I had been waiting for an important work-related decision for months. I’d expressed interest, made a case for myself, and felt as positively as my insecurities would allow about my chances based on a number of factors. No one interviewed me. No one evaluated my performance. I’d exercised what, for me, was monumental self-restraint in not badgering anyone for an answer and just kept showing my commitment and enthusiasm. No one asked others for their feedback on my work. And then this week, “Can I talk to you Diane?” Sounding decidedly not like a question preceding good news.
I sat there, dumb smile plastered on my face, as he slid the skewer in, twisted it around, and extracted it, wiping blood droplets from it so as not to dirty the floor. At least he’d had the courtesy to look me in the face rather than insert the blade stealthily from behind.
The verbiage that accompanied the thrust was rehearsed, generic, and meaningless. He met my calm, objective (albeit incredulous) requests for clarification with more of the same pat answers, as if reading them from a telemarketer’s script. If she says “X,” then you say “Y.” Or like a politician not answering the question asked with a prepared response to the question he wanted to answer.
Information shared with me later just poked a dirty finger into a gaping wound. I was gutted. I cried. I considered an ugly temper tantrum. Then I breathed, and reflected, and checked in with a group of close friends with actual caring, compassionate hearts. And here’s my takeaway:
- I received a present. As has often been the case in times of adversity, a disappointment can morph into a gift when viewed in a different light, from a different angle, with a different lens. This decision clearly revealed to me the true nature of a situation and of people that I’d either denied or ignored for a long time. The truth is good. The missed opportunity will open up space for others: a better offer, a chance meeting with the man of my dreams, a regular mani/pedi...or more likely just more invaluable time to write and read.
- I trust people. A little less. This will not make me embittered or jaded. But it does remind me that seeing and expecting the best in and from people is often naïve and ultimately frustrating. Just as I need sunscreen to block the damaging rays of the life-giving and otherwise glorious sun, I need to wear a thin, chic layer of chain mail to thwart those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (thanks, Hamlet).
- It takes a village. Cliché, yes. True, too. Those guardian angels in human form (you know who you are) listened, hugged me, empathized, acknowledged my feelings, and then slapped me gently to realign my perspective. I treasure and thank them for reminding me what and who is important. And for being really, really good huggers.
Enough said. Although I’ve won awards for rumination, I’m not fond of wallowing, and I won’t give the perpetrators another moment of my precious energy. I will focus my brain space on new opportunities and really, really good huggers.