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  • awalto29

Job Searching, Overwhelming Stress/Worry, and Grief

I want to start with the acknowledgement that this post is going to be different than most that I post. I think that it is important to discuss how grief affects the different various areas of your life. I also think that we need to acknowledge how we have changed and how certain roles and positions might not be what are the right fit based on these changes. I know so many grieving parents who struggle to get through their workdays or who have clung to their work as a normal part of life after losing a child. I didn't have that. I couldn't cling to anything because there was nothing normal. I had stayed home with my kids and was just about to finish earning my Master's degree that I had returned to school so that I could finally reenter the workforce my way.

Then our lives were turned upside down. My Master's required an extra year and a lot of tears and struggles that would not have been there had I not lost my girl. My professors and advisors who helped me through this process will always have a special place in my heart and I will be forever grateful to them that they were there to hold me up when I didn't think that I could stand on my own.

The thing that I continue to learn about myself as I go through this process is what a bad ass bitch I really am. (Sorry for the language but there is not other way to describe the resilience that I have to carry with me each day just to get the job done or to be able to live a life that has a resemblance of normal for my other children.)

When I returned to school, there were a few career paths that I considered. I really wanted to teach college (and I have my 1st syllabus being submitted tonight for an adjunct position...cross your fingers for me if you can!), write textbooks, work in research in politics or history, or possibly teach students in high school or junior high.

I have been applying for jobs since I obtained my MS. I did not get the first teacher position that I applied for as a high school social studies teacher teaching civics and economics (To be honest, I do not think that I am qualified to teach economics so I get why I didn't get this position.). I also applied and interviewed for a junior high teaching position. This one I have not yet heard back from, but I am excited for. The team of teachers that I would work with include a close friend who has the most amazing style of teaching and is truly someone I would want to learn from. While 7th grade is not ideal as I know how much work it is to engage students this age who do not want to be there, I have never backed down from a challenge and I love the idea that I could potentially help to change someone's life, aiding them in earning an education that can never be taken from them.

Today I also applied for a position as a researcher on a political campaign for someone I believe in and want to see really be able to be successful in this mid-term election year. I proudly cast my vote in the primary last night and officially submitted my resume this morning. The position is one that is looking for one previous election term on a political campaign, so I wrote in there that I would happily accept any lower positions in research. I do believe that my passion, education, excitement, and research skills can make up for not having previously worked on a campaign and I discussed this.

Shane and I had a long talk last night about raising children in the world that we suddenly find ourselves living in. It's a world where my daughter will not matter to some as much as my sons. It's a world that we feel perhaps Adeline was spared from having to live in. It's the first thoughts that have brought me comfort in this entire loss and grief process. I am living in an America that seems to be rolling back the years to a time when all people in our country did not matter and equality was far off. We had been making so much progress towards equality and so many people have been here hoping for a country where we were all truly equal one day, a space that was free from sexism and racism or bias against people who are basically not straight white males. These freedoms that we have had are being stripped away and our world seems to be going in a dangerous direction backwards. This is terrifying to me and when I think about Adeline and how big her heart was, sometimes I believe that God spared her from having to go through life with a broken heart that hurt for others who were living in conditions that are less than favorable. To be 100% honest, had I known that this is what 2022 would look like, I would have had my tubes tied in 2000 when I turned's not that I don't love my children, I love them more than anything but having children today feels selfish as this is not a world for a child to grow up in. It's a world where every child is going to feel a level of pain and suffering that is unnecessary and simply because of a class of citizens who think that they get to decide how we all should live.

I don't often get political on here, but these are things that are affecting my grief an this is my space to share my grief. I have friends who vote opposite and think opposite of me on nearly every topic, but they respect me and my opinions and we simply do not discuss them. I simply can't process what is happening in the world around me while trying to also process through this grief and this is showing itself in some weird ways.

Take Monday for example. I was at a job interview surrounded by politically motivated posters on a specific topic. The job was a position that was funded by grants and though some are private, most are state or federal. I found the posters to be so inappropriate that my hands started sweating. I felt completely anxious throughout the entire interview. For the first time in my life, I wanted to stop someone interviewing me in the middle of the interview and tell them that I was not interested in continuing or in the position. I really won't accept if offered and that's saying a lot, but the position was not a good fit. I'm sure there is someone who would love to work there that would be happy in this position. However, I almost started crying because my anxiety was so high that I felt like I couldn't sit there any longer, like I needed to jump up and run out and it felt as though I was crawling out of my skin. I don't know how to process this or what caused it, but I can assure you that it was unexpected and something that I did not know I could experience on top of everything else.

So, I am learning that I never know what is going to trigger grief for me or anxiety. Sometimes I think that these are little signs from Adeline, feelings that she is sending me to know when a situation is good or bad. I am hopeful that I will find the right positoin. The teacher job would be preferred for now. I would love a job where I shared the schedule with my kids, where I could still adjunct and teach college, and where I am able to be close to home every day until the kiddos are in college at which time I can pursue other options.

Finally, I am so excited to announce that Althea has earned her pointe shoes. She has worked so hard to get to this point. In classical ballet training, you do not get pointe shoes at a specific age or level, they are instead earned and she has earned them! So a huge shout out for her dedication and hard work! I am so proud of her!

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