April 19, 1999

Existential Blues

(Warning: Existential crisis ahead, filled with much twenty-something angst. Read at your own risk.)

I got asked a question today that I just couldn't answer. Well, no, that's not true. I did know my answer, but it wasn't a satisfying one. Jo and I were talking about our job reviews. I started to complain realizing the difference in attitude - both mine and the company's, from last year. Last year, I was this department's golden child. Everything I did was near-perfect, and I was assured that I would be out of the reception area as soon as possible, on to bigger and better things. I was enthusiastic about my job, and about this company, even though I knew I didn't plan on staying here forever. After several months of applying within the company, and getting door after door slammed in my face, my attitude changed. I kept getting put off. Then with a slew of personal problems, I ended up on probation (which, charmingly enough, I found out today, everyone in the department knows about, due to a talkative former supervisor). Four months from that last review, I went from golden child to problem child. With that change, went any hopes of me being seen as a serious employee here. Now my probation's over, but I'm not going anywhere.

Jo asked me, "So why are you still here?" I shrugged, "It pays well, and for now I don't care enough about what's wrong here to leave," was pretty much my answer. That bothered me. A lot. Here I have a comfy job that pays my bills, but I also have supervisors that see me as a slacker, and one particular co-worker who bitches about me whenever she gets the chance. I guess I never saw myself as quite as much the servant to the almighty dollar. But I am. I'm staying here because the money and the benefits are good, the job's bearable, even if I don't give a shit about it, and because well, where else am I going to go? I don't know where I want to go. No clue at all.

I don't put any of my self into this job. My true self is elsewhere. In my writing, and my friends... but it bothers me that I can usually be complacent with that. Not content. If I was content, I wouldn't be writing this at all. Complacency like this scares me. In my private nightmare visions, I see myself twenty years from now, shackled to this same desk, answering the same dumb phone calls, and still not giving a damn about them. All because I don't know what I want to make out of this life. I've got so damn much potential, and I don't know what to do with it. I feel like it's too late to start anything, that I've fallen too far behind, that I've made too many mistakes to pick up and start over. Or do I want to start over? As what?

When I worked in child care, I threw myself into it. I loved it, and the thought of doing it for the next twenty years of my life didn't strike terror into my heart. Part of me wants to go back to it... but after making what I do... I can't see myself going back to making $13,000 a year. But at the same time, I threw too much of myself into that, as well. That might have just been a boundary issue, and I may have resolved it, but still... the almighty dollar holds sway over us all.

I used to tell myself that would never happen to me. I told myself that a lot, back when I was making $6.50 an hour teaching and taking care of infants and toddlers. Now I've gotten used to having enough to get by on and a little extra.

Oh, enough with the crap. I'm scared. Pure and simple. Scared to stay where I am, scared to move forward, and really scared to go back.

Scared into indecision. Ya know... I found this old conversation, from probably eight or nine months ago. The person called 'Jen' is me. The other person was going to put this on her web page... I don't know that she ever did, so I'll put it here. If you're wondering about the format, it was a conversation done in long distance real-time messages (pages) on a MUSH.

Long distance to Jen: J is depressed by her recent apathy.

Jen pages: Ouch. What's up?

You paged Jen with 'Nothing. Therein lies the problem. Too much of this, and not enough of the shoulds and the creating, y'know?'.

From afar, Jen nods. "I think I understand."

You paged Jen with 'Yeah. I think I do too. And no one's kicking my ass:P'.

Jen pages: Sucks when ya gotta be the one to do that yourself sometimes. :(

You paged Jen with 'Really, but I think it's time I learned how, you know? I have sort of a binge and purge mentality when it comes to work. Obsess for a bit, turn back and be bored.'.

Jen pages: And right now you're bored?

You paged Jen with 'Less bored than apathetic and... scared I think.'.

Jen pages: Scared of what?

You paged Jen with 'I dunno. Failing, I guess. I hate being wrong.'.

From afar, Jen nods. "I'm always more afraid of succeeding, myself."

You paged Jen with 'Rock and a hard place. What do I do if I'm actually a fuck up? What do I do if I'm actually brilliant?'.

