Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Treasure Hunting

It was nice to get away for the weekend, not that a lot really happens. I go into Old Lady mode and drink lots of tea and read books and go to flea markets so I can add to the already horrendous amount of crap that I already own. Expecting to go into the gallery today around two o' clock and have some new tactics for GM; we'll see how that goes. I suppose for this entry I can bring up the notion of 'appropriate' social behavior which has , in fact, done more harm to my life than brought me any improvement. There are plenty of books about gender role and behavior starting from birth. Does it sound right that you would give your boy child a pink blanket and doll? Or encourage your daughter to be a police officer? I don't think I'll go off into a major rant; this is old news and has been thorougly hashed by smarter people than me but I'd like to contribute a bit.
I can thank God and all the heavens that my parents don't fit the norm and never called me 'princess' and bought me minature kitchen sets and self-wetting dolls (horrifying brainwashing technique for children) thereby giving me delusions that I must be a caretaker and remain a sort of stationary pretty doll to be led through life by my big, strong competant male counterpart (I've yet to meet a man who can match me).
I can say that I've somehow been brainwashed into believing I must be 'nice'.
In fact, that's one memory I have during my formative years; posessing violent emotion even as a child I was given to screaming and throwing fits in anger. I actually remember feeling so much anger and frustration that the only way of expressing it was to throw myself to the floor and proceed to have a hissy fit (I think I was four years old, one of my earliest memories). Now eventually I learned self-control but I also remember that whenever I showed strong emotion, especially anger, my father would say the only way I could get what I wanted was to be sweet and nice.
and years of television, movies and God knows what other influence (and don't give me that movies/tv doesn't influence you bullshit because it does; humans imitate what they see whether or not it's realistic)
I came into being a young adult with some pretty off-kilter ideas. I had let my ex-boyfriend molest me because he was my boyfriend and I believed I had to do whatever he wanted in order to please him because pleasing your man is your number one priority. even if it hurts.
I came to believe that if I didn't get married by the time I was 25 and start a family then I was a failure and it's something I'm still struggling with today. That I can be over 25 without a boyfriend or children and still be worth something.
and the worse struggle I am dealing with now is a lifetime of brainwashing telling me I Must Be Nice.
I've seen what happens when you're Nice. When you try to please everyone. Never is there a more destruction thought pattern than putting everybody else before you. There was once a time when it was important to be nice and respectful and do your best to please other people but that's a long gone era. Nice gets you eaten alive. Nice makes you a doormat; makes you weak and when you are weak in this society you attract the sharks.
Hence the trouble with GM. Sensing blood in the water she attacks and stupid Nice me doesn't always defend. Any other person would have told her to shut the hell up, back the fuck off and let me do my job without you screaming in my ear. Probably ending the problem but possibly damaging the relationship with the gallery. Stupid Nice me is trying to negotiate an understanding between the two of us that doesn't lead to her into having a screaming hissy.
Or at least last long enough until May so I have a reference for job hunting telling prospective employers that I Am Great, hire me.
So intelligent women have to find a strange balance between bitch and Nice. To stop being nice but keep your compassion, to tell people who deserve it to go die in a fire but retain some semblance of humanity as well. Assertiveness is my biggest problem because all my life I've been told I'm Nice, to be Nice, to always be Nice to other people. and just like when I had to relearn math I have to relearn my behavior because Nice doesn't cut it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take a Deep Breath

Generally I wouldn't make a post twice in one day (my life is hardly so exciting to warrent two posts) but today is special. Today was day of the GM. or; GM attacks, or Life and Times of an over-nuerotic, there-are-pills-for-that Manager.
