Commit Log #2

Three good things:

1. I really had a rhythm this morning. I woke up like bam, swept downstairs with everything and packed up and dressed and was out to work in time to make an earlier ferry than I usually do. As a result I got extra time to do stuff at work.

2. My previous manager is a great guy. I can really talk to him about work stuff, and get detailed answers pertaining to the internals of the company—something my bartender can’t provide. We talked about how everybody makes a trade-off when deciding on what job they want to hold: financial benefits, satisfactory work, and health considerations. For me, health is the base of all my decisions to do with work, and that is fixed. My boss also reassured me that few people can go through all the years of pager duty I did and not need something different. Even if they’re healthy.

3. I’m constructing a Spreadsheet of Power at work. All those years in data-driven, metrics-focused parts of the company, and I’m bringing the benefits to my new little corner. Sure, my work isn’t the work I dream of, but I do contribute something they’ve never had before. Also, I finished manually code reviewing over 45 files.

And more:

4. Dungeon Command arrived, which I mostly look at as expansions for the D&D Adventure Game series. I’ll probably run a report on Sunday (or even Friday night) on how they look and how they play with the original game.

Life things:

I owe my bartender and best friends. I’ve begun to cope with my feelings of dread and butterfly-twisting as my birthday approaches through a combination of letting the feelings flow without resisting, dissecting why I feel the way I do, and using logic to work through the sensations without being overwhelmed. Example effect and thought process:

  1. Chest-clutching dread fills my mind and I start to panic.

  2. I ask myself: where is this feeling coming from? Like in Babylon 5, I keep asking “where does this come from?” until I reach the kernel of truth, the driver behind all my other ills: anticipation of bad things happening on my birthday.

  3. I let the feelings flow through me, and examine each layer (or at least, the ones that I can; it’s not like the feelings are conducive to thinking completely straight).

  4. On one level, the deepest, is the dread of my parents coming, a reaction from all those years of horribleness. Logically, they can’t find me, they aren’t coming for me, and all that stuff is in the past and can’t hurt me today.

  5. On another level, I am afraid of being alone in the face of the dread, part of it the paranoia my father instilled in me and that I let continue. Logically, I can mostly dismiss the dread thanks to previous point, and also I have various ways to combat loneliness.

  6. On another level, I am afraid of the future: of meeting new people, of exploring new places, which I have to do if I’m going to fully explore the possibilities of other teams. Logically, there’s no reason to be afraid—that’s the baseless paranoia from the previous point taking over. People aren’t out to get you, in other words. (Unless they are, but this is very rare.) I can also practice what I’m going to say and what I’m going to ask.

  7. For some reason, the feelings then went away, possibly with their metaphorical tails between their legs. I was free of them. Is this cognitive therapy? Likely, even though my bartender never uses that term.

Can I change for the better—by which I mean, think things through logically, possibly in data-driven manners that I apply at work?

I think I can. With practice, I can. And that’s another thing to look forwards to—this weekend is going to give me lots of chances to practice.

What troubles me is that I’ve failed before to change, but that’s the past. Moving forwards is the only reasonable, dare I say logical, direction to head in.

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5 thoughts on “Commit Log #2

  1. Failing to change, in someone who truly wants to, is, to me, merely a symptom of a problem. The problem is that all the pieces needed for the change aren’t there yet. You have competent help – you are not alone. An ex-boss you can actually talk to, even if it is only about work stuff, is a gift – one I’m guessing you have earned by your previous performances. A bartender who keeps you gently looking at things – which is what it sounds like when you write about it – is another gift, and another one you have earned from willingness to talk about things, try to understand, and take steps to work on.
    In addition, your writing makes you friends: it is a gift to be able to put into words what other people sense, but can’t verbalize.
    Keep breathing. August is around the corner. Hope the weekend isn’t TOO horrible, and that whatever it IS passes quickly. Allow me to quote from Dorothy Sayers, in my marked and dog-eared (how else do you keep track of the bits you especially like?) copy of Busman’s Honeymoon:
    “What do you about life? I mean, you you find it good on the whole? Worth living?
    . . .
    “Yes! I’ve always felt absolutely certain it was good–if only one could get it straightened out. I’ve hated almost every thing that ever happened to me, but I knew all the time it was just things that were wrong, not everything. Even when I felt most awful I never thought of killing myself or wanting to die–only of somehow getting out of the mess and starting again.”
    Sayers makes a habit of this kind of stuff – putting into words what other people think, but can’t verbalize – which is why I love re-reading her.
    Thanks for listening.

    • I just want to say, thank you very much for writing this.

      I still find myself at fault here though. I have had the pieces for some time now, but I let my dislike of change rule me. It’s not so blameless.

      • You’re welcome – and start believing that as soon as you can, you will – make the changes, fill out your taxes, find another job, learn karate, finish the book – you name it! The main thing that wastes some of your time is blaming yourself.
        If it worked, I’d tell you to continue doing it. I have yet to know someone who happily shames herself into doing what she should.
        I have a sign on the back of my door which is sometimes whimsical, and sometimes Gospel truth, and sometimes me yelling into the wind: Take care of yourself – no one else CAN or WILL. I have not yet reached the Depends time of my life – though family history is against me – and I battle the complete energy drain that is the disease I live with (and refuse to let run my life) to some kind of a standstill most days – and writing is often not happening that day because the energy is required for something else – but I gave up blame as not helpful.
        Blame/fault/guilt words do an enormous amount of harm – and infect the good stuff with “I should have done it sooner.” You can never win that way. I can never win that way. You will do it when you

  2. when you GET something from yourself for doing it, like appreciation and joy and warmth.
    No one can appreciate what you have gone through to get somewhere. No one. They don’t understand the bits and pieces, the struggle, the victories – even if you explain it. But you do. And every victory is hard-won and earned and deserving of self-praise, because positive feedback is the only way to get more of it.
    From what I’ve read you deserve quite large heaps of praise for surviving and learning and getting away and continuing to face things daily that would bring a lesser person down permanently.
    And I now get off my soapbox – I live by these words in sometimes daunting circumstances, because energy wasted on shame and its friends does NOT help.
    Positive feedback is the only way to make permanent change (according to Karen Pryor – read Don’t Shoot the Dog and her sections about applying the principles of behavior modification to humans). You want change – learn to reward yourself for the tiny steps it takes to start in the right direction.
    BTW, you deserve to make yourself into what YOU want.
    Also, getting ahead in no way diminishes the impact on you of what went before nor your struggles in overcoming it – the last way blame tries to take your earnings back.
    Shutting up now.

    • “energy wasted on shame and its friends does NOT help.” Too true. One has to keep moving forwards, not dwell on the past. Shame and blame also serve as excuses to not do something—kind of like, “Well, I’ve blamed myself, so that must resolve things.”

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