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i’m ok… even though i got an email.

16 Aug 2013

you know what? i don’t want a job that might not be a place where i can be 100% me. i don’t want a job where i have to perhaps pretend that part of my life doesn’t exist. i don’t want a job where i am not seen as a whole and complete and perfectly ok person just as i am. i will not settle. i will not bow down. i will not give in.

instead, i will keep on being me. tattoos and all. same-sex marriage and all. liberal thinking and all. idealism and all. theology and all. and if this blog, or anything else in my life, is getting in the way of me getting a job… well, then, that job’s not for me.

as you can tell, i did not get the teaching job i interviewed for on monday. they told me that they would call the person they offered the job to and email the others on friday. well, i got an email. and, you know what? i’m totally ok with it. panicky about getting a job period. but, i know in my soul, and i knew it before the interview, that teaching in a public school was not for me. it’s just not me anymore. oh, i’m still a teacher. but, in a different way. you can’t move to another country for three years and come back in exactly the same place, ready to pick up where you left off. it doesn’t work like that. at least not with me.

a birthday card from my parents. circa mid-90s.

a birthday card from my parents. circa mid-90s. i found it yesterday. the perfect pick-me-up.

now, this job that i interviewed for, they did not turn me down based on anything except that there was a more qualified person, as far as i know. that’s all the email said. but, during my interview, they asked me this question:

“do you have Facebook?” and then, “what would i find if i was to type in your name on Facebook and see your page?”. during the interview i panicked. inside. on the outside i was as cool as a cucumber. i knew i was interviewing at an elementary school in small-town, southern usa. would they see my same-sex marriage? would they see links to my blog? would they see social issues that i support, like healthcare and welfare and voting rights and the right to choose? would there be something incriminating (to them) on there? i had no idea. they explained the question by saying that the school was in a small town where parents would google me or look me up & check me out, so hopefully i didn’t have any shots of me in a string bikini. which i didn’t. are bikini shots what they were really worried about? perhaps. but, i don’t know.

still, it’s a small town. so half of my life is incriminating and wrong, if you look at it through conservative christian, southern, rural, north carolina eyes. sigh.

so, did this play a factor in me not getting the job? i have no idea. perhaps not. but, you know, it actually doesn’t really matter to me. i learned something about myself because of this whole process.

i cannot live a divided life ever again. i simply must be able to be who i am, as i am, wherever i am. and, i mean, i’ll expect and offer the exact same thing to you. bottom line: i don’t think i’m a horrible person. i am not out to hurt anybody. and i am not a mistake, wrong, a threat, or anything else. i am simply me. and, to be honest with you, all i want is to live and work and play and be… in a world filled with harmony, peace, and equality. and i want the same thing for you. is that so wrong?

for the most part things felt really good after the interview on monday. there was a really good, loving vibe in the school. and i am certain that, personally, the two people who interviewed me would have seen me as an ok, educated, caring person.

but, that’s just how all the individuals felt in the united methodist church felt when my candidacy was rejected three years ago because i was married to a woman. all of the individual people didn’t have a problem with me. they were just following the rules. and perhaps the two at the school didn’t have a problem with me either, but were “concerned” about how parents and the community would react to me (still i have no idea if this was a factor, i remind you).

the problem is, it’s all well & good that people individually support me. but, how long are we going to just follow the rules? how many more people are we gonna sacrifice because we don’t want to rock the boat, upset the status quo, or break any rules? how long will these two institutions that i have loved continue to excommunicate me because of who i love? and, how long will people just sit back and support me, yet follow the rules anyway? nothing will ever change if we just accept & follow the rules. if we disagree, then let’s disagree and do something!

anyway, i did not like the feeling i had after my interview when i wondered if i should change anything on my facebook. there is actually nothing to change, there is nothing wrong with it, with me… but, i left the interview wondering if there actually was something a little wrong with me, that i had to change in order to fit into a mold. that feeling was uncomfortable, and i was mad that i even let those thoughts enter my mind… that i had to possibly change something about myself to make myself more acceptable. ewww. ridiculous thoughts.

a47a6872067511e3990322000a9f192c_7as for a job? i’ll keep looking. and i’ll turn over every, single stone to find something that suits my soul, that makes me feel free, that nurtures and challenges me to give back. i will not settle for anything less than my dreams.

i’ve learned that never again will i question myself, and my self worth. what i will do is keep looking for a job. something that is a perfect fit. and i will trust that it will come in just the right time. and, while i look, i will do a few other things as well this fall:

