I forgot rainbows exist

standard November 10, 2015 Leave a response

I turned the corner, driving that fine line between driving the speed limit and going fast enough to get to school in time to collect the kid getting out of her after-school activity. I snarled at the rain starting again, at my broken windshield wiper I didn’t even know was broken until this morning, at the blister forming in the rain boot that only gets worn once or twice a season.

And then I saw it. And I gasped.

A rainbow. A silly, stupid, glorious rainbow, stretching clear across the sky. A perfect shining rainbow.

And then I laughed.

Because for a minute I couldn’t fathom what I was seeing.

I’d forgotten about rainbows.

What can I say? It doesn’t rain very often in California.

So, I’d forgotten about rainbows.

Rainbows in all their magical, improbable selves. A thing that children color, because they’re so darn pretty and shiny and irresistible.

Rainbows, reminding us that there’s beauty and magic to be found in even the dreariest of days.

I seriously can’t believe I’d forgotten about rainbows.

Just how grown-up and jaded have I become?

What happened to the girl who always looked for the silver lining in every situation? Who always tried to tease the fun out of every moment?

2011 was a brutal year of unending big catastrophes that kept knocking me off my feet.

This year has been less obvious in its relentless sly attacks, and yet, apparently no less draining.

I keep trying to pull myself up from my bootstraps, keep trying to jolly myself out of the gray area I seem to wallow in most often these days, but it’s hard. There are constant reminders about my father. Constant little challenges to overcome. Constant reasons not to smile, but to, instead, force a grin on my face a bear another day.

It’s not how I want to be, not who I want to be.

I want to be the girl who looks for rainbows, not the one who forgets they even exist.

Rainbow

Fighting through the silence

standard January 12, 2015 5 responses

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to write. Write something for me that is. I write every day. I write all the words some days. They’re just not words for me. They’re words for clients. They’re words for Facebook. They’re, occasionally, words for my journal. They’re frequently words for emails. Oh, so many emails.

And then, once all the words have been written, I come to this blank space, this space that proclaims itself for all to see as being my space, my world, a reflection of my life, and I draw a blank.

Who is this Jessica who is meant to have enough of a life to write about?

Who has she become? Who is she in the process of becoming?

I seem to have lost track of myself so much that I no longer even have the capacity to write my own words.

I seem to have been struck dumb.

I always thought that losing the ability to type would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, but I think this might be worse.

I can type. I just have nothing to say.

I mean, look. This is the first post I’ve published since September. This from a girl who used to blog daily.

Even in the midst of the worst of the last few years, I had words. So many words. So many I choked on them regularly. I wasn’t always able to write them down, to share them, but they were always there, always streaming through my head. Perfect sentences summing up my feelings, fears, worries, and yes, silver linings.

We’re out of the woods now. We’re supposed to be well into our recovery period. And yet, never has it been so hard for me to find the silver linings.

And without seeing the silver linings, I don’t know what to write.

I am a creative person. I feel alive when I am creating, when I am working on a project that is a reflection of who I am, a reflection of a part of my soul.

I haven’t felt alive like that in a while.

I am determined this year to find myself again. To find my way back to that girl who delighted in creating for the sake of creating, not because it was expected of her.

I’m going to push through the disappointment of not becoming an overnight bestselling author and finish my second novel.
I’m going to push through the white noise in my head until I can find the words that shine again.

I’m going to forcibly pull myself up by my bootstraps until I recognize myself again or at the very least until I can see who I’m becoming.

My name is Jessica. This is the space where I share my life. It might change a bit over the next few months as I experiment with what I want that life to be. But I can promise you one thing, one way or another, I’m going to find my way back to the words, because the words are who I am, and it’s time for me to find myself again.

Profile shot

That time when I didn’t take the job at Facebook

standard September 23, 2014 3 responses

Seven years ago, almost to the day, I dropped off my 11-week-old child at the daycare her 2-year-old sister attended daily, which she too would soon attend regularly, and headed off to Facebook HQ.

I was wearing a professional looking outfit that didn’t fit right over my still bloated post-partum body. I hadn’t slept more than an hour at a stretch in 11 weeks. I looked broken, felt broken, but most importantly, was desperate to not go back to my existing job when my tiny infant turned 4 months old.

Facebook at the time was still relatively new. By that I mean that they had just celebrated their millionth user and were feeling pretty badass, but their head quarters consisted of a bunch of cheap looking furniture on which perched MASSIVE computer screens. Power cords crisscrossed all the floors and the conference rooms just looked a bit… unfinished.

They’d just experienced their first big media hiccup – the Facebook SUCKS debacle stemming from the banning of breast feeding photos, which led to moms leaving the site in droves and deleting their accounts in a huff.

