Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Running Girl

I hope everyone reading this has been enjoying the fabulous month of October. The leaves here in Washington have changed and are gorgeous, it's chilly, and harvest has kicked my ass. I'm enjoying the overtime, don't get me wrong, but I don't like when things take over my life, whether it's work, school, a significant other, a sport, whatever. I don't have a good track record with all-encompassing things. Anyways, there isn't much new to report about my job. I learned how to top barrels and have decided it's my new favorite thing to do at work because I work alone, work where it's not loud, and get some alone time. As much as I love being around people, I reach a point where I really need some space. This results in me hiding from other people at work by cleaning, finding tasks in secluded places, or hiding at the top of the tanks during pump overs. I work best when there's a mix of working with others and independently, though I'm exhausted now and erring towards the side of working solo when I can so I have some space.

So yes, work took over my life more than it already had, and I'm kind of done with it. It's bittersweet though when I stop and think because it'll be over before I know it. There's a strong possibility I'll never see most, if not all, of these people again, and I really enjoy most of my coworkers. They're a hilarious, spirited, goofy group of individuals, and I'm glad to be part of the crew. Usually.

On to things I find more interesting, at least in my biased opinion, the title of this entry. One of my nicknames as a kid was Running Girl, courtesy of my father. It was quite literal as I was always running, whether it was around the outside of the house before getting in the car to go anywhere (this also brought about another of my his nickname's for me, Sydney One-More-Time Kranz), at the playground, or while in motion from Point A to Point B. The running stopped eventually due to societal expectations, puberty's effects on my body, and developing exercise-induced asthma, but I am fond of the name.

Anyways, I had written an entry last week but decided against posting it because my frame of reference changed as I wrote it, and by the time I would have had it finished, my mind was in a different place. The impending and unknown end of harvest really has brought a lot of anxiety into my life. I am super particular with my schedule and really don't like surprises. I tend to be more spontaneous, enjoy variety, and avoid boredom like it's the plague, but I don't enjoy having my schedule or routine toyed with when it's outside my control. I've always been this way, and I'm accepting it as a quirk of mine, but I am pretty stressed out by all the uncertainty, even though it's probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of my life. Part of what I don't like about it is what I mentioned above, I will miss a lot of the people I work with, people I spend most of my waking hours with, people I've gotten to know, people I really enjoy. I do seek solitude at work because the noise gets overwhelming and I need space to breath, think, and exist, but I've caught myself trying to detach, to cut off relationships, to run.

I was always running as a child, but I also know I have a tendency to withdraw and try to cut my losses when I know something will end, when I know I'll miss something. It's not often my primary motivation, just as my seeking quiet at work is not primarily to avoid people, but it is a tendency of mine I've become aware of, acquainted with if you will. There are so many places it could have gotten started, whether it's a coping mechanism from moving, a result of my attaching to people too much, or just what normal people do when they're with other people they like. I'm not concerned about why it happens, where it came from, because that is a question that may never be answered and, quite frankly, may be pointless to explore, but it's still worth writing about.

The self-identified issue is fairly straightforward, potentially obvious, but is nonetheless interesting to see where it intersects with other paradigms of mine. I do withdraw to try an minimize the impact things have on me, especially when I can see them coming, and part of that is because I'm trying to minimize the discomfort, the disappointment, loss, change. There's a fundamental level at which I hate, hate, hate change. Hate it. But I always seek it out anyways. Change is the only constant, right?

I took a walk today at Whitman College to see the leaves and was reminded of how much I love the fall, the change, the leaves, the nip in the air, the pause, the slowing down, the tilt towards reflection. I had to laugh today when I realized, yet again, this season I adore is essentially nature dying, going into hibernation, being dormant, whatever. It's an end, just like I'll experience with harvest sometime within the next six weeks. What I can see externally that isn't as clear internally is that it's cyclical; autumn comes and moves into winter, winter moves into spring and life is new, reborn. Just like what will happen in my internal world. There is loss, there are things to be mourned, but it won't be a perpetual state of winter, of dormancy. This isn't to diminish that there are people I'll miss, things I'll miss, but more a reminder that things truly aren't permanent. Much like the change in seasons, there's an ebb and flow, and stagnancy kills quickly. Change is most terrifying when you're on the precipice looking forward, when you're about to jump (or be pushed) into it, when it's a leap to something you can't anticipate, control, or know.

Editor's note: I had the entire thing written and the end was awesome, but my computer I effed up, and I lost all of what I'd written from this point below. Change. Ha. Life has a terrible sense of humor. I reach a state of flow when I'm writing, and with this interruption I lost not only the flow state, but I also can't remember what I wrote. What is below is me rolling with this hiccup. I did throw my laptop on the floor though after cussing a lot.

Thing with change is that I approach it with rigidity. It's either/or, it's black and white, it's all or nothing. That's really not life, at least not what I want mine to be. Like fall, it's an ending, but perpetual winter won't follow. When I try to control life, run from change, detach from the present, I let fear, insecurity, and doubt control me. I relinquish a part of my soul in an attempt at perceived safety, imagined stability. When I withdraw in self-protection I gain a false security, and this idol I serve has done nothing for me.

As a child I always disliked change and transitions. Some of it is innate, some of it is a reaction. The coping mechanisms I developed were fine for when I was a sensitive child with transitions that were completely out of my control. The coping mechanisms I developed were fine when I was an adolescent just trying to keep my head above water. They coping mechanisms I developed were even fine until recently because I was afraid, fearful of the unknown, paralyzed in a shell of inaction and waiting. But this is no longer what I want. I have the soul of a wanderer and, to steal a friend's quote, "worship the bitch-goddess called Adventure." Change is the constant companion of adventure, of seeking, of looking, of thinking. Change is a constant in this world, this life, your life, my life.

As I move into a place where I am not controlled as much by fear and doubt, the precipice I stand on becomes less intimidating. It's not as high, the bottom isn't as far, the water isn't as deep. Life is ephemeral, beautiful, painful, and always in motion. We're along for the ride, and it's up to us to figure out what that looks like and what we want.

I'll always be Running Girl, but instead of Running from, I hope to run toward. There's a lot of change out there, a whole lot of life to live, and I want to be there for the party.

topping barrels - topping off barrels with more wine. Wine evaporates while it ages in barrels, so you add more periodically. The evaporated portion is known as the angel's share, and I think this explains why so many people's guardian angels seem to be drunk sometimes.

The inside of a tank before it's dug out. The grapes are dug out and then pressed to extract more juice.

Another barrel down. I waited over two hours for an air pump and got really frustrated. The cups on the barrels contain yeast hulls, which I believe are to feed the yeast that's already in the wine. As you can see, I am super interested in the process. Not really, I'd rather think about brains.

A sump and screen. When I say sump life I'm referring to these cantankerous contraptions. Well, really it's the tank that causes issues, and I seriously question whose idea it was to make tanks without screens.

I walked around Whitman College and it was quite lovely to be out in the sun with the rest of humanity. Also, it's a treat at this point for me to dress in my usual clothes, wear jewelry, and feel like a normal female. My work clothes pretty much say that I've given up on how I look.

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