On Thursday and Friday I attended a smallish conference targeting SEO (Search Engine Optimizers) whose job is to help businesses build their online presence and appear higher in search results, therefore attracting more customers and getting more business. Most of the attendees have started/own/work for their own small businesses that they do this under. Here's the thing: I work for a well-known company, changes we make directly effect how these people do their job. Without going into too many specifics, I found that I was sorely unprepared for this type of environment. In general, my personality is such that I like to make other people happy. If people are asking me questions, and I know the answer, why wouldn't I want to answer them? But at the same time, if I answered them, I would lose my job. Here's the crux of it - on Thursday and Friday, I learned how to automatically distrust everyone I saw. I learned how to smile while calculating how to respond without really responding. It didn't feel like a Jen thing to do.. but well, I guess I just have to take it. Not only that, but for those of you who aren't aware, I often post in the Help Group for my product. Well, a lot of these folks read that help group and knew me by name. So it was doubly uncanny that people were calling me "Jen" - a name that I associate with people close to me - and that I still couldn't trust them.
Yesterday I yelled at a guy in the parking lot for cutting two people off (including myself) and swerving into the WRONG lane of traffic to go around me. I was really angry.. I could feel it boiling in my chest and I just let it out. I wouldn't have done that a year ago, or even three months ago. I'm not sure what these changes signify yet. I had lunch with Janet yesterday and she cautioned me about this. On one hand, it's not good to keep it all inside, she said. But on the other hand, like good deeds can snowball, so can one argument. Be careful of how you use your anger. I am thankful everyday for friends who will look me in the eye and say those things to me.
This weekend I also spent a lot of time with Derrick and WanWan, watching people dancing. I almost died of pleasure when a floor of great dancers took their first four steps of the waltz. I'm not sure what it is - the music, or the movement, the color - but there are these moments when dancing gives me total sensory overload. Just watching them, some of them close friends and people who I care about, made me sigh. The past few weeks I've been slowly feeling my heart come back to me. And even while I am forced to build walls, being able to sit on the train and soak in all the feelings is beautiful. It's as if some of these feelings are brand new, unknown but emerging; I let them out like so many birds taking wing, when it is time I gather them in and shelter them like warm memories. On Friday morning, while walking to the conference from the CalTrain station, I went through Union Square and saw this bright, clean light. Here are some photos from my day:
The artist with his work
This woman and the hat caught my eye
Dinner, a frame to the outside