I've been spending the last few days and pretty much all day today packing stuff up. It hasn't been *too* very awful; my last move I did a fairly thorough purge of my stuff. Still, I've thrown out bags and bags of garbage (mostly papers) and have two large black garbage bags full of things to take to DI. It's always interesting spreading your life out and taking a look at it. Read a few old mission letters, found an old journal I kept at Sheridan that I had forgotten about...look at old printed out emails from when I lived in Seattle.
I have mentioned that I seem to have this near pathological pattern of moving every year...since I left on my mission in 94 I've moved at least once year but this will be my first BIG move since I moved back from Seattle 5 years ago. I am hoping this one sticks for a very, very long time. This is long term thing.
My move to Utah was supposed to be a short stay...long enough to get my feet under me and be on my way but I made a lot of bone headed decisions (like moving from Seattle in the first place) and wound up staying in Utah 5 years..
Not that it's been bad mind you...and I've learned a LOT...
My figure drawing has improved exponentially, I learned how to manage a team and run and manage inventory and that I am very, very good at customer relations and at motivating people. I was so good at the movie theater I started to freak out wondering if this was what I was supposed to do. In a completely naked and honest prayer I asked that the Lords will be done...and He chuckled at me and thwacked me and told me He had bigger things for me than working at a movie theater.
Shortly thereafter I got back into my field (woo hoo and THANK you Lord!) and learned Maya and got 3 games out and got to write and storyboard out sequences in the very first showing of the Peanuts characters in 3D and got to do some big time nepotism and cast my nephew and niece as Charlie & Sally Brown respectively and read the rave reviews of the game with a big ol' wide grin.
I learned don't buy any computer equipment for projects unless you have CASH IN HAND...and always get a contract and at least half the cash up front. I learned I can tell a really good story in a very short amount of time. I learned how much I love actually making comics ... like whole stories...not just a gag strip. With animation I generally wind up being a small cog in a large machine and I am working on someone else's vision. With comics...it's all me...well my OWN comics. ;) I love the omnipotence of it. I think artists have a bit of a god complex anyway...what is closer to God than actual creation?
I learned that when I am emotionally miserable I am crazy creative and productive...like whoa! Can you say subliminate? When I am emotionally happy and at peace it's really hard to motivate myself. (I need to learn how to be both...the creative AND emotionally happy. Suggestions?)
I learned that martial arts is the sport for me...I can't handle team sports (especially co-ed) because I hate losing and I hate feeling like I am the weakest link on the team (and boy, I usually am/was!) but with martial arts I get the comraderie of a team without the pressure and the individual challenge and seeing myself improve. I also love the playful aggression in class. I go in feeling tired and lethargic and come out feeling ARRRGHHH!!! I CAN BEAT UP THE WORLD! I learned that I *LOVE* the endorphin rush I get after a really good workout at the gym or karate class...and I LOVE when my clothes fit and I feel like I'm smokin' hot.
Since I've been back in Utah I've gotten closer to my siblings than ever before. I got to hang out with LMA a LOT when he was also living at my parents in the summers and when he was going to school at USU. I got to hang out with Suzanne a lot as well and I can honestly say 3 of 4 of my siblings are my best friends.
I love going to Suzanne's and playing with the kids and seeing what is going on with The Good Mama and see what I can do to help. (I believe in cosmic karma...also it's just fun to hang out with her.) When I first moved back I was afraid she saw me as a a series of diagnoses...all the things that were weird or wrong with me...now I feel like we're two grown women who are sisters who are very different and really love each other.
Financially I put myself in a worse hole and managed to dig myself out of most of it. I still owe $ for my Sheridan education but after crunching some numbers I realized that since I started at Smartbomb I've paid off over 18 K of debt. Pretty darn good considering what I was being paid. I'm really proud of that actually. I have paid off credit cards, siblings, a motorcycle, a car (and they DO drive different when you own them!) Once I get the last of my debt paid off I'm never going into debt for *anything* ever again with the exception of a HOUSE. I'm making money work for ME instead of the other way around darn it!
