Friday, October 31, 2008

Conundrum of Thoughts

Relationships stagger me in their volatility sometimes. They can be won or lost in an instant. One moment the connection is there, the next it has disappeared. You can be walking unsuspectingly down the street and have your life changed in an instant by meeting a new soul that coheres with your own.

Due to the first point made, I do wonder why so much effort should be put towards relationships, for friendship or romance, if you stand the risk of losing it at any moment. Having stake in another person can lead to emotional demise if life paths split. Being that one cannot control or influence another person in any real manner, it does seem like a futile aspiration. Pouring yourself into another's life is risky business, without any guarantee of a return on the investment that you made in them. Your efforts may be reciprocated, or may not.

And yet, we were created to crave human relationships. A deep want in us to have that soulful affiliation with another which cannot be denied, at least not without the risk of becoming a miserable and hardened person. A soul dies without connection. We feed off of that fastening of ourselves to another life, as the power supply that energizes and revives us.

Adam walked in the Garden with the very presence of God every dusk. And yet, he was lonely. This is such an illustration of our need, our undeniable necessity of human interaction and relationship. To stroll with God, and yet have a hole in a deep part of himself. Its an exceptional, and somewhat absurd, thought and yet it is part of our engineering: to need another human to fill our lives.

This is a difficult concept for me to grasp: to need someone else. I don't particularly like to need anything. Especially another person who has the ability to leave me, to hurt, to disappoint. No, thanks. I'd rather be completely self-sufficient. Call it harsh, but I believe that some of your reading this can relate to that on some level. I am by no means saying that this is a good way to be. It simply is. And yet, I am cognizant of the reality that not only will I never be able to be without human relationship, but a life devoid of kinship would merely be a passing of 70 or 80 years. It would not be a life.

Besides, it cannot be refuted that nothing else on earth can bring the same joy, the same comfort, the same satisfaction as the human relationship. Not even chocolate can do that. This knowledge is the driving force behind taking the risk of becoming involved, in letting another person invade my personal space. Yes, I receive an emotional battering from this on occasion. But pain reminds us that we are alive and in this case can reveal that we have felt and been felt by another person, made evident by their absence.

Please do not misunderstand, I have no intent nor desire to ostracize myself. While there is an inherent tendency to be a social hermit, I do not succumb to it. At least not too often. I am merely poignantly stating thoughts as to the reasons behind our ambitions driven by nature, and the oft contradictory character of our desires and personalities. It is, after all, interesting how we can fight with conundrums that make up ourselves. The lack of straightforwardness behind personalities, souls and minds is reminiscent of the reality that it takes more than a lifetime to really know oneself. That all of the grey parts that construct a person have no real definition for most of our time on earth.

Life really is a journey of discovery.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." ~Flavia Weedn

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soliloquy of Stillness

There is a certain quality of stillness that is tremendously enticing. And yet not something that one can oft achieve. Particularly when you are someone like me who just simply cannot stop thinking. Not even for a fraction of a second. There is a certain irritation that accompanies the inability get that grey matter in one's head to simply be still for just a while.

I don't find myself to be a particularly envious person. Especially not of the opposite gender. However, I am covetous of the male mind on one point: it can actually accomplish the feat of not thinking. At all. Men utterly confound me with their proficiency to not think. Like, actually, not think. The capacity of the male mind to shut down any and all analytical reasoning is astounding. And I want that.

There is a comedian whose name escapes me right now that has a fabulous sketch on the differences between the male and female minds. How womens' brains are able to focus on many different tasks simultaneously and are incapable of rest. Men, however, are only able to focus on a single thing at a time. The male mind is like a chest of drawers and everything is categorized into its own separate drawer. But, alas, the male mind has a drawer specifically set aside for nothing. Nothing! This drawer is aptly labeled "The Nothing Drawer."

Ladies, you have to be able to relate to my invidiousness to this skill. Can you imagine even a few seconds of sheer mental stillness? And yet, how many times have you asked your man what he is thinking about and he looks at you with this dumb look on his face and says.... "uuuuuhhhhh..... Nothing." Now, your immediate natural and well-understandable reaction to this most likely goes something like this: "How can you not be thinking about anything? Nothing? Not one little thing? Nothing at all?"

Ugh. The word "jealousy" does not begin to scratch the surface of my sentiments towards this ability. It would just be marvelous to be able to be completely and simply still. Just once!

But, alas and alack, I was born with the wrong chromosomes for this talent. I suppose that I shall have to just continue on with my constant ponderings and over-analytical brainal functions.

