Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sleepless Nights

I haven't been sleeping well for this whole week! Literally, every single night this week I've found myself waking up earlier than usual - about the one o'clock hour (usually if I wake up, it'd be about 3am then back to snoozing) and i've been waking up several times periodically until wake up time.

I guess there's just been a lot going on in my world right now . . . .

Primarily, much of my focus lately has been on work. I don't mind the actual work, in fact, I like the work that i'm doing for my new job. There's one co-worker in particular that's been the source of much grief for me though. She's an older woman - perhaps late 50's or 60's - and on one hand she's very helpful at times in letting me know how things have been done in the past. On the other hand, it get's very irritating when she lets me know how things have been done in the past. I officially am completely done with the phrase, "well that's the way we've always done things" !!!!

**this is where you imagine me screaming at the top of my lungs while pulling my hair out**

She can be very nice, at times, but it gets pretty frustrating much of the time because she doesn't do things very efficiently. She STILL uses a typewriter. A typewriter.

The thing is - the work that I do are things that she used to be doing. So there are times when I need her to tell me how things were done. But she thinks that her telling me how it used to be done also means that it's the way it is "supposed" to be done. No. I'm all about finding better ways of doing things, especially when I'm the one who has to do it - and so when I start doing things my way, I can tell it irks her. Tension.

For the past several weeks, I've been organizing a training-type conference which is happening this coming Saturday. Before I started working here, she was the one working on it. Now, the responsibility was given to me. So over the past several weeks, I've been finding that she doesn't fully brief me regarding things that I need to know about. Argh! So I keep having to adjust, be innovative, and make it look like it doesn't phase me. I have literally redone everything that she had done prior because it's just not quality stuff or it's not the way that I would rather have it. It's not my style to blame someone else when an event fails. So when she does things that almost seems like she's sabotaging my success, I work even harder to ensure it. I'm very flexible and adaptable and I love multi-tasking - so the work doesn't bother me. It's just the tension that she creates between us.

I think she underestimates me. Actually, I feel like she patronizes me. She's twice my age. She doesn't know that I have experience with event-planning. So I feel like she wants me to fail so that she can prove that I can't do it without her. I'm determined to demonstrate my potential. I feel like this is my "coming-out" event at work. This is the first event that I've been in charge of at work and I want to show what I'm capable of. I really just think she feels threatened by me because the bosses are not happy with her and she can foresee herself losing her job.

Speaking of coming out, the kewl thing is that I can be "out" at work because there are others that are "out" too. It feels good to be able to just be me. I don't have to "act" straight (even though I'm told that I come across that way anyway) and I don't have to "act" gay just to show that I'm out and proud. I can just be me and I can be measured by the quality of the work that I do. That's a kewl thing. And I get great feedback from the higher-ups that are pleased with my work too! Several weeks ago, my boss told me about a conversation she had with a friend of hers who said to her, "have you ever noticed that gay people always seem to be successful?" That was awesome because if two straight people are going to have a conversation about gay people, i'd rather it be a comment about our success rather than our sexuality.

So work has been good times and bad times and great times and frustrating times - but i'm super excited about the training conference this Saturday. I've been pretty thorough in planning out the logistics so i'm sure it'll turn out well!

I'm excited to find out today that after this long long and tiring week, we've all got Monday off because of "Admissions Day" or something like that. Something about it being the day California was admitted into the Union. Never heard of it. I can use the day off. Hey, wait, I just now realized . . . i'll be off Monday, then i'll be off Friday (see SF trip below), then i'll be off the next Monday for Labor Day. Woo hoo! Three day work week next week! =)

Work has probably been a huge source of the sleepless nights but there's been more.

With most of my time being invested at work right now, I haven't done as much as I would like with Catalyst. I did, however, meet with the Program Director at the Gay & Lesbian Center here in Long Beach and I'll be teaching HTML workshops on how to build a personal website. It may span out to other kinds of tech workshops too. My goal is to use the revenue that the Center gives Catalyst from the workshops (only about 20% of what the Center takes in - small but it's something) and to use those funds for the leadership development program that I'll be developing.

I discovered an article online last week at the Press-Telegram that references my name and Catalyst Long Beach. It's a small reference but I was excited to stumble upon it. I was going to share the link with you but it's no longer showing it.

I've also been investing energy with Toastmasters - that's an organization that helps people develop their oral communication skills. Last week, I delivered a speech which went very well. The week before that I facilitated the impromptu speeches portion of the club's meeting. For both weeks, I was given an award for what I did. That's always kewl. I'll be entering into a speech contest in September for impromptu speeches. That's where they give you a topic and you talk on it "off-the-cuff".

I'm really excited about leading a workshop in September for Open Door Ministries' conference. I'll be talking about how to expand one's relational sphere of influence while living out a lifestyle of faith - this as an approach to living out the Great Commission and reframing the way we see "outreach" and "evangelism". After the workshop, I'll be leading a weekly home group that will be focussed on living out genuine community while equipping and training people on the things I first presented in the workshop. I feel affirmed in all of this because while much of what I want to do is unconventional, my pastor is in agreement and support of me and what I want to teach and do. I want to help gay Christians get past the whole "gay" thing and really get to work in advancing His Kingdom.

