Saturday, February 27, 2010

Showing you the wheels

In my last post I mentioned the "Power and Control Wheel" and the "Equality Wheel", I'm posting them here so you can see more of what I was talking about.

This is the situation(s) you DO NOT WANT in a relationship:

And this is what an IDEAL relationship should be like:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Empowering Work Epiphany that I was NOT expecting

I've been at the new job for a month now and I still love it. Not sure what I am doing half the time, but I feel useful and I am learning new things everyday.

We did a tabling event at the state capital today. I'm used to doing tables when I worked at the center, and I love the interaction with people....but before I was much more knowledgeable about the subject matter than I am now at the new job. I held my own, but there was one question that I had no clue what to answer. Some guy wanted to know if there were any other criminal activites that were precursors to someone sexually assaulting another person.....sorta like how killing small animals is a precursor to killing people. I had no clue...but if you are interested, I found out. Its burglary.

Anyway, part of today was bonding with co-workers who I don't see in the office very often. Somehow or other we got on the topic of my ex-husband aka Mike aka Scott aka Mr.3. I ended up telling her the extended version of the saga. I always find it hard to find the right words to describe what happened. I try not to call him a con man because I have always felt that it really diminishes the effect that it had on me. I've called the relationship psychologically abusive before, but always felt not quite right in calling it that either.... most the time I just try to remind people that I am not stupid, I'm really not. You just had to be living the whole experience to truly understand. My co-worker's reaction was not something that I expected. I expected her to roll her eyes at question my motives, my reason, like so many other people have had in the past. Instead she handed me this worksheet that is used with domestic and sexual violence victims called the power and control wheel. The object is to read the descriptions of abusive acts and circle the items that have happened to you. It is supposed to give a visual of your abuse. The wheel has eight spokes with topics like using intimidation, using emotional abuse, using isolation, using economic abuse, etc. On the other side of page is the equality wheel, that is supposed to mark the signs of a healthy relationship. Not only is there not one item in the healthy relationship wheel that I can attribute to my former marriage, but I have a lot of items that can be circled in at least 7 of the 8 spokes.

After looking at that the realization hit.
I am not some poor smuck who got taken by some con man. I was abused by my husband.
I've always been able to identify with being a survivor. I mean...I did managed to survive the relationship. But I never really wanted to call myself a victim, because that is kinda lame....but I need to accept that I am.

I am a victim of domestic violence.

Writing that sentence just make me break out into tears. Needless to say I wasn't expecting to have this sort of emotional whirlwind on Thursday.

But this isn't a sad story about me crying about my is more of an empowering one. I am really grateful to this co-worker, more than I will probably be able to express to her. She was understanding....she was the first person who I have told the story too (who had not known and lived the saga with me when it was happening) to accept it, and not question my actions. In past dates when I have talked about my ex-husband I've gotten the "well why didn't you see that coming?" line.....which has generally marked the end of dating with that person. According to my co-worker, that is called "victim-blaming". She also said that it was wonderful that I had started working where I had and that I was learning what had happened to me because now when I talk to people about it, it can be a teaching experience instead. I'm good with teaching.

So that is my work epiphany. I could write more, but to say that this has been a long and hard day is an understatement. And for my friends who feel that I don't write anything positive on my blog anymore......I will write soon about some light-hearted how I cut my hair super super short and how I am going to be a non-skating official for roller derby (I get a derby name and everything!!! Granny Panties in the house!), so you can all look forward to more of that sort of frivolity in my life.

And bed!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Changing from the "we" to "them"

Saturday I volunteered for an event being held by my old job. Prior to that day I was having a hard time in not referring to myself like I still worked at the center. I used "we" alot, not "they" or "them"....and I think that after my experiences on Saturday it will be alot easier to use the right pronoun.