I'm going to hope and pray that "Nothing Boxes" are on sale this Black Friday. I will stock up on them and perhaps sell a few on Ebay. I'm sure I would be able to finance my private island off of that. And before you ask, yes, I shall set one aside for you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grievances, Punching Bags and Private Islands

Today was yet another day of wondering if I should have my head examined. My morning and afternoon were reminiscent of the thanksgiving turkey right after it had been decapitated before it made its way to your dinner table. There's a great mental picture for you. Anyhoo, stress seems to be in the air at the office, with no one able to run away from it. I believe that it gets into the vents, and well... There is no escape. I may need to invest in surgical masks.

The non-stop-so-you-better-buckle-up-and-learn-how-to-ride-it-out-graciously theme is our company motto. There never seems to be any downtime that exceeds 2.7 seconds. Ever. This is cause for approximately 8.3 mental breakdowns per hour, split between my office roomie and myself. Granted, it is not a 50-50 split. More like 70-30, with myself being the guilty party. I've discovered recently that I really do have a knack for complaining. This isn't a good thing, considering that there is no career path geared towards Professional Complainer. If there were, I could be a millionaire and buy a private island and then have to be more creative in finding things to complain about. Like the lack of coconuts for my pina coladas. Speaking of private islands, did you know that you can find relatively cheap islands for sale on the internet? I'm looking into it quite seriously, dependant on the outcome of the election.

The verse "do all things without complaining or arguing" has harassed the forefront of my mind lately. I personally think that God was a little too optimistic about the human race when he formed that thought. Being a chronic complainer who is attempting to rid myself of bemoaning, it just seems to me that our dear Lord may have entirely too much faith in my ability to shut my piehole. Venting keeps me from hurting people at work. Or taking a nail gun to my eyeball. Or yelling "WE'RE CLOSED!!" every time a co-worker opens my office door. Oh wait... Yeah, I'd continue to do that one regardless.

Perhaps I need a proxy for my grievances. Like a punching bag. That may help. Or maybe I can channel my frustrations into knitting scarves and blankets and then sell them on to pay for my island. Speaking of which, you simply must see my lovely sister's lovely creations on her Etsy store if you haven't already. Its basically baby barrette heaven.

Oh well. On my quest for a complaint-free attitude, I shall just continue to force my mouth to stop spewing word vomit by stuffing it with food. God bless stress eating. Quite frankly, I would have been committed by now if it weren't for mashed potatoes and ice cream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lessons in How to Talk Without Moving Your Face

Ah, yes, fall. The season of sweaters, hayrides and pumpkin spice lattes. Flip-flops are replaced with socks and boots. Watermelon is no longer readily available, but soup makings can be found highlighted on end-caps at grocery stores. There is that delicious smell in the air of the trees shedding their leaves... One cannot help but inhale the scent deeply.... and then promptly start sneezing.

Ah, yes, fall. The season of Zyrtec, tissues and lots of Advil for those sinus headaches. Clear nasal passages are replaced with the sniffles. Unblocked ears are no longer around, but post-nasal drip is in abundance. Along with watery eyeballs, infections galore and sneezing. One must not forget the sneezing.

Ah, yes, fall. Not exactly the season of glory for those of us cursed with "The Allergy," as I oft like to call it. As if it were a living being with a full-fledged personality of awfulness. Sometimes it feels like that is very true.

This allergy season has blessed me with a new low: sinus issues in the form of toothaches. Toothaches! I mean, seriously, it is extraordinarily unnecessary. Last night found me popping ibuprofen more often than recommended in an attempt to get the throbbing to stop. Top and bottom rows of teeth just ached. Not to mention the entire right side of my face hurt. So. Not. Fun. At first, I attributed the nasty achy-ness to a massive cavity I had filled one year ago in a top, right molar. But then, I realized that it was probably not the case, what with all of my teeth on that side hurting and my face feeling like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. Tack on the fact that I had suffered from a sinus headache all day and... ding, ding, ding! What do we have for today's lucky winner, Johnny?

I do occasionally use my brainal faculties for such things as thinking. I find it useful, rather than letting my cranium go to complete waste and all. I remembered my father going to the denist a few years ago with a toothache and discovering that it was not anything rotting away in there, but just drainage from his all-wonderful sinuses. This was, actually, a slight consolation, as I was seeing my bank account depleting before my watery eyes at the thought of needing a root canal on the aforementioned massive filled cavity. Considering that I don't have dental insurance, I may have had to sell my first born or a liver or something to pay for the damage of that impending bill.

