Still a pillar, just a little wobbly
The other day I went into my boss’s office and I said (cried in frustration, actually – thank God she’s a woman, because, let’s face it, a man would not have been able to deal with that) that I was overwhelmed. I said that I felt like I was the only person who knew what was going on for one of the 3 jobs I was working on, that I was already in over my head and that I felt like I was set up to fail. I told her I could not do everything that was expected of me well or gracefully.
And the first thing she said was. “Nobody expects you to do this gracefully. We expect you to fuck up.” (It’s construction. People swear a lot.) “And there is nothing you can mess up that could be worse than people have messed up before you. You were given this job because we have faith that you can do it well.”
And then she told me that one of the other ladies in the office will familiarize herself with the job I was so worried about, so that at least 2 of us know what is going on. And she took one of my jobs away and told me to work on the other 2 and stop worrying about the 3rd.
When I was in the food, I was a terrible employee, like I was a terrible student. There is a saying I appreciate. “How you do anything is how you do everything.” And when I was in active addiction, how I did everything was how I did food. Lots of sneaking, lying, cheating, manipulating, and blame passing. So the idea that I could be vulnerable, go to my boss, tell her my fears honestly, tell her I felt overwhelmed, tell her that I didn’t know what to do but that I knew I needed support, was the opposite of that. It was exposing myself, letting her and the company know that I was not the unshakable pillar of excellence I often feel like I am, and that I regularly offer.
So to be told that I was not expected to be great or graceful was a blessing.
The truth is, I am a pillar of excellence. Much of the time. And I pride myself on it. And the fact that I am overwhelmed or unhappy or feeling under qualified does not negate that.
When I was in active addiction, I was obsessed with what things meant. Especially what things meant about me. Because like I believed that my fatness meant I had a broken body, I believed that how easily I became paralyzed by fear and overwhelm meant my character was also broken.
But in getting my sugar addiction under control, I started to recognize how much of my life didn’t *mean* anything at all. Things were simply the consequences of specific actions (or inactions) I had taken. And I started to see how many of my choices and actions were fueled by these beliefs I had created about myself because of the ways I fed, and floundered in, my addiction.
Being free of the food let me know that I not only could be, but was, say, both a pillar of excellence and an overwhelmed worker in over her head. That those things are not mutually exclusive. That those things are both valid at the same time.
And the other thing I learned from giving up sugar is that being a pillar of any kind is not particularly useful if I don’t know how to keep myself standing. And the trick to that is *I* can’t keep myself standing. At least not alone. I need help. And that is why the best tool I have to keep my addiction under control is a community. And that is true for work as well. When I need support, I reach out for support. That way I stay upright, like the pillar of excellence that I am.