Insomnia Log 7

It’s that time of the night when the only thing I can think to do is write. This seems to regularly happen after a decent streak of nights of going to bed “on time”. Maybe I feel defeated about missing “bed time” one night and just stay up with an attitude of apathy. I don’t think that’s all of it, because I’m not yawning or feeling that heavy sack-of-sand feeling in my head, so I’m also not physically tired.

I’ve got The 88 stuck in my head but I’m happy to have them as guests. OC is OK with me. Before that I was listening to how quiet it was in this room. I couldn’t tell if what I was hearing was coming from my head or the space around me. Sort of like how when it’s dark enough black looks black with your eyes opened or closed. Sort of like how dark it is in the room except for this lighted screen.

A mentor of mine at work reminded me on Monday that it will always take a long time for anyone’s impression to change of anyone else. Put another way, trust is built slowly like habits, but it shatters like porcelain with a few mistakes. I won’t go into those mistakes here, but I’ve got some habits to work in that I think will allow my coworkers to trust me as one of their own. These will take time to develop. I think I often want instant results, but there’s no magic pill or “program” that I can throw money at. (Believe me, I’ve thrown some serious money at “programs” before. The lasting effect has always been, “Wow, I guess I really should do that,” while leaving it to me to do the work on it. No quick fix.) I think it will work the same way that I don’t realize how much my hair grows in a day but notice it over a few months. (I don’t cut my hair very often.) And yet, according to Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

I realized this the other day: I think it’s challenging my ego and self-esteem to have so much “constructive” feedback from coworkers all the time, but I think I prefer it to the non-feedback I used to get on the job. “Yeah, you’re doing fine. [“Fine.” No better way to sound insincere.] Just keep doing what you’re doing.” There’s no path for growth or mastery there! A book I’m leafing through called Apprenticeship Patterns (appropriate for me as an apprentice in this company) suggests to “Be The Worst”. To surround myself with people who are far above my level and gain whatever I can from them. Seems like it would work like learning a foreign language by immersion in another country, immensely stressful at first, but builds a language in my brain out of necessity rather than sheer willpower (which I know is a limited resource I’m good at burning through). I think while I’m still “learning the lingo” I’m going to be stressed because I don’t know how to speak yet.

I’ll need to accept that I have some shortcomings as a developer.  Some are inherent to my character, because whether we call traits “strengths” or “weaknesses” are just labels for perceptions of how common inner mental structures affect other things. In that way, my strengths lead to my weaknesses, and vice versa. I’ll do what I can to go further than my short arms can currently reach. Until I’ve developed confidence in this “pattern language”, as the book calls it, I’ll look to this image for inspiration.

You can do anything.
The sun’s the closest star, but it’s dang dark,
Art 

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