In case you've never tried it, allow me to enlighten you: it is rather difficult to talk without moving your face. Or lips. Or tongue, for that matter. I experienced about 45 minutes of sheer ouchiness before the ibuprofen took full effect, in which time moving said facial muscles was not found to be a good idea. Naturally, Bella, Momma's little angel face of a kitty, decided that those 45 minutes would be an opportune time to start crawling all over Momma. Its tremendously difficult to reprimand an animal when you can't move your face. Or talk. Particularly when said animal doesn't understand English, not to mention some perverse version of the language that sounds more like grunts and squeals. Although that may be more up her communication alley....

Thankfully, today has been better. I'm sticking to softer, lukewarm foods. Hot, cold, hard, or chewy consumables aren't going to be on the menu for the next few days to avoid a breakdown due to tooth pain. I don't think that my health insurance would foot a bill for me being institutionalized due to a toothache...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

One of my all time, absolute favoritest things in life is watching someone that I've known for years go through a metamorphosis into the person that God has created them to be. As well as raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, however, that's an entirely different blog. But, in complete seriousness, its a thrill for me to just sit back and watch this person's eyes glow with excitement over the new found discovery of themselves. To watch the person that they've been trying to be for so long melt away in the presence of the person that they really are and who they have been trying so hard to repress for so long.

Its a powerful sight to behold. Especially being aware of the potential that people you know and love have, and yet they simply have no inkling as to how amazing they really are, how talented they are, how extraordinary they are. How there isn't a single other person on earth who has the same mix of gifts, of quirks, of experiences. How they are completely and utterly unique and, at the risk of sounding cliche, that God threw out the mold after he made them.

Why is it that we are often so afraid to be extraordinary? That we have passions for certain things, and yet we are too cowardly to pursue them? That we are abashed to reach beyond the extent of ourself into the glorious realm of God's ideas for our lives? These limitations that we willingly place on ourselves confine the possibilities of our potential. They force us into a small box of what we consider to be the extent of our capabilities, rather than the universe of our actual capacity, through the extension of the arm of God. What is it that we are so afraid of? Rejection? Failure? Success?

I personally believe that one of the best places that you can be in life is when you genuinely reach the point of not caring about other's opinions of you. Not in the obnoxious sense, but in the sense of being secure enough in who you are to be able to move forward without the self-consciousness that is such a struggle for most. To be free of worry in how you are perceived. That, I believe, is one of the greatest personal victories one can acheive. It permits you to be all that you can be (I can't believe I just used an army slogan!) without fear of reproach.

So, to this friend (you know who you are!), and to other friends daring enough to be themselves, I salute you. I will be following along in your footsteps on the path of being me.... Once I figure out the heck who that is....

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Strengthening of Recognition

In the past few years, I began to set certain goals for myself. Strange goals, mind you. Not goals in the sense of what one normally thinks when one determines to set about on a mission of accomplishment. The first of said goals was this: make a point of unexpectedly complimenting people. Particularly people with whom I have no relationship. Now, this may sound odd, to go about randomly complimenting utter strangers. But most people, particularly us womenfolk, get a sensational boost when lauded over our choice of shirt color, shoes or even lipstick. I've found in the past that a simple compliment can lift my spirits for the remainder of my day, in a way similar to when one wears those cute new undies for the first time. Don't laugh, girls. You know exactly what I'm talking about!

Compliments received can become the donee's little secret, a private moment of pleasure in what very well may otherwise be a mundane day. It tends to stick to you, like a little bit of glue that concertedly brings the pieces of your day together. There is just something about being noticed, unanticipated, that can be a hallelujah moment.

Part of the human condition is often that feeling of blending in with the crowd, as if you were just white noise in the midst of a hurricane, insignificant in the grandeur of the surrounding atmosphere. I doubt that there is a single person on earth who would not be able to relate to that sensation of being in the melting pot, of not having a differentiator that allows one to be unique. We have been hardwired from birth to want to be an exclusive, a one-of-a-kind. And yet, in the insanity that some call life, one can feel like just a small drop in the coffee pot of humanity.

Being noticed by a complete stranger in the hallway that yes, in fact, your shoes are quite stunning can give you that sense of being just a little bit different from everyone else. To be acknowledged that there is something about you that stands out, that is noticeable, can be rather exhilarating. Call it silly, but I have found it to be true in my own life and so I imagine that others would find the recognition of that discriminate in themselves through the simplicity of a compliment to be a day brightener as well.

