Resume Me

I write the cover letter, attach the file and hit send.

For the hundredth time, I sigh.

My resume travels across the interwebs to be reviewed by someone who will not read between the lines. I will be drawn out and imagined as someone I will not recognize, and a door will be closed in my face because I don’t fit.

I will be classified and shaped and discarded.

I will be ignored.

The words I carefully constructed to define who I am will carry no weight on a screen.

I wonder how I define people.

Do I also see them as their experiences? Do I judge their lives by the stars that aligned the moment they were born?

Maybe I do.

Maybe my bias is just as devasting to others as the emptiness I feel when I wait for someone to open that file and draw the lines that I know do not define me based on the way my life, full of unexpected curveballs and experiences out of my control, is spelled out on one page.

I cry out, “Meet me first; hear how I view my shape before I list my virtues and wait for approval!”

I cry out to the ruffling pages of people who mean so much more than the words and the outside reflection of things they have done because that’s where they were or because that’s what they thought at that time. I await in the silence of one-page profiles of people filling the air around me, falling to the ground in a heap where they will be stepped on because their resume said that they were not worth a look in the eye.

I cry out to a world that will not hear because I speak in a tongue made for the street and trip over the one used by those sitting at a desk in an ivory tower.

I click send and I lose another line in my shape and I know that if I need to do this another minute more, I will have erased the best of me.

Defining Me

Recently a friend asked me what I was looking for.

I’ve been searching for a job for the past few months. I joined all the groups on Facebook and I tidied up my resume. I let people know I’m looking and created a LinkedIn account. I sent out my resume to a few relevant places and I called to set up an interview for a job that is in a field completely different from what I thought I wanted. I’m exploring options for working at home. I’m actively looking.

“What are you looking for?” he asked.

I didn’t have an answer.

For the past two and a half years I was a cake decorator. I didn’t think I wanted to be one or that it was something that could interest me, but I took a part-time job close to my home and it turns out I’m good at it. A few hours a week became a few days a week which became full-time and then I was at a managerial position, taking charge and overseeing operations in a business I hadn’t ever thought about.

A few years before that I opened a small drop-off daycare service in my home so that I could stay home with my two-year old. I thought I would have a few kids here and there but the parents wanted more hours and I found myself on the floor every day laughing and singing with the greatest little group of humans who went home happy to satisfied parents.

Before that I wrote an article for a magazine because my mother didn’t want to do it and then they called me to do an editorial piece.

Before that I did some part-time work for the therapeutic school I had gone to and became an integral part of the program for as long as the school was able to survive in a struggling economy.

Before that I was a failure at everything, especially at committing to drug addiction and alcoholism.

Before that I dropped out of school and roamed around looking for meaning.

Before that I had a lot of potential and no one knew how to help me actualize it.

“What are you looking for?”

What am I looking for?

I can decorate cakes because I am an artist.

I can run a daycare because I am a leader.

I can create articles of substance because I am a writer.

I can connect with teenagers because I am real.

I can overcome failure because I am a fighter.

I can search for a life of meaning because I am a believer.

I can actualize my potential because I am adaptable.

“What are you looking for?”

Maybe I should answer with an explanation about how I didn’t get a degree because of a broken system. Maybe I should say that my needs are so immediate that you can hand me a broom and I’ll clean for you if it means I can feed my kids this week. Maybe I should explain how I freeze at the thought of starting over at this point in my life when it feels like I am constantly knocking down doors only to find that the hallways opened up for me end in another concrete barrier.

“What are you looking for?”

I don’t know.

I know what I am.

I am an artist. I am a leader. I am a writer. I am real. I am a fighter. I am a believer. I am adaptable.

“What are you looking for?”

I’m looking for a job that doesn’t define me.

I am looking for me, in a job that embraces me.

“What are you looking for?”

A dream?