never married, over forty, a little bitter

the unreasonable


Unfortunately I might have to leave my version of Portland and backyard chickens and go back to the expensive city of L.A. in order to get a job:

So there you are in New York. You’re struggling and broke, but you’re happy. You’re in the center of the universe, right? And you’re so in love with the city that the sight of the Manhattan skyline as you ride the Q train over the bridge at night is enough to make you weep. Or maybe you’re crying because you’re tired from working your barely living-wage publishing job and then doing freelance work all night to cover your rent; or maybe you’re crying because New York is an absolutely brutal place to be a single woman; or maybe you’re crying because you’re in your 20s and it’s all so beautiful and big and overwhelming, the city spread out before you like that.


When my husband and I were born, it was possible to raise a family in New York without extreme struggle. It was still harder than most places, sure. New York has never been easy. But it was possible to raise a family in reasonable comfort without being a corporate lawyer or investment banker or heiress. To be a middle-class family in New York these days is to be in eternal survival mode, always scrabbling, always scraping by. What happens to a city that’s priced itself out of reach of the average family?

And so we left. We moved to Portland, Ore. We bought into that West Coast dream, backyard chickens and all.

the outlook

I haven’t heard back about the job I interviewed for, which is not a good sign. Once again, I interviewed with people I had worked with before, and they were quite friendly and seemed happy to see me. I’ve had to realize that doesn’t mean much in terms of getting an offer.

Recently my employment agency called me with a “great opportunity” that turned out to be a twelve-hour shift job that was perhaps one step up from the kind of thing they pull desperate people off the sidewalk to do. Another bad sign.

No responses from the part-time jobs I’ve applied for either.

At some point next year, if I’m still unemployed, I’ll have to decide if the mature thing to do is to stay rooted or to cut my losses and look for a good job elsewhere. It’s been bleaker than I expected.

I thought things had improved, but I guess not so much:

Women have lost close to 500,000 public-sector jobs since the summer of 2009. Men, comparatively, lost 290,000 such jobs.

Women have taken restaurant and retail jobs instead as teaching and other public-sector career positions that have disappeared, Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the NWLC told Bloomberg.

“They are taking jobs as baristas in Starbucks and other jobs that used to go to people without college degrees,” Entmacher said. “It’s an anecdote but it’s also a fact.”


Fairy tales in all cultures are for the most part soul stories rather than spirit stories. The dwarf is a soul figure, as we saw in “The Water of Life.” Cinderella is a soul story. The archetype there is ashes, as Robert Bly pointed out in Iron John. You (because these stories are all about you) are kept down, in the ashes, close to the hearth, grounded but also grieving, your inner beauty unperceived and exploited. During this time, inwardly, a new development is taking place, a maturation, a metamorphosis, a tempering, which culminates in the emergence of a fully developed human being, radiant and golden, but also wise to the ways of the world, no longer a passive and naive agent. The fully developed human being embodies the unity of soul and spirit, up and down, material and non-material.

The meditation practice itself is a mirror of this journey of growth and development. It too takes us down as well as up, demands that we face, even embrace, pain and darkness as well as joy and light. It reminds us to use whatever comes up and wherever we find ourselves as occasions for inquiry, for opening, for growing in strength and wisdom, and for walking our own path.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you Go There You Are, pp. 268-269