what if i hate who i'm becoming / and my young heart never runs free?
My legs hadn't fully recovered from Sunday's game, but since Tuesday night games are free, I went tonight anyway. Much to my dismay, the angry man from Sunday came again. I didn't recognize him at first, diamond earrings glittering under the fluorescent lights, but I knew it was him when I overheard him joking that he wasn't verbally abusing (骂) me last time, only giving me advice. I didn't find that funny at all and secretly wished somebody would have stood up for me. I know I'm an adult, but the silence of all these bystanders is deafening.
If he'd let go of his vendetta, he didn't show it, because he played against me today like a man possessed. He body checked me multiple times, and after a few unnecessarily rough fouls I mentally checked out of the game. I don't know what point he's trying to prove against someone smaller, younger, and less skilled than he is, but whatever it is I hope he gets over it soon. His presence made me feel extremely self-conscious, and once my confidence deserted me I made mistake after mistake. Maybe I'll stay at home next time.
I had a preliminary phone screen for a bilingual tech support role today. Kind of — as far as I can tell I'd be traveling to client sites to train Spanish-speaking frontline workers how to use a mobile app. The recruiter was a thirty-something-year-old Asian man, who I think is the first Asian guy I've ever met working in HR. I couldn't tell if he was unexcited or if I've gotten used to overwhelmingly cheery women in HR.
I generally don't get nervous for job interviews because I don't have much trouble articulating my thoughts. Job interviews do not compare to the stress of music auditions. Especially since this call was non-technical and for a role I don't particularly want, I went into it more curious than anxious, and asked him a good deal of questions about the role.
My favorite question to ask in interviews is, "Why did the previous employee in this role leave?" Mister Recruiter told me that they didn't speak Spanish well enough for the job, so I followed up by asking him how they assessed proficiency in candidates. Apparently they don't and don't plan on doing so either. How can you blame someone for being a poor fit when you don't even assess their abilities properly? After all, "bilingual" and "fluent" can mean a whole lot of things to different people. I pride myself on speaking Spanish well, but after hearing all that I'm not even sure if I'll cut it. If I make it to the next round perhaps I'll ask for the contact info of the departed employee. I wish I'd done the same for my last job, because hearing from people who are still at the company is a prime example of survivorship bias at work.
The recruiter was visibly confused as to why I'd even bothered applying, since the role pays about half what my last one did, doesn't call for a college degree, and requires relocating across the country. I get it — I feel the same way myself. I told myself I was there for free interview practice, but after the call ended I thought about what it really meant to be qualified for a job. Does taking a hefty pay cut for a job like this clearly below my qualifications really mean taking a step backwards in my career? Will it move me closer to where I want to be? Does it beat having no job at all, in this economy?
I don't know what will come of this, but I don't have a good feeling about this one after the recruiter whiffed on my questions about career growth. I guess I'll see it through and do as much due diligence as I can, but I can't imagine I'll take it even if they offer it to me. Going from one small private overwhelmingly white company to another seems like hopping out of the frying pan into the fire. I might be an idiot, but I ain't stupid.
I have another call with a recruiter tomorrow night, for — get this — an in-person copywriting job based in Shenzhen. I first saw it on Discord, of all places, and thought Heck, why not? What's the worse that could happen?
I was actually semi-entertaining the idea of moving to China until I brought it up to some friends and my parents, who all shot it down with varying degrees of conviction. I appreciate them knocking some sense into me because heaven knows I need it, but as I fell back down to earth I couldn't help but feel how heavy the ropes tethering me to my hometown have grown. I've been here for more than twenty years now, time which blurs together in my mind and feels like wasted life. I have more memories from four months abroad than I do from the last ten years I've spent here at home. If every remotely scary or imprudent idea gets shot down I'm going to be here until I die.
I think the main reason barring me from moving abroad is healthcare. I don't believe I'll get state insurance as an expat, and I doubt any company will provide it either. Healthcare while uninsured is financial suicide, and it simply makes more sense for me to stay in the same country my specialists live. Being on the opposite side of the globe would make getting care from them complicated, to say the least.
I also recognize that the cultural and language barrier(s) awaiting me in China would be enormously vast, likely too much for me to overcome even if I spent the rest of my life there. When I was in Chile most of my friends were expats, and outside of my roommates I failed to befriend even one local. When you consider that I speak far better Spanish than Mandarin and that the cultural barrier in Latin America is far smaller than it would be in the East, all signs point to me having a rough time back where my parents call home.
Title is a line from Oh Wonder's Baby, a song my friend added in our playlist for the 30 day song challenge as one that made him sad.
What if my baby started running?
What if she swallowed all the sea?
What if I hate who I'm becoming
And my young heart never runs free?
What if the sparrows start free wheeling?
Dot to dot the atmosphere
What if my tired arms were squeezing
Onto moments held so dear?
I'm just afraid that I'm failing
I'm just afraid that I'm done
I'm just afraid that I'm washed up and dried out and the water ain't gonna save me
What if she's fixed but somehow broken?
All the talking makes her cry
And that home she built won't open
Any guest will bleed her dry
But what if stars were in her ceiling?
And the planets in her eyes
And the glimmers of that feeling
Made her see a hopeful sky
I don't think it's good sign that I had the least trouble coming up with songs that made me sad. Some of us just like to wallow, I suppose.