>At a party yesterday, a friend explained how she passed the time at work by researching on the internet how paraplegic men have sex. (Seriously, how on earth did people kill time at work before the internet?) She learned that men with some blood flow to their penises can engage in a practice called stuffing. Stuffing is exactly what it sounds like: cram it in, and hope that there will be some reaction to the action. Sometimes this works; others, there's just some raw genitals at the end.

Before I even discovered stuffing had a name, I realized that I was metaphorically familiar with the practice. For the last few years, I've been trying to forge a career based on it. Each time a job came along that didn't really excite me, I tried to make the pieces fit and hoped that I'd get some satisfaction from it. There were times when he work made me satisfied, but generally I felt tired and sore from the effort.

Last week, the always insightful Maria Niles wrote a post on BlogHer about the benefits of closing doors. The post hit me. How long have I said that I didn't want to work on child care policy any more, only to take every job that came my way because I feared that I would never work again? Too long. If I was serious, I'd need to really close the door on my child care policy career. It would be scary, but it didn't have to be permanent; I could always walk through it again in the future. My skills won't go anywhere, but I'll never fully explore my other options until I move on.

Two days after I had my epiphany, I went to have my fortune read. The tarot card reader told me that I am surrounded by opportunity, but my biggest obstacle to success is myself.

"You like things to happen in a linear fashion," Katie noted, "and the way things are happening now makes you feel insecure. You have to let go to get ahead."

On Friday, when I got a call and email about a consulting job with the city, my first impulse was to take it. What else am I doing now except trying to get pictures for my book about unusual New York, writing an article for Just Cause, blogging at BlogHer, and finishing up an article about termination for an encyclopedia of sex? If I didn't take the job, I could be homeless, starving, and unloved because Husband would get mad that I didn't work. My heart raced. I was standing in front of the door. All I had to do was call the lady at the city back and make the arrangements.

That's when I decided that I didn't want to be stuffed any more. I took Katie's words to heart, and took a deep breath. Husband would not drop me because I said no to a job to which I had reservations. In my mind, I quietly shut the child care door. It felt good.

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