I wrote a separate post about the idea of intentionally letting go. Currently, I am at a conference. I am not a delegate, as I have been in the past, but an exhibitor (a job I have also done in the past in a different context). This is remarkably odd for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, people that don’t know me, are wary of talking to me as I am by virtue of my different badge colour, an alien species. No matter that this time last year I was a practitioner, or that this time two years ago I was a speaker. Blue badge = sales pitch = avoid, even avoiding eye contact. (People who do know me are nice, and a couple of people I talk to on Twitter have come to say hello. But, no-one’s responding here to my tweets).
Secondly, it’s odd being at something but not part of it. Following tweets about sessions I’m not in – but would, had life been different, been interested in feels oddly remote.
Thirdly, I am actively hating having to lie to people! There are some who are interested in the fact I’m now working for a vendor, and they’re asking me why I moved, how I find it, what I am going to do next. I cannot give an honest answer to any of those questions this week. I was knackered yesterday from the sheer stress of trying to remember what the cover story is. Truthfulness is so much easier. I was pondering resigning even earlier, but I cannot risk losing another week’s pay.
Finally – it’s strange to be back in this world in any capacity because I know it is only for a short period of time (ten weeks yesterday). In a way, then, this conference acts as a point of letting go. Of being able to see people that have helped teach me the trade I am leaving and mentally say goodbye to them. To be thankful for the community for which I have worked in various volunteer capacities and which will go on supporting new entrants in future years. There was stealth prayer in the venue yesterday.
There is also a learning point here. The blue badge is a divide. I am in the same venue as the community of which I have been part, but by taking a different job, I am now not one of them. Eye contact is to be avoided. My cheery hellos go unheeded. People are surprised to see me in this capacity, and not as a delegate. So there are invisible barriers, changes in behaviour towards me (and my lovely, longsuffering colleague). I suspect there’s a parallel here. For if I am collared up in a couple of years, as much as that may gain me entry to places I’d never go otherwise, it also acts as a barrier, a suggestion that I am not a normal person with all my normal foibles.
So, there will be friends made in this life who will come with me to the next version – who will send me emergency gin, listen to me swear, or rant about life in college (actually that might not be an OR connector there). But there will be others who won’t be able to see past the change in circumstances, who see the religious nature of my life to come as a barrier. And I think I understand a bit more about that particular shift than I did 24 hours ago.