I've seen sad faces lifted, weary smiles strengthened and a little extra spring added to another's steps by a few simply spoken words. There is just something about being noticed, isn't there?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lessons in How to Destroy Your Self Esteem

In case you ever find yourself in a place where perhaps your self esteem is a bit too stable, or you feel that your sense of self worth is finally secure, or that you may actually be semi-intelligent, I have discovered the cure-all for all forms of self assured-ness: simply attempt to learn a language. Seriously, you'll be remedied without delayed. As in, pronto, unhesitatingly, and tout de suite. That's pretty darn fast.

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Guatemala, I am making a very valiant effort to reacquaint myself with the Spanish language. This will be my first experience in a foreign land with foreign people who speak a foreign language. That's alot of foreign-ness. I have long wanted to speak another language and discovered that this trip was the motivation that I've needed to actually do something about it.

So, to I went to order Level 1, Latin America Spanish CDs from Instant Immersion. Which is guaranteed to prepare you for everday conversations on Spanish-speaking countries in just 8 easy lessons. Mind you, I have hardly uttered a syllable of Spanish in 6 years....

After a week of anxiously awaiting the arrival of said CDs, they finally show up on my doorstop. Oh, joy!! I eagerly popped in lesson one... And, what do you know, those 2 semester of Spanish in college were actually worth something. I flew through it. I even almost remembered how to pronounce all the letters of the alphabet. I recalled words like "house" and "but" and "hello." Oh, joy!! I was well on my way to being a full-fledged speaker of foreign-ness!

Then came lesson 2. And all the fun of lesson 2 that came in the form of verb conjugations. I mean, really, that's just unnecessary. Ugh. Right away, I opened the window of my apartment and tossed out my self esteem. It was gone. No longer did I feel smart from my 32 weeks of Spanish in college. No longer was I bouncing around the kitchen, cooking dinner, and repeating after the very nice sounding lady on the CD to my cat, who just looked at me as if I am insane. Which is nothing new. She looks at me that way often.

I have to say though, the nice sounding lady on the CDs is very encouraging. After she must so clearly hear my flawless (ahem) repetition of her lovely Spanish through the speakers of my laptop, she says that I have done "muy bien" or "excellente." Its quite kind of her to be so supportive. Its like having my own personal language cheerleader, minus the pom-poms and short skirts.

Midway through lesson 3 (which had loads of vocabulary and more verb conjugating than I'd like to even discuss. I had to not only learn -ar verbs, but -er and -ir verbs too. That's just asking way too much), I decided that it was time to break out the big guns. I bought flashcards. Oh yeah. Watch out Guatemala, here I come! The flashcards have brought me knowledge of the Spanish equivalent to "oyster and "cow," which, clearly, I need to know before traveling anywhere outside the country. I now feel prepared to communicate effectively. I'll just answer every question with "la ostra." If nothing else, I may get some food out of it.

So, with the all-powerful flashcards in hand, I am ready to conquer lesson 4. In which I will learn how to count to 100, discover even more verbs that will need conjugating and, hopefully, some more nouns involving food. I like food. Food is my friend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lessons in Walking

As mentioned several days ago, I spent Sunday afternoon assaulting my own body on the dance floor. As also mentioned, I haven't done a lick of dancing in three months. Okay, that may not be entirely true. I may have done plies once, but that hardly counts as anything legitimate. I dreaded going to bed Sunday evening, first because I would wake up to Monday which is almost never good, and second, I was afeared that I would desperately want to not be in my own body due to the impending pain.

Both fears were realized. I woke up to it not only being Monday, but to soreness to the extreme of hardly being able to roll over to hit snooze without wanting to cry. The sensation was similar to someone threading a crowbar through my spinal muscles and thighs... And then pulling in every whichway direction.

After nearly an hour of whimpering (and continually hitting snooze), I managed to roll myself out of bed (and I'm not exaggerating. Quite literally rolled out of bed). It probably took about 7 minutes to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom, which is a span I could normally cross in about 4.5 seconds. This was not looking promising.

Considering that it was in fact Monday, I did have to go into the office. Now, this may not have been too terrible if it weren't for a few factors. First off, there are steps involved at the office. Second, I actually have to walk places. Third, when I hurt this bad... I waddle. Its completely involuntary and I have zero control over it whatsoever. But, I doubt that anyone would be able to walk normally when one's muscles are in this much distress.

Fourth on the list of terrible factors is that I learned the literal manifestation of the phrase "knee-jerk reaction." Oh yes. My right quad muscle was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed temporarily. Each time I would extend my right leg to take a step, it would spontaneous fling itself outward. And I stress the words "spontaneous" and "fling" in that last sentence. I actually considered finding myself a priest to excise the demon out of it or something, because, try as I might, I could not control it. At all. It was ridiculous. And also very comical. I attempted to laugh at myself quite a few times, but it hurt my back too much, so I decided against it.

