The Vulnerability of Not Dating Every Week


Dear Readers,

I’m back for this one post, because it seemed right for you as opposed to the readers at the other place where I’ve been blogging of late. Also, I hadn’t realized how popular Fern Gully, Fitzgerald, and Frappuccinos had become in my absence. When I was actively blogging here, it seemed like no one ever commented, but when I logged back in, purely for the purpose of protecting my secret blogger identity while commenting on a friend’s blog, I discovered a number of comments on my posts about taking the LSAT. Evidently my SEO increased exponentially when I decided to take that long, stupid test.

Interestingly enough, today’s post has a little something to do with the LSAT and law school: vulnerability.

You see, God has been working on me lately, and not in an abstract, over-spiritualized, ethereal way. He’s been intervening on my behalf when I don’t really want Him around. There are some crazy, irritating ways He’s been chasing me, but I’ll keep the details to myself.

What I will tell you is that His interventions have really manifested as touches to one particular heartstring.

My vulnerability heartstring is, and nearly always has been, weak. Brene Brown’s famous TED Talk spoke to me in ways that haunt me to this day, because so much of my life has been invulnerable. Untouchable. Numbed. It kills me when she says that it’s not possible to selectively numb, because that’s exactly what I would do if given the option. I would numb vulnerability, betrayal, and failure, because those are the emotions that overwhelm me. I can’t sit in those for even a moment, without seeking out a glass of wine and some aged, extra-sharp cheddar.

I say all of this, knowing there’s a strange paradox in me. I am perfectly comfortable with financial and physical vulnerability. After all, I quit a perfectly good career without any plan for the future. If it didn’t trigger vehement protestations in my friends, I would run at 10:00 pm every night, with three glasses of red wine in my system, no flashlight or pepper spray, in the wilderness or along a shady street. Because my deepest darkest fears aren’t that I’ll have nowhere to live or be raped and murdered. Honestly, money is irritating to me and being murdered might hurt for the rest of you, but I’d be happy to find conclusion to my time on this stupid, fallen earth.

That all being said, the vulnerability that scares me, that twangs my heartstring and sends me into a dark night of the soul is sustained eye-contact with a person who wants to know me.

I’ve been not dating someone named Zach. It hasn’t been super long that we’ve been getting to know each other. Maybe a total of two months. And we’ve agreed to build a friendship, which is why we aren’t dating.

About half of the time, I love this approach. I hate that dating is so often about finding a person to fulfill romantic needs. It’s not about truly caring or about serving. It’s about finding someone who makes us feel whatever it is we want to feel.

The other half of the time, I’m losing my mind, because I don’t know what Zach is thinking or feeling, and I don’t know if we’re ever going to be more than “just friends.”

I don’t like that he asks these crazy questions about my story – he’s very in to “story,” by the way, which I love – and he looks at me when I’m talking. And he doesn’t just look at me, it’s like he’s trying to see what’s behind my eyes, or something, like he’s trying to know the things I’m not saying. And all I can do is look at my hands, because it twangs the vulnerability heartstring to see him looking at me like that.

Zach is pretty much the greatest thing since the invention of the stove-top espresso maker. He isn’t yet the cheese to my macaroni, because it’s only been like two months, but maybe he’s the almond milk to my latte… or something.

He works for an engineering company, but he wants to go back to school to become a counselor. His favorite hobby: going to Skate Country. He plays guitar and used to do karate. He loves heavy metal and Taylor Swift. He has the diet of a teenage boy, and is not fat at all. He likes to run trails, but I think he runs like 12-minute miles, or possibly even slower. And he’s really kind. That may sound like an insult, or a throw-away, like… well, he’s a really nice guy… That’s the kind of thing you say when you’re about to break up with someone. That’s not how I mean it. I mean that he’s kind.

Every week, we go on a non-date. Our non-date site of choice: Skate Country. I’ve purchased myself a pair of leopard print skates with pink wheels, and we go. He takes his roller blades, and sticks with me at least half of the time, even though I’m really slow. When people bump into me and I wobble, he reaches out like he’s going to catch me. When there’s a special going on, like the dice game or cardio skate, we talk. He asks serious questions that make be give serious answers. Sometimes we sit on those ridiculous Skate Country benches, and I just want to touch him, because we have yet to really break the touch barrier. Because we’re friends.

