Till the Swelling Goes Down

I got a sting yesterday. Not the kind I know how to remove, either. But it's already getting a little better on its own. I asked my boss for a promotion and was turned down...which would have been disappointing, but OK, if it weren't for his vehemence and emphasis. He also blamed me for things I didn't do, which shocked me. When I tried to explain, rebut, intervene, he denied me that privilege. All my careful work for this meeting, planning, practicing, and of course, conferring with so many others, felt washed away. And I left feeling clueless and shocked. But, truthfully, why should I be shocked? It's happened before with him, the blaming of things I didn't do. The biggest hurdle is not really the shock of thinking that I was in better regard for advancement than I apparently am, but the struggle to not take it personally. It's professional, "it's business," and despite everyone around me telling me so, I don't quite get why business has to be so mean. And unfair. It is, I know it is, but it makes me want to retreat back to the nonprofits or educational settings from whence I came. Even in a solid, do-good-for-profit organization, the desire for money, the fear of thinking someone is trying to get more money from you, and the culminating climate of uncertainty and hunger for power leave an icky feeling in my belly. Like I said, it was the untruths and the spirit of response that put the barbs on this stinger. The worst part was that it colored everything else around me for a few hours. Suddenly I couldn't trust that people were good; what if in fact they were awful at heart? But, so many people responded with love that I was reminded how that couldn't be right. In an unrelated move, I'll have a new boss as of next week! My feelings of general ambivalence about this change have been replaced by gratitude.

This morning I woke up at 5am to the cat playing the Talking Heads. I actually woke up earlier than that, worrying about this situation--talk about taking it personally! But hearing the Talking Heads, then my husband's footsteps as he raced out of bed and to the living room computer, then the abrupt stopping of music and her annoyed meow as she got carried back to our bed, made me laugh out loud. 30 minutes later I was outside, taking some time to enjoy the moon in the black sky before heading to the gym to teach a fitness class. I told my class I was going to push them out of their comfort zone, and they responded with beautiful push-ups, spirited sprints, and high jumps. When I drove home again, the sun was rising. Fog lifted on the window. Still 19 degrees, but the day felt new.