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It is a glorious, sunny day as Beltane continues. I want to get on my horse and ride across green fields, soak in the sun and sky, a breeze upon my face and watch the waves roll in from the sound. Instead, I drive slowly down the back roads in Garrison with the windows rolled down. A day of absolute freedom. I discard all the should's, ought-to's and other plans and directions and spend the day doing nothing but that which pleases me at that moment. For one day I can and will set aside everything else and just be.
Deep fog accompanies me home. At the end of the run, the train is almost empty of passengers, very quiet as the train glides past low lying inlets, creeks and lakes. It creates a dream-like landscape.
These Zen commuter moments are incredible but I'd never have them driving to work on the Island. They are limited to truly off-peak drive times, given the overall volume of traffic here. Times like this you can almost believe in stories like Brigadoon, cut off from the rest of the world by the mists, or Lake of the Coheeries, with its cloud wall.
The end of the work week. I made it, I survived, and truthfully, survive is the right word. I surrender myself to the care of the staff at Trio for an hour, then head home feeling very alone.
A week is all it took to become accustomed to not being alone, of having someone else to be there, however abstractly, to be part of my life. But it was ephemeral and illusory, like a holiday memory. I have some great mementos from the trip, postcards from the more scenic stops, but they can't talk to me, hold me, love me.
Too tired to move. To tired to think. Almost to tired to nap. I curl on the bed, wrapped in my comforter and watch the bright sunlight filter softly into the room, transmuted into a soft glow. I drift between dreamland and vague understanding that it was all just a dream. Sara McLachlan provides a perfect soundtrack for the moment: soft, lush, slightly hazy waterfall of beautiful sound.
"Recuperation and respite" -those are his words. That is what I am seeking, however transitory. A momentary lapse of chaos. And trying not to feel guilty about another day spent doing nothing.
Another beautiful spring day passes and I realize that I am unable to care for the garden. All my energy, what small amount I have left at the end of the day, is directed at caring for myself, trying to keep myself whole. To whatever extent planting and weeding is what my soul craves, the garden will benefit. Unless there are radical changes soon, this year is far more likely to be one where I simply enjoy whatever is there, document it in photos and plan for next year. Just as so many home improvement projects will have to wait.
A long hard day - what other kind is there anymore? - had a reward at the end. An hour spent with words, contemplating my current existence for the pleasure of the Wizard. Ten minutes or so dreaming of a real vacation, getting away somewhere for sheer pleasure, which is guaranteed not to happen this year. Laying out the raw materials of my life, they sound so very bare. It seems unlikely they could combine to create a real life, a life that has meaning and is worth living. But living is in the details and I'm very detailed oriented.
Layers beneath layers, folded in upon itself, like an origami bird, except it has sharp edges, suggesting a medieval Japanese sword, the metal folded a thousand times. Tuck it away bring it in deep, hide it away. Protecting me from the sharp edges so that I don't cut myself so badly I bleed to death or protecting it from exposure to the elements that would tarnish it or dull the edges? It is beautiful and deadly: it is True and my fascination with Truth, let alone its actual content, draws me repeatedly to it, to ponder, to remember, to hope.
Driving between the small hamlets in the evening with the windows rolled down, I breathe in the cool evening air and something in the combination of crisp dampness and green spring scents hits me - WHAM! I know this smell, it conjures memories of times and places long ago and far away: a teenager at a June picnic, playing softball with students and teachers into the long twilight of evening; experiencing traffic in the European capital city from the back seat of a car rather than on foot or bicycle on a sunny afternoon, the old streets lined with mature Linden.
I seem to have nothing to say, it has been an unremarkable day. Nothing out of the ordinary at work, nothing beyond the usual chaos and turmoil that has become the foundation of my days on the 8th floor. My screen saver now has a semi-ironic acknowledgement of that state. A day without any fun, a day marking time, doing what has to be done. I am desperate for some real social interaction, an actual conversation above art, music, the state of the City, politics, whatever, with another intelligent, informed being. I've only one choice for that on the Island.
Still feeling the need for social interaction, I made a call on the train - feeling peckish? - but no one's home on the Island. By the time I can't wait any longer to eat, there is still no word.
Alone again, as always, I ate my dinner on the porch tonight. It was a lovely evening, it seemed the right thing. Curled up in a chair with a good book and a Mexican dinner with homemade guacamole and watched the twilight settle in as I wonder what's for dinner in Greenpoint this Friday evening. And is he eating alone, like me?
