My Inner 6-Yr Old

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill someone else.”

Pink rose mallow

I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy in my life. I know it only harms me dwelling on hurts and grievances. I know that I need to recognize it, understand it, and move on. But very often my inner 6-year old takes over and refuses to let things go. Tonight is one of those nights.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoying the zinnias

At my second professional corporate position, we had to do evaluations. This particular company had forms that were filled out by your peers, your clients, and your management. It was a way to get a more complete picture of how you worked and related to others. I was young. I was often emotional, defensive, wanting to be the best, never err, and win piles of praise. My father had talked to me about corporate life and appropriate behavior. I tried to live up to my daddy’s teachings. So you can imagine my absolute delight and astonishment when I got the results of my appraisal. “Takes criticism and feedback well.” Wow. Did I have them fooled. *grin* Because whenever I DID receive any “constructive criticism” while my demeanor stayed pleasant and professional inside my head I was screaming and raging. 🙂

Noticed this above my head one day as I put the top down on the convertible 🙂

I’m not all that much different all these years (decades) later. I attempt to be professional, gracious, considerate, calm. I don’t always manage the calm but I think I’m decent at the others. That means that I really really REALLY do NOT enjoy nor forget when I’m treated in ways that I feel are NOT professional nor courteous.

Black swallowtail enjoying the zinnias

In the last 2+ years I have transitioned some of the systems I support to a different team. Our first experience got off on the wrong foot, in my opinion. I know why, and I’m not sure that at their age and relative (compared to me) experience that I would not have done the same. From my perspective they decided that since the work was moving from my system to theirs, since the primary client said the current system stunk and they shouldn’t even look at it, they never approached me to discuss the migration. After they’d built a system and were ready for data is when they approached me. They talked down to me, they dismissed what I said, they “knew better” and it went on like that through the whole process. It wasn’t very pleasant for me but I did what needed to be done on my part because that constituted being professional and doing what was best for my client and employer.

white rose mallow

Unfortunately I needed to deal with the same team yet again the following year. I’d inherited a system I did NOT want to support, and we were moving it to their system. I was delighted and told them that repeatedly. This situation could not in any way be construed as me feeling deprived or resentful for “losing” a system. I couldn’t wait to be rid of it. 🙂 I was named the business owner for the migration effort as I had experience with the process, the clients and the business objective. Yet again I was treated with contempt and rudeness. Lest you think in this case I’m being overly sensitive, my manager set in on one call and was appalled at how I was treated. Daddy would have been proud of me. I stayed calm, stayed on topic, refused to be bullied.

zinnias and rudbeckia hortensia laciniata

Ultimately it came time to cutover from the old system (which we all loathed) to the new one. Unfortunately I did not feel that the new system could do all that the clients needed. It lacked key functionality. The new team wanted to release anyway. We had to present to management why I thought we could not release and they thought we could. Management sided with me. We stayed in development and we put out a great new system because that team really does do excellent work in an excellent tool.

swallowtail enjoying the mandevilla. incipient goldenrod in the foreground

Well here we are, months later. They are working on a project and lo and behold – they want to brainstorm with me. They need information about the process and tool I support. Being a professional of course I will…..

caged tithonia (Mexican sunflower). but at least it’s not part of the deer buffet

My inner 6-year old has begun screaming in my head. The heck I’m going to help!!!! So all of a sudden I’m NOT an idiot????? Because I’m the only one who knows this information and you NEED me? Because it’s been such a JOY to work with you in the past? You think I’m going to sit there and calmly teach you everything you’ve scorned for the last 2 years? You’ve made a dozen decisions on this already and “oh I forgot to tell you” and suddenly I’m part of the process??????

grape tomatoes and herbs and flowers in the rain

You see what I’m up against? I cannot get the 6-yr old to let it go. She’s giving me a headache. She’s enraged. She’s vindictive. She’s gloating. And yet we both know she’s NOT going to get her way. So she’s mad at me, too. Sigh. She and I go through this periodically – this bit where she is determined that THIS time we WILL do it HER way. (Yes, she talks in caps a lot – she’s very emotional.) Maybe giving her air time here will help. Although I’m not sure I let her vent enough up there. *grin*

orange gardenia

Okay, Daddy, I’m taking a big breath. I’m going to make you proud. If it kills me.

