On Sunday I worked on a class presentation for 16 hours straight, finishing at 4:30 in the morning on Monday. I slept all of three hours before going to work and then meeting up with my classmates in the evening to review the presentation one more time before submitting it. Today was another full day of work followed by a meeting for a local hospital Board I joined earlier this year, followed by a meeting with a potential client for my Master’s field project (thesis).
I had every intention of coming home tonight, post-meetings, eating dinner and going straight to bed. But I came home to find a delivery from Amazon - a book that I just couldn’t wait to read. In retrospect, I probably should have waited - I just don’t know that I have the mental spirit tonight to process the whirlwind of emotions I just experienced.
The book was written by a former professional development coach. This is someone that has had a great impact on my life for a number of years. Unfortunately, our last “official” interaction happened to be during an incredibly hurtful and tumultuous time in my career. For whatever reason, when I most needed affirmation and compassion, he choose to stop being an advocate and, instead, decided to teach me “a lesson” in front of my leadership cohort. I left in tears and never went back.
I still don’t fully know why it all went down the way it did, but I did learn a valuable lesson - your mentors are fallible humans too. After licking my wounds for a period of time, I eventually got to a point where I could be friendly with him, but I never allowed him to coach me again. It doesn’t negate the many valuable lessons I learned from him prior to that point, but it did make it pretty easy to say goodbye when he decided to sever ties with my employer earlier this year.
And then I read his damn book - his very beautiful book full of very beautiful words and beautiful lessons and beautiful wisdoms. I was full of gratitude that all the lessons were familiar because he had already taught them to me personally. However, by the end, I was more sad than anything. How can a person with that much wisdom and insight fail you and never even realize it?
To be crystal clear - that question isn’t about him. The question is why I continue to allow people to have a level of influence in my life that they have either not earned.
And while this may seem like a divergence from the Tiny Tummy topic, it’s not really. The choice to have weight loss surgery only came after many years of hard psychological work that culminated in an epiphany that I deserve more - more health, more happiness, more LIFE - not because anyone told me so, but because I finally believed it. And I only came to believe it once I came to the realization that I was living a life, to that point, dictated largely by what others had told me I deserved - a lot of somebody elses that had, in no way, earned the right to dictate such things to me.
Subsequently, my circle of influence has shrunk dramatically over the past three years. Friends and acquaintances once clearly positioned in the inner circle have been moved to the outer rungs or, in some cases, completely out of my periphery. It is, in some ways, a lonelier life - but not any more so than surrounding myself with people that didn’t share a mutual investment.
But sometimes, on late nights that follow 16 hours of homework and two days of high-psychic energy investments, when my soul is raw and my resilience low, a bit of melancholy washes over me when I am reminded that they are people out there that just can’t SEE me the way I wish they could.
In the pre-Tiny Tummy days I would deaden the melancholy with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s - or a tub of mac & cheese. Tonight I have made the choice to just sit here with the feeling and really feel it - to coach myself through it by written word. As much as “the muck” sucks, this - the writing, the ruminating, the awareness not altered by any chemical… This feels like victory.