What’s your Story? How does it affect you?

I had a woman (potential employer) ask me why I was teaching/interested in teaching a Mom and Baby yoga class because I didn’t have any specialized training in it.  It struck a sore spot with me at the time.  I thought how dare she question what I was doing and indicate that I shouldn’t be teaching this particular type of yoga just because I didn’t attend a particular training.  I read the e-mail just before I lay down to go to sleep and it kept me up for a bit. I kept wondering why this was bothering me so much.  On the surface it seemed an innocent enough question so what was it setting me off?  The next day it came to me.  The e-mail required a story from me, it required an explanation of where I had been and where I was going.  This particular type of story is emotionally loaded for me.

You see back in DC, political jobs don’t last for whatever reason they just don’t and believe me I feel like I have been through every reason at least once and maybe twice.  The most fun definitely being the layoffs.  I lived in DC for 3 1/2 years and I did 4 job searches.  Fortunately, I am quite good at networking when I want to be so I generally could keep myself employed enough that I paid all my bills and didn’t end up in credit card debt.  I also had a wonderful boyfriend, who is now my husband, who took care of me when things got really bad.  I hate looking for a job, even now when I am working just a bit on teaching a couple of yoga classes, the nasty emotions still come back.  In the process of looking for a job in DC, each time you have to develop your own story about your previous experience.  Why this job ended or why you left there.  Generally the real reason sucked – your boss was a witch and dealing with her was unbearable, someone stole your work and your boss decided that you weren’t necessary, etc.  However, somehow you had to come up with a plausible enough sounding way of glossing over it all and giving your scattered jobs some cohesion.  Every time I told this story it always sounded fake to me and I wondered whether my interviewer would see through it.  Even now, 3 1/2 years after we left DC, as I type this I am feeling a bit shaky.

When we moved to California, I tried to shed the story I lived in DC.  I tried to pursue a life that actually made me happy and I would say that I have succeeded in large part.  I have a wonderful husband and beautiful baby boy and I am enjoying motherhood far more than I thought would.  My yoga practice has progressed in a way that I wouldn’t have thought possible back in DC.  I am blessed to have a wonderful community of friends, both yogis and non-yogis, here who are always there to help out if I need it.  But every once in awhile something strikes me in a way to remind me that wound is still there.  It isn’t as fresh as it used to be, but it still requires some love and attention.  Now off to do some digging in the sunshine- it is hard to be too sad with sunshine on your back.

4 thoughts on “What’s your Story? How does it affect you?

  1. Wow, really poignant. I actually had to go to therapy during my maternity leave because they changed my job on me and suddenly “my story” about the work I was going back to and how I was justifying keeping my daughter in daycare didn’t exist anymore. It ended in me moving into a new position entirely, luckily with the help of a different, supportive boss, and an awesome career coach.

    I’ll have to come up with a story when I move out of this role again, probably to a different firm. I have to say I’m not looking forward to it!

  2. Your story is the reason you are who you are. It is the reason that you have your nooks and crannies, and why so delicious. The key is owning the story, being the writer, not just the main character. The event isn’t your story, the result is the story. And your result has made you a mom, a wife, and the best friend a girl could have.

  3. Average Jane has it right! Your story makes you who you are. I struggle with some of the same stuff, since my personal story isn’t perfectly tied up with a bow, but life is messy.

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