I’ll admit I prefer to be behind the scenes and do the things that need to be done without a lot of fanfare. That said, I do appreciate recognition from time-to-time like everyone else. Today, as administration was introducing key personnel to the rest of the staff, my name was omitted. Someone tried to bring it to the speaker’s attention, but she didn’t understand the message.
I was mortified.
Here I am with one of the most visible roles in the school and the first person everyone, including you, goes to for damn near everything and you can’t remember who I am?
The speaker apologized. I fixed my face and tried to go do something mindless in the library after the kick-off meeting. Then, a well -meaning coworker tried to make a joke about it (and failed). I couldn’t turn off the waterworks. I gathered my stuff and left for lunch, but didn’t return. My afternoon was spent in an ugly, ugly cry.
However much it hurt, an important lesson was learned. I am obviously not that important to this person. I am one of those invisible folks who can be counted on to competently pick up the slack when needed and then return to my normal responsibilities. I’ve always done it, so now they just expect it.
Now back to the sewing machine.
What is it about making random, but real, connections with people makes me feel better?
Like meeting the local author of a children’s book while out walking Sadie and smiling with the fellow shopper at Publix who also talks to herself (complete with hand gestures) as she mentally runs through her shopping list. Or chatting with a fellow sewist at the fabric store who completely gets the reasons I’m shopping for a new sewing machine.
I’ve been a little glum this week. Teachers report to school on Monday. Hubby will also be at MD Anderson for his scans and check-in with the doctor. One of my favorite people at work has been hospitalized with uncontrollable seizures. The one year anniversary of a dear friend’s departure from this earth is also coming up soon.
Those simple interactions greatly improved my mood. It also confirmed my belief that most folks, regardless of race, religion or economic status (insert any other criterion) really do want the same things in life – not the incessant stream of crap coming from the media.
So shut off the TV and social media. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and a friendly dog. Discuss a good book you recently read. Admire artwork at a local museum simply because it’s pretty. Share backyard garden veggies with a neighbor. Teach someone how to sew or cross-stitch. Join the neighborhood kids in drawing with sidewalk chalk.
Go connect with the people around you. That’s what we really need to get through this together.
Boundaries are an essential part of self-care.
It is important that you stick to expectations you communicated. Too often, we “give-in” to assist the other person who requested our help. If it’s a genuine emergency, then absolutely help that person stat! Otherwise, you unwittingly set a pattern that you do not value your own time.
Case in point: I voluntarily spent 3-4 days at school in recent weeks helping a colleague and doing things that would benefit me if I took care of them prior to teacher pre-planning. Of course, once people realized I was in the building, people started sending all kinds of requests. I completed the last request on Wednesday evening and informed key individuals that I would be out-of-pocket until Monday at 8 a.m. (when the new contract year begins and we are finally getting paid again).
I wish people would read their email.
I received an email from a colleague with a request for help with a project that needs to be ready to roll Monday morning. It is an interesting idea. I responded with a couple of suggestions, but advised that I would not be available this weekend. Perhaps someone else on the email list will step up to assist.