Blog started in Jan 2005: 1st entries for Write in Every Genre. Then the REAL ME begins
It Hurts When I Stop Talking
Sometime in Fall of 1998, when a visit from Dad was infrequent, and primarily at the mercy of his 88 Toyota making the 50 mile journey, I was being treated to lunch. The restaurant was my choice, I think. Sisley Italian Kitchen at the Town Center mall was somewhere my dad had not yet tried, so that was my pick. Either I was being treated to the luxury of lunch and adult conversation without my husband and 5 year old son in tow, or that's just how the moment has lodged in my memory. The more I think about it, they probably were there, but enjoying the Italian food too much to bother interrupting.
Daddy and his lady friend at the time, Anne, came up together and made a day of it with me and the family. We were eating together and talking about some of my scripts, stories, coverages, poems and other creative attempts that really were not seeing the light of day. I think I'd just finished a group reading of The Artist's Way and was in a terribly frenetic mood over my writing. I think I'd just given them an entire rundown on a speculative Star Trek script.
My Dad asked me point blank, “Why don’t you write it?? Anne agreed. It sure sounded like I wanted to write it. Why wasn't I writing seriously? It's what I'd set out to do when earning my college degree in Broadcasting many years earlier.
Heck, I should, I agreed non-verbally.
But, I didn’t.
Blogs can be wild, unpredictable storehouses of moments, tangents, creative dervishes, if you will. I'm getting a firmer handle on my creative cycle. My mental compost heap (which is a catch phrase from Natalie Goldman or Julia Cameron - I can't think which, right now) finally seems to be allowing a fairly regular seepage of by-products. That may be a gross analogy, but I give myself credit to categorize my work in raw terms. It proves that I'm not so much the procrastinating perfectionist that I once was.
Still, I always seem to need prompts and motivation. Being a self-starter is the next step. My attempt to keep up in the Write in Every Genre Contest at the beginning of the year seemed like a perfect point to launch the blog.
|"I can’t respond without becoming emotional to be honest...." I said this. I stated it in an email to a co-worker, in what I thought divulged the difficulty of a conversation with a demanding customer. And could be a cry for help.
Is this the statement of a person failing in comunication, or bravely stating it like it is? I just like to believe that the people I reach out to care, but really, they just want everything easy and easily categorized.
I keep witnessing the failure of those listening/reading to turn more compassionately to the task of listening when something sounds out of the norm. I have been very quiet the last three or four weeks, yet whenever I turn my attention to that day -- those few personal and phone interactions from late June, I become very sad.
I am wounded and still feel wounded. I've been documented in a performance review, held just under two weeks later, as sometimes coming across sharp and abrasive.
It's perception. I do not agree with this perception of who I am, or even who I am trying to be. I continue to carry a defensive attitude that I know has bubbled up a few times in a work environment, and I've been called on it.
These perceptions that cause people to hear statements I never said, believe and state that I have acted rudely, or less than in any number of ways...they puzzle me.
I want it to cease. If any word was going to be used for my stressed responses, I'd prefer intense, but if I think about the type of performances I admire that are intense, I am not that. It's probably also why I disdain the use of "sharp"...pfft I'm dull.
Dedicated, problem solver, smart...I have these qualities too, and no one is denying those, not even me. Well, I'm feeling a bit of push back on those stand out qualities most times my teen responds to me, but that's one of those areas where I feel like all I can do is wait it out. In business I'm not so sure I can naively wait for other people to just like me warts and all.
So, I'm starting now. Not sure how it's going to look or feel, but I'm dropping anything that are words to fill space, sound superior, or "a good idea." I'm going to try on the bend-over backwards persona that injects little opinion, until I'm in a job where opinion is called for. I'm just going to be more patient. I'm going to accept and I'm going to move forward. I forgive myself for nothing and everything, and I won't expect that from anyone but me. I really may be the only one who knows this person that stands firm and doesn't "come across" in any way other than admirable.
|Two weeks and ten days -- no desire to write blog updates, questioning if Facebook updates were advisable. This is not to say I was not productive -- I tackled a number of projects away from the computer that enhanced my home. I think, my heart was hoping the actions would be the kind of improvement expected from the someone I will shy away from identifying.
