Catching Up

So I haven’t posted in almost three weeks. That’s insane. My life has been almost as nuts in that time. Most of it crazy good, some of it ridiculously, exhaustingly, frustrating. I can’t (won’t) do a play-by-play recap. But I will fall back on the ol’ bullet list to give you an idea of the highlights. Then I want to share with you some interesting insights that I’ve received from a couple of good friends in recent weeks.

– My last post was on the day after the end of the first quarter. The quarter really kicked my butt. An entire month of 12-15 hour days with only a couple of weekend days off. Burnt the candle at both ends, worked myself into a physical slump. Flu germ laid me low immediately after that last post. I’m really only now back to full steam.

– Work is crazy. Unreasonably heavy work loads because some of the product teams didn’t do their jobs effectively leaving me and my team no time to do our part efficiently. So that translated to high pressure, longer days and even working weekends. Waaaa! But, the good thing is that my team stepped up & knocked the work out of the park. I’m so blessed to have such good people working for me.

– I’ve been thinking a lot, continuing my introspection and self discovery. For the most part, this is good. But, as I was telling one of my Twitter peeps the other day, a sizable chunk of what’s swirling around in my head in recent weeks is more dark and ragged than I’ve ever shared here. I’m not sure I want this space to be sullied by that stuff. That has contributed to my posting hiatus. It’s a self-censorship that I’m uneasy with. At the same time, I am also clinging to it, in order to preserve the peace of this blog space. I’m in limbo, dithering, and gotta get that together.

– I’ve been so blessed to develop some really important, incredibly supportive friendships with two funny, generous, insightful women who have given me an amazing gift of unstinting acceptance. Though these friends are in countries far away from me and our interactions all online, they are no less real as true friends, mentors, advisors, cheer leaders, and accomplices in mischief. It’s impossible to fully describe the blessing this has been to me. While I strive & struggle to find an in real life community, these friends have brought a level of connection that I’ve deeply needed. It may be a silly cliché, but these friendships have made me feel less alone. I’m one lucky butch!

Which leads me to some sage insights these two fierce femmes have provided to me in recent weeks:

– First: acceptance & insight on feeling disingenuous

I’m pretty successful at hiding my thoughts & strategies in a professional context. But personally, emotionally, I’m a fairly open book. I try always to be and act as I really am, without artifice. That’s why this journey of discovery and the coming out process is such a struggle. I’m not only fighting the fear of change, hurt, rejection, but I’m also fighting my own nature to be open, honest about everything.

I feel like a gigantic fraud. Everyone in my IRL circle knows me as & believes me to be something I’m not, but I’m too much of a coward to change that. But at the same time, the online people I care about accept my assertions of what I believe I am, but I’m still too much a coward to turn that into reality. And when people say they respect and are proud of me, I feel so guilty for not being that genuine, unafraid, out & proud butch I should be.

My friend’s unconditional acceptance took the form of a reminder that I’m walking a difficult path of self discovery, trying to find ways to integrate complicated issues into a pre-existing idea of myself that has been static for half my life. But, (1) I made a promise to myself to find a way to live authentically despite it being hard; (2) all anyone expects of me is that I be myself, confused, unsure and human; and (3) though parts of me are confident and parts are insecure, that conflict doesnt invalidate the good in me. What a miraculous gift! In her words, never: underestimate the power of unconditional acceptance from just one person when the whole world seems to be waiting with bated breath for you to screw up.

– Second, sage advice on being tired

As I alluded to above, I’ve been working really hard and am feeling a little tired, a bit flat. One of my friends has a theory that the tired feeling isn’t necessarily purely physical exhaustion, but also a result of the changing perspective brought about by this self-discovery work I’ve been doing.

The theory goes something like this: I have used my work as a substitute for other activities that would have been fulfilling in other ways. In other words, I have been resigned to my life the way that it has been for years. But in the last couple of months the compromise is no longer valid. My universe has expanded and my attention is being drawn away from the job as the be-all-end-all of my waking hours.

So, aside from practical advice to work more efficiently, take a holiday, and learn to delegate, they both (each in their own idiosyncratic way) suggested that one way to deal with the fatigue is to have an outlet for my stress. In other words, get a hobby. As I said in a recent post, I love glass blowing & really need to get back to it. The interesting thing about this suggestion, however, is not the particular activity, but the notion that if I ground myself in a stress-reducing outlet I set myself up to be more efficient and relaxed in all other areas of my life. This despite the seeming paradox of spending less time at work and more time in the studio.

Well, that’s it. That’s all the catching up I can do. Next posts, when they come, will be looking forward, because if I’ve learned anything in the last six weeks, it’s that looking back makes it really hard to see where you’re going. And my horizon is a beautiful sunrise of possibilities.

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6 comments so far

  1. Natalie Koh on

    This is such a beautiful post. It’s really great that you have such loving friends who accept you for who you are. And I love your optimistic take on life, especially about never underestimating the “power of unconditional acceptance from just one person when the whole world seems to be waiting with bated breath for you to screw up.” Because it does sometimes feel like the world is waiting for me to screw up, and I never realised how important the acceptance from that one person could be – not about my sexual orientation but just me as a person in general.

    Anyway, great blog! I just started reading but I am really loving it 🙂

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Hi & welcome! Thanks for stopping by to read and for your comment. I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog.

      Yes, acceptance from just one person, for who you are despite any faults, is an incredibly powerful force. It’s capable of silencing the harshest critic and motivating the most difficult actions. I’m so very blessed.

      I hope you’ve found that blessing, too. Best of luck to you! 😉

  2. Victoria Oldham on

    Ah, the ‘fraud’ issue…amazing how deeply so many of us feel that. But your friends are right–you’re not one at all. There may be facets to you that aren’t integrated yet, but that doesn’t make them less true.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Hi, Victoria. It is fascinating how so many of us seem to identify so easily with the negatives we perceive in ourselves. Waiting for that incredible day when we all readily identify first with our most positive traits. Dreaming big… Thanks for commenting. You always seem to make me think, which is awesome.

  3. Femmi on

    What a beautiful and insightful post as always. Well written dear friend.

    Self acceptance and intergration of such complicated pieces of one’s psyche are not easy. You are doing a great job. Keep it up.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Thanks, Femmi. Couldn’t make nearly as much progress without amazing friends like you. Thanks for cheering me on! 🙂


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