The Real World, Theater Edition: There’s a Peacock in the Backyard

Barbara Jwanouskos continues her re-adjustment to citizen life.

I’ve been steadily applying to jobs around the Bay Area since a week before graduation. I’ve tweaked, reassembled, reworded, and rebranded myself in blogs and on resumes so that I’m putting my best foot forward. I’ve strategically hunted down the jobs that I, not only feel I’m qualified to do, but am passionate about and have speculated that I would have a blast doing. I’ve written cover letter after cover letter confidently giving my case on why I would be the best fit for a particular company.

And…

crickets

Needless to say, the lack of response has left me feeling a little disappointed and a lot discouraged. It’s not that I expected to land a job straight away after graduating, but, as I mentioned last week, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the job market. I forgot how easy it is to get wrapped up in the job search day in and day out. Not to mention that the very real feeling of rejection is almost constant.

I came down with a little bit of PLOM syndrome recently. That’s Poor Little Ole Me, in case you’re not one of my Midwestern relatives that uses this term all the time. I went back to a standby explanation for why I don’t have a job. When times get rough and unexplainable, it’s usually the first thing I go to – It must be my fault.

If you think about what “it must be my fault” inherently means, however, it’s that the situation is in your control. It’s the idea that whatever is happening right now is the result of your own failures to act. I guess the idea my brain had was that I certainly can edit my resumes, cover letters, blogs, online presence, etc., so why not something I have completely no control over? Simple!

macgyver

Of course, trying to control something you have no influence over becomes even more frustrating and depressing. I see this firsthand when I train in kung fu and tai chi. You spar with someone and he keeps trying a technique that simply does not work, but he does it anyway and focuses even more attention on it so that he’s leaving something else wide open. It becomes easier to take advantage of the fact that they are not paying attention and their attacks have become predictable.

So, here’s me getting frustrated, down on myself, and depressed…

sad_dog

Then, I encountered a peacock in the backyard.

Yes, a peacock. Apparently, there are wild peacocks in suburban neighborhoods all throughout California.

Call me crazy, but sometimes when I have an encouter with wildlife, I get really hippie dippie and I feel that it must be a sign from the universe to “take note”. So, I do a little google fu and end up back at the spirit animals guide, where it tells me:

The peacock is the closest in description to the mythical Phoenix, which rises, reborn, from the flames and ashes of its funeral pyre. The eyes on the peacock’s feathers represent their ability to see into the past, present and future and can teach those with this power animal how to stir their clairvoyant gifts. The cycle of birth, death and resurrection (rebirth) is a whole. This relates to valuing all aspects of this cycle, and to have faith that we never truly die.

Well, I needed a kick in the pants to come from somewhere and what an inspiration to be about three feet away from a peacock! I remember being a kid and walking by the flock of peacocks outside the zoo. They’ve always seemed so otherworldly, almost mythical. It took everything I had been dealing with and completely turned it upside down. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes to start anew, I felt as though I needed to approach my life with a clean slate.

I named him “Petey”. Then tried to get him to eat some peanuts, but he just sort of bobbled away, out the hole in the fence and down the street, casually walking as if to give someone else a touch of beauty, inspiration and creativity in her otherwise lackluster life.

I’m taking Petey’s emergence as sign to stop, slow down, and be reminded of what’s beautiful in my life. He reminds me why I decided to focus on creative writing to begin with and the mythical nature of an encounter with something so rare in the real world.

Petey

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