Wednesday, June 14, 2006

MMM: What changes do I witness?

MMM: What changes do I Witness?

Title: No longer a square peg nor a round hole.

This piece includes a mandala I made for the summer Solstice last year using poster paints. The key has transformed from previous MMMs.

The changes I've seen are those in my response to the world.

When I was working I tried to be what I thought my employers wanted me to be. In the last 18 months that I was working I received along the way lots of thanks and all sorts of tokens of appreciation, some public, others more personal but this culminated, on my 10th anniversary of working there, in being ranked poorly... during that time I was given every reason to believe that what I was doing was more than appropriate, and valued. Then I was ranked down... I was told it would be reviewed in 6 months. I was told more about the ranking meeting than one is normally told... I was warned against complaining about this ranking. This was Hewlett Packard, at that time you could be fired for discouraging an employee from using the "Open Door Policy" yet things were such that my manager took the risk and warned me not to do it. In 6 months time I did not get a review. Nor in 7. Within 8 months I was ill again and have never returned.

Since then I've had 10 years of struggle to not be what everyone tells me someone with M.E. is like. To find a way to accept that I have it without becoming it.

And now I am not trying to be either what anyone else thinks I should be or fighting to disprove anyone either. I'm discovering who I am.

One of my friends from university recently emailed and said he'd read my blog and that it was very me. That was the best compliment I could have from someone who knows me so well. I'm getting there. I don't yet recognise myself fully but I've cleared myself of lots of things that do not belong.

W I T

N E S One Letter / S
Using spell with flickr

See more Mixed Media Memoirs

24 comments:

kyknoord said...

It's virtually impossible to be in a society of any kind without being moulded by it to some extent. The real trick is learning to cope with other people's expectations and disappointments. It looks like you're just about there.

Caroline said...

Kyknoord - you are right that's difficult - and as I haven't opted for the sitting in a cave somewhere that no-one goes option I won't be kicking myself when I don't get it right either... that's just part of the process...

Joy Eliz said...

Caro! this is sooo beautiful. Not just the visual part but there is so much energy (?) radiating from it. I can't explain in words...

Your post has coincidence for me as I've just come from Andrea Edwards blog - my struggle of being a stay at home wife and finding myself...or at least being ok with it.

Thanks for this post, I needed it:)

Caroline said...

Joy Eliz - glad you feel something good coming from it!

I think it is hard to find oneself wherever one is however its easy to see where one is as the problem.

I'm currently reading "After the ecstacy, the laundry" by Jack Kornfield and its really good on how even those people who have been "enlightened" whatever that means, or at least living spiritual lives still have to cope with life! There is hope for all of us!

andrea said...

Stupid blogger. I tried to comment earlier and it wouldnt let me. I loved reading this. What amazing changes you have gone through. You are living a purpose driven life. I love that.

My favorite line is "I've cleared a lot of things that do not belong". I need to do some work in that area I think.

Your letters and mandala are beautiful.
a.

Caroline said...

Andrea - I know blogger has been making life very difficult...

thank you for the compliments - the letters were made using the tool I linked to so anyone can make their own versions.

I wish you all the luck there is in clearing. It is worth it but it does seem to be a life-long task...

melba said...

I see from Andrea's comment I am not the only one having trouble with blogger this morning.

I love this part..

And now I am not trying to be either what anyone else thinks I should be or fighting to disprove anyone either. I'm discovering who I am.

I am on a journey to discover myself too and blogging has helped me in so many ways.

I like how grainy this piece of art is. It is also very structured and colorful.
(I like how you have your blog set up that you can see your post while you comment. I wish all blogs were set up that way)

Caroline said...

Melba - you too? Beastly blogger!

I like to be able to read / write comments whilst also being able to see the pictures... I wish it was the default too...

I'm seeing my picture differently now... suddenly it looks like a drum and a brand... but it started off as a key and a 3D mandala (which the original was) And of course the head down image is one of being born... I keep forgetting that...

andrea said...

I'm glad your blog identity is very you ~ I'd hate to think you were someone else! :) Thoughtful post. You are handling your ME so much better than my friend with mild MS who has completely retreated from the world.

Caroline said...

