Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bittersweet Tears And Moving On

When my writing seminar ended the other week, our teacher sent around a note afterwards that stemmed from something one of my classmates had said when we all went out afterwards for a drink (cranberry and Perrier, sigh, my life is so boring!). We were talking about the inner life of a writer, what to reveal, what to keep hidden.

A lot of us were saying we write about other people in our lives, in veiled form of course, because that's what seems to come naturally. In the note, he told us to try and be brave enough to reveal parts of ourselves that we don't find easy to break open for the whole world to see. That's where the good writing will come from, deep inside your own fear and inhibitions.

I guess that's kind of like the idea behind the blog, a glimpse into the girl behind the girl, if that's at all interesting. Why I'm thinking about this very early on spring forward Sunday? Well, I went out for a little while on Friday night to a reunion of all of my old chums from my last job.

That job spoiled me for life. Not in the fact that it was the best job I've had or will have but more because of the fact that I loved, respected and admired the people I worked with so much. I miss them. I miss the environment. I miss caring about a project so deeply and putting your heart and soul into it and knowing that you've built something great.

But what the whole thing made me realize is that I'm still not over the whole bloody firing situation. This goes deep, deeper than the actual event, deeper than the idea of being told you have to leave something that you love, and right down into a lot of my own insecurities and issues.

The old VP showed up. In a way, I hold him responsible for a lot of the crap that happened. Not in the sense of my own personal poor behaviour (the ridiculous emails, the acting like a mean girl, the childish temper tantrums), but he's the one that hired the Boss From Hell (and then she promptly got him fired as well), and sort of was the worst captain of our already sinking ship. Thing is, I couldn't talk to him, didn't even really want to be polite and say, 'hello, how are you doing, what are you doing?'

I wanted to see everyone else. In fact, I loved seeing everyone else. But I don't know what it is in me that can't let this go. I'm so hard on myself, so hyper-critical, that I look upon it all as one big failure. And I'm also still so angry with myself that I let the situation get so out of control, that I didn't see how bad it actually was and try to make it better.

In the end, I internalized all of the stress about the situation, which, in turn, my body turned back into the disease. And I know how wrong it is to blame some poor, clueless, fired VP for some of that, but I just couldn't help it. A small part of me wanted to scream at him and say, 'Look around at how many lives you impacted with your ridiculous and utterly awful decisions. Stand up and take responsibility for your failure. Accept the fact that you messed this up and as a result all of these great people had to make major changes in their lives.'

But you know, in the end, I also got to thinking about how it was my life and I had the power to change it. I could have left that job, but I didn't. I could have been a better person and climbed up above all of the crap, but I didn't.

It's been almost a year and a half since I lost that job. And for most of that time, I've been trying to build a new career at a great new employer, and things are going well. But the fact of the matter is I've also been battling the disease all this time too. Things aren't necessarily going as planned there either and being off so much because I've been so sick for so long isn't going to help me get to where I want to go.

Which leads me to the whole point: forces in my life have always led me to change; it's never been the other way around. I've spent the better part of my life just dealing with the tragedy in it and I think it's about time I turned a corner. It might be a good day, being spring forward and all, to do some changing of my own. Now the only question remains how. A bit of spring cleaning for the soul, if you will.

1 comment:

Zesty said...

WOW. WHAT a great post. So funny. I had this gut feel the VP would show up and I just didn't want to deal with that. I think you're right to be angry, but I also think you've learned a lot about yourself too from the whole experience, about the power of environment to overwhelm us sometimes. You did the best you could. Don't beat yourself up about it.

I think it's important that you start investing in yourself, [your spring cleaning as you aptly put it.] I've [twice now] seen the power of one individual to completely dessimate good teams. I saw it with the VP you mention and I saw it at my last gig. But the other thing I'll say is that I lost my whole group because of that VP. You were more part of the second wave in that area if you will. Now I love those 2nd wave people, don't get me wrong. But I had more of that synergy you're talking about with the first group in that area. That's just the way it worked out. I never thought I'd find it again, but I did with my current job. Lightening CAN strike twice and I think a big part of it for me was frankly, just putting myself first and going after something more in keeping with who I was. I think that's what this spring cleaning will yield for you too.