It Was a No Good, Very Bad Week

It was a no good, very bad week.

But, I’m not gonna quit!

maya-angelou_D1TR3It was the supreme and brilliant, Maya Angelou that said,  “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

This phrase has gotten me out of some very toxic relationships. Maybe you think it’s only the callused and cynical that value her statement. But everything about me radiates softie. I give people not one chance, but decade’s worth, and the toll it takes on me and my family has been brutal. But Angelou’s words cut through the guilt and let me do an instant gut check. Who are you?  Okay then. I believe you. I’ll stop looking for something else that you cannot give/be.

This week I was slammed by not people, but people within businesses that I work with, one paid, one volunteer.  It wasn’t a rude nudge, either. No, I was thrown into a solid wall by a big Samoan. As a result, I spent three days disconnected to social media, email and cell phone. I needed some silence and some space to see clearly what these two places revealed about who they are. The complication is that I love both organizations, I do. I love what they stand for, the tenets they were founded on and the people, too. But, I needed to see who they were and believe them the first time.

As my heart hardened, and my inner voice whined, “Not fair!” and “Why me?” I did what has taken me 33 years to learn, I shut up. No easy task for the girl my college friends called, “Verb,” as in highly verbal. My voice strained to scream, my fingers to type long-winded and drama-laced emails, and my hands ached to strike out, shake, and claw.

The first night didn’t go well. It was as though all the negative thoughts had become toxins in my blood. My stomach twisted into knots and my heart literally ached, so much so that my husband asked if he should call the paramedics, twice. I let myself feel. The next two days went better. I spent time with my family and dug in the dirt and painted and scribbled in my sketchpad and did chores, all the while thinking, processing, sorting.

Because after 33 years of failing, I’ve learned how to be patient, how to lock down the worst in myself and wait for something better to seep in.

As of this writing, Day Four, I’m still waiting for the something better. But, at least I have  peace of mind knowing that I haven’t hurt anyone with my words. I haven’t damaged relationships with people and companies I care about. I don’t have a clear direction, but it’ll come.

I’ll recognize it when it comes because it will be something I never would’ve done on my own. I call it grace. I’ve learned to recognize grace because it whispers something foreign and strange when my humanness aches to lash out, hurt, and damage. And that’s how I know the thought is not from me, broken and flawed me, because it is the opposite of my thoughts. Beautiful grace.

So, if you’re interested, I’ll share what grace reveals from the two messes I’m facing. And maybe the next time life twists your guts, you can take a breath, or ten, or a thousand and see what grace creates in the pause.

Back Camera

12 thoughts on “It Was a No Good, Very Bad Week

  1. This is such a great post, Jennifer. I got quite a shivery feeling when I read those words by Maya Angelou. I’ve recently left a job where the environment was quite toxic and it’s only now that I’m wondering why it took me so long to quit, when those that I worked for “showed themselves” numerous times. Like you, I seem to keep giving people a second, third, fourth chance when my instinct is screaming at me that they don’t deserve that. We all have an off day from time to time but that’s why it’s important to apologise if you’ve behaved in a way that’s not you. I always try to do that with my son because I want him to grow up trusting his own perception of the way people behave towards him.

  2. The quote by Maya Angelou is a personal favorite. I love that you removed yourself for a couple of days to “regroup” and remained open to grace during that time.

    I’m rooting for you, Jennifer. Ellie Parker

  3. Jennifer, I feel for you. I also give people too many chances, and sometimes regret that. But sometimes, grace does happen, and I hope it does for you. You certainly deserve it.

  4. I also love the Maya Angelou quote and also try to remember it when I’m making too many excuses for someone else’s bad behavior. I’m pressed that you’ve learned patience at 33. I’m older than you and still not there…

  5. I also love the Maya Angelou quote and try to remember it when I find myself making excuses for someone else’s bad behavior. I’m impressed that you’ve learned patience by 33. I’m older than you and still not there :)

  6. You are one of the few social media friends who I have met in the “real” world. You are warm and wonderful. Your vibe is fun and free. Knowing this about you, it is clear these folks are not operating on all cylinders. This isn’t about you, but about their own issues. I know it’s hard. I’m sorry you’ve had a rough week, but hang in there. You are resilient. I bless you with awesomeness!

  7. The sun shines after the rain. Things will get better. And if you can quote Maya Angelou, you know that your mind is in the right place. What a great poet she is.
    Claudia

  8. Your comment about grace speaks to me, Jennifer. I love grace. The idea of it fills me with safety, love…and innocence. Wishing you grace’s whisper with your current dilemma.

  9. I appreciate your post. It is hard when you’re taken to the mat through no fault of your own. People sometimes don’t understand what it is they’re doing, how they’re affecting others around them. Grace. It’s a good place to be.

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