Thursday 18 December 2014

Take a stand, take a stand, can't hold it back anymore...

There's something incredibly powerful and liberating about standing up for yourself and doing what you honestly believe it right and true, especially in the face of adversity.

The first time I did this was my first job out of school working for a less than pleasant boss who refused to believe anything was ever his fault, even when the evidence was overwhelming.

He had come in one day and basically told me I was stupid or there was "something wrong with me" for not understanding him in his instructions. I'm not very mathematically inclined so being asked to do something along those lines would on occasion not result in complete accuracy.

Being told that I was unintelligent on the basis of my mathematical ability, or just in general is an insult in itself. He also implied that given at the time I was employed with him I had no university education behind me, that it made sense that my level of intellect wasn't higher.

I felt so outraged when I got home that after venting to one of my best friends, I knew I had to say something because his words were hurtful and completely unfair, not to mention out of line.
I've always been considered by other to be a timid little mouse and respectful of others regardless of their station or position of authority over me, so for me to stand up and say that what he said wasn't okay took immense guts which I didn't know I had, or maybe I did and just never exercised them.

The next day I went into work and called up my boss' wife requesting that she be present when I had a chat with my boss. Upon her arrival I sat down with both of them and, feeling more nervous than I quite possibly even had been, but also determined to state my case, I told them of my plans to leave the job at the end of the year (I was the most qualified person in my area of the company and heading into Christmas, the worst thing I could do was to up and leave without anyone skilled to continue on). I also addressed my boss and said how I didn't appreciate when he'd called me unintelligent. He tried to justify it by saying that the maths didn't add up, which I agreed with, by reiterated that poor mathematical ability doesn't equate to poor intellect. 

The feeling of relief when I got through the chat was immense. No blood was shed, not many more feelings were hurt and I felt a sense of achievement and power which I never had before. His wife gave me a hug and said she was glad I'd gotten it all out which I was too.

There have been other occasions, much more personal ones involving family where I've had to state my position. It's made that much harder when the family member/s being addressed can't quite understand where you're coming from and you're too blah to keep trying to explain it. 

I once confronted one of my high school Health teachers years after graduating who constantly made a point to joke about how short I was despite the fact she was only a fraction taller than me. She allegedly also made fun of my weight when I was first starting high school but I seemed to have blocked it out.
When I was invited back to present an award I'd won several years beforehand, I was seated next to her in the front row where she asked me under her breath if one of the teachers on stage was around my height. I was sick of it. She was the only person who seemed to notice and/or care about my weight or stature, everyone else just took me as I was, no questions asked.
Before leaving the awards ceremony that night, I made a point to go up to her and asked, again quite nervous and anxiously, if I'd ever done anything to offend her because she seemed overly concerned with my height and I didn't understand why. She laughed awkwardly then made some feeble excuse about how the kids had nicknamed her something she thought was funny because there was another teacher at the school whose surname started with the same letter. I wasn't sure what she was getting at, but just laughed awkwardly with her then told her I had to leave, lamely commented that it was good to see her even though it was more small talk than actual enjoyment and went on my way.

Most recently I've had an issue with my university grades. Although I'm still in the process of sorting it out and possibly applying for an appeal, knowing that I'm taking a stand for myself and not just saying "well this could be better, but I'm too this, that or something else to do anything about it" is an accomplishment in itself. It's about knowing you deserve to be treated better or shown a bit more respect, or just acknowledging that you're not going to stand for something because you don't believe in it. At the very least, it's about saying that you've done the best possible job you can and want recognition for it.

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