Graham Cooke refers to them as ‘grace-growers’. Others might call them irritants. A thorn in the side might be apt. I refer to those people who basically get under your skin and brings out the most horrible parts of your self- and if you’re like me I just sit in the corner, saying Lord have mercy on me, because I want to smash their face in. (Sorry)
I have been on three residentials for my Masters Programme and I have allowed Andrea to totally intimidate me. My issue not hers.
The lecturer sat us together as we are both serving Head teachers. However, I am only really a pretend Head Teacher because I co-own the school. She on the other hand is a ‘proper’ one. She, like me, is fairly strong-willed and opinionated. However, unlike me, she would often just mutter negative things under her breath. I HATE THAT. Either speak up or shut up. I HATE people that don’t have the balls to own their stuff. I REALLY HATE IT.
However, she was an extremely smooth operator and clever cookie and spoke just enough, showing off her ball-breaking style, and in her own words, ‘I’m really hard-core.”
Weekend 1, day 1, I held my own with her. When we disagreed I could justify my stance. By the end of day 2 I had retreated in to myself, living in fear that everyone would find out what a fraud I was, and that even though I had opinions, I had no substance. By day 3, she called in sick with food poisoning and my relief was palpable. The men were in awe of her, the lecturer seemed to hang on her every word… I on the other hand, was caught in that, I wish I was as strong as you, married with I think you are really not a very nice person and I don’t want to be that kind of leader.
Weekend 2, she was absent. (School couldn’t possibly do without her). Weekend 3 she returned with gusto. I tried to make conversation. I felt like I was far too common and unimportant for her. I shrivelled before my own eyes. I couldn’t understand why everyone else seemed to think she was so amazing. (including myself at times).
It was clear she was having a hard time at work and was very tearful. (She had been head hunted for a prestigious school and her current bosses were really upset she was going and were making her life a misery…) They had bad-mouthed her and she was suing them for 2 years salary, she was doing blah, blah, blah…. And then my self-loathing creeps in- why am I so judgemental? why can’t I be more supportive? why am I always so jealous? why don’t you believe her? why do you resent someone else’s success?
This battle in my mind was raging for two days.
At the end of the second day, she went home. She had been suspended from her post for serious mis-conduct. My colleagues all took the stance she was being bullied and vilified… except 1. In a tongue loosened by alcohol, someone else let it slip that may be I wasn’t alone in my feelings.
I had spent all this time, wishing I was more like her… more knowledgeable, strong like her, more gutsy… and actually just may be the facade was as false as my own one is. Sometimes you really do have to be careful what you wish for!