Not My Finest Morning

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Yeah, so I cracked a bit under the pressure this morning and got a bit sniffly. Fortunately it was in Dr. Red's office so nobody else saw, but it was humiliating. The irony, of course, being that I got sniffly because my pride was hurting and I was frustrated and angry.

I'm embarrassed because I have a reputation, at least among my family (and it seems I will never be able to live it down) for being a "crier" when I was younger. My entire childhood and teen years, actually. Most times I can keep it under control, but it's a tough, ingrained coping behavior that I've never shaken completely. If I had to guess where it came from, I'd say it was from watching my dad fly off the handle constantly and raise his voice. I can't handle anger and yelling, so let's just not upset people, even when I have a problem. I have to do everything on my own and know everything because it's expected of me. I don't know where that perfectionism came from but I've had those unconscious pressures on me since I was a kid. Then it turned into a vicious cycle--I'd get upset at school, and the kids would make fun of me. I had to be careful not to make a mistake, because both in school and at home I would never hear the end of it. I still avoid certain relatives at family parties because to this day they continue to enjoy talking about the stupid things I did as a child. Nobody else in my family gets treated this way, but I digress.

I've come a long way, there's no question. I wouldn't be on the verge of earning a master's degree if not for all the hard work I've done, inside and out. But I think that in some way I will always be held back, held apart from others, because of this occasional reaction. And it did catch me off guard this morning, that it happened. I let myself get tired. I'm still in a new situation. I could even play the PMS card. But for whatever reason, I just could not voice my frustration and my needs with Dr. Red. The worst part was that she called me on it, as I was trying to get it under control. I think if she hadn't pointed out the tears--it sounded like the way my parents use to taunt me, thinking it would get me to stop--then it would've passed. But I was even more embarrassed that she had noticed, so I just let the sniffles happen. It should've gone differently, like, "Hold on a second. Would you please explain to me why I'm doing this? I just feel unsure when I'm being asked to do something and I don't know what it's for. I'm not a hands-on learner, and I want to talk and observe and think about things before I do them blindly, which I feel I'm being pushed to do." Which I did actually say, in a slightly more diplomatic if not apologetic manner, once the sniffles stopped.

The thing is, I understand now that she was just being teacher-ly with me. I understand now that she is aware we don't have a lot of time together and she wants to show me as much as she can, so I'm well-equipped. I just didn't see it at the time, and all I felt was the pressure and my resistance in response, and my fear that she would see me as not being open to things because I was upset. It's like standing up for myself, the wrong way and at the wrong time. (Dammit!) The rest of the day went all right, but it really bothered me that it happened. From anyone else's perspective, I got upset over a silly bunch of widgets. By the end of the day, everything was back to normal, and we all were standing around laughing hysterically at this book (scroll down at look at the pages--it's like an Afterschool Special done with fluffy little chicks!).

Tomorrow, Dr. Red will be out attending a conference, and due to staffing transitions I'm pretty much the librarian in charge. I'm going to do a good job and hopefully make progress on the projects we started. Thursday Dr. Red is taking a local workshop and arranged for me to tag along. I'm hoping I can put my embarrassment behind me and just go back to being the hard-working, docile student I usually am.

I'm taking a big old dose of humility right now, and I figured why not complete it by confessing it to everyone in Blogland. Heck, I'm even sniffling about it as I'm proofreading this. I'm Kate P, and I'm not comfortable with expressing my needs and feel like an unacceptable person for crying. I worry too much about my reputation.

And I'm way too hard on myself and need to get to bed earlier.

Comments

Lindsay said…
Ugh. I can definitely sympathize.
Amy Giglio said…
Oy, i'm sorry. new day tomorrow, right? even better cause Dr. Red won't be in and you have a day without her to get all the weirdness out. And I hope you're asleep right now. It's 10 45!
Dave E. said…
"I'm Kate P, and I'm not comfortable with expressing my needs..."

(chorus)
Hi, Kate!

The being reminded of stupid things as a kid bit irks me also. Kids do stupid stuff, all of them. I think that's a power thing if someone brings it up in a nasty way many years later and they are masking their own insecurities. Seriously, how pathetic is it for an adult to hammer someone for some inconsequential thing that happened as a kid?
Ashley said…
I can TOTALLY relate to this.

I'm definitely a crier. And have cried at work before. And in public (in Starbucks. Among other places.)

I cry when I'm overwhelmed.

:(

(Also! I was thinking about your early mornings and thought maybe setting a deadline for computer use might help? Like, no internet after 9 - then your mind can settle down. Just a thought!)
Kate P said…
Lindsay--aw, thanks. This world can be hard on tender people like us, huh?

Amy G--at 10:45 I was definitely in bed but more likely somewhere between reading "one more page" and night prayers. :) I'm hoping the weirdness is all worked out now.

Dave E--you got it; that's the response I expected, hee hee! And you are probably right about the insecurity theory. The "you can't laugh at yourself" accusation doesn't fly with me when I'm the only one getting ragged on.

Ashley--ah, a fellow crier! We really baffle people, don't we? And thanks for the bedtime suggestion; it's going to take some discipline, no matter what I do!
Maggie May said…
I am late to the game, but I am a crier too. I cry when I am angry, and those tears totally defeat my credibility, which makes me even angrier. It is a viscious cycle.

I have sympathy, unfortunately I haven't much wisdom. But done is done. Just keep pushing forward.
Kate P said…
MM--very true, I fear she will not treat me seriously now that I've cried. Does this mean I can't hack it as a teacher-librarian?
I once saw depression described as "anger turned inward," and while I don't think I'm depressed, I think I would be if I stuffed down the anger and the tears all the time. I don't know. I'd rather be in touch with my feelings than numb. But that does leave one open to incidents such as these. . .

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