Just A Phase

I realize it might be a bit excessive how I’m handling this transition, what with meticulously calendaring a full daily schedule, unique to the day of the week, each day following my corporate departure. And I realize it may seem a bit nuts to have a separate doc with a specific plan laid out for each blog and each venture I plan to pursue. But I just don’t want to lose momentum.
I mean… this is my life. I can’t let it fall apart again. I can’t lose momentum. I just can’t.
And I’m scared I’m going to.
Well… I don’t really think I will. I’d like to think I know my own ambition too well to think me capable of letting my dreams slip away.
But then I did let it happen before. I did lose sight of my dreams amidst the bright lights and fancy lingo of the illustrious high tech business world. And I’m ashamed of that. I’m ashamed that I so unceremoniously sacrificed my health and creativity for a life that didn’t give back all that I put into it.
That’s why this is so important to me. It’s a huge step for me, and it’s one I do not take lightly. So I plan to take this all the way, wherever that way may lead. I’m leaving all doors open, all possibilities endless. But being the planner I am by nature, I am taking some extra precautions for the immediate future and setting out a daily schedule to help keep me on track.
So is that really such a crazy idea?
This is my life, and I chose this new path. I chose it myself, for myself, based on myself’s definition of a successful and fulfilling life. And I have to stand by it, no matter what other people might say.
Oh I’ve heard the concerns. I’ve heard their doubts. I’ve heard them say they don’t think this will last. I know some think this is just a pathetic attempt to relive those old glory days of young naïve freedom. Sure I know what they are referring to. Everyone had their own version of that period between college and adulthood, where you get to pretend you are still free from responsibility and bills, to just have fun and travel the world, before having to face a real job and the real world.
So that’s what they think this is huh? Just a phase?
Well, maybe it is a phase. But I’m not treating it like one. I made a serious commitment with this life-altering decision. I put serious time and thought into determining the right next step. And though I truthfully don’t know where it will lead, I have a pretty good sense now of who I am and what I want in life. And likewise, I have a pretty good mind that what I’m doing now is what is right for me and my future.
This is not some fun mini-adventure, or an attempt to take a break from my life. It’s my way of trying to finally live my life, to its fullest potential and my fullest happiness.
I was catching up with one of my favorite coworkers over lunch recently, and I was explaining why I was so careful with the timing of my resignation, considering the bonus we just got and how bad that might look. So she stops me and asks why exactly I did that. She pointed out that I am leaving the industry entirely, so it’s not as if it would really matter what people think. I realized I didn’t actually have a good answer to this.
But when she suggested it might have been so as not to burn any bridges in case I did ever want to come back, I found myself saying that though I am essentially leaving all doors open, I am pretty damn sure I will never again want to work in this corporate world.
Now why I felt compelled to say this so definitively, I don’t know. But it must have something to do with the fact that as nebulous and unpredictable as this new path is, I do have a pretty good sense of what I am about on it. I have a pretty good idea where I’m headed, and I chose that direction very deliberately.
This is indeed the next phase of my life, but that does not mean it is just a phase. This is not me trying to be 23 again. I am moving forward with my life, not backward. It’s my time now, I have made my choice, and I’m going to live it with every inch of my being.
So take that world!

Mad

I am mad.
Well ok. Yes, we all know I am crazy / mad… but that’s beside the point.
Today, and for the last several days, I’ve been angry / mad; like peeved off at the world and all the annoying people in it / mad; like how can there be this many stupid people in the world? / mad; like why am I still stuck here with these people instead of getting on with my new life? / mad.
Firstly, I’m mad about the big stuff…
I’m mad at my life and how much I have seen myself changed. I’m mad that somewhere in there, I lost myself. I’m mad that it took so much time and energy to find myself again. I’m mad that I’m still so lost, even after all that.
I’m mad that all these changes feel so scary. I’m mad that I’m not stronger in facing them. I’m mad for being weak. I’m mad that I am so afraid of being weak. I’m mad that that makes me weak.
I’m mad that they don’t understand my reasons for these changes. I’m mad at their criticisms and concerns. I’m mad that they think I’m moving backwards. I’m mad that a tiny part of me wonders if they are right. I’m mad at my own weakness in questioning myself.
I’m mad at my job. I’m mad that it provoked such panic. I’m mad that I let it. I’m mad at how empty it left me. I’m mad that I ever imagined myself satisfied in this environment. I’m mad every time I question whether leaving is the right decision. I’m mad that it took me this long to realize I need to leave.
I’m mad at my computer. Oh man, am I mad at my computer. I’m mad every time I have to restart this damn thing. I’m mad that it loses all my open tabs every time. I’m mad when it runs so incredibly slow, or needs another software update every 5 minutes. I’m mad that I can’t be more patient. I’m mad that I’m taking for granted this actually very nice MacBook computer, which work gave to me for free!
I’m mad that it didn’t work out with him. I’m mad that I finally found this incredible, indescribable, incomparable connection – and it was with someone who had no idea how to be with me, despite his wanting to be. I’m mad at how I’ve handled the others that have come around since. I’m mad (and confused) at how they want me. I’m mad that I don’t ever want them. I’m mad that it never seems to work out. I’m mad that that’s likely largely my fault.
I’m mad that everyone else around me seems to have someone. I’m mad that I’m still alone. I’m mad that that makes me feel alone. I’m mad that I pretty much always have been alone. I’m mad that I’ve mainly kept myself that way. I’m mad that I’m afraid I’ll end up this way. I’m mad for entertaining the idea that I need anyone anyway.
Then I’m also mad about the small stuff…
I’m mad at the appallingly bad drivers in the Bay Area. I’m mad each time someone forgets to signal a lane change, or cuts me off, or drives excessively slow. I’m mad when they break unnecessarily in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I’m mad to think I was ever that bad a driver. I’m mad that I’m an Asian woman, and therefore stereotyped as a bad driver. I’m mad that my one stupid accident is coming back to bite me in the ass, two years later! I’m mad that this is probably going to haunt me forever.
I’m mad at how terrible that massage was today. I’m mad that he thought it was a good idea to just hit my back several times and rub my skin till it hurt, and then call it a massage. I’m mad that he had the gall to charge me money for that. I’m mad that I paid him. I’m mad that I’m complaining about a massage, which I got during work hours, at discount. I’m mad that this makes me feel like I’m acting entitled.
I’m mad at all the seriously entitled people at work. I’m mad at having to tiptoe through the tulips with these people. I’m mad to think I was ever like them. I’m mad to think I sometimes still can be. I’m mad that I can’t be sure until I get away. I’m mad that I can’t get away fast enough.
My god, I am mad at literally everything. And now I’m mad that I’m mad. It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle.
And the process it took to write all this out, though much needed, also lead to my first panic attack in two months. So now the anger, or madness if you will, has transformed into something even worse: confusion.
It’s not enough that I’m mad and sad and terrified. Let’s throw confused into the mix! Let’s add complete bewilderment about my present situation and my future. Let’s leave me totally flummoxed about what I think, what I’m doing, and just who I am in general. Let’s question every genuine thing I thought I’d found, and blur the lines between real and surreal.
Ah yes, and there’s the crazy / mad part I was telling you about. You see? It all comes right round full circle. And boy does that make me mad!