You know, it was hardly my intention of starting this blog to turn it into another 'i hate my job and my boss let me count the ways' type of writing (and truthfully I don't hate her). This is to record a year of my life that supposedly is a turning point, a record of what I'm facing day to day to survive, to live and grow and become a 'real' person who just happens to deal with crippling fear as well as grocery's and dishes. It just so happens that I also have the most amazing talent of attracting the crazies. My life can be accounted for by the crazies; the high school friends who did impromtu monologues in grocery stores for the entertainment of customers, the random men who pop into my life to grab my hand and tell me I'm a sensitive artistic soul and a pisces (I'm a Leo...) or tell me they're from Greece and want to take me to a movie or tell me my incredible magnetism made him gravitate right towards me and I'm a 'classy lady'. I think I would almost be glad to get the wolf whistle and inquiry for my phone number.
So, in fact, this is just another page in the history of crazy people that gravitate towards me (or the other way around?). and today was a doozie.
I thank heaven I don't have to work with GM very often but today was one of those days where it's just the two of us. and, trust me, I'm considering consulting other people about GM's behavior because this has gone beyond 'normal' behavior in a professional setting. At first it's normal, here put up some flyers around the school, would you please go upstairs and get some envelopes ect. ect.
Then, as I sat there flipping through a catalogue, she goes 'oh, I have a project for you today' which to me conveys something that will take some hours to complete (doesn't it?). She told me (and this is exactly what she told me, my memory isn't that bad) that she wanted me to go through the list of people who donated items and fill in the blanks where there are no mailing addresses because she was going to mail out thank you letters.
I said, sure no problem.
There were at least forty different businesses on the list that had no address, no phone number or name of the manager so I figured this was something that was going to take at least the rest of the time I was going to be there to get done.
In my mind the best way to go about it was to take a scrap piece of paper and go through the list (there were two different ones saved on different parts of the file) and write down the business and what information was missing.
I use Google to find the businesses because it has all the information right there and I dunno, I guess I could just have copied and pasted it but I just like handwriting it to keep it organized (to me).
I feel as though I should have dramatic music cued in the background. Like the Jaws theme or O' Fortuna. GM wanders over to stand over my shoulder. and freezes like a bloodhound quivering over the scent of blood.
My literary skills lack the zeal to describe the following meltdown. I can just say, 'Dear God, it was like she was going to explode'. (Like the Death Star from Star Wars)
First she gives me a completely different story; why am I doing it this way, why didn't I just copy and paste from Google? I would have been done already (with nearly sixty different businesses, in half an hour?) she wanted it to be done by three o' clock, she needed this list NOW to print out and mail today. It was at this point when she just stopped mid-sentence and actually left the room.
I wish I had Spielberg to recreate the extraordinary drama packed into this one girl. My kneejerk reaction was to start stammering apologies then I stopped and logic kicked in and I was utterly befuddled. What in the flaming hell did I do that would warrent her actually leaving the room to calm down in order to talk to me? ?
The next negative impulse was to feel like a drooling idiot with the IQ of a rodent that somehow I had phenomenally screwed up so badly my manager had to leave the room in order to keep herself from strangling me. Then, again, logic kicked in and I could honestly see no reason for the throbbing veins in her forehead other than she's completely nuts.
She came back again and tried again to convey to me the utter importance (the lives of millions depend on it!??) that I get that list out pronto. It's at this point that I think I just flat out said, 'look, just let me get this done and I will print it out for you' because she had to leave a second time.
The list gets typed, I call some businesses for info, all in all it took another hour to really get it all finished by that time I think perhaps she calmed down because she sat down and said, 'I'm sorry I was rude' and I said something like it's alright just let me get this typed. Then for the rest of the time she was completely normal.
Strange things are happening in the gallery.
The only logical reason I can think for a reaction like this was if I set fire to the gallery or I kicked her puppy.
I have never quite seen anything like this in my life of dealing with odd people. She certainly gives a new meaning to 'overreact' and for some reason I seem to set her off (maybe it's my handwriting). There is certainly some internal problem going on as she's also mentioned having an ulcer (really, REALLY high strung). But on the other hand it certainly gives me something to write about. I think my Death Glare is coming along nicely, she actually apologized this time. Indeed excellent experiences in preparing for 'real' life.
