I think nine times out of ten people are cruel because they have something better to say…but they can’t think of it at the moment. Can’t think on their feet so they act like a heel. They have to be funnier than kind. Hurtful is hilarious and sweet is just plain silly. I think nine times out of ten people are critical because they are jealous. They don’t want to admit to being lacking or without. Just because they can. What does it take for someone to see the riches in life without making comparisons? It takes a tragedy to recognize a triumph.
And now for something completely different.
Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for taking me out of my funk. I am glad I agreed to go. I’m glad you were there to greet me. Here’s the thing. I don’t say it enough but I value every minute of your time. I don’t take advantage of that time everytime but you inspire me just the same. Even if I only take ten minutes I am so much the better for it. Really. In the here and now I am on the other side of jumping. I think I have even started to climb down from the ledge. I think I’m close enough to the ground to stand on my own two feet. Soon. But, but. But! I still need you and your smile. I still need to know you are there. Even if I decide to jump after all.
I had to say no several times yesterday. What a weird concept. Usually I skirt around the issue, not wanting to come right out with not participating. How liberating, how honest to just say no. Not now. Nope. Why haven’t I thought about this before? Why haven’t I dared?
In the case of the work whiners it was easiest when I could look at the time and say we need to continue this tomorrow. My charges? To find out what makes some so damn inefficient. Easier said than done. No Grace under pressure. I had to admire this one administrator. In mid-sentence she was told she needed to be somewhere else. It didn’t ruin her day. It didn’t ruin her attitude. She was able to slide over to a new way of thinking. When I asked her how she managed she looked at me and deadpanned, “interruption is not a word in my vocabulary.” I love it. Word to the wise. Wise up.
It’s harder to say no to friends. I had plans to get together with someone who really means a lot to me. Yet, I need to stay on my training schedule. I couldn’t have done both successfully. It bothered me that the training won out. It bothered me to have to tell her no. After all, she is my inspiration. She is my hero. Yet, I put her off, hero or not. This is the way it had to be. No, I said. I need to train. Her graceful acceptance allowed me to walk nine miles. I got it done because I didn’t give in.
Later, an invitation to chat. Under any other circumstances I would have loved sparring with this flirty friend. He’s quick with the compliments and quicker with the innuendos. I love the sass. I love the challenge this conversation always presents to me. Who can be the most indulgent, the most daring? But, sigh of all sighs, I had to tell him and his innuendos no. I needed a warm bath and a hot cup of tea. As I let the water wrap itself around my tired legs I thought about this new no I seem to have. While I don’t necessary like it or want it, it works for now. For now.
“I’m guilty just the same.
Sometimes you’re needed badly so please come back again…”
~Duran Duran Hold Back the Rain
The last month has been a weird sort of hell. While the house has been awesome, getting settled hasn’t been all that fun. We are still moving out at the same time as moving in. Still. We are still living out of boxes. Still. Yeah, yeah. Don’t tell me because I’ve heard it before. These Things Take Time. I should be wearing the words as a slogan across my chest. Or tattooed on my forehead. Something. Yeah, yeah. I know the words. It’s not like I haven’t moved (17 times) before. My frustration lies in the lack of time I have to dedicate. It takes time but I have no time to donate.
Last week They were on campus. They are the same They I talked about in my Entitled to Tell You So blog. They stormed the gates again and this time I took it personally. Here’s another yeah yeah moment. I KNOW they weren’t talking about MY job performance. I KNOW they weren’t talking about ME when the listed the library as a concern, as a weakness to the institution. Nothing they announced was new. So, why do I take it so personally? I’ll tell you why. I have been busting my azz to say We Need This- We Need That. My words went nowhere. But, talk is cheap. Words are well, just words. think of all those sayings – put your money where your mouth is, talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words…blahblahblah. I felt like I was screaming into the wind when I should have been learning to harness that wind and fly. DO something.
I have stressed so much about the upcoming, inevitable failings that I have blown off friends and family. I owe my mother a phone call. I owe my nephew an apology. I owe just as much as I woe. My head has been up my azz looking for the sh!t that makes work work. If that makes any sense. Because now that it’s done I feel dumb. I worried for nothing because They didn’t tell me anything new, nothing I didn’t already know.
Now it’s done. I’m done with the rant, too. I got it out. I got over it. Now, it’s time to do something. It’s time to start flying.
We don’t know when we will close. How silly is that? The biggest purchase of my entire life and I don’t know when it will happen. I knew there was trouble last Thursday when kisa said there was a “miscommunication” with the seller’s lawyer. Whatever that means. Unprofessional moment #1. It was hard to go to bed not knowing the plan for the next day. No idea of the walk-through; no idea of the closing. But, I had a good idea it wouldn’t happen at all. A feeling of helplessness was mounting and all I wanted to do was vent – to cry on someone’s shoulder. I’m at the point where I just want to be done with this whole thing. Anticipation is giving way to frustration.
Friday comes and goes. Kisa and I are at the mall. Anxiety is creeping in and people are starting to look stranger and stranger. I couldn’t admit to being okay. We try to stay busy to stay focused. I’m buying candles to light the gloom: gardenia, tea & honey, cedar & pine, and HomeSweetHome (as if!). When we get home every time the phone rings I retell the story and it gets funnier and funnier. It all comes down to a bad boob job. Suddenly, I’m making breast jokes like a guy.
