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Bold, daring dreams: a substantial position in information security; discovering my own living version of Crimson's Model Man who means Ade's words with all his heart. Defining that which drives me wildly crazy in a positive way, as opposed to simply crazy mad: an oversized opportunity with lots of room for success or failure based on my own actions, not because political machinations will trip me up. Going all out with a secret, or keeping it completely hidden away, no half measures: now, that's where I hesitate. The only secrets I am keeping at the moment are very personal indeed.
An evening out - and I'm having fun, real fun (not just because of the three glasses of Shiraz) when I realize it is time to leave, to catch the train so that I can ensure I'm on a train back into the city before 6 am. What kind of existence is this? There is no point to it - the rhythm is completely off, the focus skewed. Here is another pathway to people of interest in Gotham, and I don't have time to pursue it because of the out-of-kilter demands of work. I must find a better balance somehow.
Certain personal obsessions are getting out of hand, again. It's fine when they occupy the spare moments awake or asleep, that is what they are for, at least to my way of thinking. But when they start distracting me from the necessary and needful things in life, it is dangerous, the obsession is starting to control me rather than the reverse. Not that I've got such a stellar grip on my life at the moment to begin with, but I do need to keep focused on the main mission: finding an escape from the stresses of my current work life.
A seemingly perfect summer day: rising late and enjoying curried lobster rolls for lunch on the porch. Later afternoon brings a drive to the North Fork followed by an early evening swim, then soaking in a hot tub while sipping wine and being waited on hand and foot by a bevy of single men, as I'm the only woman present. Ok, so several are single for obvious reasons, but still, a delightful concept. Dinner of grilled lamb sets up a walk on the beach after dark, watching the fireworks from Southhold to Greenpoint and out to the South Fork villages.
A long hot day spent being utterly unproductive as yesterday's perfect weather has been replaced by temperatures that are too high to do much. After the sun falls behind the trees on the western horizon, I sit on the porch steps and watch the crescent moon hanging just above the treetops, gleaming like a pink pearl on velvet. As the moon dips out of sight, a lime colored glow catches my eye. Shifting focus, I discover a pair of fireflies dancing amid the garden flowers. If there was any lingering doubt after yesterday, I know now it is truly summer.
I'm behind on all fronts. Being out of the office a random day here and there has accumulated, like the drip-drip-drip of moisture that form a stalagmite. The continued job search has taken precious hours on evenings and weekends that would normally have been used for upkeep; as a result the yard and garden are beginning to show signs of neglect and I've done nothing on the many house projects that wait patiently. And on top of it all, I am tired, I long for a week or two all to myself, to sleep, read, knit, dream, and catch up.
I am to be "encouraged to leave." With that, there is no turning back, I must move forward, onwards and upwards, although a good part of me is more than a little disappointed that the die is cast so quickly - he has spent no more than twenty minutes in my presence. I can't say we had a conversation as I was not allowed to freely respond; he talked right over my words.
There are two equally enticing options on the horizon, completely different in the path they would establish, but I have no idea if either is truly possible.
Of course! When you are feeling like utter crap, washed up and bleached out from throwing up in the public arena of the ladies' restroom at the office, that's when you run into That Guy, the one you've been eyeing for months now, the one that has finally started to talk to you about something other than work. After the initial eye contact and a wan smile, I simply hang my head and let Carol do the talking until he leaves.
I don't know which is more humiliating, puking in public or having That Guy see you in the aftermath.
The signs and portents are beginning to align. I've been advised to reprise my hawk imitation, "but with even more flair" - oh, dear me. Everyone take cover; this predator is truly an animal with lethal grace and beautiful ambition. I am encouraged, for lack of a better word, to cast a wide net now, with the promise that the experience gained during the last three years will yield a better harvest.
The problem is, I'm not sure if all of this is in reference to my personal or professional life. Perhaps it doesn't matter when Animal is in control.
I've screwed up this week's entries. I took a day's vacation on Monday, was in the office on Tuesday when I got the lovely pronouncement about my future, and was sick as a dog on Wednesday morning. Which was the final straw, as I've been feeling unwell in an erratic manner since Saturday. The doctor says it is a viral infection - not much to be done but let it take its course. Unable to keep food in my body long enough to do any good, I am now too weak to do anything. Even sit at the computer, apparently.
