Old Undies + Corporate Masturbation
You know what's one of the worst feelings in the world?
Putting on a pair of washed-out underwear with busted-up elastics. That's just wrong.
Busted-up undies don't say "I value myself" or "I am worthy" which is exactly why we should get rid of them.
|I don't know what country this flag represents.|
Every time the 'Mental Health Initiatives' (heavy air quotes) start up full force at my CPE (current place of employment), I roll my eyes so hard I'm certain I've done damage to my eye sockets.
Because in spite of all of the posters, awareness e-mails, and 'conversations' (again heavy air quotes), the truth is that feeling stressed out and overwhelmed because of work, and then needing to do something about it (like taking time off to see a therapist or just not be at work) is still seen as a sign of weakness. Especially at my workplace which is largely male dominated.
Hence: CORPORATE MASTURBATION. I'm officially coining the term (or at least assigning it new meaning).
CORPORATE MASTURBATION: Activities a company undertakes to make itself feel good which don't benefit its employees. Full climax is reached when the initiative of the moment is officially launched, at which point the company is extremely self-satisfied regardless of the fact that they may actually have bukkaked their employees.
Now don't get me wrong, because of this awareness campaign, managers are somewhat forced to give time when an employee asks for it. Use the words 'Mental Health' and managers know they have to back down because they realize that they cannot overtly discriminate, and cannot actually forbid an employee from taking time off if needed. However, that employee is then likely looked upon as unreliable by their managers and treated differently because of it. (I've seen it happen.)
Why am I talking about all of this?
Because as mentioned in my previous post, I had a major anxiety attack a few weeks ago. The last time that happened to me was at the start of 2015 when my life in Montreal was falling apart and I was deciding whether or not to move back to Ottawa.
When I am at my best, I am unstoppable, I am a superstar.
My current self is one who bursts into angry tears in meetings.
My body, my life, my EVERYTHING is saying: YOU NEED A BREAK; PLEASE STOP.
Three times in the last week, I was asked to stay late. I changed my schedule at the last minute, which caused me an incredible amount of stress. Now I understand that this is a part of every job; emergencies happen and hell, I've put in my fair share of voluntary overtime just to get something done.
But each time I was asked to stay, there wasn't actually a good reason for it. (I strongly suspect it was a power trip, dick-waving competition, and since I am not a dick, and don't have a dick, I could not participate).
Last Friday, my boss asked me to stay late (ON. A. FRIDAY.) to make copies. I was asked to wait for him to be ready with the document and then I made a dozen copies.
*PAUSE FOR DEEP CALMING BREATHS*
Where do I even start!???
First. I am an Events Manager. I am not an Administrative Assistant. We HAVE an Administrative Assistant in our department who works later hours than I do, who could have made these copies. This task did not require my expertise in that moment.
Second. A very IMPORTANT LESSON for all of us: people tell us what they think of us by the way they treat us. We must listen to people's actions.
I feel as though my manager communicated his opinions of me loud and clear. Let's think about this for a moment - it would likely never occur to him to ask someone who he thought of as his equal to make photocopies for him, let alone stay late on a Friday night to do it. The fact that he did tells me all I need to know about what he thinks of the value of me and my time.
So. What's the point in staying and trying, yet again, to convince yet another employer determined NOT TO SEE IT, of my worth?
I'm done fighting my workplace.
I'm done fighting the men I date.
I'm done fighting the world.
Fighting for what?
Fighting to be seen.
Fighting to be heard.
Fighting to be acknowledged.
Fighting to be VALUED.
I VALUE ME. Whether you do or not is your problem. And if you don't, then YOU'RE OUT PAL. I don't care who or what you are. No exceptions.
I've been working hard on setting boundaries and on defining my value, so how can I then turn around and accept sub-par treatment from my CPE? Why should an employer who treats me like I'm disposable be different than a guy I'm dating who treats me that way? Or my family?
No difference: SAME SHIT, different pile.
I do want to pause for a moment of GRATITUDE though. I feel incredibly grateful for this current opportunity I have - what a gift. Had I straight-up lost my job in February, I would have been devastated, unprepared. Instead, I was given the option to take a 6-month contract. I'm almost at the halfway point, and I'm now fully at peace with letting go of this job, once my contract is over.
But at the end of the day, it really is too little too late. My current employer broke up with me. They terminated my PERMANENT position while I was on vacation. Talk about sneaky shit. That's like a boyfriend packing up our stuff and throwing it on the curb while we're at work!
But then when someone quit who wasn't supposed to quit, they turned around and offered me a six-month contract in her position. Talk about feeling like sloppy seconds.
