeling of comfort, I think of 3 places: New Orleans, Grand Cayman, and Chicago.

I began this exploration into my possibilities outside of New Orleans in the Fall. I found out that until I am fully licensed, Cayman is not a good option for me, despite the fact that I have ALWAYS wanted to live there for at least some portion of my life. In Illinois, as soon as my degree is conferred, I can apply to the state board to be an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), which is cool. I sent an e-mail out to my 15 or so friends living in the Chicago area, and the response has been amazing- so warm, so encouraging, so “I was scared shitless, too, but you HAVE TO DO IT!” There are certainly many more jobs to apply for there (jobs I think would be cool and fun, too!)… But I am also sure there are many more people applying for them, and I don’t have the networks there that I do here… So, we’ll see what happens.

Since I am a job application virgin, I have no idea what to expect. I would LIKE to hear back from people the day after I send something in…. But that hasn’t happened. From what I’ve heard, I should expect to wait a few weeks.

So, I am.

I’ve been applying for jobs both in New Orleans and in Chicago, and am just waiting and praying and hoping I hear from someone- ANYONE- that wants me. 🙂

While it is a challenge for my control-freak self, I keep telling myself that: 1. Something is going to work out and 2. Wherever it is, that’s God’s gentle nudge telling me where I’m supposed to be.

There’s a part of me that is REALLY, REALLY hoping Chicago works out. My mom always says that she thought I was the kid that would move away, and I’m the last one to do so. I feel like if I am going to go, this is the right time for me to go and do something new and different- I’m 29, single, wrapping up a degree, and straddling a few careers. It feels impulsive and crazy, but wildly exciting. Right before I started sending out applications, I sent an e-mail out to friends in the area- their responses and subsequent encouragement and follow-up has been so amazing, I know I won’t be “all by myself” if I end up there… and that’s awesome! Offers to use apartments, use people as references, places to contact for jobs, neighborhoods to live in, bars to go to, etc… So cool!

But, there’s another part of me that wishes I hadn’t quit teaching- it was safe and comfortable, and I LOVE my kids. If I leave New Orleans, it may mean leaving music for a while, which is UNTHINKABLE to me. I love singing and conducting soooo much- I just got it back. But, Chicago is a much bigger market and I’m not just gonna appear up there and instantly have work to do, musically speaking. I also can’t imagine leaving my incredible friends… however, the fact that they have ALL said, “We love you, but you need to go” was surprising, but kinda cool… and kinda made me think, “yeah, maybe I do!”

So, I guess this whole pile of confusion is kind of what I was cryptically talking about in my Dr. Seuss post… I’m in the waiting place.

I’m trying to like/ be ok with being in the waiting place…. I’m better at this some days more than others! I really hope to have some answers/ some plan sometime REALLY soon… But, this time, it’s not something that’s 100% in my control.

A few weekends ago, I went to a really interesting workshop that pushed my personal limits and comfort zone WAY beyond… even way beyond what I thought I could tolerate… That weekend deserves its own post, trust me…

BUT, I learned a really important thing that I am TRYING to stay with…

I was so nervous and anxious and exhausted from fighting my fear for the first day and a half of this- because I was petrified of this unknown experience and not having control. I was scared of the freedom these people had and I did not know how to be this open- to others or to experience.

And fight it as I did, avoidant as all get out as I was, IT STILL HAPPENED TO ME.

…and I didn’t freak out, and I wasn’t in control (AT ALL!!!), and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED.

It was not my norm, it was outside of my comfort zone, but it was ok. …And I was ok. …And I met some people who, while very different than me, were very cool and loving and awesome.

….and it was A LOT easier when I finally just let go & surrendered to the experience. I literally felt lighter after.

Sometimes, a little crazy is a good thing.

So, while I wanna just hold my life plan with a “death grip” right now, that’s not really an option. There’s not much to “death grip” to…

I plan on enjoying my last few weeks of internship, keeping up with the job applications, praying hard something works out, getting back on my Pilates and jogging schedule, and ENJOYING the moments as they come.

Deepak Chopra always says, “The most important thing at any moment is NOW”…. Trying to live that mantra.

As always, if you have ideas, encouragement, suggestions, gut feelings, etc… I’m all ears!

Hope you’re all doing great! I’ll try my best to be “back on track” with blogging, too. Sometimes when I’m not sure of what to say, I opt for saying nothing… But in all honesty, the writing thing is good for me! Hahaha!

-T.

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