Mondays through Thursdays I'm in cubicleland where it's always groundhog day. The alarm goes off at 5:30am, though usually I call to Baby Wallace and he comes and hangs out on my chest and purrs his morning kitty breath on me, and sometime Jacinta slides in under my right armpit and purrs so loud I get an underarm massage. I get up, do some yoga, situps, energywork, surf the net, decide whether I'm going to wear the brown baggy pants or the black velvet baggy pants or the baggy pants with the grey pinstripes. Then I select a shirt, preferably one that clashes, and add in a cardigan or jacket, again something that clashes, such as the black pants, brown shirt, grey sweater vest, black/brown striped shoes ensemble that I had on yesterday. Then it's off to start the car, put on some Burt's Bees faux lipstick, crank the cd player up with some Stuart Davis. I'm at work by 7:45. I take an hour for lunch at 12:30, and walk down to the urban version of a park and sit on a towel, eat a half an avocado, a gluten free corn muffin, some cottage cheese, some sliced berries and melon, and watch the birds, the wind in the trees, feel the southern sun make a 55 degree day feel warm. I work until 5:05pm. Then get in my car, come home. Feed the kitties, check email, make something to eat - my latest obsession is vegetable fajitas made with sour cream and fresh guac and spelt tortillas. I watch something from my hulu.com queue. By 8:30pm, I'm in bed, kitties climbing all over me in an attempt to mash me into the perfect sleeping surface. They make passes on their rounds, up and around my head, and they stop to lick my cheek, neck, and eyelids. Sometimes I watch the sky for a while, but eventually the benedryll I took at 6:30 kicks in, and the all over body itching stops, and sleep drops on my brain like a bomb, and other than the two or three times I get up to pee or wake myself up from another weird dream, I'll sleep like I'm dead until the next 5:30am starting gun goes off.
Baby Wallace's fascination and manifestation of cold sores continued with a cold sore on either side of the one in the middle of his lower lip. This made him look like an english bulldog for several days which never failed to make me laugh hysterically, though I know they must have hurt him. I couldn't help it. I just kept thinking that at any moment he was going to place a monocle on his left eye and ask for a cigar. His latest illness is a hotspot on the entirety of the back of his left haunch that looks like hamburger. No amount of herbal salve helps, which he only seems to lick off with his scratchy tongue which probably only makes it worse. I'll buy some gauze and surgical tape today and see if I can wrap that rascal for a few days. Wish me luck.
I wonder how long it's going to take to kill my ego. All day long in cubicleland I surgically extract slivers of it from my cosciousness. It's a slippery bastard, with the shards buried deep inside, cleverly disguised as "me". Surgical extractions look like this: One woman I work with is actually fairly calm and balanced. She occasionally chats to me about things. As one of the rules of Ego Massacre is Thou Shalt Not Tell Any Stories, I listen to her, and watch as again and again my ego wants to share something about itself, wants to put in its two cents. The woman mentions a sticky client situation, and ego wants to talk about its sticky client situation. The woman tells me what she does for fun when she's not at work, and ego wants to tell a few factoids, put a spin on my life to make it look fun. But I don't say anything. I try and arrange my face into something pleasant, although I usually fail. I'm polite to her, don't just simply walk away as I do with the other people I work with, but I watch the confusion and discomfort she suffers in trying to have a relationship with me. She is actually a lovely person, and as most of the people I work with are distinctly not lovely, I experience feelings of sadness, witness a desire to at least perform the Happy Dance a little for this decent woman. But my performing days are over.
Ego Massacre successes show up like this: the immediate bossman in cubicleland rolls his eyes and is rude, condescending, ignores questions, refuses to say hello or goodnite. He does things like refuses to acknowledge that I'm standing there waiting for him to answer a question, or he'll see me walk into his cube and then pick up the phone and make a call or he'll reprimand me loudly in front of people for telling a client to hand him a form instead of me taking the form from them and then handing it to him, even though he and I are separated at that moment by a partition and he and the client are within arm's reach of one another. For two weeks it's like rotating slowly on a spit. Then, yesterday, I stop trying to get him to stop, and simply act as if he weren't acting like an slime oozing brick wall. Instead it appears as if he's a little simple, a toddler who is cranky. I don't feel judgment, just an acceptance of This Is How He Is, this is his emotional age. I stop feeling anything other than a calm sort of cruise control taking over. Clients go the same way. By the end of the day, I'm actually laughing and relaxed instead of my usual Utterly Verklempt. And people seemed relieved when I don't fight back against the slime pit of their emotion, as if in the absence of my own brick wall of STOP their own brick wall dissolves.
In looking back, I have no idea what mechanism inside of me turned off or on or how I did it. Except maybe it's that I sort of ignore people. Every day, I lose more interest in people, their stories, the aggressions and hopes and fears and desperation they project on me. I think this means that if you ignore the world, it goes away.
Ego really is nothing more than a headf*ck. I look in the mirror and think: I'm so pretty. I look in the mirror and think: I'm so ugly. And the only thing that makes me believe either one is true is ego.
I've begun translating things people speak and email to me into the distillation of what they are really saying. No one likes to appear needy or greedy or mean. So they try and couch what they really want in compliments and side door requests. A family member sends me a birthday card, about two paragraphs worth of sentences. Distilled down into it's core message is one statement: I miss the things you used to do for me.
I see this exact message all over my living. Doing things for people means they will be nice, feel happy. Not doing things for people, whether it's because I can't, or don't feel to, means that folks won't be nice, and will feel very unhappy, and will express their feelings that their unhappiness is my fault.
If it doesn't matter to you how people feel about you, it's not a big deal. And how people feel about you only matters if you think you'll get something from their happiness, or lose something from their unhappiness. But if you get that nothing anyone can give you has any worth, then you lose interest in how to add to their Happiness Savings and Loan. And you get that your own emotional bank account is as corrupted and bankrupt as any other financial institution these days. But in this case, the only stimulus plan you or I need is to stop asking for people to show us the money and instead understand that:
There Is No Quan
It's 70 degrees today. The windows are open and the spring breeze brings fresh air flavors. Kitties are at the windows cackling in a bird watching frenzy. The sounds of my whirring printer are part of the activities in motion for the class I'm teaching tonight on psychic skills. The decaf coffee I'm drinking is yummy with a little vanilla extract in it. Maybe I'll treat myself to the country cooking buffet for lunch. Time to leave the apartment and run errands . . .