So, before I return to a few tales of travel and adventure, I wanted to share a small piece of advice I was given years ago that has proved very useful to me since. Back in the days of the job that broke me, and long before that in fact, I took work far, far too seriously. If anything at all went wrong, if people expressed displeasure in any way, I would take it all on myself, take it all very personally, beat myself up for things that were never my fault. A very unhealthy response. But I am a perfectionist and I am a people pleaser. And, if people are not pleased, then it must be my fault. Very twisted logic I know, but it is just one of the many little foibles that make me who I am, and have often driven me (and those who love me) to distraction over the years.
I remember one day getting home from work in pieces. One woman I worked with had been truly horrible to me. She had been abusive and rude and launched an entirely unprovoked and unjustified attack on me. As I relayed the unpleasantness of my day to my husband, I was trying to figure out the best way to apologise to this woman to make everything better. Apologise to her! My husband was not at all impressed with this notion.
He said to me “So, this woman attacks you for no good reason and this is your fault how? Listen to me, you don’t think this person, these people, who treat you this way are right do you? You don’t honestly think they are better than you? No, I’m not having that. They are going in your book until they have earned their way out of it”
“What book?” I ask
“Your metaphorical book – where you write down the names of people who have mistreated you until they do something to deserve their name being removed. That way you can give them no further head space until such time as they redeem themselves”.
Hmmm, this was an interesting new perspective which I had not considered – that perhaps the fault was hers, or that I, in fact, might be a better person than her? What I have learnt since then (thankfully) is that people’s bad behaviour towards you may often have nothing whatsoever to do with you at all. It may stem from some inner battle or insecurity of their own, or they may feel threatened by you, or they may see you working harder, or better, or with more care than them, and want to find some way to put you down, to keep you in your place. In hindsight, I believe that may have been the case with this woman.
So, as suggested, I did put her in my book. But not just her name and not just a metaphorical book. The result was the verse that follows. She never made it out of my book in fact. And her rudeness and negativity have never been missed.
Ode to an Offensive Colleague
Who the hell, may I ask, do you think that you are?
Treating me like I’m something you stepped in
No good reason at all for your sudden tirade
Such abuse, I should not be accepting
I’m advised to put people like you in “My Book”
But it seems with you that won’t suffice
Perhaps a swift slap to the head is required
With you dear, I wouldn’t think twice
I’m fuming, I’m outraged, I’m frankly plain mad
Searching round me for something to kick
It should have been you. I wish that I had
Your rudeness has made me feel sick
My better half tells me I’m better than you
And I must not kowtow to your shit
And though I am certain that this is all true
Not so skillful responding to it
Discord not my forte, do not handle it well
Get words muddled and come off the worse
So I’ll focus instead on just wishing you hell
And with vehemence I’ll inwardly curse
So, screw you dear lady, you are vicious and vile
I’m quite simply more smashing than you
If you wish to to behave like a petulant child
Please continue, but honey we’re through
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