When your best isn’t good enough… reassess

(This is a hard post. My head keeps finding ways of not sharing it, so bear with me)

Some people like making new years resolutions – new year, new me.

 

Others, like myself, get fired at the beginning of the new year and are forced to start anew.

 

I wish I could blame my ADHD for my getting fired, I really do, but the truth is, though I have a hard time keeping a job, it’s usually me who quits. More often than not, I’m an extremely valued employee by all, most of all by my colleagues. Out of the 3 times I’ve been fired in my life, I can honestly say that I was only once at fault; it was only once that my ADHD caused me to act up and blow up in my boss’ face – and let me tell you, even without shouting and insulting, that boss of mine a couple of years ago had every harsh word coming to her.

 

One other time, I was caught in a wave of layoffs and selecting me was a political move (I was too close to the worker’s union).

 

This time, I unknowingly annoyed the boss’ mommy. I’ll spare you the details, I’l only say this much: it’s not normal that a grown-ass woman refuses to even look somene in the eye, after that someone got her ass ripped by the boss and is humbly saying “I do apologize for causing such a misunderstanding”. You at least look at that apologetic person in the eye, if not with your chin up high and your hand triumphantly on your hip.

 

But I received not so much as a glance while apologizing for a slight I did not even commit. There was only an incompreehnsible mumble from someone who herself had accused me of being unpolite. And after a month of depressively dragging myself to work everyday because I knew my being fired was eminent, it happened.

 

I was summoned to the boss’ office and fired the first week-day after New Year (mind you, I was working on the 1st of January), after I had finished my shift. I still had two weeks left to work according to my contract, though no one – boss included – would expect me to show up. Since I had the next two days off, I decided to sleep on it. I was considering on keeping up my end of the contract and go to work, show up two days later, chin up and enjoy the shock and horror on the face of the lady who was the reason for my being fired. But I do have a tendency to depression and anxiety and my feelings eventually got the best of me.

 

Constantly torn between the beginnings of an anger black-out and the verge of tears, I decided to do the best for my health and go to the doctor and apply for sick leave on grounds of temporary mental instability, no matter the financial consequences. I thought I’d be in such a state of shock that I’d be very coherent when talking to my doctor, but as soon as she asked what was up, I turned into a snotty, sobbing mess.

 

It’s easy to hit a low when you have ADHD – or any other form of mental impairment, I would assume – but it’s even easier when everything around you crumbles down despite your best efforts. Despite informing myself about my condition, things can still go to hell when they’re not supposed to – I won’t say I’m never snipety with people anymore, but I’ve been getting very VERY good at managing it, and I ended up alienating someone with whom I had never had a real problem anyway.

 

I wallowed in self pity for a few hours and after remembering myself and feeling a bit positive, I’m indulging in cooking, talking with friends and family and reading up even more about avoiding and solving work conflicts for people who have ADHD. But what is more importment, I’m reassessing what really is my best effort and why it’s not working.

 

So far, I’ve come up with the notion that my best effort might be brilliant but totally misplaced. I’ve had the feeling that I need a dramatic change in my life, and I’m going to put my best efforts into making that change now. I just hope it won’t come back to bite me in the ass!

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Stand up to your bullies! – my dealings with irritability

I have a really big problem with people. Like massive! Like I’m all thumbs when it comes to people – that intricate, living piece of work. I also suffer from extreme irritability because of my ADHD – the one symptom that finally tipped my shrink off. But I try. It’s extremely tiresome. For a long time I shut up and kept it all in in fear I might explode – the occasions on which I could muster up the inner peace to talk it out with a “Workplace-bully” were very rare. I did this because I did explode once in a while – when I couldn’t keep it in. But my shrink, prescription drugs and lots of soul-searching, ADHD-literature reading and blog-chatting with fellow ADHDers has made me take amazing strides lately I wouldn’t have believed possible a few months ago. A huge one was today.

I’ve had a new job for 3 weeks now, which is always very tough for someone who is irritable – everyone trying to tell you what is what, many people assuming you might be some kind of retard when it comes to small stuff and then assuming you’ve been there your whole life when it comes to big stuff… the works. At my new workplace, although no one will get loud, there is a MASSIVE lack of respect for co-workers: quickly mixing something on your work bench and leaving an uncleaned mess, taking stuff and not returning, using all the butter up and not replacing it… There is one colleague, though – and I’ll call him Lenny – who is worst than all others.

