Scapegoat

I am angry, and hurt, and frustrated. Surely, my work will stand on it’s own merit. I keep thinking that. But then when I hear that I’ve been thrown under the bus, yet again, I wonder if maybe I am far too naive as to what some people will do to get ahead, to prove themselves superior.

If I have any strengths, its that I admit when I screw something up. I apologize, and I move on. Hearing that I’m once again the scapegoat for another person who doesn’t do that, who looks to blame others and look shiny and new and not at all guilty of ever making any mistakes; is shattering.

I am trying so hard. I am working to overcome attitudes which I have fostered, in response to this issue. I have listened, I have reassured, been empathetic, offered suggestions and solutions, and helped dry the tears. Yet, when it comes down to it, the relationship which I long for, with trust and respect has not been fostered. Even after this amount of time, it has not been developed to a point where I can trust that I won’t be blamed for the next thing which starts to go wrong, as soon as I am out of ear shot. It is incredibly frustrating.

I should not care this much, about such a minor thing. But having worked in a true team environment previously, I know what is missing. I can’t make this happen on my own, I can’t make the other person trust me, and respect the professional relationship we are meant to have.

Everything up until this point feels as though I have just been wasting time. It has made no difference, and I’m back to considering if letting my professional reputation be degraded in such a way is really worth anything positive that I might be getting out of it. Because one day, I might want to work somewhere else, and if my reputation is crushed under the weight of someone else and their insecurities, then I really don’t know what I will do.

 

This old chestnut

I keep writing sentences and deleting them, because everything I write isn’t coming out the way I want it to. I keep thinking of things in my head that I want to get out of my head, but then I delete that as well. I am so tired that everything is aching. I have reached a point this week in which I am so tired I want to cry, but I am utterly unable to fall asleep. All of the tricks which I would usually try haven’t worked, and even coming back here, to this place to vent my frustrations and try and clear my mind has not helped. It feels as though my mind is racing, all of the time.

I have been feeling so lonely at work over the past few weeks. My anxiety levels are through the roof again, I have been feeling overwhelmed, bored, frustrated and everything is falling to the wayside. Couple that with a fair whack of bad/sad news in the past few weeks and my world has been feeling very off-center. Most days I have been coming home from work grateful that I have such a great job that I know many would envy me for, but feeling very alone. It’s a remarkable feeling, to be in a centre with 150 children a day, and up to 60 educators, and to still feel alone.

One of the things I dislike most about my new position is that I am not able to build genuine friendships with people there because I am in a management position, and must at all times remain impartial, and professional. But I am not a robot, and people have feelings and things going on in their lives, and when people come to me, in tears, or angry, it makes my heart hurt that they are experiencing these awful and trying events. I listen to them, and offer advice where I can, but aside from lending an ear, and trying to make their day a little easier I often don’t feel that I have helped at all, even when they tell me the opposite.

In the six months I have been there, nobody has done that for me. These people don’t know me. And I feel very unsettled by that, because despite the consistent struggles in my last position with a very negative and un-supportive management team, with frustrating families, very serious financial concerns and other things that made staying in that position within that centre unsustainable – those people knew me. They hugged me when days were tough, when anniversaries loomed near. We joked. We went out for dinners, and laughed and drank and made memories. It was never perfect, but there was a sense of friendship and trust between us most of the time.

Perhaps it is something which comes with a smaller team, or maybe the constant disasters we were faced with made us incredibly happy to be able to just sit together every now and then and decompress. Frequently, the office door would close while another person unloaded, while I just sat there, and listened. Frequently, it was me closing that door to vent, to cry a little and express how devastatingly sad it all is when some people care three times more than others, and when circumstances conspire against creative thinking, passion and thirst for knowledge and create the lethal consequence of apathy. As hard as that position was and as much as I needed, and was glad to leave it, I have never forgotten the relationships I was able to form with that team of women. And I never anticipated how much I would miss them after I left.

That’s not to say that my new position, or my new centre are in anyway less than, or not good enough. I believe that if I were to leave this centre, I would never find another one like it – it really is *that* good. But, I have been so lonely, because it is very difficult to always do the right thing, to role model positive behaviours, to manage individual personalities in group environment in relevant ways, when you feel like there is nobody in your corner to back you. Everyone needs someone, even people in management who are making decisions you may not like, or understand. And maybe that’s where half of this frustration and sadness and anxiety is stemming from.

The business of church

I am a cynic.

I have faith, but I have a very large chip on my shoulder when it comes to organised religion. And if i’m being entirely honest here, even my level of faith is taking a beating lately.

It’s not that I don’t believe in God, or Heaven and Hell. I do still have those very basic core beliefs in place (I think!) But the faith that things happen for a reason, that God will always be there, that no matter what happens, there is a divine purpose and plan? Not so much.

As a kid, Church was what we did. We grew up in the church, we went to church camps, we went to services religiously, three times a week at times. As I grew older, I became heavily involved in the church of my own accord. My parents didn’t attend the church I became a part of, but were happy to drive me there, and pick me up. I met some amazing people through the church, and am still in contact with some of those people today.

But as someone pointed out to me tonight – humans run churches and humans aren’t perfect. And sometime, a few years later that became abundantly clear to me, when despite possibly their best interests, the humanity of the church fell incredibly short of what I felt the Christian conscience should have been.

The downside to being a pastors kid, is that you become intimately aware of how churches are run, the politics, and the business of church. And it is the business of Church which was the cornerstone in my decision, finally, to walk out the door for the last time.

