One shoe off

January 22, 2009

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 9:41 pm
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At this very moment I’m in a Holiday Inn Express in Joliet. Tomorrow morning I pull back into Chicago, almost a year later than I had originally planned. In less than 2 weeks it’s back to school with me. This is a veritable treasure trove of wootness. The only un-woot: Judy dog is back in Oklahoma, which is very, very, very sad. She just stared at me with her big brown eyes this morning when I was leaving. It was just not feasible to bring her up here right now, plus she and my grandma are incredibly attached, so it’s probably for the best that she stay there for right now. Grandma could use the company. It’s good for her, and I think Judy would be distressed being separated from her.

In other news … in the past couple of days I’ve gotten very nice, supportive notes from extended family members who’ve learned about my gayness via various online social networking sites. I never imagined a time when my extended family knew about my sexuality, mostly because I’m not terribly close to my extended family … not for any sinister reason, just because growing up overseas I never saw them that often. But also because that side of the family is lousy with Baptistesque preachertypes.

But anyway, it was nice. Being back in Illinois was also nice. Dad and I dined at Outback (gag) and they offered us free samples of beer. When does THAT happen in Oklahoma?

November 29, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 3:02 pm
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Here I am! Officially a woman of leisure! All that remains is to file my claim and buckle down to the task fo determining what comes next. I’ve all but decided that Chicago is my next destination … back to CTS to finish my M.Div. I’ve been a bit Jonah-like. Time to go back and face the music. I know, that makes it sound like my MDiv studies were a bad thing. To the contrary, at my most focused, I absolutely adored being at CTS and all the reading and talking and writing and soul-searching that entailed. And I’m anxious to get back to it, and get it all finished, and get on to the next thing. I know this is all kind of jumbled and incoherent and not very exciting and stuff. I have a hard time talking about seminary, because talking about seminary means talking about that whole “vocation” thing. And the word “vocation” makes me uncomfortable. Have I mentioned this before? It may not be totally clear, since I used to be in the employment business, what I mean by “vocation,” so I’ll try to clarify. I’m not just talking “job” or “career.” It is, instead, true to its Latin roots, a reference to a “call.”  The more Bible-inclined among you will understand that without further explanation, probably. Those not so inclined, it’s sort of like this — your vocation is that which you feel ‘called’ to do, that work towards which you are constantly pulled. Via Mind on Fire, here’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition of “vocation”

The action on the part of God of calling a person to exercise some special function, especially of a spiritual nature, or to fill a certain position; divine influence or guidance towards a definite (esp. religious) career; the fact of being so called or directed towards a special work in life; natural tendency to, or fitness for, such work.

Why does “vocation” present such an issue? Here’s why: most everythign that happened in my life from the time I was an infant up through college was framed in terms of “call.” When I was about 3, my parents told me that God had “called” them to leave the States and move us all to South America. Stories about my grandfather revolved mostly around his various “calls” to pack up his family and transport them across the country — multiple times — to pastor churches in Illinois, in Alaska, in Colorado, in California … Throughout high school and college (both at religious schools), I was enjoined to listen to God’s call about everything … what I did with my life, where I went to school, who I dated. It seemed to me that no one could speak of any kind of decision EXCEPT in terms of “call,” whether it was God who was telling them to do something, or just their own common sense or own desire. This is why “vocation” is troubling. Am I really following a “voice,” or do I simply have no other way of talking about the direction my life’s journey takes? As a result, I’ve kind of rebelled against “vocation” talk, not wanting to cheapen it, and not wanting to attribute to the Divine decisions that were just me deciding to do something. Plus it seemed (and seems, still) that I can see through so many people’s “vocations,” and see that the reason they’re doing something isn’t because of some “vocare” but because they’re trying to make up for something, or they’re trying to flee from something (or from themselves), or they’re trying to “sanctify” a decision that they know is either purely selfish or a really, really bad decision (most — not all! — “God told me to marry her/him” decisions I’ve seen fall under this category). Because people with real-life divine calls to do something don’t make a big speech about how God told them to do this. They just do it and get on with it. They don’t care if you know why they’re doing it. They’re not answering to you, anyway. Which is SO not where I was going with this post, but I can’t help but think that’ll preach …

September 30, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 9:41 pm
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Guatemala was awesome-gorgeous-awesome. I should have stayed … you’ll learn why in a minute.


