Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Goes Around, Comes Around.


When I was a kid I was given the crappy task of being the captain of my 5th grade Intramurals team. To say I was not a sports fan is a gross underestimation. I was skinny and little and didn't like to get pushed around. When they made me captain of that team I shook in my boots. And then, out of a fear of inadequacy and coming in last place amongst all the other teams, I turned into a tyrant.

My team had the nicest girls on it. Why, why, why did they have to make me the captain of a team that didn't have the most athletic girls? (she said in a whiny, high-pitched voice) Why did it seem like all the other teams had all the athletes? (turns out they did) WHY ME? AND WHY THIS POOR GROUP OF GIRLS WHO WERE STUCK WITH ME?

That experience will forever be burned into my brain. I was an asshole. I yelled at those girls who actually looked up to me for having made the same mistakes just one year earlier--kicking the soccer ball toward my own net because my then 10 year old coach was screaming at my scrawny 9 year old self to 'GET IN THE GAME'.  Instead of being understanding and kind and encouraging, especially because I had lived through the same, I modeled my former coach. It was terrible. After our horrendous lunchtime losses (who ever thought a group of children should sacrifice their lunch hour to team sports anyway? Duh) I would haul my team into a classroom and rip them a new hole based on my own insecurities (read: cluelessness) surrounding how to coach or guide my friends to any sort of anything resembling a victory.  I was horrible.

I feel like an asshole just thinking about it. Because I was one. The biggest of ones. And even felt like one then but, due to pride and lack of experience at coaching and fear of inflated sports balls and grassy fields and whistles and striped jerseys--and that anyone would see me for the scared kid I really was, seemed unable to stop. What if they REALLY saw me?? Meanwhile they totally already did.

At one of these ridiculous gatherings I looked over and saw one of the girls crying. And suddenly I just completely deflated. Whether or not it showed externally I can't remember, but I do recall thinking, 'this crap is not worth it' and sheepishly apologizing and admitting we were probably never going to come in first place or even second, but we could at least just try to have fun and do our best as a team. And I changed from then on. Or at least I think I did, because I don't recall anymore yelling and we would high five after the games and no one else cried. Not even when we came in last in a league of 4 teams. We were probably wearing the best friendship bracelets though. Just making a point that the brutes can't always represent in the wrist-age department like we less athletic types.

Why am I even writing this after a hiatus of God only knows how long?

Because I have been buried under a pile of work after promising myself I would take it slow this summer. Instead I went against my own better judgment and took a project that probably did not belong to me in the grand scheme of the universe. Everything was moving fast, fast, fast (more to come on that later) when the requests started coming in from the client. That is usually when I've learned in the past to decline, take a step back, not worry about disappointing anyone, and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Everything will work itself out. Instead I took the project after weeks of pressure and have been paying the price ever since.

It has turned out to be a pretty dreadful experience. Even though the other things got quiet and I have been able to focus intensely on the project, it hasn't been enough. And I realized today, no matter what I do and how much I perform it will likely never be enough for them because I am reporting into my 10 year old self. An insecure person who overpromises out of fear, holds me responsible for results that have proven to be very difficult to produce, and then manages down HARD when things don't go as hoped.

I wasn't good at sports then and I'm not good at it now. Games just don't work for me and I am not a fan of making anyone feel small so I can feel big. What does that really accomplish, anyway?

Ever notice how you keep going around and around the same problem in different situations until you FINALLY learn your lesson?

Let's hope this is my last time on the soccer field with a maniac.


Dancing Branflake said...

I can relate to this more than you know. It's so HARD to be a leader. It's so HARD to be responsible for the productiveness of others. Maybe I'm just not cut out for it, but it gives me anxiety because I am so darn impatient and tough. I think "Just do it," and people think, "But I can't." And then I go crazy.

Dancing Branflake said...

By the way, I missed your posts.

Claire Kiefer said...

Giggling at the no pictures disclaimer. ;)

I still remember asshole moments from my childhood that make me feel like shit to this day. Sorry you're buried in an unpleasant project with what sounds like an unpleaseable client. Here's hoping things let up for you soon.

Closet Fashionista said...

