Tag Archives: respect

On Community and Adulting

For two weeks, I’ve been working on this post off and on – trying to figure out what the source of my feelings are when it comes to why I get so upset about local politics. So I’ve been typeing, re-typing, deleting and repeating. And to be honest, part of me feels like I’m no closer to getting it right than I was when I took my first-second pass three days ago, but I’m still going to give it a shot.

It started with me hating local politics…

Two weeks ago I made a list of 5 things we could do, as humans, to “be better humans” and frankly, I did it because I was a little too riled up about some local bs to properly deconstruct the real issue. And to be clear, this issue is nothing new because while, on a small scale, it pertains whats going on locally, it’s really has no borders. And as I’ve worked to file it down in my brain and get to the root of what’s been really bothering me about all of it – I think what it comes down to is something I grappled with everytime I’ve lived here – and that’s privilege. Privilege, and how it leads people to lack respect for one another.

Now, before I go any deeper, I am not here to say I don’t have privilege. I definitely do. But, I think the problem I’m facing now, as I grow into new phases of adulthood and expand myself into new circles is that I’m seeing people with more privilege and power than me using it in less than positive ways – and it’s maddening because while I’m starting to develop my own power to change it – it’s still just out of reach.

And such is the irony of a girl with power – she often feels as though has none.

Adulting within a Society

Sometimes it baffles me how some adults can act like complete children. Yes, you read that correctly, “children.” And keep in mind, that that’s an insult to children, who in recent generations have actually learned what it means to have privilege and in turn learned to respect one another far more than most adults do now or have in the past. And if you are someone who is easily offended by any part of that sentiment, odds are you might just be one of those people.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that the hierarchy of adults and Adulting doesn’t make sense to me (I was indoctrinated into it after all). I understand that the concept of “respecting our elders” and I understand that it was put in place to keep young people “safe” on a certain level; but for a moment, let’s call it how we actually see it – that particular structure is about controlling people. And let’s not fool ourselves by thinking that most if not all systems don’t work exactly like this.

Look, I get it, I don’t have to explain how society works to you, you live here, you get it. But something I don’t think people “get” anymore is that respect isn’t and shouldn’t be a byproduct of status or age or position or of having power. (read that again: respect isn’t and shouldn’t be a byproduct of status or age or position or of having power) And the reason I don’t think people understand this anymore is because they don’t act like they do. So we’re at this impasse where this seemingly obvious concept is completely neglected and it’s highly problematic.

So (at the risk of dumbing this down anymore than I already have) what is respect to me? Well, respect is something you earn when you cultivate trust within your community. Respect is something you maintain by upholding that relationship in a positive and productive way. Respect is not having a chokehold on local businesses because their thriving might affect you (and your street parking). Respect is not putting your interests before that of others, your beliefs above peoples bodies, and it is not saying you support someone, then saying you disagree with something they can’t change. But most importantly, respect is a two way street, even if, and especially when that street is divided by a single train track. So no matter what side you are on, do better.

Why privilege, why now?

So why am I even bringing this up today? Why am I rehashing things I dealt with weeks ago?

Well, simply put, I’m still a little peeved. A big part of me always will be — but more so I think this is an important conversation to be had. I think it’s important to recognize that it isn’t just politicians and white men or cops or someone’s jerk of a boss – it’s happening in small scales too, in local legislature and in small town organizations and among colleagues and friends. It’s happening right under our noses.

And frankly, from acting like we’re in a version of turf wars by drawing borders and over-punctuating a sign with (!) to throwing a hard-working individual under the bus to save your own a**. From denying a business the chance for a liquor license to “unintentionally” being a bigot, and everything in between I’ve see first hand how people with privilege and power exert it over others – and I’m over it.

So yeah, sometimes it baffles me how other adults can act like complete children and still demand respect, as if it was a one way street.

And thus, the moral of the story is this – if you’re someone that needs to do better – do better, and if you’re someone who’s doing better then aim to do best, because it takes a village and no one wants to be a part of a crappy one.