Talk about embarrassing. I had to waddle around the office, with an out-of-control leg, while desperately attempting to look like a normal person. I honestly felt like I had transformed into Jerry Lewis. Going to the restroom involved conquering 2 whole steps. Each way. Not to mention that these things required me to actually stand up out of my chair. Sweet Lord in heaven, save me!!

Thank goodness, my officemate is a sheer pip. For the last 2 days, she has alternated between feeling very sorry for me to attempting to keep a straight face every time that I had to stand up, the latter of which she rarely succeeded in. Not that I can blame her. I believe that I would have had a difficult time staying serious if I had a coworker who walked like she was 95 and with a possessed leg.

But, the third day's the charm (or something like that) and I can now almost walk down steps, have regained some control over my possessed leg and can actually stand up without using some stable surface for leverage. Looks like I won't have to call that priest after all...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remind me of tomorrow

There are so many thoughts running through my mind today. Running, running, running, never stopping even for a moment's rest. Trying to keep up with them all is an exhausting feat, one that I will not be able to accomplish in the mere twenty-four hours of this day. Many are not completed, cut off by the next moment's ponderings. My mind will not stop, won't let me focus on the reality of where I am now, of what I am now. Of what is past and I cannot change. Of what is coming that I do not yet know. Many of them sicken me from the loss of the time when they were not just a memory, but a reality. I fight against the tears, the dull ache, the wishing, the wanting.

Remind me of hope. Of love. Of desire. Of dreams.

Remind me of tomorrow.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope, and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Dance of Regret

Nearly every part of my body has a dull ache threading its way through the sinews and bones. I did a very stupid thing today. I participated in a modern dance class after 3 months of my ten toes not touching a dance floor. Or any other part of my body for that matter. Ugh. I had forgotten that all those muscles in my back existed. Particularly the ones that, ya know, keep me upright. Those I had definitely forgotten about.

I can't even tell you the teacher's full name. Her first was Tina, her last was two names joined together by a hyphen. And let me tell you... she was a pistol. I loved it. She had that crazy style of teaching, where you couldn't help but chuckle quietly to yourself. Her style of choreography.... um... yeah. I loved that even more. She has that reckless quality to her movement, which, in following it, you find yourself flailing about in a controlled chaos. Oooooh yeah... It was marvelous. Up and down, up and down. In the air, on the floor, back up again. Extend, contract. I mean, seriously, does it get any better?!

Oddly enough, the highlight and yet most depressing part of the class occurred jointly. After doing a combination across the floor (to a Marilyn Manson song! Heck yes!), she pointed to me and asked my name. She then went off on a rant about how I had made the choreography my own, took the skeleton of it and molded it to fit my own style. This, she pointed out, is what gets you the audition. This gets you the job, makes you stand out in a crowd. She had me repeat the combination several times (how embarrassing), along with a few other members of the class.

Now, I'd like to make note of the fact that I am 26. My career dancing days are over. But hearing this encouragement, a little too late in life, lifted my spirits and yet crushed my heart a bit from lost opportunity. How I wish I had taken advantage of the times when my body was younger and more fit. When I could make it through an hour and a half class without every major muscle group screaming in agony. Before the injuries that now prevent me from being able to fully release into the aggressive movements. When the comments were made, I shot my younger sister a sad look, because she knows the dancer's heart. She knows the excitement and freedom and joy that the floor can bring.

I can't lie, I had to fight back a few tears when Tina was talking to me. I was flooded with a sadness of disappointment that hit the deepest part of my soul. It only lasted for a few seconds, and then the moment passed and I pushed that regret back into the place where it belongs. Out of the forefront of my mind.

I learned a great life lesson from my lack of courage to pursue what my passion was as a dancer. Fears left go will only crush you more, leave you in limbo a little while longer until, before you realize it, it is too late. As my last blog so poignantly stated, I am victim to the Fear of Success. Mix that in with some Fear of Failure, and it results in afterward thoughts of what could have been. I now always encourage the younger generation to go after their dreams, no matter how scary they may be, as a result of my own cowardice.

Now, I'm going to go soak my ankle, maybe get a hot pack for my back and then pray to Jesus that I can move enough to get out of bed tomorrow.

Regret... its a terrible thing to have.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fear or something like it

Fear is one of the unpleasant-er of emotions that every human being will face at some point in their life. More often than not, it will be at many points and not just one. Fear wears many different masks and presents itself in forms too numerable to mention in such a little space as this page. There can be a phobia of nearly anything, from seagulls to crayons, some are comparably trite while others can be virtually incapacitating.

