22 May 2012

Movin' on up!

I just went and published three drafts I had going without absolutely zero regard for their correctness. I feel good about this. There are some thoughts I wish I would have finished because now I do not know what they were. However, I could finally hear the real me speak through them. Pretty nice, considering I've struggled quite a long time to make my voice come out my writing.

I've talked about changes in my life that I did not elaborate on and now that I have a moment and the inclination to do so, I will.

First, I've been working on a story. An actual, honest-to-goodness, novel-type story that I've been able to move past the mere first lines, expand the idea of. As we speak (well, who's we? There's certainly no conversation going on here), I have just over 6,000 words. I'm very pleased with this. I don't know where the storyline will take me. I don't "do" plots or organized character analyses ahead of time, so it's just gonna kinda go where I feel it needs to go. It's not that I have this uppity standard of not doing things that would be more likely to set me up for success, it's just that I don't perform as well when I'm trying so hard to write conforming to guidelines; and I love the whole idea of not knowing where I'm going.

Most authors I've talked to agree that one tends to be sidetracked many times from the original idea so that the finished piece would have not resembled most of their ideas anyway, so I'm not too caught up about it; but even if they had strictly warned me that I would be tied and cinched to a whipping pole and be beaten by other writers and be the bane of existence in the writing world for not following an outline or certain model, I'm quite sure I still would risk doing it my way anyway.

It really helps to bounce my story off of other writers, a group of them I've found since moving here (yay!) and have them be generally VERY supportive. And positive. I have given more thought to the characters themselves, though, and into their development as opposed to an "idea" of a person, so that their interactions are more real. This is important in any novel, but especially important for me because this novel-esque thing I'm working on is 1) my first attempt to find my own style by way of inspiration through the writing styles of John Grisham, Dan Brown, Paolo Coehlo, and 2) contains pretty strong religious themes and undertones. I do not want a book that is about seeing the world differently to be about a religious agenda or shallow characters, as per the norm for this particular genre of writing.

So. There ya go.

Secondly, I started working. I was doing my piano accompaniment gig, but in the yearning and ultimate goal of becoming financially independent (lonnnnng-ass story as to why THAT has been slow coming to fruition,) I applied for 3 different jobs, figuring I'd start there, get my foot in the door, step back into the work force, and at least be working like a hella cray-cray woman making some extra cheddar (yo) to supplement what my crazy Frenchman/Quebecois boy-toy was making as a teacher. (Things were more expensive here than we'd anticipated and we had a very hard time trying to keep above water getting moved in.) (To put it mildly and NOT including all the hard time we had just trying to keep our relationship afloat.)

Welp. I landed the receptionist one, working part time in the afternoons and on Saturdays, at the local Ford dealership here. A month later, I got a call back for the mechanic apprenticeship! Okay, great, but by then I was loving my receptionist position and not wanting to give it up. Lo and behold the apprenticeship guy, who had a business maintaining and repairing forklifts, agreed to accomodate my schedule. By the end of that week, I was playing piano in the mornings, playing receptionist in the afternoons, and entering into one-day weekends because I was apprenticing my way to forklift heaven on Mondays.

So it was great! I was bringing all these various sources of income, helping the cause, helping to loosen the belt that was our financial situation. It started taking some of the strain off my relationship, I started to feel I had direction, (which was especially important when my girls left to live with their dad and I was feeling fifty thousand different shades of indignation about it), and it was working out even better than I'd hoped because all of my employers and coworkers were agreeable, real, and admittedly flawed human beings.

But I was starting to feel admittedly drawn away from the mechanic thing. Which really bothered me! You must understand that it has either been music or mechanics pretty much since I could remember breaking down outside a Holiday Inn in Bismarck, ND cerca 1998 looking for jobs. I loved knowing how things worked, I loved solving problems and working with my hands, and I do admit to liking the attention it got me at times. But I could do that as a musician or as a mechanic. All of that got put on hold when I got married, dropped out of school, and focused on being mom in the isolated, distant lands of the Canadian north. So when I was looking for jobs, saw the apprenticeship, went for the interview, I was more than a little excited. Until I realized it was for forklifts, which are their own thing and more under heavy duty. Whichhhh... would've been okay because I had several years' experience working at a crusher, the inner and outer workings of which I grew to love and take pride in doing: maintenance, increasing performance and production, knowing every grease fitting, every nook, every cranny, and never-ending learning. But it was a lot harder all around than working on a car. (At least I think so.) 

