A quote from someone that has stuck with me:
Once upon a time I worked for a woman I not so affectionately nicknamed the Dragon Lady--DL for short. And a DL she was. I have never worked for anyone quite like her. To say she was bipolar would be a severe underestimate, in my completely non professional opinion. One morning at 8 am she was at my desk screaming at me for some serious indiscretion as serious as participating in a staff meeting (I was strictly forbidden to talk when we had meetings ) or using a stapler when she preferred a paper clip. She stomped back to her office seething and I sat at my desk questioning why I kept working for the crazy DL. At 9 am I had a office full of people and she came back to my desk to use the copy machine that was unfortunately housed adjacent to my desk. She turns around to me as the copy machine grinded out her copies with a huge smile on her face and sings, "How are you today?". I literally turned around to see if somebody was standing behind me because I couldn't imagine she was talking to me. She WAS talking to me. I replied weakly, "Fine?" and she grinned at me and merrily went into her office humming. WTF, right?
And I kept working for her a total of three years and 6 months before I finally got the nerve to transfer out of her department. Some days I estimate I stayed for 3 years too long. When I am feeling especially philosophical I surmise that it was necessary to learn life lessons that I could glean only by her particularly harsh teaching style designed to break ones spirit leaving you limping and begging for the sweet release of a pink slip.
Her favorite saying was "It is what it is". And although I would love to banish that DL dictated edict from my vernacular it seems to come popping out of my mouth on a disconcerting regular basis, much to my dismay and chagrin. The cable company doesn't show until 4 hours past their promised time? It is what it is. The school field trip that has been rescheduled twice gets rescheduled again and as a result the whole family's day gets toppled upside down? It is what it is. Pouring rain on the day of a big family BBQ? It is what it is. The cat pukes in the middle of a freshly washed duvet cover? It is what it is.
The very most interesting part of this story is that three years after I transferred out of her department she retired and was promptly diagnosed with aggressive Stage 4 ovarian cancer. That news shook me to the core, I cried and cried. I went into my therapist and asked what in the hell was wrong with me? (Coincidentally, my therapist was accustomed to me asking her this question and it didn't seem to faze her in the least.) DL was mean to me, even at times cruel, and I was never so happy as when I didn't work for her anymore. My tears were those of genuine sadness. I felt like such a hypocrite, I didn't have many nice things to say about DL. My therapist suggested that she had a major impact on my life (ya think?) and that I write her a letter and tell her how I felt, then decide if I wanted to mail it to her. I have a penchant for ornate girly note cards (just the kind of thing DL detests), so I fished out my prettiest one and sat down and wrote her. And I thanked her. I thanked her for showing me you could be a strong woman and that tears never killed anybody, for all the training I received while working for her including a trip to Georgia (!), and helping me to realize there was a difference between being weak and being sensitive and that I was sensitive. I told her I would never regret working for her and that the experience forced me to grow in ways I couldn't even express. I immediately felt better. I mailed her the letter. I seen her a few months after that and she told me that was most beautiful, heartfelt card she had ever received. Then we held onto to each other and cried. Sitting here writing this makes me weep, they aren't necessarily tears of sadness, it's acknowledging she changed my life forever and always. And maybe not for the worse.
It is what it is.
Life is complicated.
2 days ago