My conversations with God about Zach and the other indisputable ways He’s been twanging my vulnerability heartstring hurt.

I know that I’m ill-equipped for a relationship. I’m broken and afraid. I numb my heart when I feel things, and I can’t look Zach in the eye when he’s looking me in the eye. I don’t trust men. I hardly think of them as people, because they are mean, and demanding, and shallow. To me, they are generally to be avoided.

And I just hope and pray that when I’m not looking at Zach, he doesn’t see how afraid I am of him. I ask God to hold me in the palm of His hand and prepare me, just in case Zach does become the cheese to my macaroni. Because as much as I hate the vulnerability of our weekly non-dates… the feeling that I might invest in this friendship only for it to continue on in perpetuity as friendship and non-dates… as much as my heart twangs uncomfortably with whatever this is with Zach right now, I’ve learned from Brene Brown that the “whole-hearted” are a people who are exactly what I’m afraid to be. They are a people who risk their hearts, with no guarantees about how things will work out… or not. They embrace the “excruciating vulnerability.”

I hope God is twanging your heart too, dear reader. 🙂

It’s good to check in with you again.

 

 

Goodbye, Aurelia Plath


It seemed obvious to me that Esther Greenwood was an unreliable narrator, as it seems obvious to me that I am an unreliable narrator. The only truly reliable narrator is the omniscient one, who doesn’t participate in the story.

Seven years after Sylvia Plath’s suicide, her mother wrote a letter to Plath’s editor, describing The Bell Jar as representing “the basest ingratitude.” She wrote that, “practically every character in The Bell Jar represents someone – often in caricature – whom Sylvia loved; each person had given freely of time, thought, affection, and, in one case, financial help during those agonizing six months of breakdown…”

Aurelia Plath mothered a brilliant daughter, who wrote what it felt like to lose her will to live… Of course Esther Greenwood was an unreliable narrator. The purpose of the story wasn’t to accurately depict people and events. The author, herself, described the book as “an autobiographical apprentice work which I had to write in order to free myself from my past.”

I really struggle to keep this blog going – not because there isn’t anything to write or for want of time. I struggle because of Aurelia Plath.

It both makes complete sense to me, and yet it also seems completely ludicrous that people feel hurt, anxious, distressed… over the things I write.

It makes sense because it must seem like “the basest ingratitude” that I write about people who’ve “given freely of time, thought, affection…” and I don’t always paint those people flatteringly. Instead, I write my experiences of the hypocrite boyfriend, hated mother, and doctor who mis-administered shock therapy, or whatever the equivalents of those are in my life.

I understand the hurt of Aurelia Plath, and I’m sorry for it.

I’ve been writing this blog for years now, and I’ve enjoyed the sense of connectedness I feel when someone texts me saying that something I wrote was good or that it resonated with them, but I’ve also hated the feeling I get when someone texts me saying that something I wrote hurt them… or maybe nobody even texts me, but two years later, I find out that so-and-so has been upset at me ever since I wrote… whatever it is that I wrote.

I’m tired.

No matter how I tried not to offend, I offended. It started way back when my roommate accidentally squirted a bunny in the face with water from a hose, and somehow the story I wrote about it hurt her feelings. I guess I didn’t make it clear enough that she’s not a bunny-hating evil person. I really just thought the story was blog-worthy because it included pictures of a tiny bunny.  It never once occurred to me that my story of calling around and finding an animal rescue that would take in a bunny that somehow, unbeknownst to us, hopped into our yard would ever be viewed as an insulting story about roommate.

But that’s the way it goes.

I offended with a post I wrote about how I think baptisms should be. I offended with posts about silly things and posts about serious things. I offended by accidentally revealing secrets that I didn’t know were secrets. I offended multiple people who I felt pretty confident didn’t even read my blog. I offended with theology and humor and even my own sadness… I honestly can’t seem to write anything without hurting somebody’s feelings.

This space was originally created as a refuge. It’s Dorothy Jane’s “Sanctuary from the Storm.” I began writing here when I was “riffed”/laid-off from my job. I began because I’d always wanted to write and I wanted a writing space that was mine. However, the longer I write here, the less this space feels like it’s mine. It seems like the purpose of writing here has been defeated and swallowed up by the needs of real life relationships.