Oof...I'm sorry you've been so busy and stressed!!! But I know what you mean, I want to be an "i can do this" person so much but sometimes you just can't...especially when you have high maintenance clients *rolls eyes*
I hope things calm down for you soon

Jen said...

Sorry my friend. You are not an asshole though, so I guess there's a bright side to every story. Do what you can. With what you have. Where you are. Then just leave the rest of it behind. Easier to say than do. How's about we swap? I'll knock some heads around for you, you take care of wedding ridiculousness and mother in laws for me?
Deal? Deal.
Now. Pass me a cocktail.

Josie said...

Carrie, how I've MISSED you. I owe you major e-mails. I wish you could ever take the time that you deserve to chill out and relax -- but we all know that you're kind of a big deal and the world needs you... You're like a superhero that way.
xo Josie

Courtney Erin said...

That really sucks - I'm sorry that you're so stressed. I just started a new job that I'm finding insanely demanding and it's just rough. But hang in there! And I will to.

Courtney ~

LyddieGal said...

Being in charge isn't all it's cracked up to be - ambitious projects seem great when you are only focused on the end result.

Hope you get through it and really do learn your lesson. I hate learning things the hard way, twice.

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

This is such a terrific post–and I must admit, timely. I was a high school tyrant with my a cappella group ("not in TUUUUUUNE, Brittany!"), and it's horrifying, but when I see that behavior in grown ups, especially the ones I'm working with, well then I do my damndest to stay away from them. Choosing to play nice makes your life so much better.

christin said...

I was also an asshole. And I know exactly what you mean. I heart you, friend!

torrie said...

oh, man carrie. i can relate on so many levels. the nonathletic part (yep, that's me), the girl crying part (been there :(), the insecure boss part (been there too- both ends), the realization that it will NEVER EVER be enough, that repeated (over and over again) "life lesson"... i hope this one sticks :).

{oh- the hiatus part... i can relate with that one too :)}

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

I wish I had words of wisdom but I don't. I feel ya. I struggle with similar issues. We need to be nicer to ourselves I think.

Polly said...

I'm having one of those moments as we speak. It's a hard lesson to learn, well mine is anyway.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

It is kinda eerie that I just had a similar experience at a job I just left. I was being given a lot of work and little direction. I should have delegated to my superiors earlier (because no one was listening to me) but kept on trying it to do it myself. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I've learned it. It is TOTALLY ok to say no!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Krystal said...

awww, smile girl! too bad they just can't see you cry and then they would feel deflated and it would all be fine!?

jen said...

Just to let you know, I really enjoy your posts, no matter how infrequent or devoid of photos they may be! xoxo

drollgirl said...

suddenly i want to watch the bad news bears!

i can't stand sports -- they bore me -- probably because i SUCK AT ALL SPORTS.

my boyfriend has a son that is a little baseball superstar. i go see him play from time to time. it is TORTURE hearing the coaches yell at the kids, even when they are trying to be positive and helpful. listening to the parents on the opposing team CHEER when a kid makes a mistake is also torture. ugh. it is painful. but for some reason most of the kids seem to enjoy playing the game. at least i hope so, cuz what a colossal waste of life to play sports if you can't stand them.

i think some of us have to learn the hard way. ugh. i hope your project wraps up soon and that you will be aok.

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Miss Caitlin S. said...

i love the way you composited these stories together. so interesting and I love that you have the wherwithal to recognize this habit you have that makes you step back and think - what AM I doing? As cliche as it is, we are shaped by our errors as much as our successes. Thinking of you while you're hunkered down at your desk! :)

17 Perth said...

Girl--yes. I can relate completely. Augh. Frustratingly so....but I always hope that one day I will finally really "get it" and quite entering these same cycles over and over again. Hope you are finding some relief from your 10 year old insecure self--and from your job now. :) Just know--you are not alone.

OneCraftyFox said...

It's funny the things we reflect on how we feel about them years after they have passed. I'm sure you weren't a total asshole, Carrie... lol.

Ashleigh said...

Aww, C, loved the way you tied all this together but hate you're going through it! Sometimes it takes a few tries to learn our lesson, practice makes perfect though, hang in there! :)


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