Today’s blog is about being hurt by a really stupid thing.
I work in a position in Local Government. The work building is HUGE and is made up of a labyrinth of long corridors. Like…SUPER LONG corridors, guys. One of them is the main hallway that leads from Reception (where I work on a team of 3) to the kitchen and bathrooms. We all use that particular corridor a lot.
I noticed about halfway along the hallway were huge scrabble blocks.
I like a good game – or reason to play – as much as the next kid-at-heart, so I was drawn to the blocks. I think on that day; someone had spelled out a random word like “Sauce” or “Tomato” or something. Nothing offensive (I know what word I would have used right away – it would have gotten me fired) to anyone. It’s probably unwritten rules that you can’t make swear words or offensive words with the letters, I thought to myself. The next day, the word was different. I think it said “Smile”. Nice one.
“Smile” remained up on the block shelf for another 3 days before my curiosity and need to touch things took over. I re-arranged the blocks to spell “Hope” and smiled. I liked leaving my subtle mark in this new job…in the middle of a hallway, no less.
The next day, “Hope” had been changed to “Hello”. I smiled seeing that. I changed “Hello” the day after to “Brave”.
As I was re-arranging the letters to form “Brave”, A young lady stood up on the other side of the partition “Oh, hey you!” she smiled. She was a pretty girl, probably in her early 30’s. She had small rainbows as earrings. That to me spoke volumes about her. This is a girl who likes to have fun, has a lot of friends and probably is crazy about cats, plants or anime.
“I like your earrings” I said and pointed to them. – because I’m obvious like that, bless my heart.
She smiled and touched one lightly “I like them, too. I wear a lot of black (at this, she pointed to her clothes – a black dress and black stockings with black shoes) so I felt a little bright colour was needed”.
I liked her. This girl was probably an extrovert who was reigning it in so that she wasn’t “too bright” for the office.
“I see you’ve found our scrabble” she smiled “What word are you going with today?”
“I need a pick-me-up so I’m going with ‘brave‘ today” I smiled back.
“Ooo. Good one. I’m Dot, by the way”
Dot. That name was perfect for her. A happy little polka-dot in a huge office of grey. It suited her.
“Janet” I smiled in response and reached out a hand. Dot shook it firmly. This girl had a lot of confidence. Cool.
This change of word went on for a few weeks. Dot is part of the “Planners” who are in charge of building anything new with your house if you live in the suburbs the local Government is responsible for – or if you tear anything down that was previously built on your property. I think they’re a team of about 10 people; so I wondered how many of “us” were in the game of scrabble – or was it just Dot and I?
Last week, I noticed a difference when I marched up (yeah, I was getting a little cocky with it, to be honest) to the usual Scrabble shelf. The letters had been neatly stacked on the sides of the shelf and taking up the middle space…were blocks of wooden black houses. Flat toy houses, if you will.
Weird, but okay I’m intrigued.
It was like a 2D neighbourhood. There were houses of different sizes and shapes in a row – maybe about 8 of them?
I shrugged. I guess Scrabble is over for now. I moved on with my day.
The next day, the houses had things on them! I was so excited! One house said “Cafe” on it in chalk and had little chairs and tables drawn by wonky windows. Another house said “Local Government” and had windows and little happy faces looking out. Aww. There was a restaurant, a bowling alley and a cricket ground. Nice. One house on the very end was blank…and it was next to a small container of thick blocks of chalk.
Scrawling the best I could with such a huge chunk of chalk, I wrote down “Japanese Pod hotel for the homeless”. That’s a huge dream of mine – to either have the money myself (Lord Jesus, feel free to step in at any time regarding my bank account hahahaha), or to write a successful grant to the Minister of Homelessness and Community where they will (God willing) fully fund the build and running costs of a Japanese pod hotel for homeless people to sleep in. I drew in some ‘pods’ with “Engaged” on the doors (we have to keep our homeless safe, after all – so my pods are lockable from the inside) and smiled at the outcome.
Not bad, JD. Not bad at all.
Pleased to add my dream to the cute little street of possibilities, I couldn’t help but smile as I went on about my day.
Imagine my horror when I was on my way to the bathroom later that day TO SEE MY BEAUTIFUL MARKINGS SCRUBBED OFF.
It wasn’t even a clear slate clean – it was like it was brushed off on someone’s shirt sleeve. It had thick, chalky streaks of what was all over it. I’m probably reading waaayyy too much into this because I’m sensitive right now and my thinking is a bit off kilter…but it looked like it had been angrily scrubbed – as if the person who did it saw my addition, thought “wtf?” and rubbed it off in annoyance.
I felt immediate shame.
I’ve grown up with everything – literally everything – being blamed on me. Anything that happened in our family home was automatically my fault. It didn’t matter that I was away on school camp the day the couch fell apart – it was my fault. It didn’t matter that the juice all over the kitchen floor was left AFTER I’d gone to school and covered (soaked) the front of Jay’s little t-shirt – it was still MY FAULT.
So when I saw my dream had been scrubbed off, I felt like I’d done something wrong. Just not wrong – something bang out of order.
Was someone on the team Japanese and thought I was having a dig?
Did someone get upset at the mention of shelters for homeless people?
What had I done that was so bad it couldn’t be proudly displayed next to the other cute little block houses?
I have a ‘bad me’ and a ‘kind me’ that run the monologue of my thoughts and ‘bad me’ has a much louder, tougher voice.
“Of COURSE your shitty addition has been rubbed off, you absolute waste of space!” it shouted “You ruined a perfectly good street, asshole“.
“Why would anyone want YOUR pathetic contribution, Janet? YOU FUCKING MORON?” it went on.
“You’re NOT part of the Planning team and you were kidding yourself to think you were – NO ONE LIKES YOU, YOU STUPID BITCH. This is a concrete example of what they – and everyone else in this office – thinks of you – they want to delete you“
YOU DESERVE TO BE ERASED.
Oh Lord, it hurt.
I stood and looked at the scrub marks on the wooden house with tears in my eyes.
I didn’t know the reason behind it, so I just took it to heart.
Yep, I’m a dickhead. I thought I was so cool and thought I was part of the team when clearly, I’m not.
I’ve been to the bathroom 12 times in the last 5 days, and every time I pass that row of wooden houses with the last house blank, it hurts me.
I feel so hurt that tears swim lazily on the irises of my eyes.
I don’t understand why it hurts, but it hurts me deeply.
I’ve been so strongly affected, that I have to rely on my ‘kind me’ voice to get me physically past that part of the corridor. I’ve looked in vain and there isn’t another way to the toilets, I HAVE to go past that section. That shelf. That pretend street where my building got scrubbed off. My dream.
So ‘kind me’ says “It’s okay, JD. You don’t know the story behind this and there is probably a very reasonable explanation so you need to find a way to let it go“.
“You’re okay” Kind me whispers “take a breath, JD…you’re alright” and she keeps me together when I want to fall apart.
I have to physically take deep breaths as I walk those 6 steps past that particular shelf because I notice I hold my breath when walking by – as if I’M an imposter and have to be as silent as possible when passing that block of toy houses.
I suffer a deep heart ache whenever I see those houses.
Protection has kicked in over the last 24 hours and I’m convincing myself that I actually HATE THOSE STUPID HOUSES. It’s my way of putting up a wall against the continual hurt of seeing them.
But I don’t hate them.
I just wish I had the courage to ask “Why did my idea get shot down, guys?”
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