Seven: In Which Life Gives Your Girl Lemons and She Makes A 4-Liter of Citron

I have seven days of the office job left. They had been ticking along uneventfully.  But as of today, they just cannot be over with soon enough.

Today was an AWFUL day.  At a meeting, I received the absolute worst disrespect that I’ve ever experienced at a job–and with all the jobs I’ve had over the years, that’s saying a lot.  I was put on the spot, my work ethic was questioned, and a sum total of absolute lies were not-so-subtly hurled my way.  I never imagined that people could behave in such a way in an allegedly professional environment.

I mention this because, though I try to keep my work-related bidness to myself, this incident brought a lot of issues to a head, issues that I’m sure all of us have faced, to some extent or another, wherever we are.

After I had time to react, process what had happened, and collect myself (with the help of a bit of whiskey–not going to lie), I’m actually glad that things went down as they did today.  It was a perfect shitstorm–the kind that leads to perfect clarity afterwards.

It made me realize that, charmed as my life here in Trinidad might seem, I’ve taken some very hard knocks in the last two years.  Sure, it might have happened elsewhere, but not to this extent.   Do I regret coming here for it?  Not on your life.  These last two years have been an EDUCATION.  And I’d do it again in a second–I’d just keep my eyes open and listen to my instincts a bit more.

There have been (and will continue to be) times when I won’t be able to read the behavior of other people clearly, and that has come back to bite me in the ass.  As a result, I’ve found myself dismissing some shockingly inappropriate behavior as a matter of cultural difference.  Taking a long view of these situations, it wasn’t cultural difference–it was plain old rudeness.  And rudeness tainted by borderline xenophobia, at that.  I can’t let my compass get jammed like that again.  We all know a lot more than we think we do, and we need to trust in those instincts–good is good and heinous is heinous, no matter where you go or what you call it.

Today’s incident also made me wonder why I put up with certain things for so long, and that invariably led to me beating myself up over it.  Truth is, I put up with things for too long because it’s been easier to be dissatisfied than to find a way out,  or act decisively, or confront the issue, or to (shock! horror!) quit.  I’ve acted now.  It’s done.  No need to self-flagellate anymore.

On the flipside, there are times to be quiet and times to speak up.  I didn’t speak up for a long time.  I should not have sucked it up or been ashamed of addressing it with the right person.  It’s not tattling, it’s addressing a situation.  And holy hell, did I address the entire situation–and then some- by unleashing my tongue today.  Yeah, the guilty parties will still probably sleep in peace at night, though I wish they wouldn’t. But it felt GOOD anyway.

The incident hammered in a realization I’ve been thinking about a lot lately:  there are certain things I can live with, and certain things I cannot live with.   I’d rather get paid less and eat boiled kidney beans four times a week than put up with certain behaviors, and I’m glad that I know that now.  We all need to draw the line of what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and we need to do so honestly and by listening to ourselves, not to others.

Finally, it made me see that I don’t tend to act until my hand is forced.  Case in point:  if I lived anywhere with more job possibilities, I would probably look for a similar job, one that I was comfortable enough in and that hopefully wouldn’t make me too miserable but which I’d invariably find unfulfilling because, really, it’s just not what I want to do.  Here in Trinidad, there are no other similar options.  I made my choice and now I HAVE to strike out in a different direction–because, for better or for worse, that’s all I can do.  It may not be the best way to get to your goals, but sometimes it’s the only way, and as long as you get there, well…. you know the rest.

I’m REALLY excited about what’s next.  I can barely think about it, much less talk about it, without bursting out in joyful yet very inappropriate expletives.  I just need to get through seven more days.  Compared to two years, seven days will be a walk (ok, a walk with blisters and a sprained foot) through the park.


Ok, off the soapbox.  I was going to show you some pics on the caatwalk (e.g  today’s outfit–day one of Wear Self-Made Till You Quit Movement) and at the chomping table, but the memory card is not abiding.  I’m sassed out today so the card is off the hook–but just for today.

Gotta run–there’s a bottle of Citron with my name on it that needs chillin’.

One Response

  1. Wow, what a frustrating day! It’s really hard working in a completely new culture, especially when small details are lost in translation. There were always little misunderstandings in Korea when the boss wanted something but couldn’t communicate her ideas efficiently enough in English.

    In other news… gorgeous photo! Love those colors!

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