Saturday, December 10, 2011

Introspection Forced by Abundance

With so many changes happening together so suddenly, a lot of things are being dragged up and dragged in to the background in a way I was not prepared for. Not a bad thing, per se, but it's a bad time to need introspection with all of the hoorah going on.
A new house! We found one, we bid on it, we got it a week later (on Bob's b'day, of all things. And we move in the day before Xmas eve, so I'm hoping you'll pardon me if I think all of this seems very auspicious.) and now we are packing madly and transferring things over. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt if Bob were not here to handle this that we would already be 3 months behind in paperwork, packing and switching utilities over. Introspective moment #1? I am never going to be a competent adult. I had to marry one to get my life in gear. It's sad, but it's what I am. And there's a chance I may yet learn my way out of it, so I'm not despondent over it.
I also was officially hired by the place I've been contracting at... it made for a MUCH better raise in pay, nice benefits, and I will get to have paid vacation. I miss paid vacation. Should I find myself pregnant suddenly I will also have maternity leave. So that's nice. Downside to that? I will be moving to second shift, which brought me to introspective moment #2. I always thought I was somewhat distant. Friendly, pleasant, but distant. I didn't think I got attached to people and that people didn't really notice or get attached to me. With news that I was hired I was shocked at the number of people who came up to shake my hand and congratulate me. I was also surprised at the number of people disappointed that I'd be leaving, and how excited the people on 2nd shift seemed to have me coming to join them. (Although having seen them cheer at someone's arrival after trashing them for 10 minutes prior, I am dubious as to the truth of that reaction.) I didn't meant to, and I went and got attached to people who could leave at any minute or be switched around. In fact, I got attached to people that I'm not even sure would bother to keep in touch with me if I moved on. And I can't help but think that this is how I get hurt, because I decide to like people and somehow disappointment strikes and stabs me. But then, hiding out in one's house leads to loneliness and trolldom and the inability to remember how to interact with the rest of your species. I have failed walking the fine line. Or perhaps been brave and stepped over it, we'll see.
Introspective moment #3. How good is my intuition?? There was someone that I enjoyed talking to, though it happened infrequently. Then suddenly it stopped. And I can't help but feeling a little bit... dare I say hurt? That's what it feels like. They just stopped. No idea why, either, as I can't pick anything up off of them. I thought they seemed friendly enough. In fact, I thought they were probably a pretty nice person. Now I'm doubting what little I picked up, and it has me wondering just how wrong I am about other things I pick up off of people. I suck at talking with people, so the ability hear what they're saying in between the words is vitally important. I find the doubting of that very, very necessary ability to be causing me a bit of a mental crisis. And if I pissed them off or offended them, I'd really like to be able to apologize. For now I'm just trying to write them off as another person that will fall in to the shadows that I hoped might become a friend. Such things suck. Not trusting your intuition? Sucks.
And the other night (and the final introspection, I believe) I was getting dressed to go out to dinner as a celebration for my new job. I was in high heels. I was in a nice dress. I had on earrings, and bracelets, and my hair was styled. And when I looked in the mirror I realized that a few short years ago I couldn't even have conceived of walking in to as nice a place as the one we were going. I would have fought against the high heels, snorted at the dress, and tried to get away with pants and a sweater. The contrast between the girl who just wanted to be in a T-shirt and jeans every day and the face looking back at me was a shock. I wondered if I had somehow "gone soft", that the hard living girl of the teens and 20's had folded under the comforts of a stable place with money. I haven't tasted ramen in years. I have enough to get new jeans before I can wear holes in to them now. I put on makeup, I fuss with my hair. This is not the girl that used to get in bar fights up on Capitol Hill on the weekends and walked away bruised and grinning. This isn't the girl that collected cans out of the trash to afford the aforementioned ramen every day just so she had something to eat.
I don't know why this bothers me. I guess I had so much emotionally invested in that image, in that tough girl that could survive anything, that realizing she's been peeled away with no solid thing to replace it makes me feel ghostlike. What am I now? A wife, an artist, a fixer of computer problems? Am I domesticated? Will I wile away my time in suburbia birthing offspring and having Tupperware parties to the point of spiritual suicide? Or am I wild enough to transform the thing that wore steel toed boots and a nose ring in to something more refined, perhaps subtler and more dangerous for the subtlety in a purely wit-tastic way. Do I have it in me to find the subversive among the suburban and not become a tame member of WASP-y middle class America? And perhaps more importantly, do I want to? Do I need to?
I've seen what it's like to NOT do things the mainstream way. I've lived the consequences. I'm 10 years behind others of my generation in getting in to this whole game as a by-product. Thankfully there's no huge penalty for that, simply the loss of time. Is this way better, or just different? It makes me wonder.
The feeling is compounded as I go over things from my childhood and college, locked in our garage and awaiting tossing or transport to the new place. It's painful to look back at the girl I was at times. I know she was necessary, formative. But the drawings, the poems, the notes to friends that I still remember the answers to, all feel fresh. The same would happen if I still had anything from my days in Seattle, I'm sure. I would wince at that angry, angry thing pierced up to high heaven and wanting to prove she couldn't be hurt. But she, too, was formative.
Perhaps it's just evolution. Perhaps eventually we are what we didn't think we would be as a matter of course. Perhaps what we were makes peace and seeps through the edges of things when its needed for our survival and learning. In the end, it doesn't matter how it falls. I am here and it is now.
This girl wears dresses and lipstick. She is soft, allows herself to be hurt for the sake of feeling. She draws and paints and for the most part isn't afraid to be the free-spirit in the art she wants to create. But she is certainly not what I thought I would become a decade ago.

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