I’m telling you this, because this is going to be my last post here, and it seems rude to leave the room without a wave or a nod goodbye. I think it’s time I start afresh. In a new space. Where nobody knows my name.

Thank you for reading. A few of you have stuck with this blog for something like eight or nine years. I’ve never really understood what kept any of you reading, but I thank you for the “time, thought, and affection.” Now, you’ll unfortunately need to call me up and talk to me if you want a life update. 😉

The LSAT, Google Fail, and Stephen King’s Time Travel


Google absolutely failed me just now. Stephen King wrote that reading/writing is an act of time travel. I’m sure of it. I can actually picture the page in my copy of ON WRITING where I highlighted the quote. This only goes to show you that electronics are inferior to a well-read physical book with pages.

About time travel, though: Stephen King explains that reading/writing is about a person sitting down and putting thoughts on paper, communicated to a person in the future, who will sit down and connect with those thoughts on the page. It’s really travel through both space and time and it’s what’s happening to you right now.

As I write this, I’m sitting at Starbucks on Sunday, September 18. You, however, are reading this somewhere that probably isn’t Starbucks, on or after Saturday, September 24.

Usually, I don’t bother you with the time travel that’s a constant on this blog, because who really cares that I write posts, then schedule them so that they go live while I’m out living my life, doing other things?

This time, though, the time travel matters to me a little bit, because there is a decent chance you are reading this post while I am taking the LSAT.

I’ve been preparing for this day with hours and hours and hours of studying. I’ve read three thousand-plus page books in about eight weeks. I’ve downloaded apps, even though I hate apps. I’ve given up precious reading and writing time, exercise time, sleep time, and just TIME in general to prepare to take this test.

I’m feeling fairly optimistic about today. I could have studied a little harder. I’m the type who is pretty good at planning balance and rest into my life, so I hope I’ve found that perfect amount of time-sacrifice to get me the score I need, which, by the way is 160.

160 is the score that gets me into any/all of the schools I might be interested in attending.

160 is the lower end of scholarship potential.

160 is a solid score.

On all of my practice tests for the past month, I’ve scored at or around 160. 159. 160. 158. 161…

Yesterday, however, which is in the past for both of us, but is a week ago for you and just a day ago for me… yesterday, I scored a 163 on my final full-length practice test. The difference between a 163 and a 160 is four questions. The higher you score on the LSAT, the fewer questions you have to improve to improve. For instance, the difference between a 120 and a 121 is 15 questions. That’s an extreme example, because 120 is the lowest score possible, but you get the gist.

Scoring a 163 was nice, but it’s also stressing me out. You see, I always guess on about 12 questions on the test. I’m not fast enough to get through everything, so there is almost always exactly one reading comprehension passage I don’t get to and one logic game. That adds up to about 12 questions, usually. The difference between my 160 and 163, could very well rest within those 12 questions I will have to guess on.

Life’s a bitch, isn’t it.

There you are, enjoying a nice session of time travel, and here I am, sitting in a room full of people like me: people who are very concerned with choosing the right guess bubbling pattern… should I go with all Cs? C is the most common correct answer, right? Somebody told me that once, but it’s probably not true anymore. I could go a-b-c-d-e-a-b-c-d-e. They say you have a 1-in-5 chance every time, and it doesn’t really matter, but they’re obviously robots who don’t understand. I could try to spell something out, or guess randomly. WHAT THE HELL DO I DO!?

The bubbling pattern I choose will likely be the difference between thousands of dollars. This bubbling pattern may very well dictate where I’m going to live, who I’m going to meet, what jobs I get, and how long I’m going to be in debt… It’s basically the bubbling pattern from Hell.

Other luck factors that will impact my entire future:

I score higher when the Reading Comprehension section comes early on in the test.

I score higher when Logic Games come somewhere in the middle of the test.

I score higher when one of the Reading Comprehension passages is about books or writers.

I score higher when the science passage in the Reading Comprehension section has fewer questions than the other passages have.

I score higher when there’s a 1-tiered logic game that’s easily-identifiable as such.

I hope you enjoy your day. I hope that while I’m furiously reading, analyzing, bubbling, and diagramming you’re drinking a mimosa. I hope you’ll pause just long enough between sips to ask Jesus for 4 correct guesses for me… just 4. That’s all I want. And for the Reading Comprehension section to come first. And for there to be no problems with me looking like the picture of me on my entrance ticket. And for the tester next to me to be almost exactly like Nathan Fillion, only a little younger and a Calvinist version of him, who is single. Is that too much to ask?

