Awkward

I started my new job this week, and so far, it’s been pretty good. I hate not having a work friend, though. Everyone is nice, but it isn’t the same.

I feel like I’m being pompous or boring because people keep asking me about Afghanistan, meaning I repeat the same stuff over and over.

Today, I got defensive about someone saying something derogatory about my undergrad, and I really should have responded differently. I need to learn to keep my tone steady, regardless of how I feel, when dealing with coworkers.

I like my new bosses. I was told by our staffing coordinator that she advocated for me strongly and even stronger to get me on the job I’m on because of my experience. That’s gratifying, but the content is less interesting than I’d hoped for, and the direct supervisor is a little behind the times. So, we’ll see how that goes.

I’m also struggling to accept the fact that I have to start totally fresh and prove myself all over again. I feel a bit rejected that people were hired in June and I wasn’t until November. The other hires are extremely competent and some have ridiculous levels of experience, which makes me feel inferior.

Blerg. I’ll get there, it’s just going to take a while to settle in.

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes…

Well, things are definitely changing in my life lately. Finally *officially* ended the dating thing I had going on. I’ve had a couple of oddball maybe-dates since then, although it hasn’t panned out yet. I’m being picky, but really, picky isn’t always bad. Plus, I figure, if something is annoying the hell out of me now, it likely will continue to annoy me throughout a relationship.

Anyhow, work is where all the big things are at. I was offered a job two weeks ago to return to somewhere I interned. It’s been a complicated decision, but I’ve taken the job, given notice, and start in two weeks.

It’s hard because I was just promoted in my current job, and it’s a step backward in terms of management experience. That said, the new job is matching my salary, and has the potential (after 1 year temporary and a second probationary) to be competitive status/permanent. My current job is temporary in that the whole agency is temporary. So, that’s progress. On some levels, I’m totally a woman, but I don’t mind taking more time to learn and develop before managing my own staff. I’m hella-young for where I’m at with these moves, so I don’t feel terrible about it.

Giving notice sucked, though. I’ve never left a job without a reason. I had time-limited jobs and internships, and worked in fellowship-type positions that were intended to end.The only other one was retail, but I went to college and moved so I had to leave. Added to my recent promotion and my supervisor’s departure a couple of months ago, I shocked the shit out of my bosses. It was an ego boost, in that they kept saying how they’ll be working for me soon, and it’s a huge loss, and I’m awesome. It made me feel like I’ve made a good impact in my time there. I only wish my current product was completed before I left.

I feel good about my decision, but it will be sad to leave the work environment. There’s a lot of drama at my office, but I’ve made a home there. I’ve personalized my office. I know everyone. I’m our charity coordinator and the one who coordinates kitchen-cleaning. I have friends to grab lunch and coffee with. It took about 6 months to warm up to the place, but now it will be so strange not to be there. It’s going to be rough to make new friends at my new agency. I hope I can do so more quickly than last time around.

I’m looking forward to these changes allowing me to manage my finances better, my fitness better (gym access at work = yay!), and generally start fresh. It’s just in time for the new year, too, so very apropos.

Fear and Letting Go

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. –H. P. Lovecraft

I went on vacation a week ago with a good friend. We drove South and hit the beach, Orlando (Harry Potter world!), and some port cities on the return trip. It was great – I got a pedicure and a massage.  I read a few books, learned about some new music, and bought some fun souvenirs. I bonded with my friend a great deal. I got to swim and play in the ocean. I also got a much-needed break from life.

It was a bit of awkward timing, though, since I had just had a huge week. I briefed the most senior staff in our agency, and got pretty good feedback (gratifying). I also learned I’d be running my next project, managing a more senior person, and would not be getting a salary or position increase. I also had gone on a couple of dates with someone that went pretty well. A lot has been happening, essentially.

