Sell Out!

I accepted the corporate job as an Admin Assistant to the Sales team of a global HR consulting company. I turned it down twice, but they wouldn't accept my answer. The truth is that it was obviously the better and grown up choice, I just didn't want to do it. However, I am also going to be teaching one night class this semester.

Am I excited about the job? No. I had to bite the bullet. But these people want me to finish my degree and stay on with them so they can promote me up. And, they have offices in the UK and Dublin, so maybe I will eventually have the possibility of moving.

Teaching was not working, I was not getting my research done.

I know this was the right choice because after each time I turned the job down, I started crying. But after I accepted the job, I felt ok. That's the best I can hope for. It is enough.


Beyond Normal

I know I promised new dating stories this week, but, a crisis hit. My sad adjuncting/graduate student career and the suffering which has ensued as a result of it, may have reached an end. An end for which I am not prepared.

This summer, I had no classes to teach. That means I had no income. That is a very bad thing. In late April, I began looking for summer work, temp jobs or a more stable full time job. I did nothing but look for a job this whole summer. Very, very depressing. Rejection after rejection.

Now, a 6 inch high pile of bills sits on my coffee table. I can't even make myself open the envelopes. My cell phone got shut off this week. (Actually a good thing because all 7 of my credit cards called me constantly wanting their money.) As a teacher in the state of NY, I do not qualify for unemployment benefits. So I used my credit cards for food, rent and transportation. Then my credit ran out. My pops spotted me some cash for rent.

Meanwhile, one company began interviewing me in June. They made me take an IQ and spelling test and then sent this whole packet to my house that took me 8 hours to complete. 5 interviews later, they offered me the Admin Assistant job on Monday. It pays 40k and has great benefits.

So? I have 5 classes scheduled to start in two weeks. My take home pay should be equivalent, minus benefits. I do not want to sit in a windowless crowded cubicle for 40 hours a week. I do not want to be a secretary. I have started to enjoy teaching again. Though my schedule this fall will be absolutely brutal.

I don't know what to do. I had a blessing last week from the missionaries. I've prayed and prayed. The day after they made their offer, when I told the recruiter I needed two days, he called me saying they needed to know by 5 pm. So I said I wasn't going to be pressured into it and if that's how they are going to be then my answer is 'No'. He flipped out. Many phone calls and emails later --he ruined my whole day, they decided to give me more time because they really want me. I even had to go cry in the bathroom after I turned the job down.

I heard myself turning down the solution to almost all of my problems. A steady paycheck, structure, schedule, easy job, easy commute, health insurance... The company is ridiculously employee-friendly, they told me I could take a few more weeks before I start to give the schools time to find a replacement for me. That made me think it would be foolishness to turn them down.

The choice is more complicated than it appears. They seem to be equally bad and equally good choices.

What scares me about the corporate job: That I won't be able to get back into academia when I want to, that I am throwing away my ticket to a full-time professor job in Brooklyn, that the cubicle will drive me crazy, that I will feel like crap about myself for 'selling out', that this may put me back on the road to crazy-town... having just emerged from my 3 year stint there, this thought terrifies me. Also, I am not good at being a secretary. I will have to get back on Ritalin to control my severe ADD. Feeling incompetent is very very bad for my emotional stability.

What upsets me about turning down the job: This means I am choosing to continue to suffer, struggling every month to find an affordable shrink, pay 3-400 each month for my meds, the breaks between semesters when I have no pay, having no guarantee of any employment the following semester or the amount of employment, the total exhaustion from teaching 5 classes at two campuses, the running around, the fact that I do not seem capable of doing my own research while I am teaching (because I want nothing to do with it by the time I get home), which means I will never finish my doctorate or get out of this hole.

Why do I want to teach? Because I am basically my own boss, no cubicle, no office building, no 40 hour week, sometimes I have fun, it is satisfying, and it is important work that matters. I know I can survive this without going crazy, because I survived last semester, although, I have more classes in the fall and will teach everyday instead of 3 days a week. This devil I know. I love having colleagues that I respect and enjoy talking to. My confidence is coming back and I'm starting to feel like a good teacher again.

Not knowing how long my emotional stability will last this time, makes the decision incredibly difficult. The corporate job is a gamble, which could pay off tremendously. The teaching job sucks, but I know I can handle it --(Maybe).

So, not much eating or sleeping. I have to make a decision ASAP. My head hurts.


Note: 'You can't always get what you want . . . You get what you need.'

Amen, Brother Mick. I need a friend, not another man trying to get into my pants.

