The thing about the events in our lives is that they are, if nothing else, educational tools. The trick is to figure out that there is something to learn in every setback as well as success. If you learn nothing then you have wasted not only your time and energy, but the time and energy of the people with whom you live your life.
I started with setback for a reason. I am facing one.
Usually they sneak up on you and you can't see them coming like walking into work and finding your nose smashed on the door because its still locked and will be forever. Or finding out that your entire division is being dissolved in one of those infamous budget cuts. My personal faves though: the guy you are engaged to says he wants to go back to the woman he'd dated 4 years ago while dressing for a job interview and has taken your last dime on the way out the door. Did NOT see that coming. Also like the surprise of finding out that the peole with whom you have bonded over the trivial and frustrating things in life don't have your back but rather the knife rammed in it up to the hilt. LOVE that. It's sudden. It's painful so that you notice it and don't gloss over the details and end up missing an important lesson.
The setback I am facing is subtle. Been building for a long time too. Sadly though, it is a repeat of something that I failed to learn when I was little. In a bid to belong to a group and have the same WIDE circle of friends that my sister has, I let my guard down and let my maleable empathic self speak and behave like the people around me. I failed to evaluate the individuals involved. I failed to see that the crowd was in fact nothing more than lemmings and thus allowed myself to be swept up in the herd. The problem with that is that nothing of the conflicts and frustrations got resolved by my stooping. And in the end, I'm not really any more a part of the group at work than I was ever part of the girls group in middle school. In fact, because my behavior was so deplorable and uncharacteristic it was easy to get shoved into the radar, get noticed and have a Be a Team Player or Pick a New Team spiel with the Assisstant General Manager. So those who should have gotten the lecture with me were absent and I look like the next person to be fired.
It isn't that I'm not a nice person. Everyone is very quick to tell me that they love me and like me as a person but that I am hard to work with. The girls can all tell us to fuck off with regularity but when I say it? Perish the thought! We can ask to be treated with respect. But no one will give it. We can ask to have someone intervene. But then when we do we get told that we are being overly sensitive. Of the three of us, I'm the one who's snapped and had enough. I've given back what I got.
So what have I learned? Well... maybe not everyone in the world can have the scads of friends that my sister always has had. I'll cop to some jealousy. And maybe not everyone in the world needs more than a handful of friends. In fact, I might be one of those people who only needs two or three people to keep close. I might even be one of those people who doesn't need anyone closer than a Facebook post or two. I shouldn't have thought that work was a place to have friends of the kind of closeness that I thought I could have. I should not have shut down the empathic parts of myself that tell me when to trust, who to trust and profile people. I'll never be as good as Hotch. And who would be without a pro script writer? But there were warning signs that I ignored because I've been told by too many people that I am paranoid for no good reason.
I have also learned that I don't know the difference between being a tattle tale and informing. How silly is that? I'm 40. How do I not know? I held crap in for a long time because I was told I was being a baby. And since I am never a very good judge of how other people perceive me (none of us are) I listened. Which means that I took more crap than I could process.
But the other thing that I learned is that I don't have the game skills that mean girls have. When I stay aloof I don't have these problems. I get lonely. I get jealous of the friendships that I see others have that I don't and I throw reason and caution to the wind. And this is the kind of thing that happens. It's like getting called into Sr. Teresa's office for laughing with the cool kids when they made fun of her for overusing the word "balls" in an announcement. I had no idea that balls was a word for scrotum nor what they were. But they were laughing and I wanted to belong.
Laughing is the easiest thing in the world. So belonging should have been as easy. Right? Nope. And just like then... I'm the only one who's gotten caught. Or, if I'm not the only one I'm certainly the bigger disappointment because I was supposed to be better than that.
And I guess when I asked if a rumor surrounding my transfer to a new building was true and I got the deer in the headlights "Shit! Busted!" look I should have followed my instincts and begun looking for a job then. When I didn't get the letter of recommendation, but a bunch of excuses, I should have known something was up. The only reason that I didn't get fired a long time ago is because I am nice and likable and have a quirky character personality. It covers a multitude of sins. But it masks problems too. So there I have learned that I should save that dazzling wit and the majority of the funny for Facebook and blog.
And I have learned that I don't know how to shut the person off from the job. Sure, you can't expect to go into work pissy because your brother runs over your car and take your frustrations with him out on the coworkers. But how do you shut off the other things? How do you pretend that being disrespected for months on end by coworkers OK? How do you pretend that it is fine to be yanked all over the building to do things not on your job list and then be accused of failing to perform to expectations? That isn't OK. I don't care who you are in an organization... you have to look at all the picture. And if my big problem is that I can't shut that off... not that I don't chose to but that I don't know how then why not explain it?
And I have learned that I may not be cut out for menial work after all. I have thought that I can deal with being a peon. May be I can't. I don't know what I can do without a degree to prove that I am smart enough to do more than fold laundry. And I don't even hope to make money with the art any more because we don't have an economy that will let many people care about that kind of thing. All of the issues with work could just be a reflection of the need to be somewhere that uses my skill set better. My subconsciousness may have spent the last year telling me I gave up on my dreams to soon even if my family was telling me that I had held on too long. I don't know.
I've been told over and over again that I need to be a writer. Of what?
I know that everything is going to work out the way that it needs to. This is a very uncomfortable place to be right now. I am on the edge of ruin or success. This is the kind of crossroads that makes the Dave Thomases of the world rich, famous or both. It is also the kind of crossroads that let the van Gough's of the world fall into utter ruination. Sure, I might be famous for my art and writing later since the Internet guarantees that my blog will outlive me. But that doesn't pay bills, gain you friends or the respect of your peers. I either have to be someone different than what I am, find a personality tutor who will teach me how to be a better employee or be somewhere else in my life.
How is that for options?