Monday, 28 March 2011

Corners and Turning

Five weeks after a Major Shock Event At Work which was the cause of my current crisis of confidence, I think I may finally be coming out the other side. I guess there's room for several more dips and wobbles, but today at any rate I had a Good Day at Work for the first time in a long time.

Thanks to friends, who have convinced me that maybe I'm not a waste of space after all.

Also the following Survival Thoughts:

1. I'm doing this for me. Not them. There is no point spending my whole life worrying about whether they're going to stamp FAIL on my forehead. Their opinions are arbitrary and capricious, and don't deserve to have such a big influence on my life. I will get what I can, learn what I can, use this to become bigger and better. If that means I stay here, doing this, at the end of it all, all well and good. If not, then sobeit. I just have to focus on me, and on the people I can help along the way.

2. Just the fact that I'm still there, means I'm winning. They tried to force me to quit. They failed.

3. Small achievable goals. I had two small goals for today. I achieved them both. Rah me.

4. The sun is shining! And music heals.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


"Love, you are one of the most amazing people I have ever met"

This was from one of my lovely commenters, and is especially appreciated because it was from someone who has only met me once or twice. Although... my thou-art-worthless head could say that's WHY she thinks I'm amazing... because she doesn't actually know me properly...

But anyway. I just re-read my "RAH" post and was surprised to find myself describing myself as amazing. Because I don't mostly believe that these days.

It's not just the new career. It's been several years now since I really succeeded at anything. I used to think of myself as a person who could do anything she set her hand to, but that has been disproved several times over now, and in several different spheres.

One of the worst things about my current predicament is that for a while my colleagues were saying, "You're too hard on yourself."

They've stopped saying that. Because people in positions of power and authority, who know what they are talking about, are being just as hard on me as I ever was, and are confirming my own most private and worst suspicions about myself. And I know that other people are thinking, "Oh yeah, come to think of it..." And the more I am criticised, the worse I perform, and the more I worry about being perceived by all as the "drain on resources" I have been described as, and the more I agree with it myself...

The other day there were interviews at my place of work. Such is the nature of the job that some of us got to observe some parts of the selection process. I watched those interviewees and thought back to my own interview. I put on such a good show. Afterwards I said to a small number of colleagues, "I was very confident that I had got this job. I know my interview went well. They were very keen for me to start work here. It must have been such a disappointment when I turned out to be so rubbish." One of the people at the table blushed and hid behind her hair. The image stays with me. And it was my own stupid fault and God, I hate it when people say loudly in public things like "I'm such a waste of space," which puts the listeners in the horrible position of having to either deny or avoid, and is such a needy thing to say.

But anyway.

I joined a gospel choir a couple of weeks ago. It's lovely. It's something I can do, and do well. And it's not about ego and nobody gets the limelight. We just sing together, all concentrating hard on not standing out, on being part of a whole that makes something beautiful. And they're such a great cast of characters. They just accepted me instantly, without asking questions or expecting anything obvious of me other than that I join in and sing, and learn my harmony with the minimum of fuss - which is something I happen to be rather good at. So, there you go: Something I haven't failed at. And which is uplifting and gorgeous.

I'm an atheist. Not everybody in the choir is a Christian. I don't know the proportions - nobody asks or seems to care, although it's clear there are a fair few believers. Personally I'm quite happy to piggyback on the benefits of religion. Spirituality, for me, is about celebrating all the wonderful things we humans are capable of, and - thank God - (haha) that includes music.

So, anyway. Am I amazing? Not so much, not right now. But I tried to do something really difficult, under difficult circumstances. So I'm brave. And I'm still doing it, despite a horrible amount of pressure and some unnecessary unpleasantness. And I'm still trying, and I'm still smiling, some of the time, including at my tormentors (every chance I get, I smile at them. I am bigger than them) (I'm not, I'm smaller, so much smaller, but my smile can be big). And I can sing.


Monday, 7 March 2011


My biggest coping strategy at the moment is to Think Positive.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it does mean that I need to counter that last blog post. I'm still an amazing person who can do, does do and has done great things. There are objective reasons why I'm not doing as well as people would like me to, but I can rectify this and I WILL get better. If I have to I can leave. Other doors always open. I've been immensely strong so far.

And nobody has the right to invade my thoughts and my confidence to the extent that just one person has. They have not treated me well, and it won't help for me to internalise everything and think of myself as a waste of space. I am NOT.

So there.

Oy vey

I know, I haven't been here a while. What can I say?

My life is pretty shit right now. It's as shit as it's been for quite a while, and to be honest it's a while since it's been good. I think. I don't know. I function on a different level these days. Everything is so day-to-day difficult that I am getting better at finding small moments of pleasure in the midst of it all. Appreciating music and trees and cuddles with small people that sprang from my loins and shit like that.

I saw a woodpecker today. A real one. It was a bit boring to look at if I'm brutally honest, didn't seem to have any colours or anything, and a bit smallish and nondescriptish, but it was silhouetted against the sky so what do I know. I really know very little about woodpeckers. I didn't know you got them in inner-city Manchester. I suppose I couldn't even swear it was one, but it was pecking loudly and fastly at some wood with a long pecky beak, so I think it probably was.

Last week was worse than this week. Last week I was in a semi-permanent state of anxiety and nearly gave up altogether several times. No, not suicide. Just abandoning this stupid career I've somehow found myself in. But it's not that easy. I have three dependants, and no other obvious sources of income.

People are telling me that I'm no good at it, that I'm never going to be any good at it, that I'm a waste of space and a drain on resources. But other people say that's not true. I think it might be. But I hate giving up, and anyway I don't know what else to do. But if I don't improve soon they're going to sack me anyway.

It's a hard enough career, without having to do it without the support of your employers.


Oh well. Woodpeckers, eh?