Thursday, July 30, 2009

Guess This Means I am Older and Wiser

A few years ago my company did one of those strength finder tests. The idea was to see how certain personality traits ranked in you. There were 34 of them ranging from competitiveness to woo to responsibility. I took the test and not surprisingly Harmony was my #1 personality trait. I hate conflict and really unless you violate a core belief, I don't think it is worth fighting.

Then last year I got my first job in management. I only managed a couple of people but being in the managers' meetings and that different and more stress filled work place, I developed some assertiveness. It started slowly and like all things, began at home. My husband and I fought on vacation, a first in our 15 years together. I wanted to go sailing. He didn't. Old me would have said OK, pouted a bit but secretly wanted to go sailing and be sad. New me came at him with a vengeance and told him I was going sailing...and he was welcome to come with me. If not, I was going anyway. He went with me.

As the year progressed I learned the subtle difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Somewhere in there I found my voice.

Over the past two weeks, a long time friend and I have had a difference of opinion. What the details are don't matter (just know I am right) but I found I could no longer play the part of an un-opinionated cheerleader. I was worried for her and needed to say so. She apparently only wanted the cheerleader. So after a few harsh words on her part and some honest and blunt words on mine, she de-friended and even blocked me on facebook. We have broken up after 10 years of friendship.

I thought I would take it harder. The past couple of years have been hard on her and I have tried to be supportive, but have increasingly had problems with the choices she was making. As our lives diverged on very different paths, I continued to try to throw her a rope that would join us together. I looked for any thing we might still have in common. I tried to ignore the nagging feeling of embarrassment that I got when she recounted the latest saga in her life. Then this latest thing happened and it was too much. She is in a situation that has a variety of horrible endings and some drastic consequences for her and her family. I again found my voice.

I told her how I felt. Bluntly. I didn't sugar coat it, I didn't phrase it in a way that she wouldn't take offense for worry of a fight. I made her promise that she would still talk to me, but I knew it wouldn't be the same. Yesterday came, and with a "F*ck you and your f*cking high horse"from her, it was over.

The thing is, I WANTED a fight. I WANTED her to come in my office and challenge me on my feelings. I wanted her to care enough about how I felt to fight with me. Where did my sudden desire for conflict come from? Did I think fighting with her would somehow make her listen to me and take better care of herself? Maybe it was because I feel so strongly about this situation that I am so comfortable in my assertiveness. Maybe at 35 I am comfortable with not being 100% comfortable with myself and that gives me strength to just be me...good and bad...blunt and honest...still learning and growing...judgy and admittedly hypocritical at times. While it does sadden me that a 10 year friendship is over, I am proud of myself for standing my ground and saying what I felt needed to be said.

I am a BIG birthday celebrator and often people will say "just wait til you get older." So far getting older has been pretty good. I am feeling stronger, more confident in my lack of confidence and I found my voice. Here's to getting older!

Just a Note To Say Hello


Recently I have been having trouble falling asleep and I realized it is because I have too many thoughts swirling around. Last night I wrote the first chapter of my friend Melany's book in my head to fall asleep. I have had two friends tell me that I need to start a blog and I have not wanted to jump on the band wagon. But alas, here I am. I hope by getting my thoughts out on paper, I might be able to make my brain shut off.

So hello.

I hope to not be too boring to you, but more importantly I hope to sleep better.