Monday, September 10, 2012

Whining Works!

Yay, Sweet Baboo's sleep is improving!  Knock wood!

My friend is still in the hospital, but no surgery (so far) because they are hoping this whatever is clearing up.  Cross fingers!

I could use some input on something, and I think this is a crowd with ideas.  Daughter graduated college in December, and has been on a long and discouraging journey to find work ever since.  She is applying to be a military officer (because it would be a steady career), and also applying for all kinds of civilian jobs in circumstances where every job has a bergillion applicants.  My daughter is of course brilliant and talented and tough!  She is also very tiny (5'1, skinny), and with strangers, her voice is small and tends to uncertainty.

It occurred to me that she needs to find a public voice that can be authoritative when needed, and that is strong and calm even if she does not feel so confident in that moment.  If she goes to the military, she will be giving orders to older men who are twice her size.  Even civilian contexts, she will need to persuade people who might be inclined to dismiss her, and to get things done working with others.   And she needs that voice even for job interviews -- she can't compete without being able to convey her strengths, and show thoughtfulness and potential. 

She thinks of me as an outgoing, take-charge person, and totally does not believe that I am shy by nature.  And I swear, I had to learn to fake it in social and professional contexts.  There was a time when I was so scared and so willing to please that I never expressed any opinion.  I still cannot speak publicly without my knees shaking, until things get going.  Apple, meet tree.

There is a lot of advice that I can offer but cannot press because my job as the parent of an adult is to not helicopter.  That thing about falling apart in the safety of home is also still in play, so we just had a drama about stupid job notices that don't describe the job or even where it is, and the stupid people who don't bother anymore with even telling one about rejection, and also the stupid rejections.

But -- can you think of examples of small women (or uncertain people) finding or using strong and steady voices?  It could be a TV show, a book, a character, a public example, etc. 

What's happening in your corner of the universe?  Bring your whines, anti-whines, conundrums.  Passing the leftover pizza and an array of pre-Halloween chocolate.


esperanza said...

I guess I should whine again about no sleep, because last night was back to multiple wakings.

Whine: I think this might qualify for Old Skool. It is driving my OCD side nuts that I can no longer match pairs of socks in the laundry, because Sweet is only wearing one of the pair.

kathy a, let me think about your daughter's dilemma. Us short, skinny, shy people have to stick together.

kathy a. said...

oh, darn. knock knock knock knock. didn't mean to jinx the sleep!

esperanza, you are now in lost sock heaven!

Miranda said...

I posted a comment three times but Blogger ate them all. My whines have been decreed not for public consumption by the g**gl* overlords.

Nothing to see here.

kathy a. said...

oh NOOOO, miranda!

JenR said...

esperanza - at least she has a good reason. My 4 year old regularly wears two different socks and even two different shows just because he likes it that way. I haven't been able to match pairs in over a year. (Shoe mixing rule: The must be the same size and the same type - two crocs or two sneakers or two flip flops. He goes along with that and it makes me feel better about the potential for hurting his feet)

Sue said...

Boo to the bad cyber overlords. Bah!

Darn those sock gremlins anyway!!! JenR, I laughed out loud about your son and the socks/shoes. A certain (now grown) child in our home was the same.

kathy a. - my first thought re: your daughter's search is that I'm glad she's still looking. It can be a frustrating process, so it's good that she's still in the game.

True story: when I started highschool, I hadn't finished growing and was only 4'10". Naturally my locker was next to the quarterback of the school football team. I was so afraid that either he or his friends would speak to me that I would arrive early and take ALL of the books I needed for the morning out of my locker so that I wouldn't have to go back and run into the guys.

Shy much??

My first career as a lab (rat) technologist was chosen largely because it happens in isolation, usually in the basement of a hosptial.

Now look at me!!!

I can honestly say that it does not matter to me whether there are 100 or 1000 people in front of me. When I have something to say and I'm passionate about it, the introvert in me says, "Ok, but I'm coming back later!"

So, I get through public speaking on a weekly basis and actually enjoy it!

However, I go home on a Sunday afternoon and I feel like I haven't slept in a month. I go home so drained that I can hardly wait for that lovely Sunday afternoon nap.

Seriously, if someone like me can do the public speaking thing....anyone, and I mean ANYONE can.

Chin up daughter, shoulders back - look confident even if you don't feel it. Over time, it's like breathing.

Sue said...

Another short story and then I'll stop....

In the first year of my ministry, a male colleague said to me "You're too small and pretty to be a minister".

I looked (up) into his eyes and said "Well, that's highly offensive."


I don't think he ever spoke to me after that, then he moved away. It was one of my finest moments.

