March 5, San Mateo, CA: There's an internal conversation that I've been having with myself since I began this exercise. I usually dont like to share my thoughts about the exercise, but I've been hesitating to discuss what's been on my mind. In particular, during the weeks and days leading up to re-entering the workforce, I had a lot of anxiety about sharing. About making sure that I am pushing myself to be a little uncomfortable each time I share. The reason (that I can see) for the anxiety was some worry about who would be reading what I write....specifically, which folks at my job.
It isnt the first time I 've had feelings of concern about who might read my site. Until now, they have mostly focused on my family. When my mother would reference 3 6 5 in conversations with me, I would have immediate and very negative reactions to her bringing it up. Originally I felt like my openness was pretty fragile, and I was afraid of feeling like I wanted to close up or emotionally wall off a bit if I received lots of feedback. But also, in the case of my mother, I had to sit back and examine why I had such a strong negative response to her and not to some others. What I think was going on was that she was getting more insight into me, my thoughts, and my feelings than I would have ever offered in 1-on-1 interaction. I assume that that made her feel close(r) to me, given the additional insight. And, like any mother, she worries. So she wanted to reach out. But I don't think I was ready for that closeness with family just yet. So I had a negative reaction. But she was really only caring for her son. I also remember being nervous when traveling with my dad. I feel like expecting my father, on the other hand, to mention (or even read) what is written here might be a bit of an illusion. But while we traveled, I wrote about him and worried about what he might think of what I was saying.
These are two examples of me feeling like my ability to be as honest and open as possible in this exercise was threatened by interpretations of what I was sharing. So when it came time to start interviewing for a job, I had the same misgivings. What would a potential employer think about all this? Would that be a problem for them? Even during the interview process, I overthought whether or not to bring up the fact that I had become a photographer. Over the past year, I have felt like my perspective on work, job, and career had shifted quite a bit. I had decided that defining myself by my job, title, or salary was something to avoid. I never felt so fulfilled...never more productive...as when I was working on photography and jobless. So it took a while to adjust my frame of mind and mentally prepare to work again. The huge irony of this is that while I was anxious about people interviewing me seeing my page, the hiring manager (now my manager) was already on my site! In a PHOTOGRAPH! She is a member of the Stanford Class of 1998, whose reunion I shot in October. And she had already made the connection.
Since beginning, lots of people have asked for my website address and to see my pictures. I have decided that being myself is the best thing to stick with, no matter what. For most of my life, I would have obsessed about who knew what and whether or not I was effectively compartmentalizing. Even to the point of thinking about who knew my whereabouts and when (hence the very deliberate choice to include my location at the beginning of every entry). If someone has an issue with what I am trying to accomplish personally and how I am going about it, I think I would live with the consequences rather than go back to worrying so much about how I am packaging myself in different situations. I think it would feel like going backwards, and I definitely don't want to do that.
It seems like there's more to say about this, but I still have at least 6 months to do it.