Wednesday, April 8, 2009


This month is going to be a LONG one. I have so many different aspects of my life coming to a head RIGHT NOW, and it's kind of kicking my ass. All things I - more or less - voluntarily signed on for; but some bad timing for the overall effect. And let me say on the front end that I know none of you give a sh-- about any of this, but I need to just drop it somewhere, so I can relax for a second.

First of all - my job is stressful. It takes a TON of energy to do right. Add to that one of our staff members being out for the last month, so we've had a sub in since, and everything is just THAT much harder for everyone else when a sub is in the building. A number of areas where the rest of us have to add just a bit more to our workload.

Add to that the fact that the budget situation has caused drastic changes to come down on our organization. People are losing jobs. Programs are being restructured. We're about to do some new hires at key positions in the organization.

And - yesterday - while the whole organizational staff came together to hear the full news, I saw that the hiring committees were 100% white. Not a drop of color. In an organization that serves around 50% kids of color. A relationship-based organization that's all about connecting to our kids and families. And I'm not going to say that white folks can't do that, but it's not so welcoming or comforting for the kids when only 13% of the entire staff have color (and 0% at the decision-maker level). So I got myself onto that hiring committee. I had to. Because I refuse to just let that happen and not have some say on that. And I've scheduled a meeting with the top to bluntly discuss this.

But that's not all I'm doing. At the end of the month is the Asian youth conference I'm running programs for. So that means I am desperately working to finalize facilitators, finish my workshop designs (three of them that I'm directly in charge of), schedule training times for the 20-plus facilitators. I'm reserving rooms. Trying to find donations for raffle prizes. Preparing an opening and closing, working with student volunteers to help out. Meeting with the management team every week. Writing things up. Re-writing. Re-scheduling. Contacting schools and staff and trying to get kids.

At the same time, we're starting to ramp up for the summer art camp I work for. So I'm trying to recruit new staff for that (specifically, folks of color - again to represent the kids - because that has never really happened unless I've pushed it). Trying to get kids signed up. Working with admin to design the training plan, re-vamp things that didn't work. Lock in things that did. All "voluntary," of course. All of this "voluntary."

But wait - my brother is getting married at the beginning of May. I'm the best man. My mother is organizing a Chinese tea ceremony that I am hosting. We're planning that out (because that's what I do - plan and facilitate things). On top of that, I'm getting his bachelor activities together (and we refuse to do the "traditional" go fly somewhere and get drunk and forget it all - so I've had to put real effort into that). I'm writing and recording a song to serve as my "best man speech" at the wedding (which I intend to memorize and perform, of course).

Not to mention some personal things falling out in my life right now.

And I haven't even done my taxes yet.

So I'm a bit tired. I have so much I want to do beyond this - creative endeavors, writing, recording, etc. But I just don't have the time or energy. And I've never experienced that before - literally not having the time to do the things I want/need to do for myself. It's kind of crazy.

And, in the end - I've brought it all upon myself. Every last bit (with the exception of taxes) is 100% voluntary. Nobody's forcing me to do it. It's not getting me paid (my job is, of course, but I could half-ass it if my pride would allow it). I took it on - I want to do all of it. So I don't really have the right to complain (and - on a general level - I'm not).

But - damn. I'm tired. My problem is that I think too highly of myself. I think I know too much. I think that - if I don't do some of these things, nobody will. And it's kind of true. No person of color was going to be on that hiring committee. Nobody at the camp is recruiting folks of color. But who's to say that I'm doing a very good job of it?

Beyond that, though - I took on the conference planning because I wanted to do it. I wanted to create something (the workshops) for kids that I never got as a kid. I thought I could do it better. I wanted my brother's stuff do go right (plus, I'm the best man), so I'm going all out - he's my freaking brother, right?

But my overlarge eyes are getting me into trouble right now. I just read a research article that said that exerting self-control in one situation makes it much less likely that you will be able to exert self-restraint in another situation that closely follows (no matter whether they are related at all). So wearing myself out on everything else makes it less likely that I'll make the best decisions in other matters. Being tactful and diplomatic with the conference management team and the facilitators and donors I'm working with makes it much less likely that I will do the same at my other job. Or with other folks in my life.

And - it's absolutely true. Maybe it's good, in some way. Maybe I wouldn't have been as likely to just schedule a meeting with the top to give them a piece of my mind. Maybe I would have let other things go without speaking up.

All that said - this is going to be a LONG month. And I'm looking forward to the end of it. But very interested in seeing how it all pans out.

I may write a little bit less, as a result, but I'm sure I'll have a lot of interesting insights and some new perspective on a lot when it's all over. Stick around, and I'll share a little with the rest of you (or not, if you'd rather I just shut up about my "real" life).


uglyblackjohn said...

THAT is that feeling one gets when they're about to go into a battle that they are supposed to lose (but that they KNOW they'll win).
This isn't fear - this is why gamblers gamble, athletes play, and warriors battle.
Right now - you are experiencing the best feeling in the world. One that people try to obtain by drugs, alcohol or medications. But you're lucky - your's is natural (and worthwhile).
Good luck on all your ish.

The Stute Fish said...

I need a link to that article about self-restraint. As a full-time employee and a mom, I'm kind of in the same place you are - and of course you can half-ass any part of it, or give up some of it, but then, is that the person you want to be? it's fucking exhausting.

And - yesterday - while the whole organizational staff came together to hear the full news, I saw that the hiring committees were 100% white. Not a drop of color. In an organization that serves around 50% kids of color. A relationship-based organization that's all about connecting to our kids and families. BRAVO YOU for calling it out. I frequently have to do this in my work, and then I have to explain to them that no, just putting someone who has brown skin on the committee isn't going to cut it, they need someone with the background to actually be able to represent the community with some authority, otherwise I get tokenism. I do my best to keep an eye out, but as you say, it can't all be white people doing it, no matter how much they think they are allies (usually more than we actually are, in my experience).

Lisa J said...

You have a lot on your plate and it sounds like you are doing all of it to help people, so hats off to you. Try to take care of yourself, give yourself a little you time, try to eat well and healthily and get your sleep and I am sure you will do fine. I only know you through your writing but I"m pretty confident you can handle it and it will work out. I look forward to hearing how everything turns out.

Good luck, best wishes on everything and congrats to your bro and your family on his wedding.