I realized on vacation that I’ve been buried by fear lately. I’ve never been one to outwardly succumb to fear. If I have been afraid, it’s manifested in low expectations and losing myself in activities.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. –Dale Carnegie

I’ve been afraid, though. Afraid of running this next project and having to navigate uncertain waters. Afraid of leading my team into the warzone, of managing someone older and more experienced than me (and arguably more qualified), of not doing something correctly. I’ve been afraid of being in a serious, long-term relationship. (And I hope I haven’t self-sacrificed past opportunities because of some hidden fear.) I’m afraid of power exchange as a concrete part of a relationship.

Fear doesn’t become me. I was reading the “Secrets to your twenties” book, and it just sort of reinforced that fear is good. Fear means I’m alive. Fear means I’m challenging myself. Fear is an opportunity – an opportunity to grow, be stronger, improve myself, and learn. Moreover, fear is natural – it’s the response to uncertainty.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, though:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I’d resigned myself to doing just that. I got a few kicks in the ass and supportive comments, and they’re right. I know what I’m doing. I’m good at my job. I can handle challenges. It doesn’t matter that they don’t want to pay me appropriately, it’s still a good opportunity. In the dating world, D/s is flexible, and as long as the communication is there, it doesn’t have to mean losing myself. Long term relationships don’t have to mean losing my independence or my life. Really, if it’s a good fit, the person can blend into my life.

Today, I found out I will get the salary and position promotion when I start my next project. Turns out, the higher ups like me more than the lady who spoke to me first does. Basically, I’m now more motivated, which is good. I need to embrace the things that scare me. The dating thing may not work out for other reasons, or it will – who knows, but at least I’m not scared of it anymore.

A last quote I liked about fear:

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. –James Stephens

 

Updating for Spring

Things have been strange lately.

First, family is a bit nuts. I’m going on vacation with my parents in a little under a month, and I’m looking forward to that quite a bit. I’ll get to see the grand canyon (and go on the skywalk), see some shows, gamble a little, and see family, which is most important. It’ll be nice to take a break from work for a while too. My sister is doing marginally better. She was involuntarily committed for 72 hours, diagnosed as bipolar manic depressive (like my mother), and is now back home with her fiance. She’s medicated, but still suffering from a lot of anxiety. It’s hard, because I want to communicate that I care without upsetting her in any way, and without face-to-face contact that’s difficult. She sounds much, much better though – she sounds like herself again, which I’m very thankful for. I was scared and worried before because I’d never heard her anything like that before.

Second, work has drastically changed. The environment is generally different, which is really nice. I trust our upper management now. My direct supervisor is invested in our project, incredibly competent, and he actually manages – meaning I get to focus on doing my job and doing it well, and that’s it. I actually have things I can learn from this man, and I’m motivated to do my best and work hard to impress him and contribute to an ultimately better product. My peers and myself have been interacting more – lunches together, random socializing to take a break, etc. which makes it much more fun to be at the office. I got a dry erase board in my cube (yay!). On the other hand, my old upper level boss quit, meaning it’s just me and incompetent supervisor left to handle getting our old project done. Meaning it’s just me, which is difficult and stressful. Hopefully we’ll get it out the door soon, because working on it has been giving me an eye twitch.

Third, friends are generally good. I’ve gotten to maintain my important friendships and see people a lot. I’ve been doing weekly game nights with two of my friends from college, and I adore that. We play Kingdom Builders, Dominion, Settlers of Catan, etc. and potluck dinner. It’s one of the only routine things I do, and my life is better for it. Plus, it lets us do random goof-off things like slinky challenges and spontaneous photo shoots. I have been trying to keep up with some grad school friends and kink friends through a variety of things, usually involving brunch and happy hours. I’m still failing at the whole staying home more thing, but I’m doing better with budgeting and staying on top of errands.

