Sep 22, 2014

Blessed Mabon!

It's that moment, the moment where you stare at the screen, white and pristine, and your ideas stand on tiptoe in your head, at the edges of your fingers like not daring to jump into the cold water of the pool.

The seasons have changed, the wheel of the year has turned. I'm not surrounded by the auburn shades I long for since so many years. I'm surrounded by buckets of green, crisp air, seasonal allergies (related to the weather and the change of it) and large amounts of rain. Rain comes down so hard, it often causes trouble with the traffic. A regular 45 minute trip (which in the morning you complete in 20 minutes, mind you), becomes a 2 hour ordeal that can extend even longer if the rivers raise up so high they wash over the bridges... and they have. It's amazing how a tiny rivulet squeezing between the stones 30 feet under can put up 40 feet in a matter of hours, covering bridges and washing into buildings.

Today we celebrate Mabon, the Witches' Thanksgiving. Marked by the autumnal equinox, we stand today on a day when day and night are perfectly balanced. As such, Mabon could be considered also as a celebration to reflect on the good and the bad, and take a review of these opposing forces in one's life.

So, what has been of me, other than not blogging as regularly as in previous years? (Yeah, "at all" is accurate, but I did blog previously!) Well, I published my first Sterek fanfic on AO3, which doesn't compare to publishing an actual book or anything, but still, if you know me, you should know how much planning and teeth-pulling goes into one such publication for me. Well, my two tormented beta-readers should know: I came quite close to flogging their backs to have them review each chapter before publication in time... according to my maniac schedule. So, were is this thing of beauty and what's Sterek? You don't need to know, and I won't tell you.

This year my life has been making interesting changes. First of all, I continued studying Accounting at this D-Education University we have here. Have been doing rather well, but also have come rather disappointed with things I have found in the system. Not once I felt like I wasn't acquiring real knowledge, but almost serving as an excuse for someone to get paid without having to do any work for it, or show any knowledge. It did worry me about the type of accountant I would end up being. Thankfully I already have a diploma and a good job, but still, I want to be able to do accounting, I want to know, I want to understand, but as the last classes line up and I'm reaching the end of this, my head feels completely empty. This isn't how it's supposed to be, is it? You are supposed to feel like you know something, anything. I remember finishing economics and feeling much more prepared, much better filled with knowledge, while now, two courses away from the final seminars (two closing seminars that take the place of the thesis) and I honestly feel like I know nothing, like I wouldn't know where to start! It shouldn't feel like this, should it?

Things at my job changed again too, for the best. My time serving as an Economics Adviser for our Legal Team was slowly reaching a  culminating point. Though they were all nice, I started missing working with numbers, talking numbers and having people that understood that. At one point I felt like looking into a deep cliff, desolated at the idea that I would no longer work with formulas again, that my life would be reading over legal mambo-yambo, searching desperately for figure, a number I could calculate into something. The outlook of a life where my only chance to actually work some numbers would come from accounting homework was... bleak. I am a woman of numbers, I need numbers to keep my brain working! And not the copy-paste type but the type that requires calculation and research.

It happened then, that mid- year my former boss called me with an offer to come back with logistic conditions I could simply not refuse (not to mention the promise of waking up my brain again), and so the plotting to return me to my boss came back in motion. My boss in the Legal Team took the separation quite well, perhaps because in previous months I had mentioned her how I missed numbers and how I wished I could do something more on that line. The process of my returning to my boss (not to Moron Lady, mind you), now in the Financial Department, and finally becoming part of the Finance Muscle of the company was rather slow, but constant. Again, I was floored to discover that both my boss and another guy who knows me from a project I worked in, had talked so high about my work to the big bosses, that once again quite an impressive reputation preceeded me as I became part of the team. Can only hope I'll live up to the expectations of everybody!

This thing made me realize once again something I have experienced more than once at work, and that refutes what others say: Good Work, more than Politics, Gets Noticed.

As you know, I'm not the easiest, smiliest person at the office. I'm not the quickest nor the most complying one. You wouldn't say I'm the one you can go to with a request, because I'm happy to do favors, or I can find quick solutions. No, I'm the one that does the legwork, the Hound that won't let go of the bone, the one that will keep on track and take the time it takes to get things done as best as possible. I'm thorough. I'm not smiling at everybody, making friends and wearing miniskirts so that people like me. I don't look forward for people to like me: I do my job.

