On the Outside Looking In
My commentary for the blog: On the Outside Looking In. It has taken me a while to figure this out, and even more time to be able to articulate it. Well, maybe if I can articulate it is yet to be seen.
I have been grieving something at work lately. I could not figure out what it was/is, but I think I now can see it (or at least some of it). If you look at our department, the entire faculty is new (except J. and T). The new faculty does not really trust me. They think I am something I do not see myself as being, but my actions lately somewhat support: aggressive, argumentative, angry, bitter, antagonistic, not a team player, privileged, out for myself, back stabbing, stirring, subversive. . .
This is not just my imagination; this is their reality of me. One of them has even told me so directly while others allude to my limits in getting a cause acted upon because of my new reputation or relationship with others (or lack thereof). I find it ironic that I waited until everyone that would have supported me in what I said to have left or be fired before I spoke out. Now that I have spoken out, new faculty sees me as something with which I totally do not identify. So I have been grieving the death of me–or the me, at least, that I perceived myself to be at work.
It is hard to go to work and have no one talk to you. It is hard to talk about issues and watch your colleagues look at you as they listen, recognizing a staggered movement or an eye flutter they make, as they are trying to put what I say into a perspective of who they think I am–only to come out thinking that I can only see things through my anger–which allows them to dismiss what I discuss. It is difficult to walk into a main office knowing that anything I say is reported, and that even if I am just there to be social, they send direct body language to let me know that my socialization is not wanted. I find myself at work in a place I have never been in at any job I have ever had since I was 16—-on the outside looking in at what people are constructing about me.
Ever since I can remember, I have had friends where I worked—best friends. It was part of what made going to work fun. I also know that (in the past) people enjoyed seeing me and sharing a story or joke. Therefore, I find it very uncomfortable and disequillibrating to find myself the outsider.
Now, I imagine you are saying to yourself that I am probably being dramtic and imagining most of this.
I assure you, I am not imagining it, and I have only shared a small amount of what it is that has occurred to leave me knowing this about myself. Nevertheless, I assure you, it is real. I also assure you that I am not being dramatic about it. I have taken it as a fact, grieved it and have moved on to a place where I am trying to figure out what it means to be me–like this. I find some of it freeing. That is, I can act more autonomously and not worry about what others think because they will leave me alone–not wanting to be seen talking to me or aligning with me. No one says anything about the changes I make to my classes–well, at least not to my face.
I find some of it difficult in that I am watched like a hawk. (I have been hounded for four books I checked out for three weeks. I have not had time to go through every box to find them all. I finally just gave up and paid for them figuring I could have some peace and get the money back when I find them. My files are the first to be checked. If I forgot to cross a T in a TIEMS advising form, I hear about it immediately–even though others do not even use the system.). I am the one watched that way.
I am not grieving what has happened anymore, just very aware that I am on the outside looking in. I only go into work when I have to, and I work at home the rest of the time. Even that does not bother me; I used to do that all the time when the kids were younger to avoid sitter costs. I am sad that I really like some of the new people and know that it will take them quite some time to learn to like me and think of me differently. I am here for the duration, so I have the time to get to know them or to let them get to know me. It is just peculiar to find myself having to think about how to become someone’s friend. I have always just “done it.”
Well, I am not sure I was able to articulate this phenomenon that is happening to me, but writing about it has allowed me another opportunity to think it through again.
Thanks for being there, my friends, JPRazza
PS: This sounds sad and remorseful. I assure you, I do not feel that way. It is factual. I am not dwelling on it, just acting on it. Does that make any sense?