International Playboy and I did go to another movie, "Sunshine", which was amazing. (It felt like a '2001' on steroids, but with Danny Boyle's touch of genius.) We had an awesome time. I've decided he is a good guy and he does really want to be friends. I don't think he has a creepy agenda or is trying to play any weird games with me. Surprised?--I was. Likewise, I will have no creepy agenda for him. We're just two people who like the same stuff and hang out (and who happened to kiss each other a whole lot one night and would probably like to do it again.) This experience has ripped my ingrained cynicism a new one, which is a good thing. It needed it.

Now that it looks like we're starting a real friendship, I don't want to blog about him to the whole universe behind his back. So that's the end. This concludes our 'International Playboy' series of posts.

Fear not, my voyeuristic readers! I went out with 4 other men this summer, and most of them could not even share the same zip code as the word 'normal'. Those stories to come starting this week . . .


The 'International Playboy' Reconsidered

Just because I was angry, and I had a bad time, I assumed we couldn't be friends. How self-centered of me! Then a few days passed, I had some conversations, posted my blog therapy, and reconsidered things. Why did I think he was angry? Did he do anything angry? Nope. Nothing at all.

He spent the whole evening laughing. Even when I told him to do something obscene, and meant it as an insult, he doubled over howling. At one point during the movie, he slowly turned his head around to look at me, and I snapped, 'What are you looking at?' Again, he busted out laughing and said, "I guess nothing." He told me all about his weekend, all his stories made me laugh.

After the movie, we talked about trying to sneak into 'Sunshine'. Then he realized he couldn't because he wanted to catch a band at midnight. He said we'd go see 'Sunshine' the following week. I figured he didn't really mean it and I wouldn't hear from him again. Yet, I sent him an email the next day thanking him for joining me, just because it's the polite thing to do. He wrote back immediately, asking if I still wanted to see the movie next week. Yes, I told him to pick the day.

This really made me rethink the situation. One more date after a rejection is a pity date, I've had a few of those. Two more dates after a rejection is something completely different. But, these aren't dates. What are they? I have no idea. This is totally new. Clearly, he had a better time than I did at '16 Candles'. And, I only had a bad time because I was so upset. Did he seriously want to be friends? He's a straight man, that's weird, right? Unless he thinks we'll be friends for awhile, then I'll fall for him and give it up, which is quite possible.

International Playboy texted me Sunday asking if Tuesday was a good night for the movie. Absolutely. I decided to just have fun. Let go of the attitude. By the time Tuesday came around, I actually got excited about our whatever-it-was.


Now my heart is full

It's a whole new day. Despite the flooded out trains and subways this morning--making a nightmare commute for most New Yorkers, I feel much better. And not just because my commute only took 10 minutes longer than usual. (The woman working next to me spent 4 hours on her bus from Queens!) I feel better because I think my faith in humanity is restored.

I always believed that a truly good man, whether religious or not, who had serious interest in me, would be willing to wait for sex. Because I had to believe this. It helped me endure all these years through countless rejections, bad dates and weirdos-- 5 this summer alone! But the latest rejection, being solely for sex and from a seemingly good man, nearly obliterated that hope. As my new 'friend' told me last week, it was ironic that the thing which saved me earlier in my life, is now destroying me... (melodramatic, but interesting).

So, does one have to choose between her faith and the possibility for romantic love?


Needful Things

Most readers who responded to my Manifesto said something like, "the spiritual needs of single people are not different from those of married people," and "church is not about meeting one's social needs, it's about the atonement," so, basically, I should get over myself. But I will not. It is true. I need something from the church that married people do not.

The life of a single person can get very lonely. (I know being married can be lonely too, but that is a different story). Sometimes, single life is not lonely at all, but when it is, it can be devastating.

Now, imagine living through a fairly lonely period--of about 2 years. After work, you go home to an empty apartment to fix a quick dinner. Maybe make a few phone calls to friends and family. Feed the cats. Clean the kitchen. Then end the evening with a book or by watching tv. The next day, you do the same thing. You can go weeks without any physical contact with another human being. Sometimes, you can't reach anyone on the phone and you can go days without having a personal conversation with another human being. No one needs you. No one misses you or looks forward to seeing you. No one can help you make those major life-changing decisions that crop up from time to time. No one notices if you have been working out, or gained 10 pounds...

Then, Sunday morning you go to church, where, you feel even lonelier than you did before. But maybe you made it through sacrament meeting without crying this time, so you feel proud of yourself for that. But, you feel like you don't belong. The married men, aka 'priesthood holders and leaders' are afraid to talk to you, because you are a single woman. And the married women look at you with either suspicion, envy or pity. Some kind souls do notice you, and say hello. They smile at you with warmth and shake your hand. And that's when you start crying. These lovely people don't have time for you, they have children and husbands. But they mean well. They are true Christians.

Then you go home and fall asleep on the bed. When you wake up from your nap, you have to find a way to fill the rest of the day without breaking the sabbath. The easiest thing to do is try to sleep the day away, then watch awful TV all night. On a good Sunday, you might take a walk to watch the sunset reflecting off of Manhattan and the Hudson River.

