In between places

Cat people will enjoy (and understand) this video. [link broken]

Since I started working, I’ve noticed I often feel uneasy. I’m pretty confident in myself these days, and I’m definitely happy not to be in school anymore, but still I feel uneasy. It’s the kind of anxiety I experience when I have a presentation coming up and I don’t know what to say, or need to go someplace new and am not sure what kind of people I’ll meet.

For the first couple of weeks, I attributed this anxious feeling to the sheer newness of everything I was taking on. I was taking painting and drawing classes, which were new to me, so I was doing badly and being self-conscious about it. I had just started my job and didn’t quite know the ropes yet. Naturally I’d be a bit nervous. But now it’s been a month since I started working, and even longer since I started taking art classes, and I’m fairly comfortable in all of these. So why can’t I shake this feeling?

Yesterday it finally hit me that what I’m going through is a constant state of outsiderness. Much as I disliked school and felt like I didn’t belong there, at least I had my cohort, and we’d gone through a lot together. Now, in everything I do, I’m in some way removed from everyone else who’s doing it with me. At LA City College, where I’m taking my painting class, I’m not an undergrad like everyone else. I think I might even have the same number of degrees as my teacher, which is a very weird thought. So I don’t really belong there. At UCLA Extension, where I’m taking drawing, most of my classmates are older and are just taking the class for fun, whereas I really want to make art a part of my life. So I feel a bit out of place there, too. At work (and yes I know I still need to explain my job), I’m at a branch library, but I’m not on their staff. Plus, my office is separate from the rest of the public area as well as the staff workroom. So my isolation at my job is physical, too. The program that does employ me is located at the Central branch downtown, so I’m not really of that staff either. I still talk to my cohort, but I’m no longer on their track. Most of my friends are in school, so my schedule is no longer like theirs. And even when I visit my family in San Jose, I don’t live there anymore, so it’s not home in the same way. Despite my relative comfort with each of my circles, no place feels quite right any longer, except our apartment — and I’m there less often than ever before.

This floating state of non-belonging isn’t really so bad, but I think it puts me a little on edge all the time, makes everything a little bit weird. I guess since I’ve always been in school, I’ve always felt like I belonged somewhere — although David Wong Louie would point out that as an Asian American, I’m always marginalized in some way, and I think he’s right. But this is a different sort of margin for me than what I’m used to. It remains to be seen what I will make of it.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]


7 responses to “In between places

  1. it’ll get better

    just keep going and you’ll get more comfortable with your new routine. I do find that I get kind of antsy when things are getting really hectic at work and I’m doing a lot of things at once and I don’t get a chance to familiarize myself with things. Maybe you’re like that too. It sounds like you’re very busy and jumping from place to place. You haven’t had enough time to let each new experience/environment sink in yet. You’re a nervous kitty. Give it time. :]

    Meanwhile, good luck and take care of yourself and your kitties.


    • Re: it'll get better

      Hee. I am a nervous kitty, as we all know. By the way, Lyapa sometimes comes under the covers with me in the morning and then gets confused because she doesn’t know how to get out. Luckily I don’t have such problems in my new job/classes. ;b

      I think you are right that a lot of it has to do with doing tons of stuff at once and not getting breathing space. I’ve got to stop scheduling myself for so many social evenings… this week I have hung out with friends every evening. It’s fun, but I haven’t had any time to myself; I’ve been good about washing dishes and such in my downtime, so the apartment is clean but that’s about it!


      • Re: it’ll get better

        just to let you know, I have absolutely no social life. Maybe once a month I see some friends.

        Time off from work has become time for relaxation and me/Devin/kitty time.

        … and Devin just stuck his sock on Monopaw’s face. She didn’t do anything but her ears went back. Pretty funny to see.

        I did a 13 hour day today at work. Hopefully I can get out early tomorrow and come see you at home!


  2. Making connections…

    Hello, my dear friend. Thanks for your comments on my post, it really helped me deal with my sadness and cheered me up quite a bit. I really appreciated that. I also agree with you that when you’re the only one going through the experiences in your particular context it can be very isolating and you feel that no one can relate to you and so you feel uneasy. I’ve often felt that these past couple of months as I am only among the few at my school who is a second year teacher and feel that a lot of the attention is placed on the new teachers and rightly so, but it would be nice if I was able to meet with other second year teachers. What I’m trying to say is that if possible, maybe you can find a group for people in the same situation in order to find the support that you need. I know that you will do fine in the long run, but it will be tough in the beginning because of all the reasons you have already listed. I hope you will be able to feel more comfortable in the upcoming months so as to reach your full potential and to achieve joy in the work you do. Take the best of care. HUG

    • Re: Making connections…

      Thank you. 🙂 I notice my feelings change a bit from day to day; yesterday I felt very connected with my art class, and today I feel quite at home at work. Yet there have been other days where I’ve felt very isolated. I guess that stands to reason.

      I can see that you would feel the same way in your teaching situation. I hope you’ll find some people to connect with soon too. 🙂


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