Lenny is an old-fashioned man who is used to have it his way because he’s about 60 at a workplace where the average age is 25. He’s used to play the age card among kids and claim to be important because of the extra-time he makes – like no one else makes extra-time. Lenny likes to bring his old cartons to weigh stuff on our scale and wordlessly toss the cartons into [b]our[/b] pile of carton for recycling, without even flattening the boxes, instead of disposing of them himself. Lenny also insisted on telling me yesterday, when I was getting rid of our carton – our boxes neatly flattened and folded and his in original shape – that I’m supposed to flatten the cartons (insert ORly owl here). Lenny likes to come in our room and, while turned my back to pick up a shovel of sugar, wordlessly toss my container from the scale and put his own carton for weighing there. Lenny likes to come into our room and, when I turn my back to pick up something, spread his shit all over my work bench.

Lenny is an entitled asshole.

Today I had enough. When I left the room for a minute to pick something up and caught him mixing something my work bench, I called him on it: “No, Lenny. That’s my work bench and I need it, go work someplace else, plenty of tables around” (2 empty tables, to be exact, and several other surfaces suitable for what he was doing at the moment) and Lenny says “I’ll be done in a minute.”

I sighed. The nerve! “Lenny, I don’t need my bench in a minute I need it right now. I don’t care, I’m squeezing in, so scooch!” I picked up my trays and started carefully squeezing them between my setup and Lenny “Get away! I said I’ll be done in a minute!”. Jesus, seriously?

Since I didn’t want to fall in the ridicule of being brushed off of my workplace, I decided to start pulling jokes. I started playfully squeezing more and more and leaning into him – people who don’t like to be touched usually get the drill and move away, but although he only had one small item on his hands, he was still taking up all of my space and refusing to move or see the flaw in his behaviour. It was unnerving.

Since he had replied in a very snippy fashion, I moved away from him and walked around him to face him and told him “This is some nerve coming from you, Lenny! There are plenty of tables around here and you have to take my bench. This is not right! I don’t go to your workplace and get in your way!”. Ridiculously, as if anyone would believe it, he replied “Well, you can.” Well, I told him “No, that’s just not how it works. …….. Lenny, I’m gonna take your bowl away pretty soon.” and still that entitled asshole wouldn’t budge. So, instead of being agressive and snapping the bowl from under his hands – which I could, standing where I was – I resorted once again to playfulness, grabbed his bowl with both hands, and very gently as not to disrupt his work, I started slowly pulling his bowl “Lenny, enooooough, I need my bench…” big mistake. Oh, did he snap big time. He almost shouted at me to stop, not pester him, how rude of me, etc. I was flabbergasted. Really, I was. I didn’t even feel like smacking him, I was just so shocked at such an anti-social behaviour I had no words left in me.

But funny enough, he was either very upset or he really did finish his work and grumpily moved away from my work bench. I was, by then, feeling very jittery and shaky from the conflict, but I took a deep breath and started working. Lenny, however, would not let it go. He still had to use a machine in the other end of the room, and he mauled at me from there the whole time. Mostly stuff along the lines of me being rude, and the nerve on me to disrupt his work and that I needed to respect him. I replied from where I was “The same goes to you, mister!” that only agitated him more. I realized he wanted to have the last word and whenever he angrily mumbled I had to respect him, I said “right back at ya!” – I will not have someone this disrespectful get away with such comments about me – and he got even more rude and said “You just shut up! You be quiet right now! The nerve, trying to take my bowl away from me while I’m working…”. I said he was the one still talking and, after musing on giving in to my mean streak to provoke him unendlessly and deciding against it, I forced myself to let him have the last word.

But he wouldn’t stop. I realized he didn’t want the last word, he wanted the last 100 words. He kept on ranting and ranting to himself, and first I kept quiet, but eventually it became so tiresome I said “You’re the one still talking, I’ve been quiet for a while now.”. When I heard im again ranting about how disrespectful I was and he wouldn’t stand for it and he’d go to the boss if I didn’t show any manners, I suddenly snapped.

Truth be told, I would’ve LOVED to go to the boss. Because first of all, I can’t imagine the boss would take drastic measures and secondly, even if I got fired, I don’t want to work with disrespectful people who will get away with anything. But I did realize I had ruffled feathers up with no intention. I dropped what I was doing, and calmly walked to him.

That’s when I saw the man was red like a tomato. I could swear even his eyes and hair had turned red. He refused to look at me. Not in an arrogant way, but in a furious and beaten down way, like he couldn’t believe anyone had dared stand up to him. Because you see, no one does. He’s like a big child. People all around me will let people like him be disrespectful and will shrug it off with an “old dogs don’t learn new tricks”. They enable this. And I simply refuse to play along. Not when it’s this bad.

