Indeed I slept like a baby during the first winter storm last night. The freezing temperatures quickly turned the castle (a cancers home) into a chilling brrrr, and for a moment I was contemplating to turn on the heater, but refrained in the end. Instead I added that extra blanket to the bed which did the trick and kept me snug as a bug. You know what I mean when I say it was just the right weight, the right amount of warmth to cradle my body while keeping me comfortable and content beyond words. The world was alright in that very moment, a speck in time that held everything in place, attaining perfect harmony.It got even colder overnight and I woke up to a landscape frozen in abstract beauty. Branches, covered in white, with little frost icicles dangling, appearing to be delicately fragile, a beauty that was to be admired, (from afar) but sure enough too freezing for me to go outside. I wasn’t prepared as the sudden change was lacking time for transition and time to adjust. Winter had moved in overnight and just the other day I was sporting a sunburn. I even considered going outside to take pictures last night, but the cold, wet temperatures chilled me to the core and stopped me in my tracks to reconsider. The forecast called for a warm up after today, but for the moment, this was too hard to imagine and my body remained cold. I had to mummify myself with layers of clothing as if it was the middle of winter before I finally warmed up.
Locking all the windows in place, I felt a certain degree of sadness, as if I was executing the final step of locking something away for a very long time. Not to be seen, touched and re-opened for months to come and I felt a similarity to locking away certain feelings in avoidance of having to deal with them. A strange comparison perhaps, but I recognized the source for this comparison. It stemmed from my past, from feelings and events that wounded me so deeply, from time where my own life experiences carved a scar so profound into my soul that it would change my life….forever. And it was something or rather somebody that appeared back in my life to wake those memories I tried so hard to dismiss and lock away.
It was a different kind of storm that had swept through my life a few years back. A ugly hurricane, tornado and tsunami that claimed everything I had worked for so hard. A devastating time, based on the fact that I was promoted to run my own store and had surpassed a few jealous people that couldn’t share in the celebration of my success. I would tell you that it was due to my work ethic, my dedication and my hard work that got me noticed instead of saying that I was better then the ones left behind, but I knew that it was indeed the very reason as to why I was chosen. I was better and I say this in the most humble form and without ego. From a business aspect, I was simply the most qualified person for the job. I would also tell you that in my mind I was equal with everybody else, except the additional responsibilities that came with the job and that would allow me to use my newfound reign of power in the right context by helping others achieve their own dreams. I never got the chance and instead I found myself caught in the storm of envy and jealousy from my coworkers, the team that was so essential to not only my success but also to the success of the company and the operating store.
I was in uncharted territory and I had never seen any behavior like this. It wasn’t a consequence of my doing or that I wasn’t liked, but it quickly became a act ruled by selfish motives, a disregard to anything or anybody else (me in that case), including the sanity and livelihood of another. I worked in a retail environment that had the ability to make a difference in the life of its customers. An environment that empowered people to feel good about themselves and to give confidence. An environment that had the capability to teach and share, a venture I loved to be a part of. I think it stems back to my desire of wanting to make a difference for people, to help where I can, in whatever form possible.
I became a store manager but it wasn’t management I was looking for as I was aspiring to lead. To lead a well known beauty store chain, I could have never known how short I would fall of doing so. There was nothing beautiful about it and while it wasn’t the company and I remain to have high regards for its genius, it was the cattiness, the greed and the selfish motives of jealousy and envy that eventually caused me to call work “The ugly beauty store”.
I struggled to relate with the behavior and in the beginning I was naive enough to think that I could perhaps change those ways and help. I promoted a few people by providing an amazing opportunity and focusing more energy onto their success. It wasn’t enough and instead of gratitude, I had only given more power to the cause of of those seeking to destroy me. I was dealing with all sorts of things from personal mutilation, to employee affairs and fights, to drugs and lies, to…you name it. I fought for nearly two years and I have to say that I have never seen so much ugliness in one place, amongst any group of people prior in my life. A vendetta that was so strong with the intend to undermine and deceit, where lying became second nature without even blinking, to sabotaging and disrupting at any cause and without regard, it was simply too much for me to comprehend. What’s left is jealousy and envy….and still I struggle to understand it no matter how hard I have tried.
I was stressed to the max as I had to prepare myself to go to work every day, not knowing what would await, but it was seldom that it was anything good. I was losing myself and I was stuck in a non winning situation. Without a doubt it was the most difficult time in my career. I had achieved so much being a foreigner and succeeding in my second home country, being trusted to run the store of a multi million company, what an honor, right? For awhile I made great money and there was no turning every penny, trying to figure out how to make ends meet. It was pretty nice to splurge a few times, buy pretty much what I wanted and go on vacations.
