28 October 2011


Krakow - main square

So this big idea of mine's not going so well. This trip is supposed to be the end of wallowing in the hurt of losing my job and the reclamation and re-dedication to this project. I've been trying so hard to get back to this full-time, I should be thrilled, right?

To allow for jet lag, I arrived a few days before the Auschwitz retreat actually began. Maybe that wasn't a perfect plan. A little too much time alone to think...

Wawel Castle

Krak's Mound
Pedestrian bridge with lovers' locks
I walked all over Krakow this morning - through the market square just as the sun came up, to Wawel castle and down through the kitschy dragon's den, through the reviving Jewish quarter (Kazimeirz), all the way to the prehistoric Krak's Mound, then back across a pedestrian bridge covered with padlocks with lovers' initials carved or written into them that wasn't on my map, and finally back to St Mary's Church.While I walked and looked, I was fine. But, stop for a hot chocolate, and I'm a mess again. Still. I can't get myself back. The hurt won't burn itself out. Dented ego or work head that doesn't want to get it: it's over.


Move on.

Funny. The job was different than anything I'd done before, different than anything I thought I'd ever do, but I'd just decided to stop questioning my decision to be there. I could see the good it was doing in a place that had the money to have an impact and I was working with people I adored. So, just three weeks before the end, I bought two new suits.

I hate those suits.

I can tell you I am not wearing either of those suits right now.

I know, I know: it's a good thing the job ended or I wouldn't be walking around Krakow, I wouldn't be back working on this project, I wouldn't be able to get some cattle car cheap ticket to go visit Luke while he's on his semester abroad. But the hole I'm in is deeper and scarier than even the job loss. I'm having trouble getting back in to this project.

It took me so long to get comfortable with what I'm doing, to get over the embarrassment I sometimes feel when I tell people who have known me for a long time what I'm doing. A number of them have been supportive, some even enthusiastic. But I've also lost a few friends who think I'm nuts.

Before getting on the plane, I tried to sit down to catch up on some of the old notes that I haven't posted yet but I got nowhere. Instead, when I had any energy at all, I obsessed about a friend who hasn't seen me since I told her about this project several years ago. When I told her about The Heathen, she smiled. She tried to look interested. She was not a convincing actress. I haven't seen her since. I hadn't really thought much about it but, every time I sat down to work, I couldn't think about anything else. It feels like part of a wall of shame between me and returning to the work that really means something to me.

I feel empty.

Empty. Empty. Empty.

And I don't think it's the kind of empty Zen Buddhism wants you to feel.

I am suffering because I am attached to what other people think about me and to what I think about myself. And that sucks.

Outside St Mary's Church - point taken

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