I went to a con this past weekend. For those who don't know what that is, it is where you go to a hotel and party with approximately 300 of your friends while pretending to be attentive to the informative talks on various forms of computer hacking/security. In truth, many of the talks were interesting. I'm just too restless to sit through an entire talk. I made it through 3 of them in their entirety, and learned a lot from just that much.
The weekend alternately confirmed beyond doubt that I need to walk away from this group then turned around and showed me why I stay. By 5 am this morning the sword was cutting both ways rapidly, and each direction it took cut deeply. I may or may not go more into some of it, but it has me thinking again about the nature of change for me.
From my constant whining about being stuck and such on this log it might seem that I don't understand how major permanent life changes come to pass. This is not true. I have a few years of various 12-step meetings and counseling of various types behind me, and I have been through at least one major life change already. The basic fact for me is that things have to get so bad, so painful that I get totally pissed off. A 12-step book detailed how the word emotion can be broken down to e-motion, the energy that fuels change or the energy of motion. That's why when folks 'help' their sinking friends and keep them from feeling the strong emotions that hitting bottom brings they deprive them of the energy needed to fix the problems. What I have been missing is that energy, that ability to feel the pain enough to get pissed off enough to actually make the painful steps necessary to change.
This weekend I got pissed off.
The only helpful anger for me is to get pissed off at myself. Upset at my laziness. Upset at the fact that I go back to unhealthy ways of relating to people - men especially. Pissed off that I have let my body go so badly. This last in response to showering in a bathroom in the hotel that had brightly lit mirrors that didn't hide what is happening to my body.
Then, as I would get totally pissed and get ready to leave the con and go home, someone would turn around and show me that I do really enjoy some of the folks in this geek group that there are intelligent, caring, fun folks here in and amongst the ones that I dance the unhealthy dance steps with. As I started for the elevator to start packing up last night, one of the guys I know primarily through the chat room stopped me and asked if I wanted to have dinner with him and his friend. We went downtown to a small pub and had a nice quiet dinner. He even paid for my dinner, the first time that a man has paid for my dinner in a long time. I was totally humbled by his simple act of friendship. Later things happened that had me going to bed finally around 3 am thinking that I would just get up, disconnect from the chat room and leave the group again. At 4:30 am some goon pulled the fire alarm. After getting back to my room I started packing up, planning on just going on home. I heard someone out in the hall (the door was open) and one of the guys I've wanted to get to know better was wandering around and he came over and gave me an affectionate hug, the first time he has ever really done anything like that. I was able to tell him I appreciate his posts on the chat room, and he seemed touched by that. I felt good about that, and decided to just go back to sleep.
As I was checking out I was given the opportunity by fate to be drawn into a conversation with another of the young men in the group who is also in another computer group I'm in. The discussion about his new projects made me think that I do want to attend that meeting next Wednesday, that there are some good things going on in that group. And then one of the other guys wandered through and we talked for several minutes, sort of solidifying a budding friendship that I appreciate and learn a lot from.
I know all this is vague. Basically it was as if fate was making sure I saw both sides of the issue before I made any decisions to burn bridges. And maybe showing me that I need to widen my circle of friends in the group rather than walking away from it. The ones that I treasure there push me to learn more to keep up with them. They get excited talking about their projects and make me want to have projects to get excited about too. The others sit around and wallow in their adversities, always in a bad mood and bitching about any little glitch in their lives. I have fallen into my usual dance of trying to 'fix' things for them, giving sympathy and such and thinking that they will find me to be the one true friend they just never had. The reality in that dance is that they just suck my energy into their own bad karma and never give me the energy I need to move ahead myself.
And so, I need to take the e-motions from this weekend and rather than turn it inward into self hatred like I usually do I need to use the energy to fuel self improvement and movement toward what I want in life. What I want is an interesting life filled with projects and friends to spend time with who enjoy what is going on in their own lives.
This was written for myself more than anyone else.