Heyy guys, long time no write, right?
You may have noticed I have a tendency to write about negative things only when I am at a comfortable enough distance from them to put a positive, sometimes comic spin on them. It turns out, I have a tendency to just.. apparently.. not write about positive stuff much at all. Happiness writes white?
I finished up my course with NSS yesterday, and we had Demo Day and a sort of mini graduation, and now I’m officially a junior developer for hire (mostly maybe).
If you haven’t heard from me in 6 months and are completely confused by this change of direction, I get it. And if you have heard from me, but little, and have been picturing me locked in a little windowless closet banging away at a keyboard for six straight months, I have some images to dispel.
Spoiler alert, I haven’t.
First of all, there were windows, and I was the asshole opening the window blinds every morning, creating glare for everyone, because I just wanted to see outside.
Most of our projects, especially in the second three months, were group projects. I bonded with my group to what our instructors were calling “sibling level,” until we knew how far and how hard to push each other, how relentless to be, who to ask nicely and who to cuss at, and that even though you could be so damn tired of their bullshit, your motto was still something like “I fucking love you, man.”
Then I got moved to another group for the very last project, and while I didn’t quite get to shouting-matches-that-turn-into-delighted-squeal-jumping-hugs with them, I was quite proud when our work went smoothly, and they reported that they felt like it was the best group dynamic they’d had overall.
For the very last two weeks, we were all working on individual projects, but we were still not working alone, sharing alike with previous group members or whoever we thought could help us figure out the things.
But also, outside of school time, I’ve been going to trivia some weeks, going jogging with classmates in the park, attending happy hours (mostly on Fridays, occasionally not), playing SoDL with my Vandy-bros, going to game night, or game lunch, or game-after-school. I’ve also had tutoring and meetups, which were less for-fun and more obligatory-feeling, plus solo time jogging, biking around (recently, thanks to my new birthday bike). I’ve been reading a lot again, although I have not been writing. I’ve been, I don’t know, living and stuff. Busy, and difficult sometimes, frustrating, sure, but not crushing, not paralyzing, not ridden with so much anxiety that I can’t eat breakfast in the morning. (Sometimes I am still amazed at what I became in 2013 and beyond it)
This is going to sound hokey as fuck, but I feel.. empowered. Contrary to feeling locked in a closet, I feel freed. I kind of… have a life, lately. I don’t like to talk about it because it feels like bragging, because I remember what it was like to not. But lately, I feel much more like myself.
I think we (or perhaps rather, I) have a messed up sense of what it means to be happy. I’d been looking back on times, say in Japan, and thinking about strange nights, and feelings of loneliness, but also how much I missed that life, and missed that self. It was confusing and felt contradictory. Like for example, there was one Saturday night in Japan, I was at home, feeling lonely and frustrated, feeling like “but I’m young and interesting, why am I sitting at home alone right now?” and I decided I was too restless, so I just started riding my bike up the valley, following some small branch of the river that didn’t go up the main road, and that was the night I saw a bear, and the whole memory is moonlit and sort of magical. I’m glad I did it — glad I was there, even though I know the feelings I was having at the time were uncomfortable and unpleasant. Only recently am I able to see that whole thing, the negative feelings, the magic and wonder and goodness, all as a whole package that is probably what being happy really is like.
So, right now, things are not perfect. I am an emotional person who does tend toward frustration and melancholy, and who is lonely lots of the time (despite all the love and support I do actually have in my life). But actually, my life is pretty fucking awesome.
I don’t know when or whether I’ll be able to quite tell my classmates and teachers that the person they know now, while I consider it the real me, is a recent re-emergence, which they helped to enable.
One of them, HANGRR, is now deployed for live demo purposes. This is the link, so take it for a spin and let me know how it does, and what ways you can find to break it (try it on your phone, too!): HANGRR
My second solo project (Yogo.. a clever [haa] mashup of ‘yoga’ and ‘yolo’) is far from done, but I want to take a break from it to work on some of the stuff that I started with the hackathons I attended in the fall. (Basically it’s all at my portfolio website, which is here: EmLem Codes)
I hate graduations because I hate change. My tired toddler mind fitfully pushed back at demo day any time a potential employer’s business card said Brentwood or Cool Springs or even Hendersonville. I don’t wanna, I think, I don’t wanna drive that far! But actually I don’t want to have to learn a new place, a new set of people, a new set of rules, a new way to be. But, I know I could. And I probably will want to, eventually. I have had an offer from the school, in case I want to hang around and be paid to like, learn more stuff and help teach the new cohorts for a year.
I’ve come around to an environment where making mistakes is absolutely encouraged, so long as you keep an eye toward learning, which has made me feel very safe not knowing stuff; helpful, being as how there is so much stuff to not know.
And it makes a difference, to see people who know more than I do seeing me not know and being excited about my progress. It makes a difference to feel not thought of as less-than, not condescended to for not knowing. It makes a difference to be treated as an equal person regardless of my lack of experience, to be spoken to candidly and even to be made useful for what I am good at, regardless of what I’m not.
I have a very strong tendency to compare my beginning to others’ “middle,” to look at where they are now and where I am now and think, fuck, I am so. far. behind.
But the people who know more than I do also know better than that.
I told myself I’d keep that NSS teaching offer in my pocket while I consider whatever other options… but damn, doesn’t it just seem…
A note on one of the linked songs, also a revisit of an older post about songs to cry at, I pulled up She Used To Be Mine again a few weeks ago and tried really hard to sing along. I can still never make it without dissolving into cryfest. It reminds me so much of how it felt to miss a version of myself that didn’t even feel good enough.