It would be hard to overstate how much I dislike my current assignment. I’m surprised, really, by how difficult a time I’m having here. I LOATHE this place! I’ve withheld judgement during the learning curve, which can be… bitchy (on the inside, only, cuz I know me and I know it’ll go away). However, I’ve been here for a month now and my disdain only grows. In fact, it’s becoming personal.
I hate the people I work with, except for one, who is quirky, stylish, smart, hard-working, and ambitious [simultaneously pursuing graduate degree], and the others who just do their boring tasks quietly, if vacantly. The 2 women whose professional lives most impact mine NEVER SHUT UP. I’ve tried to be patient, because I’ve had/ will again have this problem myself. But seriously, shut up! What makes you think we care about the minutia of every nuance of every idea and event in your life!?
One is very old. Seventy-nine! She should have retired five years ago at the very least. She doesn’t take care of herself, eats candy and doughnuts all day, then complains about the consequences. I know how thick her blood is, and she showed me her cellulitis!!!
She thinks her conscious stream of thought interests everyone else, and she’s losing her memory. “She must be very lonely,” I tell myself, urging patience. I’m a story repeater, after all, finding myself so utterly engaging and my stories so entertaining that they warrant second, third, and life-long reiterations. She was surely this character, too, when she was bright, young, and relevant. But I cannot take it. (Of course, I can.) Still, I want to crawl out of my skin or tear into hers!
I worked in hospice, for god’s sake! I’m terrible.
I haven’t struggled with guilt like this… ever. I’ve felt exceedingly blessed by the seeming-effortless skill I have of recognizing guilt as a signal for repair and restitution, or simply a destructive emotion that, not serving me, is quickly discarded. I’ve never sat in guilt this long. Feelings of hostility plague me; their amplitude alarms me. It’s affecting my life, and I’m in charge of that choice.
So I feel angry with myself for giving that power away, and giving so much sway to base and compassionless emotions. I actually have compassion training! I feel weak and defeated. And ever-impatient, screaming inside, “SHUT THE _____ UP!!!”
This woman makes the other prattling municipal drone intolerable, when normally I could tune her out like an inconsequential gnat. “You are not clever,” I want to inform her. “And saying the same sarcastic thing 3 different ways does not change that.”
I consider the practice of Tonglen. I breathe them in, because we are all irritating. I breathe them in because we are all irritated with our fellowman and our jobs some days. I breathe in my anger and personal failings, because we all fail. I breathe out patience, compassion, and understanding for myself and others, all the while feeling fake, ungrateful, and empty. I’ve spent time praying that I can stand to do this for a year. I made a commitment I wish to honor. Furthermore, I have a lot to learn, gain, and offer here. I also feel vulnerable being so candid about the ugliest parts of myself. Right now I just feel like crying. It’s the first time I’ve given concrete voice to what’s been sapping my energy for the entirety of this, my favorite month of blessed early Spring.
“God loves April babies more, but May’s his favorite month.” And I’m a total bitch.