Although he kept telling me to shut up and go away, I said “Lenny, I think I unintendely offended you, it is not what I was going for. I simply wanted to get to my work and decided to make a joke out of it, I was obviously unsuccessful at that…” – “You’re damn right you were!” but still no eye contact. I kept looking at him straight in the face and went on “I realize that now. I didn’t mean to offend you and I’m sorry. I need you to know that I meant no disrespect and will try my best that it doesn’t happen again in the future. (where the hell was all this coming from?! I kept surprising myself) I do need, however, that you try not to interfere with my work”.

The rest is kind of history. He was obviously still very upset and kept ranting at how disrespectful I was and how he’ll always take my table if he feels like he needs it. But after I told him my mind, I went back to my work, still jittery and obviously distracted, but I did my best and he eventually had to leave the room. He was flustered, but quite on his toes for a while (“this filth here on the microwave wasn’t me, ok?! Just so you know! Before anyone tries to pin it on me!”).

There was, you might surprised, a 3rd person present in the room the whole time – another colleague who I’m still not very fond of and who made no attempt to mitigate the situation or help in any way. She just came to me after a while and said “Boy, I think you really struck a nerve with Lenny….” I said I noticed it too, but I’m very particular about my workplace and I simply cannot have it when someone not only takes my space, they refuse to apologize or even admit a fault on their side. She added “I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if he’s in a bad mood when he needs to come in here…” I told her “I picked up on that already. But  I already apologized and explained what’s up. From here on, I’ll just stay polite and things normally work themselves out. And if not, it’s certainly not MY problem.”

It was a great achievement for me, keeping my cool in a situation like this and still confronting someone. I just felt it was too bad I had to have a similar situation with my sister later on, but this post is long enough as it is.

“Victims” standing up for themselves

Kinda had another fight with my sis a couple of weeks ago. She, a regular person, is of the opinion that our society is a big meanie that doesn’t leave any room for people with mental disabilities (syndromes, abnormalities, special snow-flakeism, whatever) like ADD/ADHD. Me, having ADHD, well I got my feathers quite ruffled. While I have no problem with calling my mind abnormal or saying I’m disabled or that I have an attention deficit, I have a big… no a HUGE problem with people trying to put me in the role of the victim. So not only are you telling me I’m not normal, you’re telling me I’m sub-par (which isn’t the same) AND I’m a poor helpless little thing who can’t function unless the cream of society enables me to do so? Well, screw you very much.

A couple a days ago, there was another “incident” at work. I work on a bench opposite to the section chief. When the section chief is done pouring batter into about 20 cake-pans, he starts pushing the pans in the oven 3 at a time and he expects someone, ANYONE in the room to notice and wordlessly run to help him.

Not only that, he sometimes decides it’s a good idea to shout at the closest person (usually me, but only because of the working place arrangement, it’s not personal) when they fail to help him. So I was dividing my sparse focus between what I was doing and my wandering mind – sometimes I notice him, sometimes I don’t. Last week I didn’t. The colleague working behind me actually did (!) and promptly helped him. Not happy enough that he was getting help, my section chief, imagine that, started shouting at me for not helping him (!): “It’s amazing! It’s amazing how you fail to help! Just look away and screw the rest! Can’t count on you for help!”

This sort of daily abuse is especially hard for someone with ADHD and anger issues, but it’s still abuse. Well, my meds were actually working fine that day, so instead of unbearable anger, I felt deeply annoyed at the most, shrugged and told him “I’m totally focused on what I’m doing, didn’t notice.” which prompted my colleague into joining the bullying “Sure you are, where as I’m totally unfocused on my work and notice stuff like this!”

Fuck…

I kept my jolly face and admitted my mistake with sarcasm “Of course you are unfocused. I wasn’t trying to imply anything else!”. Still, my section chief kept angrily yapping at me, about my excuses, about this, about that, so I turned to him and said in the most jolly tone of voice I could muster “Look, you’ve known me for MONTHS now. How can you still expect me to notice? How can you still think I’m doing it on purpose, really?” eventually, the chief kept going on with his angry banter, but a friendly grin had creeped onto his face. Crisis averted. With a lot of nerves and effort. And ritalin.

Here’s the thing: the ADHD patient in me is annoyed and insecure because, once again, I didn’t notice something obvious that someone else in the room noticed. I felt that I wasn’t dealt a whole hand for this game. Again.

