Something is shifting inside me. As persistent as I claim to be, I can also experience rapid defeat.
“That’s it! I quit!” is not a foreign mantra. There are also expletive-laden ones, which I’ll leave to your imagination.
In some cases, it makes sense to quit and re-direct my efforts when something isn’t working. It’s a time-saver and a smart move.
But more often quitting is my child-like response on par with, “I’m taking my ball and going home.” Since I’ve had three notable experiences in the past ten days, I thought it post-worthy.
I’ve been happily hiring freelancers from Upwork for about a year now and recently settled into a nice working relationship, I thought, with a QBO (QuickBooksOnline) expert. She needed a break during tax season and for a well-deserved vacation after. I was willing to wait. She’s that good and a fraction of the cost of my local guy. We’d spent a couple of hours per month on my books and she ironed out the errors I’d made and taught me how to make “rules” and keep my accounts clean. But on our recent call she became frustrated with the zoom interface and her inability to take control of the mouse. “I’m PC,” she groaned, “and it’s not letting me have the remote.”
“Truthfully, Jane,” she continued, “I thought you’d be a one-off and I can’t really work with you the way I work with my regular clients. I think you should find someone else.” It actually sounded less friendly than it looks in print. I felt the emotions of my third-grade self: the shame of not getting it right and being rejected. I felt defeated. QBO is too hard for me, and now no one wants to help me. I felt defeated.
For five minutes.
I still had several accounts to balance. Plus, I appreciate and value the depth of QBO’s program. I didn’t want to give up. I went back to Upwork and posted a new job description requesting someone who was comfortable working with clients who had Apples. Within minutes I heard from a woman on the West Coast who was available immediately. I invited her to share my screen. She was able to go to my settings, unlock my Mac and take control of the mouse. She solved all my accounting issues in two hours.
“A gold star!” I congratulated myself for not quitting.
Since the publication of my memoir I’ve heard from lots of people from my past. One, an old friend and one-time neighbor in Connecticut congratulated me and let me know about her memoir. It’s about her teen pregnancy in the 60’s and subsequent reunion with her biological daughter. I immediately read and loved her story, wrote a review on amazon, at her request, and waited for confirmation that it had been accepted. She messaged me the next day to ask if I’d written one. “Wait 24 hours,” I responded. “Sometimes it takes a day for them to get a review live.”
Not long after I got her message I received an email from amazon rejecting my review. I had a strong, negative gut reaction (aka diarrhea) when I read their email and attached guidelines. Wow, I thought, what did I say that offended? I know we’re living in a hyper-sensitive time, but what might I have written that raised a red flag? I scanned my review and saw what must have been the offensive line: The author’s clarity and depth of feeling will be a comfort to others who suffered similarly or knew someone who was victimized by the mores of that narrowminded time.
I edited my review and re-sent it. An hour later it went live: Unable to put this book down once I started, I was riveted by the truth and sincerity of Fran’s story. Deeply felt and honestly reported, this volume will be useful to any woman who went through a similar experience at a time when teen pregnancies were the height of family shame. The author’s clarity and depth of feeling will be a comfort to others who suffered similarly or knew someone who was victimized by the mores of that time. A great read no matter, but particularly significant to women with a similar story.
Noticing a pattern here? I want to curl into a ball and hide when I perceive the slightest criticism. Oh, I’d never let YOU see that insecure side of me, but inside this confident exterior lurks a heart willing to go to great lengths to avoid any humiliation. But! I’m getting over myself in record time and taking the next appropriate action. By appropriate I mean one that a mature adult would take.
Now, for the dating front example you’ve been waiting for. I’ve put myself out there again and had a date with Mr. X a couple of weeks ago. I knew immediately that it wasn’t a match, but something told me his ego would be too hurt if I said no to a second date. So we met again on Sunday when my heart’s knowing was swiftly reinforced by his lack of interest in me. I should have taken my leave within the first 1/2 hour, but, again, I was trying to be Nice. How can I end this politely I continued to ask myself for the next two hours? Finally, after a 30-minute, one-way conversation over coffee he announced, “Well, I’ve got to go.”
“So do I,” I said, and walked away. I was angry with myself that I hadn’t had the courage to say exactly those words myself. Again, a feeling of shame and humiliation.
I got home, took a nap, didn’t really fall asleep, and then went right to the computer. I like the dating site I’m on, purchased a few new profiles and wrote to HappyCamper. We’re having lunch tomorrow.
I had therapy today and brought up these new behaviors. “You’re catching up with your feelings,” my therapist said noting the psychic shift I’m experiencing. In addition to acknowledging my deep commitment to confronting these ages-old responses and behaviors, she told me something particularly interesting.
I’ve begun printing out the profiles of the men I’m meeting. Mr. X’s image is a selfie of him in a hammock. “Two other women have brought in his picture as well, Jane!” she told me.
There’s something about interacting with someone who doesn’t see you that feels really bad. I’m glad they’re in therapy, too.