Oprahisms Part Two

I may or may not have stayed at work for about an extra 45 minutes to avoid having to miss any of Oprah’s last show.  She teared up once, as did I.

Love her or hate her, her last show was wonderful and I would recommend watching it.  She did talk a bit about herself, which seems to be the biggest complaint I’ve heard about her lately, but mostly she spoke about what 25 years with her guests and viewers has taught her – a perfect combination of the things she knows for sure and her aha moments. 

If you don’t want to watch it, don’t worry, I took notes.

Always remember:

You are responsible for your life.  You are responsible for your energy.  You are responsible for the energy you bring to others.

You alone, are enough. 

Validate those around you.  Let them know you see them, you hear them and what they say matters to you.

Your life is always speaking to you.  It starts as a whisper and if you don’t listen you’re going to get smacked upside the head.

I’m a big believer that things, ideas, people come into your life when you need them, so these are the things that spoke to me this afternoon. 

My mom sent me a text halfway through the show to let me know she was recording it (because they just got DVR and on Mother’s Day got the lesson on how to do that) so I could watch it if I had missed it today.  I might watch it again.  I might hear different things that I need at that time.

The Last Three Years

My first post-college big girl job was great.  Glamourous, fun, paid well.  It was a sexy job to talk about, but three years ago today I walked away from it.

Why?  If people ask, I usually give a delightfully vague, “my boss was a jerk.”  Or, in a more professional setting (like when I was asked during interviews), it was, “it wasn’t a good corporate culture fit.”  Sometimes I even blamed the fact that it was a small, struggling company that was always handing out salary cuts, which was true, but not the real reason.

I left because for a year and a half of the two and a half years I was there, my boss – “the jerk” – was sexually harassing me.  Well, it felt like sexual harassment AND it felt like an affair.  There were so many layers to it and none of them was black or white.  I wasn’t innocent, but it was inappropriate.  I was young (just a babe at 22), completely green in the business world and he was my boss and the president of the company, in fact.

It started with him taking me to lunch then playful emails then flirting, sexual flirting and the looks then the touching.  It stopped there, we never had sex, but the looking and touching was enough to make me feel awful, but powerless with nowhere to go.

I learned a lot from that job.  I learned that using looks and my sexuality is the way to get ahead.  I believed for a long time that I got the job because he had a crush on me when I was an intern and that all subsequent jobs will be given to me for similar reasons.  I still don’t completely UNbelieve that. I learned that a tight ass keeps the boss happy and you want to keep the boss happy.  I learned that flirting is the most important work skill to have.

Finally, after a year and a half of being upset with myself about it, of sitting in my car for 10 minutes before going into the office and facing eight hours with this man who I was allowing to trample my spirit daily, I learned something better.

I learned that I’m stronger than I thought.  That if I want something to change, I can change it.  That I can choose the type of person I am. As cheesy as it is, I drew a lot of strength from Rascal Flatts’ Stand and Carrie Underwood’s Wasted.

I thought every day would be the day I quit and finally they announced salary cuts (again).  I saw that open door and ran through it.  It gave me a good cover story with them, friends and family and future employers (although, it still didn’t make very much sense that I turned down a job and some kind of salary for absolutely nothing).  I knew the real reason and my boss did too. 

I spent the summer unemployed, building a relationship with a new interest, reading Twilight (for shame), running, hanging out by the pool, writing, painting my nails (honestly, that’s when I picked up my nail polish habit and I don’t think my tips have been uncolored for more than a day since). 

I spent the last three years becoming the kind of person who I want to be.  The kind of person who works hard, stands up for herself and what is right. 

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I stayed, well, if the situation was different and I had stayed.  High-powered marketing exec at just 26 years old?  Maybe, but I’m happy for all the lessons I’ve learned in the last three years and although I wouldn’t have picked this to be part of the story of how I got here, I’m happy with my life as it is now.

Lessons Lessen the Heartbreak

Reverb 10, Day 17 Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

I’ve been avoiding writing about this guy, although I do still think about him more than I want to.  He even resurfaced over the weekend, with an innocent, friendly text that turned into a short, “this is SO completely normal” conversation, in which I got to be the one who left the last text unanswered. 

Could he see through that?  Did he know that meant it’s still so painful to talk to him, even via satellites (or whatever technology makes cell phones work that I obviously don’t understand)? Did he know that his text landed exactly one month post-breakup?  It almost seemed too timed, like he decided to give me a month and then raise his little white flag to feel it out, but I’m pretty sure guys don’t actually think about that kind of stuff.  But, if he was feeling it out, I hope he got his answer.  TOO SOON.  Which might always be the answer.

Anyway, that’s not REALLY what my response to today’s prompt is about.  It’s about what I learned about myself from the whole experience.  Ironically, I almost wrote about it yesterday, about how he changed my perspective on dating, but I didn’t want to write about him because I’d been doing so well.  And now here we are.

This year, I learned that I can go all in.  I thought that was for fools, but, this time, this fool rushed in.  And it was fun. I learned that anything BUT something that gets me excited enough to act like that kind of a fool early on is not worth it. 

I learned that being true to myself in relationships works out best and leaves no what ifs (yes, perhaps I’m a little stunted, but better late than never).  I learned that awesome me attracts the quality of guy that I deserve better than half-awesome-trying-to-be-myself-only-in-a-smaller-box me anyway. 

I learned that there are some things I won’t sacrifice and that I can’t change my values any more than a man can change his. 

Finally, I regained my belief that eventually everything I’ve been looking for will find his way into my life and when the time is right, I will be everything to him as well.

I’m definitely ready to take these lessons, which have formed my new outlook on dating, into the new year with me.