Fourth, kink and dating are progressing along. I’m having some issues remedying my personal beliefs and interests with some of my kinkier habits, and I’m not sure where I’m at on that. I’ll post on it at some point, but I need to think it through more. On the general side, I’m just less inclined towards things. I like my kinky friends, and I like hanging out with them. I like doing kinky things with treasured friends and/or lovers. I don’t, however, much enjoy play-oriented events anymore. I don’t like the egocentric, conceited attitude people have. I don’t like how something intimate and potentially shattering is reduced to being a notch on someone’s bedpost. More and more, I walk away from play-oriented events feeling less happy, less satisfied, and experiencing an odd combination of ennuie, disillusionment, and longing. Basically, while I enjoy play in certain non-relationship environments (when it’s just a few friends at someone’s house, or with a very good friend), I don’t like it casually otherwise – I’d prefer it to be with one romantic partner, or just a few trusted partners.

Difficult Moments

It’s been a rough few days.

A friend at work joined fetlife, making me relatively paranoid. Of course, that meant scrubbing my profile/photos/fetishes just a tad…I’m not into anything too extreme, but I also didn’t want to chance any probing questions.

Work is difficult…there have been leadership changes, my pseudo-promotion thing has been taken away, and now I’m tasked with a new project. The new project is interesting and should be fun, but I still have to multi-task on my old project. This would be less of a big deal if my old teammate did work, or if I could expose his lack of doing work…instead I’m literally just going to be doing two jobs, and I doubt anyone will even realize it. We’ll see how this goes. On the plus side, the new teammate is an alum of my grad program and is highly competent, so that should be good.

My trip to NYC was canceled, but it was nice being in town. I was able to clean and get some errands done, finally. I ended up with some fun in-town experiences too, so that made up for it a bit.

The real kicker was a phone call with a family member. Essentially, I’m really worried and afraid for this person, and I’m helpless to do anything. I want to show support, but I also don’t want anything terrible to happen. I have witnessed manic episodes in a different family member that’s bipolar, but never one that resulted in hospitalization. (Those happened when I was too little.) I’ve never seen or heard anything quite like this, and it really freaked me out. It was made worse when past traumas, my job, and other factors were brought into things…things I don’t want to talk about that have never been said out loud, basically.

I’m a bit paranoid that this person reads this blog, even though I don’t know how they would. The link is available through my fetlife profile, but only for friends-only (and not at all anymore). My erotic story profile links here too. That said, I don’t think my kink presence is known…still, I’m paranoid. The beauty of this blog has been the anonymous way to express myself. It’s getting to the point where too many people have talked about it with me, inhibiting my writing, or too many people may stumble into it. I’m not sure what that will mean for my writing.

Again, weird and rough couple of days.

Assorted Random Things

I bought an incredibly sexy pair of heels today; they’re this perfect fuschia color, about 3 inches, closed toe suede pumps. They are fabulous. I want to wear them everywhere, with everything.

The weekend was good, busy as usual. I need to slow down. I have been so busy, and the next few weeks look equally busy. It’s   a fine balance…part of me thinks if I had more down time I’d be productive, the other part thinks I’d get really overly emotional. I’d crave even more strongly letting go for a weekend. Sometimes I wish I had much lower standards.

Work has been ridiculously political as of late. I may have gotten a promotion…at least the promise of one. Our head dude said he wants me to run my next project. That responsibility should be with folks 4 grades above me. The deputy may not be on the same page, so it’s uncertain if it’ll happen. Word leaked, and it’s already pissing folks off. There are 3 people in my office younger than me (cue: I’m one of the youngest). There are people with far more experience than myself who haven’t gotten to run their own projects. It’s frustrating to them that I would be given the chance. On the one hand, I understand. If I were in their place, I’d probably feel the same way. They haven’t worked with me, so in their eyes, what makes me different? On the other hand, I know, as do my direct manager, the guy above him, the head dude, and a few tertiary folks, that I’ve been running our job. I have a lot to learn, and I’m far from perfect, but I do my job well. It’s gratifying to be recognized as excelling at what I do – I still maintain this field is perfect for me. The particulars of my office are shaky sometimes, but the field is still well-suited.

Randomness.

