Know Better

When I started my last job, early on, my boss mentioned that she worked every weekend. To that point, I had been an hourly employee, and I only worked overtime when it was approved, and I’d been told it wouldn’t be approved at this job. I didn’t know whether it would be approved or not (it turned out that I was salaried, so any overtime was unpaid), but I couldn’t imagine I’d just give up my weekends without being paid for them.

Fast forward eight years to a time when I was working 40+ hours of unpaid overtime a week and suddenly, it looks more like I should just have listened when she told me what it was going to be like to work there.

Same thing happened when I started this job. My colleague told me that she’d been here 6 months and gained 8 pounds. I thought “nope. Not me.”

I don’t know that I’ve gained weight, or that, if I have, it’s been 8 pounds worth, but I certainly haven’t lost the weight I hoped to lose, and I do find that it’s an uphill battle to lose weight being here. I blame the omnipresent candy bowl and some ongoing frustration that I haven’t been able to effectively eliminate. The two things are in some kind of deadly tango that defeats attempts at sensible eating and roughly breaks even with workouts.

Maybe these people were telling me something I needed to know and I was refusing to listen, but on the other hand, maybe hindsight’s 20-20.

My mom would kill me if she knew I was telling this story, but she’s spotted a mouse in the house. I put out traps, but am reluctant to use poison, because it’s not unheard of for my cats to catch a mouse, and if they do, I’d rather they not partially ingest a poisoned bit of prey. She was ruminating about it, and said “we have to figure out how it got in! This house probably had this problem before and we just have to get to the bottom of it!” Historically speaking, she gets really upset and paranoid about mice. I don’t want them in the house either, but I’m not willing to go to the lengths she is— she advocates our putting poison outside, which seems like three bridges too far, to me—them being outside kind of seems like it’s a reasonable bit of the overall plan of the natural world.

I’m not positive that I know how the mouse got in, but I’m pretty sure that it walked in the door from the garage. I’ve seen mice in my garden and a mouse in the garage before, I’ve explained that the door from the house to the garage pops open if you don’t shut it firmly enough and gone so far as to put a non-toxic mouse repellent in the part of the garage nearest the house and told her about it. And yet, sometimes, I come home to find the door from the garage into the house standing open. In fact, awhile ago when she was trying to fight with me, she screamed “I’m tired of you slamming doors around here!” and what she meant is that I firmly close the door into the house from the garage, and when she leaves the laundry room door open so that it blocks the door and I can’t get in, I close it. I don’t actually close other doors, for the most part. So no, I’m not really confused about why she saw a mouse in the house.

Here’s another little story for you: my Toastmasters club tapes our speeches and evaluations so we can watch them later. It’s an important part of improving your skills. I’ve done nine speeches, and am about to embark on my 10th— a kind of capstone. And though I carry the SD card on which we are more lately receiving the recordings with me all day every day, how many of my speeches do we think I’ve viewed (before today)?


On my lunch hour, I watched the speeches and evaluations that were on the card (the last four or so speeches.) It was instructive, and interesting to see where I shine and where I struggle, what I can learn from those experiences to make me better in this capstone experience.

Why wasn’t I watching them? I hate hearing my voice on recordings, I don’t particularly like to see myself on camera, especially at a particular size (the size I have been for awhile now). I like the vision of myself I have in my head better than the one that shows up on video. I preferred the illusion.

My post the other day about how I look past myself in the mirror got to me and was part of the reason I finally watched them. And I know that it’s key to face the truth of who you are, and not live in illusion. My refusal to look is not changing the reality that everyone else experiences.

The important thing about me in those films was not my weight, it was that I’m not afraid of public speaking anymore. The important things came through— my humor and my intelligence, my craft as a storyteller. Some things that people have been trying to tell me for awhile now— that I’m apologizing for things I don’t need to apologize for, that I’m giving evidence of credibility where my credibility isn’t being questioned.That I’m shrinking and underplaying where I could make my point in a bigger, more confident way. That my audience is with me, and I just need to take them on the ride they’re hoping for. I can build on these things, if I can let myself hear them and believe them and let them change me. If I can admit that I know better.

I read a quite from actress Jena Malone about “the body you become to hold your dreams.” I need to let some things change me so that this body can hold the actual dreams I have for it, both physically and metaphorically.


One thought on “Know Better

  1. Pingback: Roller Skates | Adventures of Auntie M

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