Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hard candy shell. Soft marshmallow interior.

I am an unemotional, generally stoic person.  This trait is often likened to a hard candy shell.

It protects a soft, marshmallow core.  I am frightfully soft.

Today, I overheard my boss on the phone with an unhappy teacher.  I knew that she was talking about me.  My boss deflected most of the complaints this teacher voiced, and said that the teacher had been unpleasant and snippy from the second she arrived on the property, so I know she's not holding it against me.  She knows I'm very good at what I do, and that some people are just never pleased with ANYTHING.

I am curling up in a little ball inside and dying.

For weeks, I have been reminding my coworkers that they are not responsible for other people's demons.  If I get crazy angry at someone, it is not really because that person deserves it- it is usually the result of having been reminded of a thousand other times I had felt a feeling, and that it's my own demons screaming about past hurts.  When I was volcanically angry at my roommate for not measuring a curtain before painting it, thus making it impossible to hang in the space without cutting off part of the painting because it was too big, I was not angry at her.  I was angry at every time I had ever made a similar mistake.  My demons are not her fault.  She was the catalyst, but not the cause.

NOTHING would have made this teacher happy.

I did NOTHING out of the ordinary.

But I'm still feeling awful.

She found my style "overly comedic."  >I use humor to hide my vulnerabilities, because if they're laughing at me being funny, they can't laugh at me being me.<

She didn't like that I "talked to the students like they were teenagers."  >I found childhood to be very humiliating, and don't like to remind myself of that feeling by speaking to children the way adults spoke to me<

She found my timer annoying.  >I have ADD, and I need a timer to keep myself on schedule.  When people criticize my adaptive behaviors, it reminds me that my mental status is generally considered to be NOT OKAY, and that makes me feel ashamed and inept.<

She thought the butterfly house looked "ratty," and was pissed that there weren't enough butterflies.  >I am in charge of the butterfly house, and I'm not going to lie here- she's just fucking wrong on this one. It was overcast and cold, and butterflies don't fly when it's cold.  There were a shitload of caterpillars and eggs and chrysalids, you dumb bitch, I don't control the weather, and those plants that looked dead were just dormant.  It's nature, stupid.<

As I swirl around in my feelings of inadequacy and shame and anxiety and fear, I remind myself over and over and over- you interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people every year.  Some of them just won't like you.  This does not mean you are bad at your job, or a bad person.  You are bound to get some complaints.  You will remind someone of their own demons, and they will not recognize why they are upset.  They will make themselves feel better by complaining about you.  You must accept this.  Nobody is universally liked.

Even the Dalai Lama is on someone's "asshole" list.

It is okay to be funny.
It is okay to talk casually and conversationally to children.
It is okay to use a timer (although, I wonder if there's a way to have a vibration timer go off every 10 minutes or so without having to reset it or turn it off- like a wristwatch sort of gadget that just buzzes once and then resets itself).
It is okay for plants to look dead if they're fucking dormant.
I do not need to feel these feelings, because I am okay.  My coworkers know I'm okay.  It was just my turn to have a complaint.

I wonder if she mentioned my purple hair.  What the fuck ever, I cleared that shit with the director before I did it.


  1. First and foremost: (((HUGS))) I hear you loud and clear! It's the same thing when you're the teacher and an ungrateful, spoiled student decides to give you a horrible student evaluation. UGH! I got one of those today -- it was downright nasty and filled with personal attacks. We must be on the same wavelength.

    Needless to say, there are mean, self-centered, spoiled people in this world who are just absolute bitches. All they want to do is make themselves feel important and get you fired because THEY weren't happy. sigh ... I feel your pain my friend. BUT, for every one of those horrible people (students and teachers both) there's a really nice boss and hiring professor who understands. And then you have me. I'm here for you darling. I'm here for you.

    1. One bad one out of how many fantastic ones? Something I had to say to myself today. Over and over and fucking over.

      We are not responsible for other people's demons. We must keep on being the rad bitches we know ourselves to be.

      I take comfort in the knowledge that countless waiters have spit in her food, and that her students will probably smoke the post-test (yeah, I'm that good).

  2. This was really something I needed to read as I am about to work in the call center of a government agency. Some people will be angry, really angry. Because their claim is denied, even though they are injured and in pain. Because their check has not arrived yet. And since we are required to say our real full name to citizens (no first-name only or inventing like I did back when I was selling tickets!), sometimes they will direct their anger at me as a person. I know it will affect me because I'm oversensitive, but I can't let it show at work, because my bosses are evaluating my behavior as much as my work, if not more.

    1. Do not absorb their anger. It is not for you.
      Do not absorb their anger. it is not for you.
      Do not absorb their anger. It is not for you.
      If you need more, I have a whole jar.