Friday, January 19, 2007

the itty bitty trees in the forest of me

I want to write something tonight about how I'm feeling, but I'm having a hard time putting it into words. I was thinking about the ways in which we (really I) splinter ourselves. There is the Work Me, my Family Me, Mr. Bump's Family Me, the Home Me, the person I am with people who don't live near me, the person I am with people I know from my old job but don't see that often, the writer me, and on and on. Some pieces are splinters that have split off, like the Graduate School Me has splintered into a portion of the me I am with People Who Don't Live Near Me. It seems like you start out life whole, and shift slightly, shard by shard, into the relationships you have, the activities you do, all parts of your whole self, but not the whole self.

Tonight I went out with friends from the aforementioned old job, and we had great fun, we laughed, they regaled me with stories about all my old co-workers, and complained about the things that they hate about their jobs, their mates, their lives. I was, for them, a great receptacle for all the things that had been happening in their week, their month, their job, their life. They didn't really want to hear about my job, my mate, my life. On my way home I realised it wasn't that they don't care about me, but it is that my role has shifted for them. I still want to talk about the things that happened to me at work, but there isn't an infrastructure of reference with them, they don't know who anyone is, what I do all day or any of that. And to some extent I think to them I'm in the category of Moved On, and so what I am or do isn't what's important.

Oh, they aren't mean about it. They ask how I am, how Mr. Bump is, how I like my new job. But they don't want to hear about my new cubicle or the co-worker I'm having problems with. They don't want to know about how learning Icelandic is going, or how I'm struggling with my weight, or that we really think we may not want to have any babies.

So the topic easily shifts back to Mr. Jerk Co-worker, and why he's still a jerk. I don't blame them. I would probably be the same. I think I'm mostly sad about it because the splinter of me that belongs to them seems to have become a smaller shard, I guess. I wish I could (I know I should be able to) take a step back and see all the splinters of me, figure out exactly how I fit together, what the shape me is. But I don't even know how to see myself, at all. I seem perpetually caught up in the person I am at the moment, unable to see the forest for the itty bitty trees of me.

I used to commute to work in my car by myself, for about 8 years. There was a space and time (between 15 and 40 minutes) where I didn't have to do anything but accelerate, shift and brake. I've been taking the bus since I started this new job, but recently, because of all the snow and horrible cold, I've been driving again for the last month or so. And I'm ashamed to say that I really enjoy that time I spend in transit: I can listen to whatever I want on the stereo and sing as loud as I want; I can curse, cry, scream, laugh, even make mistakes and get back on track; I don't worry about who I am, what I look like, what anyone thinks of me, what I should be doing or where I should be going. I'm not going to go all "zen and the art of burning foreign oil," but I'm realizing that there is no time in my day when I'm not, as they say in the zoo, "on exhibit." And there is, for me at least (and almost certainly for the zoo creatures too), a certain amount of stress involved in figuring out my role, my line, my place--the itty bitty tree I'm supposed to be.

So I miss my car. And I miss friends that I can have a cup of coffee with and talk about my life, and laugh about my dumb co-workers, and get a pedicure with. This is not to say that I don't treasure all the wonderful friends I have who live Elsewhere. Also, I am very lucky and it seems selfish not to say I'm deliriously happy with my best husband-friend. It isn't that I'm not happy with that particular, fairly big shard of me. But I struggle with not having a physically-in-my-world friend that I can hold up like a mirror and say "See--there I am. I can see myself in you. You're my people."

Even the part of me that keeps this blog up is a jackpot twin shard of the writer tree of me. I can feel myself straining to be something here that is true to all of me. But how is it that I can have whole weeks where no part of me has anything to say? (Suddenly I feel like Sybill--none of these itty bitty trees have names or voices, by the way). I think that there are days and weeks where I've been too much to too many and there isn't a lot of energy for this stream of consciousness self I'm putting out into the universe.

I'm rambling, I know. I've had fajitas and I'm a little sad after my Fun Night Out With the Girls.

So I don't quite know how to articulate the sad I feel right now. So I'll just say I miss all the itty bitty trees that seem to have died out or fallen down. I miss myself, stupid as that may sound. I guess I just miss my friends.*

G'night all. Sleep well.

*(Bonus points if you can call the movie from which that is paraphrased.)


sasha said...

Will it ring annoyingly-cheery-chirpy here if I point out that those tiny trees in a forest could be facets of the fabulous sparkly diamond that is Mrs. Bump?


I do understand missing one's people and I think I got the point of your fajita-fueled ramble.

I think we all go through these growing (shedding?) pains but that doesn't make it hurt less. I hope you feel better.

Miss Kim said...

Some birds just aren't meant to be caged, yup.