So, what? So, what happens when a real flesh and blood man comes along in this scenario and he wants to love you? He wants to comfort you and take away the loneliness and empty nights. But, you'd have to give up your beliefs and covenants. How long can your spirit hold out against this? And if you do manage to resist, how can you do it without anger and bitterness for the church which not only makes you feel lonely, but now seems to be the cause of your loneliness as well?*

This struggle could be much easier if church were a place of fellowship and comfort. If I could fill my empty nights with church things and people. Single people need more friends than married people. They need more social support. They need to be needed by someone. They need to be noticed and missed. They need to be given responsibilities for others, so they can exercise charity and avoid becoming too selfish. They need to be part of a family. Married people are part of a family, so, ideally, they don't need as much from the church in terms of social support--I understand that this may not be true for all married people, but in an ideal world it would be.

Single people need family. Eventually, if they do not find this at church, they will find it elsewhere. I suspect that most singles do not find family at church. Hence, the huge rate of apostasy.

*I know that I am responsible for my own choices and the covenants I have made with God. I am the cause of my loneliness. However, at weak moments, this is extremely hard to remember.


Hope for Single Mormons

My intention here is not to bash the Mormon church, or to merely have a space to complain. I wanted to give single members of the church a voice, be someone who could speak for them and to them, because when I started this blog, there was no such entity. I also got tired of telling the same dating stories to all my friends. This way, I could refer them to the blog when they called to inquire about what happened with so and so? (Yes, I am that lazy).

My Manifesto post stirred up a lot of activity and emotion. It helped me release some anger, but it did more than that as well. Amongst the sea of comments, a few people shared their experiences in their wards, and they sounded great. I wanted to post some of them here to show everyone that there is hope for us, that church doesn't have to be so lonely and painful. And, maybe we can inspire local leaders, and each other to do more to make things better.

Comment #1:
Ardis Parshall said...

It might be impractical to expect a single in the bishopric and RS presidency all the time, but having singles serve when available certainly does improve the lot of singles. My ward's RS *president* has never been married, and this is one of the best Relief Societies I've ever known.

Our ward recently went to a pattern of having three speakers rather than two in Sacrament meeting. It's amazing to see what that simple change has done for us singles. The old habit of ALWAYS having couples speak has disappeared, and as long as the bishop has to make multiple calls anyway, he tends to ask three unrelated people, regardless of their marital status. Not only does that mean singles are no longer invisible, but it also means we get real talks from both married and single: no more wasting half the time with family introductions and all the how-we-met stories that used to plague meetings when couples were asked to speak.

Matt said...

There may be change on the horizon in the Church...

Here in Huntington Beach,CA and in other stakes in SoCal we have an established "Midsingles" program where all 30-something singles in the stake, all attend the same family ward together. So there's family ward boundaries for families and all 30-something Midsingles in the stake attend as well. So my ward we have over 120 active 30-something singles in a family ward. So we're half midsingles/half families. We have Midsingles FHE, Firesides, Institute, Dances, Dinner Groups, etc, etc.

And Midsingles practically "run" the ward, so the lessons, talks, comments are geared to both singles and marrieds. In fact our Father & Son outings are called "Father OR Son" outing. If you are a father or a son you can go.

Also, the marrieds help us with our single activities and vice versa and we have "ward" activities for everyone. It's the best of both worlds.

Single parents can attend as well since we have a full Primary program just like any other family ward.

Since most of us have YSA roommates and hang out with them all the time, including joint FHE once a month, most YSAs transition over from one week to the next when turn 31.

Elder L. Tom Perry came to our last Stake Conference and fully endorsed our efforts with the Midsingles in our stake. Several other stakes are following suit. And soon all stakes in SoCal will have this program.

We also are developing seperate single adult programs for 40-something singles, 50-something singles, and Senior Singles 60+ so there's a continum of single activities for a little something for everyone.

Faye said...

1. I am 23, single, never married and I live in Beijing - we don't have a singles ward, but we have a very strong singles group - anywhere from 10 to 40 singles in our family branch of about 300 expats. The branch takes exceptional care of us and I wish that every single member could have the same experience.

2. I last spoke on Mother's day 2006, after 10 months of being in the branch. In our branch, there is usually either a youth, single adult speaker or both each Sunday.

The Beijing branch is exceptionally transient and people are moving in and out all the time, making it hard to keep track of people. There is one counselor in the Branch Presidency that watches out over the YSA like an auxiliary. We have our own Sunday school and usually an older couple to be our counselors. Everyone gets a calling. Most are self-contained. Within the YSA, there are a few Sunday school teachers, 2 reps, a secretary, YSA fireside coordinator, activity coordinators, FHE coordinators, and some people get pulled for "real callings" within the branch depending on the number of YSA we have at the time.

