My friend took me to a beautiful Cirque de Soleil show as a birthday present. I was very moved by the experience. Now I am all high strung on hope and optimism, and I can feel alarm bells ringing in my head at this unusual state of affairs. I am even planning a wedding ceremony in September next year, for that friend who seems all prepped up to enact a runaway bride.

I met old friends in a cute, Indian restaurant before they left for their winter vacation. It was so lovely to see them, especially since I had been avoiding them for a long while, for no other reason than my own hesitance to bother anyone with my more difficult moods. I really dislike meeting people I like when something in my life is imbalanced. I think I fret too much about worrying them unnecessarily. It is an ingrained habit that I am trying to get rid of. They called me out on it, rightfully so, and I resolved not to do that again. We’ll see. It is all a work in progress, but I felt fortified after seeing them both, after seeing how they love each other and the family they have created together, and I have such beautiful memories of them letting me into their home and keeping me for a few months. I’m always grateful, for what they were to me then, for what they are now, just not very good at saying so, or keeping in touch. I’ve decided to be more conscious about all this. We’ll see how long my resolve lasts.


Where are you going to run to?

Various people have asked me that over the years. I ran away from a society I didn’t like, from family pressures I couldn’t deal with, from a love old that cut too deep.

My latest escape is down under, away from the detritus of two years of a job that was uncomfortable and difficult, for all that it paid well, as I coped near daily with the many paper cuts dealt by a man who knew he had power and didn’t hesitate to remind me of that. I did try fixing that, over and over again, until I gave up and looked to greener pastures. There is only so much Nina Simone and Mississippi Goddamn I can listen to before throwing my hands up in exasperation and moving on to a different lab. I managed to wait until a colleague I respected left on his vacation, having known that I’d find it hard to deal with the drama, and not wanting him to see how it would affect me. Also, he had been the one who had such conviction in reporting things that I had temporarily been swayed to consider that option, and I felt conflicted at how it only led to the usual set of consequences. It was a bit too dramatic for my tastes as it panned out. My old boss asked me to let go of any bitterness and to forgive the people involved. Coming from him of all people, I thought it was a bit weird, but what do I know? He has always been a rather unpredictable sort, and perhaps he was in a Christian mood that day. It’s hardly the worst well-meaning advice I have been plied with. I am not one for lofty concepts such as forgiveness; my way is that of Hobbit-like practicality, of making myself comfortable and safe, and I know I’ll be fine, after a few days, and I know I’ll like the changes – new faces and new challenges. Luckily for me, I love the field and love the technical problems I find here, and it makes up on most days for the random jerk encounters.

This looking forward business is alarming, but welcome. I’ve changed so over the few years past. I have to thank the friends I have for my support system now. It has been utterly unlike any other time in my life, in that I don’t feel I am fighting anything alone, and I feel ensconced in confidence thanks to their faith in me. It is hard in many ways. I am not used to relying on anyone else, having had to keep my own counsel for too long. Generally, I have tended to attract people who want me to need them, people who want to save me from whatever they think I am hiding from, and that dynamic never really ends well. The latest problem that caused me to quit this job was a similar case of that, of wanting me to be compliant and lashing out in many different ways when things didn’t go as he wished. Luckily I have good friends now, and a much better compass for where I want to be. I try more than I used to before, to ask actively for their opinions, to incorporate their feedback into how I make decisions, and it has been working out well for me. I cannot say that I am still the most forthcoming of people when it comes to my problems, since I consider most of them too mundane to trouble anyone with, but I am getting better at voicing my concerns in company I trust.

Just this week, as I made up my mind about resignation, I was discussing it with a friend. And I was talking about Australia, of how I wished I could go there. Her impulsiveness and constant spiel about following my gut stirred recklessness in me; so there I was, sweet-talking that poor airline rep to find me tickets at the last minute, and I was off two hours after I quit that job. It was altogether alarming and crazy, and I wouldn’t have managed it if my wiser, more practical friend hadn’t come by and made sure everything was sorted out and ready to go. I had been a nervous wreck. The job had taken its toll on me: skipped meals, lost sleep, a general state of nervousness and uncertainty that plagued me through my days and nights. On Friday, after I got back home, I was dizzy and fainted, exhausted by the ordeal. I was determined to get away from all of it for a while, so I plucked myself up with caffeine and set off down under. Kautilya, if he had heard of that story, would have called me sensitive, but then I’ve never really had that strength to carry on relentlessly, as some do. Perhaps it comes of not having faith. I didn’t take to religion, I didn’t take to country, and I didn’t take to family or love. I’ve too many whys to be faithful and relentless. So I’ve only been able usually to start over somewhere else, and refuse to ponder the past.

Sibelius called for Hanukkah. He is still plotting and scheming for that Bernie revival. I haven’t the heart to dash his hopes. His mum, though, will take a torch to them once she hears of this. She’s never been much anything than a grim realist.

I wrote Christmas cards. I haven’t yet posted them. I will, when I get back home.

Life isn’t a mainstream movie. There is no closure after three hours. The next chapter isn’t going to be happily ever after. There is a break in between, though, and I am quite grateful for that now.

I met an old colleague whom I respect a great deal, who was one of the best mentors I’ve had in work. There were others, at that same job. We have all drifted apart since, busy with our own lives and careers, but we keep tabs on each other, and it is good to know that they are there if something doesn’t work out, even if I have been so far masochistically resolute that I’ll never use a referral to land a job. He knows my ways, and I felt fortified after he told me bluntly that he’d hire me on the spot if I tired of doing things on my own. I am unlikely to take him up on that offer. I enjoy that thrill of finding new people and places, and proving myself all over again.

I have to head to family for New Year this time. That brings its own bundle of uncertainties and concerns. I am feeling at ease though, more than I have in the years past. I don’t feel that familiar sense of sadness and regret when I think about the hyacinth. The intensity of that past has faded into sepia soft, perhaps now eclipsed by all that has since taken place, and it feels like another person’s life now, familiar but not personal. It makes traveling there easier, much easier.

I did my existentialist month in November this time. So my December seems rather light now. I am more concerned with sleeping and eating well than indulging in my annual mulling over the mysteries of my existence. I imagine I’ll never fully sail with an even keel; I think I have written of that before. A month of evenness, of tempered calm, is really nice though.

Still awfully jetlagged and catching up on what seems to be months of lost sleep. My thoughts are too disjointed to lend themselves to coherency right now, but I have decided not to fuss over that. Writing is a pleasure when there is focus, but it is equally a pleasure when words just flow from streams of thought undirected. It is rather freeing, and I am not going to fret over the lack of conciseness or purpose. I’ve got koalas to pet and stuff.