Blistering Valentines

Survived the nuthouse that was the Auction with little incident. I love the fact that the gallery was dressed up like a high school dance; with decorations from the dollar store and hearts with glitter and those little puffy heart stickers that leave a mess when you pry them from the wall. I also have little hope for our youth of today; consider the effort that went into making this auction work. First, GM started gathering donations and bothering local businesses in November to make this work. Over a hundred businesses donated/helped in some way so there was a good chunk of money involved. Second, there were over five hundred guests at this auction. People who have the money to bid on art. This isn't some pot -luck gathering so why is it that only the GM and I were dressed in nice clothes? and all the other volunteers looked like vagrants off the street corner? I shake my head at young people.
So all in all it wasn't bad. We had mad food offerings from a lot of restaurants so not only did we have things like salad, spaghetti and bread we had things like prosciutto/brie on toasted french bread, brandy laced desserts and wine (no worries I sampled all of them).
I had meant to participate in the raffle but got too busy and it's a sad thing; some of the prizes were freaking sweet. One free soup a month for a YEAR at a high end soup restaurant, free massages, pedicures, gift certificates and some prizes where I get the feeling that the business just rumaged through their lost and found box and donated whatever they found. I mean seriously? Who's going to want a lousy baseball cap and a t-shirt and sweatshirt that's XXX large?
It was a lot of fun to see people have a good time bidding on local artists (myself included) and the noise was crazy. The echoes inside the gallery were fierce. I was a 'runner' meaning that when a piece sold I was the person who got to pick it up and run it to the back table to be paid for and picked up by the owner. I am also super, super pleased to say that one of the pieces I entered not only had four bids on it but sold for seventy-five bucks. weee, I'm an artist!
Only a few minor incidents with GM. Towards the end of the auction some of the higher end (quality?) pieces had sold (art done by professors at the school/art by famous local artists) and one particular piece that was ceramic and an oil painting combined had sold and one of the student volunteers went over to take it from the wall. Seeing how I was present when the artist secured it to the gallery wall I knew that the top part of the frame was actually detachable and needed to be handled very carefully so I offered to trade art pieces to hold while we carried it to the table but GM, in fine form, fairly screeched (again) NO!!!!!
Someday I'll work for someone who doesn't think screeching at people is the proper way to get things done. And, haha, there's nothing I could say or do because we were in a crowded room and we were short on time and screeching back at her (as satisfying as that would be) wouuuuldn't quite be a proper thing to do. With the Director and Curator of the gallery watching. and the dean of the art department. and about two hundred people watching.
So the night passed pretty quickly and I figured out that my heels were not made for running as I have a spetacular blister on my little toe now. Ah, that was last Friday.

Yesterday we have a new exhibit that includes a lot of machinary so it's my job now to make sure people don't lift the mini-laptop that's part of the display. and I get to eat leftover muffins. and hear all about the screw ups of GM's doomed relationship. 20 year old boys aren't marriage material but I'll let her figure that out. anybody who complains that much about the shortcomings of their boyfriend doesn't really want to be in the relationship. Got my hours figured out for the next couple of weeks and Monday and Fridays now, I don't work which means I have a nice long weekend. Parents are leaving on the first of March to visit brother but will detail the meaning of this later. For now I am loving the sunny warm weather and I have plenty of art projects to do and even possibly will have a gallery (very small gallery located at a tea house) to display upcoming show. If I can get enough things done. Here's to a week that will pass quickly. I hope.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hey June.

Ha ha. As soon as I made my resolve GM reverts back to nice mode and hasn't had a problem with me since. Still haven't changed my mind; if she acts like that again I'm not going to stay quiet but maybe this means after being a volunteer for a few weeks now she's getting used to me and mellowing out? Who knows. Not an eventful weekend; had a club to go to and had fun with that. It's funny, the group is mostly, er is actually all women so it's almost like a support group. Everyone is super nice to everyone else and is always complimentary. Women are funny aren't they? Also I think it's sort of funny and ironic that in me trying to expand out and meet new people AND the opposite sex that I keep ending up in situations that are all female. How does one exactly meet an eligible male without resorting to bars?