Young Maya girls at the Xetonox school

Young Maya girls at the Xetonox school


We darted all about, met some amazing women, got to see some of my favorite people (Hi Mirian! Hi Mirna! Hi Sarah!) and have some good mother-daughter bonding shit. I remembered why I liked working for MayaWorks so much, and regretted, just a little, that I ever left.

I got back to work last Monday and learned that, in their infinite wisdom, the Oklahoma Employent Security Commission had decided to end my program (and … thus … my job). And I understand … we do good work, but it’s hard work to quantify, and it’s hard to get money for things you can’t quantify, these days, and OESC is the red-headed stepchild agency in a seriously cash-strapped state government. No hard feelings at all, OESC does a decent job at what it does, plus I’m going to make sure the staff at my office is trained enough by the time I leave that our clients with disabilities don’t even notice I’m not there. That’s the hope, anyway. Program officially ends Nov. 30.

So I’m faced with making decisions much earlier than I had planned. And the decisions are not nearly as easy to make as I thought they would be.

So, those of you who know me are probably assuming that, to listen to me gripe about how homesick I am and how much I hate being away from Chicago, you’d think I’d for sure use this opportunity to move back to the third most-awesome place in the world … use this two month deadline I have and buckle down looking for jobs and move back, get back into school and finish my M.Div. and go back to being more me … because I feel like I’m less me living in Muskogee. (Of course, we won’t take up the question of whether it’s geography that causes that … Or the thing that Jerry once said to me “You’re always you, no matter what” when I excused some bad behavior by saying “I haven’t been myself”)

And yet I’m sorely tempted to stick around Oklahoma for a little longer. Why?

  1. Grandma’s still here, still old, still a huge drain on my parents’ (mostly my mom’s) time and energy. I’d feel very bad about bowing out on the pitching in, plus I kind of want to get as much time as possible whilst I still can.
  2. Just as I find out about this job going away, I find out about two new really exciting opportunities. Both would be something I’d enjoy. Both would be the opportunity to do something innovative. They’re jobs I wouldn’t have much of a shot at in Chicago, because, frankly, the market there is saturated with a gajillion smart, idealistic young professionals looking to work for exciting, innovative nonprofits. It can’t be helped … when you have that many schools churning out thousands upon thousands of MSWs every year … And that’s not to say that Oklahoma doesn’t have those smart, idealistic young professionals, but at least I’m not competing against seventeen thousand of them. In other words, the relatively smaller candidate pool here in Oklahoma works to my advantage.
  3. The economy scares me. Seriously, seriously. 

So, we’ve covered two options. Chicago. Oklahoma. There are more? Sí, pues.<br><br>First off, I just found out via MySpace that Kimya Dawson is starting a community choir in Olympia, Washington. So that puts that in the running … relocating to the northwest so I can sing in Kimya’s choir.

Alternately, I could pull a Marta … I found a four-week TESOL certification course in Oaxaca. I could head there in January and then get a job somewhere … Mexico, Costa Rica, wherever, and knock about overseas for awhile, fill my passport up, feel myself again (because being overseas also feels much more me … even more me than being in Chicago).

So yes, forced into a life change. Grr. Granted, it could be worse. Yes, I’m getting laid off and yes I have to look for a new job … but good grief! I work at the employment office! I look for jobs all day long anyway!

Coming soon, btw, how Google is going to find my next job for me. Well, sort of. Mostly I’m just proud of my kickass iGoogle job-seeking home base extraordinaire.

(Friends and lovers: Cross-posted to MySpace, too, with more colorful language and an extended second part about some pathetic personal issues. For those of you who care. More Guatemala photos also on my MySpace and Facebook pages.)

April 5, 2008

I’m back again…

Filed under: blogging,disability,life,work,writing — Liz @ 12:09 am
Tags: , , , ,

This time to stay, maybe?

Seriously, I don’t think I have blog staying power. I wish I did. It’s something I’d like to have. Seriously. So to keep you occupied whilst I try to generate new content, I’ll bring over some stuff (Like two posts, ‘cus that’s all I’ve got) from another blog project I tried to start … and then fizzled out on.

So after the new posts, I’ll be back with thoughts on disability issues, the deep dark secrets of working for the employment office, practical thoughts on the stuff I work on: disability and employment, and probably some pictures of my dog.

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