the myth has long since been disproved. it was quashed the day you set foot on campus, walked up to your dorm, and discovered that your last-minute roommate was not going to become your best friend for life. it was refuted when the magical lady who shared months of night shifts with you woke up cold and distant after the two of you left everything and everyone behind for austin. the workplaces and bars and jaunts around town lake were all scanned intensely for signs that never appeared.
the myth that you would meet your soulmate and star-powered friends by virtue of being in the right place at the right time.
yet, maybe it’s different this time–no, it must be–when you walked into this church a month or so ago.
and, why not? if you’re expecting God to align you with all the right people each time changes happen in life, then you should probably start in God’s house, rather than man’s or the devil’s houses.
i’ve been waking up mornings with a lot of sadness lately. i chalk most of this up to not drinking nearly as much caffeine, for the afternoon i popped a guarana and had some coffee, i woke up the next morning feeling perfectly fine.
but, i think the caffeine might just be masking or holding me up from the dark places my mind wants to go in dreams.
the inner life can be a nasty double-edged sword sometimes. yes, it’s much more rewarding to be guided by some sense of right and wrong deep inside that is ancient and lost to most people, but too much time spent listening to the siren’s song of what’s inside you can find you lost in the past–sometimes your own, and often that achingly sweet nostalgia of dreams you never lived.
the next place i work won’t see me hoping and trying to turn my coworkers into best friends. i won’t look to them as future quasi-family, greedily anticipating the happy hour where we all cement lifelong bonds. i don’t expect this from the church i’m going to, either. while it seems ripe with potential for that sort of thing, i can’t reasonably be of a mind to continue to impose my dreamer’s will upon God’s reality.
and, maybe it wasn’t primarily an urge to live in another city that kept me looking for jobs elsewhere these past few years, but an urge to live renewed and apart from the old e.
even the uw folks, who never really bought into my little e world, were often touched by whiny, mama’s boy e, rather than the man who was eventually wrought from the sorrow of no longer having anyone for whom to be a mama’s boy.
i am no longer looking for an other to balm those icky cuts of the heart. i don’t need a confidante to hear me complain about how i was wronged by this or that driver or coworker throughout the day. such litanies of bitchiness should have been left back in the nursery, and maybe a drastic veering off away from the inner compass during my youth is what prompted me to simply cover up the infantile things rather than completely eliminate them.
we see some kind of paradox or irony here–that a young man so intense on exploring his inner self–almost overbearing in his pride at not following the group–had overlooked so many little things about himself on the inside that should have been eradicated before he ever left the nursery.
but, then again, perhaps this isn’t so much a case of irony as proof that one cannot really shape and change and grow without the constant feedback of others. the imperative is to distinguish between emulating others in a superficial way–following their fads and fashions and appearances and attempting to copy them–versus carefully observing how some inner part of one’s self is impacting one’s ability to negotiate with the outside world.
there was this commercial that was running constantly before i left my cable tv behind. it depicted this large wheel of cheese sitting on a counter, talking to a man in a doctor’s white coat. each sequence showed the wheel of cheese: tell an annoying joke, somehow apply a kick me sticker to the man’s back, then finally greet the man with a hearty, manly “how are you today, sir?” — and the point was that the cheese cracker company allows their cheese to mature before they use it.
for whatever reason, it stuck with me.
ever since my meltdown at uw, and my deep soul-probing where i continually asked why or how i was able to make lots of mce friends and succeed in getting to the point where i was practically an equal with the president, doing sales, tradeshows and participating in strategy discussions–only to find myself at uw a schmuck subservient to the likes of lp, constantly putting up with her suggestions based on one and a half years’ worth of professional experience and knowing she made almost twice as much as me.
and, in the vernacular there, the word “professional” continually leaping into everyone’s vocabulary. while i had successfully negotiated deals, traveled to trade shows and conferences and spoken at length with a variety of clients, but i was still somehow deemed unprofessional and immature by this bunch. part of it was my historical unwillingness to get mixed up with the muckety mucks there, after what had eventually happened at mce. and part of it, i think, was due to people like j and d simply wanting to keep a much more intelligent employee at bay, on a tight leash, or whatever, and keep the web bitch as a web bitch rather than as an equal architect of the organization’s future.
at least j made me feel like my input and opinions mattered somewhat, and were being relayed to the right people.
but, what a farce after he left!
so, to be boxed into that role, to suddenly find myself having gone from being integral, to being useful, to being used–it smarted terribly.
the real head-scratcher to me–both at mce after b came in and laid to waste anything i had in the way of input and at uw during all this transition of bringing in bizarre volunteers from all corners of the earth–is that at the time right before i was reduced from being integral to useful to used, i was incredibly loyal to the organization, and really felt like i would be called upon to contribute in a meaningful way, rather than being reduced to a tool for much smarter people to manipulate as they pleased. to invest of yourself that way into an organization, to drink the koolaid, to become a true believer, and then discover that you are shut out from meetings where even your core professional skill set would be of value (much less anything tied to organizational strategy and messaging)–it not only smarts, but it puzzles you: why would a company or non-profit cultivate an employee to be steeped in its message, mission, vision and history, and spend money on the employee’s professional training, only to toss him away when it could have relied on him the most?
this isn’t just me, either. i’ve seen colleagues get treated the same way. for instance, this vista r has developed a program or initiative and its brand, and cultivated the participants for it like nobody else