Having an interesting year in weather so far; it can't seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be winter or spring. Last night was a tough one. It speaks of the times I guess that when I close my eyes and try to sleep and all I can think about is what the heck is going to happen to me? Can I find a job? When my time runs out volunteering (I plan to quit at the end of the semester-May) will there be something for me? Can I meet people and 'make friends'? Am I able to change my current life? Where will I transition to? Even if I do get a job will there be opportunity for me to get a better position? Ahh, you see. Like a whirlpool of anxiety and doubt that I'm sure a lot of people are feeling at the moment who are all probably in a worse situation than I'm in right now. Plus the weather doesn't help, I hate it when I wake up and it's gray outside with whirling snowflakes. I'm definitely a sun person.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lament of the Introverted

Having now observed GM's behavior for the better part of three weeks I have now come to some conclusions that will help me in the future when I am a 'real' person with a 'real' job. For whatever reason, after the first day on the job GM, like any good bully, has decided to take my quiet nature for weakness and has acted accordingly. In other words, all of these outbursts and downright obnoxious behavior is because she feels as though she can get away with it. And so far she has. I think for the most part after being out of the 'real' world for so long I had the naive belief that in a professional workplace the manager of an art gallery should act like a manager; not a spoiled, obnoxious five-year-old with the impulse control of a goldfish.
While putting up the new exhibit on Saturday I worked with GM the Director and about six other volunteers/students and now that I am forewarned about her I decided to watch her accordingly. Not one outburst, not one snark, she acted politely with everyone else and for the most part ignored me. These incidents of her shrieking at me and being overly sharp and blunt have all taken place when it was just the two of us. The question is now what is to be done about it? Like all introverted people I only realize what should be done or said after the bully has humiliated me. That on Thursday when she screeched at me for something so incredibly stupid as handwriting numbers instead of printing them I should have said (at the very least) 'there isn't any need to shout'. But as it were I was so stunned, so floored that an adult would act like this that I didn't say anything and probably made the situation worse.
Worse enough to where I actually dreamed about being in a courtroom and sueing her, right after I defamed her character in a most satisfying way.
So now I have an afterburn effect; after the shock of being humiliated has worn off I'm pissed off. Who the hell does she think she is to treat me like this? Why am I so slow and stupid at snapping back at people who deserve it? I feel like an idiot and I've got resentment building up towards her. I thought I stopped repressing emotions; I don't want to go agro on her and beat her with a garbage can or something. Or, more likely, release all my pent up anger in one fatal outburst causing a huge scene with GM and more than likely getting me fired (from volunteering, ha ha) ending with me looking like an over emotional idiot who overreacts to things. So now I plan to go about this logically and coolly (I hope; I do admit I have had trouble with strong emotions in the past. Like when I get mad, I get really mad. My brother once observing I had 'murder eyes' when he pressed my buttons once too many)
This girl is an idiot. She has no experience in the world, she gossips, she's late, she makes as many mistakes as I do but notice I don't bite her head off for it. She isn't worth much of my emotion but I do have to work with her occaisionally. The trick is to walk the line of being assertive without making a scene. Be forceful enough for her to get the point that I'm not going let her walk all over me anymore without getting into a shouting match. I have to dredge up all of my memories and skill of my customer service days where bitchy tourists were par for the course and I developed a lovely detached, polite attitude that got me through the day. I have to remember how I did that (I'm thinking that a lot of it was that after I got through dealing with these idiots I would never see them again, so that helped in remaining calm). This is slightly different; she's the manager for whom I work for so there is no escaping her BUT I don't want her walking all over me anymore. There is seriously absolutely NO reason for her to behave like that towards me. It's unacceptable, unprofessional and I'm tired of dealing with it.
So, self, this week we are working on assertiveness; when she brings out the attitude you need snap back or at least speak up. and not beat her over the head with a garbage can.