Thought Processes

If you don't particularly want to know what I'm mulling about why's and where's of my life, leave now! This is a "sorting out my head" post, writing things down so I have clarity.

Why do I want to change my job/life so badly?

Call it a vicious circle. First, we've been living in a one-bedroom flat for 9 years, with my son's "room" being behind the couch. He has, quite literally, outgrown it. My parents mentioned Every Single Day when they last visited that he needs his own space, and went so far as to try wheedle another place on campus for me, or prominently circle ads for places to rent off-campus.

A few weeks ago I promised my son that this time next year he would have his own room. But watching how quickly he's changing and growing, he needs it a lot sooner. He needs his privacy, his place to be without being a part of the lounge room. I feel so bad that he's had to endure my being stuck in a half-asleep life rut and not making a move for so long already, that I haven't worked us into a better life position before now. How could I not have seen this coming?

I turned down one house offered shorty after it was built. Although a three-bedroom place, it's barely bigger than my flat. The rooms take a double bed at most - and nothing else. And it's made of styrofoam, which I'm convinced is not a healthy thing. Heat it up, and it releases some awful chemicals - especially since the ceilingboards are also styrofoam, including those over the stove. No fire-extinguisher in site, yard was cemented over. No thanks. Perhaps I was seen as stupid, but I haven't regretted that decision!

I turned down another one-bedroom flat with no yard (I have 2 dogs for goodness sake!) and an upstairs two-bedroom flat for the same reason.

Then I went to our payroll guy and asked what my salary would look like if I wasn't being charged (before tax) for "free" housing. The increase, with additional tax, is not enough for me to move off-campus. There are no options on campus - there's a waiting list a mile long!

So, for me to get a place for my son to live and breathe and have his own space, I would need a salary increase. BIG increase. I've been here for nearly 10 years, and am still only clearing R3,000 a month (US$455 approx.), after they take off various charges. There, I said it. My pay sucks. Food takes most of that every month (R2,000 or so, just the basics), and if I have to commute, petrol will take the rest. Rent in this area is around R2,500-3,000 per month for a 2 to 3 bedroom house. Leaving nothing to live on.

See my problem?

I'm so tired of struggling. I'd like to be able to afford to live, and have both space and cash to do so. I can't if I stick around here, and I can't wait out a "providential change" (ie chances falling into my lap) without any effort on my part.

I'm also tired of being expected to conform to the culture on campus of ultra-Conservative Christianity. It's driving me nuts, because I'm not an ultra-conservative Christian. I feel oppressed, unable to express who I really am, weighed down by watching what I say, do, look like. I need out, for my own sanity, and for a chance to develop into the Real Me.

Change has become more than a want. It's a need. I've realized that my underpaid job has influenced my self-perceptions too. It's like I'm not paid decently, not treated right because I don't deserve it. I don't deserve it because I'm not worthy... etc. etc. etc. But I've realized that is SO wrong. I AM worth it, and I do deserve more. I've contributed a lot here, but it's simply skimmed over and made into nothing. There's no acknowledgement of achievement, motivation for doing better, reward for a great job done. Not even in non-monetary terms.

I can no longer let myself be beaten down like this. It's time to match self-worth, value and achievement. I have to realize that I'm worth a lot as an individual, and set my standards of expectation to match. I know what I'm capable of, and now it's time to prove it.

A few weeks back I mentioned how I've let certain family members tell me how to live my life. I've let their perceptions of what I should do, be and look like influence how I go about things. But no more. I haven't mentioned a word about my latest endeavours to find a better way - simply because they might not support it, or may tell me I'm not good enough to do that, or I should rather do something else. I'm still new at this "walk your path and let people talk" thing. I'm not quite ready to meet criticism head-on and do it anyway. So I've kept this whole thing very hush-hush. There may be repercussions on that though! "Why didn't you tell us FIRST/immediately/whatever?" Too bad. This time I'm putting our life first ahead of other's opinions, doing it and then telling them after it happens.

With all this going around in my head, I think I know now why I need to do what I need to do - and what I will/won't settle for to get it. I have direction and a purpose, and the beginnings of a plan.

And out means a new job, a new place to stay, and a new lifestyle. Before the end of this year. Sooner, if I can manage it.