‘My Lady’ would set me homework as part of my CBT course. I explored my beliefs, values and rules, latterly guidelines, for living. This considered, she set me tasks to reframe and counter the negative thoughts I had towards myself.
I love to write, she suggested I do more, about anything and everything, to satisfy my need for mental stimulation Which I wasn’t finding elsewhere. Like a spaniel that needs to work.
On browsing through these past musings I came across a transcript from an interview I had at an estate agents. The boss was both perceptive and challenging, pushing boundaries which others might consider too much. He read me fairly accurately, and I him, but then I wasn’t hiding anything, and neither was he.
It went like this…
J. You’ll be hard pushed to make me cry.
EA. You’re flakey.
J. Yes I’d agree. Why do you think that?
EA. You don’t know what you want to be, lawyer, art dealer, estate agent…
J. Yes I’d agree.
EA. You’re emotional.
J. So. Define emotional?
EA. You’re insecure.
J. You keep saying that. Why?
EA. Because you worry about what people think.
J. Let’s not confuse emotion with insecurity.
EA. Why should we give you a job.
J. To allow me to reach my potential and yours.
EA. Convince us why?
J. I’ll work for free, I’ll trial you.
EA. You’ll trial us?
J. Yes, it works both ways. Do I have a job?
EA. You’re barking mad.
J. It’s channelled.
EA. You remind me of this other girl…
J. Oh right so you’re calling me a fun sponge.
EA. It’s not fair to compare the two.
J. Correct, now I feel I should defend myself.
EA. You don’t need to.
J. I’m going to…
EA. So your hard as nails and really emotional.
EA. That’s a contradiction.
J. I’m many contradictions.
EA. What’s your strength.
EA. What’s your weakness?
J. Too empathetic.
EA. So you get walked over.
J. In the past yes.
EA. What’s the one thing that you don’t like to show?
J. Vulnerability. I hate it.
EA. It shows humility.
J. To me it shows weakness. I’m working on it.
EA. We think you’d be a great asset to the company you have the job.
I enjoyed the interview more than the job after the novelty of a new experience wore off. Two weeks post Brexit it wasn’t ticking my fulfilment or income boxes. Nine months later I was gently shown the door.
I left that afternoon with a huge sense of relief, as he rightly said I would. Still, I pop into the office now and again to say hi and in fact on several occasions I’ve rung him for advice.
There was an acceptance on both sides that we weren’t a good fit. My motivations were polar opposites to his. He had a family to feed, bills to pay and I have my dogs. That job was simply part of the process of working myself out, placating others, which aggravated me, and attempting to ‘normalise’ my life, whatever that might mean.
Now, I reflect on that conversation and realise the strength in vulnerability. Years of remaining stoic and suppressing my feelings, or not even being able to engage or recognise them, did not serve me or my relationships well.
As ever, with the positive comes the negative. I share, accept and embrace my vulnerabilities as part of my make up and responses to the world. But I will forever remain cautious and alert to those predators who prey on one’s soft spots.
Beautiful to reflect on the struggle and realise how necessary it was.