‘We’re Cowards & F**k Ups But At Least We Try’ – Mental health and job searching

Keri-Lee Griffiths writes about fear as she searches for jobs. First published on her site.

~~~

I’m looking for a job in a semi post-pandemic world. It’s going about as well as you’d expect. Most jobs are ones I can’t do because of my physical limitations. That’s not soul-crushing at all. Others require certifications I don’t have. Once again, I wonder why I got a degree in theatrical and film arts. That was a useful experience, wasn’t it?

It’s slow going, and I’m applying whenever something pops up, but most of them seem like long shots. The other day I saw one that could be perfect for me. Not only could I physically do it, but I have the right qualifications. It also happens to be with an organization I admire, and the work would be meaningful. You’d think I’d click on the link ASAP and apply.

I sat there, biting my bottom lip, and the reasons for letting it go came quickly. It’s a long drive, and the traffic will be horrible. The cost of gas will be a nightmare. It’s not my favourite part of the city for no particular reason. Besides, they probably don’t want some like me anyway.

My dog listened intently as I listed all the reasons why I shouldn’t apply. It felt very reasonable, logical, and I was just about to click off when another question came up. Am I just scared? The if only’s are fun and all, but they’re just toys to play with. They’re out there in a magical realm where never and always vacation.

But here I am, trying to take some of my dreams and make them real. To do that, I need a job that will financially make these things possible. Everything else I’ve applied for feels like long shots, but this one seems like it could be something. You know, if the powers that be would give me a chance. Just give me a chance!

Again with the silence and the crickets? Cool.

The thought of accomplishing something meaningful scares the crap out of me, and I think that’s my biggest problem. I’m not a f**k up; I’m a coward. The thought of changing my life scares me to no end. The idea that it will stay like this is equally jarring. It’s fear upon fear, and I don’t know which one to ignore and which to embrace.

And yes, embracing fear is sometimes necessary. It can be a weapon we use to vanquish our dragons. It can motivate us and force us to do things we never dreamed we could do. Leap over buildings in a single bound. Ride a shark-like a rodeo clown or… Too far?

Fear can be useful or debilitating, and right now, I’m not sure which end of the spectrum I’m sliding towards. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, and this is when I usually do stupid things that sabotage any chance I might have. Yay, messed up mental health! It makes life interesting.

If you’ve ever wondered what having a mental illness feels like? For me, it’s constant overthinking, critiquing every aspect of my life, and constructing unnecessary roadblocks. I make things so much harder than they need to be and then wonder why I can’t be happy for more than twenty minutes a day. Wonderful. Brilliant. Make it stop!

Sitting there, staring at the computer screen, I finally asked myself the obvious: Are my reasons legit, or am I just scared? Is fear holding me back for a good reason, or is it stopping me from getting something good? What’s really stopping me?

In this case, and in many others, fear’s holding me back. It’s letting the dragons run wild, and I can’t leap over a crack in the pavement let-alone a building. It’s not the motivator I need, and it’s not helpful. It’s prolonging the agony so, I let out a slow breath and applied for the job.

Will I get it? Probably not. I have very little faith in myself or the possibility that someone will give me a chance. However, I took a chance, and you never know when life will surprise you. All any of us can do is show up, channel our fears into motivators, and try our best.

Fingers crossed.

Keri-Lee Griffiths, Aug 13, 2021

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