It’s amazing what happens when you turn around and look in a different direction.
Waking up one day, years ago, and recalling a great amount of memories from a time past. On this day, my thoughts came to me as cascading moments of my childhood and thinking of missed opportunities. I was recalling the early mornings and late nights being bundled in my Mother’s purple coat as we waited at the bus stops trying to either get home or to go some place, while we were living in Seattle, WA (my birthplace). Seattle usually had a nice, thick fog in the early mornings and it governed every inch of an area when it manifested. I thought about a blue bird that I had found dead on the grounds of the church that I, at my young age, willingly went to. This bird looked so peaceful and it was one of the few times in my early life that I came across death. I knew that I shouldn’t touch it, but I felt compelled to bury it. I found a paper board laying around, scooped the bird up and buried it in the flower bed that the church maintained. I even affixed a wooden cross, made out of popsicle sticks to mark the spot of the burial. I considered the moves that took me from Seattle, WA to Pomona and later Rialto, CA. I thought about the day that my Father came back into my life; after having been absent for so long. I recalled the time that I moved to Tulsa, OK and how much I disliked living out there, but I stayed, because it was the first opportunity I had to live and be around my Father. I considered the time during High School, while living in St.Paul, MN, when I worked at Toys R Us and I had to take on the responsibilities of a parent, because my mom had suffered a miscarriage and was in the longest season of depression. Bills were piling up, she was on public assistance and I knew I had to take care of things. I caught everything back up and was even able to pay off my own personal medical bills and I felt so redeemed. I pondered about how accomplishing it felt to be close to graduating from college when both of my parents had not even attended. Looking at my family, as disenfranchised as it was and still is, in my most immediate family circle, I was the first to be accepted to a University.
All of these little bits of moments and thoughts came to me as I wondered if I had made the right choices, while laying on a bed in my college dorm room. You know, I had an opportunity to go down a path leading to a career in law and a separate opportunity to enter college, while still being in high school, based off of an english proficiency exam. I’m sure my proficiency has deteriorated some, but as with life, things just do not last. During this time I thought about where I was headed. Here I was 6.5 years into college and it was finally coming to an end. I knew that I didn’t have anything lined up and nowhere really to go. I got up and went wandering throughout my campus (I often wonder if this happens to most people as they come to the end of something they have completed) in a lost maze of deep thought. I found myself inside of what is called Coffman Memorial Union and I saw this sign about a college program in Florida and I thought to myself: “never been to Florida and I do not have anything better going for me”. So I applied and in many ways it became my opportunity to escape a life that I was fearing I was going to fall in to, one that would have me still living at home in my 30’s and fearing to have done nothing more then to accept mediocrity.
I was waking up one sunny day and feeling both pissed off and happy that I was laying in this bed furnished to me by Disney, while living in their apartment, taking part in their College Program. On one hand, happy to be out of Minnesota and on my own. On the other hand, annoyed at doing what I was doing at my age (at the time 26) having graduated from college and wanting something better. I was accepted on this internship and put into the group of individuals that were convention guides primarily at Epcot. It was my responsibility to meet incoming convention participants backstage and introduce myself. I would explain to them the requirements of following me to their location(s) and what to do if they became lost. Sometimes, depending on the size of the group it would be one or two guides, or more than 10+. Little did I know, that as a Disney College Program intern, I was in one of the best areas to do my internship. When others were stuck at ODF (Out Door Foods) having smoke from what their unit was cooking constantly in their face; being a part of maintenance and having to deal with constant cleaning duties; being a part of the retail areas (albeit, there were times during certain festivals that I was required to do retail as well) or working as attendance at the park rides; here I was only having to take guests from one location to another and stand guard to ensure regular park guests didn’t interfere with the events of our convention groups. I was able to take part in concerts, be mostly in doors and out of the heat; participate in building new “events”; work with some of the design staff; drive backstage for deliveries and a host of other functions that really was an exception to the college program experience that my other room mates often griped about. Yet, as with most things, you only see what annoys you about your particular situation and rarely consider it against the wider perspective of how worse it could be.
It had been a good 4 months into the program and I knew I wanted to stay in Florida, but I needed a reason. I often wonder if someone wants something strong enough, do they obtain it because of sheer will or is it based off of some inherent destiny. It is funny how things fall into place, even if at the time you can’t see those pieces and their places. Sort of like a chaotic entanglement of moments coming together to create a picture that can not be determined until that last final piece is put into its place. Then, when that segment is over and just as it ends, so to does another begin. Reality of what is can be odd that way… but I digress, as I have gotten off of the path intended. So, I wanted to stay in Florida and a short time later, recalled that two people I knew from college had come to Florida a few years before me. I looked through all of my previous emails and records of people I knew, and came across one e-mail address leading to one of those two people, both of whom are now married and living in New York. In a strange twist of things, they helped me to stay in Florida by allowing me to live with them for three months after my college program ended back in January 2005. Funny thing is, my last day of work with Disney ended at exactly Midnight on January 1, 2005 and that night, instead of going home or to some late night New Year’s party, I ended up having to sleep in my old 1991 Toyota Corolla, in the Epcot parking lot, because I had inadvertently left my lights on all night. The AAA service was enormously busy that night and they didn’t get to me until late in the morning. As I started to get the feeling that staying any longer was wearing thin on them, it was during this time in March of 2005 that I was just about to pack up and drive back to Minnesota, until thankfully, two job opportunities came up and I grabbed them both. These same friends eventually helped me obtain a position at the company that I was laid off from back in October of 2008. You can read about that experience under my Truth blog.