The Sign of the Self

My birthday is coming up very soon, in less than 3 weeks in fact, on March 25! Yes, this means I’m an Aries. I know, big surprise right? In fact, I’ve always found it a bit freaky just how blatant an Aries I am. Everything I’ve ever read about the zodiac sign has seemed to perfectly describe me, to a tee.
Well I was casually pondering this the other day, and I decided to do a little online research for good measure. You know, just for shits and giggles. And did you know just how much information there is to be found on the internet? It’s awe-inspiring, and a bit overwhelming!
I sat engrossed in my computer for barely a couple of hours, and in that time I stumbled upon more insight into my astrological background than I ever imagined, and more insight into myself than seems possible from one night of Google-ing.
But then I realize I am a biased reader. So hows about I share with you all what I found instead, and you can tell me whether or not you think it’s actually significant?
Here’s what I learned:
1. The Aries sign is the first sign of the zodiac, as well as one of the four cardinal signs, indicating that Arians are natural leaders and always like to be first themselves
2. Arians exhibit fearlessness and aren’t afraid to explore the unknown in life – which just seems so fitting for where I am in my life right now
3. We are apparently also energetic and daring, and fighters who crave adventure and enjoy the thrill of the hunt – ring any bells?
4. Similarly, it’s part of being an Aries to know exactly what you want, and have no problem going after your goals in a very edgy and passionate manner
5. Arians always prefer to get on with the job rather than waiting around for something to happen, which can translate into impatience for people who work at a slower pace – wow, did they study me before writing this?
6. Arians also have a freedom-loving spirit, which means we like having the space to do our work on our own terms, and thrive in situations where we are our own boss, make our own decisions, and create our own destiny – this is getting spooky
7. Since I was born between March 21 – 30, the planet Mars is doubly strong for me, which means I can be demanding and not so tolerating of opposition – am I really like that? Tell me now!
8. But being born in that part of the month also means I have an increased level of stamina, and require more physical activity to release this resulting frustration – soooo true!
9. Arians is the sign of the self, so people born under this sign strongly project their personalities onto others
10. And lastly, Arians are evidently very impulsive, and usually don’t think before they act or speak, often just saying whatever pops into their head – ahahahaha!
In closing, I’ll leave you with this final thought:
The Sun’s presence in the Aries zodiac basically gives our will free rein of expression, which we can either assert through a leadership role, or (get this) in forcing others to look at themselves in a new way.
Coincidentally, this touches right on a major part of my motivation to be a writer and a sharer of my journey. I hope through all of this, I have inspired some of you to look at your own journey in a new and different way, and perhaps explore the unknown in your own life.

A Little Bit Of Magic

Have you ever taken advantage of a random excuse to make a wish? I found a loose eyelash on my face – make a wish! I just drove over train tracks – make a wish! I held my breath through the whole tunnel – make a wish!

Well I was driving home last night, exhausted from a most energetic evening catching up with great friends, and I saw the clock on my dashboard strike 11:11pm. As if by instinct, I immediately thought, ‘oh I should make a wish!’ So I thought about it and finally said, ‘I wish that I’ll be able to get quickly back to the house without any delays, so that I might see the housemates before they go to bed, instead of having to sneak inside in the dark.’

But once spoken, I realized this was a rather odd wish for me. Oh I meant my wish, but it’s just that this is not at all like the wishes I’m used to making. In fact, I guess I really haven’t been making my usual kinds of wishes for a while now, since this whole recent life revaluation began.

A year ago, if I saw the clock hit 11:11, I would have wished for a more peaceful state of mind, or even for world peace. I might have wished that my job would suck less or that I’d soon find that one guy that can inspire me to love. In a sense, I would have wished for something on a bit of a grander scale, something less specific, and thus less easily attained. I’d have set my sights too high without a clear idea of how to reach them, and as such, would probably never have reach them.

