then she lit up a candle, and she showed me the way

dark treei’ve been applying for jobs.

why, right?
i have an amazing job already. i get to be with loving warm people and lancet (THE dog) gets to come to work with me everyday. i spend my time talking to people who live to support each other and being a part of that is like a grilled cheese, toasty on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. maybe that analogy was a little off, but if you know how the #doc loves grilled cheese, then you understand.

alas, regardless, anyway, i am jumping states and must find work that i love elsewhere.

i’m writing this post because applying for jobs has prompted me to write about myself more than usual.

while digging into an intro for a position as community manager with uber, i began exploring the reasons behind my decision to pursue east asian religion and philosophy as a major in college. i realized that it was the first time i had ever written it out.

i’d like to share it here with you because it wasn’t a ‘practical’ major and as a person with diabetes (PWD), having a practical major that would put me into a job, (that would give me enough healthcare to pay for the supplies and doctor visits i need to live) right out of college almost steered me elsewhere.

this is what i wrote for the intro:

I am 23 and graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Comparative Religion in 2012. My emphasis was East Asian Religion and Philosophy. I forged this academic path because I was seeking a truly interdisciplinary approach to the study of that which is human. I know, I know… that last sentence was both very ‘Berkeley’ and very ‘hippie-esque’. Don’t depart now, there is good reason! After being diagnosed with diabetes at age 11, I began thinking about life in a ‘deep’ kind of way -(that’s what having a dysfunctional pancreas will do to you). That, along with being the introspective person I have come to be, led me to want to combine traditional academics with courses and programs that stimulated personal growth and development. For me, personal development came with understanding what drove others toward faith and belief, meditation and penance. I’m sure that was more than you wanted to know, BUT there’s more!

Since graduating in 2012, I have been working at a diabetes empowerment organization called the Diabetes Hands Foundation, serving at a local micro-brewery, and developing an online presence via my personal diabetes blog, writing profiles, and twitter account(s).

i felt really good after writing that. my voice was in it, and i discovered a few more things:

#1. i learn about my past and present self by writing. just like you, i’m ever changing and new attributes don’t always show themselves outright. some attributes, even positive ones come in the form of divots, invisible until you either get really close or physically put your hand in and feel it. my major is something i’ve always rolled my eyes while saying because i know my answer to the vexing follow up question, ‘no, i’m not exactly using my degree’. i know deep deep in my heart that i studied an area of academia that served my soul, but a bitterness toward explaining it kept me from feeling what was buried beneath.

#2. i fear that my efforts will not be valued. this may be a common fear, a societal fear, but it is certainly a fear that carries a potential deterrent effect. the subconscious and self-protective logic would be, “if i don’t try to do x, then i can’t be devalued for trying (or failing) x”. i’d be lying if i said that this logic had never lead me toward a faulty decision module with no potential healthy outcome. i can say though, proudly, that my general tendency is to push harder and not let that fear take the wheel.

…that is until #3 (that’s number three not hashtag 3), the third thing i learned through writing application intros…

#3. i live two different modes of diabetes self-management and they translate and spill over to other areas of life when they are in gear.

the first one, the productive but rather uninspired one is “don’t want to lose mode”. this mode shows itself through diet, in high carbs and more insulin. it shows itself through exercise with ‘it’s okay if i’m walking so long as i’m out here.’ this don’t want to lose mode means less thinking before doing and (thus) less intention in action. i’m a busy bee and stay productive, but my heart isn’t all there when i’m in this mode. i also am a little sensitive to delayed criticism, the kind that you only hear as criticism long after it’s been said.

the second, the over achieving full of passion, confident one is “want to win mode”. this mode shows itself through diet in green smoothies and ‘(insulin)free’ lunches. it shows itself through exercise with better preparation and a focus on the mental over the physical. want to win mode is about surpassing expectations and deserving a pat on the back for going above and beyond. i spend most of my time in this mode and am not easily knocked off, but i still am not certain of the blow that takes me down.

what i do know, is that the blow is diabetes related, because my management is always the first behavior to change gears.

i’m going to read through my past burnout related blog posts to find out if there is a common denominator. maybe there is a trigger that i have, thus far, been blind to.

perhaps there is an answer in the written history.

until next time,

move onward, my friend, onward.

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5 thoughts on “then she lit up a candle, and she showed me the way

  1. You’ve made me think about why I ended up with my undergraduate major (which was more of a whittling down of what was available to me as I closed doors to other majors) and how it pertained to my diabetes (oh, yes… the “you need a skill” major factored into it).
    Any company who needs a passionate, compassionate, enthusiastic individual would be fortunate to have you. I know that Manny and the crew at DHF is already mourning the loss of you in the office.

      • Ha. Modern Languages – German and Italian with linguistics thrown in for good measure, along with a smattering of economics and marketing for my undergrad. I once gave directions in Italian to a man in a U-Bahn station in Germany in front of my parents. Dad said he was so proud to see me finally use my degree. Ha!

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