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.