This was a common theme for the way I lived my life before the massive re-haul which redefined my path. But in turning around and looking back at how I’d lived and who I’d become, I saw this theme emerging. And I didn’t like what I see.

Now that I’ve come through the thickest part of the forest, and am making my way into the wide open fields, I understand what making wishes is really about. If you want to wish for something – I mean really wish for it – then you’ve got to start with a clear idea of what you want and how you can get it. That’s the first key ingredient, and it’s something I’ve only just recently figured out for myself.

A wish is a mixture of one part dreaming and one part reality. You can’t manufacture a miracle out of thin air. It’s got to be based on something that already exists around you. But then you add the magic of the wish, and with confidence and courage, you just might be able to see it come true.

That wish I made last night was a perfect example of this. Sure, it was a small one and very simple, but more importantly, it was based in reality. I was already on my way home, and making good time. But I also knew it was very late, and could a little helping of wish magic to make sure I got back in time. It wasn’t much to wish for, but it was sure as hell a realistic wish – one part dreaming, and one part reality.

Of course, I’m not afraid to shoot higher than that, so long as I keep this in mind. I’ve got a great many other wishes I’d like to whisper upon a shooting star, that ask for something a bit more than just a reasonable bedtime. But each one is still based in reality, with a clear sense of what I want and how I think I could achieve it with a little bit of magic.

I wish that I’ll survive the next two weeks at work, and find the peace I believe will come at the end of it. I wish that I’ll be able to reconnect with those people here that truly matter to me, and ensure we maintain those relationships long after I leave. I wish for the strength to continue, and not lose momentum on this new journey, once I finally taste that sweet, sweet freedom.

I wish that in good time, with a combination of dedication and aptitude, I will become a successfully paid stuntwoman. Equally so, I wish that I’ll find someone out there willing to pay me for my writing!

I could keep going. I wish that my upcoming birthday celebration will indeed kick ass! I wish for my intended trips to Hawaii, Yosemite and beyond to all become reality. I wish to continue finding newer and better ways to simplify and streamline my life, and maximize my useful time. I wish to always have a clear idea of what I want, and how I can go about getting it. I wish that I will keep writing everyday, and really utilizing all the powerful outlets I’ve identified to express myself. And I wish through all this, to continue realizing ways of inspiring others to do the same.

Are you seeing a trend here? All of these wishes I’ve listed, they are all really just goals of mine. You could just chalk these up to the objectives I’ve set forth to achieve on this new phase of my journey.

That’s all wishes really are anyway. They are the aspirations that you’ve determined you truly want, the intentions you’ve deemed possible, with just a little bit of magic.

So now it’s your turn. Tell me, what do you wish for?

It Is Going To Be Alright, Right?

Ok breathe. Getting a major dose of depression right now, and it’s only adding to this already overwhelming feeling that I can’t put my finger on why. Doesn’t ever really help the situation does it, if you’re already deep in it, and then on top of that, you can’t name what exactly brought it on? I guess I’m just going to have to sit here, as always moping away in inexplicable misery, sorrow, until it passes.
Hold on; just had a thought. Since I’ve already been using this forum for reflection on such troublesome passages of my journey, maybe it’s worth a shot to try writing myself right through this sadness. I know, normally people go through the gloom, and then write about it in retrospect, once having achieved contemplation and a clearer head. But I don’t want to wait. I don’t want this one to be a look back on what went wrong, and how I can grow from it. I want this one to be about what it’s actually like to be in the middle of it, right now, as I weep and type.
So first, what I want to know is why. Why the hell am I so sad? I realize that at the core of it, it’s really just chemical; a chemical imbalance in my brain. Clearly my serotonin levels are a bit depleted right now, and my cortisol levels shooting through the roof. But beyond that, there must be a source to the emotional distress that’s feeding this chemical reaction. And in order to address it, I need to figure out what that is.
Ok, let’s walk through this thing, step by step. What happened today that might have upset me? Well, I did go into work today, which very likely contributed. I’ve already identified this work as damaging to my energy and health. So that probably plays a part in this. But then, it doesn’t really feel like that’s just it. Something tells me it runs deeper than that.
So let’s go back farther. Well, last night’s sleep was rough… again. I had more nightmares… again. More of the same frightening images symbolizing loss of self, freedom, dignity, loved ones, everything I hold dear. More of the terrifying attacks from unknown masked invaders, bent on destroying everything and everyone in my life. But again, I’ve had these many many times. So as upsetting as each one can be, I’m also growing numb with the expectation of each, so the resulting pain has diminishing returns. There’s just got to be something else going on here.
Going even farther back, I realize I need to look at this last weekend. It was by all accounts a superb weekend, full of epic powder, deeply fascinating conversations with awesome friends, and all around good times. So how could any of it have possibly helped bring this on? If I revisit those recent memories, will that reveal anything?
Ok wow, I just had to take a moment there to collect myself. It seems it’s actually too distressing to try and answer those questions right now. So I’m going to try a different tactic. I’m instead going to try and describe how I’m feeling right now, and then see if that leads to any deeper understanding of the root cause.
Well for starters, I’m feeling scared. Oh hell, I’m frickin’ terrified right now. I mean, I’m about to take this massive leap, and turn my entire life inside out and upside down. And though I’ve spent the last two months carefully plotting this next course, and though I know what I want and am reasonably assured I have the talent to do it, I’m still human. And I still can’t shake that looming feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong. I’m going to step out on this unpredictable ledge, and it’s going to crumble under my feet, and I won’t be able to catch myself before plummeting to my demise.
Come to think of it, this very thought did occur to me once this last weekend. Yes, there’s the tie I was looking for. It was only this once, a very brief, but very intense moment on Sunday night. We were right in the middle of our extremely productive group conversation, when I just stopped cold. I looked at everyone, and then down at my feet, and quietly admitted my fear. It was oddly timed in the conversation to be sure, and rather out of the blue, so what prompted this turn of feeling I can’t say. One minute, I was engaged ever eagerly in my role as scribe for our profoundly intellectual discussion, caught in a trance with my fingers ready and poised over the keyboard. And the next, the spell was broken and replaced with despair.
I get it now! This is the source of my current anxiety. I’m sitting here typing furiously, and I can see through blurry eyes that it’s all because I am human. And that means that I may be planned and prepared for this monstrous life change, but I’ll never really be completely ready. Are we ever really ready to pull the rug entirely out from under our own feet? I guess I just figured I was above that, and I chose to believe all those people telling me I must be so brave to go through with all this. But the truth is, I’m just as scared as anyone else would be. I’m just as wary that this might all actually turn out to be a huge mistake. And even if it doesn’t, I’m afraid knowing I’m just as capable of completely screwing it all up.
Yes I know, I know. I am strong, and I do carry myself with a strength I sometimes don’t even know I have. But even so, there’s still inside me that scared little girl who just wants to know that everything’s going to be alright. And it is all going to be alright… isn’t it?

