By the time I said my final good-bye to David at the end of 2012 - I think our last live conversation was probably in November - I'd dropped every ounce of dignity on the floor where it bumped up against my feet and ankles like tumbleweeds and sticks with periodic sharp stones depending on the winds and there is stayed. I'm not saying it went all at once, I'm just saying if I had to look back that might have been one of my lower points, the right before good-bye. Not that never speaking to him again was a low point. It's just what it took for me to get there. What it took for me to say the words, I don't love you anymore, whether I thought I meant it at the time or not. Sometimes we hold on for the most extraordinary reasons.
Same thing with my job. I took a beating for two and a half years. I have these memories of walking by the five tenets of TheBigBank plastered against the glass railing guards of the three flights up to the West wing cafeteria. I had two, just two moments of feeling like I belonged when I looked at those things. I kept looking for what Kate called my mojo and kept not finding it. It wasn't for lack of building relationship or doing good work; it was for winning the battle and losing the war and failing to accept that in the first six months. This isn't the first time I've let this happen and it isn't the first time the universe has taken good care of me, at least in terms of presenting opportunity. In this case the universe has presented an extraordinary opportunity. I remember thinking very early on, this job is mine to lose. That's not hubris, that's clarity. Don't fuck this up, Alecto. You know and they know inasmuch as you can can know anything until you get in there, that this is a puzzle piece fit.
I spent my last vacation with my camera in front of my face. I put that thing down in May, 2011 and didn't pick it up again until we headed to Cape Breton. NM has been asking about it collecting dust since he saw it sitting on the book case March before last. I couldn't really give him a reason. I didn't really want to use it in front of him. First of all, I'd forgotten how to use it. The D80 isn't particularly straight forward if you don't have it on auto everything (auto everything does produce some decent results) and I didn't have it in me to locate the manual and read it. I didn't have the confidence, like the chicken coop, to be less than purely competent in front of him. There's a lot of back story to this but to be perfectly honest, it's just my stuff. He was lovely, by the way, so there went that theory. Like I said, my stuff.
Something happened in the looking out. I don't know what I missed in doing this but I do know what I gained. I know I gained some level of internal quiet. There were other things going on as well that had me pulled back and contemplative but I spent a good amount of time quieting myself. I took some risks I don't think I would have ordinarily taken maybe because I was quieted but I lost some things along the way as well or at least I felt like I did.
I'm sitting on this precipice and I'm afraid the side I'm going to fall over is possibly joyless or significantly less joyful than what I've had or allowed myself to have, or less intimate or something. Not that there was any intimate joy at TheBigBank :-) but there was significant joy at TheFactory and when we all lived at The Castle, good lord, there were literally years I drove up that long drive still thankful and in awe that I worked there before it got scary and hard and then finally awful.
I stepped naked into a waterfall on a quiet beach because I could and I haven't done that before so there's that. I hold onto that.
So much of my life feels out of control. Not scary out of control but unhappy out of control. Or tired out of control and dignity around my ankles out of control. Six weeks off have been enough to recover the emotional exhaustion and start to look at the rest of my life. Six weeks off have been enough to take a good hard look at what I'm facing on Monday morning and choose who I need and want to be to succeed in this job.
Who we are is not compartmentalized.
The 32 year old high performance pony has been running amok for long enough. Two marriages, 5 jobs and 1 significant relationship in those 18 years all have the same thing in common. They don't all have the same results, but the one thing they have in common is this: I haven't necessarily taken myself very seriously. Where I've been successful it's because I've been either wildly talented, seriously loved or a combination of both. Where I've fallen on my face, I've reached too hard, failed to understand or accept it's been a bad fit or maybe traded too much of myself. If you tell me you love me and I'm good then I'm happy and produce good work or do well in relationship. If you tell me I suck and I'm bad then I'm unhappy and struggle with work and do terribly in relationship. Hell, doesn't everybody? What I fail to do is be at cause. This isn't always the case but I notice a number of places where I've just hit rock bottom way too hard and I'm too damn old to have that pattern continue.
I need to own myself in a way I really never have before.
So your opinion of me matters but it doesn't. I don't know how else to say it. My results are what matter and I am not my results. It's getting murky in here :-)
Attachment is becoming a bit of a problem in my life.
My new job title is Associate Director, Global Financial IT Systems. I have to keep looking that up because it's really about building relationships. Globally. Good thing I know how to do that.
I had to go buy new clothes yesterday. I marched myself back into Talbots which I have studiously avoided since 2003 and put myself back into the uniform. Elizabeth was confused. Mom, you don't wear that kind of stuff. Well, kid, I do now. I no longer sit cross legged at my desk making cool databases; as a matter of fact I wear pantyhose all year round. And now I blow dry my hair and make sure I brush it more than once in the morning and I keep it cut more than quarterly and, well, maintain myself. Again. And this is fine. I know how to do this and I don't resent it. Goes with the job which I'm very much looking forward to. The change is who I need to be and nothing is compartmentalized.
What else do I need to do to not feel bad about myself?
I'm kind of thinking it might have a domino effect. If I'm choosing from fear today and I start choosing from clarity 50 hours a week and the most important part of my life starts balancing back to who and what I am, I *might* actually get my mojo back and those life choices might get easier.
Anyway, while I was taking a bit of a breather from my usual stars on the soles of my feet business I got way out on some skinny branches, literally and I really don't care much for long falls or the idea of them. I also ran up the beehive at Acadia this year as opposed to creeping up it last year with my body pressed up against the side. That link goes to some pretty impressive images.
I'm standing in a dead tree which is slowly eating my legs and if the dead tree decides it's had enough of me and lets go, I'm dropping into the sea. It didn't happen. I got some great shots. What's astonishing is that not only didn't I panic but I don't think my heart rate ever increased. Whoever I was being when I climbed into that tree, clearly conscious of the risks, I need to be on Monday morning and the rest of my life going forward. Or it would be really nice. Or something.
I also need to get the camera out of my face. We hide behind that sort of thing. I'm not saying it wasn't worth it; it was. I'm saying it got way too easy to just pick it up and keep it there. Composition is a beautiful thing but you can't see me when I'm looking at you and *you* are some kind of beautiful. Wouldn't it be nice if you could see my face and know it?
I don't know. Mostly I just feel lost and that I need to turn forward and go forward. Here's me rolling down a hill this weekend because some four year old was doing it. It was a really hard weekend with a lot of good parts because of family and dancing in Montpelier. Rolling down the hill just sort of happened. Maybe I can keep some of that.
I'd damn well better be able to keep some of this but I don't much feel like this these days. Do I smile because I really have one to give or do I smile because it's a camera reflex?
Probably I should dance more. That shit's real for sure.