From afar, Jen puts a finger on her nose and points at you. "Bingo. That's me in a nutshell."

You paged Jen with 'Yeah. Me too.'.

Jen pages: Funny how we don't seem to worry about being mediocre.

You paged Jen with 'I do. That *terrifies* me.'.

Jen pages: I just figure that I'm one extreme or the other, I suppose...

You paged Jen with 'I just don't want to be like everyone else. I know I'm smarter than a lot of people. Wasting that is a scary thought.'.

From afar, Jen thinks and nods. "Yeah, that's kinda where I'm at right now too. I have a job that -totally- doesn't require my brain."

You paged Jen with 'We should do stuff. Damn Apathy.'.

From afar, Jen chuckles. In my case, it's laziness too.

You paged Jen with 'Bingo. This is creepy.'.

From afar, Jen grins. "We're just typical representatives of our generation, didn't you know that? ;)"

You paged Jen with 'Gah, shoot me now.;)'.

From afar, Jen shakes her head. "Nope. That would take too much effort. ;) Besides, what if I missed?"

You paged Jen with 'LOL!'. [Editor's translation of Netspeak: LOL=Laughs Out Loud]

Jen pages: Or what if I hit? Either way, it's too scary to deal with. ;)

You paged Jen with 'Or what if the gun blows up in my hand?'.

Jen pages: That could happen too!

You paged Jen with 'Anything could, and it's all bad.'.

From afar, Jen nods! We should just stay here, then.

You paged Jen with 'Safe in "cyberspace"'.

Jen pages: Yeah, that's it. :P

Hard to tell who was who there, huh? If that doesn't sum me up, I don't know what does.

Posted by Lisa at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 1999

I Don't Know Where I'm Goin', But I Sure Know Where I've Been...

Well, the good news is, I didn't get fired. And I got a decent review. Maybe there's hope for me yet. Now if I could just figure out what I want to do when I grow up...

I guess I'll just have to not grow up. This could be an option.

I'm very tired today. Some brilliant mind planned for a company-wide meeting this morning at 7:30 AM (?!), and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. Well, okay. I got bits of sleep between messages and poses on Emerald Dreams and New England: The Reckoning. I didn't play much last night... just hung around. I finally got to talk to Brand a little, though. I haven't seen much of him for the past two weeks. I was getting paranoid on that count, too. Paranoia comes much too easily lately. I miss him. And he goes to meet the infamous Third Party in about two weeks. I'm trying not to think about it.

Of course, I am anyway.

I've got the writing bug again... something is fluttering around in my head, batting at my brain with moth wings. It's not even clear if it's a poem or a story, but it wants to be something. I'd like to write something non-Changeling, but whenever I think about writing, that's what comes to my mind. I'm not good at developing ideas. I can run with someone else's. Sometimes one appears to me, nearly full-grown and I can take it and use it. But this tickling feeling that I'm having... I don't know what to do with it. Sadly, a lot of times it gets ignored until it goes away. I want to be brilliant. I know I could be brilliant... the seeds are there. I just don't know what to do with them. I have a horrible black thumb.

I get so pissed sometimes, thinking about my education. I never learned anything really useful in school - in elementary, middle and high school. I learned facts and concepts, yes... but I didn't learn how to really think. Because I was so smart as a child, I never had to work for anything intellectually. So I never learned how to work for anything. That's the biggest reason why I had such trouble in college. In college, things stopped coming so easily, and rather than stepping up and learning how to work... I crumbled and gave up. I'm afraid now that it's too late, and that I've wasted all that wonderful potential that I had - that I still have. I swear, I just want to call up a college and say, "Hi... do you have a course to teach highly intelligent but unmotivated people how to think and work like the rest of the world?"

Part of me is afraid they'd laugh.

The rest of me is afraid they actually have one.

Note: Gifted and Talented education programs don't do what they're supposed to. Or at least, the one in Howell, Michigan didn't.

I feel inept and uneducated and mentally lazy all of a sudden. Damn it, I'm going to write this afternoon.