Being 5'0" tall doesn't have to slow you down. You may need to be a bit "scrappy" at times, but that's okay too.

Ok, done.

kathy a. said...

JenR -- priceless on the mismatches on purpose! love the rule that the shoes must be the same size and type!

thanks, sue! i did not reach my full lofty height of 5'2" until sometime in college. it was 5 years after law school when people stopped asking if i was old enough to be a real lawyer. i still occasionally have to deal with neanderthals who think that physical and/or verbal intimidation shows intellectual prowess. bless their tiny little crabbed hearts.

esperanza made a great suggestion off-blog -- quiet, a book about introverts. it was the last book club book, and i missed the whole thing because of Giant Project, but daughter was grinning as she accepted the gift.

liz said...

Chin up, shoulders straight, eyes on the nose of the person you're talking to, firm handshake, speak from the diaphragm.

If she's having trouble with any of those, maybe involve her in toast masters.

Alternatively, send her to volunteer for (or get paid work with!) a campaign.

AW: I had a bloggy playdate with Yankee Transplant and Bleeding Heart Attorney!!

Sue said...

Good suggestions Liz! And yay on the bloggy meet up.

kathy, I have the "Quiet" book, but haven't finished it. So far, I'm really enjoying it. It's as if the author wrote it from inside of my brain.

kathy a. said...

great + practical suggestions on presentation, liz! (i cannot "send" her to do anything; she has heard the earful about volunteering, but toastmasters is a great thought -- they are all about mentoring people to speak in public.)

jealous!!!! about the meetup with YT and BHA!

esperanza said...

toastmasters is a great suggestion, as are Liz's one-on-one tips. Sue, the author was clearly inside *my* brain when she wrote it.

And Miranda, now I'm all kinds of curious about your whines.

kathy a. said...

9/11 -- all these years later, still has me in tears. hugs all around.

Miranda said...

Oh, I was going to also recommend Toastmasters for the Younger A and mention that parenting teens ought to be covered under the Geneva Convention as too extreme for prisoners.

(I did get a nice promotion at work for all that I do. It was moved up three months so I was quite surprised.)

esperanza said...

Hooray for promotions!

Trying to cope with the backsliding re: getting ready in the morning.

Sue said...

Lol Miranda! I agree, parenting teenagers at times falls under the category of "cruel and unusual punishment."

Yaaay for promotions!!!!!

Sue said...

Not really a Whine, but a Dilemma:

I'm cleaning up my office at work to make room for my book habit. There are worse things to be addicted to, yes?

I have two boxes full to bursting of old sermons. The past three years I have on thumb drives, but the rest are only preserved on these pages.

Do I really need to keep sermons dating back to 1998? I am inclined to say no and feed the recycling bin.

I'm wondering if it is worth the investment of time to browse through them quickly and pick out a few gems. I've never preached a sermon twice, but who knows, I may want to at some point.

Thoughts, Pixies?

kathy a. said...

sue, i'm a notorious packrat, because something might turn out to be useful later.... i don't know the cost, but copy shops should be able to digitally scan the material. then it is at least in electronic form instead of boxes.

liz said...

Sue, what Kathy said. Either that, or get them bound into a book. Or both.

Miranda, YAY for your promotion!

Sue said...

ooo, good ideas both! Thanks, I'll check out the possibilities.

In the "OUCH that stung" Department:

A colleague of mine died last month. Her partner was a member of our church. (Clergy cannot belong to a congregation, but she attended here after retirement). The funeral was at a larger church because of numbers.

I visited her spouse last week and he generously gave me all of her vestments. We visited for an hour. He is doing well.

Today I received a request from Larger Church for his transfer documents, as he is transferring his membership to that church.


He couldn't tell me this while I was sitting in his living room on Friday?????

I would never try to talk anyone out of a church move, I would have blessed him and wished him the best in his new church home.

This one bites.

liz said...

Yikes. I'm so sorry.

Maybe he just didn't know how to say it? Can you call him and say that you are sad he didn't feel he could just tell you, but that you bless his move?

esperanza said...

That's a head scratcher, Sue. But, as we know, grief makes people do strange things.

I recently trashed all my paper sermons, but most are on the trusty computer and backup.

kathy a. said...

miranda, congratulations about the promotion!

sue -- this is about him; it's not about you. he obviously cares for you. and what a gift, his beloved wife's vestments. i think you should thank him, give your blessings on the move, and plan to keep in touch.

my closest analogy was people leaving my old office. i spent a lot of energy trying to recruit and keep people, and advocating for things that could help them stay. and i considered nearly all to be friends, so it was a blow when they left. many found it hard to tell me. but in such times, all one can do is be gracious, wish them well, and keep the door open. your work is different from my work, but not burning bridges is a good thing -- for the friendship, and for the future. keeping those connections is not only human, but useful in ways we can't see in the moment. xoxo

liz said...

