The Skinny Jeans

The other day I put on a pair of my favorite blue jeans - Lucky Brand, 32x32 slim-cut, faded and slightly ripped in the knees and thigh areas. Not only do they go with everything in my closet, they make everything I wear with them look great. Jeans like these only come around every few millenia; in fact, some people never even find their special pair despite a lifetime of searching. Like every other time I've worn my special jeans, I get myself together, look in the mirror and never half to mentally wonder if they make my butt look too big. That's actually the problem of late. By the end of the day, these one-of-a-kind jeans of the holy grail sag to a point that I look something like a ghetto rapper, fresh on the block and trying too hard to fit in by letting my pants sag somewhere close to my knees. That might not be too bad if my underwear didn't resemble worn out cobwebs or melted stringy cheese.

When I got home, I took my Lucky Brand's off and held them up in the air. They were huge and I felt like that Jarred guy from the Subway commercials as I staired up at them. Slinging them on the bed I went to the bathroom and dug out the scales. "Holy Crap!" was my first reaction to the dial coming to rest at 175 pounds. I haven't weighed that little since before I left for the Army. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm not waving around jeans so large they can double as a car cover, but being unemployed for several months mixed with a bout of mono and 20 pounds melts away like a Popsicle in hell's parking lot, and it isn't exactly healthy. I sat down next to my over-sized favorite jeans and started to question what in the world I was doing with myself.

This certainly isn't the first time I've felt this way, and certainly not the first time I have doubted my actions given what's currently going on in my life. Keep in mind, it's not that I question everything. I'm going to be married shortly, to someone so wonderful I've never seriously doubted what's happening between us or that we should be together. This lack of doubt with Ashley makes up for a great deal of the negative feelings I have been experiencing , but at the same time, what I'm feeling with her isn't the end-all-be-all. It can't let me escape the feelings of incompetence for not being able to land a good job to date, or the humiliation of drawing unemployment benefits and borrowing money. It can't cover the irresponsibility I feel in not being able to take care of my own children, or my constant lack of faith in what God can or is willing to do.

Since being laid off, I've been holding on to the thought that deep inside me, there's this calm place reminding me it's going to work out fine, and not only that, but I will be better off than before. Every time another circumstance would play against me, I would remind myself of that thought coming from the quiet place in order to successfully move on past it.

Facing down my doubts have been particularly hard on a level greater than just beating circumstances in that for the first time in my life, I am attempting to use my writing talents to get out of this place (economically speaking). Having never done anything along these lines before, there is a great deal of confusion in the "what's" and "how's" (and the "who's" and the "where's" and the "when's") in attempting to make a career out of writing. This confusion leads to a complete lack of direction for me which only feeds into my doubts even more.

Sometimes I do get a glimmer of hope and direction, like I have had over the past several days experiencing some real joy and a sense of comfort in knowing I am at least open to God's direction for me at this time. It's when I feel open to His direction, I feel peace, and in feeling that peace I believe I am heading down a right road. However, for as strong as I can experience that peace, it can be gone in an instant when I hear, for example, that my x-wife lost her job this last week leaving my oldest son to question me, with a no small amount of nervousness in his voice as to whether I've found a job yet. When I answered with, "Sort of," it did little to reassure him. At least with me not getting paid for working, the boys mother had the means to provide, but now that's even gone.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm not doing anything as I've been applying for jobs big and small every week, but there have been very few nibbles out there. I guess nobody wants a home building exec these days. I don't really want to be an exec anymore, but I would do it. But even if one does, I become even more confused as to what route I'm to go. The few opportunities that have surfaced, I've pursued, but they have fizzled which secretly, I have been glad for. But the even fewer writing opportunities that have presented themselves have fizzled as well leaving me to wonder where this is going, and what am I missing still?

Yesterday I was flirting with the idea of actually getting involved with major relief work within the church. I never want to be involved. I never volunteer, sign up or offer to do anything in the church, so the fact I jumped in to help with a church event recently is a huge deal in that I says I'm serious about what I'm believing. Yet, in one phone call from my old son, I'm completely off track, irritable, and frustrated. I had actually gotten to a place where I was constructively dealing with the overdue bills and lack of money for gas, but now I'm what the technical medical journals refer to as a, "basket case."

Sitting on the bed with my jeans, I remember a few days ago wearing them as I read a great post by my bother-in-law dealing directly with the topic of doubt. What was said was a complete encouragement to me and I got me through another day. Now, however, I'm wondering if I should just give these stupid jeans up to Good Will knowing I'm probably never going to fill them out again the way I used to.

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