So, I didn't get the job for which I was shortlisted. I am sad about that on the one hand and kind of relieved that I get to fly back to NYC and live there for real again. Being in limbo is a strange place and while I thought I would have liked the job, the fact we didn't click means it wasn't for me.
Minutes after hearing that news, I was offered an exciting opportunity in NYC that I could not have accepted if I had gotten the job, so I wonder, too, what forces are at work...
On the other hand, I am enjoying visiting London and my travels up north. I'm seeing people I haven't seen since October and also have made some new friends. I'm going to be able to celebrate some milestones with folks this weekend that are pretty significant and that's a bonus prize.
But, having said that, with the exception of the first day I got here, it's been cloudy and/or raining the whole time. I am reminded of the simple joy of living somewhere (NYC) where the non-event is the sun (because it's so common) and the event is the rain. Here it's the opposite. It's also incredibly lush and green because of that, so it has its benefits.
I am staying with my friends Luis and Nancy and their children. Their neighborhood is quite leafy and lovely. We were discussing how, being in London, NYC feels so far away, which is does. They are Colombian and Colombia also feels far away. I've only been here for a few days and NYC seems almost like a mirage.
The same thing happens to me in NYC, London and everywhere else seems very far away. Something about these big cities with their ecosystems that are so total they make other places seem remote or even fake.
I'm pretty much ignoring the Queen's Jubilee as much as humanly possible. I would do the same in the US for the equivalent flag-waving event, so it's not anti-British...it's just anti-flag-waving. Happily most of my friends seem to be ignoring it as well and living as most of them do in the East End, this is remarkably easy.
Because of preparing for the (relatively traumatic) interview I missed writing the blog post I wanted to write memorializing the one year anniversary of this blog (May 23). I am sad about that because I wanted to have a snapshot of the year...but best laid plans and all that.
I find it amusing and somehow typical that at the year mark I am still to some degree in transition or at least without a Hollywood ending. I think I may have fallen in love with this recent job prospect in hopes I could end the blog on a flourish, but secretly I knew that wasn't going to happen because nothing about my life or this blog has been like that so why, magically, at a year would there be a big swooping Answer to Everything?
However, what has happened this year, which is frankly Way more important than this job is a sense of myself that has grown from the bottom up and feels strong and organic. A friend of mine last night dared me to think of all the things I had done right in the job interview, because even before I heard the official news today, I knew I hadn't gotten the job. I could just feel it and was doing the requisite sobbing when I got back to the hotel.
So, I reluctantly took her suggestion and realized something incredibly important: during the whole job interview process (which was Long....6 hours long), I was myself. I never once even thought of trying to be someone else. This might sound like a small victory or seem painfully obvious, but in the past when I have sensed disapproval, I have either shrunk to nothing, given up or become hopelessly obsequious or in some cases hostile in response. I did none of these things. I just kept showing up for one task after another, answered or presented honestly, did my best even as I sensed: hmmmm, this isn't going over very well, is it? I was afraid at times. I did doubt myself at times, but I never ducked or hid.
That is a victory and it comes from this: from having had everything stripped away from me that could get stripped away. When this happens, whatever is 'you', which is not 'you' but is you on a deeper level, something else I can't describe, remains. There is a security there that is indescribable and is in fact unshakable because it is real not simply a construct created to agree with someone else's idea of you or in reaction against someone else's idea.
I am in fact whole now. I am no longer broken. I never thought I would feel this way - ever. I thought it was a feeling only people with normal families who didn't have 'issues' got to feel.
That is no small thing and if that means I don't get a certain job, so be it. I doubt I would have gotten it broken either. But now even if I have random feelings of failure, some sadness and some ego burn, at base I know I'm still OK.
I am also proud I let myself want the damn job even if I didn't know I would get it. I was in fact terrified that I wouldn't get it because I wanted it so much, but then: I didn't get it. And instead of my having wanted it making that disappointment harder, it somehow made it easier. Why? Because I was myself throughout the whole thing. My sadness does not have to coincide with the emptiness of self-abandonment or, to be less poetic - bullshitting myself.
And now...I am quite tired so I'm off to sleep so I can get up and participate in some really lovely human activities tomorrow with my dear friends.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.