Approximating near the top of the list of most common horrors are the fear of death (thantophobia), the fear of public speaking (glossophobia) and... the fear of failure. This particular phobia, known in phobic circles as Kakorrhaphiophobia (I dare you to try to say that ten times fast), is common in a society where success is the only option and failure is greeted with rebarbative looks and pitious attitudes.

Perhaps a smaller portion of the general public can relate to the antonym of the above mentioned disquietude: the fear of success. For some, this may seem an incredulous fear, so absurd in nature as to almost be unbelievable. I, however, have struggled with this very demon for near half of my 26 years. Once mentioned to those who are secure in their person and have no doubts as to their ability to succeed, this phobia receives looks well beyond rebarative. The dubiousness of actually being afraid of success renders many speechless.

Now, this reaction is understandable. It is nearly comparable to one being afraid of butternut squash or bamboo shoots. My fear is not fear in the sense of a repulsive reaction, such as one might have to spiders (shudder) or jellyfish (shriek!). It is more fear in the sense of being afraid of the disappointment that one might feel after longing desperately for something for so long, and upon acquiring said object would realize that it does not hold up to the expectation which was set. My fear of success can actually be directly related to this: being afraid of succeeding in something that I've wanted only to discover that the satisfaction held in that is lacking and temporal.

Nearly every emotion, whether positive or negative, is temporal. Whether it be joy or disappointment, "this too shall pass." There will come a time when the feeling, the internal sensation, whatever it may be, will be gone, although perhaps not permanently. When it comes to fears, per contra, they can be gripping. Fears can lay hold of someone and not let go for a lifetime. The fear of success is no exception to this.

However, succumbing to said trepidation can render one utterly stationary, immobilized and unwilling to step out in life outside the box of familiarity held so near and dear. The resulting life would be no life at all, but a waste of what could have been. Regrets are a terrible thing to have, and once your years have passed they are gone forever, beyond the reach of the time when you could have done something different.

This realization should force one to buckle up one's bootstraps and lift one's eyes to the horizon of possibilities and past the fear that tries to cloud the vision. The box of familiarity should be trampled and tossed aside, the path now cleared for a fearless adventure into the unknown regions of success... and also most likely some disappointments thrown in as well. The fear of success, for which I could find no phobic name, should be forgotten, removed entirely from one's consciousness as if it never existed. In doing so, one will be able to step out to that horizon and keep stepping, everyday until at last success is obtained. At that point, I should imagine that one would wonder why it took so long to realize that the fear was a mere hindrance, an annoyance with no real validity. And that, my friends, will be a very good day. A very good day indeed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the Want of Something

I feel the need to clarify some points about my job, as per my first rambling. I don't hate my job. I don't even dislike it... most days... I mean, don't get me wrong. Its not called a "job" for nothing. We go to "work" 5 days a week, and its called that because... well... frankly, it is work. While I may not spring out of bed every morning, with a look of glee on my face and say "Oh joyous! I get to go to my oh-so-wonderful JOB today!!", generally speaking, its far from bad. Although, I did basically work for one of Satan's minions prior to my current place of employment, and referred to my at-the-time office as "the Seventh Circle of Hell," so, I may be slightly more inclined to like any job that isn't the loathesome "InfoHell." The Fifth Circle of Hell would even have been an improvement.

My job doesn't really fall into any of the Circles of Hell. Well, except on days where I wake up in a panic from thinking about the bazillion and a half items on one list of many that I need to keep track of (see last blog). Those days it might be the One-fifths Circle of Hell, or Two-thirds Circle of Hell. Maybe.

Any dissatisfaction that I may have in my current occupation is based around the fact that I don't feel like I'm doing anything that has any lasting meaning. There is a certain level of contentedness that I feel from what I do 8 to 5 (if I'm lucky) Monday through Friday. But it lacks a sense of purpose. Purpose is very important for someone like me (ya know, the crazy neurotic type). I crave that feeling that my toiling isn't just a paycheck. It isn't just the typical corporate hodge-podge that is seen in today's business. I mean, it is business. The primary goal of business is to make money. Pick up any business magazine and the headlines will all be based around how to make more profit and how Joe Schmoe down the street made 5 million by simply making adjustments to his business model. While all of that is valid, and for some, completely fine and dandy, I don't care so much about the dollar as I do really leaving a footprint on the earth. Granted, those greenbacks do come in handy for shoe and purse shopping...

