That ONE Coworker

29 Jul

There is always that one person that makes you question if being nice is even worth it.

I have been with my job for almost a year now, and I’ve trained many of the new recruits to do their job. When I started this job, I had decided that I would be a responsible older woman, a mother, and a “wife” by not consorting with my coworkers outside of work. I have never really had any good experiences with that, so I decided this time would be different. I would go to work, come home, repeat.

That seemed to work, for a little bit… but then it got a little lonely. I started thinking, maybe it would be nice to have at least one “friend” that I could maybe have lunch with once in a while or hang out with, even car pool with…

Then we hired a new employee. I trained her and it was great. We laughed and joked and talked about a lot of different things. It was really nice. I hadn’t had anyone to really talk to once the other coworker switched to an evening shift. I trained her for two days, we had lunch after her last training shift, and then she was off to work different shifts.

For a while we got along, but then she fell into the crowd at work. The younger clique that was there, and she turned on me. Human resources came to me stating that she had complained about me. I laughed it off, although I was incredibly hurt; and there was no way to tell her how I felt and ask her why she felt that way without losing my job. So, I became bitter. The other coworkers began to like me less and work became stressful. Coworkers making stabs at me about the situation and then I got this uncomfortable feeling that everyone was against me.

I had become a leper. I was an enemy. I did my job and I followed all directions and when things got hard for the others, they came after me with ways to get me in trouble. My coworkers were deliberately trying to get me to lose my job.

Today, I realized that my kindness was not rewarded, because although I had been kind to her I hadn’t been kind to another. [Maybe it was God showing me what it was like to be the other employee that I had no shame in making it known that I was not interested in any communication with him. Today, I asked for his forgiveness for my actions, we hugged, and I feel a little better now.]

She is now leaving her position and although I should feel glad that she is leaving, I am actually saddened by it. I have not had a chance to be a mature adult and apologize for ever making her feel that I meant to do her harm (which I never intentionally did) and to seek her forgiveness and to wish her luck. Although, I know I was not in the wrong to begin with, I have been angry towards her ever since her complaint. That, in itself, is wrong. Avoiding her and being uncomfortable to even speak to her due to everything had made work all the more intolerable. Non-communication made it hard to work, and even working the same shift with her was annoying and painful.

I realized today: it didn’t have to be.

I made work worse for myself. I made myself more bitter and uncomfortable. I made myself more of an enemy than a civil coworker, and today I sealed that label on myself even more by my attitude towards her just because I was being hateful when I could have been professional. So, even though I didn’t do anything to begin with (intentionally), I have made an intentional effort to be a hateful person now. That, my friends, is wrong. Rather than kill them with kindness, I have returned her hateful feelings in kind. You know who is more miserable, though? Me. Why? Because she is not lonely at work. Everyone loves her and she will be missed by many at work. While dropping my name in the mud and I dragged it for her by being hateful.

I am repentant. I would like to seek her forgiveness just because it is the right thing to do. I want to do something nice before she goes, because in the end, she’s not a bad person and I really wanted to be friends with her… I just want my conscience to be clean; to know that in the end, I did apologize for my actions after the fact. I am doing it because the Lord would want it that way. So, I have decided on the last shift I work with her, I will try to talk to her and at least get my point across. Even if she does not accept it, at least I know that I tried.

I won’t stop trying to be kind to others, and her reaction to my kindness has made me a little more cautious of new employees… but with each new person it is a new slate, and not everyone will like you, no matter how nice you can be. Work ethic and social statuses and interests and so forth will either unite or divide…

But like the good book says, “…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…” (Mark 12:31 KJV)

Forgiveness is one thing. Loving everyone no matter what is another…

And both are things I need to work on.

Until next time. ~♥~

 

I’m So…

23 Jul

There has been a flood of “I’m So” status updates on Facebook. It has really been a nostalgic few days online due to these sudden childhood memories or building that no longer exist, music that is no longer mainstream (and considered old school) and sports icons who have long since retired but still hold a special place in our memories.