Oh yeah, something else that I found troublesome, was this past Sunday morning when I visited a local inclusive church's service. The good: gay and lesbian Christians who's worship and message was completely centered on Christ. The bad: from the time that I first entered their "fellowship", through the service, and until the time that I exited and left for home, not ONE person spoke to me or touched me. No hello. No welcome. No handshake. No hug. No greeting. No acknowledgement that I was a visitor. This is a church of about 35 people. It was obvious that I was new. I also noticed that I was literally the only non-white person there. As unwelcomed as I felt, I still chose to worship among them and not leave (especially since it appeared Christ-centered) and also to share in Communion with them. I really don't think they intended for me to feel unwelcomed. I just think that they were oblivious to it. The irony is that they were talking about how for the last two weeks, they've been discussing "Church" and what it is and why we "go" every Sunday and how it's not about religious routines but rather that it's about people.

Sigh + Chuckle = Shaking Head.

I'm also looking forward to my trip back up to San Francisco during the labor day weekend. I've already purchased my plane ticket and I'll be leaving right after work that Thursday so that I can (hopefully) have time to do stuff that evening. I'll stay in the Bay area through the weekend and will come back labor day evening. I'm really excited about the trip because I want to pack in alot of things - including meeting up with new friends, site seeing with a bud of mine (who will be joining me from Santa Barbara), seeing the REAL golden gate bridge (don't laugh at me! okay, go ahead and laugh!) and Alcatraz, checking out the gay & lesbian center there, and visiting one or more inclusive churches. I plan to take lots of pictures!

My buddy get's back from his 3 week Mid-West vacation this Saturday. He's my room mate. You've seen him before here. He went home to visit family and old friends. He also went up to Minnesota and Canada for canoeing. I'm excited he'll be back soon! =)

Some of my lack of good sleep can also probably be attributed to a bit of tension i've been having with a friend of mine who has been enduring hard times for the past few years. I want the best for him and I want him to be happy, it's just that it's hard to hear him focus so much on what isn't going right in his life instead of what is. I prefer a positive attitude because the alternative is too void of life. I'd rather (at least try to) lift people up. The tension came last week when we both had a pretty heated discussion about the fact that our hard times isn't always God's fault. You've gotta understand that I come quickly to my Lord's defense because I personally know, first hand, what it's like to hit rock bottom. Literally. Those were times I still have not yet shared specific details on this blog. I know hard times. And the hard times was not His fault! Of anything, it was mine. But the Lord was the One who helped me out of the hard times - from nothing, He rebuilt everything I messed up. I know God to be good. So, yes, I'll defend His name and His character - even with my life, if necessary. I just want my friend to accept and acknowledge the good that God is giving him because it's there. Maybe then he'll experience the peace that God has already allocated for him. He's hanging in there though and i'm praying for him! =)

The final contribution to my lack of good sleep is most likely the fact that I've been exercising! Yes, i've been going to the gym again. On one hand, it feels really good - especially since i'm starting to drop a few of the unwanted lb's - but on the other hand, my body is oh so achey. That's probably been keeping me up at night too.

I'm hoping for rest - not just sleep, but rest. I trust it'll come. My Lord is faithful and while it does seem like I've got so much going on with busyness and work and frustrations and tensions and worlds colliding and fun times with friends and all that jazz, i'm also mindful of just being still.


Matt said...

Eric, it sounds like your new job is very challenging, I'm sure you'll work through the co-worker problems, we all have those.
I was surprised to hear about the non-welcoming church. I recently started attending the MCC in West Hollywood and it is very welcoming.
I hope you get a good night's sleep soon!

Anonymous said...


Keep up the good work. I've been a Toastmaster's member for about 4 years. It has absolutely changed my life and public speaking abilities.

It really is a great growth experience.

-Steve (GCN-ps403)

Eric said...

Thanks Steve. I'm loving Toastmasters and i'm excited to be working towards my CC distinction.

For those of you who don't know, my GCN screen name is "justintyme777".


Anonymous said...

Hey Eric,
this post is not really about what you said. I just wanted to hear your thoughts about something

A few days ago my roomate's family came to town. which me and my roomate come from very conservative christian families, and we have been pretty turned off with where the church is at right now, and we havent been going.

anyways.... Her family was pretty upset at a certain movie who had a gay guy in it, and one of them said, "He has a special place in hell for him" and they all start busten up laughing, except me and my roomate, we sat their with a sober look on our faces. Then they brought up one of their relatives who is gay and they started talking about how condemned he was. It was really uncomfortable.

I was pretty turned off. I told my mom I don't wanna go back to church, it seems to be an instituion that promotes biotry, but you know you can't tell any of them this, if you do then you are "accepting homosexuality too much". I am still not sure as to whether i think homosexuality is right or wrong, I just know its not condemned like they think. I mean I just didn't feel God in what htey said, it was sick. I felt like they were judging me.

does this type of stuff upset you as much as it does me? or am I the only one who seems upset by talk like this? sure feels like it..

thanks for listening

The Rainbow Zebra said...

Could you send some of your energy my way? ;)

Good for you, getting back to the gym! But make sure you start getting some quality rest so you don't burn the fuse at both ends ::gentle nag::

Try some chamomile tea at night maybe? (I had to go the Ambien CR route myself).