Life is mostly going quite well, minus work today. It’s ironic, because my friend just mentioned an insight I had forever ago about how it’s much easier and more liberating to submit to one person since then you don’t have to submit to everyone. I kind of forgot I’d written about that. Thing is, that’s really at the root of my cravings for some power exchange, I think, especially relating to work.

Specifically, I’m trying so hard to do my best and please people, but my manager doesn’t give me any rules or boundaries to do so. As a result, now all these other people that I should be pleasing aren’t all happy, but I don’t know what to do to fix it, it isn’t my fault when I had no way of knowing how to do so, and yet I still feel guilty and upset that I’m not what they want me to be (or arguably what I should be). Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t massively screw things up or anything, but there are little things that I could have done better and didn’t know until it was too late. I want to be the best at what I do, but I can’t do that without guidance. Anyhow, I really want to just focus on pleasing one person, on obeying and submitting to his will, and knowing clearly what boundaries exist and whether or not I’ve crossed them.  Someday.

On to all the positives!

First, I know many people aren’t religious at all, but I do believe in a higher power. Getting that out there. Over the holidays and in the new year, I’ve put a huge focus on getting my finances in shape. It isn’t that they were out of shape before, so much as I want to budget better, save more, put more away for retirement, and eliminate any debt I have control over. (In that I don’t have control over student loan debt because it’s large and I’m working on public service repayment, but car loans, credit card bills, etc. I control.) I had this nagging stress because of my stupid credit card bill and no immediate or quick way to pay it down. Then, I did my taxes…and POOF! My return is almost EXACTLY what I need to pay them off! It’s amazing! To me, it feels something like a miracle for the level of relief it provides. I feel like my prayers were answered, and it’s awesome.

Second, Rapture was this past weekend and it was fabulous. I didn’t do many scenes, which fit my mood, but I did get to play with two of my very good friends. I feel like lately playing with folks has been more ridden with anxiety, stress, and worry than with pleasure, and it’s amazing what playing with friends changes. Namely, there’s no anxiety, worry, or stress, just pleasure. I can relax. I trust them, and I can just enjoy it. Plus, both people are great at the whole shit-eating-grin-sadist thing, making it all the better. Actually, in one scene, some random guy from the party popped in and interrupted us with “I just bust a nut!” taking me completely off guard and making me crack up, then later another friend made all of us dissolve into hysterical laughter. So much fun. I really just do better only playing with people I know very, very well. Not a surprise, per se, but annoying when I’d love to be the type of person who could play with anyone at will.

Another Rapture-related thing – I’m now training to be a DM. It means more work at parties, but I don’t mind. I learned during our first training session that I know a lot more about rope and safety than the average kinkster. I’m going to be compiling a list of safety points to share with the other monitors.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with new experiences lately too. I went to an Indian cooking class with a friend, which was fun and informative. Raw meat is disgusting, lentils are amazing, and I need to master spices. I also had Korean food for the first time and did karaoke with a group of mostly new friends. I always forget how much I love singing until I do it for a while. I’m also working on slowly building my spice tolerance so I can enjoy spicy food; hopefully one of these days I can avoid being the one to order mild everything.

Other random thoughts of the week:

  • It is really important to recognize and acknowledge the importance of your friendships with others. Moreover, knowing whether or not your love for another person makes it worth changing behaviors for them is vital but extremely difficult.
  • Yes, I’m type A. The satisfaction I get from planning things and executing them well, looking at a full calendar, crossing things off lists, and organizing my junk is unmatched. I hate how easy it is to be ashamed of these habits. When I embrace them, I’m much happier.
  • Being Type A doesn’t mean you can’t be submissive…it just means there’s more benefits there for the Dominant partner, should he choose to make use of them. It also often makes me that much more inclined to submit.
  • It’s wrong of me to stereotype groups of people by assuming they are going to stereotype me. Assume = ass out of u and me.
  • Despite all the progress and growth of the past few years, I still frequently fail at flirting. Unfortunate, that.