Cafe Hitch-hike



I can, at last, catch my breath. This has been a whirlwind of 2 weeks. I sit on the sofa under a blanket and feel a sense of convalescence.

When I returned from Michigan, I was thick with work. I was asked to assemble a building training session and didn't have a lot of time to do it. My colleagues assisted with different parts of it, but I did a lot of the organizing or else I probably wouldn't see it done. The first scheduled one had to be rescheduled, and it threw everyone off. Very few people showed up for it. The second one went much smoother, but its recording looked bad. Some department heads want a recording to use for new student/employee orientations within their units, so I had to ask others if they could record their parts so I can assemble them into one coherent piece.

When I took it on, I felt my organizational skills kick in, but I then felt so fearful through some of it. It was tasked a head who I don't trust. Ok, maybe that was why I was so hesitant. They have pushed me under the bus over the years and I was nervous I'd get blamed if something was a little off. Then, I was waiting for someone to doubt my work or lob grenades disguised as questions or feedback. No, neither really happened, but I think the team sensed my fright because we did the first session rather awkwardly.

But damn, I had a lot of work to do. I then was told that a head was getting phased out of their leadership role and to consider applying for it. Then, the lack of trust thing kicked in.

I then was told by a colleague about 4 weeks ago that I needed to step up my game and step up to the plate with asserting myself with various things. I didn't realize how broken I felt inside as I heard her words. I don't think she was saying it out of a space of wanting to hurt me, but I felt such pain. I didn't realize how dashed my spirit has became with work at times. I imagined myself asserting myself to a no response, confirming no one cares, I don't matter, and they don't want my contributions or feedback. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, I realize, but it just poked me inside. I've really had an up and down relationship with this damn building.

My promotion is official as of July 1, and so it my raise. I do feel glad about those things. I see them and am proud, and then see the shadow of difficulties I've had over the years. I'm trying my best to manage my perception of that and even heal. I guess this is what it feels like to try to kiss and make up when one was wronged or cheated. I also have to acknowledge that my work/professional victories co-exist with the tough and difficult times.

The beau I met 3 weeks ago have been seeing each other very frequently. He has been very giving and eager to see me, but I'm not really feeling it. I got to see a contrast when I took an SOS call from a friend last night, and had a soulful talk with him. My friend College John's mother is not doing well with her cancer which has spread, and her memory is starting to slip. He is an only child and lives in an isolated place near his parents, and I wished he had friends or family nearby who could help. Although we were talking about some tough stuff, I felt the cord of friendship, shared experience, and affiliation that comes from speaking a mutually intelligible language.

The friendship between CJ and I began in 1996 and we've seen each other through major life changes while I met this beau very recently. I've acknowledged that conversations tend to be awkward between us, and even when I disclosed my feelings, I didn't get much interaction. The words were broadcast but not received. I see that sometimes he's just not there, and it's discouraging. The beau can speak easily about what stirs him up, but I don't sense he takes in what I say. It reminded me of Timmy's spells, and it's not particularly encouraging. I'd like to see or meet other people. I then shake my head at myself. It's been one of those occasions when the sex clouded things.

Then, I'm still recovering from the weekend in Michigan. I finally got a chance to think of some conversations I had during that time, especially with my mother. She disclosed something that hit me hard. I don't even know where to begin. I told a friend what she said earlier this morning, and ended up nearly weeping. Mom's words made me understand so much of what she did with a clarity that was both sharp and frightening. I had every reason to believe what she had to say and was able to see where exactly all of that led. The behavior of other people also made near-perfect sense.

No, really... it just about stabbed me in the heart and I felt immense pain and compassion for her. There was nothing more I wished for in the moment to be able to hold and comfort her, and tell her she could heal. I had no magic wand to make all of that disappear, but it just made me realize how terribly vulnerable and unprotected she had been. What happened crippled her in some significant ways which affected us, and then I felt so much anger. I can say so much more about this, and I decided to give myself this free afternoon to let the feeling pass through until it has taken its course (God knows how long that will be).

One thing that happened in Michigan was how happy memories co-existed with the difficult times in my life there. It felt so good to drive and walk down its streets, and just be embraced with greenery wherever I went. I thought about swimming in the municipal pools, riding bikes, friendships, and school. I stood outside one house where we lived, and was able to look at it through my own eyes, 35 years later. I can definitely affirm my huge reluctance to go there; I knew I had some very difficult things to face again, including the distant relationship between me and my siblings. I suppose all of those things would had made a normal person to react the way I did.

Another thing... after I buried my uncle's ashes, I also saw residues of grief cover my life these past few months in a way I could not see before. It reminded me of the ash that often clouds the sky after a volcano and affect the weather. I didn't realize that was happening in mine. It was no wonder I felt so weird about buying my house and the good things that were happening in my life. It was no wonder why I felt so weird in general. I didn't realize how subtle yet powerful grief could be. This is definitely one of the most complex passings in my life, and I'm probably going to be processing all of this for quite some time (as I felt like I've said over and over again on these pages).

I did finally take down my little shrine to the people who died these past 2 years. I won't forget them, how can I? I did it to try to embrace the life around me. After the beau saw it, I wanted to take it down. I wanted to embrace him and what is happening in my present life. Well, Uncle Joe's ashes sit in that space now in a simply-carved wood box, until I can bury them with this mother in the Rio Grande Valley.

Yeah, my sensitivity definitely went into overdrive here. It then reminds me that all of those emotions were not completely in my imagination. Things really were that wild, bad, or messed up. I just so happened to be the one who detected a lot of it. I sure hate being the canary in the coal mine at times! Other people in my family have varying levels of sensitivity, but I guess my blend of it set me apart.

I put together what I could of all of it at this point in time. I realized that I had so much that my relatives did not have to recover or manage. I have decent health insurance and medical care. I was able to get mental health care (and surprisingly, the benefits offered by the insurance company improved over the years). I have a relatively stable job, and despite the ups and downs, it has taken excellent care of me these past 14 years. I've had everything I needed like a safe and structurally sound home, steady pay, a degree of professional recognition and respect, and can say I belong to a few communities. I also have a mind, heart, and sensitivity that sometimes throttle me, but they too have served me well. I really need to embrace all of the things I've been able to earn and attain, and remind myself over and over again that I did it.

As I came back home, I saw my cracks, breaks, strengths, and weaknesses all at once. For some reason, I had some weird notion that I had to hide the bad things and only show the good. Everyone has these, but they just appear differently. I thought that if I fixed all of them, love, respect, full esteem, and some sort of actualization would come. That's not true. We just live with and through all of those, and try to muster up the love, respect, and esteem from within and outside.

I'd love a week off just to rest, and maybe lay these to rest, soothe them, and care for them as I wished I could for my mother so she could heal. I know I can pray for her and send her intentions, and give her kindness and generosity where it doesn't start to tax or exhaust mine.

downwind | upstream