la indecisión me molesta

Okay, okay.

The Thing: I was accepted into Remote Year for 2017. Remote Year is a program for Digital Nomads, who spend one year traveling the world and working in a large group. It is not a job – that is one of the things you must supply, so a key factor in RY is getting your employer to agree to let you work from wherever you happen to be at the time. You pay a (not insignificant) fee up front, then $2K a month for your travel and accommodations. You are responsible for your own food. People have done the calculations, and it costs each participant an average of $42K USD/$55K CDN for the year. This is a major factor in my decision.

Pros:

  • Epic. Fucking. Adventure.
  • It’s what I wanted – to live abroad for a year
  • Forced to deal with my social demons
  • I could be in a group full of amazing, fun people and make some lifelong friends
  • Seeing several parts of world! Hello, world!

Cons:

  • It’s an extremely long commitment
  • Yes, I can always quit – but they want people to stick it out for the entire year, so there’s a financial penalty to quit
  • It’s not exactly what I wanted – it’s my dream, on someone else’s terms
  • It’s expensive. I’d use up all my savings and break even for the year if I’m lucky – I still have a mortgage and other financial commitments, so it’s not like I’m escaping rent by doing this (as I imagine most other participants are)
  • I’d have to cancel plans for 2017, including a trip to Tokyo, a trip to somewhere else not yet determined, and a UK visit
  • For the amount of money I’d be spending, I could easily afford to it on a smaller scale – in chunks – and be in total control of where, when, why, and how. This would also be a thousandfold easier to get approved through work.
  • I am figuratively too old for this shit. I love me some comforts.
  • I could end up in a group full of gorgeous 20-somethings who party and drink all the time and I’d be the sole fat shy weirdo with unkempt hair and no pants
  • No stability. Sometimes, stability is nice. (only sometimes tho)
  • Living out of one suitcase for an entire year. I can barely do that for a week.
  • I kind of like my husband and cats and don’t really want to be continents away from them for a year
  • Ed doesn’t want me to go (but won’t stop me if decide to go). He’s not actively trying to sway me one way or another (I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha) and has been very positive about it, but I asked him to be completely honest with me and he doesn’t want to be apart for that long. I can’t blame him for that; I’d likely feel the same if the situation was reversed.

The Unknowns

  • Who am I signing up to spend a year with?
  • Will my employer even consider letting me work extremely remotely for an entire year?
  • What will the accommodations be like? Will they be filled with spiders? Is the internet stable? How’s the weather? What’s nearby? Where’s the nearest source of Diet Coke and ice cubes? A thousand questions, repeated each month.
  • The month I spent in London away from home was hard. How would I handle that times 12?
  • How on earth do I handle the mountain of medication I’m on?

Every person who has responded is encouraging me to go, but it’s just making me feel guilty for considering turning the invite down and/or deferring it. So there.

What to do.

flip it and reverse it

The reaction to my thing-waffling has varied between a mild “you should do the thing!” to a complete dissertation on WHY I MUST DO THE THING RIGHT NOW. Understandably, my mind is not settled. I am still waffling. It is significantly less delicious than it sounds.

So, let me throw this into the mix: the thing requires you to leave everything behind – your family, pets, friends, the excessive Funko Pop collection, your still-unfinished game of Fallout 4, that one really bulky jacket that kind of makes you look like a marshmallow but you love it anyway – for an entire year.

My waffling is not fear of the unknown – it is fear for everything I’d leave behind.

Armed with that knowledge, do you still encourage me to do the thing? What would YOU do?

oops

Well, that backfired.

I read this article about a thing that was relevant to my interests. Applications for this thing had just opened up, so on a lark, I threw my name into the ring. I didn’t think I’d actually GET the thing, because I am short and fat and socially maladjusted and have blue hair, but against all odds (take a look at me now) I passed each step and then they said “congratulations, you can do the thing!” and well shit I panicked and haven’t responded yet and I don’t know what to do.

I could do the thing.

I could not do the thing.

The choice is mine to make and there is a powerful list of pros and cons behind each one.

And I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOO

So I’m writing an annoying vague blog post instead and also thinking about lemonade. Have you tried the Blackberry Lemonade at Wendy’s? It’s delicious. Perhaps instead of making a decision about the thing, I will go to Wendy’s and get some lemonade and also panic some more.

notorious

Oh, these shackles of fame.

Last night I was in a store buying bananas and a cheesecake brownie, as one does. On my way out, a tall guy stopped me and said “hey!” and then had a conversation at me. He used to work where I work, and obviously knew me. We chatted for about about the company, our new mural, and then went our separate ways.

I have no idea who he was.

I feel super bad about that, because it feels so rude. The truth is, I don’t know most of the people at work. Yes, we’re spread out over three offices and 5 floors, I work solely with one department, I never go to social events .. but those are weak excuses. Is it possible to have imposter syndrome about yourself? I guess I’ve done a bunch of stuff company-wide that would make me stand out a little, but none of it is a huge deal. I know I stand out physically – every other person here is tall and willowy and effortlessly glamourous in that Anthropologie-catalogue kind of way, whereas I am short and squat and have blue hair – but that isn’t a good stand out, it’s a “hide in the corner and hope no one sees me” thing.

And okay, damnit, all you tall white hipster guys in the other offices look exactly the same.

But seriously. I feel terrible when people know me and I don’t know them, even it’s a case of mistaken identity (I’m sorry nice lady in Denny’s, I’m not who you think I am). It’s weird to be recognized, but weirder still to be known and not have a corresponding data link inside your brain.