The Fierce, Frank & Free

I can’t take it anymore. I’ve only been back at work for a week, and already I can feel it eating away at me, sucking back out the bits of my soul I’d just finished piecing together. It brings back to mind the question, why the hell am I here? But then just as quickly, follows with the reminder of exactly why and how I am in fact going to get myself out of here.

The first day or two back were full of deceptive bliss, as I floated on a cloud of surprisingly smooth expectations and easy conversations. But the (second) honeymoon period is over now, and taking its place is a resurgence of that familiar old feeling of emptiness and frustration.

There’s nothing genuine about this environment. Oh sure, they all think they are being genuine. And perhaps for most of them, this is about as genuine as they could ever be. That’s why they fit this environment so well. It suits them. But it doesn’t suit me. I require more in my interactions with others.

I’d pass one of them in the hallway, and being so excited to see me after two months, they’d say enthusiastically, “Hey there! How are you?”

And as if programmed with the appropriate office response, I would react instinctively with: “Oh good, thanks. How are you?”

To which they’d reply with a polite and upbeat: “Good. Thanks!”

It’s all so one-dimensional. In the world outside of corporate America – that world I now prefer, filled with artists and burners and dreamers – this kind of conversation would never happen. In that world, such a greeting would go something more like this:

“Oh hi! So good to see you, love! It’s been so long. How have you been doing?”

To which I would more openly reply: “It is really great to see you too! Well I’d say I’m doing well, but it’s been a rough journey. Though I’m finally getting to a place where I’m living the life I really want. And you? Tell me how you have been?”

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But that’s not here. Here I have to hold that part of me back, and hide it away as if ashamed of its heartfelt and honest ways. Here, you can’t be real. You can’t say things as they are, or how you feel them truly in your heart. You have to stick to communication that is appropriate, and words that are legally risk-free. Even the ‘watercooler’ talk is coated with politically correct and carefully chosen phrasing.

There is one colleague here who I do think understands where I’m coming from. She always seemed to look deeper into me when we talked, and gave such a vibe of unassuming compassion. And it struck me as odd in the past, before I learned to appreciate that energy. I see now how unique and valuable she is, and how she might be the only truly genuine person in my office. And yet, would you be surprised to here that she’s not viewed as being that competent or easy to work with? There have actually been numerous complaints and negative feedback regarding her ability to collaborate smoothly with teammates. When I learned all of this, being in the position to absorb such juicy team gossip from both teammates and boss, I was so surprised. How could such a warm and caring person be considered a burden to the team?

Well, this was just further proof that I don’t belong here. And frankly, probably neither does that particular colleague. We belong in a world of more genuine generosity of spirit, and open exchange of ideas. We belong in a world without dictated internal PR and claustrophobic office cubicles. We are among the people of this world that thrive on compassion and creativity and community.

I know I won’t have to tread in this intolerant world for much longer. In four short weeks’ time, I know I will be freed forever of this cage and can spread my independent and inspired wings forth. I have a dream that I will then be able to find my place in this world – the world where I am able to speak my mind and pursue my heart; the world in which I do thrive and belong. And I can only hope that that colleague of mine, and any others of this same world, will find their way home someday as well.

Long live the fierce, frank and free!

And if that be ye, won’t you come join me?

One Fine Day

Dear me, that went well! I’ve just had my first day back in that tall imposing office building, returning to the grinding gears of the corporate machine, and boy was I nervous! I’d worked myself up into such a frenzy about it that I barely slept a wink the night before (further aggravating my already terrible insomnia) and literally had to catch my breath for a second before walking through that first office door.

I got in a little later than I’d have liked, having overslept my alarm due to being up all night. So here I am, running late and panicking, with no idea of what to expect to come into. I had no idea if my boss (let’s call her ‘M’) was expecting me to jump straight back into being her Admin. Like the logical side of me figured probably not, but that didn’t stop me from briefing myself on her entire schedule that day, just in case I was asked to help her navigate it first thing that morning, as I used to do.

So I’m cursing myself the whole drive down, and it’s a few minutes after 9am when I finally rolled into work. And after a brief pause to collect myself, I entered apprehensively through the usual office door that leads up a back staircase to my floor.  To my relief, not many people were around, meaning I only had one or two ‘Oh you’re back!’ exclamations to face just then. ‘Phew!’ I thought. Maybe I’ll be able to go the whole day like this, in manageable waves.

