16 September 2008

rest stop.

I'm increasingly impressed with the rest stops I've been finding along my route. I may have mentioned in a previous post that, during the drive up from Louisiana a few months back, I stumbled upon a rest area in Mississippi with a 24-hour security kiosk allowing rest stoppers to sleep in their cars, without fear of being mungled by ill-doers or harangled by the po-po. Today, an even awesomer discovery: an Iowa rest area with WiFi. Amazing, no?

So, I'm on my way. I awakened this AM round about 4:30, after a fitful sleep of about 4 hours. One last DBC latte got me motivated though, and now I've covered about 130 miles (a scant 1,200 more to go!!).

I noticed something last night, some kind of portent, perhaps, because you all know by now of my belief in such things: the moon is just about full, probably will be full tonight. The sky was crystal clear last night, and the light from the moon shone down bright in the yard, and I remembered that the moon was also full the night I left Louisiana. I'm not sure the symbolism, but I'm sure it must have something to do with completion. Because even though I'm a bit apprehensive about heading back south, I do know that it's time for me to move on. Time for the next big thing ;)

[And here I'll quote a little Tom Petty, because the song always pops into my head at times like these:

It's time to move on/Time to get goin'
What lies ahead/I have no way of knowin'
But under my feet, babe/The grass is growin'
It's time to move on/Time to get goin']

14 September 2008


My eye has started twitching. Just today, or maybe yesterday, but it's twitching regardless, which is never a super-duper positive sign, because my eye only twitches when I'm stressed, agitated, etc. It's funny, because the past couple weeks have been some of the most emotionally draining I've experienced, and yet the twitching only commences now that the worst is past. Do you know what's making my eye twitch? It's the same thing that triggers an extremely virile urge to comfort-eat, the same thing that's given me the slightest sensation of panic in the pit of my stomach.

I'm driving back to Louisiana tomorrow.

I've been doing a lot of thinking in these 2 months since I've been back in Minnesota, I guess the generic term would be *soul searching. I've been reading, and writing, thinking, meditating, a lot of the things I haven't really kept up on since last I lived in Minne. I've arrived at some interesting truths, and not many of them bode well for my staying in the south, or working offshore.

1. I'm a different person now than I was when I made the decision to go to dive school.

I'm fairly certain that the person or entity who made that decision was an alien visitor briefly inhabiting my body, or maybe not so briefly. It seems to me that this particular decision, and many of those preceding it (namely any decision I made in my 20s), were based on the need to prove something. Initially it's easy for me to say I needed to prove this mysterious something to someone else, but I'm actually starting to realize it was me I needed to impress. Maybe it's the product of low self-esteem, or an over-active ego, or blah blah blah, but it feels sort of finished now. I don't feel like I need to be interesting, or unique, or brave, or whatever other quality I so desperately needed to have attributed to my person/exploits/adventures. I've done a lot. And I still do want to do a ton more, but I also want to be happy, and I think that has gotten lost along the way.

2. I want to be surrounded by people like me, and by friends and family who love me.

I feel sometimes like a dancing bear when I'm out on the rig, like a horribly obvious novelty. And you know, it's not that fun, and it's not super comfortable. But at the same time, I've made the decision to be there, and I knew what I was getting into, right? It's a confusing riddle I've riddled time and again, to no discernible solution. What has been amazing about these past 2 months is that I can dress like a girl, and I look like lots of other girls around me. I can get dazzled and dress like I want to, without worrying about my pants being too tight, or my tube-a-boob sports bra not being restrictive enough. It's lovely to just be myself, exactly how I want to be, without having to run the butch-woman mind interference.

Additionally, the offshore bunch are not, not surprisingly, the most interesting bunch you might come across, primarily because they work offshore, which can be extremely monotonous. Some are very nice, with families, and pictures of their kids, kind words to say, advice to give, [offshore] stories to tell, but, by and large, not the type I'd choose to hang out with. Back here, on the other hand (and don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to move back to Minne just yet. Rather, it makes for a nice contrast), I'm surrounded by my girls (and this is a big part of it- I have FEMALE friends and relatives here to talk to, and listen to, and open up to, and share with). Again, I think it really comes back to just feeling normal, and being with people who are like me.

3. I'm pretty sure I can find what I'm looking for in another, more suitable, profession.

I hate to say it, but I think a force majeur in deciding to throw myself at the feet of the burly gods of commercial diving was money. I do like diving, I love diving, in fact. I love to be underwater, even when it involves a heavy-ass dive helmet, and being verbally abused by my salty instructors via crappy comms. I love doing stuff underwater. But what I really liked about commercial diving was the possibility of diving and making decent, and eventually even good, money. And this, of course, is never appropriate motivation, especially for someone as flightly as me.

There are other things too, like working in an international industry, and being scheduled on rotation (though this has become a glass-half-empty issue: a month off is awesome, but that month on is brutal), and even working in this industry (though I think I still romanticize this more than I need to). But it's such a boy's club, and I don't think I'm the woman to infiltrate. Geoff, one of my dive school instructors, put it to me this way once, that to become a diver, you really have to want it, and I think that probably applies to working in the industry too- you have to really want it. I really want some of what comes with working in the industry, but I also think that what I want could easily be found somewhere else.

4. I don't want to work for someone else.

It's amazing the stuff you can learn and accomplish when you don't need to worry about going to a lame job every day.

I think this understanding can be directly attributed to my dear dad, who, in the movie of my memory, is often seen extolling the perceived benefits of working for oneself. I guess it sunk in, or maybe it was that my stubborn and independent nature has just always had a natural bent in that direction. After all, I'm a hard worker, and I was raised by folks who worked for the same company for years. Yet, somehow, even during those early high school years, I just could not get behind the idea of going to the same lame job (whether that job be hostess at the local Perkins restaurant, or my OJT class), even when, clearly, I really should have kept going (eventually I got *fired from that Perkins job, and OJT class was the only class I ever failed). Fortunately, over the years, the urge not to go to work has magically transmuted itself into a love of comfort eating, which has happily sustained me for these many years, in many unhappy jobs.

Note, though, that I'm not quite ready to say "I want to work for myself," though it is, of course, implied. Baby steps and minor gradations from one to the next.

5. And finally, the idea of service...

I'm starting to think that life has a whole lot more meaning than anything I've been getting out of it. I mean, aren't we all just trying to find ways to feel happy, and fulfilled, and connected to the world around us? Of course, all the above statements are simply arguments to myself to justify that, once again, I might have to look the career horse in the mouth, and move on.

But the more I turn my attention toward the learning most compelling to me, the more this idea of service keeps coming up. I won't say too much more, because ideas are still incubating. But I think what I keep looking for in my work is to find the best use of who I am, and my guess is that an industry where I feel I need to keep myself under wraps most of the time is not a place where I can let my strange and girly light fully shine.