I do have theories on this. The majority of my theories are based around smiling. I would never, ever suggest that people have to smile, or tell someone to smile if they’re not, but I do find it odd when someone has zero response to a friendly smile. I try to smile at everyone. Most of the time, they smile back. If someone smiles at me, they get a smile of varying degree in response, from a questioning half-smile to a balls-out grin. I may be too riddled with anxiety and social diseases to strike up a conversation with someone, but I will always smile at the people I pass. There are a lot of people (all women) at work who glare at me when I smile in greeting, or simply look away. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they’re just as socially awkward as I am, and deal with it differently than I do – but it’s happened enough times that I have a membership list for the Unfriendly Blonde Squad in my head.

Where was I going with this? I actually don’t remember – I stepped away from writing this to get some really shitty news – but I think I had a point about smiling at people with blue hair while simultaneously having a large enough impact at work to leave an impression with people I don’t know.

Shit’s gettin’ weird.

 

Trifecta_of_Science__yvr__pride__science

stressful things

Things that are currently making me want to simultaneously throw up and cry:

  • JIRA
  • Backseat troubleshooters
  • Companies that respond to your info request, which asks you what type of communication you prefer, with a phone call
  • This migraine I’ve had since midnight or so that I have to power through because JIRA
  • My hopes and dreams
  • That I know just enough to know what’s wrong, but lack the access and ability to fix it
  • Okta
  • Why did no one else care that Barb went missing
  • Existential dread
i believe i can fly but then jira

i believe i can fly
but then jira

semicolon kind of life

I’m packed and I’m holding
I’m smiling, she’s living, she’s golden
She lives for me, says she lives for me
Ovation, her own motivation
She comes round and she goes down on me

Last summer, semicolon tattoos were all over the internet. People were getting them as a personal reminder, to indicate their story wasn’t over, to celebrate a victory over a struggle, as a symbol of hope in the fight against mental illness. As this article states, they’re not “the mark of a really committed grammar nerd”, but “a reminder of their struggle, victory, and survival”.

As most of you know, I suffer from mental health issues. I’ve struggled, I’ve survived, I’m still here .. so I got a semicolon tattoo to remind myself that I am more than my depression and anxiety.

haha j/k, I totally got the tattoo because I’m a really committed grammar nerd.

haha j/k, I actually got the tattoo because you can’t have a “TL;DR” tattoo without the semicolon.

Also, knuckle tattoos on one hand only is kinda weird and unbalanced, so I also got a “RTFM” tattoo.

Okay so all of the above is actually true: I AM a mental health survivor, I AM a really committed grammar nerd, and I really did get “RTFM” and “TL;DR” tattoo’d across my knuckles because hardcore, but in a really fucking nerdy (and hilarious) way.

Better pictures coming soon. It’s hard to take pictures of your own knuckles.

doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo

wood panelled imposter wagon

I have an opportunity to speak on a panel, but my imposter syndrome has a raging boner at the thought of it.

There’s a business event coming to Vancouver in November, and the organizers have reached out to me via some co-workers to see if our company would be interested in participating. I made the executive decision of “ya, totes”, because I love things like this: the event is aimed at girls in grades 9-11 to introduce them to women in a variety of professional careers. Technology is just one of the areas the event will cover, and will feature a panel full of women from a few local tech houses.

I told the organizers that I’d be happy to help them find a panelist or two from our Product Development department, and asked if they were looking for junior, senior, or anything in between. There are a ton of awesome women I work with, and I provided some of the areas I thought might be of interest, including my own position. I mentioned that I’d volunteer myself if they were interested, but as an industry professional (and “professional” is used so loosely it’s falling down and I have to constantly hitch it back up or my bum will show) who took a non-traditional route to get where I am today, I didn’t think I’d quality.

I’m not being all coy about this – I seriously don’t think I’m qualified to talk to anyone about how to get where I am. For starters, I don’t know where I am. My title has nothing whatsoever to do with what I do on a day-to-day basis – I don’t actually even use it, because it’s so misleading. I didn’t go to university. College, sure, but then there’s my secret shame which I think is hilarious. Also, I’m short and fat and I dress funny. I have blue hair, speak in pop culture references, and can’t go three sentences without swearing up a storm. That’s just the surface, too – as far as my job goes, I don’t think I do anything particularly special. I just .. make things go. No one needs to hear about that.

To my surprise, the organizers emailed me back and said I’d be perfect for the technology panel. Wait, what? Why?

I’m not sure what to do here. On one hand, panel! That would be neat. And even though I’m terrified of kids, it amuses me to continually organize or participate in events aimed at them. But .. what if I end up on a panel that’s all “our panelists today are Lizbeth Genius, CEO of Amazing Technology; Susan Saviour, Director of Complicated Surgery at Adorable Anime-Eyed Orphans Inc.; Chloe Super Engineer, Lead Developer of Life Changing Widgets, and this weird fat girl who fucks around with JIRA and makes sure things are spelled properly.”? My ego doesn’t need that. They’ll probably all be wearing pantsuits, and I’ll show up in a Hello Kitty dress with a lunchbox for a purse. Hell, I’d probably have the reverse intended effect: after seeing me on a panel, girls will become disillusioned with the business world and start home businesses selling canned goods, or maybe join a MLM scheme. Oh, god. I’m going to be the end of the advancement of women in technology! I can’t possibly sit on this panel! Nobody wants to sell candles and costume jewellery out of their living rooms!

While it MAY be true that my imposter syndrome needs some drugs and a nap, I still think no one would be interested in what I have to say. I’d love to be able to say that I am inspiring and professional and encouraging, but .. well, all of the above. Any idiot could do what I do.

NOW I’M SAD.

 

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