After that initial wave of relief, things just kept getting better. I happily discovered that the temp Admin (let’s call him T) – the one who’d filled in during my leave – was still around AND still managing M’s calendar. And upon reaching out and meeting with him, I further learned that T’s contract was actually extended full through June and intended to continue said Admin work all the way through then. Happy discovery number 2! This means not only don’t I have to take back over any Admin duties now, but I’ll also be able to stay free of them all the way through to my resignation!

Then, just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, T informs me that he and M have been discussing his future and the hope to transition him into her Admin role full-time, as my permanent replacement. This swept away any other concerns I had, as I know only too well how long the hiring process here takes, and was afraid I’d have to depart before we’d locked down new full-time support for M. She means so much to me, that I knew it would be terribly hard to say goodbye knowing I was leaving her on her own.

And now I don’t have to worry about her! If all goes according to plan, I will be leaving M in the (as I’ve so far observed) capable hands of T. So now my purpose here until my departure is clear. I have my successor, and now I must prepare him. T seems to have a lot of potential, from what I’ve seen of him so far. And what’s more M likes him, which speaks highly for him. So I’ve no doubt he could do this job, and do it well. The key is to get him to the point where he’s doing it as M needs it done, working with her as she needs someone to. That’s where I come in.

Armed with this plan, I headed into my first meeting with M. The day had already been going so much better than expected, but I still had one remaining worry. I was as yet unsure how M would take the news of my ideal future plans, carefully developed out of my extensive introspective journey. I’ve always known how supportive she is of me, and I was banking on that. But at the same time, I was keenly aware of how much she loves working with me, and would suffer to see me leave the company.

I was thus prepared for such pushback in walking into our meeting. And can you imagine, but I needn’t have worried at all! The very first thing she did, after squealing with delight to see me, was to insist that she see my eyes. Before I left, she had made the pointed observation that the sparkle was missing from my eyes, an indication she said of just how lost she saw I was. So naturally, upon my return, she was eager to see if my eyes had regained their light. And after careful study, she declared they had, and that I looked much happier and healthier in general. Satisfied with this, we sat down and commenced to dig into the recap of my leave.

I told her everything. I always tell her everything. It’s a rare relationship we have, M and I. And we’ve always felt comfortable telling each other everything. So it was no different now. I told her all about how I’d struggled to find myself, to listen to my own inner voice for once. I told her about setting a strict health regimen of sleep, food and exercise. I told her all about therapy, about overcoming the panic, and tackling the overwhelming family issues. And ultimately, I told her how all this had lead me to realize my own unique and personalized definition of a successful life. How I’d learned to look beyond the pre-conditioning of my past, and the expectations of my family and society, to determine what lifestyle I myself would find valuable and sustainable.

And M just nodded. She just sat there, soaking it all in, offering her approval and encouragement here and there. It was more than I’d hoped for, more than I’d given her credit for. Here was my boss, my mentor, my leader, offering completely respect and support for all my decisions. If I paused for reaction, she would agree that this sounded absolutely appropriate for me, very much more suited to my personality and passions, and the truly best next step for me. I was elated! I finished telling her about my next occupational adventures, the training I was already undertaking, and even my plans to go homeless and couch surf with friends to save money. And you know what she did? Not only did she love the sound of it all (aside from a few natural concerns about the homelessness), she even offered to have me come crash with her if I liked.

How many bosses do you know who would do that? M is truly extraordinary, is she not? I also mentioned how I’d like to do some traveling while having no home, and she again jumped at the chance to have me come along with her on any upcoming trips! She turned to her computer enthusiastically, and exclaimed, “Where am I going next? Maybe you can come with me!” And the funny thing is, I would go with her too!

Having gotten full buy-in on my future plans, I then turned the conversation to the next month and the transition ahead. At first, M offered to let me leave in less than the month previously agreed upon, seeing how well T was already doing in the role – which normally I’d have accepted. But then I mentioned my ‘other’ reason for staying the full month, and M immediately understood. In further confirmation of our awesome relationship, she told me in perfect frankness that she’d happily keep me on until paid my year-end bonus, and then let me go immediately after.

The meeting ended on the most excellent of terms, M and I having fully laid out my final day of work, and what I’d be doing up until then. Simply put, my only job until then would be mentoring and training T for the full M Admin role, and helping him out with any bigger strategic projects. No Admin bitch work, no calendaring, no expenses, nothing! Just mentoring and strategic planning, the only two parts of the Admin job I ever actually liked!

So here I am now, sitting in my room and reliving today’s events. And I still can’t believe my luck! All my worries that I’d be thrown directly back into Admin mania, that M wouldn’t understand my reasons for moving on, that she’d beg me to stay at the company… all of that seems so silly now. In the end, M was every bit as supportive and sincere as I’ve always known her to be. And in the end, I discovered it might just be possible after all to achieve the change I’ve come to dream of. I may, after all, be able to live the life I want. The life I choose for myself. With one very fine day successfully passed, I just have to get through the next 5 weeks, and then… freedom!

The Moment of Truth

I’m going back to Google tomorrow. I know it’s only temporary, the necessary prequel to the next exciting adventure of my life’s journey, and yet I can’t help but be nervous. On this, the final day of my perfect little leave, I am sent into a whirlwind of reflection in an effort to maintain any sense of sanity and purpose as I take this next terrifying leap. Oh it’s terrifying alright. And just as surely, it’s quite a leap. A leap of faith in myself, and my ability to successfully execute on the plan I’ve been spending the last two months carefully crafting, questioning, and rewriting.

