I have agonized over my resume, making sure it works with my preferred companies’ applicant tracking systems (ATS, for those in the know). That alone has been making my anxiety spike. I’ve been throwing my resume to anyone who might have that job they want to throw at me. I’ve been digitally rubbing elbows at zoom calls, through friends, any way I can get that job lead.

So far, it’s lead to some leads and since we’re still dealing with COVID-19, it’s all digital interviewing. Instead of white-boarding, I am now coding in shared notepads, Google docs, shared code sites, you name it. Some of the interviews are phone + one of the above and others are in a video chat + one of the above. It is amazing how nerve-wracking it it is to turn on a camera and let a complete stranger into your home. My friends without my levels of anxiety have confirmed that the video chatting would cause them some anxiety spikes, too, so, oddly, that’s a bit comforting.

So, what am I doing to reduce that anxeity? Here we go:

Since this is in my home, I’m interviewing barefoot so I can bounce my legs, push my feet into the floor and stay grounded as I feel the familiar feeling of the wood slats and the crossbars of the gate-wing table I use as my desk. If I were to interview in an actual office, I’d be practicing in the exact shoes and socks that I’d be wearing in that interview.

I am sitting in front of a camera with a ring light that is pointed at me as I practice leetcode and take general js courses to make sure I know the latest and greatest. Let’s normalize hanging out in front of a camera enough that I don’t feel intimidated. Let’s keep it foreign enough that I’m not about to pick my nose or adjust my bra in front of it… I mean, who would do that? Not me… nope… weird that anyone suggested it.

Wherever the camera can see is SPOTLESS. Wherever the camera can’t see is … not. By any stretch of the imagination. I’m working on this, slowly. There is absolutely nothing in the camera’s view that can distract me if I see it. Except me but we’re working on normalizing that part.

I am practicing talking out loud while I code. This is surprisingly difficult. I’m learning not to type what I say but type the code that represents what I’m saying. How’s that for a skill?

I am practicing saying, “Oh! Thanks for the heads up!” if I am interrupted by the interviewer. I am practicing how to say, “You know, I’m uncertain about that part, right now, so I’m going to write a function named what I want to do and I’ll come back to it after my brain has time to work on it and see if I can’t flesh that out.” It’s okay to say “I don’t know”. It’s encouraged by some places. My anxiety doesn’t like saying it. Obviously, I should be perfect when doing something I’ve never done before, according to my anxiety.

I recorded myself in a mock interview. I did my hair and makeup. I wore what I’d wear to a regular interview. I had my lighting. I had another person drill me on a challenge. I shared my screen. I shared my video. Guess who says, “um, uh, err…” a lot. Like A LOT of a lot. Guess who slouches and cocks her head to the side a ton like a dog raising it’s ear. Guess who goes weirdly silent. Guess who wrinkles her nose when thinking. Guess who questions herself. Guess who is typing this. ME. IT’S ME. Guess who is now working on those things. STILL ME. Guess who didn’t swear like a sailor while coding! I know! I surprised myself on that one!

Please wish me luck as I attempt to convince a company they should hire me.

environmental words of affirmation

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter. It’s not my protest of the month punch card with a soon free “not a racist” trading card. It’s a fact that it sucks to be black in America. They can’t escape how they are treated, even for 10 minutes a day. Instead, they had to develop the emotionally thick skin to walk around as they are in a society that says they’re wrong to be how they were born. Of course that would be exhausting. Of course that would be rage-inducing. Of course that would cause anxiety. Of course they would seek each other and gather for comfort. Of course they would create art to express their lived experiences and emotions. Of course they would gather and call out the wrongs done against them. Of course they would try to better their situation peacefully. Of course they would escalate when peaceful tactics didn’t work. Of course they would feel irritated that the group of people oppressing them is co-opting their art to look cool. Of course they would feel sadness when they see a person clutch belongings out of racist fear. Of course they would. You would, too. Only a coward would deny it.

I am surrounded by a lot of highly intelligent people. The kind that want to see the facts before they agree to any statement or at least a thoughtful question that makes them think. Let’s see if this one works: If given the opportunity to do your life over and moving the starting point to today, would you want to be a black person living in America? Once you finished the whole life, you’d be able to come back to this one. Unless we make some major changes in society, I can tell you, that no, I would not want to be black.

For the people saying blue lives matter: Police officer is a job. If a person loses their job, they can get another job. If a person is murdered, they can’t get another life. This isn’t Mario.

For the people saying all lives matter: your life doesn’t matter a lick. If the community isn’t willing to say that black lives matter, what’s stopping them from later deciding that your life doesn’t matter. Remember, Italians and Irish people weren’t white. What’s stopping them from getting demoted, again?

So, just who the heck do I think I am and why do I think I get a voice in this? I’m adopted. It was a closed adoption, meaning I had no contact with my birth-parents until we connected in my 30s. Not everyone in the adoptive family, but enough of the family and family-friends, told me to be grateful that I was adopted into the family. That I should be grateful I was given more opportunities. To be grateful I was given anything. They had no way of knowing what reasons my birth-parents’ had for placing me. They said that had I been adopted into their particular families I would have been expected to do more to earn my keep – like a servant, from the sounds of things. My parents, thank the powers that be, never said that and were quick to correct others when they caught them. I still heard the words. I still felt the words. I was and am grateful that I was adopted into my family but not because I was told to be. I am grateful because my parents earned that respect. So what does this have to do with Black Lives Matter? “If you don’t love America, go home to your country ” sounds similar to “if you’re mad at your mom can’t you go back to your real mom?” Also, how can they go back to their origin country if the records were that shoddy? You wouldn’t believe the hoops I jumped through to find my birth story. You wouldn’t believe the hoops that a black person has to leap through to find their family’s origin beyond Emancipation. “Blacks should be grateful for…” sounds a lot like “You should be grateful you were adopted”. Never mind that the event/the color of a person’s skin was nothing anyone can control. Am I equating being adopted with being black? Not in the slightest. Most people wouldn’t know I’m adopted unless I told them. I don’t think many black people have to announce they’re black to others all that often. That tiniest not-even-a-hair-width of overlap, though, is more than enough to see we’re, as a society, mistreating an entire group of people. The best way to solve that is to vote, be active in your community, and to call out bullshit.


Step outside

Change your scenery. Sometimes anxiety creeps up just because you forgot to look at the sky. Even if it’s raining, step outside, look up at the sky, take a deep breath in, and wonder if anyone else is doing the same thing as you.

Become a hippie for a few minutes. Sit under a tree. Hug that tree. Appreciate how long that tree has been there. Appreciate its beauty. Find its scars and appreciate the tree’s resilience. Read a book under the tree. Listen to the wind rustle leaves. Listen to the birds that live in the tree.

5 love languages acts of services environmental

Take out the trash

Removing the trash from the home is a great way to feel less cluttered. It also shows we care about someone else’s well being. Showing you care about someone else by doing a thing they don’t like to do so they don’t have to do it will relieve both their anxiety and yours.


Unfuck your habitat

A person’s habitat can affect their anxiety. is a great resource in how to change the physical habitat to better serve your anxiety levels. Ann is terrible at keeping a house clean let alone one room. She is currently procrastinating from unfucking her habitat by writing this post.