Daphne and I have had a somewhat rocky relationship over the past three years, in part because we're both individuals who aren't afraid to speak our minds and find it difficult to keep our feelings about things contained.
Daphne only recently joined our staff full time...before that, she was an intern. Daphne is a black woman with a great deal of fire and talent. But she's very young, and has had difficulty learning to play the game here in these shark-infested waters...
The Real Story--Into the Waters
Part of her problem stemmed from the fact that her immediate boss was Evil Anne, who I've discussed many times in the past. Anne basically set her up for failure, I believe, in attempt to prove that nobody could do the job better than she could. I feel very badly about that, especially that I didn't see what was happening at the time and try to do something to stop it from occurring.
Anyway, last week Daphne decided to take the plunge and move on. It's something that she's been talking about for at least two months.
Today when I went over to her desk, she looked like a completely different person. For two months, she has been silent, angry. And it occurred to me that these past few years, I had watched first hand as all her enthusiasm drained away, bit by bit. But today she was practically glowing. She was clearly very excited and energized for the future.
We started talking about the demands being placed on all of us, and how easy it is to lose focus of what's important. Joe works insane hours (he has three kids), often getting up at two in the morning to call us with ideas or suggestions. David works until ten or eleven at night at least once a week, and never gets out before seven.
"But that's what I like about you and Peg," said Daphne. "I was thinking about this the other night, about who's the most balanced around here. And I like the fact that the two of you have a passion outside of this department, and that you're both working to see your dreams come true."
That was nice, especially considering the heartache that I was feeling last night. I guess perhaps I was losing a bit of perspective myself.
(By the way, last night, I simply kept my puter off when I arrived at the apartment, watched Buffy, and then finished off a chapter I've been working on for "The Late Night Show." Then I went to sleep, with all the lights out. Funny, that. All my life, I've been perpetually afraid of the dark. Now that I'm truly living alone, I'm no longer scared one bit. I think I realized that there are much worse things to be scared about in this wicked world than nasty critters that crawl out from underneath your bed. But in a way, I kind of miss the guy who was afraid of things that go bump in the night.)
I don't know if she's right, quite frankly, but it was awfully nice to hear. Sometimes I worry, however, that with all the stuff that's going down, that my passions are starting to die away, bit by bit, just as Daphne's enthusiasm started to shrivel up during her time here, like a deflating balloon. Is it possible to keep the creative spirit going, when you're trying to juggle work and a new life, keep your head above water financially, and show your kids that you have no intention of being a cypher in their lives? Will I have to wait ten years to secure my focus again, and will it be too late by then?
I don't know, I honestly don't. But there has to be more that I can do, despite the heavy weight that I feel that I'm carrying. I do not wish to stagnate, I wish to expand and fulfill my dreams. But is it possible?
Or even better, is it possible that perhaps this creative spirit, if nurtured and cultivated, could end up representing salvation, a way out?
There must be an answer.