Eight months. It sounds impossible - it can't have been that long ago; it can't have been only that recent. The chaos, confusion, terrible pain in your heart has you realize that even if you get through this day in one piece that nothing will ever be the same, that the world has changed, you have changed. I will always be thankful that "my" Klingon called to see if I was in one piece. Talking to him while my whole body trembled as I soaked in a warm bath. Even if that was our last exchange, I will remember him warmly.
I have all these Three Dog Night songs playing in my head. I don't know how they rose to the top but between "One (is the Loneliest Number)", "Pieces of April" and "Easy to be Hard", they've got the internal hit parade covered today. I often wonder am I capable of living with anyone at this point after twenty years of having my own space. Never inclined to share in the first place, what are the chances I'd successfully navigate the minefield of sharing the couch and remote, the bath tub, the bed, with someone on a daily, ongoing basis?
Nothing goes right all day - what a Monday. It does have the effect, however, of making the day go by faster, as there is not a moment to stop and think about what needs to be done. Sitting on the train home, I stop for the first time all day. By the time I get off the train I am an odd mix of battered and refreshed that has become my typical evening state.
Later, I watch the occasional flash of lightning with interest, hoping vaguely for a real show, but nothing really comes of it. Rather like my life.
An evening of escape was not an even exchange for an actual vacation. I watched a birthday party dinner for a group of women, the younger ones probably my peers. They were a lively but not raucous group as the conversation careened from children to career, husband and illness, the usual concerns of middle-aged women, excuse me, women in the prime of life. Although only seated a few feet from them, the distance between us was as wide and deep as the ocean. We speak the same language, live in the same town, and yet are foreign to each other.
Becoming a drudge - I told him I feared that's what I was becoming. All work and no play and all that. Years later, solitary activities no longer hold the attraction they once held for me. From the earliest times play was a solitary activity - in later years several of the activities morphed from play to escape - a way to run away from The World and all the people in it, a retreat to find peace and quiet. No surprise that I have no social structure around me. My current state, severe lack of fun, is hardly surprising in retrospect.
Trust. Not something I'm inclined toward under the best of circumstances. It still takes me years to be able to get comfortable enough with most people or environments to give them even casual glimpses of the real me. Most times I can't even share information about my life outside of work with the folks I try to socialize with at the office. And now I'm being told by the one person I trust most at work that I should not trust the person who is my counterpart in the department. The landscape at work is becoming one of deadly quicksand.
A day spent in waiting in an extended countdown to launch. Waiting for word that all systems were ready, the system tests confirmed. Waiting for word that we were cleared for launch, as the launch window slowly slipped past. At the last moment, we got the green light.
I realized today that while I have infinite patience waiting for the quarry to appear in paintball, it is very hard for me to wait for others to agree to the plan, the schedule. The Field Marshall knows the orders and wants to be released, to finally set the armies in motion.
A dark day for reasons that remain unclear. The morning rain complimented my mood but was not responsible for it. Residual buildup from the work week now takes a full day to detox and recover. I've begun to accept that each Saturday will be a lost day in terms of productivity, but to have them be days of personal misery as well is just too much.
I try to lose myself in a book, replacing for a while the here and now with its world and reality. But it only emphasizes what it is that is missing from my life.
Powerful words of hope and transformation from a mentor, they seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, likening the immediate future to being a rock star, able to request things be arranged to my liking, setting the stage and the tone around me. It breathes hope and positive energy into me like a balloon, buoying me up for hours. I do not understand how any of this will come to pass, but it does signal me to start listening more closely to the universe, to see if I can understand what it is saying the first time.
A typical day that passes in an absolute blur of familiarity with an average number of ups and downs, the downs being what stick in my head. Its not until I'm back home that the day becomes at all distinguishable from mall the others. I go to my first Pilates class on a school night and all the tension and stress from the day vanish as I try to control my body through the exercises that require strength and flexibility. An hour later I walk out my body as fluid as a silk ribbon and a smile on my face.
I do like working on the train. It is generally very productive time, unless someone sits next to me. Then, the juggling of the laptop, the cell and paperwork can become difficult.. And these days it is the only place that I can work on documents that must be written, with no phone calls, no incoming email that has to be handled - all those interruptions that happen at my desk keep me from getting into the groove of writing. And to write well, I require music at a certain volume, louder than I can get away with at the office.