Posted by Lisa at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 1999

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Well, it's the end of tax season today, which means several things. First, total rampant partying in Support. Our busy season is over! This makes us happy. There's so much food in the office today it's scary. Tomorrow we only work about half a day, plus there's a company-wide meeting to attend. It won't be so bad. And no more weekends, until next January.

Assuming I'm here next January. This leads to the other side of the coin. Performance reviews are also in the process of going on. I'm feeling completely and utterly paranoid. Mine's tomorrow, and a part of my brain is fairly certain I'm going to get fired. It's a long story. Back in August, I was put on probation, mostly for tardiness and absenteeism. It was kind of a tough summer in a lot of ways, and I knew there was a problem. I was given two months. I thought I had improved in that two months. October comes, and I'm told that I have improved, but not enough. We changed my schedule to the late shift every day. And I was put on six months of probation. That six months is up. My supervisor seems to be avoiding the whole topic of doing my review. I bring it up and he makes excuses. He's a nice guy, and he likes me. He wasn't here when all that stuff went down this summer. Every time the subject comes up, he goes and talks with his supervisor - who was here last summer, and was, in fact, the one to put me on probation.

So I'm paranoid. I just want to shake someone and say, "Look, if you're going to fire me, tell me now so I can at least start looking for another job!" This is probably also why I've been reconsidering moving out of my apartment. I'm scared to. What happens if I move to a new, more expensive apartment, and then wind up with no job? No way do I want to deal with that. Easier to just stay where I am. Ah well. What happens, happens.

Actually, I'm trying to make that my attitude about most things: whatever happens, happens. I'm trying. It's not easy. There are so many things I want to fight for. To fight about. To just plain fight. Inevitable things. Part of me thinks I could hold them back, if I could just find the right words, or do the right thing, or act the right way.

I can't.

There are some things that end up being almost carved in stone. I'm coming to realize just how much our emotions and our reactions to things are controlled by our perceptions. If we think we will feel a certain way, or that we will react a certain way... to whatever, then that's how we react or feel. Very often, we think ourselves into our feelings, for good or for bad. That's what I'm seeing now. Trying to stop it is like trying to stop a hurricane with a piece of plywood. The best I can do is hang on and shutter my windows.

The hatches are battened. This is going to be a rough month or so, I think.

I think. There. See how that works?

It's stuck in my head, and it's as moody as I am. Or moodier. So it's posted here. "Lovesong" by The Cure. Yeah, yeah, quit bitching. I could have posted "Pictures of You" instead.

whenever i'm alone with you you make me feel

like i am home again whenever i'm alone with

you you make me feel like i am whole again

whenever i'm alone with you you make me feel

like i am young again whenever i'm alone with

you you make me feel like i am fun again

however far away i will always love you however

long i stay i will always love you whatever

words i say i will always love you i will always

love you

whenever i'm alone with you you make me feel

like i am free again whenever i'm alone with

you you make me feel like i am clean again

however far away i will always love you however

long i stay i will always love you whatever

words i say i will always love you i will always

love you

Posted by Lisa at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 1999

A Day in the Life...

Speak Freely's April collab entry poses this question: If you could relive one single day in your life, what day would it be and what would you do differently? How do you think it would affect the way your life has been since that day?

I thought about this a lot. I even asked a couple coworkers what they thought. Jo's answer was interesting. "I wouldn't change anything, even the bad things, because I learned from all of it." That's about how I felt. I've gone through some awful things. But to change any of them would alter who I am now. I learned a lot from some of the worst things ever to happen to me. Jo and I also both agreed that we'd probably relive one of the bad days as opposed to one of the good days. Although I'm still thinking about that.

This whole thing has got me thinking... I've had some really memorable days, which is a good thing. I hated to realize how much of my life is a blur sometimes. I guess though, right now, the time I want most to relive is part of my trip to California about a month and a half ago (mentioned in journal entries Feburary 23, February 25, and February 26). Saturday, actually... February 27th of this year. Not a bad day. A memorable day.