I was being interviewed for a customer service position and I was really excited to discuss the issue with them.

I should have known better.

My interviewer – head of the department – was a young guy who didn’t look old enough to have to shave daily. After talking briefly with him, I met with every important member of his team, pitching myself as best as I could without really being able to glean what it was they were looking for, why they’d brought me in to interview, feeling increasingly uncomfortable as my milk supply built up, missing my sweet baby, wondering what the heck I was doing in this start-up office, talking to people who had a very different take on customer service than I did.

I asked them what they planned to do about the Facebook SUCKS walkout and they shrugged, asking me if I really thought it was worth worrying about.

I asked them about their overtime policy and they gleefully told me that everyone was allowed to work as much overtime as they wanted.

I asked them about how strict office hours were and if it would be weird if I dashed out the door to get to daycare on time at the end of the day. They looked perplexed, told me they thought that one team member might be married, but that they were certain no one had kids, and anyone most of them went out for drinks every day after work and that it would nice if I could join them a couple times a week.

I walked out of that room dazed, looked around at all the people hunched over keyboards, frantically typing, fully focused on their work, knowing without a shred of a doubt that this was not the place for me.

A few weeks later the hiring manager called and told me he thought I might not be a good fit for the team. I actually laughed and said “Ya think?”

Then, a month later, I gave up on the hopes of finding the ideal position, dropped off my baby at daycare with her sister and went back to my soul sucking job, which felt a little less soul sucky now that I knew what the alternative could be.

I wasn’t there for all that much longer, but that’s a whole other story.

Last week, I got to go back to Facebook HQ. New location, new digs, better furniture, different vibe, lots of new people.

I wasn’t there because a family member had landed me an interview, I wasn’t there because I was looking for a job, I was there because I’d been invited as an influential blogger to hear about how certain Facebook products could be beneficial to families.

I was shown to a lovely conference room, given some fun Facebook schwag, introduced to a lot of neat Facebook programs, invited to share feedback, and then taken on a tour of the new campus.

To say that it was a different experience is putting it mildly.

To say that I was a different person is putting it mildly too.

I was not tired, broken, fragile. I was feeling strong, good about myself, good about what I know, what I do.

On that day 7 years ago, I could not have told you where my path was heading. I was worried I’d be an administrative assistant/office manager for the rest of my life.

A month ago if you’d asked me, I don’t think I could have put into words what visiting the Facebook campus made me realize.

I seem to have come a lot further than I had noticed. I seem to have learned more than I thought. I seem to have grown more than I would have ever deemed possible.

I’m really glad I didn’t get that job back then.

I’m really glad to be on the path I ended up on.

Facebook schwag

Tears on the last day of school

standard June 12, 2013 Leave a response

This morning I cried.

I didn’t want to, but I had a hunch I would.

Tears came to my eye as I saw the kids dressed nicely for their last day of school.

Tears came to my eyes as I watched the kids give their teachers their end of year gifts.

Tears came to my eyes as I held my sobbing Kindergartner when she was overwhelmed with emotion as it came time to say goodbye to her beloved teacher.

Tears came to my eyes as that teacher promised us that she’d keep an eye out for Little L next year so she doesn’t “get lost in the crowd” because she’s so well behaved at school. 

Tears came to my eyes as I watched the entire school create a ‘tunnel of love’ for the exiting 6th graders.

My hunch was right. Though, to be fair, the tears did more than just come to my eyes as as I held Little L tight while she sobbed, little face tucked into my neck, arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. We had to take a little moment to collect ourselves before we could leave the classroom.

Last year, on the last day of school, I hightailed it off campus, drye eyed and anxious to be gone, to be free of the school and its people.

Today when I look back at our morning and try to compare the two events I find that I really just can’t.

We were in such a bad place last year. So worn down by two cripling years. So disenchanted by the school and its community. So ready to move on and get on with a new version of our lives. I had some misgivings about having the kids home with me all summer, but I had an almost primal need to keep them close, to hunker down for a few months, just us, alone, so we could heal and gather our strength.

And it worked.

Even though I wasn’t quite sure what the school year would bring, by the time August rolled around we were ready to face it with a smile.

It was an amazing year. Little L learned to read, C came out of her shell, both girls thrived in their classrooms, made friends, and grew in every way imaginable. 

This morning Little L and I aren’t the only ones who cried. C cried too as we said goodbye to her teacher.

Despite the tears it was a beautiful morning. I left feeling loved and cared for. I left knowing that next year will be just as amazing. There were so many hugs, so many summer playdate plans made, so many gleeful “see you next year!” exchanged.

It’s a good place to be. A better place. I’m glad we’re in it.