🙂

 

Accidental Wisdom


I accidentally said something wise at work.

Co-worker Elaine had asked me about Ragnar because her husband and some of his friends were getting a team together and she wasn’t sure if she should run or not, and I have a bunch of Ragnar stickers on my car.

Of course, I told her Ragnar is the best. I told her that it’s my favorite race, and that she is totally capable of running it. I told her that people run in costume and there’s a unique camaraderie in the van. I told her it’s a chance to feel like a kid again.

Still, Elaine was worried about her pace. Evidently her husband’s friends are cops and are pretty competitive. They didn’t love that she runs like an 11-minute pace. In our conversation about pace, she was saying that she just didn’t think she would ever get faster, and I said, “Pace is really just dependent on how uncomfortable you’re willing to be. You can get faster; it just might not be worth the discomfort.”

Of course discomfort is not the only factor. If I’d lose 20 lbs, it’d be a lot easier for me to run faster, but the variable that’s always a factor is discomfort.

I am a firm believer that anyone can run Ragnar, anyone can run a half marathon, and anyone can run a full marathon. The question isn’t whether a person can do it. The question is whether a person is willing to do it. The question is how uncomfortable a person is willing to be, because running a marathon is really uncomfortable for a really long time.

Elaine recently quoted me back to myself, saying that she actually thinks about discomfort every time she runs now. She thinks about how if she’ll just be a little more uncomfortable, she’ll also be a little faster.

It’s really cool to hear that it helped her. Even though I didn’t intend to be particularly awesome or helpful in that moment, what I said to Elaine has actually been really helpful to me in studying for the LSAT.

The LSAT is an obnoxious test. And I’m beginning to believe that taking it is a lot lot running a personal best on race day. It’s not just about getting up to the distance; it’s also about being efficient. It’s about pacing and constant forward motion.

I scored my first 160 on a practice test several weeks ago, which was awesome. 160 is the median score U of A accepts, and it’s at the lower end of the range where they offer merit-based scholarships. It was also my goal score, so I got to adjust my goal up, which is always such a confidence-booster. But it took a lot of discomfort to get to that 160. It took a lot of sitting at sbucks, reading and practicing a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with law school. I’ve done practice questions about giraffes, race cars, evolution, public parks, furniture, bread deliveries, tropical fish, computers, drilling fluids, choreography… you name it, I’ve studied it. Some of the questions are about literature, which always makes me happy, but the vast majority of my preparation has been reading about crap that really irritates me.

Also, it would have been easy to score 160, then stop worrying and studying. And yet, here I am, at sbucks, getting ready to work through my third thousand-plus page book, in the hopes that reading about the history of model airplanes will provide significant compensation in a few months. Discomfort now, for comfort in the future.

That’s what running is like. The more uncomfortable I’m willing to be, the better I will likely perform on race-day.

Shaming the Fat Kid


I have always thought of myself as a fat kid. Always.

As an athlete, I was never the fast girl whose job it is to get on base and run. My job was to hit the ball really far so that that fast girls who were on base in front of me could score. I wasn’t super-fat. I know that, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was not an outfielder or a short stop. I could play those positions competently, without making errors, but I didn’t have the range to play them if there were other tiny girls on the team. When I’m honest about it, I really just think of myself as on the edge of fat. I always out-ran the skinny girls over distances greater than or equal to a quarter of a mile, which meant something, but I still wanted to be agile and quick.

I went to the doctor a few months ago, which is actually a big deal. I hate going to the doctor. I hadn’t been in something like 7 years, because they seem to always shame me about something. Last time, the shaming had to do with my unwillingness to submit to invasive exams and tests aimed at identifying problems I almost certainly (like less than 1% chance) didn’t have. This time, the shaming was about my weight.

During the visit, my NP told me I was morbidly obese. Then she reached over and grabbed the extra flab on my tummy. Then she told me I was probably infertile and that she wanted to run a bunch of tests on my hormones along with doing normal lab work. She also wanted me to lose 60 lbs. by logging all of my calories and eating almost no carbohydrates, aka Atkins.