James Spader delights me in another wickedly, charmingly perverse role, somehow completely and utterly believable. No wonder the young thing from Blockbuster said it was a strange movie; in addition to being completely mainstream America, he was completely lacking the imagination or experience to grasp the fact that what seems full of pain from one point of view can be very empowering from another. We each find ways to define our existence, verify that we exist, are still alive, can still feel something, anything. Many variations exist and some are much more interesting than the very few socially accepted norms.
As I enjoy my morning coffee on the porch after the pool, I have one of those brief moments of complete happiness. It is green and cool outside, the blue sky shining overhead with the promise of a beautiful day, not hot, truly pleasant summer weather as the music of The Police briefly drifts past. As I sit quietly, everything falls away. The job problems don't matter. The missing personal life doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is right here, right now, in this minute of being. A moment of Grace arrives without heraldic accompaniment of art or music.
I often find my life reflected in song lyrics. Or should I say, I know enough song lyrics that I can almost always find one at my fingertips that can suitably be transposed against my life. These days there's one song that keeps coming back in a haunting refrain, one that I refuse to listen to because to do that would somehow be to give in, to capitulate; it's Queen's Somebody to Love. I've no legitimate prospects at this time, except in my dreams. As for "That Guy," he doesn't work for my company, he's a consultant. From Texas.
It's hard to really accept that she has severed the connection. Four months and counting with only one very brief conversation, but I now know that this is entirely by her choice. At this point I cannot judge if my lingering wishes are due to any real emotions or just a by-product of my isolation. There is no best friend to immediately call with news, or to ask if the clothes look OK, or to ponder the significance of the smallest details of some conversation. I lived like this when I first came to New York - but now it's unacceptable.
When he said today that he would be pulled off the project at the end of August, that his Managing Director wants him back --quite understandably, he's very good at what he does-- I was relieved to note I was not the only one a bit taken aback by the news. Six weeks is not a lot of time, but I always knew there was only a very small chance anything real would develop. It seems a given that anyone I find interesting enough to become a personal obsession lives far away or is bound by some religious fervor.
Enlightenment struck this morning on the train, a sudden epiphany while listening to a particular song from the last King Crimson album, an incredible masterpiece called The Power To Believe II. A piece that sent me soaring into space while I melted into my seat when I first heard the final interpretation in concert earlier this year, and every time I've heard it since then. Love, the piece is a musical manifestation of Love, that impossibly beautiful dynamic tension created between delicate, airy atmospheres and a never-ending, roiling energy that gains strength by releasing that energy.
Promises, Promises. That's what the cynical part of me, the pessimist that is right below surface level, said upon hearing the weekly words of wisdom. The rest of me, the realist that is at surface level, and the optimist buried deeply underneath it all, perked up at the words of hope. And lo, the signs and portents today indicate that something is indeed afoot, even if it is only a temporary measure that would give me the breathing room to plan and execute the next manoeuver. The predicted help is materializing on all fronts and I will gladly accept it.
A blank day. Nothing special about it, the normal number of appointments cluttering the day's calendar, nothing of note happening in the evening. A bland day, a blank day. How many of those does a person have in their life? Most people probably have many, it is probably the bulk of their life. I try to find a way to make each day unique, although I have not been having much success lately. The key to making each day individual is to actually take the time to really live it. That's not something I've been doing the last few months.
I'm grasping at straws, and I know it. Any offered entertainment, particularly something that gets me into circulation with people I don't already know, is readily accepted, although I really don't expect anything as a result, other than that time won't be spent in isolation. I am becoming extremely entranced with certain unrealized realities again, and it just isn't productive, not matter how much potential I think there might be contained within the dynamic. So much of my life is consumed with the basics lately, I've had little time to maintain that contact. Which is a good thing, I guess.
A disjointedly busy day, in part because I woke up so late after going to bed in the wee small hours. Only twelve hours in which to do so much, and about the only thing I don't get done is working in the garden. I'm impressed - I know how tired I am, how unmotivated. This would have been a perfect day to just set up a lounge chair in the shade of the back yard, drink iced tea and read, knit or just nap. But I don't have a lounge chair. Somehow, that strikes me as significant and symbolic.
I sat on the porch tonight after the sun had completely set. I watched the flickering of the fireflies dancing across the front yard, listened to the laugher of neighborhood kids still playing outside somewhere, felt the fresh air with its slightly salty tang brush across my skin, delicate as a lover's caress. As I sat in the stillness, I thought life was not at all that bad, yet felt I'd never been more unhappy, both at the same time. It is getting harder to take enough happiness from the smallest gifts of life - the well is running dry.