I’m so not any one place, nor am I so any one thing that I can place a title to it specifying only one area of the world. I’m so Athena that my memories are scattered along the East Coast and bring a sense of joy when I realize that my childhood was filled with memories many kids today will not experience.

I’m so Long Island City. I remember when they began constructing the large blue Citibank Building. This tall skyscraper that was the first of its kind in LIC. I used to go to the park while my parents worked and hung out with all my friends. Parents used to actually watch other people’s kids and we behaved [for the most part]. A morning trip to the diner with my parents before school was the norm and seeing our parents smoke a joint or drink a beer was completely acceptable back then and no harm came of it. For a long time, the only way I could fall asleep was listening to the 7-train pass right by my window and I would count the shadows among the small windows of light on the train to help me relax. Sneaking food onto the bus after trips to Astoria pool, freezing half to death because of the air conditioning. The bus rides after school. The pizza shop around the corner from, well, anywhere you were. The crab cakes from the Korean market. The bodegas and the neighborhood delis. The bars and the clubs. That Casablanca club I snuck into with my friends when I was about 16. The Chinese food and the subway rides. The freedom of the city and having so much at my disposal from food to parks to museums to bridges. Those nights underneath the stars on the apartment building roof where we would watch the lights of Manhattan just over the bridge and the river twinkling ever so fantastically. Barbecues for the Fourth of July in abandoned dirty lots by the river that has now been taken over by aristocrats who want nothing to do with the public and have taken our simple lots away.

I’m so Miami-Dade (Fontainebleau). We never really used to walk the whole way anywhere because the golf courses provided great shortcuts to our destinations. The best part of my morning in both middle school and high school was going to Winn-Dixie where they made tostadas with cream cheese or the bagels with cream cheese and the quesitos they would sell in the morning for student government. We used to hang out at Mall of the Americas at the movie theater and the arcade with friends. We used to climb walls to get into other apartment complexes and run from security guards. Arbor Lakes used to have the best full court for basketball and I saw when they demolished it to turn into a playground to eliminate the older thugs and ball players from coming to our complex. Jumping into the pool when we would get caught in the rain on the way from the bus stop to our house was completely normal and some of the best memories we would have. Chasing ducklings and feeding them while walking around the canals that stretched behind our apartment buildings. Kissing someone special under the moonlight on the rooftop or in the rain in a golf course after spending a day outside in the sun. Malibu Grand Prix by the mall was the place to flirt, to play, and to watch others race on the track. The portable classrooms during those really hot afternoons. Lockers and hallways and gossip and laughs. Best friends running through the streets, walking to other building complexes miles away, riding bikes, running, swimming and kick ball. Sneaking out at night for late night swims with friends under the moonlight.

My childhood is one that can be considered a fairy tale when looked at in the right aspect. A childhood that my children won’t see because back then we didn’t have cell phones, texting, or Facebook. We had beepers, streetlights, landlines, and knocking on other people’s doors. We ran the streets, we got along. We played together. We had friends and we had enemies, we had fun, and sometimes we had problems. But it was a childhood filled with so many different memories that I can’t help but feel happy to think about it.

I’m so Athena that when I grew up I realized my childhood wasn’t so bad, and I am happy to see everyone else realize that their childhoods have some memories that can never be repeated, and its something to be cherished and appreciated.

So go ahead and be so whereever you are from. Be so whoever you want to be. Be so nostalgic that it brings back memories of people who you had forgotten, of buildings that our children will never know. Hold on to that. And remember, that being so “anything” is exactly why you are so special and why you are so YOU.

Forgiveness

23 Jul

Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

The hardest thing about being an adult, after many years of having done wrong and wrong done unto you, is being forgiving. Forgiving others for the things they have done against you can prove to be some of the hardest steps you have to take towards being a better Christian, or a better overall human.

I haven’t been the best person, but God loves me anyway. He forgives me for my transgressions and he loves me unconditionally. The way a parent can forgive a child for things that they disobey and may say against them. God forgives us for when we do something out of place.

I am currently working on the process of forgiveness.