I went home and did some BMI research, and, realistically, I was something like 75 lbs short of morbidly obese. To put this into perspective, an adult male Golden Retriever might weigh 75 lbs. That’s the upper range of their weight. So now, picture Katie, running a marathon (which I did about 6 months prior to my doctor’s appointment) with a large, male Golden Retriever strapped to her stomach. That’s how absurd this whole thing was.

I decided to do an assessment of my weight for myself. If we start with a mild respect for the BMI, which I really don’t have, I was about 10lbs into the obese range. I’ll admit that I’m overweight. That’s what I mean when I say that I’m on the edge of fat kid… I have both a figurative and literal soft spot for caramel lattes, microwaved cheese crisps made with aged, sharp, and expensive cheddar, and good gelato. I know that. I also know that I can hold plank pose longer than even makes sense and I can run for more than an hour without too much trouble. Regardless, BMI said I was obese, so I decided I should probably lose weight – not 60 lbs, but maybe 20.

Then there was the hormone thing to deal with. NP felt pretty confident that I had a serious hormonal imbalance and needed to be put on the pill. When the labs came back, they showed that I’m really pretty healthy. I had a Vitamin D deficit and low HDL (the low HDL is very likely a genetic thing passed on by my father). Most of my other numbers were on the healthier side of normal. I had two hormones that were slightly out-of-whack, but those two are highly dependent upon what time of the month it is, so we’d need to test them a few more times to know what’s actually going on with them, and I really felt like the amount of out-of-whack they were exhibiting was negligible.

Basically, my Nurse Practitioner made it seem like I was on death’s doorstep when I’m really very healthy. She scared the hell out of me and completely shamed me… needlessly. She didn’t listen to anything I told her. I told her that I’m a really active individual. I’m a runner and a yogini (yogi?). I’d recently become a Vegetarian. I didn’t feel any aches or pains. I felt I’d had too much wine in 2015, so I hadn’t had any for several months. I didn’t have any noticeable symptoms of anything. What she heard was, “I’m in denial and I’m ashamed of my actual behaviors so I’m minimizing them to you.” I told her there was no way in hell I was going to download an app to count calories because I hate technology and would rather jump out of a moving vehicle than count all of my calories. She heard, “I’m lazy and intend to gain 5 lbs a year until I become completely bed-bound at the age of 55, needing a hoyer lift to transfer my morbidly obese body from bed to recliner.”

And the horrible thing about all of this is that I’m probably not going back to the doctor for another 7 years. I may try to talk myself into seeing someone else. Or I may just continue what I’m doing and harbor hatred and disrespect for PCPs, even though I know they don’t all suck.

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Sidenote: the result of my own research is that I decided to lose 20 lbs. I’ve currently lost 13 (in about 11 weeks). If I gain back 3 of those lbs, I will again be obese, but, for now, I’m simply overweight.

How did I lose 13 lbs, you ask? I did not log any of my calories anywhere. I did not limit my carbohydrates to Atkins level of intake. I did continue drinking a caramel latte every morning. I did completely give up gelato, substitute cauliflower for rice, stop eating snacks, stop eating at 7:00 pm most nights, and add about an hour (maybe an hour-and-a-half) of workouts to my week. I did watch every documentary that exists about food and diet. I did limit myself to eating two meals a week that were prepared or cooked by someone other than me – this includes Chipotle and the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. I did spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food and what I was going to cook. I did read a ton of cook books and check out every Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, and Billy Blanks workout DVD the library has.

That’s what works for me, because in he 31 years I’ve known myself, I’ve figured out that I am not okay with giving up my morning caramel latte. I’d rather spend the entire day fasting from all solid foods than give up my latte. I am okay with working out all the time. I’m also okay with cooking all of my meals myself. I am not okay with phone apps.

I just wish healthcare professionals brought a sense of creative problem solving and diversified care to the table. It’s almost as if they believe I am the same as every other person who has a high BMI. It’s as if they don’t understand how much I feel like life is not worth living without a good latte… as if they don’t understand that there is an uncountable number of variables that impact a person’s body weight… as if they believe there is only one way to skin a cat.

 

 

 

Inglorious Nature


When I was 23, I told a coworker that I dreamed of someday having a yard full of rocks without any grass or plants in it. Coworker remembers that comment to this day. At the time I said it, I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy. I think I remember her saying something to the effect of, “That is a dream that you can definitely bring to fruition.”

