Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Trees - Denial - Rapture

I am working a lot which is great this time of year for a single person living alone.  There is some forced Christmas cheer going on at work.  We always have a Christmas tree and one OCD person always puts it up.  They decided this year that they did not have the time so and innocent new person with nothing to do called their manager and got permission to put the tree up.

Well apparently there was a scene in front of customers when the keeper of all things arrived to find the tree up. This person has done this before and I am sure the outburst was more about the fact they had fallen short of their normal duties.  When you believe you are the only person that can do anything correctly and then someone has the nerve to do it and not meet your standard of perfection then this is reason for a meltdown.

Nothing will happen it will just be one more story about this person to spread throughout the company.  I was happy I was working at home like I am today.  I only know what happened because I innocently commented on how beautiful the tree looked..

This time of year feels like a farce to me and reminds me of when I use to force Christmas when I lived with alcoholism. We were pretending that there wasn't a volcanic eruption just below the surface and that any moment the relationship would be covered with molten lava.

I was so afraid of losing everything that I just kept moving.  I was doing all the things that other people do at Christmas.  Hoping that the outside decorations would somehow transform the horrible loneliness and fear I felt on the inside.  I pushed out reality by staying busy I was afraid of losing the one person I felt really knew and loved.

The year he left at Thanksgiving by Christmas I was still deep in denial and guilted him to go with me to cut down a Christmas tree like we had done every year we were together.  I didn't know that his girlfriend was impatiently waiting back at her apartment. I used my Al-Anon persuasion to get him to go with me.  I was going to pretend nothing had changed. I didn't know about the girlfriend and thought maybe we could talk things through and re-kindled something.

I did find out months later and the truth of my situation sent me to Al-Anon. The severity of the situation broke open the fortress of denial I had been living in alone. No Christmas tree or lights on the house or candles in the windows could mask the truth anymore.  I was awake for the first time and the pain like nothing I had ever felt.

Since then I have stopped hiding behind the Christmas fanfare. Since getting in the program my internal life is not dependent on these rituals to complete me.  Some years years I do a tree and some years I don't.  During my last relationship my ex wasn't that interested either way so it felt like I was alone with the idea of Christmas trees and decoration. At that point I wasn't interested in forcing another Christmas tree purchase on anyone.

I am a little sad this year that my life is only full of mostly work. I can't change the path that my life has taken or mentally erase the past.  I was sitting and eating my lunch yesterday and remembered one Christmas when we were going north to the in-laws for the holiday and had decided to open our gifts before heading to the airport.  We made a huge mess and just left. My friend stopped to check on the house and he said it looked like the rapture had taken place and we had been taken right in the middle of Christmas.  The memory brought tears to my eyes and then laughter. Life goes on.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Passion - trapped

I have been watching a lot of documentaries on Netflix. I am not that interested in fiction anymore. Maybe because I have been living in the fantasy inside my head  for so long I not sure I want to spend time in another persons fantasy.

The ones I have been watching are about passion to do complete something and the drive or creative process behind that.  I watched the story of Elmo and his creator and then last night the Indie Games the story behind some of the geeks that are creating top independent video games.

Both stories were similar in that they were passionate and it never occurred to them to do something else instead. The Elmo creator and puppeteer made his first puppet out of his dad's coat lining after watching Sesame Street.  Luckily his dad was supportive and told him to ask next time. His story was what you imagine it would be like if you were born to do something specific.

The geeks were a little different for sure obsessed but because they were pressured to release their games at a certain time their lives were full of stress.  One person coding day and night for years. Some worked in pairs but others were totally isolated for years without money and even without a car. The movie was about the successful ones that have now made millions who are now working on new games.

I could relate to their suffering it reminded me of the time I spent during the recession without customers feeling stressed and trapped wondering whether I should just quit and go back to my previous profession. I had invested so much time and money at that point but with the lack of success I wasn't sure what to do.  I was there alone in the office waiting for customers to come in and at that point the were coming in maybe once a week.

Sometimes you are at a crossroad but sometimes you are way past that crossroad and in a space of complete emotional exhaustion.  In my case when I looked at the jobs out there in my old profession it made me feel physically sick. Mentally I don't think I would have been able to pretend to be excited about a new position during an interview.

I had left that part of me behind and I couldn't go back. Those were some of the worst years of my life and I do feel grateful at this moment that I am busy and happy where I am. It was the right move for me to leave my old profession and it was the right move for me leave that small shop and work for a larger company.

Both decisions were forced on me for different reasons.  They made me have to re-invent myself and accept that the plan I had for my life was going to be different. It didn't make it easier that I was having to do that with my personal life too.

The good news is that I made it and feel like a success.  Even though didn't have millions waiting for me like the game developers did. It all worked out even though I couldn't imagine how it was going to at the time.

In the big picture passion can seem clamorous but in the day to day it can be a grind to stick with something when you can't imagine it will ever end.  The thing you once loved stops being fun but you just have to get up and do it anyway. You have gone too far to turn back.

I love design and I love anything creative.  I am happy that I made through both transitions and work in a field makes good living and allows me to be creative.  Happy to be no longer stuck.