There are times I know I am vague. Especially on twitter. I make these avant-garde statements and they are so non-specific that it sends people’s minds reeling with hidden meaning. The truth is this: often they are simple thoughts, but they are so many that I have to make a general blanket statement to include the variety of contexts. My latest example comes from Thursday night when I used a baseball analogy to express how I felt about my life: “Sometimes life throws you curveballs and all you can do is swing and pray for a home run.” Apparently my use of the word “curveballs” implied some immediacy. Truth is: curveballs happen all the time. It is something as small as forgetting your phone or keys and attempting to work out a solution to something as large as moving across the country to a town you don’t like and figuring out how to make a life.
On Thursdays work has these picnics at the office. They order food and the employees get to hang out and talk and really get a great feel for one another. One of the most important things I think I have learned this week (outside of the basics of canvassing) is that it is important who you work with. You feed off of your co-workers energy and their spunk and creativity. For example, there is this girl Ashley and she has the most intriguing stops. She loves music and she often uses some sample of a song to grab attention (the latest being “why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends…”). And everyone who is anyone who knows me knows that I love music, and when I hear a beat that get my hips swaying, they sway. My dancing combined with her singing often grabs a bit of attention and because of that, we manage to stop twice as many people than alone. (Sorry for the long side diatribe, now back to my original story/point…) Since you feed off of your co-workers energy, it’s always a good idea to get to know them, to see them in their natural, lounging behaviors, talk to them about things outside of work and see what sparks their interest. And because of that I went to the picnic on Thursday.
While there my mind began to wander. It hit upon different thoughts about the people I work with (“these guys are pretty awesome,” “Wow, I feel at home here, like this is where I have been meant to end up,” “Holy crap, the humor these guys have is beyond redonkulous,” “I am amazed at how easy I fell into stride with them, I think that not only says something about how much I have changed, but how great and open these people are,”) which then led into thoughts about where I was a year ago and where I am now. A year ago I was packing up my life in Iowa City to move to a strange new city. I was fully lamenting my decision to go to California with Jonathan after having seen Davis for the first time. It felt like a prison. One of my favorite, and most accurate and truthful, anecdotes comes from when my dad and I visited. After having walked around the small town and some of the University, my dad smiles, sighs, and goes, “Wow. This is like an island. A small island paradise.” At the same moment I was thinking, “Wow. This is like an island. Some small island prison.” I could literally visualize the iron bars coming down and locking me in. I held the tears back for four days before one night I called up my mom and just wept, telling her the full extent of my displeasure, my fears, my anger. I agreed to five years of living in Davis because I wanted to support my ex-fiance and because I loved him, and I did this even though he didn’t even bother to discuss the possible relocation with me in the first place (as you can tell, there is still venom, which is sad – it is something I need to let go of). But my home run: it helped me to become more open, something I needed in order to make friends, to make sure I did not sink into an even greater depression than I already had. It allowed for the small developments in my boldness and approachability that are helping with the job I currently have. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, idiot.
It’s these thoughts that precipitated my twitter post. Along with a variety of other equally transformative moments. Becoming a redhead, for example, seems simple and nonchalant, it’s a decision many men and women make: if I am to color my hair, what color should I choose? But I have had more compliments on my red hair, and it has given me confidence. (Not so much a curveball, but a change nonetheless.) Rather than looking at basic office work, I decided to follow my wish for writing job or a job that would allow time for my writing to flourish, and because of that for three difficult months I did not have a job, but had I not made that decision, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I feel happy and confident about where I am now. Though most people get upset with the sentiment that everything happens for a reason, I am beginning to appreciate and marvel at the wonderful tapestry that is life and interaction. The patchwork of people and moments create such a beautiful and warming effect, that it is no small wonder that the people who just do are happier. Another saying, taken from my mom, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.” And there is truth in that. Minus my lack of belief in the God she knows. I’ll amend it by saying “life – our experiences – are never more than what we can handle.” We are all calloused feet. We have walked miles and miles and built up a toughness and no matter the path, we continue to walk.
For some reason (I think I know the reason) I have listened to this song a lot, so I will write out the lyrics for you (“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie):
“Love of mine, some day you will die, but I’ll be close behind; I’ll follow you into the dark. No blinding light, or tunnels to gates of white, just our hands clasped so tight waiting for the hint of a spark. If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminated the no’s on their vacancy signs, if there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I’ll follow you into the dark. In Catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule, I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black. And I held my tongue as she told me, ‘Son, fear is the heart of love,’ so I never went back. If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs, if there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I’ll follow you into the dark. You and me have seen everything to see, from Bangkok to Calgary. And the soles of your shoes are all worn down; the time to sleep is now it’s nothing to cry about, because we’ll hold each other soon in the blackest of rooms. If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, and illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs, if there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I’ll follow you into the dark. And I’ll follow you into the dark.”