Andrea - so am I! I know that I've not been building an obvious pretence - for instance one internet friendship I had with a fairly local photographer fell apart when I invitied her to see some of my pictures that were up at work... she then wrote back and admitted to me that she was a he - I didn't mind but he did and I heard no more...

But it is so easy to be projecting what one wants to be rather than that want one is... that's why it was so good to have it confirmed.

Your friend will probably adjust... MS has different lessons and challenges... there is less hope of getting over it one day (you are told it is a life sentence and that's hard) though there are usually plenty of episodes of remission too, its a bumpy ride.

Tony LaRocca said...

Having a job is being whatever your boss wants you to be. As long as you make money for your boss, you're doing a good job. Keep your head up, stay strong as you obviously are, and keep being you.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Being "me", that is, being one's self is difficult in small communities like mine, but I guess with my unusual parents, I was able to be as me as I want to be.

It's so good to be back online, Caro. I just finished reading your posts on this page, staring at your art, as per normal.

Guyana-Gyal said...

And please forgive my ignorance...what is M.E.? Is it similar to MS?

merlinprincesse said...

I'm learning something here. Thanks! :)

Caroline said...

Tony Larocca - you are right but I tend to have so much enthusiasm for what I do that I overdo... its a pattern I'm now aware of and hoping to at least reduce the degree it trips me up...

GG - I had unusual parents too... glad you are back! M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and is often also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - but I prefer to use the initials which do not suggest tiredness to me! Here is a bit I got from the BBC website:

"The main symptoms are debilitating fatigue, muscle pain, and mental fogginess. The cause of chronic fatigue cannot be explained by other conditions, such as depression, and it does not improve substantially after periods of rest. Some patients also have difficulty in concentrating, short-term memory impairment, sore throats, headaches and insomnia. Some people have such severe symptoms that they are confined to bed while others only suffer fatigue when they come up against stressful situations."

I'd add that I became intolerant to many foods and oversensitive to many herbs and drugs, or simply allergic. I also had a goitre for a year.

Many of the worst symptoms were sorted out for me with Health Kinesiology which is why I'm such a fan. But I'm still not well enough to work.

ian russell said...

interesting, caroline, you'll forgive me that i didn't know these things before. i've really liked what i've seen, i'm glad it's you! :o)

i found myself once. i was in the last place anyone would think of looking! so from then on i always headed there first. but waddya know? one day i wasn't there no more...

what you say is so true - and that piece from the book, i think. also we probably expect - or want - to see a simple model and yet it's our complexity that allows us to survive. compliance is just one way of surviving - it's still who we are - i think...i don't know. i got the sack once for being ''useless'', that may be similar to being ranked down at HP. So that firm went bust years later without my help - when i could have speeded up the process for them! whatever...at least I'm still here. ;o)

and so are you, I'm pleased to say.

ian russell said...

i forgot to say how much i like that piece. i've been thinking of how to do a mandala for myself.

Potato Print said...

Hi Caroline,
It was such a nice surprise to see your note on my blog! I can see that you are a deep and spiritual being with much warmth and enthusiasm. Your mandala is just beautiful. I enjoyed your Flickr show also. I will be back.

kj said...

hi caroline, i've found your blog through joy's. your mandela is wonderful. being a bit of a spiritual seeker and writer, i will visit you from time to time.
best wishes,
kj

Caroline said...

Ian - isn't it odd how one doesn't stay found? And you are right that I was still me whilst at HP - and in many ways I wasn't very compliant but I still felt compromised. Maybe that's a better way to describe it.

Potato print and kj - I greatly look forward to making your acquaintance. I will be off-line for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow... in fact I really ought to be doing a posting about that now. See you when I get back.

The Unknown said...

Great post! I have found and lost myself so many times I can hardly count them.
I do find blogging a great tool in the search for self, although that wasn't really my intention when I started to blog. That damn illusive spirit of the ALL keeps flicking my ear when I'm not paying attention.
love

Caroline said...

The unknown - does being unknown make it easier or harder to do the finding and losing? There must be a suitable Zen koan, something like

What is there when there is nothing there?

kj said...

hello--i'm new to your blog. love your artwork, love your attitude!

kj

Guyana-Gyal said...

Thanks for taking the time to explain.

Now that I know it makes me admire you even more...all this energy, creativity and love and good vibes you put into this blog despite the M.E!