Its idealistic, I know. But I do have that ideal that my life will mean something more than how much money I have stashed away in the vault. I want more than that. Its incredible to know that your life has changed someone else's, and it is my true desire to feel that my vocation is having a positive impact directly, or even indirectly, on the lives of others. That thirst for meaning, for something more, leaves me coming up a little empty by being one of the fish in the Sea of Corporate. Solomon spoke right to the center of the issue in saying that "its all meaningless, a chasing after the wind." In my own life, corporate lacks purpose, it is merely a chasing after the wind.

Yeah, blah blah blah, you can make your job your mission field and change the lives of those around you. Its the Sunday School answer that I've heard for years. And while that may be very true, I've been witness to it in my own life on several occasions, it just doesn't cut the cake. The fulfillment of that will last for a while, but like most things, it fades away and I'm left again with that yearning for more. The want of something. Anything.

Perhaps its a selfish ambition. I've wondered that many, many times over the past 4.5 years since I was booted out into the "real world" after college graduation. Why am I feeling like something is just missing? I am positive that there are elements of the future life that I will lead which have yet to come to fruition, and that is conceivably why I still struggle with this hole in my soul that just can't seem to be filled. Maybe once those pieces of the jigsaw fall into place, I'll get that sense of fulfillment that I'm so desperately looking for. Maybe I'm just pointing the finger at Corporate America because I can't find anything else to blame it on. Or maybe I'm spot-on and I'm just not cut out for the rat race.

Who knows. The question of "am I doing the right thing?" is one that plagues many, particularly those living the awkwardness of growing up. Perchance that question needs to be rephrased to "am I doing the right thing for right now?" It is likely a much easier conclusion to grasp. Rather than trying to take on the next 70 years, how about just the next 5?

So, I will continue to search out my answers to what is right for me right now. I am confident that God does have an awesome plan for my life. It may leave me exactly where I am, or it may lead me on an incredible adventure into unknown places. Honestly, I'm rather hoping for the latter....

Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should... -Max Ehrmann

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'll rise.... but I won't shine.

My eyes shot open, my whole body in a sheer panic, my mind racing. The time was 3:30AM. I would have sworn to you on my favorite pair of stiletto heels that the light I was seeing were the rays emitting from a sun that was well on its way to its zenith, and not from the monitor of my laptop that I had left open in the empty space next to me on my bed, which was, in fact, what it actually was. Let me tell you, I am not exactly the most aware or alert person when abruptly awoken in the middle of the night. Disorientation is pretty much my only brain function. I had a breakfast event to attend that my company was sponsoring, which required my presence at the venue at the bright and early hour of 6 AM. The thought that the day was quickly approaching the noon hour was enough to nearly send my heart into cardiac arrest. Which would have been bad, considering that I live alone and don't exactly keep a defibrillator next to my bed in the event that I would have to shock my heart into cooperation. I immediately saw my job flashing before my eyes and wondered what words my manager would use as he fired my sorry butt for oversleeping and missing the whole thing.

Mind you, all this occurred in the span of about 5.4 seconds. At 5.5 seconds, I understood what was actually transpiring, and calmed down. Then 5.6 seconds arrived, and I had a horrifying thought.... "Sweet potatoes!!! I forgot to tell the organizers that I need electricity for our exhibit table!!!" This time, the panic was well justified, considering the fact that we are indeed a technology corporation. Technology requires power. To my knowledge, the tech heads around the world have not yet discovered wireless energy pathways. Hence, no power would lead to the aforementioned firing of yours truly for royally screwing up. Second 5.8 went something like this: "Holy matrimony!! I forgot the extension cord! And I don't know if anyone packed up the surge protector!" This was not going so well. 5.9: "And they didn't say anything about tablecloths! WHAT IF WE DON'T HAVE A TABLECLOTH?!" The thought of whatever epiphanies were going to materialize at Second 5.10 were terrifying.

In my defense, I had organized our participation in the breakfast event in precisely a day and a half. Considering all of the coordination that involves (demo kits in house that need all the various parts assembled by our techies; demo kits that we really need but haven't out shipped yet from the manufacturer and therefore require frenzied phone calls to our sales rep only to find out that his kit, which would normally be borrowable, already has claim laid on it for the day that we need it; sales literature that we don't have yet that no one at the manufacturer's corporate office will return my phone calls about; PowerPoint presentations that need revising; along other general organizational nightmares, not the least of which included the market account manager handling the exhibit table with me has never actually touched the demo equipment that we were using), only forgetting about a few major items on the docket really isn't so bad. All this coordinating obviously came on top of the other 15 projects that currently occupy the top of my list.

