As people were handing her feedback cards, she leaned over across the table and whispered, “Are you, OK, Emmy? You aren’t acting like yourself?”
Great, I thought, another reason for me to feel bad. I was already feeling like today was a waste of my time – a waste of their time – as I had very little to feed into the discussion because I was ill-prepared.
“Yeah,” I reassured her, “I’m fine. Just tired, and honestly, did not even crack the book you lead the discussion on. I’m sorry. With everything going on – doing the solo parent thing – I just did not have the energy or time to do it.”
Thankfully, this small group of professionals that are in this class truly understand. And even more, they understand why it bugs me. They have been parts of the discussions where I shared that my #1 leadership quality is “responsibility” – something that wouldn’t surprise most people that know me.
Earlier, one of the people I’m closest to in the class asked me how I was doing because they knew about G’s trip and all. I admitted that a week ago, I looked at everything – and had to tell myself that I could not do it all – that I wasn’t expected to – and if I didn’t get the books read, I didn’t get the books read. It was ok.
But despite this pep talk – despite my classmate’s reassurance that it was OK – I was still unable to be ok with being ill-prepared for this class.
The woman who asked me this question, upon hearing my answer, reassured me she understood – she was just worried but got it. The guy next to me reminded me how he read nothing after finding out his wife had a brain tumor. I wanted to respond with, “But no one in my family has a brain tumor! It’s not the same.” I didn’t do it. He was trying to reassure me it was okay, and I took it as that even though my situation is different than his.
I realized today that when this class ends, I am going to miss the professional connections. I am going to miss the jokes and laughter and good advice. They were commenting today how usually there are 2x the people in this class. We were sad for the organization but expressed how happy we are there were not more people. We have a connection that wouldn’t be there with more people. It is true. Today we talked politics without any sort of political conversation or debate. The facilitators laughed their asses off at the fact we did not want to disrupt our class environment with that bullshit. Nope. We did not.
And I know that contributed to my guilt today. I respect these people. I like how we all operate. And I felt like I did not hold up my end the way they did theirs. But I appreciate that everyone understood – no one judged – even as I was judging myself.
I was thinking tonight as we were walking to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner how much people have blossomed. And as I drove home, I thought about how with SB as the exception, few others in my life have offered their support the way these guys have.
I’m glad that I was offered this chance to take this class.
Not just for the knowledge – but for the people.
I think that is why I was also quiet. I was quietly appreciating the fact these people I see every 4-6 weeks have offered more understanding and support than people I’ve known for 20 years. Yeah, it’s telling.
On a separate note, I had a moment of WTF today while our guest speaker was talking. He said, “and a number of years after grad school, my wife and I chose an alternative lifestyle…”
I seriously was like wide-eyed with a side of “is he going to say what I think he is going to say?”
Only to hear him finish with……” so we moved to the middle-of-nowhere Appalachia for this job I was offered. But instead of fixing things, it really just ended them. So we divorced.”
In my head, I was thinking: “Damn, maybe you should have tried swinging or kink or polyamory. Maybe Appalachia is more of a hard limit.”
And on a totally separate note – if you have never eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse – HOLY HELL – GO!! Best $70 for dinner and 1-beer that I have ever spent. This place was all-the-meat-you-can-eat……and trust me – a few guys tried. Good stuff even if you leave in a food coma.