Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two Faces - Putting on a Good Show

I came across a quote today posted by Daily Plug on Facebook.

It's frustrating knowing how terrible of a person someone actually is, but everyone loves them because they put on a good show.
This is why I now have a few gray hairs.

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See, I fell for the show for a year and half. I learned from a person who was wise, kind, had a HUGE heart, and big opinions. I learned to have a thicker skin, to be more pessimistic and see things from a different point of view. I learned many skills I needed to survive. This person was a mentor.

Until I grew.

I grew from my study of them. I learned. As I grew, I tried to do what they do, to take the control that they possessed, which was my right. See, I was their ranking superior. I treated them with the respect of a peer and even a superior for a while when I was learning. As I grew, though, I needed to take over. They needed to phase out.

They didn't like that.

I cried myself to sleep. I talked to a few people about it and got some great advice. This person was going to make a mistake, say things to the wrong person, or tick someone off, and as long as I was keeping my nose clean and butt covered, I'd be fine. I knew they were trying to cover their own butt, so I had to cover mine.

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This meant documentation. If anything went amiss, I needed to write it down. This person was good though, both in the way they performed their job, and in their good-natured heart. I began to examine what things upset me as well as what things upset them.

It was about control and action. They wanted control and quick action on events and trials that occurred in the workplace. I was supposed to have the control, the power, and I like to think before I act. I also do not like confrontation, so I did not have good conversations with them. I was not going to cry at work.

This person continued to offer up suggestions for the way I should do things. Sometimes I followed them and sometimes I didn't. I made schedule changes that they didn't like by having them switch lunches to supervise kids instead of have lunch with their best friend. I planned things for myself to do and they sat back and scoffed when I didn't do them their way, sending me 'warning' comments across the room. (It was a cooking lesson and they were a better cook, so they had comments about timing of parts of the meal and heat settings on the stove.) But I was the superior in rank in the room. If it didn't work out, it was a teachable moment for all of us. Not everything had to be perfect.

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Fortunately, this person moved away. In the time leading up to this, I tried harder and harder to take control back. The person was not happy at all. They began to push others away with their complaints and negative attitude. I talked to others who also worked with this person and found out THEY were putting on a show of liking the person, too. I felt better. It wasn't just me.

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I saw beneath the mask. I wasn't alone. Others could see beneath it, too. It's just not polite to talk about what you see behind the mask because it's often so ugly. Sometimes you need to know that others can see it, too. It makes living with the person more bearable.

I learned many things.

1. Life is short and you so have to make decisions, sometimes quick ones.
2. Say no and don't fret about what others think. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Sometimes you have to yell. You can go back later and debrief.
3. Document everything that can be traced back to you. Every action that another person will find out about. Make sure that if you use electronic communication that big issues go through email or paper notes and not texting or messaging.
4. Find a good friend to talk to about things. Don't keep it all inside. If your good friends still see the mask and not what's behind it, find a co-worker or someone else who might understand.
5. Cry. Go ahead and cry it out, in private or in public when appropriate.
6. Evaluate your own actions, your own masks. Make decisions. Change things. Grow. If you need time, take it.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017


What happens when things don't go the way you want them to?

That's what Anxiety is.

I used to say my biggest fear was the unknown. I had to be prepared. For everything. I wasn't the kid at the pool with a life vest, inflatable ring, goggles, flippers, and snorkel, but I did study so I was ready for the test, pack extra socks and undies when I went camping, and never ran out of shampoo before market day.

I still have to be prepared.

Now that I'm grown up and wading through the streams of life, I know that sometimes I'm going to hit deeper water and the current may sweep me along beyond my planned destination.

My over-planning cannot save me when life throws me a curveball. But I still try to control what I can control. I overthink things. Sometimes this is great, as preparatory, so I can change gears on the fly. Sometimes this causes me depression.

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Case in point: when my best friend stops talking to me, stops responding to anything. Not one like on a post on Facebook, not one snapchat message, not one text - for several days.  What if the little snippet I sent them, some little outpouring of love, was misinterpreted? What if they think I'm smothering them? What if they don't want to tell me, so they stop talking?

It's happened before. Misinterpretations happen.

You know what else has happened before? They were having a really rough time.

So do I keep sending little encouraging notes, or do I back off and say a bunch of neutral apologetic things? If they don't talk to me, I'll never know.

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Meanwhile, I cry. I cry big ugly sobs and huge tears. They are GONE. I mourn them like they left me. I FEEL abandoned.

And most likely, they are just swamped with work.

Then I crash. I feel like an idiot. They never really left me. I'm so stupid.

I'm already depressed from the extremes my anxiety has taken, so feeling like an idiot can add to this depression. It's not an extreme depression, but it is a low place.

Abandonment makes me angry. Facing the fact that I am making myself look like an idiot for listening to these feelings makes me angry. I want to retaliate. Do something extreme. I want to treat myself to show the world that I don't need them. I want to eat rich, live rich, and soothe myself in illogical ways.

I need to stop myself and redirect myself to something positive, something I won't regret later.

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Unless my friend talks to me. THEN I know things are all okay. Only they can cheer me up.

I know that once we talk again, it will be like we never parted. This time of emptiness is a bump in the road. This isn't the first bump. It won't be the last. Yet, every time this happens I experience the same pain anew.

This time I did not sink so far into mourning. I guess that's progress?

This time I tried really hard to remember that it's probably their job, it's probably okay if I send small notes once a day, and that the time will come when they will talk to me again. And the hope is that it will be like we never parted.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Marvelous May - Choosing to see the good for Mental Health Month

May is always a good month for me. It's my anniversary month (15 years this year!), my birthday month (older than 15), Mother's Day, and a break from work at the end for Memorial Day.

It's also Mental Health Month.

I love this inclusive infographic about self-care. Self-care is SOOO important.
I'm trying to count my blessings every day this month by seeking out things that make me happy. Day one, my husband gave me a bookmark.

Day 2, he sent me two GIFs. (ha ha punny) One was a crystal and one was a watch because those are the gifts you traditionally and modernly receive on your 15th anniversary.

I'm determined to make May the best month, to live up to its reputation, but it's entirely all about my ATTITUDE and choosing to SEEK AND FIND THE GOOD.