Try crawling in there and changing screens and prying down on the metal to get the braces back on. Yeah, in the blue thing in the middle there. Yep. We had a white one. I knew the guts out of that machine.

I couldn't figure out if it was because I was only committing one day a week to the whole apprenticing thing, if it was because it was heavy duty mechanics (versus auto mechanics,) or what, but it started to get tiring; and being someone's lackey one day of the week was hard, in the sense that it would take months of full-time lackey-ing to build any substantial cred with the customers and the guy himself. But here I was, only one day a week, and I was perfectly okay with being a part-time receptionist.   Still, I was eager and committed to see where the one-day-a-week thing would go, and if I would get more time with him once the piano gig was up for the summer.

Different kind of moonlighting

(...you know you're reading geek territory when you see THAT sign on a blog space...)

Fast forward to three weeks ago, I go in for my shift at the dealership and I get summoned upstairs. I didn't feel like I was in trouble, but I thought that maybe I was just going to get a few pointers on how to do certain things, or not do them, and be on my merry way.

But when I got up there, I was met in the board room with 4 people. The same two who were in my interview, but then also the service manager from our dealership and the manager of our sister dealership in the city.

To make what I could turn into a long, suspenseful story short, I got approached about what essentially boiled down to a promotion. Not only full time, but salary pay plus commission.


It will be my first job EVER that I am on a salary. It will be my first job EVER that will utilize every little flipping thing I've ever learned into a cumulative concentration. It will be the first job I've EVER had that does not require me compromising on a dream I've had or as a means to get somewhere else. It gets me close to the garage and it has me dealing with people. It is a job that can be respected, it is a position I can be proud of, and most of all, is a job that I can safely and happily tuck my music aside for. Because teacher or no, I will always have my music.

I don't have to feel ashamed about my dropping out of college and/or having no certifications or, if you can believe it, not doing music. Not doing music!!! That... is a first.

Without intending it to be, this could very much be a major, major goal line for me and there will be time and opportunity TO work on credentials as I move through the different training rings with the dealership.

Plus my dad knows exactly what I'm talking about now when I call him up to talk about the recent happenings...

What to write about! I really am in a ripe old mood, and there have been a lot, like a buttload TON, of positive changes happening in my life recently, but I just don't know where I sit with them. I'll figure that out later in my downtime. You know, when I'm not...



I. Hate. Change.

I mean, who doesn't? I am certain, too, that even people who embrace change still suffer some stress. At least a little bit.

For me, I have come to recognize and see change in the most 'ridiculous' of things. Things I didn't even see like that because I had had SO much change (constant flux) from an overload of overlapping events (and therefore consequential stress in my life) that the compounded nature of change alone had me five shades of under the red before I even woke up.

But in being a badass, I have had to un-be a badass to figure out how this all worked. I had to get real and I had to be honest with myself about how I felt about things.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, suffice it all to say that change today comes in the form of a puppy. Yes, I took the dive and relented to the puppy-acquiring that my youngest has been aching for since her dog of 7 years was put down last spring. And, being the change-hater that I am, have resisted all manners of pleading, but not without really, truly wanting to give my girl something she so very much deserves, is so mature to handle, is all around so grounded and dedicated to handle.
I'm really trying to be positive here, but this whole thing sucks. What can I do about it?

And that is the main question. What can I do about it? What can I, freakin' Amy M. Cazares, of the world at large and now living in a state of limbo, freakin' DO about it? About any of it. 

It feels like nothing. It feels like I can do nothing about it. It feels like rain. Like rain of purgatory and yet negative consequence from making one decision and multiple decisions, whose outcomes I do not get to control  and were always with the earnest effort to be engaged in my own life, no matter HOW stupid the outcome in retrospect. 

It does make me feel lost. Okay? Yes. I do. I feel absolutely lost with impatience some days. There, I said it. Happy now?