Since I've been back in Utah I found myself going through a spiritual crisis the likes of which I never thought would happen to me. I found my ordinarily rock solid faith/foundation and theological confidence shaken to the extent I wondered what the point of *anything* was. I was never suicidal but I remembered once telling someone who doubted any afterlife existance that if I believed that I couldn't get up in the morning. I *did* find myself getting out of bed but there was no joy in anything I did. I mostly felt numb. What was really startling was how FAST it happened. One thing fell and then rest tumbled down like a house of cards being blown in the wind.
Since then I've slowly been rebuilding and I think I am building a more mature testimony and I'm certainly a lot more compassionate for those who are "wandering in the wilderness." Sometimes I think people need to do that...or at least be shown more compassion and understanding while they are wandering. Being nagged and hounded is about the LAST thing that 100th sheep needs to hear and only serves to drive them farther away. There's searching for the lost sheep...and then there's shooting it!
What's funny...is the rebuilding really is hinging around the basics. The Book of Mormon touches my soul. It nourishes me spiritually honestly more than any other thing. I've been reestablishing a relationship with Deity and am trying to feel connected and find my place in the universe again...and I'm looking forward to meeting the members in the ward in San Francisco and be given a calling and be put to work. Service...it just feels good and it takes my mind off my own problems and doubts and fears and can instead help someone else.
I know my mom has been deeply concerned about the state of my soul (hi mom,) but I think I'll be okay....and I think I'm coming out the other side. Everybody really is on their own spiritual journey.
I keep thinking about the dream I had...where I had this long arduous journey from this scary dark wasteland where figures lurked in the dark and really wanted to kill you. You had to be very quiet there...and go retrieve...something. (I can't remember what it is now but it was small and precious) and then journey back to this place which was like a Celestial/Assembly Room/ Forest the size of the world. I knew I was dreaming...that most of the other people there in the room were also dreamers. I knew this meeting happened every night but each night the dreamers changed and tonight happened to be my turn to be there. On the sides of this room the size of the world hung long white and shining veils. As I watched long lines of people became to come out of them. Each line passed by dreamers and I realized they were the ancestors of the dreamers coming from where they had been and left the things they had been doing to greet the dreamers and love them and see them. (Yeah, this dream isn't Mormon at ALL! hah!)
I got excited realizing that a line was heading towards me. There wasn't much time to stop and talk to them too much as they went by me but I saw all 4 of my grandparents...my cousin who had died...and people that I knew at the time but I couldn't tell you who they were now. I also saw a friend of mine who had died (no relation though)...and when I asked him what he was doing there (I *was* happy to see him) he said he found out I was going to be here tonight and he pulled some strings/snuck in to see me. HAH. So very very Mark.
I think about that dream every so often...and I'm not willing to give it up. It was no Ordinary Dream.
If I'm not willing to give up the strange sobering comfort of that dream, I'm not willing to give up God either. If I'm not willing to give up God then I'm willing to keep a purpose of life more than getting out of bed and going through the motions. See? Slowly it comes back together, this time stronger than ever before.
Since I have been back in Utah by far the thing I have so enjoyed the most is watching my nieces and nephews grow up and having a relationship with them. Until I moved back to Utah I missed every one of Sam's birthdays. Now for their birthday I take them out on Big Fun Days and I think they look forward to them as much as I do.
I got to be here for Suzanne's last pregnancy (even though she wouldn't let me draw her...BOO!!!) and watch Hazel go from this teenie tiny scrawny little infant (ibaby!) to a now 2.5 year old running around and counting to 28 (with her finger in her nose.) When I got here...Henry was "the baby." Now he's in kindergarten and loves Superman and Thomas the Tank Engine and now Jedis. When I got here Olivia was preverbal. Now she's a gorgeous (and TALL!!!) genius in 2nd grade who loves pink, horses and Barbies. Hee hee. Holy cow. Who told these kids they could grow up! Stop it! Stop it I say!
They are the thing I am going to miss most.