If you’ve been following my journey through the dissociative disorder known as depersonalization, thank you. Writing about it, and knowing it is being read about, has helped me cope a great deal, and that means a lot to me. Maybe my words are helping you understand what I’m going through, or maybe you’re going through depersonalization too and my words are helping you feel less alone. I hope they are helping someone. Read The Long Road
Today is an anniversary date in my life that I could live without.
Actually, it’s so bad that the other day Noel asked me, “Isn’t the anniversary of Grandpa’s passing about this time of year,” the day after that anniversary, and I felt guilty about forgetting that. (My Grandpa passed away on 19 February 2004.)
Last year, I spoke about feeling stuck, like 22 February 2011 is a fixed-point in my timeline, and, like a black hole, the rest of my life slowly spins around it, stuck in its gravity.
Read 7 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake
In the second, larger 13 June 2011 earthquake, two of the large decorative concrete panels came off our work building. That, in turn, made the engineers unsure how the building would perform in another large earthquake (and since we were on the third quake above 6.0 at the time in a rather rich aftershock sequence, no one was ruling out anything by that point… Mother Nature seemed to turf the rule book out the window). So, Unit 7 in Amuri Park was red-stickered, and the owners came to see us to tell us that it was cheaper for them to demolish and replace the building than to repair it.
Yesterday, I spoke about the fragile “interior” me as opposed to that “exterior” me that seems so strong, but I think I left a few things out there.
If you do decide to go “into battle”, to stand up to the bullies or for something you believe in strongly, you need to pick your battles wisely. There may be compromise. You may wish to take the higher road, turn the other cheek. You may go in with all guns blazing. You may need to defend your honour. There may be things you have to do that you don’t like doing but the end justifies the means. Any which way you look at it, there may be winners and losers. It may be a short, sharp blitzkrieg or a long, drawn-out war. There might not be a battle at all; maybe they deem you too weak an opponent to consider, or maybe you walk away with your head held high.
This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake approaching, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.
I have never been the biggest fan of bureaucracy. Personally, I feel the definition of a bureaucrat is a person with far too few skills and little common sense who is paid way too much to sit behind a desk all day and try to be as obstructive and obtuse as he or she possibly can be. (This does not define 100% of all public servants but a good chunk of them.)
The Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes have pretty much shattered any last little vestige of faith in bureaucracy and Government agencies in general that may have been cowering in some little dark corner of my mind. Okay. I admit that I do understand sometimes why it is in place: to protect us against those who would otherwise try to take advantage of Joe Public. My understanding extends to bureaucracy attempting to stomp out dodgy traders and people, and setting up hurdles to stop people out from getting a quick buck from hurting people like your little old sweet Nana. But sometimes the bureaucrats go a little (or maybe a lot) power crazy and stomp on the good people too. They frustrate good people who have the best intentions or can even bring inspiration, wealth, knowledge and creativity to the community and, overall, hurt the economy and public rather than protect them at the expense of stopping the small minority of bad guys.
Happy New Year… nearly a month late.
I have to admit that after I posted my Christmas decoration blog, I was facing burn out with all the tasks to complete at work (results, diplomas, international examinations, graduation, et cetera) and once we hit the Christmas break, I vowed I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want to do and just relax. It worked pretty much, which, for me, is no small feat.
Christmas came and went too fast for us. Noel wasn’t well most of the break, so that meant we really didn’t do much. To be honest, that was fine by me because I spent the time doing stupid silly things like playing Sims 3 (which ended up being more stressful than not because the damned newest expansion pack, Seasons, doesn’t work very well on pretty much everyone’s computers) and being a little creative.
The New Year hit me rather hard. I admit, I cried. I was glad to see the end of 2012, which had been such a roller coaster of a year for me, tacked on to the end of 2011 like the false ending of, well, a roller coaster you think is going to stop but it picks up again for another final lot of thrilling and scary spins. I missed Jenah. Some of my friendships seem to be getting more and more distant, and it’s hard enough to try to make friends in Christchurch as is. I was homesick. But I was finally feeling emotionally slightly better.
2013 arrived, and, at first, it felt no different from 2012. There was still that apprehension about work with the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) and our upcoming External Evaluation and Review (EER), all through NZQA, plus the looming threat of whether we’d get enough students to meet our funding requirements. No pressure. No pressure at all.
I don’t know why, but something came over me to say that life is not all about work. I seem to be going back to that message all the time. My parents and grandparents instilled in me the value of working hard in the job you are in to be successful, but this wave of longing to expand my horizons, almost to the level of panic, rushed over me. And then I felt suddenly positive and creative and raring to go with that.
One of the creative ideas I have been toying with is creating my own Star Trek movie using CGI. I have seen some excellent ones and some not-so-good ones, and it irks me that some of the not-so-good ones act like they are better than Aliens. I’m not that great with the whole CGI thing but I do have a sharp image in my mind about settings. It would obviously not involve the characters established in the movies and TV shows, so part of the challenge would be to set up new characters the viewers would care about. And I was also thinking of cobbling together some of my ideas and characters in my fan fiction universe to accomplish the movie (although only a featured starship, one of the enemies, and a region of space would show up with a few cameos from some of the other characters). I have been thinking of a good piece of drama. Sure, there could be a few phaser blasts here or there, but a character drama really is what has made some Star Trek episodes and movies great in the past. Plus, whoever helps me with the CGI won’t die from establishing too many special effects shots!
Another challenge would be to build up my non-Star Trek writing. The problem with this has been that I get so bogged down in consistency that I can’t seem to just write something down and worry about the nitty gritty later. I did have a successful shot at writing a short story for an anthology I wanted to create, although it worries me because the supernatural angle seems to have been done a bit too much. I want to make it as realistic as possible from several different characters’ viewpoints but hopefully leave the stories ambiguous in the readers’ minds as to whether or not the characters are reading supernatural things into everyday events. In my mind, this could lead to starting my Masters in Creative Writing in 2014, because I need to have several stories built up in a portfolio before I apply. The thing that worries me is I feel very devoid of ideas right now. The same old ideas keep churning over in my head, and I’m trying to distance myself from anything that can be construed as autobiographical or semi-autobiographical to be honest.
Of course, in all this, I’m afraid I won’t do well enough or that the standard I set is too high and I can’t reach it or I’ll just plain burn out or lose interest before I finish. And the biggest worry is rejection. But then again, what do I have to lose if I don’t do it?
Just last week, I received some devastating news. My cousin Greg, who was a year younger than me almost to the day, passed away suddenly. It has rocked me to the core, and made me more apprehensive about my own destiny and my own life. If the earthquakes have taught me anything, it’s that you don’t know what’s around the corner. Do I work my butt off to get these things I listed above done, and hope my work somehow becomes a footnote in history, or do I just drift my aimlessly in life like a boat without a rudder and hope I’m remembered for good reasons when I go?
Yes, 2013 is going to be an interesting year indeed.