echinacea and rose mallow

Conditioned Behavior

I spent a lot of time in therapy, not a big secret. I went to a behavioral psychologist. We didn’t focus on WHY I had issues, we focused on what behaviors I exhibited that I wanted to change because they didn’t bring about positive results. He told me repeatedly that behavior is very difficult to change, we have to consciously work at it. Given my own experience and time with him, I’d have agreed 100% with that, until this renovation.

IMG_9014There is a doorway between our dining room and our kitchen. You’ve seen it in the pictures – it’s always covered in plastic sheeting. Our only access to the kitchen area (and, therefore, to the basement and deck) is through the front hall into the kitchen. We’ve turned the dining room into our ersatz kitchen. For weeks we would start to walk through the dining room door only to find the plastic sheet blocking the way. We learned to walk out through the living room, into the front hall, into the kitchen, and then to the bathroom, in order to get water from the sink.

This past week the men putting in the floor opened the plastic in the doorway so they could lay the floor. The door is open. WHAT A RELIEF!!!! Except…. I find myself walking the long way around all the time. If I am not actually looking at the dining room doorway when I head to the basement or deck, I will be walking the long way around to the front hall. 🙂

Why isn’t it this simple to change behavior we DON’T like????? 🙂

Conformity is NOT a Crime

I have a friendly acquaintance – a smart, talented, passionate woman. For the most part I respect her as I believe she tries to live a “good life”. What is a “good life” in my terms? One who tries to help and heal, not harm others. I don’t like her much, however. Her passion extends to her politics. And while we actually agree on many things, we don’t agree on all things. And despite her protestations of “people should be free”, no one should be persecuted, the victim of discrimination, this woman is incapable of living that way when it comes to politics. I am NEVER allowed the courtesy of polite acceptance of my differing views. No; she harangues, argues, contests, makes faces and exasperated noises should I not agree with her point of view. So that teaches me that I am only free to my view as long as it agrees with hers or as long as I do not voice mine. Which leads me to the discussions of virtual worlds and conformity…..

Conformity is NOT a crime. It’s not a sin. It’s not wrong. It’s not bad. Keep your dismay and your disillusionment off my appearance and behavior. You do NOT know me. Maybe for ME, doing in virtual worlds what YOU consider “conforming” is me rebelling from my regular persona. Maybe my body does not fit within normal physical measurements. Maybe my mental condition is such that acting “normal” in the virtual world would astound those who know me. Maybe I live my organic life in a fashion totally at odds with how I portray myself in avatar form. YOU DON’T KNOW. Even if you know my external trappings and behavior, you do NOT know what rages, swirls, flows, twists, soars, floats, plummets, dances within me. How DARE you presume that my avatar indicates a lack of creativity or individuality????? Who are you to judge MY choice of expression? As Jesus said: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. Oh Scarecrow, scared of a little fire??? Too much religion there? How about the saying usual credited to Native Americans: Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their moccasins.

I’m not posting links. You know who you are. Look at your avatars. Are you a sphere? Are you amorphous flashing lights? A tornado? Is your avatar repellent by “normal” standards? Do you hangout with your friends or do you go every time to meet new and different people, different experiences? Do you have ‘your crowd’? How do you spend YOUR virtual time? Are you so different than I?

Virtual worlds do INDEED give us the ability to break free of our organic lives. And maybe for some of us, we take smaller steps than others might take. Maybe what we seek is the community of souls, the togetherness of being. Maybe by “conforming” in our looks, we can break past that particular obstacle and reach to the inner core of where we are truly ourselves. Maybe conformity actually frees us to be us.

I did it again – PWA (Posted while agitated). Maybe one of these days I will learn to rein in my inner-6 year old. Or maybe, just maybe, the blog convention has freed her.