Today, I had to summon my inner She-Ra. I’ve been a bit fragile this week (for various boring reasons) and I could just feel that the slightest of niceties or nasties could have tipped me. And they have done both in equal measure and in that order.
Yesterday I taught at the university (I lecture 3 days a week). I’m teaching my 3rd intake now so I’m proud to see my first year group through to graduation this year. Anyhow, year on year my responsibilities have increased and I have made an impact within the team and feel well respected and valued. On Monday the ‘big boss’ of the school of fashion emailed me requesting details of the units I teach on and then asked me to meet for a chat. In response, I emailed a probably far too detailed summary of the units I teach, how I teach them and the hours I teach too. Dreading the worst from the meeting I worried for two nights, telling my husband I was sure they would reduce my hours or remove me completely, why else would she want to see me and if that happens however would we survive etc etc, catastrophise, catastrophise.
As it turns out, the ‘big boss’ opened the meeting with something along these lines “you are in demand so I don’t want to keep you too long, I just want to check that you are not being taken advantage of and that your skillset and talent are being recognised – we want you to feel valued and use your experience in the correct way”.
Oh. I’m not being sacked then.
In fact, the meeting ended with an opportunity to create my own unit, focussing on my talents and expertise, in a department that requires them.
I felt confident chatting about my skillset because I really do know what I’m doing. And I left feeling elated and valued.
And then. I cried.
I didn’t cry from happiness though. I cried because despite all of this adulation and appreciation I still felt like a failure because the reality was, this adoration was not solving a rather pressing issue I faced yesterday of paying the bills. Unfortunately, being self-employed comes with draw-backs, one being cash flow. One quiet month can set you back two months and before you know it you are crying because you are working your arse off and it seems like you are walking backwards. I’m not here to moan about money though, it’s swings and roundabouts.
My dispair lasted a few hours until I decided to give myself a kick up the arse because although at the moment the appreciation seems fruitless, perhaps I am laying the foundations of what could be a prosperous 2020. By which time my kids would be slightly more independent and maybe this is a sign of good things coming my way… So I stopped the blubbing and cracked on. I mean, what the ‘big boss’ said was actually really nice and I should allow myself to enjoy the compliments I think.
The next thing that tipped me over happened today, but instead of letting it open any floodgates I sucked it up and summoned my inner strength. It was simple and silly. I decided to clear the studio a little and filled a bin bag to take outside to the big black bins. There were three chatty, smoking stylists by the bins. I felt like I was at school, a little intimidated when I knew that I shouldn’t be. And then it happened, the eldest stylist asked me the question that made me feel like a little sad dot.
Her: “Is that your bin?”
Me: “um, yes?!”
Her: “No it isn’t – it’s Wispers” (the hair salon)
Me: “Oh, sorry, I don’t normally do the bin run – you wouldn’t happen to know where Glow’s bin is kept?” (I share a studio with Glow)
Her :”Well, that’s my bin, it’s emptied tomorrow”
They carry on smoking while I open every bin store door looking for one labelled ‘Glow’. I can’t find one and feeling watched, I dash upstairs to ask the girls in the office, who direct me to the big red one across the yard. On my way back down I make the decision to not be such a scaredy cat. I mean, how ridiculous that a small comment, probably harmlessly made could make me feel so small and make my eyes prick with tears. So I summoned my strong self and carried on, I marched up to “Glow’s Red Bin” dumped my bag and made some comment about ours being the “brightest one, hard to miss, how silly of me…” my audience didn’t care, they watched as I dissappeared back upstairs with dry eyes unaware of my small yet significant triumph.
Some days you really do need to see things from a different perspective.
I told you I felt fragile this week!