Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What about the a**holes?

Sitting over a fantastic lunch with my friend Ariann, we talked seriously about the struggles in our lives and how we deal with them in the most positive ways we can.  I always appreciate talking to someone who is very different from me -- Ariann is happy and gracious and kind and SO HAPPY (even when she's not) -- because I am reminded to look at things in other ways.  Having someone who can say "Wait, did you think about it this way?" is always a good experience.  I love talking to her about things -- from family, to relationships, to careers, to spirituality.  We have a ton of fun and also come to brilliant and thoughtful conclusions.

So, when we talked about our current struggles, she presented something to me I had not thought of before. I explained how some less than desirable behaviours of a few key people were making things extremely difficult in my life.  This is when Ariann exclaimed, "How terrible it must be to be them!"

I had never thought about it that way.

I always focus on the victims in a situation.  It's who I am and what I do.  From the time I was old enough to think, I was standing in between a bully and a victim as often as I could.  I always looked at the effects on the person or group that was targeted.  I've never looked at the aggressor.  When she said, "How horrible must it be to cause people that much pain?", I had to stop cold and think.

I know when I do something wrong that effects other people, I feel terrible. I mull it over, I fret about it, I dream about it, I talk about it.  All the time.  I once did something to someone when I was 19 working at Zellers.  To this day, I feel guilty about it and my stomach hurts when I think about it.  You know what I did? I drank some pop from a guy's soda when he left the room.

I drank some Coke that wasn't mine and almost 20 years later I could vomit right now. (Side note: Yes, I'm aware I need therapy.)

I know many people who are the cause of other people's pain do not know what they do.  Some who do, may not care.  Others may not recognize their roles until much too late.  But any way you slice it, how unhappy are you that you cause misery for others?  How sad is that?  Even if it does not take away what is wrong nor does it make it okay that it occurred (or continues) it is an interesting thought.  The people making your life miserable may regret it and, if they don't, they still are living with the consequences of being evil asshats.

While I'm not yet willing to sweep it all under the rug or sing Kumbya while growing my armpit hair, I am trying to view things differently.  I'm not sure what actions I will put in place to accommodate my alternate thinking pattern, but it's a step.

Look at me.  I'm growing.

Right now, I think I will settle for no longer wishing bodily harm to those who have crossed me.

You're welcome.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What to do when you fail

I have been struggling with my professional life for some time now.  The work itself is rewarding despite everyone else thinking I'm either a) insane, or b) a saint for working in a tough job and often with kids in even tougher situations.  Regardless of being either or both, it's a job I've loved for well over a decade.

The office? Not so much.

For the last 4 years, the office and the powers that be have not made it easy, or even desirable, to work there.  Injustice after injustice have occurred with no consequence or recompense.  For a long time, I fought and fought and fought to stand up against the things I knew to be wrong.

It was exhausting.

Last year, in the fall, I got a chance to work for a friend and I thought the change would be amazing.  It sounded right up my alley -- responding on an emergency basis and referring to appropriate channels.  Day shifts!  Regular hours! An office to call my own!  I jumped at the chance, nailed the interview, bought a whole new wardrobe and started a few weeks later.

It did not go well.

It was a small office with definite "rules" that seemed to change daily.  I had a hard time fitting in after years of saying what I thought, not putting up with stupid things, and being very independent.  One person (my friend) decided she didn't like me after all and she was the person who mattered.

Five weeks start to finish and I was let go.

I was devastated.  I hung my head in shame and went back to my old job. My pride (personal and professional) was beaten and it took awhile before I could be okay with the fact some people just don't like me.  I haven't forgiven the woman who I'd considered a friend, but I'm working on it.

There were positive lessons gained from the ordeal.  I learned I hate day shifts. I am not a M-F 8-5 girl and I don't think I could be.  I did sleep better, but I went to bed super early so had very little time just to hang out.  I apparently need a LOT of time to hang out.  I found myself a bit tense and edgy at the lack of rejuvenating moments.  I do love my leisure time.

I learned that one day person and one stupid-early-hours person do not see enough of each other. Sure, I might live longer in the end, but working night shifts allowed me to be at home the same time as my husband. We spend a lot of time together in the afternoons so losing that was a huge kick to our relationship.

Now I'm back at my old job. Same issues, same concerns, same bullshit.  However, I'm different. I'm not as overly involved as I had been. I stepped out of some roles and it has preserved my sanity for awhile. I am cautiously looking for another job -- one I would be good at and where they will like me -- and I'm hoping I find something.

If not, I'm still doing work I love.  I can wade through the crap for now.

That has to mean something.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Goal: Learn to keep my big mouth shut

When we travel to Cuba, we go to the same resort each time.  I like the familiarity, the low key atmosphere, and the location near town.  Over the last few years, the number of English speaking occupants has gone down drastically and has been replaced with mostly French Canadians and Russians.  I have gotten used to no one but the staff understanding me and I've used that to my advantage.

