That’s What She Said…

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Know what?  I am supposed to be a professional.  That is a fact that I sometimes have to sit myself down and reprimand and remind myself of.  Most of the people who I work with on a daily basis know that I am a free spirit (i.e.  A bit loopy.)  In fact, we are a fairly irreverent group.   Most of us have a few skeletons rattling around in our closets.  There are no secrets in our office, and I mean that  NONE!  Yet, we all have a great deal of respect for each other.  Within the larger department of about a dozen people, I feel a complete sense of freedom to BE ME.  Outside of those office boundaries, however, I have to wear that veneer of professionalism.  It’s like a cape that we all put on as we head out of the door.

Today I began the move to a new office suite.  Yes.  I am giving up “The World’s Best Office.”  It is a little freaky, because I am moving back to a remodeled version of my old office.  Nothing about it looks the same, but it IS the same space.  Too many emotions and events that I would prefer NOT to remember occurred in my life during the time that I was once in that space.  (Seasweetie, I could use some advice here on smudge pots and herbs to clear the sad/negative spirits!!)  I am hoping that the NEW ME who is moving back into the newly remodeled office space will stomp down any lingering bad vibes.

My (really, really awful) intern packed up all of the files and folders.  The  IT department moved the computers at 2:30 this afternoon.  We were all ready for the union workers from  Public Works to do the heavy lifting at 3:30.  I will add here that I think this entire process has been terribly bureaucratic and inefficient.  There are plenty of us to move a few cabinets and desks, but we would catch holy hell if we were to have done it ourselves.  The union reps would have filed a grievance if salaried staff would have taken on a union task.  As it is, I am probably going to be in BIG TROUBLE because I used Windex to clean off my desk.  I was caught red-handed by Public Works staff, and I was called out on it, too!  “I would have cleaned that for you!”  Uh….I didn’t know what to say.  Well, yeah, I did.  I didn’t want to wait three hours for them to get around to it, when all I wanted to do was set my stuff back on a clean desk!

On top of the office move, which is still not complete, I had to give a presentation at City Council tonight.  Today felt like one of those days when I was going in about fifty directions all at once.  Everyone wanted something from me, and no one was giving a damn thing.  Oh…par for the course.   I wasn’t feeling all that great, and it always interests me that my brain has the ability to take over and force my body to function even when all I want to do is curl up and sleep.  When I feel like crashing, or at least taking a nap,  I somehow find the energy and strength to do what needs or must be done.  Of course, that ability has a limited duration.  That’s why I crash each weekend into the Napping Blob.

So, I got a little goofy this afternoon, or I almost did.  It was late in the afternoon.  I was frustrated, tired, and standing in the middle of a mess when all I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap.  “Where does this go?”  “Where do you want this cabinet?”  Really…I don’t care, but oh….it’s my job to care.  OK.  Act like a professional.

I stood there talking with one of the workers from Public Works.  She was measuring the wall space for a large shelf that was going to be the next item to be moved.  As we talked, she pulled the metal tape out of the tape measure over and over.  I watched her, and realized that I would have done the same thing if I had been holding it.  For some reason, her actions mesmerized me.  I made her nervous, and that made me feel bad.  Really, I could be a janitor.  There was a time when I would have thought that was ALL I could be.  She is just a woman.  So am I.  Essentially, there is no difference, but to her, there was all the difference in the world.  I hated that.  In that moment, I really hated that.  I wished I could take her out for dinner or lunch and tell her that I AM NOT LIKE THAT.  I wanted to tell her about MY history, then she would know.  I knew what it was like to feel like LESS.

For over three years I have known this woman.  I have tried to be her friend.  I admire her.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  She is a brain cancer survivor.  She is a widow.  She is a mother.  Her life is not, has not, been easy.  For three years, I have tried to show her respect.  At least I hope she feels that much.  For three years, I have tried to be her friend, but she will not allow it.  I am a different pay grade.  I am salaried.   I don’t dress like she does.  I don’t lift, and mop, and haul.  (Ha!  I do, just not at work!)  She won’t allow my friendship, and it drives me nuts.  Why?  I think I scare her.  She is always polite, but with reservations.  Why?  Believe me, I am not scary.  I don’t try to be scary!

As we stood there talking, another worker came into my office.  They debated the shelf placement.  I watched them.  She was relaxed talking to him.  Although, she still  kept pulling the tape out over and over.  She referenced the tape measure.  The previous afternoon, she had needed one as we discussed furniture placement.  She said to her co-worker, “I’m glad you brought your bag of tools over last night.”

I about lost it.  I almost burst out laughing and said, “That’s what she said!”  I had to leave the room.  In fact, I grabbed my keys and left the building.  I couldn’t hold it in!  Maybe it was because I was so damn tired, but I felt like a middle-schooler.  I had to call T.  Our family has been regularly watching The Office.  As any Office viewer knows, Micheal Scott’s favorite phrase is “That’s what she said….”  It’s now something that is heard often, no…..constantly….in our house.  We all jump at the chance to use “That’s what she said…”  It’s become the family game, and today, I almost blurted it out.

