Shake it Off!

 I'm hiding cool
I’m hiding cool


Yesterday on my way out of a meeting my right leg went numb and I stumbled, corrected myself, took two steps and went plummeting into an ugly brown carpet in a hallway and sat there looking like an idiot, trying to figure out what had just happened. Thankfully it was slightly after hours and there wasn’t a massive audience to my grand splaying.

The meeting was with two male colleagues and one male supervisor. Their reactions were a little giggle worthy because they “didn’t know what to do”. Here’s the thing, I’m not a “dainty gal”. If something needs to be moved in my office and I can, I do. This causes some amusement to my colleagues because someone at my “level” shouldn’t be doing that, worse off a woman at my level. I’m not a “butch” girl (I don’t think I have any muscle definition in my arms and I am way too lazy for the gym) but I don’t often wait around for someone else to something when I can do it myself. Labour is also relatively cheap here as well so there is no reason why someone else cant to general grunt work.

One of my (many) faults is delegating. I am terrible at it. Just terrible. I almost always think I can do things better than anyone I can give a task to which makes it difficult to work with me because chances are, I will struggle to appreciate you fully and believe everyone is operating at less than their 100% and willfully choosing to do so. I will try and make you feel better about yourself after you have delivered whatever output I want though. I try and teach people what I want them to give me but there’s always something “missing” and I try not to let it get to me. Note the abundant use of the word “try” in that paragraph. I am a work in progress.

The other day I saw Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off! video and I got an attack of the fuzzies. Lovely warm feelings and I empathised so much with trying to fit into activities that are sooooo not me. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it!

Here’s the thing, you have to do you. But sometimes doing you needs some work and you have to acknowledge it and choose to do better.

I’m not sure I would have liked any scenario where any of the people who saw me fall picked me up (oh yeah, I have a problem with unsolicited body contact too… general physical proximities in general actually), and I remember thinking, “thank heavens I am wearing pants today.” One of my female subordinates “came to my rescue” and chastised the fellas for not helping me, grabbed my shoes and then watched me walk to my desk (while my supervisor told her to massage my foot which I thought was inappropriate but that’s a story for another day).

What about me in that scenario makes me think I should question whether I am harmful to myself… in that context…I’m coming up empty but another fault of mine crops up and that is going over incidences and building them into things that don’t need to survive their existence beyond the occurance. I am not always perfect and I am not always at fault (somehow both those thoughts exist in my world constantly), I just have to shake off what was and focus on what is and will be.

I guess my take away question for the day is what do you do in the name of “being you” harms you and how are you going to fix that?

Quit trying to be someone else but make sure you’re honest about how being you can suck and improve it.


When Compliments Don’t Actually Flatter You



I came across this article: Why Girls Cant Take a Compliment a while ago and it got me thinking about myself and my inability to take compliments in general (my brain refuses to accept “nice” things), perhaps I am not sure people actually mean “nice” things when they say them and there is some kind of hidden meaning but in this post I will mainly deal with “sexual” compliments. The other day someone I work with came up to me and used this phrase: “You have bulged!” while staring at my hips. I am sure in his mind, this should have flattered me but in my mind I felt: “If I could gouge the eyes out of your head and make you swallow them, I would.” but I just smiled, mumbled something, came back to my desk and took of my heels and spent the rest of the day in flat pumps. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t dressed remarkably and I definitely was not “fishing” for compliments. I knew I looked OK but I was not by any means “dressed up”. I’m on the pill and its added some weight in very “womanly” places that complement me even though I grimace every time I see my tummy and swear I will never eat bread again coz it bloats me but I digress… Being told I was “bulging” no matter how well meaning did not flatter me and reminded me of that article above.

Its not been easy for me to be comfortable in my body, the usual teenage issues that translated to adult inadequacies, very little new there but I want to talk about how much “weight” (see what I did there? no? never mind then) we give to female “virtues.” There is so much value placed on how the rest of the world sees you rather than on how you see yourself. I don’t think I can recall my mother or any formidable adult female (or male) telling me that what I thought of myself mattered (except when my older sister was trying to push a rebellion on me and I feared disciplinary measures way more than I yearned for “cool points”), so some of my earliest foundations were: you only matter by how much other people value you and as a girl that will be valued by how short your sexual history is and how long your skirts are. That’s it. Look nice, be nice and all will be good, in fact if you could play stupid and just grin all the time, that would be fabulous.

Other people’s perception of a female’s sexual prowess, whether validated or not is going to be the only thing that matters. For instance, the other day on the radio, a woman was seeking “advice” on her domestic situation. She’s been “married” to this guy for at least two years (I caught the show in the middle so I don’t know exactly how long) and he regularly beats her. In 2013, he beat her while she was pregnant so badly that she lost her baby… after that, BOTH her family and his believed they would still be better off together, she is pregnant again now and doesnt want to lose this baby. And you know what the majority of comments were, “are you sure you are married?” (and other variations on establishing that she was indeed “recognized” by him and his family), “you need him because you wont be able to support a baby by yourself,” and then chastising her on not following up with the police when the police failed to provide any remedy to her after she filed initial reports (I think three different policemen called in with procedures on what happens in such cases and it was her fault why no traction had been made on her case). The dude is on the run and boasts that beating his women is what he does and there is no way the police can ever catch him. Of all the callers I heard, only one (the only woman) actually provided her with concrete other parties she could consult with for options and a method to escalate her case. Only one man told her to leave this fella coz she could die and I am thinking, “wait… how is it that she comes on radio, says she is an abused wife, has even filed a police case and we now need to “analyse” her moral character by suggesting that she shouldn’t be making these accusations if she isn’t married and then by giving her flack for the police not doing their jobs?” I am sure there was a reason I started on this tirade… gimme a sec…oh right! So, this lady on the radio did not sound “dis-empowered” and by that I mean she did not play the victim card. What she wanted was another option on top of what she had already tried, she sounded reasonably educated and therefore the perception is she has “lived”… and that is why those calls were the way they were. Attacking (I use this word for visual effect of course) her for not “fitting” the prescribed perception of what a wife should be: obedient, agreeable and mostly “not know any better”.

A colleague of mine once said to me that men always go back to their wives no matter what they do “elsewhere” and suggested the wives will always take them back and this is partly why compliments are difficult to take in for a lot of women, because they are generally so shallow that they do not even cover a tenth of the person you are dealing with. A compliment of a sexual nature doesn’t take me, the person into account. Its only about what you THINK you see when you look at me, what values you think I have based on your perceptions of how I present myself. When you are looking at me in that way, you are seeing an idea of what I should be… and that kinda pisses me off.

Tell me when I actually DO something that is worth talking about, set me a bloody goal I can aim for and attain that doesn’t centre on external validation but internal motivation. Anywho… I’ve gone way longer than I intended to. Let me know what compliments piss you off or what you think doesn’t get seen about you because people tend to get stuck at face value. O&O