As I was walking on campus today, someone said to me “hello there Miss Snapper”. I thought it was endearing at first. Then I began to think about it. Last year I was known as the “face of the writing center”, which was apparently one of my responsibilities along with running the joint. Only a few on campus knew me as myself. Though I’m graduating now and no longer representing those groups, I can’t help but to have a bitter taste in mouth.
My mental health and personal life always took a backseat to the position I was in that year. I poured myself into those jobs. I tend to overwork myself in a lower position, then someone recognizes my hard work and promotes me. Then they expect the same quality of work out of me, if not something more pristine. Trying to live up to extremely lofty expectations led me to detest the position. Over-worked and under-recognized, the bitterness set in. I’m one who loves her alone time and nourishing her personal life. I did put a lot of the pressure on myself and sometimes forgot to practice self-love.
Last year I was in Philadelphia for a conference. On a whim I saw a psychic as we were exploring the city. I’m not really sure if I believe in all of it completely. I know that there are some things that you can only feel and not explain with logic. I think everyone needs something to believe in or else they would go through life with unanswered questions. In some situations, there will be no explanation for life and it’s easier to push off comprehension of the unknown.
This psychic held my hand palm up and said “dear, your heart is sad.” Her assessment was right. She also explained that some people that put pressure on me are a negative presence in my life. Working hard, though it has brought me far in my life has left me with little time to do what I love. Sometimes I lose my humanity. I’m not Kelsey, I’m just my positions. I don’t get to do what I want anymore. I fear if I don’t indulge in life right now, I will never get the chance to.
Too much was expected of me from others and myself. I can handle a lot because I’m strong but I’m also a person who has emotions, needs, and breaking points. People just take and take until there is nothing more to give. I need some reciprocation.
The conversations I was having were pointless in the grand scheme of life. They were about numbers and figures and bigwig people who don’t care about humans. No one asks how you are really doing. They just expect a programmed “good and you?” Then you realize that you were wanted for your work, not for you. No one will notice that your mental health is suffering until your work begins to slip. By that time, the mind has already slipped into the abyss.
I can’t let it get that far. I need to start putting my stability first. Ultimately, I want to become a better, more loving person to myself and others but paperwork doesn’t reflect if you were a good person. It doesn’t tell the story of how you genuinely got to know your employees and was concerned for their well-being. You offered your friendship and laughed to lighten the mood.
I called off for the first time in my years working. Four jobs, five years of working and I have never called out. I’ve gone into work physically ill, emotionally unstable, and made personal sacrifices. I worked on holidays instead of being with family. I’ve missed graduation parties in which it was my last opportunity to see people I haven’t seen ever since. I came in when they scheduled me, although I already asked off. I came in when my soul felt like it was dying. I grinned and bared it all to be called a good worker, but to not be valued as a person.
Something else that injured my soul was workplace sexism. Sexism was constantly at play when I was in these roles. My one boss implemented a strict dress code for all the women, but never wrote one up for the men. When I confronted him on his unfair policy he basically told me I was just a little girl and he knew more than me because of his doctorate degree. Male subordinates refused to listen to their female boss, not based off of lack of intelligence or understanding, just simply because I am a woman.
Another problem I faced was inappropriate work behavior. No one has fucked the boss when I was the boss, though some have attempted. I’m not sure if their pursuits were rooted in attraction or a power play. One man tried to steal my idea and feed it back to me as if it was his own. He then later confessed his fondness of me in a series of late night texts (that ignored). I had a male subordinate stare at my completely covered up chest and question my authority. I am willing to bet some of these boys felt helplessly trapped in their masculinity and thought they could dominate me outside of the office. None have succeeded, even if some fabricated stories about my sexuality or what (didn’t) happen behind closed doors. Being a female leader can be extremely draining at times, but I will not let others ignorance hinder my pursuit of success.