Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Why, hello. Step inside. Welcome to my pity party ...
You know ... I really don't think I'm overly sensitive. Ordinarily I'm fairly well-balanced and able to shake off affronts by giving others the benefit of the doubt. ("Oh, they didn't mean anything by that ... They like me ... They wouldn't purposely try to hurt me.") And many times I just don't give a big ol' rat's patootie. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes things do hit me the wrong way, and I get my feathers ruffled.
Lately, I've been feeling a bit left out of extracurricular activities around the workplace. The attorneys that I work as secretary for enjoy lunching together at various downtown restaurants on a daily basis. Shortly prior to noon each day, one or more of them will begin roaming the hallways, seeking lunchtime companions and proclaiming loudly that "it's time to eat!" Last Friday, one of the young attorneys strolled down my hallway and announced that he was in the process of "inviting everyone" to go out for lunch. Apparently, "everyone" is code for only the other attorneys, as he strolled right past my office, glanced into my open door, looked into my eyes, and kept walking.
I wasn't invited.
Then again, the support staff is never invited -- unless it's to mark some silly, Hallmark-induced occasion like "Professional Assistant's Day." And I'll be honest. I'm not really sure I even want to go to lunch with these folks on a regular basis, but it sure would be nice to at least have the opportunity to accept or decline an invitation once in a blue moon. As it is, the blatant snub has a way of causing one to feel like a non-entity, which doesn't contribute to positive workplace morale. At least not for me. When you hear with regularity, "Hey, we're all going to lunch!" -- and you know that you aren't included in the equation, well ... it stinks.
Yesterday my coworker began talking to me about a pregnant woman in another department, with whom we've both worked on occasion. "Did you realize she's due on December 31st?", she asked. "I must stop by Kohl's after work to pick up a baby gift."
"Oh? Is there going to be a shower?" I inquired. "Well, yes!" she exclaimed, "This coming Friday."
I wasn't invited.
As she continued to talk about the shower and the baby gift she planned to buy, I found myself growing increasingly hurt (and cross) and finally interrupted with a terse, "Look, I didn't get an invitation, so I know nothing about this." You'd think that would have given her pause and perhaps she'd have downplayed the event, but no ... she continued to talk animatedly about the shower. And this morning, she brought in the little pink outfits she'd purchased to show me. (Insensitive much?) Honestly ... I thought I'd made it clear that I felt excluded, yet she continued to act as though there had been no slight (intented or otherwise), cheerfully gloating over the baby clothes and the upcoming party. So I did what any self-respecting, grown woman who feels like she's in junior high school all over again would do. I feigned complete disinterest.
(Yawn. Your crummy shower BORES me.)
It definitely doesn't feel good to be excluded, but I know I'm somewhat silly for allowing myself a poor-pitiful-me wallow. It feels rather peculiar to be 46 years old -- to know that by this point in my life I should be able to rise above offenses that are of little consequence -- yet at times I do revert to reactions that call to mind mini-dramas from my early adolescence. My Grannie, who turned 91 last week, recently shared that she is often taken aback when she looks into the mirror and an old woman returns her gaze. She still feels like a young girl on the inside ... and I fully understand. I suppose we never really lose that inner child, for better or worse. Sometimes we still wonder if we're truly accepted and valued, if we're "part of the group." Sometimes we feel we're on the outside looking in, lonely even in a crowd of acquaintances. In those times when we experience the cold shoulders of others, I suppose it's common to turn our hearts toward home -- to that safe haven where we know we're loved and wanted, no matter what.
And that's how I'm feeling today. I just want to go home.