I am starting to look at the invented word co-dependent with a slightly more pronounced level of belief. What must I do for myself to focus on what is needed for comfort, security, less anxiety. Just expressing these things feels like it will make me a target of judgment. The person I am trying to please shouldn't feel I'm trying to steal the spotlight, even if part of me feels that is exactly what I am trying to do out of unmet need.
I'm floundering around, and it feels like many people around me are also. The first step may be finding an objective sounding board. Such an effort.
(As my mom whispered to me, while the issues just seemed to keep compounding day-by-day, "This too shall pass.")
|Time to relax. But so little of the diversions I enjoy allow my eyes a chance to rest. I actually think that I may use my eyes more when I'm enjoying a hobby. Not sure that's accurate since I only half touch-type, so all my computer use at work can be fairly intense on my eyes.
Pick from my list of a dozen favorite diversions, and you'll see my eye dilemma: seeing a movie, obsessing over certain TV shows, knitting, cooking, writing, walking, bird-watching, reading, shopping, swimming, listening to music, getting a massage. Without special training, I'd say only the last three in the list, a quarter, can be easily done with the eyes closed. And I know I rarely at least two of those three.
My spouse understands the frustration of having to steer clear of eye overuse, and tries to counsel me in the ways of the Force...um, I mean, resting my eyes. I get it, in the practical sense. Don't let the computer screen suck you in. Have other places to divert your eyes often. (In a way, my poor typing probably helps me with that area).
|Barbara Novak advice on story essentials
This is something I have needed. Also, a quick Saturday stop at the library allowed me a dash of creative oil. Allowed myself about three research topics and one book I happened upon has opened a wide space for the quicker development of my Sunday school curriculum.
|I have a real emotional conflict when I do not have a detailed explanation or in-depth understanding of why a person takes an action. What would you call that kind of stubbornness? Needing to just dive in to get to the other side of it, even when I'm not enthusiastic -- I'm sure that's how Olympic swimmers get to be as good as practice makes each one.
|Just attended a recognition event at my college alma mater for current students being awarded scholarships. I have not been on the invitee list for all its consecutive years, really just twice, so I think the invite was extended in hope that I would be a benefactor. Still, knowing I couldn't help out financially, I did accept the invitation. I don't plan on waiting another five years to make good on what was afforded to me. I've really always wanted to be that kind of success story, capable of giving money to a cause or multiple causes without hesitation.
I know in some ways, I'm wired to be that type of giver. The one that gives away all they have, and still would give to someone else, even before looking to my own family obligations.
The current director is one of the only people still working in that department from the time when I both utilized its services, and was staff. She was gracious in hearing me state that I wished I could help financially. She also suggested that I might be able to come be a speaker to help students see what it's like in the work world.
So, of course, on the drive home I had to think, "What could I tell them from my experiences?" First, I do know to state, "It IS who you know -- most employed people I know got referred to a job by a co-worker, family member or friend. And I would definitely encourage students to keep in touch with all work and volunteer contacts as much as possible no matter how long it's been (with out being stalker-level scary). Facebook isn't fool-proof, your Christmas card list, or a professional membership in your industry might be much much better. [Linked-In, is indeed designed for this.]
I might relate my most recent job interview startle, related to getting advice after I didn't get the position. The hiring manager coached me to be specific next time describing how I've tackled a problem, rather than just saying over and over, "I'm hard working." Having relate-able examples breaking-down just how you accomplish difficult tasks, yes, I get it, GREAT advice. My "huh?" moment was realizing I hadn't communicated (much at all) apparently. It's possible I wasn't even understandable at points, and the interviewer just kept picking up on my chipper attitude? The interviewer believed I simply said, "I'm hard working," and I don't believe I said those words once.