For instance, I originally had planned on picking up the speaker and taking them out to dinner on Friday night. The weekend before, I was sent an email and told that it wasn't necessary for me to pick up the speaker from the airport. Which was fine, saved me time. But I still wanted to meet her for dinner. And there began the back and forth between me and the center staff member assigned to work the event. I could detail it all, but let's say that I was invited to dinner (and when I offered to pay for myself, and was turned down because a volunteer should "be treated" according to this said-former-coworker) on one day and then I was the next day uninvited to dinner. There was some valid reasonings behind this...and to make light of the situation I had mentioned that "at least I would get lunch free during the event" which point this said-former-coworker notified me that that was all I deserved anyway. After she said that, I did not renew my previous offer to pay for my dinner. Please keep in mind that said-former-coworker in the past has demanded when she has volunteered that she be wined and dined, and has never had any problems in pointing out when she has not gotten what she has felt to be her "due". Anyway... I could detail way too many instances of her hyprocracy and selfishness to count, so in moving on....

Saturday morning said-former-coworker was also supposed to announce that I was no longer working for the center and that I was volunteering my services on that day. This is what she actually said "I have an announcement, Debbie Dilley is now at the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. If you would like to apply for her job, you can contact the University of Utah's Human Resources Department."

I was mortified.
It was entirely inappropriate.
But in her defense this was not the first nor will it be the last time that she has said something inappropriate.

When said-former-coworker left my old position and was on a volunteer basis, my old boss raved about her when she made the announcement that she was leaving. But that was the difference between the old boss knew how to treat people and annoucements. And even through all of said-former-coworkers attempts to emulate by old boss, she has fallen totally flat on her face.

I felt ill-treated to say the least.

The rest of the day I hung out with my band of troublemakers in the back....there was lots of joking about me being "just a volunteer". So when arrangements went bad- and there was a major hiccup with the catering- I --for once-- could not be blamed, I was "just a volunteer".

I came to another realization about this particular person....I would be perfectly alright if I never had to see her again. In the past people have criticized me for being too harsh on her, and how I react to the various things that she has done. I credit her with deliberately trying to get me into hot water at my old job. What she did spurred on the attempt by my former director to write me up. I've been told that feeling this way with only circumstantial evidence of her actions is "unprofessional"....but after listening to her on Saturday tell me about how she tried to get other coworkers into trouble because she felt that they weren't doing their jobs correctly...or how she is actively trying to get the job of another coworker.....I can't but help to feel that my assumptions about said-former-coworker to be absolutely and totally correct.

I know that all of the "said-former-worker" stuff is a little annoying....but I don't need to name this person. What I do need to say to her is the following:

Thank you.
If you hadn't been yourself and tried to make yourself look better at my expense, I wouldn't have gotten the drive to really leave the center. Your actions coupled with the actions of my former director made me realize that there is no loyalty to a workplace that is as toxic as my old one was.

And thank you for your entirely inappropriate way of saying that I had left. You made me realize that my former workplace, has no respect for me or for what I did there. You have firmly planted your legs in support of the new regime and you have shown me that there was never any way that we could be respectful to the other outside of the workplace or inside of it. You have made it all that much easier to finally say goodbye.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Video Dispelling Myths on Weight Stigmas

Here is an interesting (and extremely well done) video from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

As a "big girl" myself, the type of bullying that is portrayed in this video was something I luckily only experienced between moving to Utah in fourth grade through my seventh grade year in middle school. I had to develop a thick skin and an ability to make better jokes at my own expense then those teasing me to make the abuse stop. If I hadn't been able to do that....I might not have made it to today.

I've never really written about the bullying I experienced when I moved here. It was bad. I called "lard butt" when I was 9 years old. I had no idea what lard was, but I knew it was bad. In 7th grade there were these kids who called me "shamu" and "beluga whale" in my 7th period math class....and they would taunt me literally all through my walk home. The only reprieve that I would have would be the last half block on the street where I lived. If it was a good day I was able to stop crying and calm down enough so that my mom wouldn't notice when I walked in. These names hurt, but I got over it.

I never really turned the name calling on the people who hurt me....and I should have. After all, they were 8th graders in the same math class as a 7th grader. And they also were not in my 8th grade math class....they had to repeat it, again. Ahh, karma.