A forced compassionate leave
"Don't go there, Lola. Don't write about uncomfortable things anymore, you know people don't like it...", that scared little voice in my head goes on and on. Scared and little, yet so powerful. It has the power to freeze me, paralise me for days, weeks at a time, when I am faced with confrontations, decisions, changes, challenges and fights. When I am faced with life. It says "shush". It says: "You'll get into a trouble". It says: "It will be your fault when something bad happens, and it will". It has a "better solution". It always offers a "compromise". It reminds me how many times I survived thanks to its ability to adapt, please and guess what others want.
Ok. I hear you, my scared, little me. I think you are brilliant. You are so good at what you do. You have perfected an abundance of skills of people-pleasing, and you are the ultimate survivor. Shame, integrity, pride... have nothing to do with you and cannot get in your way. You know your objective - to survive - and you will do what you know has worked for you all this time to achieve this. Bravo. I salute you, and I thank you for all you have done FOR me.
And now let's talk about what you do TO me. You deprive me of my essence, the truth about who I am, what I feel and believe. Every compromise you demand of me, kills an opportunity for me to be me. My identity dies bit by bit each time I give in to my fear that you may be right, that I will cause harm to myself or somebody else by being true to myself. By saying no. Or yes. By being noticed. Or by hiding from everyone - just because I feel like it. You dictate imaginary standards of an average life and you call it "the balance". You squeeze my two extremes into the middle of the seesaw, instead of allowing them to find their balance by being just far enough apart. You are scared of everything that you cannot control - and that is a lot. You are scared of unpredictable outcomes, of new, of different, of exciting, of painful.
I understand. These fears are valid, they are real. If you had not been right about this in the first place, then I wouldn't have kept you all this time. And don't worry, I am not getting rid of you - I stand by what I said: I think you are brilliant. You have served me well at times. I appreciate this, and I have a place for you. But I am much bigger than just you. I can do so much more than worry, please others and look for the easiest ways to survive. Tell you what: take a break. Take a week, no, a month off. I mean it. Paid. I will employ a suitable cover for you, and when you come back I suspect it will be a job-share. It is not fair to expect you to take so much on, on your own - I cannot help but notice how worn out you are. Your strategies are failing me and that is not what either of us want. Let's get you some support from someone fresh who will compliment you with their difference. And because I know you are adicted to your job, I will make sure that you are not allowed on the premises during your leave, to allow your future job-sharing buddy to get comfortable in your shared seat. I just hired some of the best security called "awareness", they'll kick you out if you try to come back too soon. New policy, what can I tell you: It is not business, it is personal.