I can’t help feeling like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Not so much because I really believe that it’s true, but because it’s in my nature to doubt myself and my thoughts and feelings.
In the week since writing my last post, I’ve continued to contemplate the idea of becoming a Paramedic (or Fire Fighter/Paramedic) and no one is more surprised than I that the idea actually appeals to me. And it is because I’m surprised that it appeals to me that I then doubt the voracity of the idea and my ability to see it through.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve grown weary of allowing my anxiety to get in the way of my life and I’ve been making a concerted effort to wrest that control away from the beast and back into my own hands. I’ve made some decisions that feel good, but in every case, I’m not fully up to speed with what’s required and therefore needed to do research or take other additional actions.
I decided that I needed to find and participate in a coming out support group, only, as I mentioned, they’re surprisingly difficult to find. I’ve looked more than once on-line for resources and haven’t found anything. Deb has been looking and even admitted to me at our last session that she was surprised to see how difficult it is to find them. Then, through a random series of events I came across center called New Leaf Services. They have a coming out support group listed on their website. I e-mailed them to get more details and that’s when I realized the center is in San Francisco, not in the East Bay where I live and work. However, they kindly referred me to a different center in Berkeley, The Pacific Center. I’ve looked at their website before and didn’t find what I was looking for, but as it turns out they offer a coming out support group on Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:30.
I’ve researched what it takes to become a Fire Fighter. I’m not really sure when this went from being a Paramedic to being a Fire Fighter but in all my thought processes, that’s what it’s always been. The only thing I can say is that I know Fire Paramedics make more money and work less thank Ambulance Paramedics, and naturally that appeals to me. I don’t know if being a Fire Fighter is really in the cards for me, but there are a lot of opportunities on the way to becoming a Fire Fighter so who knows. I also know that becoming a Fire Fighter may not really be an option for me, but why not investigate, right?
The Oakland Fire Department is not currently hiring, but there is information on their website about becoming a Fire Fighter including references to a local community college and a Fire Science program. Unfortunately, the community college website is not very well designed and has a lot of missing information. As of this writing, I’ve been unable to determine if this is a 2 or 4 year degree program or if it’s a certification of some sort. Clearly, I’m going to have to contact the school directly to get more information.
I’ve applied and been “accepted” to the school and can enroll anytime I like, however, I still have many questions about financial aid and how much time I can devote to school. Realistically, I could afford to pay for books and tuition for one or two classes a semester. However, my previous experience has taught me that working full time and going to school is incredibly difficult for me and I do not want to do that. I want to go to school full time and work as little as possible (preferably not at all) and finish the education more quickly.
One of the things that I’ve realized in this process is that regardless of whether I become an EMT, a Paramedic, a Fire Paramedic or a Personal Trainer (separate train of thought), I have to be in good health and be fit. My health today is fine, but it’s only fine, and I’m not fit. Not even a little bit. So I’ve got to make changes. I’ve got to rearrange my priorities and I’ve got to get fit. I simply and honestly do not know how to do that so I’ve got to have help. I’ve decided that I need to join a gym and I need to hire a personal trainer. Unfortunately, this is expensive and I don’t have a lot of money for such things, but I’m going to have to make it a priority to do. So I’ve researched a couple fitness centers on-line and 24-Hour Fitness is the clear frontrunner as far as price and available amenities go. Now I just have to go in and sign my life away—er, sign up.
In addition to joining the gym, I have to make sure I eat properly, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep and (and this one is hard for me to admit to and write here, but I’m going to do it anyway), I’ve got to stop drinking. Not just drink less, but stop drinking.
You may or may not have noticed a trend here. I did research on-line to find a coming out support group. I did research on-line to find out what’s involved in becoming a Fire Paramedic. I did research on-line to investigate educational options and I’ve been doing research, on-line, to investigate financial aid options. I did research on-line to decide what gym to join. Hell, I’ve even done research, you guessed it, on-line to find out about AA meetings (don’t really think that’s going to happen but you never know).
What I have not done, is talk to a real live person about any of it. I have not committed myself to anything. I have not committed, even in my mind, to any particular course of action with regard to career and education. None of this is really real, yet. I haven’t set foot, or even tried yet, in the coming out support group. I haven’t registered for any classes, or made arrangements to fulfill any of the prerequisites for the program. I haven’t called the gym, or gone inside and spoken to anyone. I sure as hell, haven’t gone near an AA meeting. And I’m not saying I can’t or won’t do any of these things. I’m really determined to see this stuff through, but this is where the anxiety comes in.
I doubt myself on all these issues. I doubt my resolve. I doubt my ability. I doubt my worth in other peoples’ eyes. And I worry about committing myself to something that isn’t really appropriate for me and failing miserably. Naturally, if I don’t try, I can’t fail. But then again, if I don’t try, I can’t succeed either.
Jillian Michaels, the other night on The Biggest Loser, said something that’s really stuck with me. She told one of her contestants, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” And those words are really true. If I don’t try, I can’t fail, but if I don’t try, I can’t succeed. So, simply put, I have to try. I have to keep trying.
It’s frustrating to me, not to have things work out the way I want them to on the first try. It’s frustrating to me that I do a search for “become a Fire Fighter” and I don’t automatically have the first link come up as a step by step plan for my own personal success story. And it’s in my nature (or at least it was) to give up when I don’t find what I’m looking for right away. I spent a lot of time on-line this week looking for information on these various topics. I’ve run into a lot of road blocks and I’ve wanted, repeatedly, to just give up. And it’s in those moments, when I really wanted to just give up, that I’ve worked that much harder to find what I’m looking for. And that’s why you haven’t heard from me in almost a week. Because I’ve been busy looking for the next steps in my path; trying to find the answers to my questions so that I can enter the next phase of my life prepared
Sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. And sometimes I feel like that’s just my fear and anxiety talking. They’re telling me I can’t do this, anyway. They’re telling me I’ll never make it, so why bother trying. They’re telling me I’m just going to get myself into trouble.
I’m telling them to shove it!
So, I’ll go to the coming out support group meeting on Friday. I may wait until 7:00 to go in so I don’t have to talk to anybody right off the bat, but I’ll go. I’ll call the school and ask for more information about the Fire Science program and when I’ve got the proper ducks in a row, I’ll make an appointment to go meet with a counselor or advisor and get the guidance I need to proceed. I’ll follow up he leads I’ve got for financial aid and see where that takes me. And I’ll make an appointment to go to the gym and start my membership and discuss personal training options. And I’ll do it all, in spite of the fear, in spite of the anxiety because if I don’t try, I can’t succeed.