The semi-annual Kim Isom post
Well, based on this past week’s experiment, I can come to the conclusion that either a)this blog is still pretty anonymous, or b)those who read it aren’t willing to comment, even when requested to. Either way, this is still a cozy corner o’ the web for me. It’s amazing how much personal stuff you can put on the web with little to no repercussions, mainly because most people don’t care, and the ones who do are people in whom you would probably confide anyway.
In any case, I got around to thinking this past week how life still scares the hell out of me, for the most part, which led, once again, to pondering Kim Isom. Since it’s been so long since I’ve had any sort of contact with her, she’s become more of a symbol, a catalyst if you will, of my current mindset and personality. You see, before all that stuff happened with her that’s described earlier on this blog, I prided myself on being reliable. From little things, such as helping a friend get home from school one day, to big things, like helping a friend write a 40+ song musical, orchestrate it, and direct the pit orchestra at the same time, I always considered myself a man of my word. Then that incident occurred, and when it did, my faith was shaken in my own reliability. I had given my word to accomplish a very important task for a person I greatly liked, and I let her down in every possible way. It has weighed heavily on my conscience every since, and there has always been, ever-present, in the back of my mind, the need to know whether she has forgiven me. Alas, I may never know, as she is harder to get ahold of than J.D. Salinger, and even if I could find her there’s no guarantee she’ll even want to talk to me, much less forgive me.
I still try to be a man of my word. But now I know that I am capable of violating that word, flagrantly and without cause, and I don’t like that. To minimize the chance of it happening again, the simple fact is that I don’t give my word out very often. Only for the most trivial things that I can easily accomplish, or for the most important things that I probably would have done anyway. Who gets let down that way? Nobody. It’s a risk-free way to live. Unfortunately, it can get stagnant, and many opportunities for growth, friendship, and even love pass by, and that’s also not a person I want to be. Thus, life is a bit frightening right now as I struggle between safety and growth. Perhaps if I could get a hold of Kim that wound could begin to heal, and I could more clearly make that decision, but as of now there’s still a lot of pain to go through.
Another reason life greatly scares me is a more universal, less personal reason: I’m running out of cash with no easy way out of the situation, and I’ve really got to get a job this week. This is mainly due to me quitting my job at Title One in August to go back to school here at BYU. When I worked at Title One I never had to worry about money. My income far outweighed my expenses, even with larger purchases such as a new transmission for my car, a Pocket PC, or even college tuition. Last year (’05-’06), I took a few classes both here in Provo and up at the Salt Lake Center (finishing off my generals with the exception of one English class), but retained my job in order to pay for it. I made a decent $9.00 an hour doing what I did, and I was 100% financially secure. My job wasn’t horrible; on the contrary: my boss was great, the hours were good, the atmosphere was fine, and the work wasn’t too difficult but wasn’t too mind-numbingly boring either. I probably could have continued where I was for a much longer period of time, maybe even studying to be a title examiner to make more money. But I didn’t. Why not? Why did I decide to give up financial security, and a decent life, to go back to college, live in increasing poverty in an apartment, studying a subject that is a far cry from future financial security?
I was secure. But I was stagnant. Doing other people’s title work is all well and good, but how does it improve me? Where do I derive the meaning out of life searching back properties and filing microfiche? Most people who work white-collar jobs such as the one I had at least have their own family to go home to. They don’t derive passion from the work specifically, but in the knowledge that the work they were doing was supporting financially the ones they most cared about. Me? Socially, I was stuck in a rut, going out with the same group of friends over and over again, a group that was stuck in the same type of rut I was. I love Casey and Josh and Nate a lot, but they are types of people with which it is difficult to have certain types of conversation. I can’t explain it very well, but if you know the parties involved you’ll know what I mean. Also, I couldn’t even think about a family when I wasn’t even meeting any new people. It is difficult, or quite selfish, to take joy in the fact that you’re only helping to support yourself. (Not quite as selfish as relying on someone else, like your parents, to support you when you’re in your twenties or beyond, but selfish nonetheless.)
I also am a music man. I derive a lot of my own personal joy from creating music. This is something I discussed a bit in the “Far Beyond the Stars” post a few posts ago, so I’m not going to heavily go in to it here. But making music makes me happy, because I know I can make others happy with it, too. Title work does not hold that appeal for me.
So I quit and moved to Provo. At least here, I would be in a more social atmosphere. When people have a problem, changing locations is often a key to solving the problem. If a person has a drinking problem, hanging out in bars is not going to help him overcome it. If a person has difficulty making friends and going on dates, living in his parents’ basement and going to work with people who are mostly married and/or much older isn’t going to help him overcome that problem either. And you know what? It’s actually worked. I may not be currently dating anybody, but I do have friends. People who like me, not for my musical skill, or based on my siblings’ high praise, but for who I am. The walks after midnight to the 7-11 to buy hot chocolate. The door decorations of random adjectives. The making of a birthday cake with a single matchstick in it because the girls involved didn’t have any birthday candles. The random card/board games every few nights. The notes that say things like, “Jeff, you play a mean [piano]. Too bad you have to die! (You don’t really have to die, you’re great!)” These are the things that make life worth living. These are the reasons I can get up in the morning and face life. This is why I can give up a secure financial future. In the scariness of life, there are a few things that make it a little less frightening, and these particular ones I couldn’t find at Title One. I am finding them here.
I don’t want to let any of these girls down, like I did with Kim. I can’t. I just can’t.