birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Times I've Found Myself Not Ready and I Mean Really

I have never felt so inadequate and unprepared as when I held my newborn daughter. Being responsible for another human being’s welfare was terrifying. This wasn’t just any human being; this was my child. I felt way too young and inexperienced for something so serious and big. I was 28.

I found out my introversion was a real thing when I took a communications job at a mental health center. I thought I would love that kind of work plus I could do good with the work I did. I welcomed the opportunity to try it. When a client went screaming through the center for her therapist on my first day of work, I realized I might be in the wrong place. I had no idea how to handle it when one of the clients at the adult day care tried to cut my hair with yard clippers. I was unprepared for how to deal with mentally ill or handicapped people. I was fine with written communications for the job, but I became tongue tied whenever I was supposed to speak about mental health issues. I was their pr person. I was supposed to speak a lot. I was the wrong person in the wrong place. I left that job as soon as I could and knew I had gained a valuable lesson about communications work. I was definitely a behind-the-scenes person.

Unfortunately, I got pushed into another marketing and communications job. I knew I was not the right person for the job, and I didn’t want to apply for it. I had to because my editorial job was going away, and I needed to stay in the university system to keep my 20+ years of retirement. Not only did I get the job, but the incredibly kind man I went to work for changed the job title to pay me more. I had even more responsibility for something I knew nothing about. I did my very best to get prepared and be prepared. I spoke with people all over campus with similar jobs. I joined a professional pr organization and tried to mingle. The good news was my boss liked to be the face of the program and be in front of the crowd. I still went to work every day knowing that I wasn’t the right person for the job no matter how hard I tried. Retirement was a relief even though I wasn’t prepared for it either.

Letting Go

Sowing Seeds