"I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect." - Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones' Diary
I like to mutter this line when I'm overwrought about some petty issue thanks to whatever insignificant weenie is causing me trouble on any given day. And - I'm not sure you've noticed - the world seems jam-packed with insignificant weenies these days. Amiright? And since the portentous (yes, that's a real word) swaths of Valentine's Day paraphenalia that currently fill the stores can lead us to possibly settle for bad men or bed bugs, I thought it was the perfect quote as we slide into February.
I spent the last month dealing with a situation I'm literally not allowed to describe here, but let's just say the insignificant weenie thing came into play more seriously than ever before, m'kay? Someone else's desperate cry for attention - motivated, it turns out, by an unsatisfactory home life and having NOTHING TO DO WITH ME AT ALL - turned my whole world upside down. And then, just as fast as said shitstorm arrived in my life, it was over as if it never happened.
Here's what I learned: it didn't matter to anyone but me and a tiny handful of people who care about me. It was like being the snow in a snowglobe: everything else stayed the same while I bounced around trying to right myself.
I remember reading something years ago about someone who was considering leaving a job, but didn't want to 'leave her coworkers in a lurch.' Her grandmother advised her to fill a bucket with water and put her hand in. "When you remove your hand, the time it take the water to fill in hole where your hand was? That's how long you'll be missed."
At first, I thought it was a horrible thing to say, seeming to suggest that the grandmother didn't think her granddaughter's work mattered. Then I spent thirteen years working in the same building and I saw almost every coworker I had started with leave for greener pastures. And you know what? Grandma was right, as grandmas tend to be. Every time I've panicked over a coworker leaving, saying, "Things won't be the same without them," I was right and things got a little worse. And everybody kept trucking anyway. The world keeps spinning, kids keep learning, and everything continues.
And the people who left? So. Much. Happier. The pastures they found really were greener and contained far fewer weenies.
So... I am continuing to move through my life, but I'm keeping this quote close at hand these days. I will not be defeated. I will hold the bad men at bay and wave away the stick insects.
And you? Try to avoid being a weenie. Significant or otherwise.