Jump-Start Vol.2

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The honest answer is that I see myself writing performance poetry. I can tell because I keep avoiding performance-poetry videos and podcasts whenever that little voice in my head says “…that should be you but you’re not doing that right now…”

I tend to be invested or not. I’m afraid the obligations of surviving will compete with my creativity or the reverse. Put another way, I’m afraid that I’ll get momentum on projects and have to leave them to do more menial work that drains my soul OR (and as time goes by this becomes more and more likely) I would finally rebel in a mood of radical self-love and forsake the idea of being self-sufficient to have just ONE period of unfettered creativity!

I’ve been varying degrees of “sick” since my neighbors started smoking indoors — it took time to figure-out whether it really was the smoke, what medicines would help, and what I could do to ventilate my space and my mind (I needed to reboot my determination). Curiously, the first week of being sick I actually started trying to write a poem.

…and I failed in the most glorious way! See, I’ve been writing scraps for a project I call “The Huntresses”. Some day I’ll tell the entire story and like it HERE …anyway, I thought that writing a chord progression might inspire my writing but then a funny thing happened.

…I wrote a complete piece in 6-part harmony (plus percussion) for band/orchestra called “The Huntresses”. The musical ideas just kept coming, one after the next, like the poetry ideas did when I was taking a workshop with Sabrina Benaim (*a tiny heart-bubble escapes from one of my ears*)

I digress: I can’t say any of this when I interview for a position called “International Services Advisor” (remind me to double-check the title but that’s the gist). The most I could say about all of that is my creative pursuits are as important to me as ever and I want to create enough stability in my life that I can pursue them without the worries of just-barely-getting-by stunting me anymore!

I see myself in Baltimore — have seen myself in Baltimore since I admitted (mostly to myself) that living in Washington DC was too expensive and I should have relented and moved-on faster. Yet my friends are still in the general area: my fellow “Cactus Wrestlers” in DC and Arlington; my cousin several hours South in Raleigh; my good friend from mission-intern days is North in New Jersey (I’ve meant to visit him all this time but never have — time and money); friends I knew in person have moved to Richmond; friends I know only virtually are in Frederick or Philadelphia, PA — a really good friend is elsewhere in PA! The obvious downside is that my sister and her family will still be in Indiana.

But I see myself in Baltimore doing my best at a day job that matters, fulfilling my aspiration to be a good global citizen by facilitating international exchange in higher education! I don’t aspire to immediately set my sights on higher ranks or radical transformation in my role. Instead, I want to hone my craft. I want to gradually take on more responsibilities as an International Services Advisor, want to better and better work, want to be part of adding value to an office — to a team — depended upon by some of the greatest minds in our generation. Ever since I was a writing tutor at Michigan State, I’ve admired our international colleagues and their expertise, as well as their tenacity in learning a new language while learning content in that same language. As a writing tutor, it was rewarding to help them express big ideas. Working in the Office of International Services, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I help make that institution more diverse, starting conversations that wouldn’t happen without us.

I see myself doing that better and better over the next five years because in the past I have put a premium on gaining a variety of experiences and I think potential employers have (wrongly!) assumed I lacked loyalty when what I wanted was to become versatile faster. To stay and focus on becoming more consistent, steadfast, precise, yet long-suffering through surge periods — it’s my chance to prove fidelity and resilience. Moreover, I see myself as a harmonizer. I’m trying to cultivate steady growth; stability that supports growth.

My passion for my art tempers my ambition: I don’t have ambition for ambition’s sake. I’m not try to out-compete anyone. I will invest in my workplace so that it can keep investing in me and my financial security so my mind/heart/soul can be free to pursue Art after hours.

I am not without ambitions. During the course of five years I expect new initiatives to surface organically and I would embrace the opportunity to innovate with my coworkers. I simply come without ready-made programming ideas. I understand that this is a technical position, not a program-design opportunity. Those opportunities will present themselves in the years to come.

You say that you’re a harmonizer? What do you mean by that?

There’s no musical meaning here *polite laughter*

When I worked at Wi’am Center, we contended with uncertainty and cultural gaps (among other things!). Because of this, I became more adept at navigating intra- and inter-office dynamics. Let me elaborate more… (I wish I had a cookie right now — stream of consciousness is like that, you know…)

I think I want to depart from that stream of thought and go to another one, first. I need to prime myself.

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