The Adventures of Paisley
Yesterday I spent a great deal of time on the computer working on my college course and on an outline for my upcoming novel. I sprinkled some chat and games in between to keep things interesting. The most interesting event of the day was when Mechanic called from Ohio, but he didn't talk long. I had the impression that he was tired, and probably about to go to sleep.
Today was an intense and busy day in the office but I found it exhilerating. Sometimes I sit back and analyze why I love my job so much. A big reason has to be all the positive feedback I get. People are often telling me I'm special, I'm the best, I'm a goddess, I'm number one, etc. etc. Who wouldn't love that?
It also helps that I'm not doing the same boring thing week after week after week. There's always something new, always something challenging to add into the mix. Even though there are some tasks that are done repeatedly, it's not boring. All I know is that I am extremely lucky.
My mind was on this and other matters regarding my happiness following a converesation with my mother today. She called me at the office to see how I was doing. I told her I had been thinking of her all day - what had taken her so long to call? We had a good laugh over that.
The main point of her call was to question why I am still in Seattle. She understood why CB and I went to Seattle, but CB left me well over a year ago. She understood that I said I had a great job, but I could find a job in Arkansas. She pointed out that I was a long way from home, a long way from people who loved me and cared about me. She reminded me of how often I have been sick and even hospitalized this year.
She told me she worried that I was trying to move into a house with Mechanic, yet I am not married to him. She told me that there was nothing holding Mechanic to me, no reason why he should stay. I could get caught in a situation where the bills are more than my monthly income. She worries that I am being used and manipulated by people. She worries that I am being walked all over like a doormat.
Finally she pulled out all the stops. She asked if I had a good, recent picture of myself. I said yes, and she asked me to send it so she could frame it and show it to the younger children and say, "This is your aunt." She said the younger children don't even know who I am.
That part is breaking my heart.
She's good. Lordy, she's good. The way I feel right now I would almost pack up and go back... except I know that she is manipulating me. She is doing what she accuses other people of doing to me. I'm not saying her intentions aren't good. I do know that my mother loves me, and she loves hanging out with me, and she is genuinely worried about my health and well-being.
But in all those points she was making to me, she never stopped and asked whether I was happy. I tried to explain to her the freedom I had here, and her response was, "Sure, the freedom to be bad." She just knows that I am doing things that I'm not supposed to be doing. In her reasoning, if I was in Arkansas they could help protect me from the temptations to be bad.
I feel like I never lived up to her standards of what she expected, even though she always made me feel loved and accepted. Apparently things have not really changed. She just assumes that I'm being bad. And talk about being used... I do not feel like Mechanic is using me. I feel like we have a pretty awesome partnership. But she would use me, I have no doubt... for rides, for a sounding board, as a pawn between her and whomever she is arguing with, and for companionship. I can easily think of those examples because they have already happened in the past.
Oh, I hate writing negative stuff about my mother. I truly do. I love her so much. However, when it comes to the tug-of-war for me, I have to be on my own side. If I don't look out for myself, who will, right? If I don't make my own happiness a priority, who will? After all, this is my life, whether I make the decisions or my mother does. I'd rather make the decisions for my life.
And as long as Mechanic IS around, I want to be around to enjoy his company. I've been around the block a few times, I know that life isn't perfect, but one thing I DO know is that when you have a wonderful friend like him, you enjoy and savor each and every moment. Don't leave room for regrets. There's no telling what tomorrow brings and it isn't going to do any good worrying about it. I just need to concentrate and focus on the here and now.
And my here and now isn't bad.
Still, I was pretty shaken by the phone call, so later in the day I phoned Mechanic in Ohio. Just hearing his voice, hearing him say "Don't stress it" like I knew he would say, all made me feel better. Calm. Able to breathe and relax. I feel a little silly now... I wonder what his friend thinks of me... I wonder if Mechanic thinks I'm a silly female...
Thinking about this from a career perspective, I don't know if my mother truly understands where I'm coming from about this job and the opportunities I have here in Seattle. She didn't really have a career although she did work outside the home for a few years after my youngest brothers were in junior high school until she became disabled. However, I don't have the luxury of a husband who is supporting me. Realistically I have been married four times and that just hasn't happened for me. I have to be able to take care of myself.
Also, there is something wonderful, something that was not successfully communicated to me when I was younger, about having a job or a career that you care about, that you can be passionate about, that you can love. I can't say I always look forward to going to work in the morning because I'm definitely not a morning person. However, it can be next to impossible to pry me out of the office at night because I get caught up in what I'm doing and just want to keep going.
I feel like this gives me a good work ethic, or at least better than anything I was exposed to before. I think my enthusiasm and interest will lead me in good directions, and it's not too late to have a good career. Sure, I'm 36, but in today's workforce that's still young enough, I think. I've got at least a good 20 years in me, don't I?
That brings to mind a conversation Mechanic and I had recently where we discussed my health. In all soberness he told me that he was concerned that I would not live a long time unless I improved my health. However, he believed I could do it, and wanted to offer me whatever help he could. I want to live a healthy long life, if at all possible. I really do. I hope we can do it.
When I came home this evening, I spoke about some of this to Opera. She was very kind and listened and even offered a couple of pointers. About Mechanic, she did not say much but did point out that he had been with me for ten months and if he truly did not want to be here, he'd be gone by now.
She questioned my mother's attitude about my job, pointing out that it seemed like I have a great job and a great boss, which is something not everybody can say. She encouraged me to continue where I am... and something that Opera brought up that my mother didn't... Opera said, "It's obvious that you're happy here."
Two things that bring me great happiness in Seattle: 1) my job, and 2) my friend, Mechanic. I think if I did not have those two elements in my life, I'd possibly consider returning to Arkansas. Or maybe not.
I am very grateful to the Goddess for the happiness I have. I'm not going to let the negativeness of my mother's words change that. I know she misses me and she's trying to use everything in her power to get me to return but the thought that comes to my mind right now is...
"to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."
This is my Seattle season, the season of my life with Mechanic, the season of the beginning of a brand new career, the season of Paisley becoming strong, independent, and happy.
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