I sort of deserved it, but it stung nonetheless.
One of our vendors (I'm purposely being vague) recently invited me and several other clients to sit in their box at a Celtics game -- nope, not a championship game.
In making small talk, one of the fellows asked me if I were a hoops fan. I could have given several different answers. Like, Yes, I really enjoyed going to games when I was younger. Or, No, not so much, but I've enjoyed seeing the Celtics' have a winning season. Both answers would have been true.
Instead, I said, "Well, I WAS a cheerleader in high school".
To which he responded, "And, now you're a cheerleader over at Rose Park."
Weeks later, I'm still stung.
Was his comment inappropriate?
But, given that 'it takes two to tango', and that this man's comment, albeit the most egregious over the past year, was not dissimilar to comments made by other folks, I have come to wonder if I bear some responsibility for this sort of riposte.
I don't mean to imply that I didn't relish being a cheerleader because I did. I spent many, many hours making up and perfecting cheers; I loved cheering for my high school.
Even today, I'm happiest when I'm cheering on my family and friends as they pursue their dreams.
But in my professional milieu, cheerleader isn't what I thought I was going for.
So why did I say what I said?
Because I must have meant it -- at least a little.
I want to be respected professionally, to have what I say and do be taken seriously. To have gravitas.
I also want to be loved, adored, and cared for -- don't all girls?
And in a professional context, I just don't think you can have both.
I've been asking myself ---
Am I going to grow up or not?
Throw down my pom-poms, as alluring as they are to hang on to?
Or get in the game?
Have you read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series? Her books play perfectly into our desire to be loved, adored, cared for. Which is why, in my opinion, they are so intoxicating -- I read the first three in a week.
Have you found yourself giving mixed messages? As a professional, parent, spouse? Why?
Have you ever become angered by a comment only to later realize that the person was merely reflecting back to you what you were emitting?
Even as I write this, it feels that I am grappling for, or missing, something. What are your thoughts?