Saturday, October 27, 2007

My New Job

I have so many things I could blog about right now, I don't even know where to begin.

Should I speak about how I suddenly found myself volunteering to be the BC representative board member for the newly formed Exotic Dancers Rights Association of Canada? Or how I attended my first parent montessori meeting and heard my voice offering to co-chair the committee?

Or what about the overdose death of my friend, Katherine, whom I wrote I Look Like One of Them in honour of so many months ago - before her transformation and success with the first few steps of the twelve step program that she was so proud of, then the subsequent relapse that took her life.

I got a job too. I've sent so many resumes in the last three years. Except for the request of my resume and interview with Orato a few months ago, I have never had a response to any of my job inquiries. I think I was too inexperienced three years ago when I initially looked for work, then too pregnant (so I mostly didn't bother).

More recently, I think my resume has been put in many reject piles because of all the sex industry work on it. But I feel very skilled because of this work and if I omitted it from my resume, we're left with waitressing and six months at SFU out of my practicum. Not enough to earn the wages I deserve.

Funny, this sense of entitlement that has come over me. It's not a chip-on-the-shoulder kind of entitlement, or a self-righteous - I've worked my ass off to get where I am - sense of entitlement either. I just know that we are all entitled to the best. We must only ask and we will receive. I can manifest poverty, or I can have it all.

Years of rejection could have made me insecure. But the truth is that every job I sent my resume out to that never responded was a job I didn't really want. I'd press that send button and when I never heard back, I didn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved.

Everything's been different with this job. When I clicked the send key, I felt this calm and pleasure come over me, like I had made the right decision. They called me the Monday after the Friday deadline to schedule an interview. I could have prepared, but I didn't. I just went to that interview with the intention to be myself and see what happens.

But as interviews go, I was very nervous. I couldn't remain calm - I tried. I "practiced my spirituality" connecting to the universe and focusing on my breathing, but in the end I was still vibing with anxiety.

One of the first questions the three member panel asked was: "Why do you think violence happens?" I've repeated the question many times to friends and family since the interview and no one's answer is the same, but many seem to lay some blame. I blamed no one in my answer. I said something about how I think our society is sick. That men are shamed and criminalized which makes them angry. In their anger they try to control everything around them. They are trying to exert their power over everyone. They're bigger and stronger than us (women), and so that exertion of power becomes physical.

But violence isn't always physical, of course. I didn't say this part, but violence can be emotional - as in telling a woman that no other man would ever have them, or financial - as in having all the control over the money so that a woman couldn't leave if she wanted to. Violence can take many forms. But it's all about power. Even when I feel out of control, there is a violence that builds inside me.

But back to me answering the question. I said our world needs more love.

They asked me so many questions that were so hard to answer. They asked me to describe what impact colonization and assimilation has had on First Nations. It's like I know the answer, but putting it into words is so difficult. I mentioned a few of the obvious direct harms like addiction and residential schools. I also spoke from the heart about how the anguish of mothers having their children ripped away from them and abused in residential schools must be something that is passed down thru generations. That kind of pain would vibrate for eternity, I think.

Another thing I didn't say but I'm thinking now, is how hard that must have been for the men. With their instinct to protect their families and their inability to do so. Watching their sons and daughters torn from them and their wives, mothers, and sisters anguished. I'm in awe that anyone could ever think actions like these wouldn't have multi-generational impacts.

My family feels those impacts. My skin is as white as can be, so I've never experienced direct racism. I even have freckles. So does my dad. But on his side and my mothers, there is First Nation lineage. That and poor white. Alcoholism and poverty are two social issues I am quite familiar with.

I seem to remember a question about feminism. I used some of my own experiences with being a woman for that one. I mean, I defaulted on my student loans during my first pregnancy. I told the collections department I could only pay $25/month. And they screwed my credit. That was the first time in my life that I was completely financially dependent on a man, and we weren't wealthy.

I left him when our daughter was one and a half. Let me just say that it wasn't the first time stripping came in handy in my life. Then school, another relationship, and yet another unplanned pregnancy. Yes, I know, there is no one to blame but myself. And why would I? My kids are the best things that have ever happened to me - so no regrets. But financially, this would put me in the position once again of being financially dependent on a man, and not wealthy.

My debts are still unpaid. And only now am I finally starting to see a financially secure future for myself. This is called the feminization of poverty. I don't want to get into any more personal detail than that on a public blog. But this is the feminist example I used in my interview. Men don't go into debt when they have children because they don't get pregnant and breastfeed.

I was just talking about everything. It was a very personal exchange. Well, can I call it an exchange? Those three women probably know more about me than I'll ever know about them. And they certainly didn't share their own feelings with me during the meeting.

Some of the questions they asked me, I actually found myself laughing when I was answering because I really had no idea if I was even near the mark with my answers. For instance, they asked "how do you dispose of a needle" or something like that. I said, "don't pick it up from the sharp end?" (Apparently they use tongs.)

They phoned all of my references that same day. And the day after, they phoned to offer me the job as a part-time support worker in a transition house. And I'm thrilled because it feels so right for me.

Well, what do you know? I guess I found what I needed to blog about. My new job. The reason I'm reading fifteen chapters of morbid first aid information. And one more step towards my goal of financial security. It feels good.

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