The time soon came for these two friends of mine to move out of Florida to pursue a new life and career opportunities. I had already moved out from under them and was getting settled with new roommates (of whom I had worked with at Epcot as convention guides) and a new apartment. After they left, I never told them that I would miss them and that I felt alone, but as I stated, I had a few other friends and I thought we were all developing pretty good relationships. At one point, there was five of us living in a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment. Later, one decided to move on her own and the four of us remained together and moved to a new place. About a year or so after that, the room mate situation came to an end and we all moved out from each other. One went back home to another state. Another moved in with other friends closer to disney, where he worked. The third person moved in with her friend. She and I still lived very close to each other, as I found my own place, which wasn’t very far away. Over time, my friendships dispersed and I started to feel very isolated as I was living on my own. I realized I knew next to no one out here and as much as it didn’t bother me to have moved to a place on my own, it became a bit haunting to know that I didn’t really know anyone out here anymore. It’s odd, during that moment; that year, I felt more alone then ever. Here I was an only child that had been used to being a loner (and I still fall back into those tendencies), but who became too used to being around others and when I was forced back to being alone, I almost lost it. It’s crazy to think back on it all, but 2007 was one crazy year for me; for many reasons (not all, of which, are stated here):
- I lost just about all the friends I had in Florida during the early part of that year
- The first night I stepped into my apartment when I was fully moved in, I leaned against the wall, lowered my head and slipped to the floor, wondering: how long…
- I hated a lot of things so much
- I regretted leaving work (especially when I greatly hated the work I was doing as an analyst) because I knew where I had to go; a lonely apartment with only myself sitting on a crummy couch (which basically became my bed) in a dark room lit only by the television
- I was extremely broke and only able to do very little that required any expenditure, so most of the time I was resigned to staying in, even when I had opportunities to go out…
- For the most part, I had only one friend out here
- I put way too much of myself into my friendship with her of whom I secretly, for such a long time, held a passionate interest in
- I eventually told her how I felt on Easter 2007, against all internal instincts to keep quiet to preserve our friendship
- Our friendship dwindled (I often wonder if it was because I said anything, or if it was a natural progression of what was to come, remember: sheer will or inherent destiny)
- I sometimes regretted saying anything at all and then at times, I did not
- I went through a self deprecating process
- I started to delve deeper into myself, in a “self-analyzing” manner, to determine what was at the root of my issues. It became the way I found to break free of the spiraling effect I was having on myself
How focusing all your energy onto one aspect blocks you from all the other possibilities that exist beyond that one point of focus. In other words, and I can admit this now (but would have denied it vehemently up to a couple of years ago) that I placed way too much emphasis on that friendship with her and relied on her and our friendship as a crutch to cover up the loneliness that I felt and when it started to break; I felt as if I was crumbling.
That was my fault and no one else’s.
So now I look at where I am at and realize that I have gained much more from that crumbling of my being and the shattering of my crutch, then I would have ever attained had I kept holding on. Sure, a few new road blocks have cropped up since then, but I still have much more to be appreciative of then to worry on the detrimental effects of these road blocks. It’s been a learning lesson for me on how to be better prepared next time. Luckily, my friendship with her has been repaired, but I don’t delve any further beyond that aspect. Now, I know a few more people and things seem as if they are leveling out, but I realize I do not need to rely on them to feel better about myself or to provide a crutch. I am realizing what I used to know, that I never needed that crutch. These issues cropped up out of the idea of being alone. Issues that I never really felt or thought about prior to moving to Florida. Although I still have my own internal conflicts at times, but tell me of one person who does not. All of this is about progress. It’s slow and tedious at times, but, overwhelmingly, I am better off.
Sometimes you have to break and fall. Sometimes you have to take that chaotic entanglement of the unknown and rebuild it into something different so that you can pick up the shattered pieces of your being to begin anew.
I have to say I am sorry and thankful; sorry to have ever let myself fall that bad, but thankful for the situation helping me to realize that I was falling. I woke up today and it was another one of those sunny, Florida days.
***This was originally posted in March of 2008 to my Myspace blog, but I have updated it and have reposted it here. I am in the process of closing out my Myspace account and I will provide a similar disclaimer for any other blogs that I transfer over. I will still write new content, but I don’t want to lose my old blogs.***