I listened to the rain before I went to bed last night, when I got up this morning, and then again tonight. It was not enough to refill the well. I daydreamed on the train this morning about my personal obsession / unrealized reality, I finished off a romance novel, I drank elderflower tea while watching Lifetime, and yet none of it is enough, not even when combined; my soul is parched dry. All of my efforts to replenish it are barely enough to get me through that day. Reserves of discipline and indomitable will are sapped by black thoughts.
So there is in fact to be a dramatic shift at work - no longer will I alone shoulder the entire burden as I have for 20 months. I really don't care what their own internal reasoning is for making the change, it is only important that I will be able to give up most of the headaches and focus on security. And after things have begun to settle into the new reality, I will perhaps begin to have a life again, as I will no longer be held captive 24 x 7 by the demons that haunt IT systems.
I tried to explain to someone who only knows the At Work me how remarkable it was that I'd ever been considered for a management position, given my history with the company, my personality and my family background of severe individualism. The VP, who knows me pretty well, admitted he was rather surprised that there wasn't any indication of relief or happiness displayed by my team when they found out they'd get a new manager, that two said they'd rather try to manage internally rather than have someone else come in. Ha! Take that, you unbelievers! I did so succeed!
Even given multiple opportunities to venture into personal territory, he does not make the slightest overture at all. Friendly, polite, that southern charm peeking through his quietly reserved exterior, but absolutely nothing more. And no response from the Local Photography Boy would seem to indicate his similar lack of interest. I'm momentarily terrified I'll end up in a night out with Lainie, be subject to her brazen approach to finding mates for her still-single female friends, chatting up men that catch the eye of the aging spinster, but I so rare see anyone that interests me, I will probably be safe.
A simple but lush dinner with wine on the porch followed by a matching dessert swimming with fresh raspberries does nothing to dispel the black tendrils curling around my soul. I don't have the energy to fend them off this time. Nor do I have the energy to cope with the inevitable affects of allowing them to swirl through me. I have managed to do more than the required minimum, I will take shelter within the clean sheets on the bed and hide from the approaching black mood, as I know I am still tired enough to fall asleep quickly.
Driving west, headed home in the early evening, I listened to Echoes as the fresh air rolled in off the south shore. The sky was a disappointment, grey and overcast, but the scenery was interestingly unfamiliar, as I have rarely traveled this stretch of Montauk Highway. Another day without succumbing to the blackness, the bleakness that has begun dodging my heels; I should be pleased. Instead, I recognize a certain grim determination settling in about me as I prepare for another week, rather like a medieval soldier donning armor before battle. Why do I then think of jousting with windmills?
I don't have the bandwidth to deal with it all. I just don't. Recently life has become a question of deciding what doesn't have to get done TODAY. Sorry, but you are all just going to have to wait. Unwritten emails litter my head, trade magazines are piling up in a backlog, household chores escape me. I was at this point not too long ago, and I promised myself it wouldn't happen again, but gee, here I am. Something's got to shift but it is clear that the priorities of pool and pilates must remain in place a while longer.
I went outside this evening and the moment my bare feet hit the grass I stopped. It is the end of July and I had not yet walked outside in the grass with bare feet. I have not dragged one of the many white plastic chairs to a home in the deep shade of the back yard to sip my weekend morning coffee while looking at the garden. I have not had an afternoon picnic, sprawled out with a book and drinks. Yes, there is much stuff to do but there is a also summer to enjoy while it's here.
Another day spent tired beyond belief, struggling through the day, making some ridiculous mistakes, unable to remember large details while the microscopic details come easily enough to the surface. Afternoon chai doesn't seem to make any difference, again. At 9:00 pm I finally start to wake up, just as I needed to be settling down for the night. I am so off-kilter now I don't want to contemplate what might come next. I somehow need to survive until this weekend, when I plan to sleep. At regular intervals, for extended periods. An afternoon nap in the backyard shade sounds delightful.
MidYear Reviews are done. I am utterly undone, so much time and effort expended. I've finally gotten the hang of this, definitely moved more toward mentoring than managing, just as I move on to other responsibilities. There were individuals who really responded to the encouragement over time, and others that are just beginning to catch on. As usual, the biggest drain to my resources was the individual who doesn't understand that he's part of a team, that his performance causes problems beyond just his individual mistakes. Doubt I'll make a difference to his career, but perhaps I've helped others.
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