But the human in me can’t help noticing that f***ing asswipe of a human being would rather open his mouth to humiliate someone instead of opening his mouth to ask for help. And THAT has nothing to do with me, ADHD or society’s ability to accommodate any sort of minority.

It takes two to tango – my beef with compromising

I filled out personality tests for the dating site experience I had a while ago. Now mind you, I won’t even for a second try to justify matchmaking based on personality tests, but I did take similar tests YEARS ago when taking vocational tests for career choices and I know for a fact that they are, most of the time, eerily accurate. Most of the time. One of the things that shocked me about my results was how it pointed out that my ability to compromise with others or adapt my habits to others was bellow average. Which, you know, I think is kind of bullshit. As an example, they said

“when a partner can only sleep with the window open, you have a hard time accepting to sleeping with the window open”.

I’m sticking to the window example because I couldn’t care less. An open or a closed window is something that, to me, quite depends on circumstance and mood. Now, who is this partner and why does his need of sleeping with an open window trump my need of sleeping with a closed one? How is giving into the habits of others a form of compromise? You see, I’d think a fair compromise would be something like “Ok sweetie, but I’m going to have to sleep under an extra blanket” But giving into others is perceived as weak when you do it and as a lack of ability to compromise when you don’t. Seriously, when you’re in the middle of a fight with someone, how often has the other person said “You are so stubborn!” although they are insisting on a particular something as much as you? It’s like a battle of let’s-see-who-calls-who-stubborn-first. I’ve been, for a long time, replying to that silly comment with “No more than you.” It takes two to tango. In every sense of the expression. With the people I know, sometimes one side wins (i.e. makes the other one give up) and sometimes the other does. I guess if my family and aquaintances took the personality test, they would all be under average when it comes to compromise. And I’m wondering: who are these awful doormats that are being balanced against me and my peers to estimate an average? And what’s their life expectancy?

Being an authentic asshole

When the new colleague told me a couple of days ago that she lived for a year in a residence for the homeless after just coming out of bankruptcy; finally landed a measly job with us that allows her to rent a flat; after she told me how sparsely her flat is furnished and how she’s missing everything and can’t buy much because she doesn’t earn much (although she makes more than me, because she’s full-time and I’m part-time), I zoned out for a second. And I promptly told her “Hold on, I’m figuring out what I have at home that I could give you…

But as you might’ve noticed by some of my blog entries, I’m bitchy. And I can be an asshole. And sometimes, I feel like being an asshole is the more authentic me. Don’t get me wrong, thinking of how to help someone that has in any way something in common with me is something that comes to me very naturally and sometimes even baffles people around me – I guess not all impulsivity is bad – but I do realize that I write people off quite easily while I’m more than willing to accept and disregard stuff from very close friends and a couple of family members (but like… not even ALL family members)

Most people will say, this is my low self-esteem speaking out, but I always felt like bad self-esteem was putting yourself down in an unrealistic fashion. People will almost yell when I cook dinner and say “dang it, I’ve done this better before” like it’s something awful to imply that I’m such a badass, I’m able to cook that awesome meal EVEN better – the people accusing me of being negative are actually focusing on the negative part of my comment, har! But I do feel that if you’re an asshole to others once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with being an asshole to yourself once in a while, because anything else would be hypocrisy. And you know, sorry but I can’t be a hypocrite, I got my hands full being an asshole and whatnot.

The art of listening

I was talking with one of my sisters recently and she started venting about our other sister. See, sister A was complaining about work stuff: shit her boss does, shit her colleagues do and, mostly, shit her boss does and why her boss shouldn’t do it the way she does and and and. To this, B demanded of A to give her 3 good reasons why A wouldn’t open up her own business “if it’s that easy!”. But you see, A never wanted to be a business owner, so she couldn’t give B more than that one reason – which seriously trumps any other reasons – and B just wouldn’t shut the hell up. B demanded more reasons. A was upset. Obviously!needed to vent but she wasn’t allowed. Because had many opinions and many ways to show the error of her ways (this behaviour is, by the way, one of the many things that makes B a total bitch in my eyes and the reason why I actively avoid her).

