I know, you’re shocked. Who could have guessed I would seek out Mr. Casual Friday this week…Monday? In spite of my calendar stalking, it turned out my timing was less than ideal; when I walked in he greeted me and said, “I have a meeting in six minutes.” Damn!
However, he was not brushing me off. “I do have a question for you; how are you feeling about your decision?” I let him know about the realization I came to while working on crafting what I said at graduation after having decided on a plan.
I explained that I’m not one to believe in regrets and am usually pretty good at living with my decisions and moving forward, knowing that once I’ve made a decision that’s all there is to be done. In this space, I suddenly realized how many good choices I’ve made in my life to end up where I am right now. He said something along the lines of, “Well, I imagine with the support you receive from key people like your husband and your Mom…” at which point I interrupted him and said, “and you!” to which he shook his head and said, “No!” I almost wish I’d let him finish that sentence to see where he was going with it, but times was at a premium even more so than usual and the primary purpose of my visit was to once again express my gratitude to him. Overall, he seemed pleased with my response to his question and really the six minutes he gave me were up, so I regretfully took my leave after once again thanking him – which he, naturally, brushed off.
I will admit to feeling a bit off-balance after this short interlude. MCF did not in any way acknowledge the thank you I gave him at graduation beyond saying “thank you” when I handed it to him (incidentally, he arrived with his manager and my former manager who I handed a thank you at the same time. MCF even made a joke asking why he didn’t receive his first. I can assure you it was because they were in alphabetical order by first name, not ordered by significance!). Between what I wrote in that message and the very personal information I’ve recently revealed my defenses are ready to rise at the slightest indication of judgement. This is unfortunate, but expected I suppose given my extensive trust issues. Having felt off-balance all week, I considered avoiding MCF for a period of time, a “cooling off” if you will after the highly emotionally charged interactions we’ve had of late.
Today I was finally able to discuss in detail what happened throughout my leadership training with my manager, who was equally concerned and wanted to provide feedback to the trainers’ manager. We decided I would email her my feedback, which she would then forward to the two managers above the trainers and request a meeting. Happy my negative experiences would be shared at a level that could have real impact for the future, I set about creating this email to my boss. Somewhere upwards of 2000 words, I realized it would be advisable to get a second set of eyes on this before I send it to my boss. It is very honest and thoroughly describes many examples of the lack of integrity in this training. However, I don’t want my boss to receive that and not feel able to forward it as planned. Where did this line of thinking lead me? Why straight to MCF’s office, of course!
Leaving my plan of evasion in the dust at the first excuse that came to mind, I stopped by saying, “I was hoping to ask you for a favor.” He indicated I could proceed, and I explained why I was creating this email and its purpose. As I had discussed the vast majority of the issues I intended to cite with him in real time, I felt he would be an ideal person to review my draft email prior to sending it to my boss. He is aware of the plan of action, the events and what I am trying to accomplish by sending this email. He readily agreed to review it; however, I doubt he realized the size of the commitment he was making at the time! I wasn’t able to finish my draft until about 6pm, so I hope he will have a chance to look at it tomorrow. Although I was only in his office for a few minutes, it was enough to help me feel grounded in our relationship again.
His actual response when I said I wanted to ask a favor was to make a joke asking if I needed money, something else, then he offered to juggle! I was delighted and immediately interrupted him saying, “Yes! It would make my DAY if you would juggle for me!” Sadly he declined, saying that he only juggles for personal gain. “You wouldn’t gain anything by making my day?” I asked him coyly. “No.” he responded with a chuckle. I didn’t realize how badly I needed an infusion of lightheartedness into our exchanges to reassure me that I haven’t scared him off. Speaking of scaring people off, that was the other topic I had hoped to broach with him on Monday, before becoming aware of my six minute time limit.
I’m not sure why I want to share this; probably desperately (pathetically) seeking reassurance once again. Anyway, I have not told him about running in to my old math teacher and how he fled the room at the very beginning of the break out session at the conference after speaking with me for no more than two minutes. I was so excited to see him again, and it crushed a small piece of me that has continued worshiped his memory. Honestly I have no idea how I would bring this up, but the desire to tell him about it is strong. Perhaps he will have some insight I have overlooked, or maybe he will just tell me that it’s his loss and I shouldn’t fear that the same thing will eventually happen with MCF as well. Beyond pathetic, I know.
That’s the thing though; last year I finally accepted that I can allow myself to rely on MCF when I’m in need, regardless of what that need happens to be. I can trust him; I can seek answers that I don’t have through him. He certainly won’t always give me the answers, but he does always make me feel better and the vast majority of the time also provides incredibly helpful insights. He truly has helped me realize an array of new depth in my life – and I don’t want it to stop! In some ways he is the first person I’ve ever sincerely believed looks at me and thinks:
And for now, that alone is a win! Maybe some day my believing that he believes that will be enough to allow me to believe it too…more to come…