An Open Letter To the First Person To Fire Me

it started with the words – with all due respect

I know I am not a perfect human. In fact, most days I can be resentful, fiercely independent, and act in uncontainable ways that then haunt me long after they should. I understand that some people believe in forgiveness, but for many things I have done – big and small – I hold on to them as reminders of a person I never wanted to be. I believe in asking for forgiveness, but I prefer to ask for permission first – this is how I have always been at work.

Personally, I have never had an issue with respect. My bosses, my supervisors, I have always known the chain of command and how to follow it – but to that same end, respect is earned and it needs to be mutual for a business to work properly. That being said, disrespect is something I do not tolerate when I have earned the opposite. It took me too long to know my worth and know it shouldn’t be questioned or overlooked – so when it was, I acted in a way that was respectful, but demanded answers in a way that no one before me had dared to.

i do not regret being my own advocate

I value myself a thoughtful person, but back in the beginning of this year, after working myself ragged for an employer who did not know my worth, I played my  hand and lost.

Before February I had never been dismissed from a position. In my lifetime I have worked countless jobs, constantly doubted myself, thought of occasions where I didn’t deserved to be dismissed but was disappointed in myself and thought I should be – and through it all I kept working, kept striving to be better, kept improving and then – my streak ended.

If I am being completely honest, I kind of appreciate failure. I like the lessons it gives me, and the lasting feeling that I have to do better than before. If I am being completely honest – I love failing once, because it means that I will never let it happen again.

to the poet, educator, boss, and executioner that allowed me to realize what my skills are truly worth. thank you.

The reason I write this to you all today is because the other day my past came up in a conversation about someone’s present. You see she now holds a position I used to, and like me she was not trained and she now knows the weight all of us have bore.

It isn’t an easy job – but I picked my replacement wisely. It wasn’t an easy exit, I lost a lot of friends – But I did what I did because I knew I could do better, and I knew we were going no where fast if we continued the way we were going. Unlike a lot of people who may not understand this [understand what I did] I knew the risk of hitting send, and I nailed my coffin accordingly.

looking back

Despite popular opinion, I loved my job. I loved the torment of formatting, the pain of wordsmithing, and more than anything I loved designing – covers, websites, social media and more. I loved being in control of something with so much potential because no one around me knew about it.

I put hours, countless hours into designing, playing with techniques, making a product from nothing [while at other jobs], networking and [regrettably] sending emails from behind the wheel, restaurants, the dinner table, you name it.

and yet after all this I was asked to step down – not for being incapable, not for missing a deadline, not for hurting the image of the business, but because I asserted myself from the corner I was backed into. And none of it was legal – but it also wasn’t worth the fight or the fallout.

how did something so wrong allow me to feel so right??

Well, the day before I was asked to step down [sorry not asked, demanded] I sat in front of my employer who told me to sit down, be quiet and listen. Anybody who knows me knows how hard that blow hit. I was so excited about what I was doing, how could I not have so many ideas, so many plans? I talked fast but only because I was passionate, and to me that wasn’t wrong it was a benefit of someone who loved her job.

It didn’t matter.

And while most would be mad about that moment, for me it was a catalyst – it started the gears in my head. That day I was ready to conquer all of my plans. Then advice came – advice that didn’t read like advice and I cracked. I knew the trust was not there, the respect was not there, I knew I was meant to be a lap dog – but I am no lap dog.

Long story short I was fired days later [told to step down] and while at first I was utterly crushed. While I walked out of that room broken for more reason than one. I COULDNT BE MORE GRATEFUL FOR THAT DAY.

thank you

I think it benefits everyone to lose a job they love – to lose one thing they love – because it teaches value. That day I learned my own value, the value of my skills, and honestly, I would not be where I am today without that time I got fired.

So to the first person to fire me, I am sorry – because I don’t think I will ever be able to thank you enough for not only teaching me what I am worth – but for setting me free to do and continue to do what I have always known myself to be capable of.

-R

pexels-photo-1153838