By Angela N. Parker news4usonline.com columnist
Recently a co-worker of mine, who I’ll refer to as the Q-Tip due to her big, gray afro, finally got the boot after terrorizing the office for years. The whole company went into shock. Nobody expected to be rid of her, but what surprised me more than her offing was the giddiness it inspired in everybody.
One co-worker, who had offered to help her pack, couldn’t stop laughing when he told me that he was looking for a box; another started dancing as she let out a salutation about the “Goodness of God. “
I too was enjoying her ousting. She had taken a particular dislike to me from day one and I found her paranoia and backbiting to be intolerable. But after a few days of wallowing in her misfortune, I found myself wondering — why was I so willing to indulge in petty things?
When I was younger gossip was a huge part of my life. My days were filled with figuring out who was doing what and watching a rival fall was as good as it got. I just assumed I’d outgrow it, but, try as I might, there seems to be a part of me that can’t let go of my inner mean girl.
What is so tragic to me about the Q-Tip’s situation is that she is a 60-year-old woman who nobody likes. I can’t tell you how many times I complained that she was too old to be acting like an insecure girl. But was I any better, gossiping behind her back and playing into her games?
Embracing maturity sometimes means taking a step back from a situation to see what we are doing wrong. Sometimes a person is our “enemy” because we allow them to be. Up until recently I was still talking about how much I disliked my eighth grade teacher!
What does that say about me? While I was busying listing crimes committed against me, how many crimes was I committing out of anger and a refusal to forgive? How many opportunities was I missing because I refused to compromise with somebody “I didn’t like”?
I decided to take a look at all my “toxic” relationships and see if I ever offered an olive branch? Or tried to understand where the other person was coming from? The answer was no. Now, we all know that there is going to be that one person who, despite our best efforts to be nice, continues to be unreasonable and rude, but that’s when we have to put our money where our mouth is and act the way we wish they would.
As I watched the Q-Tip walk down the hall into an uncertain future I forgave her for all her transgressions against me, both real and imagined, and I forgave myself, feeling lighter as some of the petty things that were holding me back floated away with her.
till next week…
Angela N. Parker is a writer of stuff. You can visit her Under the Hill blog at http://angelanparker.blogspot.com/ and her Writer’s Blog at http://theparkerverse.blogspot.com. Please send any questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.