It came with a hefty price tag and my health was deteriorating as well as the health of my mother in Germany. I no longer recognized the person that was looking back at me in the mirror. I had aged so much and the signs where very evident, not only in my face and with the wrinkles, the eyes the windows to the soul that seemed to had lost all their sparkle, but also by reaching the heaviest weight I ever carried. Eventually I walked away from it all and went home to Germany for awhile to help my mom and to help myself cope. I would have my own struggles for the next year trying to understand the behavior that I had encountered. The lack of compassion, the lack of being happy for somebody else’s success and the drive and intensity, including the methods used for a selfish agenda filled with jealousy that is beyond words to me. Today it’s all behind me and it was a tough time, filled with days of losing myself, losing my self confidence, everything I had ever known to be true, questioning what had always been my strength. I knew nothing anymore, I wasn’t sure about right and wrong and what I could have done differently. Worst of all I was questioning and losing faith in mankind, us as humans. To say the least I was hurt and disappointed beyond means.
Today I know it was for the best and the wounds are pretty much healed. I still don’t like it, but it no longer has a hold of me and the warrior within finally claimed her life back. With broken wings she learned to fly again and while the scars are still visible and perhaps will always graze my soul, I would not trade the person I have become today for what I had back then. No amount of money could make me go back as I am not for sale. You couldn’t pay my worth and again I say this in the humblest of ways, without a trace of arrogance. I have no room for that either in my life and it’s probably a pet peeve of mine to encounter people with that traits. Nobody is better and superior in this life and we all bleed the same.
A few days ago I came around the corner at my new job and almost ran into a former coworker from the ugly beauty store. There she was, both of us surprised and taken off guard, I quickly remembered of how miserable she used to make my life and realized that I didn’t miss her one bit. Drug laced cookies at work sending a coworker to the emergency room and playing the victim so well whenever convenient to turn somebody against me, she could have won an Oscar for acting. There she was and I felt almost nothing seeing her stand there. As a matter of fact and while I could have easily walked away leaving her to somebody else for help, I choose to assist her. She was surprised and came up with some BS small talk which almost made me feel pity and sad for her poor existence. I couldn’t help it but I wasn’t going to save her today, I had tried too many times in the past and while I had never given up on her, it was her who was not ready to be saved, leaving me helpless. We got done with our interaction and she couldn’t wait to walk through the exit door, texting somebody the news of running into me with a devilish, evil grin on her face. I simply smiled and untouched by her behavior, I thought that nothing had changed but indeed there was something very vital that had changed. Not with her as she was still stuck in her own mean ways, but with me and her actions no longer determined my path, I had risen above it and all of this was lying behind me now.
I know that I will never understand and perhaps I don’t need to understand any longer. Some answers are not to be attained and I am at peace with it now. I hold no grudges against her and the others she rallied against me as I have learned to view it as a painful part of becoming a more beautiful version of myself. A painful experience to shed the old me and awaken to my true life’s purpose that seemingly never was meant to be found in a retail environment. I may not make the same money I did back then but I’m richer in many ways. There is no need to prove anything or to rub a face into the fact, I even wish them all well. If it is true of what they say about karma, there will be hell to pay for quite a few and it is not my desire to contribute and revenge. I know that if given the opportunity to help, it would still lend a helping hand regardless of the past, despite running the risk of being deceived once more. Call it foolish and stupid but it’s who I am and I couldn’t turn my back from someone in need. I survived it before and I could again with a lot less feelings attached to it this time around. On the other hand, I just need to stay away far enough so I never end up in a situation like this. It shouldn’t be hard to do as I am not looking to becoming friends or having future regular run ins.
Two days later and out of the blue another prior ugly beauty store member sent a friend request per Facebook. It just happened to be the girl she used to have an affair with at that time. Coincidence …I think not and I have no desire of accepting as I don’t feel like seeing these faces pop up on my wall. I don’t care about the reasons for the request, remorse, bad conscience, do you need my ok accepting your friendship to justify and ok your actions? You see, although that I have moved on, finally, it still remains a sore subject that I finally have digested and that I finally spit out into these words you have been so patiently reading if you made it all the way to the end. So if it helps in any way….please read the following.
Be well, take care, no hard feelings, good luck and thank you but no thanks. I have forgiven you in order to become free, to lose the shackles you have placed across my heart. I finally succeeded but it was you who ensured that I would have enough memories to last me for a lifetime. And I’m not talking about the good ones.