As much as I have tried to avoid it, I am a lot like my father.  This means I have a terrible sense of humour, a propensity to offend everyone without trying, and the ability to put both my feet in my mouth and still make noise.  It's not something I'm proud of, but some days it's downright mortifying.

One day in Cuba, my companions and I were walking along the main road looking at all the vendors' shops and visiting some of the establishments here and there to get refreshments.  Most of our group is very tall, so we tend to walk briskly even when meandering.

This afternoon, however, we were stuck behind a group of French speaking women and two men who seemed to make it their mission in life to take up as much of the sidewalk as possible and also go as slowly as cows in fresh grass.  There was no way around them unless I wanted to risk getting trampled by a horse drawn carriage or a coconut taxi.  I tried to be patient for the first two blocks but then I got huffy.

I turned to my sister-in-law and said "I know we're on vacation and supposed to be taking it easy, but this is ridiculous!!"

Suddenly, the tall man in the group stopped and said in perfect non-accented English, "Oh! Do you want to go around?"

This is when everyone in my life wishes they did not know me.  My husband looked straight ahead and refused to acknowledge I existed and both my SiL and friend laughed uncomfortably.  I turned 14 shades of purple and died inside.  I apologized profusely, mentioned how hard it was for tall people to meander, and sped past them as quickly as I could.

After that, I refused to slow down for blocks in case it looked like we were holding them up.  I finally felt safe once we got to the main market and we started perusing the shops again.  On the street, some commotion was going on between a tourist and a very handsome cop.

I leaned over to my friend and made a comment about the tight pants and handcuffs.  It was then I heard a familiar voice.  I turned to find the same tall male from earlier.  He grinned at me and said "Yeah, and the boots are pretty hot too."

I decided not to talk the rest of our holiday.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Spinster Cottage (a work of fiction)

To look at it, the small house on the corner was like any other house.  It was a small cottage style 2 story house built of stone and dark wood trim.  It sat a respectable way up the lot nestled between two trees, a handful of shrubs, and a neat little flower garden that took care of itself for the most part.  A wide stone path wound its way up to the doorstep unassuming in the short grass and looked for the life of it like it had been there since the beginning of time.  The lawn was neatly manicured, but not in the way that screams the owners have nothing better to do.  All in all, it was a cute house on a cute lot.

Upon closer inspection, you could see the window frames needed a bit of attention.  A small bit of chipped paint here and there gave that away.  The door was clean and sturdy, but also needed a coat of paint.  The cottage roof looked well used, but not in need of replacement just yet.  The stones showed some wear, but otherwise had held up fine. The house showed it had been well loved but also well-used.  A quaint, lovely, older house in need of some repair and life.

Why, you might ask, does the house itself matter?  A house is really just a house after all.  It's the family that makes it a home.  A family can be anywhere really. Well, yes, that is true. However, this house was the home of a special group of women with important stories and they created a family worth living in such a home.  This house took in a trio of women, housed them their whole adult lives, and then the house itself seemed to mourn when the ladies lived there no more.

The neighbours referred to the house as The Spinster Cottage and likely would regardless of who lived there.  The women who made that house a home were just that and the house worked out very well for them.  Three unmarried sisters in a 3 room cottage in a small town in a little state in a rather large world.  The house became an embodiment of those three women and the townsfolk regarded that home and those women as their own.

Little did the 3 unsuspecting women who would come to live in it know, the Spinster sisters' home would become an important part of their life too.

Next: Kade and Anna meet

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I, MayB here.

I spend most of my time refusing to go to sleep rather than fighting to stay awake.  My brain has decided that, time moves slower when I'm awake, and tomorrow will not come as quickly if I don't sleep.

My brain is an asshole.

That said, I spend evenings trying to entertain myself while hoping my body doesn't notice it's utterly exhausted.  I read, I surf, I watch TV.  Sometimes I nap, but usually only for an hour or two and then I'm wide awake again.  When I do fall asleep, I fight waking up just as hard.

The problems with being a shift worker for 13+ years. Napping is the way of existing.  Being awake is merely a necessity.  Being asleep is a preference, but only if there is no pressure to get out of bed anytime soon.

I used to write.  I published another website for many years.  7, to be exact. I've been offline that way for just over a year and I realized lately I have missed it.

I miss putting fingers to keyboard and letting my thoughts drift onto the screen.  I miss having them leave me for someone else so they responsible for keeping the thoughts in line.  I have tried to write not in public. I have journals started and abandoned.  I have books completely mapped out only to have them never appear on page.

I decided it was time again.  Time to write.  Time to let those words flee from my fingers.

I'm not the same person I was.  I'm stronger and sadder and happier and more content and more dissatisfied.  Thus, I couldn't return to my last website.  It will remain in existence (and some things may be re-published here) but that isn't me any more.  Or at least not in full.

Will I tell anyone about this page?  Likely.  I've never been one for keeping a secret.  Except from myself.