  • take a yoga class & sign up for training to be a yoga teacher.
  • take a writing class & get moving on my book… SERIOUSLY.
  • begin a photography course.
  • go camping and get back to my tree-hugging roots.
  • grow my pen pal relationships.
  • print and frame some of my photography.
  • volunteer with an eating disorder organization or an LGBT organization, or both.

my love, my brother, and my parents all said it at different times today… this was not meant to be. and there is something much better out there waiting for me. so, i’m gonna trust my family and the universe. i’m gonna listen to my soul better next time, and not panic. and i will not settle. it’s out there. and when i stumble upon it, i will know. and it will be beautiful. but, for now, i keep on walking. with my head held high. focused on who i am, the gifts i have, and alert to the signs and messages that are coming to me every day.

so, today, instead of being upset and terrified, i chose to move forward. i chose to listen to what my heart is really saying.

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there she goes! my love on her way!

i just dropped my love off at UNCA for her first day at the university! and i am so proud of her! she made her dream come true, fought her way back from near death (literally), overcame so much, pushed and created and dreamed her dream into reality. and now, today, she has begun her second bachelor’s degree, and i could not be any more excited for her.

as for me, i feel more and more that this is a time to dig deep into my dreams as well. even though, i have already made the dream of living in europe come true, it’s time for the next step. my love and i have helped each other realize our dreams, and now we move forward into the next part of our journey in life. and i could not be happier.

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so, after dropping lina off at school, i headed downtown, where i am now. i’ve found a little corner for myself at a table. got a chai latte (a big one!) in my hand, and my notebook and computer ready to fire up. this is how i work best. in this moment, right now, i am going to keep dreaming and make things happen, while i balance trusting the universe at the same time. it will all come.

my friends, believe in yourself today. chase your dreams and trust your soul. and you will find your bliss.

happy weekend! love and peace to you.

update/disclaimer: in no way am i saying that the job where i interviewed discriminated against me. i am not even accusing them of it. i am only saying that it is a possibility, given where it is located (a rural, small, conservaative town – not in the same city or county where i live), i have no proof of that. in some ways i don’t even care. what i am saying is that it was instrumental in helping me think about what type of job i want and what job i am meant to have. more importantly, it solidified my thoughts about how i am. once again. so, all in all, it was a huge blessing in disguise. the whole experience. 

thank you for reading! much love. ~liz

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  • Reply carly 16 Aug 2013 at 11:14

    I had so much trouble finding a job that I wondered whether they found my blog/facebook and found out I was a lesbian.

    This is so empowering. Love it.

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:30

      Oh, Carly, thank you for saying that. That means so much to me. xoxo

  • Reply Tracy 16 Aug 2013 at 11:25

    Hey Liz,

    1st- congrats to Lina, on her visa & her first day to uni in NC. Bravo, bravo, bravo! I know, first-hand, how it is to maneuver through immigration & the limbo-land they place you in, totally fraught with uncertainty…

    RE: this job. I honestly felt, in my gut, that what you’ve described would be the outcome. I’m sorry to see it in black & white. What it means to me is that there’s something waiting for you…something that “fits”. I somehow see you as a coach- of some type that inspires others. Choose your subject & promote. Yeah! You’d do very well in promotion. Just a thought- lol.

    I’ve been absent online as I move house, for real, in the morning. Been a horrendous thing, as we’re moving to a smaller place & taking on a boarder, as well (son’s mate from uni). This means me & my 14 yr old daughter share a room…

    Anyway- you stand your ground. You are 100% correct to do so.

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:29

      To be honest, Tracy, I felt the same in my gut before I went. I mean, am elementary school is at the bottom of my list of schools to teach in. And teaching in public schools in general is not my cup of tea anymore. I’ve known that for a while. Still, it was the prospect of the job, the stability, the paycheck that led me to pursue any & all positions. But now i know that I will and cannot do that. I draw the line and feeling like I can’t be myself.

      Thank you for your support! Coaching wither face to face or in writing sounds like a perfect fit!

      I hope that things are settling down a bit for you and your family. I am so sorry that it has been so difficult. I will keep thinking of you and sending you vibes of peace and calm. xx

  • Reply thelesbiannextdoor 16 Aug 2013 at 14:53

    So sorry to hear you are facing so much discrimination Liz. 🙁 I actually thought about that when you said you were moving there. I know you are from there originally, but it is not the most welcoming of states in general. Good luck in your journey! I will be out here rooting for you both!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:24

      Well, as I said to someone else in another comment (hehe), Asheville is the absolute best place to be in the South. Where I interviewed was a small town, not Asheville. And I do not know if there was any discrimination involved, but it got me thinking. And I got my priorities all figured out again. Hehe. So, it was a big ole blessing in disguise. A chance to learn what I don’t want. Thank you so so much for your cheers and your support! And who knows, we may end up your way at one point when Lina is done! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Dace 16 Aug 2013 at 16:45

    I love these words:”…there is something much better out there waiting for me…”. That has always turn out to be true.
    Never give up and never settle for less. You are who you are and you are awesome. I looked at your list and wanted to add tree more things: journalist, radio host or start your own LGBT church. You right beautifully and you could have your own column in a local newspaper. And how about a radio show?

    sending you hugs and positive thoughts…Things will fall into place soon.

