Monday, June 1, 2015

Got to Pay Your Dues If You Want to Sing the Blues and You Know It Don't Come Easy

I'm writing this post 20 days later on a very much anticipated Saturday afternoon off. I had a bad week of customer service retail incidents.  I was called a racist day before yesterday by a gentleman and in front of SEVERAL people. In light of everything going on in the world, it totally crushed me.  Racist?? Never has anyone called me that ever, let alone scream it in my face.  He was Latin.  I'm Latin.  It didn't make sense to the situation as he accused me of waiting on 'everyone else' before him, even though there is a list and we just take the next person on the list.  He was further down on the list. Each of us sales people, a Dominican, a Cuban from Panama and an African-American by the way each had equally diverse customers, an Asian, a french woman and an Indian man.  It was shocking.  My mouth opened but nothing came out except to ask where he was on the list.  A male customer chimed in and pointed to where the accuser was which was one after him. Then my current customer said, 'just ignore him and help me please' because she couldn't be bothered as she was in a hurry. I thought that was also a little insensitive.  But he wasn't crazy where you could dismiss him.  He was angry accusatory crazy and he wasn't shutting up.  He actually yelled it 3 times along with other expletives.
My coworkers seem to be able to deal with yelling, cursing customers much better.  It affects me, it does.  I can't hide it.  Even when it does affect them I notice they always deny it.  This is where I get a little miffed. To my fellow workers, emotion is a sign of weakness.  There is shame in being disturbed.  But I don't see it that way. For me it is a bruise that I'll have to let heal.  And hell yes it's troubling even if he was an asshole.  Maybe I'll feel it for days, just not as bad.  I think it's healthy to say it's not okay and it bothers me.
But the truth is if they are conditioned to not react, I also have no control over my own response.  Believe me I've been told a million times that I need tougher skin throughout my life.  But at this point I need to acknowledge that is not part of my make up.  And perhaps, it doesn't necessarily define my strength.  I'm sensitive, it's true. That is not a failing to me but a gift.  Because of that sensory I also have a heightened positive awareness as well.
It's not something I love about myself that some jerk can come and ruffle me.  It's not a testament to their power it's simply that it's real energy coming at me and deserving or not, I take it in if only to help recycle it into something positive, like a thoughtful moment.  This street art demonstration happened in front of our apartment.  From my window I heard Martin Luther King's speech and a crowd of people gathering what sounded like a procession.  I looked down and saw this black man painted white,walking on his knees, a crown of thorns on his head, carrying a cross on his back with a boom box taped to it.  A man walking alongside with his arm held high and his fist tight.  Another man dressed in all white facing him.  No one was talking and it was so powerful that all I could do was stop breathing and watch, eyes wide open.

I can't be completely sure what all they were trying to portray but I did get so many messages, thoughts and feelings from it.  And it was strong and relevant, sad and inspiring. And I welcomed all of that in because that is living to me.  This is a benefit of being human, that we have consciousness.
I don't think there is a right or wrong way to be.  I am though, getting a little irritated at having to constantly justify my own response to life as it is happening to me.

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