Without a star to cross the seas
So far from shores I’d left behind
Still far from shores I’ve yet to reach
– VNV Nation, “Homeward”
Still having a ball at work. Yeah, there’s schedule pressure and politics just like anywhere else. But for the first time I feel like I actually have the power to make a difference. My boss commented the other day that she thought I brought a measure of professionalism to the team, which kind of floored me. But it also echoed something I’d been thinking about lately: this is the first I’ve ever felt like a professional. For all the years I spent at Raytheon, even when I was a “senior engineer”, I always felt like an intern. I never spoke the language well enough, never remembered all the project management acronyms, never felt invested in the institution, never felt like I could make a real difference. For the first time I actually feel like I can make things happen. I’m watching myself take the lead in improving practices, almost without consciously setting out to do so. I’m watching a side of me emerge that I had barely even suspected.
Good things continue to happen on all fronts. Friday night I went to the next-to-last LARP game, which started out boring but wound up being a lot of fun. Saw my first combat. Got squished by a dragon, clawed by shadows, and then blown up, but somehow failed to die.
Saturday was very much a a soul-day. Fasted and attended Yom Kippur service for the first time in a few years. Then in the evening attended Mabon circle with Stacey and the kids, and broke my fast at the subsequent feast. It was our anniversary, too, and the priestess did a special blessing for us in the middle of the ceremony. It was a beautiful blessing, and I found myself staring into those sparkling eyes of Stacey’s and remembering why I asked her to walk side-by-side with me seven years ago.
It’s been a winding road, with far more twists than I ever expected. It’s taken us to places I never imagined I’d be, some of them places I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I won’t romanticize; it has been exceedingly rough. Much of the first five years of our marriage were just plain miserable, and even after that, after we’d toned down the outright abuse of each other, we were both in an emotional holding pattern, drained, wary, and licking our wounds. I think a lot of our friends and family are surprised we made it this far, and I can’t say I blame them.
But seven is a magic number. For some, they say, it’s long enough to get over the first blush of love and start to itch for something new. For us it was long enough to beat our old broken paradigms and personas to bloody ribbons against each other, then to crawl into protective shells of resentment and and regret and indifference, and finally to metamorphise into something new and unexpected and more beautiful than when we began. For years I tried in vain in therapy and self-talk to get over the anger and resentment, fear and distrust. But the unconscious has it’s own timetables, and in the past weeks I have felt the sea-change deep within, signaling the tectonic shift in my psychic center that no amount of prodding could hurry. I am letting go of resentments and illusions and preconceptions that once clung like so many stifling funeral shrouds. I am putting away the last vestiges of fear and self-doubt in being exactly who I am without excuses or apologies. And I am finding in Stacey, as if we were meeting again for the first time, someone who accepts me and is willing and eager to walk side-by-side with me into an ever-new and uncharted life. I wish it hadn’t taken so much heartache to get to this place, but I am glad we are here; and for the first time in almost seven years I look towards our shared future with hope and joy and pride.