Scheduling brilliance

I struggle so much with this blog because it’s my primary creative outlet, yet for it to be really useful to me again, I’d need to be using it to work out all the things in my head. But because gainful employment is, oh, vital in this world, well, you know where this is going.

That said, I made a late-night trip to a bookstore for some new reading material. (I bought “Orbiting the Giant Hairball.”) But I read a whole bunch of others over a creme brulee latte and gleaned so many things from them. (One being that if these people can write books, why the hell can’t I?)

One book had a quote about stress, that it’s caused by knowing what you have to do and not doing it or doing something else.

Another book had an example of poor communication in an organization, in which an employee left for a “better opportunity” and everyone comes to find out that the same opportunity she was leaving for was actually available in her own department, yet no one ever mentioned it to her nor had she ever asked.

I string these thoughts together to produce a very big truth in my world.

I want/need something different/bigger, but I also mostly just try to stay out of the way and do my own thing. I know I need to get more face time but there’s also that part of me that already puts in way too many hours and isn’t overly amenable to even more. Everyone’s busy and focused on the work, which is perfect, but for me it’s at the expense of brainstorming/teambuilding/visibility time.

I don’t think I’m consciously hiding; I just tend to default to jobs past where, if someone wanted me, boy did they find me. (At my last job, the supervisor justified her job by crawling up my ass and seeing what I had for dinner.)

On the flipside, I remember approaching people with ideas and schemes and getting beaten over the head with them and being told to go back to my office and concentrate on the work I already had in progress. As my friend says, they like you JUST the way you are — don’t go improving your skill set on them.

And here I am now where initiative is appreciated and encouraged, and there’s nothing in my head. NOTHING. Is something wrong with me? Shouldn’t I just hide my non-functioning brain until something enters it? This concerns me in a big way. Ideas usually do come on command for me — they might be bad ideas, but at least the Muse throws me a bone now and again.

I remember years ago having a discussion at work about cultural fit. Which makes sense on one hand, that if someone’s not a fit, they’re not going to thrive. But that became the answer to all their problems. If someone wasn’t meeting expectations, then they just didn’t “fit” in and needed to move on and away.

But the discussion no one was brave enough to bring up (because you’d get the theoretical equivalent of a beheading if you dared disagree) was A) how to help people adapt and B) finding out what exactly it was that wasn’t working so that maybe we could make some accommodations within reason.

That’s a time in my life I don’t forget easily. Because I will guilt myself to death for not being perfect or even quasi-useful. (Caveat: By THEIR standards. I think I’m just fucking dandy myself, but my opinion apparently doesn’t count.)

I can devote myself to a role so much so that I don’t improve myself in other ways, I’m just so busy either trying to keep up or trying to regenerate my interest/enthusiasm or, at the very least, trying to have some fun to keep my mind engaged.

Ultimately, it was a confluence of events that led me to give up on that job. I try to remember that it was an exception, not the rule, for me. The bottom line was that I was written off as someone who couldn’t squeeze my square-peg ass into the round hole I needed to fit into.

(My mom used to get on my case daily, that she and my grandparents spent every day of my life building me up and letting me know how special I was. And she wasn’t going to let this group of people strip that from me with their antics and semantics.)

And it was there that I found the better you hid yourself, the less you hated yourself at the end of the day. Because when you entered the line of vision, you might as well have thrown yourself under a bus because, either way, your soul was gonna get crushed and toe-tagged.

That adventure had longlasting effects, though — my soul never really recovered. The remainder of it got mutilated next time around. I’m surprised I ever got hired again — I was a ghost of my true self. And I guess I’m surprised I haven’t been booted yet, because that sparkingly, brilliant self who was bludgeoned? Has never had a chance to regenerate.

I don’t have to worry about the soul-crushing anymore, but whenever creative thinking is called for, I can’t come through. I want to, but I just can’t. Pavlov’s dog has had its balls chopped off and can’t seem to regrow them. All he can do is chase cars to retain his standing in the dog world, and that’s all he does.

And routine, which I abhor on a good day, has become a comfort, escape, excuse. If I were to summarize my life right now, the appraisal would say, “Lacks initiative. Too burned out from last five jobs to think straight. Derives biggest challenge from waiting till last minute.”

The question is, what’s it going to take? Fear? I’m tired of being afraid. Nurturing? Probably. But I never ask for it. Reward? Nope, don’t feel like I deserve it, not right now anyway. Diversion? No doubt.

I was talking with some people recently; we were making lists on how we would in a dream world spend our millions and fritter away our free time. And someone, somewhere said that they would “schedule spontaneity.” While I wanted to club them, I realize the truth to the matter that no one has time for joy. We schedule fun, we ask for inspiration on command, we delay celebration until we feel we should — and I’d bet that we’d find excuses to not celebrate even if we did earn it.

I guess I didn’t solve anything with this entry other than probably getting a case of hives and probably wanting to pull it offline the second I publish it. Because even though I’m nowhere near where I want to be, at least I’m far from where I’ve been.

And if you’re going to start somewhere, nothing wrong with starting where you’re standing, right?

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