Roll with it Baby

Exciting times! Not only have I quit the job I’ve been wanting to quit for ages, I now have no income to speak of! And no jobs on the horizons! Yet I’m not scared, because really, I love this sort of challenge. Time to get busy and create a blog and watch all the Benjamins come rolling in.

Okay, I understand that last part isn’t going to happen.  But I am excited to be beginning a new phase in life, and it’s not exactly clear which way I’m going to go, but I know I’m ready to get busy.

My graphic design skills have completely dried up over the past few years because I literally was the monkey that pushed the buttons.  I removed my left side creativity when I punched in.  It’ made for such a #DullMeag, but I quietly did it because I was comfortable in not pushing myself…. at least I was for about 2 years.

You know what? I don’t want to be a graphic designer anymore, let the new hot shot kids do that, that’s why they were put here.

Without the Saturday Night Fever Jacket....

In the early 90’s I applied for a job in San Francisco to be the manager of a digital imaging service bureau (read = 35mm slides) and I was flown out for an interview. This was in the heart of San Francisco’s Multimedia Gulch or SOMA, and there could not be a more exciting place to be in the country — or at least I thought so.

I arrived in San Francisco in a brand new suit and I felt extremely elegant, as I was a daily-bike-rider to work here in Chicago and mostly wore bike clothes, just as my work mates. I walked into the studio and everyone looked like they had just rolled out of bed, much like the studio in Chicago, so I was immediately comfortable with the setting. They, on the other hand, looked at me as if I were an alien in a John Travolta suit.

And so the day began… and boy it was a long one. A six-hour interview! With lunch! And admittantly, I winged it on more than a few subjects but I felt GREAT as I walked out the door to catch a cab.  And then. I noticed….

MY FLY WAS DOWN EVER SINCE LUNCH!

I was horrified. I stayed with a girlfriend who had moved out there 6-months earlier and we laughed our heads off about this ALL NIGHT in between my tears.  On the flight home the next day, I refused to think about it.

But I got the call and I took the job and I moved to San Francisco and I loved that job and the people too.  They all knew my fly was down and we laughed about it for months that it was the only reason I got the job.

I really didn’t know what I was doing back then and I feel much the same now, but I’m going to roll with it.

I’ll be attending MJ Tam’s Midwest Moms Media #BBSummit this weekend, my first blogger’s event ever (and I’m not a MOM, Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell!) and also Geoff Alexander of Bao Wow has asked me to join his Chicago Team for the International Social Media Week conference in September, and the group meets next week to brainstorm about the direction we’d like to see social media go and to discuss new ideas we’d like to see happen.

“Ummm Geoff, you know you’re talking to me, Meagan Burns?” “Yes I know who I’m talking to, c’mon let’s do this!”

I’m doing it. And other things too. I like to do other things too.

GO GO GO!!!

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Bowl of Cherries

I want to talk about my divorce without sounding whiny, bitter or angry. Mostly because I am not those things, only sad to have lost one of my greatest friends in life.

The failure of my marriage is also the reason I have continued to work for a company that has done nothing but demoralize and belittle me; they are the active force that continues to punish me where my words and actions have left off.  I’ve hit the ceiling, I’m done feeling bad, I’m sorry for what I did, I really am not a bad person, I have a lot to offer if you listen, but that would involve me opening up my mouth, to say something more than a sarcastic retort or pun, because although my sense of humor has done wonders to get me through the peaks & valleys of my life, it’s time for me to say something.

And to stop punishing myself.

I met the man who would be my husband while I was living in San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2004.  I had been there since 2001; I lived as a struggling artist with my graphic design & paintings, taught a dance class to pay for tacos, and had tripped the light fantastic with a Mexican Renaissance man I had met upon arriving in Mexico, however that relationship had come to an end after two years.

Six-month anniversary

Reed is an extraordinary man, he captures the room as he walks in, no matter the size.  He is a large man, born of Texas Tea and privilege, yet can carry a conversation with people from any & all walks of life.  He is loud and jittery yet finds great joy in poetry and orchids. He has a sparkle in his eye and I caught it the moment I met him in that October 2004 afternoon, the day he returned to Mexico after a stint in a Texas institution.

Reed did not have eyes for me and I struggled to figure out why. He had his hopes set on someone that I thought was completely beneath him, disrespectful of him and not worthy of his attentions.  This is ironic because in the end, I was disrespectful of him and he’s now probably with that person I didn’t think was good enough for him. Lot I know.

When Reed and I married that hot, sunny April afternoon in San Marcos, Texas, there was a Golden Chick joint across the street. While we sat there in the lobby of the courthouse, Reed said, “I don’t know if we should get married or go have chicken.”