Question, is Bigger Church accessible? He might be finding your church to be hard to navigate.

Sue said...

Liz, yes, Bigger Church is accessible but I don't think that is an issue for him physically (though it could well be a moral problem for him).

I will definitely call him to thank him again for the vestments and to wish him well.

I understand that it's not about me. I just really wish he could have told me himself.

liz said...

I hear that. I think that it's hard to say goodbye to the people you like, especially the reason you're leaving has nothing to do with them.

One of your posts from a few years ago talked about the number of people who just aren't coming back to your church, for whatever reasons. Do you have the spare energy, or do you have a young congregant with the spare energy to follow up with the people who have left and survey them as to why? Is it the building? Is it the coffee? Did they feel pulled to another church or pushed from this one?

I ask because it's obviously not YOU, this man gave you his wife's vestments for crying out loud. So what was it?

Sarah said...

Such good whines and advice and commiseration - I'm just enjoying the pixie energy.

Socks and sleep and public speaking, oh my!

Sue - even the hurts we can rationalize as not being about us, they hurt.

Whine: scatterbrained. Still no job. Orthodontia consults, yikes!

W/AW: after having some background nagging thoughts about motor skills issues with my son (bike riding and pencil holding, pants buttons and messiness), we finally had a PT/OT evaluation. And he's pretty normal. Low normal. I am not devastated - the OT would like to try to get approval to do some work with him. But she thinks it will be not long. But the whine is that most of the problems are behavior and not a skill issue. So need to gear up for that teaching...

AW: some nice guys out there. Still not enough time, but I feel better about it all.

kathy a. said...

sarah -- it is good news your son is basically OK! and big hugs on the frustration of slogging through things kids don't do well, or don't want to do. a little OT might be really helpful in changing some habits, giving him and you some tools to work these things through.

there might be small things that could make a difference -- like, a rubber tubular thing over the pencil helped my kids hold it better, and write better, though not a one of us won any writing awards. improving bike skills happens with time, and if a kid is riding regularly with a friend. i've got nothing on the messiness, unfortunately. (except my daughter has cleaned her room! and she is doing things like loading the dishwasher, spontaneously! but she is 23...)

kathy a. said...

sue -- following up on liz's idea -- maybe a helpful place to start could be a survey of members: "how can we better serve you? how can we strengthen and grow this congregation?" people will have stories of why others left.

but it has to be a team effort, not "go tell pastor sue all your complaints, any time you want" -- so you need the leadership agreeing and helping. and you need to phrase it positively. people have to feel safe responding; so the team needs to take feedback constructively, and respect confidentiality. there may be wonderful feedback that suggests ways forward! there may also be things that are not easily fixed; but acknowledging a problem and thinking about it is better than ignoring it.

then there will be the chronic complainers with impossible expectations, bless their hearts. you might consider them at the top of the volunteer list for tasks they cannot mess up, but for which they will be thanked. it's a community!

amy said...

JenR, you are brilliant. I absolutely love how you handle that because it sets limits while honoring your child's need to explore. <3

I wish I had something other than hugs for Sue, but I don't. I like the ideas here, and I think it's true that grief makes us do out of character things.

I came by to tell you all that my mother in law means well, bless her heart.

Last week, she was out and about, running errands. She found herself in the parking lot at the bank where she discovered three sets of drumsticks on the ground. Brand new, in their package. There are no music stores nearby, so she couldn't return them anywhere, and the bank's lobby was closed. So, she waited in the parking lot for over half an hour to see if the people would come back for them.

Unfortunately, the owners did not come back before she had to leave.

But, you know, what do you do with three sets of drumsticks? Her answer: you give them to your grandkids when you go over to babysit them a couple of days later.

Thank you, MIL, for giving Tater (a boy who is *finally* *possibly* *knock wood* moving past the hitting-is-an-answer-for-everything stage) an item whose sole purpose is for hitting things. *facepalm*

(So far, so good. He is only hitting on the makeshift drum kit they built out of toy buckets and laundry baskets, but ay yi yi...)

kathy a. said...

amy is winning some kind of prize. omg, drumsticks! i'm all in favor of music, but as someone who raised 2 fairly musical kids (chorus, violin, cello, guitar, recorder, electric bass, saxophone, ukelale, keyboard, plus the extras + band practice + drums + amps up to eleventy), oy.

kathy a. said...

oh. oh. oh. today would have been my adopted nephew alexander's 23rd birthday. he died over 10 years ago, after a 3 year struggle with cancer. i remembered the 10 year anniversary (he died on my wedding anniversary; hard to miss), but forgot this birthday. his mom just sent an email to remind everyone.

grief is very hard to manage.

esperanza said...

