What a wildcard year! A contrarian year. A year of Black Swans.
- Peru: mindblowing beautiful
- Lost wallet = 1000 miles at 100+mph
- Winners: Judge's Choice @ LeMons
- Utah: mindblowing beautiful #2
- Writing again
- Winners #2:
- Singularity U, financial fail
- Depression & Failure
- The Work
- Cancer begone
- Utah part 2: A roadtrip with pup and boyf
- A Return to work I love
Pretty much everything I planned, didn't happen. Stuff I didn't do, stuff that didn't happen. On some levels I felt like this year sucked, and I failed. It was one of the worst years where I returned to a low I had not visited since high school divorce/family drama days. On other levels, I realize this was a massive re-calibrating year. A transitional year. A year of challenges and adventures. Yeah, I hit new lows, but I've begun to return from them.
2009 started like most of my years, but it very quickly went veering off track into the unknown, last-minute extreme possibilities. At the end of January, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, so after detoxing with my first master cleanse, I hopped a flight to Peru and had a mind blowing couple weeks. After returning to Los Angeles, (with a full blown customs sift through my bags in Toronto) I roadtripped to Texas for SXSW. But on that trip, a misplaced wallet in an isolated (no phones!) city in AZ led to a 1000+ mile 100+mph day. I arrived to the clusterfuck that was SXSWi, realizing that I could not stomach the inside circle jerking of what had become of the tech/social media community. I lost myself in the dark film rooms and found two gems: We Live in Public and Monsters from the ID.
I left SXSW with stories, ideas, plans to write a screenplay, make some music videos, etc. etc. I continued my roadtrip from the heart of Texas to the Heartland and then west, into the most gorgeous land in the US - Southern Utah. I felt re-invigorated, my faith restored - and then my mom was diagnosed with Cancer. And there was that drama. I steeled myself to say goodbye to her for good by the end of this year - by now. And after that, I couldn't take any job/work interview seriously. I actively sabotaged them - and it worked. I had no work.
I thought I wanted to be a scientist, and with the launch of Singularity University, I considered going back to school, although I could not wait to get out of it more than a decade ago. I worked hard, I thought I was a long-shot: I didn't expect to get in, I have no steller background in robotics or biotech. (But I know what it takes to take an idea and make it real - something much more practical.) But my lack of funds stopped me there (although I got on the waitlist. I asked for a full scholarship.)
Ah, and then, I took a brief departure from the Heathervescent you know. I descended into failure. For several months. I felt betrayed by my work. By the people I enabled - those known and unknown. Of course, add a couple of real betrayals to the mix helps steep that. I took a free fall dive into the darkest places in my soul. And fuck you world, I was not coming out.
Until, I did decide it was time to come out. I can only take so much of my own dark night of the soul. I felt like a feeble fawn, re-entering the world. I was (and still am to some extent) shell-shocked and untrusting. Yes, 2009 was the year I lost my trust - in the world, in people: and only saw it in the beauty of nature and solitude and driving fast on empty roads.
But, hermit, I am not.
I decided to try to get into a real Master's program on Future Forecasting at University of Houston (think - NASA Houston). To do so, I had to face a ridiculous, but deep seated fear: the standardized test. I failed this so miserably when in high school (having something to do with the divorce/family drama); afterwhich my failure led me to take an IQ test (which put me in the 95% bracket). Good for my intellectual pride, which I have since spent years convincing the world I have any. My recent standardized test scores now mirror the IQ ones from my teenage years. Vindicated!
Once I decided to come out of the dark pit of my soul hell, things turned around. I found (and convinced them to let me join them) a group of amazing entrepreneurial women. My mom had a miracle response (and still yet lives). And I returned to Utah with a pumped up truck, boyfriend and dog. My favorite highlight is when we got caught in a canyon in a flash thunder & lightening storm. My eyes could not hold the gorgeousness of the land. I sucked in the beauty like the desert in a rainstorm.
I returned to LA, intent on building a new business, but wildcard Craigslist delivered a surprisingly perfect opportunity. Cleverly disguised as a PM job, was exactly what I had been looking for: an opportunity to work with a company changing the paradigm of an industry. Even better, I had every skill in my toolkit to tactically and strategically do it.
What a crazy year. Crazy as in random. Massive fluctuations between high and low points. Super high points (peru, roadtrip, winning trophies), and super low points (cancer, SU, dark night of the soul).
2009 was the wildcard year. After this year, I feel very intimate with wildcards. They have shown me both of their sides: the up and the down. The positive and the negative. I have had experience after experience of them: and have chosen how to respond to them: and I have responded with a variety of emotions/actions/responses: both re-active and respond-sive.
Writing this narrative recap, reminds me of my high school chemistry class. My teacher (who had received awards for her teaching) would make us do experiments prior to explaining the concept the experiment was supposed to prove. We'd come into class one day and the lab would be set up. She would tell us nothing, give us our lab books with the experiment recipe. We were supposed to figure it out. Write up our notes and observations. The next day, she would give a lecture explaining what it was we did, and why we should give a shit about it.
Thinking about 2009 that way, it was my lab in Wildcards.
It's perfect timing actually, because my "academic" area of study is in wildcards and paradigm shifts.