Tuesday, February 21, 2006

sick day

I can’t stand being sick. I dislike it so much that I ignore the signs as long as I can. But after a night of bleeding from my ear I thought it would be a good idea to take a sick day and visit the doctor. Apparently my eardrum had burst due to an ear-inflamation. Guess that was my punishment for pretending the major cold I’ve had for the last week and a half wasn’t as bad as it sounded and felt. The doctor taps me on the sinus area and asks if it hurts. When I tell her “Not really”, she mumbles to herself “Or you just have a high tolerance of pain”. And her face when I ask if she thinks it’s ok to go back to work tomorrow is either saying “She must be kidding!” or “This girl belongs in the loony-bin!!”. That’s when it hits me that I’m doing the same thing my mom is doing! And not the good stuff my mom does that is. Cause she is a fantastic person. One time in the late nineties in my happy California days I was interviewing for a CFO position at this medical company in Silicon Valley. They had some good antibiotic product of some sort. When I asked the GM what he expected from the CFO he got very theatrical on me and started to say things like “I want the accounting department to be sexy!, I want it to be exciting!”. That’s all good I guess, but not exactly how I viewed my job at the time, so I made good use of my professional stone face and did not show him whether I agreed or not. Cause frankly: I had a hard time finding a comeback to those statements.

The next person in that office that interviewed me was a woman in her fifties. I don’t even remember what her position was. She asked who my hero was, who I looked up to. Not exactly one of my rehearsed questions like “name three strengths and three weaknesses. Where do you see yourself in five years?” and so on. Without a lot of hesitation I told her: my mom. Not sure where that one came from. But right then and there I realized how much I admire my mom. Her ability to see if people are genuinely nice or not. She is always right about my friends: who cares about me and who will not be a good friend when push comes to shove. My mom sees the importance of making the “every day life” special since there are so many more of the workdays than the holidays. I love that about her! No matter if it has been times with very little money (when I was just born and mom and dad was still going to the University) or when times where good and we had loads (exaggeration…) of money. She always makes sure that the weekdays are pleasant (as well as the weekends of course). Another thing I admire is her strive to further her education. She has a gazillion University credits and is still so humble. Not sure if humble is the correct word to describe what I mean, but she has constantly worked on getting my sister and me to not judge people based on their education, wealth and other things, but to look to the kindness within. Not sure if that’s how she would describe what she is doing, but it’s definitely how I have interpreted her and my dad’s upbringing of us.

There are plenty more good things to say about my mom, but that’s not what I thought about when I sat at the doctor’s office. No, it’s her denial of feeling pain or being sick I’m talking about. How crazy isn’t that! To me it’s insane to “ignore” the stomach pain until you pass out and the ambulance has to rush you to the incentive care. Or never take a sick day in your life because you don’t want to mess up the other peoples’ already tight schedules. There are more examples I can tell about my mom, but I think the picture is clear. And it hit me that I’m doing almost the same thing! What is wrong with me?! Why don’t I think I have the right to be sick and week and need help?! I know that “no-one loves a whiner”, but at some point it is ok to feel some pain. As a matter of fact, it’s even ok to admit to being tired even if you haven’t run a marathon. On an intellectual level I do understand this, but I tend to forget it when I’m out there in “real life”. It’s probably closely related to the problem all “strong women” have. If you act as a strong person, not everybody understands that you also need a shoulder to cry on from time to time. Just because you are strong most of the times, doesn’t mean that you are strong all of the times. Don’t take strength for granted and don’t think it comes without effort. Or like for beautiful people: they too need to hear that they are beautiful every now and then. Don’t take for granted that how you view others is how they view themselves. If perception is reality: we all have different realities.

To get to the point: I am a work in progress, and learning that it’s ok for me to make errors, feel pain, be sad, not be in charge etc. is something I’m slowly realizing. Especially my sister and a very good friend of mine have helped me with this. Maybe it has to do with having enough support around you so that you can let go of the responsibility. Knowing that the responsibility is just my imagination and there are plenty of people around me who will let me cry on their shoulder or bring me stuff from the grocery store when I’m ill. I thought I had come further in that process than denying my sinus cold until it developed into something nastier. I usually describe myself as a person with an old soul, but today I feel like a blank piece of paper that has learned nothing from the past.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

hot-dog tag

The few people that know about this blog are usually warned: it’s my drunk-pretentious blog with narcissistic elements. But I met my superior yesterday! Not just one actually: a whole group… I had my first lesson in improvisational theater. A person that used to be on the management team at my work told me about this. She said it was fantastic to be in a place where status and origins did not matter. And after taking these classes she never felt that what she did in her professional life (and in her personal?), was too embarrassing or awkward sine they had already done worse stuff on stage. Boy do I need that! Queen of saying the wrong thing and stepping on peoples toes: that’s me! So I signed up with hopes of becoming a better person.

It started on the application. They asked if we had any pervious experience. Eeeehh… Isn’t life in it self a big improvisation? How much of what we do is rehearsed? Or even slightly resembles what we had aimed for?! My “roll” is to be a kick-ass career woman. Guess if I improvise! Not a day goes by with out me thinking that someone is bound to reveal that I’m just pretending. But not to give too much away I just wrote “not really” in the box.

The group seam like a really cool bunch. All ages, men and women, artsy and white collar. Appears to be a large spectrum of people. To warm up we played tag. I hate tag. I’m not good at chasing and I can never get away from the person that is the tag person. But this was different. It was “hot-dog tag”! The same person was the tagiee (my own word!) the whole time (or at least until our teacher told us to a new name). Instead of saying tag you had to say hot-dog. The person that got “hot-dogged” had to stand still, look sad and repeat “hot-dog” in a sad way until two other people came and held hands around the hot-dog and said “hot-dog in a bun”. And you where saved! Yeah I know: it sounds silly. But it was fun – especially considering all the other stupid/embarrassing games there are out there.

During the brake we sat two and two and interviewed each other. We had three questions:

  • Who – alive or dead – would you like to meet?
  • If you where to invent something: what would it be?
  • What are your fears and expectations with this class?

After the brake we went up on stage two by two and introduced the other person. All the other people wanted to meet Jesus, Che Guevarra, their dead grandfather etc. I wanted to meet Elvis Presley. I mean really: who wouldn’t want to meet Elvis?! I’ve had the hots for him since I was a kid. Well, he died when I was a kid, but anyway! Come on! And then there was the invention. The majority of people wanted to invent time machines. As if we have time to spare you know. Make it right the first time and you don’t have to travel back and forth to try to correct things. One guy wanted to invent fuel that did not ruin the environment. There where other environmental and “feed the world” inventions as well. A couple of really cool ones (read: pretentious) like making time be like gel, so time wouldn’t be so volatile and you would sense and experience it better. And a few more in that fashion. What did I want to invent? Strings – almost invisible – with tiny hooks on so that you can hang picture frames on your wall. It should be so that the pictures hang even, even if you have strings next to each other and it should be easy to switch if you want new pictures. How did I come up with this fabulous – save the world – kind of invention you might ask your self? Well: I tried to hang my pictures on fishing-rod and tiny hooks for pictures all this weekend. It was not an easy task and they do NOT hang straight. I had to run to the hardware store, IKEA and my dad’s tool box three days in a row just to get all the supplies together.

It was a fun class and I did learn one thing: I’m not as pretentious as I might think :-)