The play is over, and I’m exhaling, relaxing into the open space in my life again. I’ve thought about writing here many times (almost daily), and I’m finding that after spending all day in front of a computer, I don’t have any desire to plop down in front of one when I get home.

“But wait, in the last post you said you were working for a summer camp! Why are you sitting in front of a computer all day?” Ah, the irony. The job that was described to me as “assistant director” really means “secretary.” I get outside for 2 hours of my 10 hour day to walk around the camp with a camera, taking pictures for the website and checking up on counselors.

I’m bored with my job. I feel like I’m working at about 20% of what I”m capable of. I live for the moments when a camper comes in to the office in distress, and I get to help them. That’s what I was hired to do, and I spend maybe an hour a week working in that capacity. Otherwise I’m answering phones, taking attendance, processing registrations, and making copies. Yech. I could handle the office work in moderation, but with it as the bulk of my waking experience of life, I’m miserable.

And it turns out my bosses aren’t too happy with my work, either. I don’t work quickly enough, because I pay too much attention to details. At Twin Oaks, the emphasis was rarely on working fast. Enjoyment took precedence over efficiency. It’s a foreign concept to me to bust my ass miserably all day so that I can stop work precisely at 5:30 and then enjoy the 5 hours before bedtime. I’d rather work at an enjoyable pace, taking breaks to connect with the people around me, and stop working when I’m finished. That’s the model I learned at Twin Oaks, and it worked for me. I’m struggling to find a balance at camp of a pace that works for me and a pace that works for my bosses, and ever THAT seems to throw them for a loop. Why don’t I just do what they say? Why do I question their instructions? Why do I make suggestions when I see better ways to do things?

I’m holding my ground in many ways at work, stating my needs and not totally compromising my enjoyment of the day to meet their expectations. And, whopee!, it’s working. They’ve decided to move me out of the office into a counselor position. It’s theoretically a “demotion”, and it’s exactly what I’ve wanted. I get to work with kids all day, and specifically I get to facilitate a group of 4th-6th graders in teambuilding and personal challenges on the camp’s ropes course. THIS is what I wanted to be doing from the beginning! I start tomorrow, and I’m very excited.

It feels good to write this all out in this public forum. It helps me with a certain level of acceptance for my experience over the last few months. YES, I’ve often been miserable since leaving the commune. It’s a wicked hard transition, and I haven’t done it very gracefully. I’ve dropped communication with most of my close friends from Twin Oaks, and I’ve gotten moody and bitter in my relationship with Free. I cry a lot. I’m scared of what my life might turn into out here. At Twin Oaks, I had a clear and delightful future. I knew how to navigate there, I knew my way around culturally, politically, and emotionally. I knew where to turn when I needed a friend to listen, or a witness for my anger, or suggestions for a problem. Here I feel isolated, surrounded by strangers I don’t yet trust. I’m working on getting to know the neighbors around here, and it’s a BIG cultural jump for me. I find myself coming up against my stereotypes and judgements more often than I’m comfortable with. I’m slowly opening to the individuals beyond the label of “redneck”, just as I imagine they’re opening to me beyond the label of “hippie.” I’ve planted a small garden, I’m drying herbs in a corner of the house, and we have a gathering of friends at every full moon. The neighbors come to the parties, Twin Oakers come to the parties, and my worlds blend.

I feel like I’m opening again, after many months closed inside a coccon, transforming. A powerful signal of the change for me: a few days ago, a friend of a friend gifted us with a snake, a beautiful red-tailed boa. I’m finding great pleasure and relaxation connecting with “Uther” (named after the king in “Mists of Avalon” who had serpents tatooed on his wrists). I actually sat down at the computer this morning to do some research on boas. Since I was here at the keyboard with my thoughts swirling about the changes I’m experiencing, I grabbed the rare opportunity, and wrote. Hopefully now that my days will be spent outdoors with kids, I’ll be more inclined to check email and write here in the evenings…