Maybe I should have said it, but it would have cracked that veneer of professionalism.  What stopped me?  I have thought about that ever since I walked away instead of just saying what popped into my head.  I chose to walk away instead of be myself.  Yes, I called T and laughed.  I called my son, Andrew, too, but why didn’t I just say it?  Why did I maintain the space between us.  I’m not sure if I am proud of myself or if I am ashamed.  Maybe tomorrow, I will tell her.  Maybe I will share my joke.  I know it would make her smile.  As I think about it, I wonder if it is me who is afraid.  Maybe I am afraid that I will not be accepted back into the world where I once felt that I belonged.

Blogging Friends

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Sometimes I miss the old blog.  Those of you who read the “Other” blog will understand why  I miss it.  You will certainly know why it has been a positive experience not to write the previous blog any longer.  Without dwelling on it, or spilling the beans so to speak, I will just say that the old blog dealt with one not so pleasant subject.  One subject, and I beat that subject into the ground.  Getting rid of the old blog was difficult emotionally, but WordPress made it surprisingly easy.  Just a couple of clicks and hundreds of blog entries were gone.  A year and a half of the worst times in my life were recorded in excruciating detail, but I am glad that they are gone.

This new blog is still taking shape, and I’m trying to find my voice.  I’m still wandering down this path and searching for my place in this world.  I am beginning to become friends with this new blog, though.  By disallowing myself to dwell on the old subject matter, it has helped ME not to dwell on it as well.  Sometimes, though, it’s not easy.  When I was hurting or upset, writing helped, and I miss that one final outlet.

Even though I deleted the old blog, I was able to take something very important along with me.  While the blog had become something of a nemesis, the friendships I made in the blogging world carried me through some very difficult personal times.  I have found that these real friendships are much more healing and more valuable than the thousands of words I threw out into cyberspace.   Those words are gone, and sometimes that loss saddens me, but the network of support that those words built still remains.

As my former blog readers know, I wrote about searching and seeking answers.  I wanted reasons, and I wanted meaning.  I didn’t want to go through hell and have it mean absolutely nothing.  Even though I could not change the details or results of my situation, I wanted to think that I hadn’t walked away ruined and less of a person.  Well, I’m still working on that one, but the load is beginning to lift.

I’m still learning, and sometimes I falter, but I am beginning to trust my heart once again.  I am beginning to listen to the tiny voice of reason that had been there (sometimes shouting!) all along.  Now, when the going gets tough, and it sure does get tough at times, instead of pouring out my heart, soul, anger, pain, and a variety of other negative emotions into my blog, I pick up the phone and I reach out to a REAL person.

Last night was one of those nights.  I tried all of the things that usually help turn my thoughts to more positive things.  I had a Special Pepsi.  I cleaned out a dresser drawer.  I spent some time ironing, but I still found myself pacing around with way too much on my mind.  Finally, I picked up the phone and called a blogging friend.  She has been there for me through so very much this past year.  Last night was no different.  Within moments, I was laughing out of control.  I smile even now as I think of the silliness of that conversation.  What was important is that she had me laughing at myself.  She brought me out of the rut that I had tripped and fallen back into face-first.

If there is nothing else good that has come out of all of this pain, that friendship across the miles will be something that will always be special to me.  My sweet blogging sister and I have laughed, and we have cried.  We have cussed like sailors, and wondered together over signs from the spiritual world.  Although we met through shared experience, and not such a good experience to have, our friendship is so much more now than the sadness that brought us together.   So many other blogging friends have touched my life, too,  and offered help and hope to me in horribly difficult times.  I often think of us as little planets.  Sometimes our orbit intersect.  Other times, our worlds are further apart, but we are still there in our blogging universe.

A year and a half ago, I wrote my first entry in the “Other” blog.  I don’t think there was a single day that I didn’t write an entry.  I know there were days when I wrote more than once.  My readers yelled at me, cheered me up, wanted to smack me, and offered me cyber hugs.

Interestingly, several fellow bloggers/readers and I began our journeys around the same time.  A year and a half later, we are all still here.  (Amazingly….Thankfully!)  We are older.  Maybe, we are wiser.  Some of us are happier, while some of us are still looking around in disbelief as we continue to survive in the aftermath.  Sadly, some are still in the midst of the confusion.  I believe I may be a little of each.

If you read the “Other” blog, I thank you for the love, support, and friendship…even if we did not connect on a personal basis.  If you didn’t read the “Other” blog, thank you for reading this one.  This blog is ME.  This is my real life and who I really am as a human being.  There is me to ME than the one subject of the “Other” blog.  This blog is about the things I hold dear, the things that make me smile or tick me off, the little things that I see in my ordinary life.  While the “Other” blog was my heart, this blog is my life.