The puzzle with out a lid

I found myself at work the other day just generally grumpy with everything, which from one perspective could be seen as problematic as my role as receptionist is quite central to everyone’s initial experience for the day. In other words grumpy admin = shitty day for everyone else. 

Puzzle with out a lid – felt pen, water colour pencil on paper

There was no real particular reason as to why I was annoyed, it was just a number of things going on at work and in my personal life that had me basically fed up, and when the parking boom gate refused to open for me for the 100th time, it was the last nail in my good mood coffin.

With the boom gate incident accompanied with my new sense of boundary setting, as soon as I got to my desk I went in hard. I sent off a couple of passive aggressive emails to a few staff members who had been annoying and also car parking, where I CC’d my manager in as I thought, “YEAH!!! everyone needs to see me standing up for myself “I mean I have been working here for years, how dare the parking staff not understand this!!!!” 

Then about 30 minuets after my emails left their comfy out box. The universe decided to check my attitude. The first check was, one of the staff members I emailed, came up to me every upset, explaining that she did answer my query, it was in the email she sent me the night before, I had just not looked at my emails yet (cringe). The second check was that I got a phone call from one of my managers, saying that I was not the only one from the morning that had parking issues, and that she did not like the tone of my email, and to please be a little more patient and tolerant in the future towards new systems and staff members (double cringe). 

After apologising, I hung up the phone fully expecting to feel even more angry, however what I felt was super super super small. I had just projected all my “crap” on to everyone around me and not given a seconds thought to how anyone else’s morning could have been going. Basically my emails were unnessarcy and if I had slowed down, breathed, made myself a cup of tea and actually read my emails, I wouldn’t be feeling this cringy right now. How completely awful of me? And for the rest of that day this incident was stuck in my head like static on your clothes. Not until the next morning when I apologised in person that I felt its hold release, and it felt great. 

You see what would have normally happened was that I would have hung up the phone gotten in more of a bad mood, been grumpy all day eaten a bag of chips for lunch and possibly taken all my bad choices for that day out on my family and friends until I calmed down several days later. People are used to this part of me “Oh that’s Just Allison she’s just so emotional” or “She’s so sensitive” But not this time. I stopped myself, (with the help of the manager) I calmed down I apologised, I saw I was wrong, even though it was super embarrassing, and I did not like it, I claimed my error.

Sticking up for yourself and setting boundaries is completely necessary for your emotional wellbeing and safety, but firstly you should know the right time do do it. Did I need to get defensive about the car park boom gate? and well I should have looked at my inbox before I sent new emails out. Also you can’t be the only one setting boundaries in the world, you have to be ready for people to claim their own safety towards your actions, especially when you are being careless with theirs. This is not an easy thing to learn, especially when you are trying to find a new way to be. 

One of the best things to come out of this incident was that I saw myself. The old reactive Allison sent the emails but the new accountable Allison took the phone call, (thank God it was in that order or I would be typing to you unemployed). I just have to figure out away to make these two aspects work together cohesively, and appropriately. Also from this situation I now know how I feel when my anger starts to escalate. It is really just a base reaction to feeling unconsidered or unnoticed. 

You see this year I have found myself relearning how to be a new version of me. I am learning how to be a better me, and I am finding this not a super easy task. It is going to take time, trying out what works, what doesn’t and what goes with what. Just like a puzzle with out the lid, I have no real guide or reference as to what I am supposed to be. I know if I work slowly, look carefully, and use love as my base and reason, I know I will work this puzzle out it out in the right amount of time, even with out a reference point. 

These thoughts have been my inspiration for my quick illustration called “Puzzle with out a lid” Felt pen, water colour pencil on paper. I hope everyone is having a great start to the week. Stay safe and go with love.      

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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