You see, it’s one thing to figure out what the hell you want and how to get it – and believe me, that is a challenge in itself – but it’s quite another thing to actually deliver on it. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, I am all too aware of this. Even in the beginning, I knew that I could spend all the time in the world (or as much as my therapist would sign off on) pondering and brainstorming and digging into my true self for such answers. But in the end, the real difference would have to come in actually acting on it. Now that moment of truth has arrived, it’s starting to feel a bit daunting.

Have you ever made this huge a change in your life all at once? I feel as if I’m about to launch a complete 180 on myself. Here I am, one month away from leaving the comfortable corporate job I’ve hidden behind for the last 4 years, while simultaneously moving out of the wacky 8-person apartment I’ve been trying to call home.

I’m one month away from redefining my entire lifestyle, going nomad and starving writer status, hoping to scrape by with some shaky foundation of bartending or part-time work.
I’m one month away from abandoning the lifeless cubicle life I’ve discontented myself with and launch headlong into an extremely vigorous and rousing existence of kicking ass and taking names.
I’m one month away from throwing away everything I’ve poured all my sweat, tears and sanity into building over the last 4 years, and starting over from scratch.
Sounds pretty terrifying, doesn’t it?

But you know what’s been the most amazing thing? Despite how apprehensive I may feel about my impending reorg, I’ve found that anyone who’s been patient enough to listen to me explain all this has actually reacted with awe and admiration. Quite an unexpected response, and I’m truly touched. It’s even clearer to me how crucial it is now, as it has been throughout this whole exploration, to know how much my friends believe in me. And it reiterates the theory that such life changes and chances are easiest to execute when you have a strong network around you.

I know I have a rocky road ahead of me. And though guided by a carefully developed plan, I know there will be tough times ahead. So I guess this is me giving thanks, once again, for the encouragement I have and will continue to receive from you all.

And now a moment for reflection. Looking back is only has useful as it is to help you look forward. Mmm yes deep thoughts. The vision in front of me is much clearer now, having done the work to dissect my past. And now that I am moving forward, I know what key themes I have still in play. Naturally there’s the usual family stuff: my parents have never understood me, I hate my grandmother with all my hate being, and I’m terrified anytime I see any indication that I am becoming like them. Then there’s the other vulnerabilities I have to work towards accepting: my fear of being constantly left behind, left out, and let down, my inability to trust men, my addiction to stress and over-extending myself, and most notably, my fear of being weak (love the irony of that itself being a weakness). I know I run away from commitment, and I cringe at the idea of being tied down. I realize that not always being the leader isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And I’ve learned that sometimes the best therapy is just getting whatever’s inside of you out of hiding and sharing it with people who care. Writing in this blog has taught me that. Sharing with you all has taught me that.

I know I have a lot yet to face, and I’m prepared for the life long trek ahead of me. But I also know I’ve got to take it one step at a time. Because I’ve always had a bad habit of focusing too far in the future, and that’s always had this annoying little side effect of stressing me the hell out. So this time, I’m going to take it slow and steady. That’s what wins the race. I’ve got a monster of a next step ahead of me, and that’s all I’m focusing on right now. And eventually, with all of your support and love, and a steady step, I have hope that I will make it through this alive and kicking, successfully executing this plan I’ve so carefully pieced together.

The moment of truth has indeed arrived. And it all begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!