Now that I’m all growed up, I do own a yard that has rocks and very few bits of life in it. However, it does have some trees and a hedge and a couple of bushes that periodically need to be groomed.

I know I seem like the type of person who would love nature. I’ve done some really cool things in nature throughout various parts of the world. I also just seem sort of quiet and contemplative, like I share  something in common with Thoreau and the Romantics. 

I don’t.

I enjoy lattes. I enjoy yoga. I like books. I like paintings. I like bubble baths. I like fancy dinners and dancing. I enjoy expensive red wine. I enjoy candles. I like vhs tapes of movies no one else enjoys. 

All of those things bring me more joy than nature brings me. It’s not that I dislike nature. I’m sort of ambivalent to it. Some people find comfort in nature. I will enjoy nature when I want to enjoy something with someone who enjoys nature, but I really just don’t feel the need to seek out the wilderness.

I tell you all of this, because there was a birds’ nest in my yard that I enjoyed. For three years. There were these doves, and they would come back every spring, and they would sit in the nest right outside my living room window and it was great. It was glorious.

Then, my neighbor got my phone number from the HOA, and she asked me for access to my yard, because her house was being painted and it is the wall of my yard. I didn’t really want to give access because I’m sort of a recluse who wants to be alone, but I’m also one of those people who doesn’t ever want to be that asshole who won’t do something for someone else. So I gave them access to my yard.

They painted the wall and the even trimmed up some of my nature near the wall. Several days went by before I realized what they had done. 

I actually gasped when I noticed.

They had removed the birds’ nest!

I couldn’t believe it. Those poor birds 😦 I actually really enjoy birds. I once had ducks even that were my pets, and they were the best pet ever. Since the dicks, I’ve held an odd affection for birds and ducks and doves. 

But what was I really going to do about it? I couldn’t see it being helpful to tell my neighbor because she hadn’t been the one to do it, and probably didn’t even know it had been done; she’d hired some people and they did what they did.  Also, it really wouldn’t bring the birds back if I complained about it. So I’ve just been stewing.

Then, today, I decided it was about time that I went out and trimmed one of the trees and my hedge, so that the HOA doesn’t send me an angry letter.

So there I was, clipping away, stewing about how I was going to have to deal with all of the limbs and stupid nature that needed to be thrown out with the garbage, all because some person somewhere decided that we should build our homes in a way that is incongruent with nature and, in fact, we should tidy up nature and it’s against the rules to let it grow free.

Then, one of my other neighbors, out walking her dog, saw me clipping away. 

“Ooh… isn’t that a job for a man, darling?” she said.

I was polite to her, but REALLY?!

REALLY?!

Why don’t people mind their business? Why? I’ll trim my tree if I damn well please.

And then, it happened. I shoved my clippers up in that tree and was about to chop off a branch, and there it was. The dove was staring at me from her newly-built nest, staring with one big, cautious eye.

I could have cried for joy!

The birds didn’t abandon me! They must know how much I love them! I hope they make their home in my trees all the rest of their lives, and their children’s lives for generations to come!

“I won’t hurt your babies, Love,” I told her. Then I took pictures, and left her alone.  🙂

 

  

Happy Saturday!

It All Changes When You Interact with Your Boss Daily


I’m really struggling with my relationship to my boss. In part, this is because I’ve worked mostly autonomously for my entire adult life. Now, I see my boss and interact with her every day.

Note: it’s really hard for me not to write a hilarious post right now, because it would be easy to do. It would be easy to make fun of my boss, but I’m going to try not to do that. In fact, so many moments in my relationship with my boss should’ve been made into episodes of The Office. However, I’m going to try to be real about the way I ache over this relationship right now.

_______________________________________

My boss is an interesting lady. She’s raised a bunch of kids – none of whom were hers. They were her siblings’ children, and she took them in when they had nowhere else to go, because their parents had mental breaks. There is an elderly lady my boss visits once a week. She helps out at her church.

I so wish I could admire her properly for those actions, but she’s so… aware of them. Instead of keeping her right hand from knowing what her left has done, she seems to be holding a sign with her right hand that’s a constant headline of what the left has done.