Praise be to good old goodness gracious, Second 5.10 passed without any other revelations to send me into a tizzy. Second 1800.2, or approximately 4AM, found me rummaging through boxes however, on the hunt for extension cords and surge protectors. Thankfully, I was able to locate both. I crawled back into bed, only to lie there, picturing myself climbing up poles to tap into the city power supply if necessary to get those demo kits rolling. Which, really, is a very entertaining mental picture to anyone that knows me. I don't do the technical side of things. I mean.... I really don't do them.

In case you don't already know, I don't wear early morning well. When I finally drug my exhausted rag of a body out of bed and looked in the bathroom mirror (somewhere in the ballpark of Second 5400.7) earlier than necessary really just to stop mentally seeing myself accidentally sticking a live powerline up my nose or something while trying to power the CCTV system... shudder. I didn't know that it was possible for my hair to stick up in that many different directions at once. I mean, some serious static ball action going on here. Both eyesockets looked like a boxer had used them in a workout, not to mention that my restless night had left its mark on my left cheek in the form of pillowcase creases. Sigh. This day was not going well. And the sun hadn't even given a thought of making an appearance yet.

However, after I got rid of the bags under my eyes and scary hair, I arrived at the venue to discover that not only did we have electricity, but a tablecloth as well. It may have been that awful evergreen color that hotels love to use for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, but heck, I didn't care. It was better than having to disrobe and use my pants and suit jacket on the table instead. Things were brightening up considerably. Also, the crickets stopped chirping by now (I hate crickets) and my eyeballs no longer felt like they had beach sand in them. The event went off without a hitch (okay, well, almost. The PowerPoint presentation did keep hiccuping, but I gave it a stern talking to and straightened it out. I'm vicious like that). The rest of the seconds of my day proceeded in sheer insanity, as usual. Ah yes, the joys of Corporate! Always insanity! Sheer insanity! TGIAF....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to my ramblings

So I've finally decided to join the rest of the intelligent (and also not-so-intelligent) masses that blog. Why you may ask? I'm definitely not one for journaling or even really speaking what's on my mind on a personal level. At all. However, due to the demands of a career (ha!) in marketing, along with a highly opinionated nature (ugh), I've decided that blogging may be a good way to rediscover my lost writing skills. I mislaid them somewhere in the pages of that 40 page history seminar paper that I researched, wrote, reresearched and rewrote in five weeks. It may prove to be entertaining to those who dare risk the trauma of getting a peek inside my puny little brain. Its a scary place in there. Enter at your own risk.

About me... I'm one of the average, everyday peoples who was psychotic enough to get a job in Corporate America. It is a frightening place, my friends. Those of you smart enough to stay out, I commend you. Those currently thinking about joining the rat race, run away. Okay, maybe its not quite that bad. In all seriousness, Corporate America is a necessary evil that has helped the US carve its place out as the leader of the western world (or at least that's what we like to think). It provides jobs for millions of people across the expanse that we all call home. Some people even make a lot of money off of it. Note: I do not fall in that category. Some people even enjoy it. Those are also the people that you will find visiting their shrink twice a week so that they can still sleep at night. Note: I do not fall into this category either. I don't sleep. Ever. Crazies. Anyway, however much we do need the beast also known as Corporate America, I often wake up on weekday mornings asking myself one question.... "What the HECK is wrong with me?!?!" Sigh.

Its true. While my corporate job brings me a paycheck twice monthly, almost halfway decent health insurance, and something to do for 45-50 hours a week, it is most often not terribly satisfying. Sure, it has its moments. But cleaning your bathroom floor with a toothbrush also has its moments, most namely when you're done and stand up to look at your clean, sparkling floor with a horrible backache and blackend fingers. Not to mention bruised knees. I often feel that same way about my corporate job. Its most satisfying when I pack up my corporate laptop, shut off the corporate lights in my corporate office and walk my corporately-clad derriere out the door. I often think of becoming an ice cream lady that drives the ice cream truck around Bethlehem. Or a shepherd in the Alps. I think of that one often. I'd rather be on a mountaintop yodeling "RIIIIIIIIICOLAAAAA" with my funny looking hat with a feather in it and a green jumper and wooden shoes than being stuffed in an flurescently lit office in a too-small-for-my-big-butt pencil skirt and 4 inch stilettos.

But, alas and alack, such is life more often than not. Its a vicious cycle of make-believe security that causes us feel all nice and comfy cozy with that steady direct deposit hitting our somewhat already depleted bank account every other week. Satsifying? We lie to ourselves to make it feel that way. Why? Because we're stupid. God forbid we do something exciting and new and risky because our gosh darn sense of security just might be put in jeopardy.

Maybe.... just maybe.... I'll get brave. One day....

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. -Helen Keller