I tried to go back. But standing, looking at the audacious displays of begging for more money, of greed, of self serving hypocrisy, I eventually did walk out and never looked back.

My Mum has been taking my kids to Sunday school now for a few weeks. I joke that she’s given up trying to save me, so she’s working on the kids. My kids have no idea about Jesus, God, or anything else even remotely related to the Christian faith that I claim to be a part of despite not actively living within it, in any way at all. It’s nice and easy to have a ‘faith'; without having to live the ‘religion’ or ‘lifestyle’ aspect. As a ‘non-practicing’ Christian I can do what I want, and every so often tell someone I’m praying for them, as if any God would listen to me.

Perhaps I am the biggest hypocrite of all, turning my back and walking out on ‘the business of church’ when ultimately, it was that ‘business’ which clothed and fed my family for many years while both my grandparents, and parents were in the ministry. And perhaps my negative view of organised religion within the church is evidence of my own failings and judgement of those around me who are actively trying, each day, more so than it is of the failings of those I seek to judge.

Truthfully, I don’t know. I don’t know where I stand when it comes to church and religion anymore. I don’t know what my faith is, or indeed, if I still have it at all. What I do know is that some people do some seriously shitty things in the name of religion. And some churches create, hide behind and cover up some of the worst atrocities in humanity, all in the name of religion, or worse, in the name of God.

I am incredibly disillusioned, frustrated and angry with so many areas of my life right now, and I feel very let down by faith, religion and church alike. And while maybe the three should be easily separated, they are not, and past history tells me that rarely is this a good thing.

Light.

My kids are driving me mental today. Oliver is second guessing and questioning every single thing that either Matt or I say, and then completely ignoring us. Lucy has been asking questions all day, questions which are just irritating me – questions like ‘can I have a drink’. You know, normal kid stuff. And I just can’t deal.

There are things going on in my life which I can’t talk about but they are big and scary and awful and I am hating almost every minute of every day as I work through them.  The kids are fine and healthy but completely kids, and consequently, inconsiderate of my need for complete isolation and silence while I process and get things addressed. On this end, life looks normal, but come a little closer and you’ll see sleepless nights, lots of tears, emotional breakdowns in very public and humiliating places and so much angst I can’t hold it in. Matt has been amazing – the cupboard is full of comfort food, the fridge full of non-alcoholic drinks because if I go down that road right now I might not come back.

And then today, I got the most beautiful message from someone who knows all is not right, but doesn’t know why or how, but just wanted to help enough that she sent a message which made me cry.

” You have the best smile, you have the best laugh and you make my world worth living….”

That’s my light. To get back to laughing. To feel that I can face people again. To be able to interact, and find my joy again. To be that person that she sees in me, even when all I see is frustration and helplessness.

There is a light at the end of this long black tunnel. I just have to reach it.

 

Metamorphosis

Most people who stop blogging for any period of time and then come back usually have a triumphant return story, or a life affirming message, or a new lease on life or have been through a big change in their lives – separation, divorce, death in the family. My return to blogging isn’t nearly as exciting, or important. I don’t have a big secret to tell, there is no launch into something new and I’m not here to tell you that finally my long suffering husband got sick of me and bailed.

The truth is, in the past month more than a few people have asked me why I stopped writing. At first I didn’t really have an answer because it wasn’t something that I consciously decided to stop doing. Much like a new season sneaking in and before you really notice you’ve gone from wearing shorts to jeans the transition to not writing about my life happened and then one day I suddenly realised it had been months and I didn’t miss it at all.

I had started to feel like I had to write because some expected me to have something to say. When I realised I didn’t have anything to say, then it became really hard to write because everything felt mediocre and I have always had such high expectations of myself. So I just shut up. A crisis of writing confidence, as it were.

I’ve always believed that if we listen to our inner voice, we know what we need. Could I have forced it? Sure! I could have sat down, and recounted the day I took Oliver grocery shopping and he told me that his willy was up, and when I looked down at him, not only was his willy up, but he had it OUT and the lady next to us looked like she was three seconds away from a heart attack….. but then I wondered why? Why bother? Who is that story going to help?

And then, that’s the crux of it. Because I used to feel like when I wrote, it helped people. When I was raw with grief and hurt and loneliness I felt like I could write so others would understand. When PTSD threatened to ruin my relationships with my children and my husband I wrote because it was an outlet into which I could vent my anxieties and frustrations and not spew those venomous thoughts at the people I loved dearly but felt completely disconnected from. When Oliver was sick, when my hundred thousand dollar baby wasn’t meeting milestones properly, was diagnosed as failure to thrive and had surgery scheduled and performed I wrote because it got those thoughts out of my head and into the world where other parents fear and struggle and worry.

But now, I wonder what this next chapter of my life will bring and what the motivation for writing once again will become. I know it won’t be grief and anger and longing because I have largely moved into acceptance and belief that everything does happen for a reason and my reason was greater compassion and understanding. I know it won’t be depression, anxiety, anger and PTSD because aside from some very small moments where a trigger knocks me, I have become calm and centered and mostly at ease with myself, and my list of neurosis and mental instabilities.  What will come next will likely unfold only as it happens. The focus has shifted and its a new and unusual situation for me to sit, in front of a laptop which is on it’s last legs, in a new job which has seen me return to work full time doing some very long hours in a very challenging environment, with two children who are blessed in their good health and neurotypical ways, with a husband who continues to be the most supportive and understanding best friend I ever could have hoped for…..

I have no idea what is to come. But I’m ready to take it on, with open arms and sometimes, i might even write about it.