Some Days You’re the Windshield

“Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug.” (From a song by Dire Straits – apparently also Mary Chapin Carpenter?) Back in the days of AIM this was one of the quotes that was in my away status that you could do. Back when the most creative form of social media expression was your screen name (mine was littlemissladyi, but at one point was also cruisechick89 – that one almost seems prophetic) and what font you used for your away messages.

That quote has felt so real for the last few days. This morning I woke up with a joie de vivre that I haven’t felt in a long time. It was the feeling of “I am worthy, I am useful, I have purpose, and damn it I am so capable it’s not even funny.” Maybe it has to do with the fact that yesterday I got so down on myself that I literally sat in our cabin writing those things. I have a piece of paper that now says “The only person in charge of my tomorrow is me,” and “I am smart”.

Yesterday I got an email that they aren’t hiring for the last position I applied to. The joke of it is that the ship that I am currently on had two people “quit” in that position since this voyage started. I AM RIGHT FRICKING HERE and they still won’t hire me – and, well, how are they not hiring for it when I am on a ship that for a voyage like this is understaffed in that department?

While yesterday I woke up already feeling a bit down, when I decided to clean and decorate our cabin I came across an old “Let Us Know” card where a guest had written in to say what a great job I was doing. They even commented that I was “such an asset to Holland America Line”, at the top of the card it says “Let Us Know What You Like” and then under it in italics it says “and we promise we won’t change it”. Waita hit me where it hurts. Like damn. A guest is writing in to say I am such an asset to the company, and the top of the card says they won’t change it – but obviously they did. Whomp. Whomp. A slight mental tailspin of self pity ensues. 

However, when I woke up this morning I was not in a mental tailspin of self pity. Instead I woke up with clarity. I had been helping organize the library and things like that since this position is a bit understaffed right now – but alas, to what means or ends? There are so many other people that are onboard that can help with it and while it is in my nature to want to help people but for my own mental health – if based on nothing else then that the company does not think I’m worth giving a paycheck to even though I am right damn here and willing and capable to do the work – I’m not going to do that anymore. The company has told me fairly unequivocally that for that position they do not want me. And for that – I don’t feel like offering my services for free anymore. The nice way of saying it – screw that.

So, this morning I woke up – and you know when you wake up and kind of lie there and are half awake but still a bit asleep but thinking about things? I thought about the things that scared me, the things that I haven’t taken a chance on, and the things that I want to take a chance on. When I am thrown into a situation there has never been one that I didn’t make it through. Each one has made me stronger, more capable, and has given me the knowledge that I am stronger and more capable than I can even imagine.

The situation now though is that I need to throw myself into those situations. So often I have waited for myself to be either given or forced into the opportunity or the challenge rather than going out to get it on my own. It’s scary to go after it on your own. When it is thrown at you – almost regardless of how you make it through it is more that if you make it through you are successful in some right.  If you go out and search for the challenge on your own it is not a matter of if you make it through to determine your level of success. No, you must make it through and succeed at a real and quantitative level. Rather than it being sink or swim because you have to, it is sink or swim by the choice of putting yourself into that situation.

What does this all mean? This means that I am still going to apply for jobs. What jobs I apply for are going to change though. While I am not above doing any job, I am going to refocus my efforts on jobs that I feel are equitable to the caliber of employee and person that I am, and involve challenges equal to my intelligence. I mean, at least if I apply for and don’t get a fricking badass job it might be because there was someone else badass that applied for it. Getting consistently passed over for jobs that are filled by people that either quit because they’re tired, quit because they find they don’t fit with shiplife, or they get fired for doing something stupid – it will be for someone that solidly 100% deserves the chance to be there.  

I am applying for jobs that if I get them I will be scared out of my wits end about doing a good job. Much to popular (well, 3 years ago popular) phrasing, I will lean in to that fear and let it drive me to success. I never perform so well as to when I am proving nay-sayers wrong.

I am confident that I won’t wake up every day having this joie de vivre. I am confident that I will still have days when I struggle. I am learning about myself though, and I am learning a bit how to get through those days better.  Those days will pass – they always do. I’ll remind myself that I am the only one in charge of my tomorrow, and I will make tomorrow better so that I can be the windshield instead of the bug.

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