It’s not my birthday…

Well the rain falls down without my help I’m afraid
And my lawn gets wet though I’ve withheld my consent
When this grey world crumbles like a cake
I’ll be hanging from the hope
That I’ll never see that recipe again

It’s not my birthday, it’s not today…

- They Might Be Giants, “It’s Not My Birthday”-

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

-Louis L’Amour-

No, dear readers, it is NOT my birthday today. That cherished occasion lies nine months in the future. Today is auspicious, however, for at least two reasons:

A) Today was the last day of my IT career. I’ve left behind Very Large Corporation, Inc, and Information Technology alike in order to take up my bindle stick, pluck up my courage, and hop aboard a train bound for Creative Enterprise.

and

B) Today is my “rebirthday.” Exactly 2 years ago today, I received the precious blessing of the state court and changed my legal identity to match my actual one. I may be only two years old, but I’m advanced for my age.

It’s been a busy day, is the point.

I’ve been struggling for years to return to creative work, the victim of an odd (and, at times, cruel-seeming) paradox; despite having zero formal IT training or education, possessing what can only be described as mid-level technopathy led to the assumption that I was and would forever be a “techie,” despite both my frequent side projects in the creative arts and my own hearty protestations to the contrary. Eventually, the time I’d spent in IT (which was, naturally, time away from design and other creative fields, at least according to my resume) reinforced this idea; “Claire must be meant for IT because Claire’s in IT and Claire’s in IT because Claire’s meant to be there.”

Not pretty.

But, the wheel of life spins under our feet regardless of our forward motion, and eventually I was able to – through a series of contacts, design projects and a stubbornness so profound that mules roll their eyes at me –  procure my new position in Marketing and Social Media. My excitement is so profound that I’m pretty sure I’ve been levitating most of the day, which sounds fun until you stop at the grocery and can’t activate the little pressure-plate door opener thing.

But I digress.

As I was packing up my few remaining possessions and saying my goodbyes, I realized how deeply IT has affected me, both as a person and an employee. Yes, there have been challenges to my patience at times – ID-10T errors and PEBKAC abound – but for the most part, even the most grievous frustrations were ameliorated by that magic moment, that singular instant, when I solved someone’s problem. Money has never been a particularly strong motivator for me; my inability to manage it, coupled with the sort of disregard for material gain most people associate with terminal illness or religious mania makes it a poor carrot with which to lead me down the primrose path. However, put me in a place where I am genuinely and consistently helpful to someone, exorcising not just the demons from their Excel macros but the shadows from their workday, and I am a happy camper (provided, of course, that there is gratitude for services rendered…ingrates turn the knob of my Smitemaster 3000 to “11” ).

This has not been an ideal job – what job is, in the final analysis? – but it HAS been a useful one. It’s taught me many things about myself, and the kind of work, environment and interactions I require to feel as though I’m making a positive impact every day. It’s introduced me to some great friends, taught me that trust needs to be earned (not just given away like novelty tokens at a particularly cruddy fundraising carnival), and, perhaps most importantly of all, helped me to understand all the things I’m NOT as well as those I am.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

It’s been a day of lasts – last login, last cup of tea, last casual sweep of Ice Station Zebra, last hugs and tears and laughs.There will be letters to write, e-mails to exchange, lunches to coordinate; there will be attrition as bodies both peripheral and central in my personal galaxy move closer or break orbit and disappear into space beyond.

But it’s also a day for beginnings. Here I stand, two years as Claire behind me, with (let us hope) many more ahead. The sun has not yet reached its apex; the future stretches before me, a road traveling through sunny heights and icy, shadowed lows. Having reached a fork, I’ve chosen what I hope is the right one, and focus my gaze on the horizon.

No, it’s not my birthday, my friends. But somehow, I still feel as though I’ve been given a gift.


4 Responses

  1. Happy ReBirthday. I can’t wait until I’m at that point (legally changing identity) myself.

    IT (and software engineering) is a weird world. It seems everyone wants to get into it, but then once you’re in, everyone seems to want to get out. Me and a lot of people I’ve known did computer crap as a hobby, but hated it once they realized what a pain in the ass The Industry frequently is.

    Congratulations and good luck in your future endeavors!

  2. Congratulations, Claire. This position will suit your gifts and talents so much better. Looking forward to you writing about your adventures!!!

  3. @Kira Thanks! It’s been quite the wacky journey. It was a bit like a pit of quicksand – easy to fall in, difficult to get out without a bit of floating and the aid of a good friend.

    @Karen Thank you, my friend! I’m looking forward to it as well – and I’m also looking forward to hearing about yours on YOUR new blog! :D

  4. when you say “last login” do you mean…?

    Well, anyway, do reviews get any better than this?

    First of all, [The Bohemian Girl and Other Stories] is about the experiences of various Transsexuals dealing with their experiences in reality and life. The book is excellently written, and is strong enough to stand alone as what it is.

    The characters are interesting, and the details draw the reader in. It’s obvious that the author has put a lot of her personal life into the book, and researched the lives of others rather thoroughly. Common themes of Nebraska and the Catholic Church are especially prominent.

    I have often pondered what things I was doing now that might be disapproved of by future generations. For example, while there were blatant racists in the 1940’s…there was still a baseline of acceptable behavior by less racist people that would be considered shocking today. I do not want to be judged by history, but after reading this, I have come to realize that history will DEFINITELY judge contemporary society for the way it treats Transsexuals, and if one desires to avoid being judged harshly in the light of future generations, one would be wise to avoid stereotypes and preconceptions as much as possible.

    This book does an excellent job of doing that. The characters are real people, with real hopes and dreams. More importantly, while the greater facts of their lives are taken into account, they are still all quite different as individuals and are extremely in-depth. This is literature in the finest sense of the word; both for the quality of writing it uses and for the themes that it explores.

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