Well… It’s hard to be a good listener and to me it’s hard to even stay focused on what people are saying (jump to minute 1 of this video if you want to get an idea of what it’s like being in my head) but amazingly, I managed to clench the insane need to say “That’s what YOU do with me all the time! It’s annoying as all hell!”. Instead, I managed to shout “Oh my god, that is SO annoying! I HATE when people do that to me! I just feel like yelling, shut up! I just need to open up, it doesn’t mean I need help! I’ll ask for help when I need it, shut up!”

obviously and thankfully didn’t see herself in my vague accusations. I will eventually tell her that offering help when I don’t need it feels rather insulting, but instead of being a nag myself, I managed to be supportive. I’ll nag her some other time, we’re still young! But this made me realize how tricky listening to people is. Sometimes we think giving advice shows caring and good listening skills, but there are good chances that it’s not the case most of the times. It’s at least something to consider.

Let me tell you, personally, the best listeners are my best friend, who will invariably listen to all I have to say and just comment “Fuck, friend… sucks…” or another awesome friend who, after I got fired in January, and after listening to all the crap my boss was pulling, instead of offering advice just looked about to explode and said “I would love to come across that woman on the street, really. I’d have a couple of things to say to her.”. None of these helpful comments include advice.

I see trans people – Biggotry in the name of tolerance

(this one is gonna be a long one, brace yourselves)

As far as I’m aware, I’ve only been in the presence of a transgender person, a woman, once in my life. I heard of her transgenderism from co-workers who were explaining to me that A. (a very arian man-whore who was in a commited relationship at the time – as far as his girlfriend knew) was trying to get laid with the new executive floor attendant (it took place at a hotel). They told me about A. trying to get laid with her (and her being very keen on his approaches) and this A. guy later being warned off by another co-worker who knew her when she was still a he. While I cannot for the life of me figure out why a horny guy would be put off by this when he obviously not only found her hot but also got the confirmation that she had a functioning vagina, I admit I laughed my ass off. Well, mind you, laughing my ass off when I heard about someone’s transgenderism, believe it or not, had me explaining to a bunch of white cis males (heeeere we go…), one of them quite homossexual too, that I wasn’t a biggot.

See, long story made short: a month before that, I had put up with a cook (let’s call him B.) in my patisserie who was celebrating his last day working at the hotel kitchen – that is, I enjoyed the presence of a man I considered to be very cute for several hours before he was gone from my life forever. Well,  he did so by bringing a case of 24 pints of beer to the workplace at noon and vowing not to leave before he and others had made the case empty (we ended up drunkenly sharing a cheeseburger sitting on the curb behind the hotel in a warm summer night, but I “digest”…). Well, while he was hiding his drunken state by me at the patisserie he blabbed a lot. He told me about the new lady who was exectuive floor attendant starting that day, and paraphrasing B.:

She is the most fucking beautiful woman I’ve ever seen! In my mind, I have a pretty well-shaped idea of how a woman should look like, and she is it!! I could’ve just run up to her and kiss her, if only I didn’t have a girlfriend!

The good news is, not all white cis males (*smirk*) are cheating manwhores. But the bad news is (and here is why I laughed so hard), the perfect woman for a guy I find very cute is almost 100% chizeled by the surgeon’s scalpel – and quite legitimately so. Well, that kinda leaves me screwed (or quite the opposite).

And now here’s my beef: although I’m not a hipster, I used the term “cis” ironically as I wrote this. I don’t have a problem with any kind of sexual orientation (whereas, as you can see, I frown upon promiscuity, but no one is perfect), I don’t have a problem with transsexuals, and as far as I could tell, a whole bunch of oh-so-mean white cis males don’t have a problem with it either (even if I found the rationalizations from one of them about why a transgender woman is the perfect girlfriend fucking pathetic, but hey…). But the age of cis and trans as come and woe us! We are so unspecial and such biggots being cis!

Here’s the deal: I see people using the terms cis as an insult and trans as something everyone is forced to accept, no questions askedthis is the reverse copy of straight biggots.

I see people calling themselves trans or claiming to have children/family who are trans and accusing “cis” people (like me) of not knowing, not being able to ever know what it’s like, becuase we are cis and only know our point of view. If I can’t comprehend trans people, trans people can’t comprehend me or any other cis person! This is not negotiable! Either we all acknowledge each other as sensient beings capable of empathizing with others, or we all mutually respect the fact that we will never fully know what the other side is like!

I see trans people (and other related people I’ve mentioned) classifying their hardship as harder than the hardship of other minorities – up to the extent of putting the gays and the african-american (because fuck all other black people, right?) in the same level of social hardship. Every single group of people has hardships, bullshit expected from them by this group, by that group, by society, you name it – including the white cis male, both the straight and the gay ones, who you so joyously include in the same category. If you some day decide to look past your belly button, maybe you will come to realize this.

I am sick and tired of biggotry in the name of tolerance and I will have none of that.