Gentle warning…there is no epiphany coming. More of a therapist’s couch type of blog this week…apologies if you were hoping for a life lesson…
Oh, hello there. Just give me a second to take off my apron and get my head out from inside this washing machine. Sorry if my stories blaring in the background are too loud, I can only really watch them during the day while the mister is at the office.
What’s that, you say? Those days are long gone? What? Are they though?
But the perception is not.
Did somebody say “she’s pulling out her soapbox again?”
Not when the fainting couch is open for business.
Sometimes, self-care comes in the form of self-removal.
Sometimes, the best thing to do for one’s own happiness is to just quit.
That doesn’t sound like me, right?
But soon, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, I will be absent from my usual once-a-month spot at a local (prepare for a whole lot of elusive words) haunt as I will have tendered my resignation from my volunteer position. Yes, sometimes you have to throw in the towel and find more effective ways to use your time and everything will still be fine.
Quick question…if it’s a volunteer position, do you still have to tender your resignation? Or do you just disappear?
This could be a long story, but I’ll do my best to shorten it, much like my tenure in this position.
A few years ago, after making a few suggestions to improve the member experience at a local (to me) facility, I was met with some pretty weird responses, such as “come back in eight months” or very a mumbly “we’ll look into that.” These were not budget-blowing thoughts. I was a bit surprised at the lack of interest and, being the go-getter that I have always been, I decided that I would run (and was successful) to serve on the team handling the inner workings of said facility.
I took the discouragement of an eight-month blow-off and turned it around with plans to jump into my new role with both enthusiastic feet.
Off to make a difference, Table for one!!
Perhaps the tone at my very first meeting with this
team very important people group should have been my first sign to flee. I did think it odd when none of these very important people actually introduced themselves to the four less/new very important people (including me). I knew they saw that I was there, at the table, as I was asked to take notes. Without thinking (shocking, yes) I blurted out something like, “Sure! Just let me head back to 1960 to get my pen.”
Ooops. Message Received. Sense of humor, unwelcome. Abort!
I struggled through most of that first year to find my place but blamed most of my feelings of frustration on the huge task of keeping the facility afloat during a pandemic. I even (mostly) forgot how I felt when our very important leader asked me why I was so nasty (I had asked what my role in the inner circle actually was) or when our other very important leader directed me to stay in my lane (I must have made another suggestion about another something).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with staying in my lane – I just needed to know which lane it actually was.
Having survived year one, I regrouped and opted to take a hardier stab at being effective by positioning myself for a role within the inner-inner circle. I’d learned that this top tier of the very important people had weekly meetings and chatter and were really the true decision-makers. That’s where I wanted to make a difference. I thought, “Okay, here’s how I can really start advocating for some of the things that are important to our members that continue getting shrugged off.” The role I ran for was contested and, in an unexpected twist, the very important people voted me as their choice. They liked me, they really liked me!
Let’s just sum this up quickly, okay?
Twelve months into that role within the inner-inner circle; twelve months of carrying the title of Second in Command…and not one phone call, not one email, not one grunt, not one wink, and not one snort from Number One. Well, maybe a grunt. But only after I asked if they were aware that they were interrupting me in one of our monthly meetings. Mayhaps I was actually just invisible.
Maybe I shouldn’t have cared…but (insert Keith Morris voice)…I kept getting pings, throughout those same twelve months, from other folks in the very important people group asking why I wasn’t a part of this conversation or included in that email. I reached out to some previous very important people and got their thoughts (in other words, was I crazy?) only to learn that, yes, there was something very, very icky happening to me.
What’s the female version of being cockblocked?
I guess the thing that makes me sad is that, up until two years ago, I likely would have put on an entire cheerleading outfit for this establishment. I loved everything about it. Since my quest to make a difference was met over and over with undeserved slap after slap after slap, I have developed that stomach pit most of us associate with a job that has grown sour. As I approach the building, for any reason, a feeling of dread forms envelopes me. I want to keep going. I want to leave and go somewhere else.
Instead, I swing by very minimally, just enough to make myself feel better about my rental fees.
Sometimes, self-care comes in the form of self-removal. So, yes, I will be leaving behind this group of very important people. My hope is that laying low will help me find my spark again and that I can share that spark with folks who will be more appreciative of it.
So, apologies again for no eloquent epiphany. My only real wish was that I’d had a cardboard cutout made twenty-three months ago to serve as a stand-in at all those meetings.