Sarah, we (Sweet and I) have similar behavior/skill issues to untangle. She is SO MUCH MORE cooperative with the various therapists. Those skills are a long time making their way all the way to our everyday lives, though. So maybe some professional OT could help expedite the process.

Today's whine: When hubby has to be out of town for more than one night, he goes into freak out mode about how I will need help, he doesn't want me to get overwhelmed, etc. Can someone explain to him that is not any different than say, this week, when he has not been home any night for supper and bedtime? Hopefully some relief will come soon, but in the meantime, whiny pseudo-single parent here.

esperanza said...

aaand, now we have the first nosebleed of my parenting career. Thankfully, mild. Thankfully, it woke her up before it made too big of a mess. Thankfully, no one freaked out. Thankfully, it did not involve a casted leg (poor Mini, not Sweet).

debangel said...

Wow, the Pixies are havin' a rough week! I'd better get some more dark chocolate for my famous brownies :)

Little whine: hafta get my whine on in a hurry, just in case I forget and miss it because THEN I WOULD REALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO WHINE ABOUT.

Big whine: ShowerSack Ex (figure it out) finally got back to me about my request to change the parenting plan..AFTER NEARLY TWO MONTHS. He wants to pay *less* in child support (I have Arianna nearly 70% of the time, and he pays $100/month, and wants to pay $50), have her an extra two overnights a month, and won't agree to let me have her on Christmas Eve and morning. Even though he is ethnically Jewish *and* a very dedicated agnostic/atheist and DOES NOT CELEBRATE IT. I offered him floating holidays of choice. And I am a UU at heart and would have split the holiday with him if he celebrated it at all. He's basically depriving her of my family's traditions for now reason. And although he has two Ivy League degrees (including an MBA), he's been mostly unemployed, willfully, for nearly 4 years. So do I drag us through court or what?

Also, Moose is leaving on business in the morning and won't' be back till October 1st, which means he is missing my birthday on Saturday :(

Antiwhine: I am on *this* side of the dirt, which is no little thing. And I have my daughters and my family and my friends to celebrate with. That means you too, Pixies :)

Hugs and "pattings", as Ari would say, to all the ruffled Pixies tonight. Esperanza- the pressure point for nosebleeds is on the gums above the two top front teeth. Stick half a sheet of TP, rolled up, under the top lip. If you/assorted Baboo looks like an idiot, you've got it right ;)

liz said...

Debangel, take him to court. It's time to flush his feeling of entitlement out of him. He's not entitled to hit you. He's not entitled to neglect his responsibilities to his daughter. He's not entitled to the whole of Christmas.

He's a douchebag and he doesn't get to have it all his own way.

Amazingly, Muffin Man's best friend's dad is the spiritual twin of your horrid ex.

Sue said...

Debangel - what Liz said. Definitely.

Amy gets a prize for drumsticks!

esperanza, I often wonder how young families manage with all that the church demands of its ministry personnel. Here's hoping some help arrives soon!

Multiple hugs and pattings (I like that) for parenting Pixies!

Thanks for the good suggestions re: Guy that Left. All of those great ideas actually fit well into an upcoming Needs Assessment that our church is doing for the regional body. And the Survey Says!!!

AW: Many thanks to all of you Pixies. Yesterday was tough, and I can't share it with anyone but my secretary who made up the transfer document. It's good to have an outlet for the hurt.

I feel a bit better today. I had breakfast with the chair of our board and we had a lovely talk. I'm in a good place with people who genuinely love me.

liz said...


Sue said...

AW: Mid-day observation. When one is alone in the church and having a less-than-stellar week, the best possible action is to play ABBA tunes.

esperanza said...

Sue, I think that's a good remedy for almost anything.

The presenting issue with this week's busy-ness is that the youth director left at the end of July (all in all, a very good thing). So youth stuff has started without a youth director to organize it. And, simultaneously, potential youth directors need to be interviewed. I can live with the evenings away interviewing if it will help in the long run.

debangel said...

Hilarious auxiliary anti-whine: Pookie, my ultra-mellow Burmese cat, who is famous for eating paper, but only the important stuff, showed what he thought of my ex's proposed changes by chomping the document ;-) I love that cat.

Sue said...

Excellent debangel! Pookie is a fine cat indeed. :)