When I applied to the paralegal program at Meredith College last spring, I was looking for forward motion. Now, with just two weeks to go in the program, I have been feeling that panicky feeling of being lost again.
It’s amazing how the littlest thing can trigger some sort of identity crisis for us. For me, it was taking out my belly button ring, a piece of jewelry that has been a part of my body for the last ten years. I didn’t exactly take it out by choice. For the past several years, I have had this little lump under the skin on the inside of my right thigh. When I told my old doctor about it before leaving Long Island for Raleigh, he brushed it off as being a calcium deposit. I didn’t know what a calcium deposit was, but he was my doctor, so I took his word for it. I’m fuzzy on the timeline, but I want to say within or about a year later (2009?), I noticed another lump under the skin on the front of my right thigh. It felt the same as the first one, so I just assumed again that it was the same thing. This past February, I noticed that I suddenly had another, longer lump on my stomach. Trust me, I spend enough time hating the way my stomach looks that I know when something just shows up on it out of nowhere. In March, I noticed that I had a second one just underneath my belly button ring as well as two additional lumps on my back. I immediately took my belly button ring out for the first time in 10 years & finally Googled what a “calcium deposit” was. It looked absolutely nothing like any of these lumps (thanks, doc). I made my co-worker feel it and she thought I should get another opinion. My [Raleigh] doctor’s office said they were probably just fat deposits, but I should get them biopsied by a dermatologist anyway, as each little lump coincided with areas where I had lymp nodes. I got ’em checked out and was told they’re 99.9% lipomas, which are benign fat cell tumors. I am going to get the biggest one removed on May 1, just so they can biopsy it and make sure that’s exactly what it is. So, as I told Jay, I can now bitch and moan that my fat does in fact go straight to my thighs and stomach.
Anyway, long story short: the lump under my belly button is most likely scar tissue from the ring and a concerned Jay has asked me to not wear the ring anymore as a result. Looking in the mirror and not seeing my belly button ring looks weird. Not having it to play with during the day is even weirder.
This sort of set me off. This little oddity, this little insignificant change made me question everything. To me, it’s super obvious that I’ve gained weight since I started taking classes in August. I have not had as much time to exercise or eat as healthy as I should be. My main problem is I don’t much care for salad or yogurt. I’ll eat them, but they don’t taste as wonderful as garlic bread and bagels do. I’ve been much better about eating healthier, exercising, and sleeping lately, but for some reason, I just can’t seem to get rid of my tummy. Lately, I’ve just been feeling down over how I look.
How I looked without my belly button ring triggered a slew of other emotions. To be blunt, I’ve been feeling like somewhat of a loser again lately. The program I am in also helps you find a job in the legal field. I’ve applied for open positions and just like with journalism jobs that I have applied for, I’ve gotten zero responses. Was this entire year just a waste of my time and money? Jay’s doing so well at Apple that I want him to be as proud of me at something as I am of him. I recently was a candidate for a media job and went to the end of the interview process, but did not end up getting it. I was so hopeful that maybe this time I was going to get lucky and get an “in” and eventually get back on track to what I had wanted to do when I was fresh out of college. I understand why I wasn’t hired – the email I got said they were going with someone more experienced – but it just reaffirmed what I already knew. Unfortunately, it also didn’t help raise my confidence for getting a paralegal job.
This attitude is a defense mechanism when I’m feeling down and don’t think I can do anything right. I’ve also been bummed out lately because there’s a lot going on with my family in NY. I wish I could be there so much. Not having time to take off for work makes me resentful because I don’t feel that anyone higher up at work would work with me to take even a day off to make a trip to NY without any consequences (though in full disclosure, I’m too nervous to ask). Feeling like this sucks. I’ve also felt left out watching my NY friends doing things together that I want to be a part of but am not.
After a good week of being sulky and in a bad mood, I finally told Jay what was bugging me. I explained how I’ve felt like a loser lately; a loser in how I look, in my job situation, and just in general. I know that I am lucky to have a good job, a wonderful, amazing husband, fantastic friends, and an extremely supportive family. Despite my new found trepidation over a paralegal career, I do look forward to hopefully working as one.
But at the end of the day, I still feel like I am lost. Professionally, I’m still at that crossroads – some sort of in between place where I feel restless to just get on with it already. I just want forward motion. I’m not even going to get into the pressure I feel when I try to figure out when on Earth I’m going to have kids and start a new career. Ahhhhhhh.
I’m really glad that I talked with Jay about how I’ve been feeling lately. He told me that since it didn’t seem like any new opportunities were coming to me, I should do what I did five years ago when I was feeling the same feeling of being lost: Use this interim time to create an opportunity for creativity, whether it’s starting a new project or picking up an old project. I’m not looking for any entrepreneurial opportunities or get rich projects. I just need something to give me focus and more importantly, give me direction. So, I am going to move forward with an idea I came up with it while I was doing all those “Jay & Colleen Origin Story” posts the week before my wedding last year. I’ve told exactly four people about this idea, all who liked it a lot. It’s going to take a village to complete, though, so I haven’t said anything to the masses yet…
…And I won’t until tomorrow. This post has gotten too long again and I don’t want people to refer back to an idea that’s hidden at the end of a blog post filled with me whining about how much I don’t like eating yogurt. I won’t bury the lead tomorrow. It will be front and center and I hope that people will be excited to help me out.