On a typical day, I get up, feed the birds, brush my teeth, make myself look relatively presentable and head to work.
I work in a job where I am ‘on’ from the minute I get there until the minute I walk out the door. I work with some very high level people and part of my job is to schmooze and make nice-nice with the people that come in. We host meetings, special events, medal ceremonies – you name it, we’ve done it. And, I can say with great confidence that I SHINE in most of these situations. You would never know in a million years, that underneath the professional, witty and hysterically funny woman, is a little girl who is just wanting to be liked.
The silly thing is that people DO like me (insert Stuart Smalley reference here). I think I’m a pretty good person, I have some really wonderful friends and would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it. I’ve an acerbic wit that has gotten me in trouble more than a few times, I will bend over backwards to help you – I will even let you share my bag of Doritos (that’s the biggest honour I can bestow upon you).
So, you would think that I would have all the confidence in the world – that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, take on a bully, stand up against injustice (thank GOD for news websites that I can rant on) – even show others how to be a confident woman in this world.
Sadly, I do not. Have self confidence that is. Okay, in *some* instances I do, and I get a real charge of positive energy when I am up in front of others, talking about something I’m passionate about.
But it can just take one comment, in one wrong moment to make me want to crawl up into a ball and wait for it to go away. It’s as easy as someone ignoring me or not answering my email or phone message. I revert back to the little girl, who never really got any positive reinforcement as a child, but the negative comments came fast and furious.
As that kid, I was trained to be my mother’s slave. If I disappointed her, I was punished with silence and harsh, abrupt words. To a little kid, it was pretty confusing, after all – I was trying to do what she wanted me to do, but it was just never right. I didn’t clean the bathroom properly. I didn’t wash the ashtrays (yeah, okay, I SO wasn’t going to do that anyhow). I didn’t make her bed properly. I didn’t remember to take out the garbage. The list goes on. So, as a grown adult, when I feel that I’ve disappointed someone in some way, I go out of my way to make amends. Now, there is a little voice in my head that says ‘SHUTUP, DON’T MAKE IT WORSE, IT WILL BLOW OVER.” But I’m also not very good listening to myself, so I ignore it and go ahead and indeed, make things worse.
And, this week – it did just that. I had called in sick to work because I was having a horrible fibromyalgia pain day – I could barely move. Now, I’m one of those people that will go to work even if I’m bleeding from an eyeball with pneumonia. I feel guilty and even while I’m lying there wishing for death, I feel the need to connect with my work place so they know I’m not in Mexico drinking tequila out of some pool boys’ bellybutton. But they don’t think that. They think ‘hey, she’s sick, carry on.’
So, basically I made a bad judgment call on Friday and wound up – what was perceived to be as ‘pestering’ my boss. He was annoyed, I was freaked out because of his slight and fretted about it all weekend.
I should back pedal a bit by explaining that earlier this year, I needed to take a stress leave. When I came back, he bent over backwards to accommodate me and our working relationship has grown in leaps and bounds (there are really only two of us in our office). For the most part, we get along very well.
It’s been a couple of days and things aren’t much better and I’ve apologized for my end of things, which is all I can do. My insecurities reared their ugly head and now I’m suffering the consequences.
A friend of mine told me today that I’m a very sensitive person and I should learn to not take things so personally – this was said with love, because I know this friend will always have my back.
She’s 100% right. I need to let the guilty feelings that I grew up with go. Let the insecurities I have about not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, funny enough – go. My mother might have been the best travel agent for guilt trips, but she’s gone now, and I think I’ll make my own travel arrangements from now on.