Finally, it’s Sunday and we are back where we started. It’s Thursday night in reverse. We don’t know when we are closing. We don’t know anything. It’s as if we are on a plane, sitting on the tarmac. We are about to embark on a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime vacation. There’s nervous energy in the air. We are excited. We’ve planned for weeks. But, we’re not moving. Minutes turn into hours and there is no explanation for the delay. The idea of going anywhere seems slim, yet we do not understand why. The captain comes on and to say there has been a miscommunication with the tower. Whatever that means. All we know is that we aren’t embarking on that fabulous vacation. We’re stuck looking at the airport terminal. Our bags are packed – have been for days. Yet we cannot move.
I’m having a battle with my email. One of my 2009 resolutions is to pare down the amount of shouting shopping emails that sneak into my inbox. You know the ones: 70% off sale through this email offer only! Newest arrivals – first peek in this email! Keep your new years resolution! Lose more weight with this email!
Every day I “unsubscribe” to one. It’s interesting how each company handles the UNSUBSCRIBE process. Some are incredulous, “what do you mean you want to unsubscribe? Are you sure? Are you really sure? Really, really sure?” Some are stubborn to stay, “Can you tell us why you want to unsubscribe?” I almost expect them to say ‘Give us your excuse and make it a good one. If we don’t buy it we’ll continue to send you crap.’ Others make you work for the unsubscription: fill out this form, reconfirm your name and email address, give us your first born. Some sound pitiful by claiming it will take weeks to get off the mailing list. They apologzie for the emails that might continue “in the interim” but, rest assured, they are working to save your profile changes. The threatening ones are the best, “You will no longer receive announcements from —. You will miss out on great savings opportunities!” I almost expect them to add a shrug and sniff and add, “your loss!”
Today I received a new reaction to my unsubscribe request. All I had to do was click ‘unsubscribe’ and I was done. Deceivingly simple and painless. No incredulous attitiude. No forms to fill out. No apologizing or threatening. One click and supposedly I was off the list…Too good to be true. This company just had to have the last word. They not only sent a follow up email saying “your request will not be fulfilled until you reply to this email, but they also sent a confirmation that my request had been received. Are you keeping track? In the process of trying to get rid of one email they sent a total of three. And here’s the kicker – I still don’t know if I sucessfully unsubscribed!
I learned a valuable lesson today. You have to take the trouble to be the trouble. Originally, I wanted to think I had all the answers. I came armed with what I considered reasonable solutions, reasonable requests. Instead I was met with words like “not strict enough” and “doormat” and “fantasy land.” It was hard to believe I was being described in this way, especially after the month I’ve had (or thought I’d been having).
I’m not fierce enough. This isn’t a popularity contest. No one should like their boss. Not one that should be respected anyway. I let people make the same mistakes a billion and one times, and if I include today, a billion and two. How do I say You Can’t Communicate in any other way? “There has to be a penalty for the mistakes” I was told. Okay.
I’m not diligent enough. I don’t watch the clock and add up the minutes. I don’t pay close enough attention to the comings and goings, the called out, come in lates. You can be late a dozen times on my lax watch. “There has to be a penalty for tardiness” I was told. Okay. Okay.
I don’t hold my cards “close enough to the vest” as they- no, as she said. I need to learn phrases like “when it concerns you I’ll let you know.” I need to recognize situations; situations that cost money like when people waste time wondering about something that has nothing to do with the responsibility. I need to re-prioritize people. Reorganize people. Re-everything. Okay, okay, okay!
So, I took a crash course in management. I took criticism on the chin. It made me stronger. It made me think clearer. It made going back to the office to work on the dreaded schedule a whole lot easier. I didn’t try to juggle the birthdays as closely; didn’t try to dodge the anniversaries; didn’t cave in whimsical requests. Like it or lump it I changed things up for the better. Finally. Finally, I’m taking the trouble to be the trouble. I like a challenge. I like confrontation and I like change. So, I changed me. When I handed the whole schedule – all 12 months of it- off to a trusted coworker I felt justified in my reasonings. It was a relief to let it go.
then I went home.
I haven’t known how to write this letter. I haven’t known exactly what to say. It wouldn’t really matter because, knowing me, once it was all said and written I wouldn’t have sent it anyway. Excuse the grammar but it’s true. You wouldn’t have gotten whatever it was that I wanted to say, in more ways than one. Instead, I am tempted to be like a politician and say what you want to hear all the while not really saying anything at all. This is how we get along best, am I right? I don’t tell you what I really feel and you don’t spill anything worth a thing either way. Polite as polite can be except with a bite of caustic. That’s us.
You told a story over a meal and I wanted to throw up. What you didn’t say was so telling. What you meant was so obvious it made my stomach roll. I realize I have always been the stronger one. There was never a need to protect me. I acted like nothing could pierce my armor or hurt my pride. My heart was unbreakable and my soul, unreachable. Cold as an Ice Queen in the heart of January. I accept that image. I am comfortable with the chill of uncaring. But, here I am, waiting. I wait for glass half full comments; signs of compliment. They never come. Condescending, accusing, critical, not a single good thing to say. With each utterance I slide away. Closing myself off from wanting to be anywhere near your mouth. If you don’t have anything nice to say…. I played a game in my head. For every criticism it’s one less month here. When I got to three years I gave up knowing I could never stick to my story and stay away for that long. There are too many other things I would miss. Even you. Eventually. I don’t care that I’m not worth worrying about. I don’t care that I’ve never been a cause for real concern. Blame it on the drugs. Blame it on the maladjustment period (or whatever they call it these days). Blame it on the rain. I don’t care.
So, I didn’t say what I really wanted to say. Mums the word.
But I feel better.