Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't think twice, it's alright

It’s my last day at the job. Everything is in place. My things are cleared away, files deleted or passed on, keys out on the table. My blonde little replacement is sitting up front, doing her thing as if she’d been here for forever.

I am thinking about grey.

The woman who has made my life a living hell for the past year got me a goodbye hubcap. Yes, a hubcap. My car only has three. I came to work this morning and there was a card and a hubcap on my desk. The thoughtfulness overwhelms me. Amongst all other things, she is and has been kind. Crazy and obsessive compulsive and controlling, but kind too. And considerate. She is, to me, the living proof of my thoughts today.

You cannot divide life into black and white, good and evil. Nothing is wholly one or the other. The Yin/Yang concept of Eastern philosophy makes sense, but I think it’s even more muddled than a simple black and white divide. We bring it all to the table, every day. The upbringing of our parents, the neuroses of our histories, the scars and fears that haunt our footsteps, our anger, our savage competitive drive. The sunsets we’ve seen, the small kindnesses and miracles that have been bestowed, a kiss on the forehead, an unexpected birthday phone call, empathy, a loaf of homemade bread, a funny movie. All of it muddles together.

How do you know when it is time to go? I am learning to recognize the signs. The things that were once exciting and new are tinged with the pain and cynicism of regrets and unforeseen costs. The worn-in tired feeling. The lack of surprise for any bad turn. They have treated me with unkindness, with blindness, and deceit. They have also paid for me to live and walked with me and lived alongside me as life has passed by these two years. Often it has not been good to be here, especially in this last year. But just because it has not been good, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been worthwhile.

I have had a lot of time to research and grow. I have had the good examples of successful women who try to balance careers and families and how to do that and how to ask for things and not be considered a bitch. I have had a space to put my things and expand. I’ve walked around this block hundreds of times. I’ve gotten flowers here and kissed boyfriends and had absolutely awful days where the fact that there was work to be done was all that saved me from wallowing in despair.

It’s time to go. It’s time to go. I am so thankful for the going. I am scared too.

It’s never simple. You can love people who hurt you and feel sadness at leaving a job that made you unhappy and feel nostalgia for places you couldn’t seem to get away from fast enough. But I’m grateful for the complexity of it.

I was here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On blogs

I blog. I read blogs. I think blogging is an important and amazingly personal way to connect with incredibly smart people around the world that one would otherwise have not been exposed to.

Every great intellectual movement of the past has involved a relatively small, diverse group of individuals putting together ideas and collaborating with one another. Consider in America the transcendentalists; Emmerson, Thoreau, etc., who knew and spoke with one another. Or in Paris, the philosophical circles of existentialism headed by Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. We have always relied on one another for support-- for other heads on which to bounce our ideas. I personally view blogging and reading blogs as the modernist equivalent (at least in capacity) to such collaborations. Blogs are, when they are at their best, discussions about concepts and ideas. They are a way to pass on news, to report from one's window the world outside that may not be available to others elsewhere.

Thanks to blogging, I have a better understanding of history and it's implications in modernity. Thanks to blogging, I am able to access some of the smartest and most informative political and legal opinions in the nation. Thanks to blogging, I am able to learn about international issues in Africa and elsewhere. Thanks to blogging, I get tough grammatical questions answered. Blogging is a support system for feminism. And sometimes, it's just plain fun.

I don't think it's a waste of time. I don't think it's frivolous.