The actual events were pretty tame, for the most part. It was just the whole... tone of the day. Brand and I wandered a bit, driving around the Northridge area. We were trying to find a theatre that was showing "Shakespeare in Love". Instead, we found one showing "Elizabeth", so we saw that. Later, we did find a theatre that was showing "Shakespeare in Love". The two make good companion movies. I recommend seeing them in that order. I didn't learn anything about myself, really (or if I did, I haven't realized it yet). I just had a good day, spent with someone I care about. We're both talkers, and we managed to ramble over a wide variety of subjects, from history to gaming to literature to psychology. It almost seems like that weekend was one long conversation, interrupted only by sleep and gaming (which is a conversation of sorts in and of itself).

Just being physically close to someone who already meant a great deal to me before the trip - it was wonderful. It's great to finally put a face and mannerisms to an already familiar voice and mind. That one day also contained nearly every worthwhile emotion there is. Joy, sorrow, hate, love, lust, fear... all of it. In one day, the good and the bad. I learned a lot of little factual things, and, painfully, I learned (or re-learned) how it feels when feelings in a relationship are not completely mutual. To anyone who knows me at all, it's no great surprise to learn that I do care about Brand in as much a romantic way as a platonic way. And I knew going into the trip that the feelings weren't exactly mutual. We've been very honest about our feelings, the three of us involved here. (Yes, there is a third person.) But you still hope. When we met, there was physical attraction, which only complicated things. I love him, and he loves me. I'm perfect as I am... as his best friend. I can deal with that. Just give me time.

What would I do differently? There are several things I would do differently, but most of it is nothing I would put here. I'm not sure what it would change. I don't think it would have changed much of anything... except that I wouldn't be left with a few "I should haves" and "I wish I hads".

Looking back, I chose this day because it feels complete somehow. Nothing was missing, really. Although, if I relived it... I think I'd wear shorts.

Posted by Lisa at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 1999

Next on Geraldo... Precognitive Moms!

This might end up being sort of stream-of-consciousness... I've had a lot of things on my mind lately, and I have no idea what's going to come out here. You've been warned. My mom called me today before I got to work, and left voice mail for me. She sounded worried, but insisted that there was nothing wrong. So, I called her back, got her voice mail. Ten minutes later she called. "So what's up?" I finally asked, and after a pause, she asked about the mole I have on my cheek. She sounded almost... sheepish. After hemming and hawing, she finally admitted that she's been dreaming about me again. My mom and dreams. I have long maintained that my mother is precognitive, but only where I'm concerned. It's a mom thang. When I was living in Tennessee, she would always call when things were their bleakest, because she was dreaming about me again. In fact, shortly before I left my ex-husband, my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother all had bad dreams about me. It was a little weird.

Suffice to say, when my mother calls and tells me she's been dreaming about me, I usually assume I'm overlooking something wrong with me. Either that, or I feel guilty, because there is something wrong with me, and I've been hiding it from her. That was usually the case when I was at the beginning of a depressive episode. She'd always know it before I told her, even if I was living 600 miles away. Well, I'm not depressed, really, but I have been sort of in the dumps lately. I'm wondering if that's what she's picking up. At any rate, she doesn't think so. What she's fixated on is the mole on my cheek. It's an icky mole that sprouts hairs, and I hate it. Mom has it in her head that it's the beginning of skin cancer. I guess she and my grandmother both had something similar. So, I'm off to start calling doctors. Again, better safe than sorry. Mom usually picks up on what's wrong with me.

In the dumps. Oh yeah. It might just be a hormone thing, or a sick thing, since I'm just getting well. I've been a bit paranoid. I think a friend of mine is lying to me. In fact, I'm pretty sure they are. However, I can't bring it up to them. I found out the truth by snooping where I shouldn't have snooped. How can I say, "Hey, I know you're lying and here's why.."? I was wrong in what I did. Doesn't change the hurt feeling, though. It's one of those cases where the lie itself was intended to protect my feelings. That almost makes it worse. So I've been paranoid. I'm curious, if any of you have been in a similar situation, where you find someone out in a lie through an unscrupulous action of your own. What did you do? How did you deal with it? If you want to share your story, email me from the link below. I'm kinda stuck on this one.

