Ooh ee oo ah ah, ching chang wala wala bing bang….

9 Feb

No one has ever accused me of being unemotional.  In fact, in my workplace, it’s me and two men, and when I first moved to Evansville to take this position as mental health guru (yes, I’m shamelessly self depracating) and wellness director, my apparently all-too-often-emotion-ridden sentiments created some deer-in-the-headlights reactions.

Imagine Kori, welling up at a reference to a child suffering a hardship in school, perhaps having experienced a bullying attack (in all honesty, I cry more easily out of anger and disgust and a heart-wrenching desire to take action than out of sadness or grief!), and my colleagues standing there, mouths agape, motionless, desperate for words that just…..won’t…..surface.

A few things have changed:

1. I’ve hardened up. Not in a bad way– I’m tougher, more resilient, but still just as outspoken and activist-oriented. I just don’t want to be subject to stale, exhaled air.

2. Behavior can change: my partners here feel confident in responding to me when they see tears. They are able to laugh at my idiosyncratic, almost cry-on-command behavior; they can and often do respond empathically and from a logical, positive place; and they have learned to approach the situation as one that signifies concern and care on my part rather than weakness and a need to be saved. (Here you can see my feminist bent on behavior coming out. And please do not misconstrue “feminist” as meaning WOMAN POWER! Feminism means inclusion, diversity, and everyone being appreciated for their uniqueness).

3. I went from avoiding moments in front of them that were accompanied by a tightness in my chest and a throbbing in the middle of my head and what felt like a lemon caught in my throat to just being me and trusting that with me, I’d be okay, they’d be okay, and we’d all be okay together. In fact, we’d all be better than ever because now we were all just real and genuine and messed up and “normal.”

And a few things have been learned too:

1. It’s the idiosyncratic nature of personalities that make a person attractive. There’s a reason why we are drawn to some people more than others. Whether it’s their humor, their drive, their arrogance, whatever, our uniqueness makes the world go round.

2. If we can’t be ourselves, as raunchy sometimes or as depressed or as silly as we are, who can we be? And how long can we keep up that masquerade? Take off the mask!

3. Find people to surround yourselves with that you truly trust, who you can be vulnerable with, open up to, spill your guts around, and feel safe among. We need this. We need to feel connected and meaningful to find our power and to feel truly alive.

 So I’m going to go cry in front of my co-worker and just relish in knowing that he’s thinking, “Oh, that’s just Kori…” and then start singing “Ooh ee oo ah ah, ching chang wala wala bing bang….” and know that he’s thinking, “what the heck?!” but also know that he won’t reject me or criticize me, and we’ll both be okay!

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