That's like an ex who shows up at our doorstep (after having played the field for a while) with a bouquet of wilted carnations (I fucking hate carnations because they look like the tissue paper flowers I used to make in kindergarten) - saying "Well I know I ended our commitment, but how about friends-with-benefits?" (Listen pal, relationships don't move backwards, that's not how this works. We don't start with commitment, then move to friends-with-benefits, and somehow think that things are going to work out in a positive manner.)
|Look at those FUGLY flowers.|
We can't say that we won't accept being undervalued in one area of our lives, and then turn around and accept it from some other area. Those are inconsistent values and boundaries.
Let go of the good, to let in the better.
The first motivational speech I ever gave was called 'Choices and Chances' and I presented it at the auditorium at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library sometime in the mid-2000's. And the theme of that talk was: let go of the good, to let in the better.
What does that mean exactly? It means that even though what we might have right now might be good, if we're not fully satisfied, then we need to let go of that good to get to the better. Now there might be a gap between the two - it's usually not a direct path - but the better is there.
Let go of the good, to let in the better.
Let go of the good, to let in the better.
Say it with me y'all...Let go of the good, to let in the better.
We just have to believe that better really is out there and that we do deserve it.
I have a good job now. But there's so much better waiting out there for me. This I know for sure because...
A bird does not put her faith in the tree branch, she puts her faith in her wings.And I have big bad-ass wings. (How are your wings?)
Now is the right time for me to leave because I can leave with peace and gratitude in my heart about my experience with my CPE.
I've been incredibly angry many time before about things that have happened or that have been done to me at my CPE. I've wanted to leave then. I've drafted SO MANY ANGRY RESIGNATION LETTERS. (It's almost funny. Almost.)
But it wasn't the time yet then, because I hadn't yet grown in the ways that I needed to. And because walking away in anger, to me, means that the cycle isn't complete yet.
One of my friends said about my relationship with the man from the plane "We know when we have let go of a relationship when we can feel gratitude for it."
I have stepped into gratitude about my job, and with that gratitude, I have let it go. It is time to move on. It is time for bigger and better things.
"That's alright, you can keep your carnations, and your friends-with-benefits set-up. I'm looking for pink and white roses, and a commitment, and I see that this is not in your repertoire."
I don't love Marie Kondo and I don't agree with a lot of her advice around tidying-up. (I feel as though this is blasphemy since so many people seem to worship her. I suspect her fans are mostly hoarders?)
But the one thing that did stay with me was the idea of JOY - as in "Does this bring me JOY?"
When that's the ONLY question, it's so much easier to let go.
You know what doesn't bring me joy?
Faded undies with busted-out elastics. Does that make you happy? When you put them on I mean, do you feel good about yourself? Because I don't. I feel gross and...unworthy.
In the last three months, I've slowly but surely been sorting ALL THE THINGS.
What used to keep me hanging onto stuff was the argument that "Well it's still perfectly functional / I might need it someday / it still has the price tag on it for the love of God!"
This time, I kept repeating like a mantra: "Does this bring me JOY?"
Yes = Keep.
No = Bye bye.
I indiscriminately threw things into discard piles - things I've been holding onto for YEARS - based solely on this one question.
That one question makes the act of letting go so much easier.
I've heard from the man from the plane.
I won't go into the details, but I received an email a couple of weeks ago that included the following:
You care for me as I do for you. If you disagree with this, say that you don't care about me out loud and see how your heart will react.
You are protecting yourself from your previous experiences. Look forward. Follow your heart, be true to it.
I am not asking for anything from you. Just feel, listen. Let go.
I think you still have lots to learn from me as well and me from you.
Am I asking for us to start 'us' again as we were? No. We ended a chapter of 'us'. I think or I know that we have another chapter or more to write.
"Am I asking for us to start 'us' again as we were? No."
Nothing has changed. Still not offering anything. Doesn't want to commit anything, but doesn't want me to go anywhere aka wants me to sit my tush down on the back burner and get comfy there. Doesn't see his own fear and vulnerability, is projecting it onto me. (Because the LAST thing that I am is afraid of my own vulnerability. I am the most EMOTIONALLY BRAVE person I know.)
Here was my response:
Dear Man from the Plane,
I don't know if you and I have another chapter to write, but if we do, it's not now.
If we are meant to be together at some point in the future, we will be. And if not, we each learned a lot from our time together, so there was a purpose to all of this.
Either way, we cannot be in one another's lives at this point in time because your life right now is all about you - your growth, your needs, your schedule, etc. There is no space anywhere for you to give me what I want, need, and deserve, in any capacity - relationship, friend, or otherwise.
Perhaps one day, you will see a relationship as something that can add to your life, and bring indescribable value to your existence, instead of something that will take away from your life experience.