Also been way too jealous lately. I'm getting over it though. I think. Well, either I'm getting over it or it's being replaced by apathy. Either way, it doesn't hurt as much anymore.

I think I'd be happy if I could just get that goddamned Britney Spears song out of my head. Bleah. I'm so ashamed. I've been liberally dosing myself with intelligent music in hopes of driving it away.

Oh, and go to your comic store and get the first issue of Aria, from Image Comics. The second issue is supposed to be out today. I haven't found it yet. You'll get a good glimpse into the Changeling world. Or at least, my vision of it. If you want more info on Aria, go check out the web page for Avalon Studios. It's a pretty cool site.

If only I could just stop singing...

     My loneliness is killing me
     I must confess, I still believe (still believe)...


Posted by Lisa at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 1999

Monochrome World?

Well, I thought about pulling some sort of April Fool's joke for my journal entry, but I couldn't really come up with anything clever enough. So instead, I went and created a notify list, woohoo! If you're interested in joining, just so you can be among the first to hear when I update... there's a link at the bottom of the page.

I'm still hacking and coughing from last week. I'm pretty sure it's bronchitis, again. It's an annual thing. Here's what pisses me off. Every year I get this, and every year, after I've been coughing about a week, my doctor tells me to come on in. I called them today to set up an appointment. First they tell me that they don't have any appointments free for a week. Then they have me talk to a nurse to (and I quote) "triage my call". The nurse talks to me for a while, and then tells me to take some cough syrup and call back if it gets worse. I think it's time to find a new clinic. This one's just a wee bit too crowded. If I'd had enough breath, I would have yelled at her. I am going to stop and get the cough syrup on the way home, though.

Yesterday was as perfect an early spring day as Michigan ever comes up with. I mean perfect. When I went out for lunch, it was 74 degrees and sunny, and best of all... windy. I love windy days. I always have. There's just something about feeling the wind blowing through my hair. Sometimes I think that's one of the biggest reasons I keep my hair long, just so I can feel the wind tugging at it on windy days. I can remember being a kid and standing on our front porch when it was windy, and pretending I was on a cruise ship (well, granted, this was the 70s, so I'll admit it: I pretended I was on The Love Boat - I'm so ashamed!). I suppose if I were the same kid now, I'd be pretending I was Kate Winslet or something. Yup. I'm pretty sure I would be. Hey, I never claimed to have had any taste as a child. Didn't I just mention watching "The Love Boat"?

Anyway... since yesterday was so gorgeous, I spent my lunch hour at a park here in town. It's a great little place. Very wooded, with a good sized stream running through it. Give me a bench there on a windy, sunny day, and I'm completely happy. I sat there, and I marvelled at how much color there was around me. It's amazing how monochrome my visual world usually is. I work in an office with no window view. My world is hedged in by cubicle walls, all gray. Neutral office furniture. Fluorescent lighting. You get the idea. My home space isn't much better, in terms of color. White apartment walls. I've never been much of a decorator. Having things on my walls just for the sake of having things on my walls has never appealed. I like the things on my walls to actually have some sort of meaning to me. Finding those things takes a while. Usually those sorts of things find you.

So. Monochrome world. Most people would go mad, right? I realized why I don't. In fact, I realized why it's taken me two years to even recognize the 'dullness' of my external surroundings. Most of my focus, most of my attention, gets turned inward. I do most of my living inside my head. Well, the parts of living that really count, anyway. Where my external world is colorless and bland, my internal world is vibrant, alive, rich. My imagination and my thoughts color and decorate that world. My headspace is a place I've carefully cultivated - grown throughout the years to a place where I can be anything I want to be, try anything I want to try. I do a lot of living in my imagination. It's a place where I'm very comfortable. Care and feeding of this interior space is pretty easy: lots of music, reading, writing, role-playing... everything contributes.

Here's the catch. No balance. It takes a 'real' experience, like being in the park yesterday, to point out that the physical world itself can contribute to the internal world as well, if I let it. The divider between my internal and my external walls needs to be more like a cell wall than a brick wall. Osmosis between the two worlds is a good thing.

Posted by Lisa at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)