Settled

Do you know where

You are?

Have you found the place

you fit?

Do you like it there, between the what and the who and the when?

Do you feel settled where you are?

Or are you like me

Floating through it all

knowing that the strings

that tie me in place

also weigh around my neck.

If my feet

stop twisting between beats

the noose will raise me up

and I will be found

but not free.

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?