So – I finally found a job here in Ann Arbor. It’s with UMich, in the health system real estate department,and this month is my first work anniversary. So, I’ve been here a year, more or less (I temped in this job for six months before being hired full time).
It’s been a long, tough haul, and I feel like I lost a part of myself in the process. Being out of work in general is difficult, but when you feel like a useless burden on someone else (and you’re newly married to that person), it’s that much worse. You lose your sense of worth and your perspective. You begin to deny yourself things for reasons that you say are good though you won’t admit it’s really a punishment, and that becomes a habit.
Working at the university has been good for me in many respects. I enjoy my job, and I like my boss, except for one, tiny thing: I cannot get The Boss-man to call me by my preferred name. In fact, most people in the office use my given name and it completely weirds me out. I feel like they’re chiseling bits of me away. I have requested that they use my preferred name, but The Boss-man says it’s unprofessional to use a nickname. I’ve never heard this reasoning and I don’t understand it at all. It’s got to be some weird Northerner thing, or perhaps it’s too Goth. I don’t know – it’s not like I’ve requested he call me Mistress Onyx of the Ultra-Dark or anything.
Der Mann has suggested legally changing my name, but I think that’s a bit drastic, just to make a point. In his turn, Der Mann argues that it’s disrespectful to not use my preferred name and secondly, if it’s impacting my sense of self, then it’s not mentally healthy for me. However, I’ve begun telling people to call me by my preferred name, and it’s slowly taking. We will see how it works out. If I can get 50% or more to call me what I want to be called, I’ll take it as a win.
Another thing that upsets Der Mann is that I haven’t bought clothes in a long while, unless Der Mann insists I need something, like a pair of shoes. He would like to buy clothes for me because I won’t buy stuff for myself. However, he knows my choices in clothing tend to be eclectic, so he generally sticks to jewelry or art supplies, unless it’s something he can’t resist, like my kitty-paw fingerless gloves. (Love them!) However, he has finally persuaded me that I need to update my wardrobe. I’m going to do it over time, buy a piece here and there, and – for the first time ever – I am going to plan. I’ve been studying Goth fashion blogs, especially those targeted at us older Goths that have to somehow make it in the corporate world. This is a new thing for me. Wish me luck.
I’m also studying Elder Goth corporate make-up. In the summer, I tend to not wear much, usually a swish of mascara and some lip color is about it, because I’m Southern and I’m used to makeup just melting off my face and staining my clothes (yes, makeup shows on everything, even black…especially when you’re pale and therefore, so is your foundation). While it’s a bit cooler up here, I haven’t deviated from that routine. I even keep up the daily moisturizer with sunscreen. However, in winter, I do wear full makeup most days. So while planning a wardrobe, I’m also planning a makeup regime, with updates to my eye and lip palettes. I do so love the Urban Decay matte and creme lipsticks, especially Gash and Blackmail. Yummy!
I have started doing some things for myself. (Der Mann mutters “about time” under his breath every time I mention/do a thing).
I have (with much urging from Der Mann) gotten my hair done; it’s dyed a violet-red, darker than my usual Crayola color, but it works. It’s Goth enough and red enough to make me happy.
Der Mann bought me a muff for Christmas this year, as I wear a cape instead of a coat. So my winter wear now consists of a black cape, a dark-green muff lined with black (fake) fur, and a fuzzy hat with kitty ears and paws. (I am aware that this is very Goth.)
I’ve decorated my desk with Monster High minis, but I can’t do too much with my workspace because I’m situated out in the front. One must be “professional” (or utterly devoid of character, but that might be just my personal definition). I had quite a collection, but had to take them down because of the aforesaid “professionalism” issue. (Yeah, someone complained about tiny dolls. Go figure.) However, I will come up with a new idea soon. You can’t keep a Southern Goth-girl down!*
*(Or her cube undecorated!)