Back in Legal, I had to stand my turf this year about an issue of this matter. Due to the poor working environment of the department, the director came up with a series of ideas to fix things. It was plain that his ideas wouldn't actually help fix the problems of the area (he was the biggest problem of the area), since he pretended to solve every problem from "lack of proper communications with the superiors and coordinators" to "not appropiate wages" with a series of commitees aimed to project the image of the department to the whole company, commitees to share news (and we have an institutionalized news scanner service that let up know what's said country-wide on the news about the company), a commitee to gather all the manuals the area has produced, and such. I didn't agree with the commitees and didn't want to participate in either of them, because they were all imposed, and I felt they were covering up for the real problem. I'm not paid to throw parties at the office or organize a trip, and yet we were all commanded to "volunteer" for a commitee, and actively participate in it.

Time and again I voiced my non-conformity, explained my reasons, but no one would listen. In the end I had to wield quite a fight to be allowed to leave my assigned commitee - under order of not commenting it with no one, so no one else got the idea that they can leave. When my then boss got to know about what happened, she got mad and tried to basically bully me back into a commitee. One of the things she said was that this thing was "part of my job" (to which I pointed out to her, the lawyer, that this was not in the description of my job, thus could not be considered as such - it pissed her off, of course. Economists are not supposed to talk back.), and also that now, refusing to participate would have negative consequences on me, as people would start thinking that I'm a bad worker, that I'm not willing to do team work. I turned at her astonished.

"Why would anyone judge my work from some social commitee and not from the quality of my actual work?"

She looked at me like I'm stupid.

"Nobody looks at the work you do, only at the appearance you give."

In 11 years I have heard it time and again people complimenting my work. No one can say that I have done a poor quality job, ever. So, after all those praises I have received, after knowing how a former boss of mine tried to pass a work of mine as his and his boss and his boss' boss knew that the work was mine and complimented on it (a secretary told me about that case), I just stared at my then boss thinking that we must be living in parallel universes.

Well, I stood my turf, I didn't give an inch and I won. Some probably spread ill gossip about me, but it's not like that would matter. I'm already rumored to be a hateful witch, so there's not much they can add to it. (And then there's the fact that four months into it, the commitee system collapsed, just as I predicted it, but ah! Troya will burn because they would not listen to Cassandra, now would they?)

Little after, as my work was praised, as my boss' boss called me into his office to get to know the face behind the work, I looked back in my memory at that day, at my former boss, and remember how flimsy her view of the world is. Another one of her subordinates has been struggling for years now to get a better paying job. He has been sending out CV's, has been trying to get other people in the company interested in hiring him (Legal has him as a "lent" asset, and he has been "lent" from a company going bankrupt), and yet, inspite of him being all I am not regarding friendliness, readiness to do favors and find quick fixes, he has found nothing. Lots of people (including my former boss) even talk ill of him behind his back because of the low quality of his work, poor redaction, terrible grammar and spelling, lack of attention to details, insufficient research and tendency to forget stuff.

The year isn't over, but the lesson I've taken from this is: No matter what people say, do your job to the best of your capabilities, learn when to step back and let people who can do it better do the job. Good work and honesty always gets noticed.

On a more personal note, well, it's been a while since I last spoke to Al. I still feel a sting in my heart for her betrail. I can't say that I feel or don't feel it in my heart to forgive her for what she has done, but rather that I'm still stoned, and hurt for what she did. Some of my friends know about the relationship I had with her, and after what happened many have shown an incredible understanding about my feelings. I guess I'm still coping with it, though I haven't been all sad and crying in corners - that's not my style - but still, this is taking me a while.

I'm growing a little bit more comfortable about walking past her house, though the dread if maybe walking into her is still there. I'm not sure I could turn my head if I see her, but sure as hell, I wouldn't be able to greet her, words would freeze in my mouth, and soon I'd be bawling like a baby. It was my Best Friend, after all. My Best Friend of 20+ years! You can't just get over that so easily.

It might be bad, but I've reached the point where I want to know. She had been hurting me since before the fall out, making me feel like I had to get away from her, her lies so blatant, but after what happened, I was laid open and raw, feelings and emotions pulsing with hurt. I'm still tender, I may break down and cry if I poke the wrong way, but I feel the need to know how much of the girl I loved, the girl that was my Best Friend was a lie.

I'm getting in contact with her ex-husband, a person I never particularly liked, but who is actually the only one that can help me clear out some things about her. I do know she had always lied to me about the love of her life - that infamous Dimitri - who never returned her feelings, instead had feelings for me. I want to know how much of this even has actually played into our friendship, into the truth I know of her.

I'm afraid of finding out that, while I loved her so deeply for over 20 years, from the begining, finding in her so much, my first girl-crush, my first friend, my first Best Friend, the one around whom I build so much of my life and my emotional life, she had been lying to me, leading me on for whatever purpose. I'm afraid to find out that the girl I loved never existed, and I have spent over 20 years of my life befriending a lie. But I need to know.

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