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:21

      Never!!

      And you are so sweet to add those amazing things to my list. I would love love love to be a journalist. But, I have no idea where to start with that, as I do not have any training or experience (except the blog). Still, I’m going to one of the local papers to knock on doors and pitch some ideas this week. Keep your fingers crossed that I at least make some contact. Thank you for the hugs and support. xoxo

  • Reply poetlandia 17 Aug 2013 at 07:54

    This is the problem and the opportunity, here in the US. Over the last 3 decades of being out, I have lost jobs (twice) and housing (twice). There have been times I’ve chosen to be totally closeted so I could keep a job. And other times that I’ve chosen to work at a job that wasn’t my field (waiting tables) because, at the time, it was one of the very few jobs where I would be employable and could be out at the same time. (And even so, one of the jobs I was fired from for being a big, giant lesbo was a waitress job.)

    Was being out worth it? Yes. On a let’s-move-society-forward sort of way, yes. Personally? Yes. On a I-am-who-I-am-and-refuse-to-be-otherwise, yes. Was it worth it to be closeted when I chose that?No. Not for me. Even though the job was one that mattered very much to me. Do I condemn people for being closeted. I never have and never will. It’s a very, very personal and complex thing. (Although if someone is actively working against gay rights, I am all for outing.)

    That said, the only way we move forward is for people to realize that it isn’t some “other” that they’re doing this to. It’s their friends from childhood or high school, their cousins, their children, their sisters and brothers. And sometimes those homophobic people come around. And sometimes they reject. But with all the pain and hardship involved, it’s the way we move this forward.

    I will say that I am sorry that you are dealing with this. And I will also say that if you ever, ever have a situation where either of you has to be hospitalized or or or (fill in the blanks), come north. Come to Massachusetts or Connecticut and know that you are protected here. Right now our rights fluctuate dramatically depending upon which state we are in. Massachusetts was the first state to try to get gay marriage. People here are over it.

    And try not to vacation in Florida. So far two lesbians have died alone, with their partners and children in another room, refused admittance to their deathbeds, in Florida. If you must Disney, Disney in California where, thank all that is, you are married.

    I do believe the right job is out there for you. I am, of course, wondering if that job is typing a book. (You are a writer.) Just a thought.

    Lots of hugs.

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:20

      Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and words! It means so much to have support and pep talks from people like you. And it’s true, the only way we move forward, is to keep being exactly who we are, not conforming and giving in. The interview was in a small town outside of Asheville… it is a whole different atmosphere in Asheville, so it does not feel the same here at all. Place s are more accepting and the city & country governments have even voted for more protection for gay & lesbian couples and individuals. So, it is a good place to be. the absolute best place to be in the south actually.

      As for the job… a book? I have been wondering if I should spend this time doing just that. Thank you so much for calling me a writer. That is the best thing I could hear! xx

  • Reply Ulrika 18 Aug 2013 at 05:11

    Allt har en mening… Och den krokiga vägen brukar oftare leda till det rätta målet än den raka (har jag lärt mig). Hugz. Love you!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:14

      Du har rätt!! Min resa har inte varit som jag hade planerat. Hehe. Inte als!! Men det har varit mycket mycket bättre!! Jag litar på livet! KRAMAR

  • Reply Holly 18 Aug 2013 at 08:11

    This post makes me feel a lot of things. I for one, certainly believe you should not stint yourself and just go for what you really want, although if in the meantime you even get a part-time, get some cash type job, that is ok too in the long run.
    I have never, in my worklife, or in interviews, anything covered up being gay. People don’t assume I am, I don’t look the stereotype, which I find frustrating sometimes, but as soon as I get the option to “bring it up” I do… because until then, people probably assume I have some fella at home which is defo not the case and I like people to KNOW what,and who i am.
    Don’t ever cover it up, if you feel the need to, they are not the people you should be around! For one, it feels shit on yourself, secondly, as the other person, your wife, you’re depriving HER of herself too in some ways!
    It’s bizarre to hear these views from a developed country… I feel very fortunate to feel my lifestyle will not be comrpomised, by people or other views. I find homophobia or the none-understanding almost archaic in thoughts now…
    ANyway, this rambled, but I just wanted you to know, you’re totally on the right path – you know it! And good luck!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:10

      Thank you for all of this, Holly. I agree 100% with you. I have never, not once, hidden who I am in a job, at a meeting, etc. People always assume that I am married to a man, and I correct them and tell them that it is my wife, actually. That question was not presented to me in the interview, and there was no part of our conversation that was “personal” except the facebook thing.