I contemplated who I've become, with honest reactions visible even when my agenda and intent remain inscrutable. I like this. I'm comfortable with this and others appear to be able to better accept me - I'm more human in my interactions. And if my human reactions get me into trouble in a corporate environment because I've hurt someone's feelings, perhaps it is time to leave that environment. If I'd wanted a life filled with politics, intrigues and game playing for survival, I would have stuck with my original plan and gone to work for the NSA.
I seem to be living in one of those new movie moments, where the person in the camera frame stays exactly where they are as the background begins to withdraw, recede, everything getting smaller, blurrier. I always wonder how they do that, what trick of cinematic photography is used. But instead of the background or the past getting further away, falling away from me, it is the future. The weekend seems suddenly to have become distant, a far off event. Circumstances and events pile up and in an instant, freedom -parole- seems much further away than tomorrow afternoon at 3:00.
Swapping stories, telling tales out of school over Sangria with wait staff that can't speak comprehensible English. It has been too long, but Rad looks good, she looks happy. Chocolate ice cream and a novel for the train make it an enjoyable seven hours, heralding the start of summer. For a few hours I hope that I might manage to build a new network despite the growing dichotomy in my life between work and home, city and suburban. Somehow I've gotten to the point where I so badly want to slow down I'm seriously contemplating leaving the city behind altogether.
Trying to lose myself in work, either at the office or at the house. I push to work in the garden, finish indoor projects, get stuff done, hustle. I'm hanging by a thread, amazed I haven't just collapsed. Trying to lose myself on the weekend only seems to emphasize the things that are missing. What I have doesn't seem to count for as much anymore, or perhaps I'm not able to enjoy it as much because of the ever-building pressure at work.
I'm trapped again. I want out. Finding the strength and direction this time will be a real challenge.
I can't help but feel slightly shocked by her request. Evidently I've done too good a job not talking about my real life. I don't believe in measuring friendship or putting limits on it, but this is just too much. My first responsibility is to myself, my health, my sanity. As long as helping friends and family doesn't conflict with that priority, I am quite willing to do whatever I can. But I have no martyr complex and my sense of self-preservation is too strong to let me take on something that is clearly beyond my current ability to handle.
Quiet. The phone doesn't ring. Nothing in the virtual inbox. No word from anyone. At times I think I might as well live alone in a new city.
My parents seem intent in getting me off the Island; suggestions range from Taos to Kingston. I don't understand why they're so keen to get me off the Island unless they've decided that it somehow contributes to my aloneness. But the truth is I?m no longer in my 20's and single men my age are increasingly hard to find anywhere.
And it isn't as if Kingston is that much closer to Taos.
Ten defining moments that changed your life. Seven critical decisions that shaped your life's path. Five pivotal people that helped form you into who you are today. Interesting points of reflection. JM was not a pivotal person but when he decided to check out of our relationship, that was a defining moment in my life. The Wizard is a pivotal person: those six months in 1984 were the crucible of my adult being; realizing how alone I am and acknowledging how much that hurts are his current transforming gifts to me. And he doesn?t realize any of it.
Major steps forward for each Miss H and the Wizard today. I am glad for any and all good tidings at this point. I shouldn't make any life-altering decisions now, although even my dreams are steering me in that direction. I don't know what the plan is or should be right now. I'm leaning heavily towards taking the Vein of Gold book with me to England and working my way through it to help figure out the next step, to determine if I can (should?) continue in IT for a while longer or if is time to change careers entirely.
I have truly found peace and acceptance that I will not be "perfect" at work because I am not able to be a model of the self-effacing fake politeness that is expected with client relation skills. I am too honest and my reactions are generally misinterpreted by those who fit society's mold.
I was promoted because I was logical and realistic, my job was to find the problems and flaws in a proposal, give accurate budgets for time and money, slice and dice assignments and resources, to use my real strengths. It is unreasonable to expect immediate change without assistance.
After being told I needed to take more time for myself, downtime to counter the stress of time at work, while simultaneously being told I ought to consider being at the office longer each day (the ultimate joke) a crisis keeps me on the phone for three hours and it's not over yet. Even in the midst of the cyclical phone calls I realize the sardonic wit behind the scenario. I also realize the chances of being able to explain this as a single case illustrating the regular course of events to those who need to understand is very small.
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