Minutes later, a judge wearing a Dallas Cowboy tie had pronounced us husband and wife.  We were both thrilled beyond belief.  It was the happiest day of my life as a wedding should be, but it’s the marriage part that follows that is the visceral test of two people that have joined in unholy matrimony.

Then came the lawyers. Reed had swept me off to his beach house in Cancun where he asked me to marry him on our third day together. Two weeks later we were in his home town of Austin and when his people learned he had had married a Yankee, out came the big guns. Everyone thought the Yankee was after his money and was quick to first offer an annulment. When we refused, the post-nuptials took several days for me to sign.

I have no problem with pre- or post-nuptials; I think everyone should sign them no matter what their status or wealth.  Paul McCartney could not be a bigger fool in my eyes.

I also had no idea I was a Yankee until I married Reed. I was constantly reminded of my Yankee status and WOW that got old. Uh People of Texas? The Civil War is OVER.

Two years into the marriage and I was not handling things well.  I had want for nothing, did not work as we moved between our many homes in Mexico and Texas.  Many times I was on my own because he was working on land deals in remote places that I had no interest in seeing.  I became bored. I did not appreciate what I had, because it was not mine.  It was Reed’s and everything tasted like Texas. I found other ways to entertain myself.

Reed knew I was a smart, talented girl and it drove him crazy that I was none of those things while we were married.  I had no desire, I was flat-lining, I had no pressing reason to create anything and although aware of this, I did nothing to change it. How unappealing I must have been back then, I can see it in the photos, I was a very uninteresting girl.

Awfully difficult to sustain a marriage with so many shared pots empty. Reed and I had great mental chemistry but that’s where it ended.

I do not intend for this to be as arrogant as it’s going to sound, but I wish everyone has an opportunity to live as a wealthy person for at least a time in their lives. So as to see that money does not solve your problems, big or small. Yes it was wonderful in so many ways and I certainly had many good times and now memories, but in the end I was resentful of the money and it’s energy in our lives. It wasn’t mine. It ruled everything in Reed’s life and I was nothing but yet another expenditure that he was growing tired of supporting. With good reason.

My friends tell me I am a bad gold digger and this is a label I can live with.

Now a year later after the last time I saw Reed at the airport, where we cried and hugged and told each other we’d love each other forever, here I sit in my tiny box in the sky, eating leftover Thai while standing in the kitchen, hanging out with my dog and looking for free or next to free shenanigans to attend in my hometown.  And I’m really happy doing this, I don’t think Reed and I were ever supposed to last as long as we did.  I much prefer small city living to wide open ranch living of Texas and Mexico.  And RVs. And haciendas. And beach houses.  Bad Gold Digger.

I also really enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to succeed in my small way in life. When things are handed to me, I fall flat with motivation.

So while I am very happy to be living this life in Chicago, there is a profound sadness about hurting and missing my dear friend Reed.  This past weekend someone asked me about him and I was surprised when tears came to my eyes so quickly.

Now my job. I was lucky enough to land a job fairly soon after I returned to Chicago, even though I had not had one in almost 8 years.  I was grateful to say the least!  I don’t like to publicly complain about my job, I believe it is not good form. However I have reached a personal pinnacle that I can no longer allow the mistreatment and utter lack of regard I have endured with this company.  I have received death threats, been called lazy & stupid, received a company-wide internal email where I was called a “full-blown retard” and the list goes on and on.

When I first started this job I wanted to make everyone happy and was available to them 24/7, as I worked from my home and could easily jump on my computer at any time.  I would still do this for them had there been an equal exchange of decorum. In three years I have never been a part of the team, have created invitations for company parties I was never invited to and felt like I was in an abusive relationship with the General Manager who personally attacked me when something went wrong, only to profusely apologize when his attacks went to deep.

I was lazy and stupid in my marriage. And I am truly sorry for that.  We should have gone for fried chicken instead, yet I will always cherish the wonderful experiences I had with Reed and I will love him forever.  I am not, however, lazy and stupid today.

Yesterday when I was told I was being “overly dramatic and unproductive and to just stop it”, I hit the ceiling. I shut down production (something I have never done before and why did I wait so long?).  I just stopped it.

Production continues to be shut down.  I am declaring myself free to be an active and contributing member to society instead of hiding behind a demoralizing company.  I have been punishing myself for losing my relationship with Reed and this job held me in that hole.

Today changes everything. Today I decide I want to live again and not run in the shadows.  Today I like my bowl of cherries with all its sticks and dirt and mud because once you get through all that, there are sweet juicy tidbits to relish in.

~Hello Chicago~

Hello Chicago!