Inside Out: Colors of My last Two Weeks

Jack Kerouac said, “The more ups and downs, the more joy I feel. The greater the fear, the greater the happiness I feel.”

The last several days I have felt such a wave of emotions: despair, sadness, anger, gratitude, fear, and joy. Over MLK weekend I traveled back east to my mom’s house (joy) and last week had a job interview (fear). Unfortunately not good news to report on the outcome (sadness) and kicking myself in the pants for that.

All I was told in advance was to arrive 15 minutes early to prepare some answers to a few questions. The gauntlet was to present three short presentations to a specific audience given a scenario.

Rewards in Fear

I wanted to jettison and had no sense of focus. Probably half my allotted time was devising an escape plan. I was so afraid of failing and sounding incoherent, so when a panel member asked me if I was ready, I tried to excuse myself. She, with great kindness, cajoled me to stay and proceed with the interview.

In the past I’ve been mostly successful. In school I got mostly A’s and I’ve never had huge hardships to overcome. For interviews, the jobs I really wanted, I landed.

This time, I didn’t close the deal (heartache and regret). The outcome would have changed my life and at a time when I feel so engulfed in a professional rut.

I also found thanks for these reasons:

  1. The positive body language and attention panelists gave me while interviewing allowed me to drive home peacefully without self abasement.
  2. The experience of failure and for the ability to overcome my post rejection embarrassment and accept candid feedback.
  3. That feedback. This was a great, professional learning moment.
  4. For the woman to woman support and mentoring.

John Waters talks about fear and failure, specifically professional rejection in his 2015 commencement speech at RISD. He offers the wisdom that a “no is free.” In speaking to this assembly of artists he was telling the cohort through the metaphor of hitchhiking to put out their thumbs. Eventually somebody will say “Get In.” In other words take risks, put your work and self out their, and don’t be afraid of rejection. And like the rejoinder my husbands gives, “What’s the worse they can say?” when I ask him if I should go for it and I start casting doubts.

Recognition of Joy

The best part of my week was a training class taken for professional development at work. Employees are required to log ten hours of training, so the hour session, Intro to Photography looked like an easy and fun credit. It was sold as a way to improve photos for reports and presentations. The session was taught by a communications team member who had a background in art, and I was delighted by his presentation. In the first half hour we reviewed the rule of thirds, odd numbers, and terms like golden hour, repetition, and depth. We spent the second half critiquing photos, mostly taken on our cell phones. I shared a recent photo taken on Market Street on my urban visual safari. It got great applause and this really boosted my confidence.

Market Street, San Francisco

I recall seeing Inside Out last year and feeling that the plot had great parallelism to my own internal state the last two years adjusting to the Bay Area. The main characters are the five emotions in Riley’s head. Joy is the film’s protagonist and her character made me want to enlist her at the helm of my emotional headquarters.

Joy’s goal has always been to make sure Riley stays happy. She is lighthearted, optimistic and determined to find the fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley’s life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. –DisneyWiki


If you haven’t seen the Disney film, it ranks up there with Up and Toy Story. Joy’s character teaches us that happiness is not a disposition to be had all the time and instead all the other emotions like sadness, fear, and anger must do their job in order for Riley (us) to function properly.

Last time I promised some photos, so here are two about recent sunshine.

Sunrise over Mission Peak from 
Victorian in San Francisco.

This year I will continue to seek gratitude on this blog journey, even in the less favorable times like failure. Tell me how Joy is operating at your headquarters?



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