Monthly Archives: March 2013

I’ve got a right to be wrong.

My grandmother used to do this thing.

Back then I called it getting on my nerves although now I would probably classify it as wisdom. It was simple really; she would ask, “Are you ready yet?” This phrase was almost always heard echoing down the hallways of our summer house in Tyler, Texas where one of us grandchildren wasn’t getting ready when we pinky promised we would.

There are not enough fingers and toes between the 4 of us grandchildren for me to count the number of times I answered, “yes” when I should’ve said, “no.” I would brush my teeth under my bed, sneak breakfast I hadn’t finished into the car, and my mothers’ ultimate pet peeve–continue to exclaim, “Nobody told me I was supposed to be getting ready.” I would do everything within my power to push the responsibility of me getting ready and my lack of such onto everybody else. But, no matter what tactic I employed my grandmother would never play into it. She would always respond with a very level headed, “Alright.”

I hated when she did that.

What I needed in those moments of “I can’t find my socks/I haven’t finished my juice yet/and can I watch the end of Recess?” was an empathetic ear. But, no. No matter how hard I pouted or how many fake tears I mustered all I ever got was an “alright.” And even though I was only about 12 and wasn’t allowed to say the words; I knew that this game she was playing was absolute bullsh*t.

So one day, I did something she hated.

I hid one of her shoes,  turned up the stove so that the biscuits would burn (thus ruining breakfast), and unplugged her perfectly heated curling iron. I destroyed her routine. Meanwhile, I finished my breakfast (which had also burned–something I, for some reason, didn’t consider), brushed my teeth, and put on my perfectly pressed Sunday dress. Then, I stood in the hallway with my hands on my hips and screamed, “GRANDDOT- ARE YOU READY!?”

She came around the corner in her gown, hair still undone, make-up only half completed and said, “No—But, you are.”

I was defeated– and mostly just annoyed that I had missed half of  “One Saturday Morning” trying to sabotage my grandmothers plans. I collapsed in the hallway and crossed my arms.  My grandmother began laughing. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed until eventually she started to cry.

I hated that moment.

She watched me sulk for about 5 minutes before she grew bored with the charade and asked what was wrong. I explained that I just wanted her to feel how I feel when I’m rushed and not ready. I wanted her to know that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I’m just not ready. Then, like a true grandma, she leaned down and said, “I know. And, that’s alright.”

So for those of you wondering how work has been since “the week from hell” and if I made good and forgave my coworkers the short answer is no. But, that’s because sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make nice.

And that’s alright.

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Same Love

A secret very, very, very little people know about me, is that until I was at least double digits I thought that I was gay. This wasn’t caused by a persistent thought about the same gender in a uniquely sexual way but, rather an appreciation for the opposite gender. I related to males more than females and thought that perhaps G-d made a mistake in my gender cocktail.

Around this time Ghostwriter was my favorite show, I detested anything any shade of pink, and always considered it a compliment when I was referred to as ‘one of the guys.’ I was 9 and rocking a side pony tail like it was my day job before I could fully understand that I had been filled with falsely preconceived ideas of what love was, wasn’t, and that this emotion must only ever be shared between a man and a woman.

“That’s it.,” I thought.

There was no way I was straight.

My parents didn’t give me ‘the talk.’ In fact, they avoided many talks including the one that started and ended with ‘just because you are not attracted to anyone in your 16 person 1st grade class doesn’t make you a lesbian.’ But, the lesson my parents did give–perhaps unintentionally–was that there is a necessary beauty in allowing a person to come into their own, on their own. This is a lesson I carry with me every day and am continually grateful that I was raised–in whatever accidental way it was– to take and love people for who they are, NOT  who I want them to be.

I bring this up now because,  Colorado recently passed the civil union bill.  I couldn’t be a prouder resident of this state and only hope that this bill, and those like it, continue to be passed nation wide. While I may not rock side ponytails anymore and I definitely know that I’m not gay; that’s not important. What matters is that gay or not, people are people and deserve those rights and liberties entrusted thousands of years ago. So I say, no freedom till we’re equal; damn right I support it.

#Samelove

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But they told me a man should be faithful and walk when not able and fight till the end. But I’m only human

Life was a lot easier in my firefly-catching days.

Of course, times were different back then. Success meant winning the Skip-it competition in 4th grade, love was being told you were ‘pretty enough to be a Spice Girl’ and beauty was determined by the number of perfectly positioned badges I had earned at Girl Scout camp in the fall of ’94. Concepts like bills, heartache, and inferiority didn’t exist.

But my favorite thing about elementary school was the purity of everyone’s actions.

When my friends and I argued we’d always say ‘sorry’ and we’d always mean it. Hugs were in no short supply. If you needed something, anything–from a pencil to a slinky–and especially when you forgot your lunch at home, everyone at your table contributed perfect portions of animal crackers and fruit roll-ups, without be asked. It’s what we did.

But these were different times.

Now, I work for an organization that I love beyond what a few characters on a screen will allow me to express. I have amazingly bold, gifted, and talented co-workers who each come with their own set of pros and cons. But, I just finished a week where people weren’t willing to say sorry when it needed to be said and when I metaphorically got hurt on the playground, no one asked  if I was ‘alright.’ The bottom line is, we’re older now and protect our egos over each other. We’ve become more concerned with judgments and insecurities, fearing what we don’t know rather than enjoying what we do have. We think about ‘potential shortcomings’ and assume the worst of one another as opposed to using our strengths to shield others’ weaknesses. It seems like my team has gotten to a place where we operate on the defense forgetting that no points can be scored without an active offense. Part of me wishes I had the strength to describe everything awful that happened this week and just how hurt and offended by the whole series I am, but I don’t. What I do have is the strength to explain the conversation I had with a coworker (from another team) last night and how he corrected what I once saw as weakness.

With tears hanging from my eyelashes in a dimly-lit Chiptole I stared down at the table ashamed to admit I was a part of a team that was hurting. I started off by rationalizing  everything that everyone did that was wrong. I created excuses and hoped for a different outcome to a story I already knew the ending of. And after 12 minutes of talking in circles and avoiding naming names I took a deep breathe and sighed, “I wonder if the problem is me….”  I struggled all week in deciding who was to blame. I only wanted to know where it all went wrong, so that if I was in the wrong I could correct it. Things got quite and no one spoke until I blurted out, “The real problem is I have to go into work everyday to face a group of people who have said they have no problem hurting me. And, I have no choice but to either accept it or reciprocate their emotion.”

In an unexpected twist the co-worker started to smile. He looked at me and said, “But, what if there was a third option?” Annoyed, with his whimsical thinking I rolled my eyes and dropped my head. He said, “Now, hear me out. What if you loved them–whoever they are– in spite of the hate they show?” Intrigued by the concept I cut the melodramatics and opened my heart to the possibility of loving something I knew might hurt me. He continued his theory by explaining that I wouldn’t be the first (or the last)person to have to work with people whose intentions appear impure.  He reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fact that he died loving in spite of hate and then finished his lesson by saying to me, “you aren’t sacrificing who you are by loving in spite of hate–you are being who you are by loving in spite of hate.”

I won’t lie; this doesn’t solve all of the harm done on our team. But, this does change things. Because now, when someone metaphorically forgets their lunch at home, loses their Lisa Frank binder, or breaks their pencil I’m going to share mine regardless of whether or not they would do the same for me.

And I’ll do it, because it’s what you’re supposed to do.