Matthew Chapter 6: – 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I have been thinking about people. People that I have made upset. People that I have hurt. There have been dreams of people who I have not spoken to in a while, and others that have just come to mind randomly. I have compiled a mental list of people I feel strongly about apologizing to that I am still on the outs with. The people who I have not had much contact with in a long time and would like to get that little spot on our past cleared up.

I learned in a bible study that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean I need to let people back into my life but it at least makes room for there to be no more animosity or anger in my heart or in theirs. I had it confused that forgiveness meant keeping people in your life again, which I am still almost fully against, but I am working on it. I do not want to force people back in my life, but I do want to put it out there that I am asking for forgiveness because maybe that will help me be more forgiving.

One day at a time. I am working on asking for forgiveness as a way to put it out there that I am sorry for what I did, said, how I acted, how I hurt them because I truly am repentant of those things. Some more than others. But then there is the whole forgiving those who may not even ask for forgiveness. Letting the anger and the pain go of those who may have hurt me just so that I can move on with a healthy heart, mind and soul.

As I work on this aspect of life, I ask that you all look into your hearts, find something that has had you a little bit bitter, and look to forgive. Is there some kind of guilt that you want to clarify? Send a message and ask for forgiveness, and tell them that you forgive them back. Maybe they will not answer you back. Maybe they won’t be as accepting of your offer, but know that you made the effort and that is a brave and awesome thing no matter how it turns out. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there because God knows your heart and He will know your sincerity and will love you still even if the other person does not.

God Bless You all, and try getting at least one note, message, phone call out there to ask for forgiveness or to tell someone you forgive them. I’m still working on mine, and if you cannot find the words or the strength to pull yourself together to do it; Pray.

Pray for the strength and the wisdom to forgive and express that openly with the person you are thinking of.

It might be the best thing you ever do.

Amen.

 

 

Living Testimony

23 Jul

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. – Psalms 126:5″

All the years I’ve cried and wept. Nights of pain and sadness and asking the heavens when my day would come… I cried because I thought my life was a shambles (and it was). I cried because I saw no end to the chaos in my life. I cried because my heart felt empty and shattered.

God counted those tears and multiplied them with overwhelming joy! I think about how happy I am now and I still cry, but these tears are different. They are tears of joy!

Just the beautiful thought of how happy I am, how far I’ve come and how much has changed brings tears to my eyes.

I never thought I’d see the day I’d cry every time I thought about how happy I am.

I never thought I could tell anyone: Your life may feel hopeless now, and you may feel like things aren’t working in your favor, but if you keep pushing through and keep praising God for your struggles, you will come out of it stronger and happier than ever.

I didn’t always think that God was on my side. I didn’t always believe that God was always guiding me to this point in my life. I didn’t always feel that my struggles, my pain, and my obstacles were part of my spiritual growth. I didn’t always think it was part of God’s plan. Yet, here I am. Closer to God than I’ve ever been; preaching His gospel and helping people see that all is not lost.

My tears have sown my happiness. I am a living testimony that this is true. I am proof that God works in mysterious ways and that no struggle goes without reward. Not everyone realizes their potential to be an open book. No one understands that being honest about your spotty past can help others. I do. I always have. I am proud to say I’ve overcome so much and I have no received my reward of a beautiful life with Christ and a wonderful family and partner in life.

Put your eyes on God, and let those tears fall! Your tears sow happiness in multitudes. I promise you. God promises you. I am living testimony that God keeps his promise.

Amen!

Mother’s Day

13 May

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to ALL! 

I spent my mother’s day in an abysmal depression. Not because I don’t love the holiday, but because I felt that the day warranted no special favor nor celebration. No, I am not bitter about the day. It just seems to be another Hallmark Holiday made to suck the money out of the individuals who are willing to spend way too much on a gift to be forgiven for the hell that mom has gone through the other 364 (365 on a leap year) days that mom has to slave away and give relentlessly and unselfishly to everyone around her.

It is the day that society has deemed acceptable to shower mom with even more gifts, love, flowers, hugs, and cards that will create memories of hand-print clay frames and drawings that you cannot even decipher, but you nod and smile and coo, “I love it!” although you have no idea what that scribbled mess of lines and circles are.