It took about 18 months of being in the branch before any of the singles had home/visiting teachers and assignments. The single sisters usually got paired up together to visit non-single sisters. Before I came into the branch, the RS president had monthly dinners where all the single sisters would be invited to in lieu of being visit taught.

6. I do have lots of significant relationships. The single adults is my primary social scene here in Beijing and most of the active single adults rely on each other socially.

9. I've always felt like an involved contributor who is very much welcomed and a part of the ward/branch I am in or if I start to feel otherwise, I act on it.

10. I realized a long time ago that I need to feel a sense of belonging in order to be happy and get the best experience out of church so instead of waiting to be welcomed, I've always taken the initiative to befriend other members and create a sense of belonging for them. It took 2-3 months of getting the scattered YSA together by organizing informal activities for them (after I decided that if nobody was going to organize anything to invite me to I had to do the organizing myself) before the branch presidency noticed and gave me the calling of activities coordinator. Branch pianist has been my default calling and I have Mom to thank for that. Whenever I move to a new branch, I look for every opportunity to serve through my piano playing and surprisingly, even in a branch full of people who can play the piano just as well or better, I will never run out of opportunities.

11. I realize that the Beijing Branch is an exceptional one and a great one to be a single adult in. The branch members here love the single adults and we're always getting invited over for meals (there are no missionaries here so the singles get all the affection and free food).

We organize a monthly fireside, usually held at a members home where we are fed before the fireside. There's FHE every Monday and Institute every Thursday and activities formal or informal are always going on on either Friday or Saturday. On Sundays, if we don't get an invite to member's homes, we (yes on a Sunday) go out to eat together. We're a really good group, and we rely on each other for friendship so we look forward to every opportunity to hang out together and are excited whenever someone new moves into the branch and adds to our numbers. I wish this could be the experience of every single adult within the church. It really does take just one or two people to take initiative and create that feeling of community within a small group of single adults and you could easily be that person.

Thank you for the wonderful comments! If you think I missed one that should be here, please copy and paste it in the comments.


At Chelsea Cinemas

We* can't be friends! And I am not OK with this.
*see prior posts here* and here

We went to see a special showing of '16 Candles' in Chelsea. But, professionals that they are, for the first half hour there was either no sound, or it was in black and white. So the whole theater, mostly full of queens, was very rowdy and restless. Everyone shouted out quotes from Long Duc Dong and cooed over 'Jake Ryan'. Someone asked if there was a lesbian in the house. A man with a deep baritone voice responded, 'Yes!' Everyone there was jovial, except the two of us.

He looked so cute. He proudly showed me his argyle socks. We talked about our very bad days. We made each other laugh. At some point, we got into a childish "Did not!" - "Did too!" fight about our date, and we weren't joking, it was for real. I think I ended it by smashing my flier in his face. Um, hostile much? Still, I just wanted to reach over and curl up with him. And I could not get the way he smelled on Friday night out of my head.

Then he said something about my big tote bag, from which I pulled a sandwich, Jr. Mints, a box of granola bars, bottled water, and shoes to switch with my heels. I told him the bag was for teaching, I carry books in it. He said, "Are you going to teach me anything? Oh wait, the question is, 'CAN you teach me anything!'" and he guffawed, "The answer to that--is NO." He laughed and laughed, quite pleased with himself. It pissed me off. This was not the night to mock my battle-fatigued virginity. So, I told him to "Lick - my - clit!" And he shouted, to the whole theater, "I TRIED TO!" Then all the queens got quiet. We both burst out laughing.

Later, he asked how I was ever going to find someone to marry me. I said, "I might not." And then he started up with advice and pontifications about how bad my situation is -- as if I'm not acutely aware of it. He said, 'It's like only drinking one kind of coffee but there is no Starbucks.' 'You should move to Utah.' 'Is there an M-Date, Like J-Date?' Blah, blah, blah. I asked him to please stop talking about it, because it depressed me. He said, "I'm just concerned about you, you're a great girl." "Yeah, I'm concerned about me too. But I don't need to get depressed, I'll go home and eat more ice cream." It turns out that he spent the weekend after our date getting drunk, while I gorged myself on ice cream and chocolate.

This does make me angry. I haven't dated anyone like this in 5 years! He's the non-mormon combination of George and my Irish boy. BUT IT WON'T WORK! He's obviously angry too. We both feel rejected, when it's so clear how easily we could fall in love, the fun we would have, the passion, how much we have to give each other... How could we not feel resentful?

He'll be drinking tonight, since he went out after the movie. And I've already polished off half a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I'll eat the rest when I'm done posting this.