Friday, January 21, 2005

Killing the Brownies

Earlier this evening when I was getting chewed out (deservedly), there was part of me that was feeling like I'd been here before... like this situation where I got too critical for people and just fucked everything up.

I remember it now.

I was in the 3rd grade living on Manon Ave in Hayward -- it was overflow Navy housing and we were only going to be there for maybe eight months. I was quickly Miss Wells' pet (but I was humble about it, I swear) and made friends and had crushes... just like most third graders at the time. And I heard there was going to be a Brownie troop starting out in our apartment building. Of course I wanted to join -- and my classmate Kimberly Crowe's mother was the den mother.

So I got my little Brownie outfit and we did interesting things in Brownie meetings, although I remember reading in my manual there were neat things to do like put a big round mirror on the floor and pretend it was a lake and do cool ceremonies and stuff (I guess I was and arty-farty-metaphysical type even back then) -- but our troop never did them. It seemed we never did ANYTHING in the book, although I can't remember what we DID do. Only that was always disappointed (lookie there, high expectations already!).

But when I heard one of the other troops were doing something neato and magical -- I completely mouthed off to Kimberly, complaining about how their troop did this and their troop did that -- and we didn't do ANYTHING like that.

Of course, I'm not thinking, I'm just telling the one of the people in my troop who happens to be in my class. OOPS.

Well, the next meeting felt like death in the room. Mrs. Crowe, Kimberly's mom says, "I hear from one of the Brownies here that we don't do things like the other troops do."

I'm dumbfounded -- what did that idiot girl tell her mother for, I was just complaining! Can't people just COMPLAIN?

Apparently not. She went on and on... the bottom line being, "So we should close this troop down."

I was horrified! I, little ole me, caused the end of my Brownie troop? That was it? Finito? (No, I didn't speak Italian then.) Mrs. Crowe never let on that it was me, but the GUILT -- Oy, the Guilt.

I don't remember if she actually shut it down or I told my mom I wanted to quit... but that whole twist in my stomach happened again tonight when I was told that "if you don't think you can do the work you've committed to doing or feel like it's too much stress for you, THEN YOU SHOULD JUST QUIT DOING IT."

Hmmmm. Not the reaction I was expecting at all!

At least the whole interaction was very adult-like and clear. And I was told that if I keep my boundaries and am direct about my needs and my abilities, then if things slip through the cracks, the potion will land where it's supposed to.

How cool is that... I get to share my frustration, relieve pressure -- and still do my job! And surprise, surprise, the whole world won't come crumbling down on me. I feel really free, to communicate effectively and be myself more and more each day... and I don't have to be mean, nasty and critical.

Thank God. Because I scare me sometimes. If I'm that bad to others in bursts and spurts -- can you imagine what it's like in my own head? Downright ABUSIVE......