The Unbeatable Beat

I had a really great night tonight. You could say it started getting good when I went to see The Mechanic with a friend: a predictable yes, but still rockin’ action film starring the current king of kick-ass, Jason Statham. These movies always manage to put me in a good mood, and as always, I left the theater feeling invincible, like I could take on anything!
But I guess in retrospect, I’d say the night is really more memorable because of what happened later, and what it taught me about myself.
So first, I’d like to start by telling you about anger. All my life I’ve suffered from intense frustration and a very violent temper. I inherited this from my father, which believe me doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. And just like my father, something unsettling happens to me and I just snap. This monster rises up in me with the smallest incident, the tiniest encouragement, one little pinprick. And suddenly, I am overtaken by an uncontrollable urge to hit something, hurt something, destroy something. I just want to rip and punch and yell and curse.
Now as I’ve grown up, I have learned to control this considerably. At the very least, I’ve learned to tear and scream and smash in private, and so not subject anyone else to this temper. But I pay a price to hold it in. And while it’s been better for those around me, it still hasn’t helped me heal at all. It still often gets the better of me. And through it all, I’ve always been ashamed of it. My whole life I’ve been ashamed of my temper, ashamed of the power anger has over me.
You must understand, I am a very passionate person. I know this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever known me, met me, or probably even just observed me passing by. I do have a fire to me – at the core of me, driving me – which in a nutshell describes my personality, and explains why I have the word tattooed on my back. And this temper of mine, this thing that takes such a hold of me… this is what happens when the fire is at it’s worst. And when it’s burning that hot, it’s hard for anyone to see me because they either don’t understand it or they’re intimidated by it, or both.
But what’s worse, it’s been even harder for me to understand it, and see through the haze of it. In that moment, it’s all I can do not to punch a wall, or dent my car’s roof, or scream loud enough to shatter glass and pierce the world. And in that moment, I want to pierce the world. I want to hurt what has dared hurt me, regardless of what it is, and whether it will make any difference, or matter at all.
Because that’s the thing isn’t it? It usually doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Lives will go on living, and weeks or days or even minutes from then, it won’t matter that this one thing happened, that some guy cut me off, or that woman insulted me, or my grandmother made me feel small and insignificant again. But why does it matter so much in the moment? Why is it so hard for me to let go, even when knowing in the long run it won’t make a difference?
Well of course, even throughout this most recent and tumultuous journey of my life, that message never did sink in. I have been trying so hard to work at this anguish within, and gain some footing against the beast. But I never felt like I was getting anywhere. Sure I’ll go through periods where I feel a little more at peace, or it’s a little easier to hold it back, but the monster would still be lying dormant underneath, just waiting for the right time to pounce.
And as if to prove so, this last weekend in Tahoe, it found opportunity to rear its ugly head again. It rose up in all its fury, and nearly destroyed me. I got out on that mountain first thing Saturday morning, and immediately I got stuck in a tree ditch. It was so icy that I couldn’t dig my edge in enough to stop the inevitable painfully-slow slide down into that ridiculous ditch. And as I sunk further and further down, my pride went down with it. So by the time I managed to awkwardly crab crawl my way out and catch up to everyone (who of course were all sitting there waiting for me), I felt about as big as an ant, and totally unworthy of anyone’s respect.
And I swear I’m better than this. Normally, I am a fairly decent snowboarder. This was so not the kind of first impression I wanted to give these guys. But the fact that I got stuck in a ditch for so long, and made everybody wait on my clumsy ass, before we even got to go down one measly run… well it didn’t exactly paint the most impressive picture of me. And more importantly, it didn’t exactly start me off in the greatest mood that day. As we took the first lift up, I proceeded to curse and swear like a sailor for being so foolish, which I’m sure only made me seem that much more awesome. I couldn’t decide which made me angrier: the fact that I failed so spectacularly as a snowboarder, or that my ego had been so bruised in the process.
I remained relatively pissed off for the remainder of the day, but it did slowly improve with each successful carve and that glorious feeling that only a truly solid smooth run can give you. So that by the end of the day, I’d managed to regain some of my pride, and was feeling pretty confident when the guys suggested we head back down the front side to the lodge. We knew this would take some traversing over to the Kirkwood’s longest run, which would take us all the way to the bottom. What we didn’t realize was that the path to get to this nice long run included navigating a very steep and very icy section. Well that’s also largely because we all foolishly decided to follow Jon. And as I later learned, the first rule of Jon is that you never follow Jon. But of course, we all followed Jon. And what with my newly repaired pride, and my eagerness to be done with the day, I guess I wasn’t being terribly cautious as we started down the icy slope. So yes, I ate it… really bad.
The whole sequence went something like a bad joke. What’s black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and really bruised all over? Answer: a Rebecca somersaulting and slamming and sliding 50 feet down a sheer sheet of ice. I yard sale-d every loose piece of clothing on me (though thankfully not my board), and finally ended up lying face up and stunned dumb, barely able to speak but for whimpering in pain.
And of course, once I shakily righted myself and collected my things, and made it slowly down the rest of the ice, there was everyone sitting and waiting for me all over again. And once again, I felt unequivocally embarrassed. And then I felt angry. I mean, I was pissed, both at the mountain and at myself. I was pissed at the mountain for kicking my ass, and at myself for having let it. So that the only thing more agonizing than the pain searing through my entire body was the feeling of my pride being crushed all over again.
I don’t know how I managed to get the rest of the way down the mountain that day. Or how I was able to hold my head high and assure everyone that I would be just fine on my own. Or for that matter, how I was able to get back out on the slopes again the next day for even more abuse. Thank you sir, may I have another? I didn’t last long that next day either, and I literally had nothing left by the end of it, but I did get back out there. I tried until I could go no further. And then, finally beaten into submission, I hung up my board, settled in front of a beer and bowl of chili, and just let the aches and shame wash over me.
And that shame and anger stuck with me well beyond the weekend. It hung persistently above me like one of those cartoon rain clouds. So that even today I could feel its simultaneously comforting and depressing presence as I met Kim Elisha at the 5Rhythms dance event.
Now I know you’ve been waiting for this story to start looking up. So here it is. It was here that something beautiful and beautifully ironic happened. See the 5Rhythms class has been experimenting lately with the idea of tying an emotion to the evening’s exercise. And tonight, the chosen emotion to explore through dance was – you guessed it – anger. Boy, someone up there must really love me. Though regardless of how timely last weekend’s events were, this still would have been an incredibly appropriate emotion for me to focus on, given my volatile history with it. So I found myself equally intrigued and terrified at what the night’s dance might reveal.
We were asked to select one recent experience with anger to focus on in this exercise, which of course immediately triggered that very perfect recent event just described. Then with that in mind, we all got started as the instructor indicated, moving around in a circular motion, letting the anger start brewing and working its way up into our consciousness. And as I danced, I started allowing myself to explore this emotion that has gotten the better of me all my life.
I felt it ignite and invigorate me, but for all the power it has over me, it didn’t really feel any better in this supposedly controlled setting. I just got angrier and angrier, soaking in the anger until I got good and pruney. But I understood this was supposed to be healthy for me, and I was hopeful that something productive would come out of it, so I just kept exploring and indulging the anger.
And then almost as if completely randomly, mid-brew and at the peak of my pruney-ness, it finally hit me – that realization that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I’m angry, or that the mountain beat me up, or that I appeared a less competent snowboarder. And I finally understand why it doesn’t matter! Because you know what? I’m dancing! I’m actually dancing, and moving my body – this body that just two days ago was given the beating of a lifetime; this body that really ought to be immensely more crippled and weak.
I mean, how do I even have this much energy now? The fact that I am even here doing this proves that I won! The mountain tried to take me down, but I’m still here. I’m still going strong; my body has not been broken; I have not been beaten. The mountain pushed my limits, but it didn’t break me. And that means I won. I realized that’s what matters in the end. It doesn’t matter if something pisses me off, or someone cuts me off, or something tries to take me down. Because in the end, I’m still going to be here, still dancing, still kicking ass like Jason Statham.
You see, I think this is why they call me ‘Beat.’ This is the true meaning of my name ‘Beat’. It’s not just because I’m a dancer, and always dancing to the beat of the music – that’s part of it sure, but it’s not the core of it. The true essence of the name is more about the beat within me. It says that no matter how much of a beating I may take, and how angry I may get about it, my heart is still going to keep beating, and I’m going to keep beating strong. There will still be a beat in me.
And in the end, that’s all that matters. In the end, nothing else matters but the Beat in me, the Beat that will never be beaten.