I have this growing sentiment where holidays just are not what they used to be for me. I used to remember loving holidays as a kid because I didn’t know the work it took to create a holiday extravaganza… but for the children, we do what we must. That is why us mothers are so celebrated once a year with our very own day. Because we spend the rest of the year making sure everyone (sometimes not including ourselves) are taken care of.

I feel like this:

Mother’s Day is the Nationally recognized day where everyone praises mom for not maiming, choking, killing, giving away, leaving their kids in a Wal-Mart to be picked up by CPS. It is the day we are recognized for having the patience of a saint when our children are screaming bloody murder on the Toys R Us floor by the Polly Pockets or the bikes because we are unable to feed into their every desire. It is the day when all the hard work and all the things we do give in to are gone unappreciated because it is expected of us because sometimes kids just tend to be ungrateful.

Oh, are you one of those parents who do not have one of those kids? Well, aren’t you blessed by the child-giver gods? Weren’t you the lucky few who have well-adjusted children, or enough money to spoil them rotten and give them everything at the very inkling of a temper tantrum. Not all parents are built equal, so I will not judge those who do not suffer from the same children horror stories many of my other mother counterparts care to enjoy.

Sunday came and went, with little celebration. I cooked. I cleaned. I received chocolates and cards from my children and significant other and was allowed some relaxation. It was just another day filled with love and frustration like any other.

You know what? I’m okay with that. Why? Because I recognize the shit I go through every day and every night. I recognize that I have not killed my kids, or sent them off to live with their father due to the frustration and discipline and crying and stress I have been enduring for all these years. You know what? That is a pretty big freaking deal! But I don’t want praise. I don’t want to be showered in gifts or cards or even showered in chocolate covered fruits and surrounded by dying flowers. All those things fade… Chocolate will be gone and eaten within hours or days. Flowers will die in less than a week. Cards will be filed away with our children’s other artworks over the years.

I want my children to know that one day, when they get older and realize all the work and blood and sweat and tears. The punishments, the rewards, the bad days and the good ones are all for them to be good human beings one day.

Sure, I’m not the perfect parent. I am far from the easiest person to live with, let alone raise children. I make the very conscious choice to be the parents of three growing children. Three children who drive me absolutely crazy, whom I want to tie up and gag sometimes just to get a few moments of peace. The same kids who all have differing personalities and are rare in their very own ways. All filled with compassionate souls and golden hearts. The days when they have attitude and act completely ungrateful for all the sacrifices I make and have made in the past, that any good mother would never hold against them, are the same days that we remember when they get older and show us that those lessons did stick.

Mother’s Day is just another day that has been commercialized to make you think you’re doing something overly special… For me, I like the cards and the chocolates and the flowers and the jewelry, but it feels forced… It feels unoriginal. So, although my words won’t help much and maybe we feel unappreciated until that one day in May rolls around, we as mothers have to realize that every day is Mother’s Day. Every day we work, we slave away, we give our all to try to raise the best people we can to go out into society and possibly make a difference in the world. We are important, and our job is important. The most important job of all.

So congrats and many kudos to the women who have made it through a whole other year without giving up on the hardest job in the world. The one we never thought could be so thankless, yet so fulfilling at the same time.

Many applause to the women who do it on their own, and to the women who make it work with their partner they are no longer with. Many applause to those who know how to breathe and count to ten when they see a tantrum coming. And many pats on the back to the ones who feel they are failing because their kid won’t stop behaving a certain way. And a special, extra tight hug to the women who didn’t have it all and chose to allow their children a better chance at a good life by giving them up for adoption.

We don’t have all the answers… but as long as we never give up on these little humans we are still going a lot further than we ever imagined.

We cannot possibly squish all that gratitude into one day, can we?

If we must, call it SuperWoman Day or something cool like that. I think I’d be more inclined to jump for joy in the morning of that day yelling at my kids, “I’m SuperWoman! WAKE UP AND MAKE ME BREAKFAST!” Or something like that… Anyone want to start the petition?

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