On the fun side, I might tell them to sock away money like a squirrel stores acorns (if their own parents don't bug them about that enough already). And preferably go back in time and tell your seven year-old self that too. Also, as far as travel, do it. Maybe even consider doing what my sister is about to embark upon, traveling in an RV full-time while her daughter is just turning two, and she and her husband are in their thirties; I thought it was crazy at first, but now I think it is inspired and actually fits with the development stages her daughter will go through -- accepting it -- and maybe, just maybe, only having a problem with it in about a decade.
This is just a start, and I might include something about the Northridge earthquake...but that connection would take too long to explain right now.
|A bit of a cheat...a draft of a letter fro 4/19/08 that I may or may not have sent to a friend/former co-worker:
I have a project for the class I've been taking at church - obviously I'm avoiding it.
Darn me and my hallmark determination. I've had several throw-up my hands and consider walking out moments at work. And I realize just asking a co-worker to do some of my piled work doesn't sit well with me either. But I really have had to relent in that area too. Part of the struggle is seeing how inflexible my mind has gotten. The accumulation of small criss-crossing changes over time has resulted in a huge workflow knot. I still like getting through a week of work, but it's become a greater share of "getting through" and less an appreciation for the "work."
I relaxed Friday by finally getting to see Dan In Real Life. If I'd known beforehand that Disney had a hand in it, I might have passed on it. But it was Touchstone actually and paired with Focus Films, which brought it up in sophistication. There was something wrong with the character development of the female lead. Too often she seemed completely along for the ride and not thinking for herself. I did sympathize with Steve Carell's misery and even thought he could have let his zaniness out a bit more. But then it might have come off like Steve Martin's L.A. Story rather than reminding me of Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year.
So, the project I've started, but keep writing out and fussing over (translative picture: If one were still using a typewriter, author reads over, shouts, "Crap!" rips it out of the roller, angrily slides another sheet in...crumpled balls lie all about), this project that started out terrifying, then fun, now aggravating is a eulogy and memorial service...for myself.
I think I appreciate better that most services are not aided in their creation by the departed. What's the goal?
I can't even imagine how my happy-faced (I don't even need this job) supervisor could begin to categorize on my performance evaluation form how my struggle with change and a preoccupation with all the questions about freedom of choice, love and dying may be impacting my work. I giggle thinking that's the part I can fill in. That would give her some interesting cubicle reading!
(This will be really funny if I go back into my blog and find that I copied and pasted this before; like about the time period I wrote it...)
|Kudos to the Big Bang Theory episode (just on) that has Penny tell Leonard that life with him is her "thing" to be passionate about. Leonard is optimistic that means she'll gladly cosplay with him at Comic-con, to which she replies:
"I had an epiphany, sweetie, not a stroke."
This is how I feel at times watching my teen girl and young adult boy offspring trying to interact. Not sure I can even explain, but I'll try. They're just on two different levels of expectation -- I can see that. What's hardest is when the older thinks my allowances to the younger are unfair to him in the present or his perceived past. And equally hard is when the younger doesn't act rationally enough to the older's liking. All I can say with some compassion is that age thirteen for a girl or a boy is never about reality or rationality.
|Things seen in the mirror are an accurate depiction -- except turned. Some of us cling too tightly to what our own visual sense interprets in that mirror daily. Some of us avoid mirrors as much as possible, and lose an opportunity to consider mindfully and grow. I suggest that few lives are impacted by either of these extremes for an entire lifetime, but instead include periods of each. The majority might use the mirror early in life to compare personal beauty against another example -- clinging tightly to its guidance. This leaves avoidance for later in life, based off the same ego pattern. But, it might be the other way around for some -- avoidance or select disregard to start -- because how we look matters little while we're young. Until the effects of age are reflected back, and then some feel compelled to fight a battle daily until the end.
A bit philosophical tonight, I guess.
|Just a good morning for enjoying other folks' spiritual insights and writing prowess.
I like this blog entry in its uncanny ability to encapsulate much of what I think I have been discovering for myself of late.