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Man I feel good… really good. It’s pretty hard to believe, but maybe all I really needed was one amazing weekend throwing my body down a mountain of snow to finally wake up and see it. Life doesn’t have to be this complicated. I’m sure some of you will think I’m talking crazy, or maybe just saying that to justify being lazy. But in my head, I feel like I’ve finally discovered the secret to having it all.

There I was, strapping into my bindings at the top of Squaw’s Emigrant lift, and looking out over a sight so beautiful it took my breath away. How can I be amidst such simple beauty, and not appreciate the beautiful simplicity of life? But I’m making it sound more poetic than it actually happened.

To be honest, the moment hit me while taking a lunch break at the Gold Coast café, midway up the mountain, with the 7 guys I’d been hauling ass down the mountain with all morning. Because the best part about that day wasn’t the beautiful snow-covered scenery, or the feel of my snowboard’s carving motion, or even the sweet sweet powder I ate it hardcore in later. The best part was that I got to spend the day talking about the delicious qualities of beer, and the arguments for skiing vs. snowboarding, and how cool it would be to write ‘bro poetry.’ I spend the day hanging out with 7 dudes, and for the first time in a very long time, I got to feel like one too.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love being a woman. I still like getting dressed up and going out for a night on the town. And I swoon and gush over a hot guy as much as the next girl. But ever since I was little, I’ve just sort of had an affinity for being one of the guys. I had mostly guy friends as a kid, and played a lot of sports, and (some might say) even acted quite like a guy myself.

The appeal was the simplicity. Guys just keep it simpler, and it’s really such a remarkable and admirable thing. They don’t over think their words before they speak, and they don’t obsess over what yours might have meant. They usually just say what they mean, and mean it. That doesn’t mean they’re always right, or true, or good. But they are straight forward, and sincere, and simple.

Ok so it’s not necessarily a ‘guys’ vs. ‘girls’ thing either. I guess it’s better described as a ‘masculine’ vs. ‘feminine’ energy sort of thing, both of which can appear to varying degrees in both sexes. So you could say I had a greater tendency toward masculine energy in my childhood. And it’s something I’ve been missing for far too long. I’d forgotten how much I love hanging out with just a group of dudes, who don’t talk about their feelings, but rather how awesome it feels to race down a mountainside.

I’m a closeted dude. Or rather, I was an openly expressed dude in earlier years, and have since closeted that side of me. And now my inner dude, the voice of my disowned dude, has found a way back out. And boy is she happy! She’s showing me what I’ve always known, but have failed lately to see: that life is easier to handle, and the bad times easier to deal with, and stress less present, when you keep things simple.

It’s like Timothy Ferriss says in ‘The 4-Hour Workweek,’ the secret to having more time is doing less. In his book, Ferriss centers his philosophy around 4 main principles for your lifestyle. And with them, he’s really telling us to take 4 rather simple, but extremely difficult steps in our lives. However, if taken, they promise to have exponentially beneficial impact. These are: Define, Eliminate, Automate, and Liberate.

It’s a classic case of easier said than done. But as I read on, and relive the amazing sensation I felt this past weekend in Tahoe, I am further convinced that these 4 steps are a calling card for me, and will indeed prove fruitful in the quest I currently find myself on. I first want to define what is most important to me, what my true values, goals and passions are. And as luck would have it, I’d already begun to do that very step before I’d even picked up Ferriss’ book.

From there, I’ll be able to eliminate what doesn’t align with those, especially anything eating up unnecessary time. This I’ve not yet started. but I am already bubbling over with ideas. I can then automate to simplify the time-consuming things I do wish to keep around. And finally, liberate myself from my fears of failure, which threaten to rip all this progress to shreds – essentially saving the hardest for last.

Now I’m not saying that I want to be a dude all the time. And I’m not about to sign myself up for a sex change operation. But I do think that if I can let my inner dude out more often, life can really be so much easier and happier. I can still be a woman, strong and ladylike at the same time. And I can still enjoy getting gussied up, or crushing on a cute guy, or have girls’ nights out, or talk about my feelings.

But at the core of it all, at the heart of my life’s journey, my success will depend greatly on how simple and sublime a rhythm I can maintain. I realize now why I’ve lately been so nostalgic for those fun carefree days of my childhood, why I’ve longed so desperately for who I used to be. And I also now have a real solid idea of what it will take to keep me focused, driven and panic-free. It’s such an incredible feeling, and if I can really hold on to this, and not forget it again, I know I will have an incredibly rich, happy and (relatively) sane life ahead of me.

I’m going to keep it simple. I’m going to Define, Eliminate, Automate and Liberate. And I’m going to honor the dude in me. That, my friends, is the path this lady has chosen. Rock on, man!

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