Something happened to me a week ago and it’s been bothering me all week. I walked into a store that I frequent often. When I walked up to the counter to conduct my business a shop assistant who I have worked with often walked out of the back. Instead of greeting me with a smile, this person, upon seeing me enter the shop, immediately turned around and walked into the back again. Yep. This person did THAT thing to me. That thing where you avoid someone you don’t want to see or talk to.
I instantly felt deflated. Not in a “popped balloon” kind of way. It wasn’t so dramatic. No, it felt like someone opened up my air valve, allowing the air to slowly seep out of me. I was able to conduct my business with a smile and leave and go about my day. But this episode has left me feeling bad.
I am not angry at the person at all. I really respect this person and the work that they do. And, honestly, I don’t know that this is what they were doing. I can’t jump into their head to know that this is why they turned around to go into the back again. I think this is more a reflection on me. I have done this exact thing to other people. I did it yesterday, in fact. I avoid people when I see them coming and don’t feel like talking to them. Last week I got a taste of how it feels for them when I do this. Guess what? It doesn’t feel good. At all.
So I’ve thought about this and how I can learn from it. I’ve been thinking about why I avoid these people. What makes me avoid them? What are these people doing that is causing this aversion? Then I wonder if I am doing those things and if I am, how do I change it? Do I change? Is it even possible to change my personality to make myself less repulsive to others? Do I even want to do that? The rebel in me doesn’t. Fuck them. I am who I am and if they don’t like it, fuck ’em. Also, I am not sure it is even possible to just change instantly over night. Honestly, I don’t even know what I am doing to cause this aversion, so how is changing my personality even possible?
On the other hand, I like being liked. I do not like rejection. Rejection hurts.
I think the key is to notice how it makes me feel. It makes me feel pretty bad. I can now empathize with the people I do this to. If they are noticing that I am avoiding them, then they must feel bad. That sucks. I don’t want to make people feel bad.
I come across a lot of lonely people in my line of work. I deal with a lot people who don’t have much contact with others. I realize that I need to be more compassionate with these people. They don’t deserve to be avoided. I need to figure out how I can work with them from a place of compassion and not aversion. I don’t know how I am going to do this in some of the cases but at least I feel like I have the right perspective. I can’t expect them to change to suit my needs. I need to accept them and work with them.
I have had a challenging couple of days. Actually, the past month has been pretty challenging for me, if I were being honest with myself. But the past couple of days especially. These are a few of the things, in chronological order, that I’ve dealt with:
- I got shushed yesterday while I was helping a patron with the copy machine. I am not even fucking kidding you. I was helping this woman print a document (something I have to, you know, use my voice for) and a person turned around from her computer and shushed me. This caused a mob mentality in the computer room and two other people agreed, “you are being kind of loud.” One person even had the gall to say, “This IS a library you know.” I didn’t say anything. I just left the room, fuming with rage.
- The printer continued to act up and I swear to fucking god, I was so ready to reenact that printer scene from Office Space. You know, the one where they beat the shit out of the printer.
I love it when he starts punching it. Ha!
- Right before I left to go home my insurance agent called. She told me that they found ME at fault for the accident last week. The one where the guy SLAMMED INTO ME WHEN I WAS ALREADY BACKED INTO THE PARKING LOT.
- So I went home and pretty much lost it. I ranted and raved to my husband about how completely incompetent the insurance agent is. I went off about how I fucking hate how fucking passive aggressive these people are around here (and I do. I really, really hate it. I didn’t really realize it until last night when it all came bubbling up to the surface and I exploded. I think I would rather deal with just plain aggressive. At least you know what you are dealing with). Raf calmly sat there and listened and when I got to the part about passive aggressive Oregonians he started laughing. Then I started laughing because I sounded ridiculous. And then I felt better. It felt good to get it all out.
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- I woke up this morning still feeling angry at the insurance situation. But I had a plan to e-mail my agent with photos and a piece of my mind about the way she handled the case. I planned to snap a picture of the parking lot at the coffee shop the incident happened at so I could e-mail it to her. As I was standing in the parking lot somebody honked at me! I looked back at him with a look like, “how rude!” and moved out of his way. He actually had the nerve to drive up next to me, stop his car, roll down his window and yell at me! he said, “You have no right to just stand there in the middle of the parking lot like that!” I started to explain what I was doing but in the middle of it I thought, “fuckit” and all the rage of the past couple of days came bubbling up to the surface and was expelled. I very loudly yelled, “Well you have no right to honk at me asshole, so knock it off!! Jerk!” It was the tone that I think scared him away. The rage that came out of me was undeniable. He rolled up his window and drove away as fast as he could. I walked into the coffee shop shaking and the people all looked at me with a bit of fear in their eyes. But you know what? I don’t feel bad at all. Normally I would feel bad. But that guy was a douche and deserved to be called an asshole. I was a fucking pedestrian and had every fucking right to be where I was and he needed to just stop and wait for me to move.
- I went to work, told my story and felt better. I did story-time and had a great time with the kids. I thought my troubles were over but no. A grandmother approached me to tell me that her grand-daughter has two mommies and that when I mentioned “dads” in my story-time it confused her and maybe I should keep this in mind for the future? sigh. In my story-time my letter of the day was, “D.” I like to ask the kids if they know words that start with D and to give them a hint I said, “there is a very special person in your life who starts with D.” They right away always guess Dad. So apparently this person had a problem with that. I couldn’t believe it. My response was, “Well then this is a really good opportunity for you to discuss with your grand-daughter the concept of fathers because I’m sure she will run into this a lot in the future.” That one I think I handled very well, in my humble opinion.
Clearly my lesson is that I need to stand up for myself. I feel like I’m being given lots of opportunities to do this the past few days. Lucky me! ♥