I wish for you that you might come to that realization. If you don't, you will never find true unison with another because you will always be too busy running in the opposite direction, scared of what the other person might try to take from you. I wish things could be different, because I do miss you, and there's a part of me that doesn't want to let you go, but all the things that I need - that are normal to need from another in any type of relationship - you cannot give me right now. If I stay, I will get hurt more than I already have been. I opened my heart to you, I told you how I felt, and you ran the other way. That was extremely painful. So you see, I'm not the one who was protecting herself, you were.
Because I see where you're at in your life, I now need to protect myself. When we were together, you didn't mean to hurt me. But pain inflicted unintentionally is still pain. You really hurt me - did you stop to consider that AT ALL, to think for a second about how you might have made me feel?? - and I won't let you do it again. I think you thought that because I had such a Zen view of what happened between us, that I didn't feel any pain, but if that's what you think, then you're wrong. I've cried my heart out from the various rejections I felt from you. But because I understand where you're at in your life, and because I know you didn't do it on purpose, I am trying to find compassion in my heart for you, instead of anger, and I'm working on forgiving you for hurting me with your unawareness.
I am a beautiful amazing woman, and a warm gentle soul. I deserve to be loved and cherished and considered. And you cannot do that for me right now, in any capacity. So I need to walk away.
This chapter is done.
Whether there will be other chapters remains to be seen.
Have a peaceful journey.
I considered not responding to his e-mail. But I realized that I had something left to say. I didn't quite know what it was at first, so I sat with it for a few days. And then it came to me. I needed him to understand - as much as he is able to - the impact that his actions had on me. He thought he hadn't left any impact, or had only left a positive one. I needed to speak my truth, and to say "You hurt me."
Speaking our truth is the MOST MAGICAL THING in the world, because it sets us free.
"Does this bring me JOY?"
Yes = Keep.
No = Bye bye.
The man from the plane wasn't bringing me JOY. Listen folks, if it's that difficult and complicated to have someone show up for us, we need to let it go man. It shouldn't be that hard. And if it is, it's probably not the right situation.
The most difficult part of letting go of a person is in the letting go of the future fantasies. All the things we thought were going to happen, that we were going to do together and suddenly aren't. And in the letting go of the hope that this person is going to spontaneously combust into the person we need them to be. (I have Natalie Lue to thank for that last gem.) No, we cannot beg, plead, or cajole someone into becoming an entirely different person. (That doesn't stop us from trying though does it?)
I made a new friend recently. A guy friend (just a friend). Let's call him Mr. New York. He treats me with more respect and consideration than any of the guys I've ever dated. (I'm like, wait dude, why? This doesn't make sense.) Example: he was late the last time we got together. He apologized several time that evening. And then the next day he sent me a text to thank me for my patience with his tardiness.
The man from the plane was late for every single one of our dates except the first one. And he never, ever acknowledged it, or said "sorry to keep you waiting."
People tell us what they think of us by the way that they treat us. The man from the plane let me know that he thought that his time was more valuable than mine in many subtle ways, his tardiness and lack of apology among them.
At the end of our time together, the man from the plane made me feel the same way I do when I put on those nasty old undies: NOT SPECIAL.
I used to believe that was true, that I wasn't special because of all the shit my dad and my family put me through. But I now know that it's not true, that I am valuable. It's shocking that my entire opinion of myself - a lifetime's worth of struggling - was based on the opinions of just a few people. Scary. (Take a moment and ask yourself, when you think of everyone - as in "Everyone thinks I am this or should do this" - how many people are actually in that EVERYONE group? A handful of people maybe? That's not EVERYONE. Time to re-evaluate.)
Mr. New York set my bar to a new height. If a man can't treat me at least that well, then it's a no go.
Step up or step out, son.
I got rid of the yucky undies. I got rid of the old shoes. And the stained clothes. The crusty bath products. The old makeup.
I gradually replaced everything I could and felt I needed to over the last few months, with things that do bring me JOY and which are more reflective of the person I am and want to be.
It makes me feel so good when I get up in the morning to put on my makeup and see nice clean packages of products I actually want to use. And when I go into my closet and all the clothes in there are clothes that fit me, that make me feel good, and that are really my style. And guess what? All my panties are pretty now. I feel lucky, grateful, and blessed in those moments: a trifecta of positive energy.
Treating ourselves with dignity and respect in these little ways changes the way we carry ourselves throughout the day. Right down to our skivvies, the way we treat ourselves comes first because it's what matter the most.
The way we treat us is the way that others treat us.
It is ok to give to ourselves. Because if we don't, why should anyone else?
And sometimes, the first step to respecting ourselves can be as small as buying new underwear.
Because beautiful birds with big bad-ass wings deserve nice undies.