Taking in and raising another person’s children is HUGE. I don’t want to miss that. She gave up much of her life willingly.

__________________________________________________

My boss is the type who exerts power as a default. I think this comes from becoming a mother abruptly, rather than growing into it as the child grows. When a woman takes on a teenager, I think it’s easy to view her role as one of the enforcer. With teenagers, and especially teenagers who’ve not had strong parenting previously, it’s important to be able to say, “No,” and say it loudly.

I think that’s why my boss interacts with the people around her as if she’s been appointed the enforcer. The volunteers who are almost all older than she is call her “Mom.” They do so teasingly, but she takes pride in the sense of authority that comes with that title. She doesn’t quite get that only half of them call her “mom” with any affection.

Her previous job experience comes from working at Intuit, where she did tech-y things, and moved up through the company into mid-level management. Her career advancement was through hard work, and despite the absence of a college degree. Her time at Intuit created in her a strong respect for process documents and the chain of command. She won’t do anything outside of the normal process without permission from her direct superior, regardless of how insignificant such an action might be, and she sees it as incompetence and rebellion when anyone else does anything outside of what’s written on the process doc.

________________________________________________

My boss is proud of her Christianity, and talks a lot about her good works. Along with that, she’s judgmental, believing she knows what’s right and that all people should conform to her sense of morality. She doesn’t take the Bible seriously as the Word of God, but sees it more as a bunch of parables and metaphors, so the majority of her beliefs about morality are centered in church culture.

________________________________________________

My boss is insecure about her appearance and her weight. She’s made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and has given up… well… most of her diet for the foreseeable future. She points it out when I eat anything she can’t eat on her diet, and does so in a sort of, “That’s a lot of calories,” kind of way.

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My boss panics and/or gets angry when a day strays off its intended course. If a volunteer doesn’t follow a process laid out in their training, she thinks less of them and expects them to continue “failing” as we go forward. She also continuously admonishes me for my tendency to give such volunteers the benefit of the doubt. She believes I see them with rose-colored glasses. Her greatest mission with regards to me and my performance seems to be to squash any amount of patience, peace, and flexibility I have with people who draw outside of the lines.

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It’s a really difficult relationship, because she seeks to make me into something I don’t want to be, and believe I should, in fact, never be.

My relationship with her reminds me of my relationship with my sister in a lot of ways.

You see, I’m the worst person in the world for someone to try to control. It’s not that I’m rebellious or competitive… I know some people see me that way. I actually think I have something more akin to tunnel vision. I set my view on what I want to be, and drive towards that without regard to anything else.

My boss wants me to be less forgiving, which is in direct opposition to what I want to be. She wants me to see the volunteers’ flaws, but I intentionally choose to see the best parts of them.

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I’m coming from a place where I was routinely asked the same question 20 times a day, and I repeated my answer (calmly for the most part) every time I was asked… a place where I had to be at peace with those under my authority making mistakes, often intentionally and/or maliciously… a place where I never thought it was within my power to eliminate bumps in the road… I truly saw my job as providing unavoidable opportunities for kids to learn, and continuing to love them when they were least lovable.

So… when volunteers do something that’s in a gray area, it hardly registers to me. It’s just part of the day. It’s to be expected. Of course, there are times when they really cross a line, and we need to sit down and talk, but that’s a rare need in my view. I’d also prefer a casual mention of it the next time we see them to sitting them down and formally telling them they’ve done something wrong and we’ve documented it in their charts.

For the most part, I believe my job is to equip volunteers to see patients. I believe I am to fuel them, advocate for them, and make it easy for them to serve.

I think my boss believes our job is to keep them from breaking rules.

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It’s just a really painful dynamic with my boss right now. My hope is that we will work smoothly together to complement each other in the future, but, I worry that her heart is in the wrong place and that she’s a rude person who oscillates between feeling sorry for herself and undiluted pride.

I try to pick my moments. I try to show her the grace I wish she would hold for others. I try to be gentle and helpful. I try not to point out her hypocrisies. I try not to lose it when she insults me or others.

And it’s been okay. There have been a few times when I believe I said something that’s helping her grow.

And as much as I didn’t want to write a comical post about all of this, the dynamic just reminds me soooo much of Michael Scott. Of course Michael made a few big sales, and all of the characters developed an involuntary affection for him, but sometimes, he just… well…

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