      Anyway, I proved to myself 3 years ago, when I told the committee that was ready to ordain me, I was married to Lina. Their policy is: if you just keep quiet (even if they all know about it), then they will ordain me. But, I knew myself enough even 3 years ago, that I could not, I would not omit this part of my life. So, when asked, something about my life, I mentioned “blah blah boa… my wife…blah blah.” And that was it. Meeting over. Ordination cancelled. All because I said the words and told them I refused to cover up, ignore, omit, and live two separate lives. I was one whole person.

      So, this interview on Monday just reminded me of my convictions and beliefs.

      • Reply poetlandia 19 Aug 2013 at 08:12

        You know, this brings up the MCC for me. (The Metropolitan Community Church, a nationwide chuch.) Just another thought.

  • Reply yogaleigh 18 Aug 2013 at 21:37

    I sat with this one for a bit, trying to decide if the notions that popped into my head were just me projecting. Can’t decide. Is everything we see about someone else a projection? Anyway, I’m tired and that’s too deep for me to figure out. But when I made the “vision” comment on the other post and carefully didn’t limit the vision to that particular job I had a feeling. And reading this post the feeling is forming into something more.
    Not to down grade the extra issues of being openly gay and job hunting because in places like school districts I think it does make a difference, but what struck me was more of a fit in the box, don’t fit in the box issue. On paper I’m white, straight, highly educated by several prestigious universities, etc., so when I was younger normal job places (like agencies and corporations, etc.) thought I looked good. But really, I’ve never fit well into those structured places that want employees in lock step. I’m not good at sleeping to suit someone else’s hours or being hungry when they tell me to. I don’t think like institution people do, I often don’t work the way they work (though I usually accomplish more my way) and I really just don’t fit in their boxes. Now I’ve been out of their environment(s) for so long on paper I don’t look good to them either.
    And everything I’ve read of you, and what I’m reading in this post, is that you’re just a woman who doesn’t fit in a box. I have a feeling your best answer is going to come from something you create out of the amazing, talented, unique being that’s Liz. And that she doesn’t fit in a corporate or an church or a school box. But it’s going to be great. And you’re going to love it. That I see for sure.

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 22:05

      My dear blogging friend, this is an amazing comment. My soul is touched and I felt some sort of light within me as I read your words. I understand exactly what you mean about the box. And it is, as you mentioned, so much more than a gay/lesbian issue for me. For, i have only been in a same sex relationship for the past 5 years, but I have struggling with and battling the “being in the box” issue for as long as i have memory. It began with a long journey of accepting and learning that i, Liz, do not just fit into any institution, box, idea. For son long i tried really hard to because i believes it was what i was supposed to do. My life’s purpose was to live up to others’ expectations. Bit that suffocated me. Before i met Lina i pulled myself from the box and began to understand how I relate to and work with the world, and it had nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do simply with me. So, I understand deeply all that you have just written, and your words made it even more clear to me.

      Thank you so much for sharing you’re vision. For sharing your thoughts and words. I am eternally grateful for the way that you expressed exactly what I needed to be reminded of. That it’s me, like you, who does not just fit into the regular, typical, institutional boxes or expectations. My purpose is to simply be me and let my life flow as it does.

      Thank you again! xx

      • Reply yogaleigh 21 Aug 2013 at 00:00

        You’re so welcome! Can’t wait to see what you do!

  • Reply southernhon 20 Aug 2013 at 16:41

    Honestly, I wish I had your guts. I’ve never felt comfortable letting people know the real me, especially in a job situation. I’ve been through a few jobs in which I was unjustly fired, or “let go” because I didn’t fit in. If I had the luxury of picking and choosing in this job market, I’d pick a job in where I could be myself, but I can’t. You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that my husband was let go from his last job because his employers did too much digging.
    My oldest son is an elementary school music teacher in Maryland, where I’m originally from. Although MD Is quite a bit more liberal than NC or TN, I still worry that someone will find out that he is not squeaky clean in his “after work” activities and fire him.
    Well, sorry for rambling. I’m really sorry you didn’t get the job, but I know something better awaits!

    • Reply liz 24 Aug 2013 at 11:16

      Thank you so much for your beautiful rambling. It is great simply know that I am not alone. xx

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