But not just that. All of it. All. Of. It. All of the rest of my experience. It is linked in every single way that my rational brain (as well as the words of others banging around my head) has told me it is not. "Oh, those things were separate." "Oh, you didn't do this." "Oh this is your fault." "Oh, you were thinking about this wrong." "Oh, I'm just so opinionated I can't shut my mouth but will cover my flaw by telling you that you asked for."

"Well, thank you, Captain Hindsight!"

It is about the summation of no-excuses, bracing-the-consequences decisions I have made in my life that, even if not always full-hearted, were always accompanied with a full-on brace for the consequences.

Even with all the stupid shit I have ever done (and what, exactly, was all that again?) and "I-never-thought"s and deafening blows of some of the most unkind things I have ever heard from people I loved and trusted, I still held the belief I have always made decisions, fully embraced for the consequences. 

But yet, here I sitting still, trying to listen for what God wants from me; and all I get are the voices of close friends and family past overriding--with much negativity, mind you--the voice to my own soul, banging around the insides of my skull like a record that's skipping.

Those decisions might have been made out of wanting to take the path of least resistance, they might have been impulsive, they might have resulted in a range of choke-on-your-own-spit results, but no matter how wiggly or squiggly or panicked or occasionally peppered with "WHATTHEGINORMOUSFUCKARE YOU DOING, Amy?!", nothing has even come close to the barrage of rocks that are people who you never realized were so judgmental throwing every kind of insulting commentary over the surround.

It is humiliating

It makes you feel incapacitated. It makes a sane person feel insane.

And now what of it? What came of their jeering and judgment, their opinions and their beliefs? Nothing! I get empty, cold, fruitlessness coming up every time in the immediate gall of my stomach because I cared so much about another person's opinions, that I practically sold my soul to get their approval. 

But when I crawled into the mutilated constitution of my soul, trying to reconstruct it and make the foundation more deeply entrenched in the spirituality of my God and NOT other people's opinions (of which there is a grand variety and of which I had managed to let affect me way more than I'd intended), I found there the tiniest pearl of reprieve and forgiveness that allowed me the space to make better decisions in my ardent desire to unite with the Lord one day, and in the meantime, decisions that were made by me for me.

Extreme? Hell yes. Necessary? Even more so. There is only one chance, one life, one moment to being on track with God. That is right now. It doesn't have to make sense to others. It never had to.

People just have to shut up about it. I'm not asking them to get on board with me I saw its brilliance and experienced the first cool drink of water I had tasted in years of wandering in the desert, I knew what anyone else thought did not--and would not--matter. Not in the way I had let it matter in the past, to be sure.

So then, to try in vain to quell the anger that comes from feeling such merciless, plain ignorance, I go back. I review what brought me here. And do so with even more righteous anger because all . . . I have ever been trying to do, no matter what, is fight for what I want. And I wonder, since when, on God's green earth, were a single one of them, in the tiniest of accolades or experience-drenched, good-willed-but-not in my shoes? 

When were they ever dealing with what I have had to deal with? 

How were any of them being influenced and exposed by the things I was exposed to, by choice or by mere witness? 

I have never whined about this for the majority of my life! But still I am being subjected to the opinion's of many, like a barrage of rocks thrown from catapults surrounding the castle wall. It is true as my dad said that if "three people tell you that you have a monkey on your face, you'd better start looking," but that does not, in any way, apply to the hords of people over my lifetime

There is one thing and that thing and this other one over here---a collage of things people have said that I have earnestly deliberated on, took to heart

And taking it down a few notches or a hundred, in the far less caustic approach, I really feel that that those passing down the advice did not realize how caustic their "help" was. And not because it speaks to my defensiveness (although it did in the beginning), but because it shrieks wild banchee levels of sound how little

And I never had the skills that so

And the thing that rustles my jimmies so bad that I have the crawlie of the century is about/how/that NO one's supposed to talk about it. Just. Hush-hush, there now. We don't talk about a mother's pain. We don't talk about our pain like that. It's negative. It's wrong. Just supposed to shut up and take it, I guess? Is that right? Suffer it and swallow it down because it somehow was begotten of our sins? Isn't that the biggest load of horse hooey you ever heard!

Oh, I've heard it, boy. Mm-n-yehhhp.