The HR Juggler

Day 11: Stories and Paradoxes

Posted on: December 11, 2013

2013day11

Today’s post is by the rather wonderful Meg Peppin, who can be found on Twitter @OD_optimist and over on her blog.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath

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What’s your story? 

And then one day…..

“One day, I wandered into work; I was feeling tired. It felt like a bit of a drag.    A colleague walked past me and patted my shoulders “Alright? Look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders”.  I grinned back at her – you can guarantee that she’ll notice whatever mood you are in and zone in on it.  Brightened me up a bit.

It’s the middle of a busy week, a busy month.    I’ve been here for just over a year, but it feels like, no time, all time.    Somehow, the things that I thought would be different here, don’t feel like they are any different, and I doubt whether they can be different.   I’m so tired so much of the time.

I’m surviving.

I’m living.

I’m working.

Sometimes I’m happy, and grateful that I have a job, and that my salary goes into my bank, and that the people I work with gave me slack last year when I needed time off.

Sometimes I get a buzz, when a deadline gets met, when project milestones get achieved, when someone who thought they couldn’t do something finds out they could.

Other days, it’s a grind and I think there must be more to it than this. 

There must be more to it than this.

Then one day, everything changed.. 

I went out for a breezy walk at lunchtime and as I walked through the park, past the sandwich nibblers on the bench, the crowd of smokers laughing as they inhaled- I thought I heard a voice calling my name.  I turned around; I couldn’t see anyone.  I saw an unfamiliar path, I hadn’t noticed it before.  I thought the call was coming from that direction so I followed the path listening to the voices that seemed just out of reach.

I saw a girl and an old woman sitting on a bench. They waved at me “come and sit with us – join us”.  They were familiar but I couldn’t quite place them.

It’s not my normal way to join strangers and break bread with them, but I was drawn to them. I sat down next to the young woman and peeled open my sandwich wrapper. The older woman was telling the younger woman an anecdote about her working life; the younger was paying careful attention.  The older woman was telling a story…………

Don’t you just love a story?

That story continues somewhere – but not here.

A while back,   I had a bit of advice from someone “that’s an old story, you need to write a new one”.   I heard myself from his perspective – I was holding on to a painful fragment from the past.  My story was coloured, infused, contaminated even with painful memories.  That was the story that I was living in.

You know those insight moments when someone says just the right thing? 

Old, young, happy, sad, wise, stupid, alive.

So I hear you.  My destiny is in my hands; I can decide, I can choose.  We think we don’t have choices, but we do.  There are times where the only choice we have is to accept where we are.  Embracing the hurts, the disappointments, the stuckness; noticing them, acknowledging them allows us to leave them behind, or live with them until we are ready to.   I learn – we can hold the reality of sadness with happy, confused with clear, excited with fear.

It’s what we are – stories and paradoxes.   It’s what we are creating, together, now; here as you read, the stories of these advent blogs; I’m telling a bit of my story; you’re adding it to yours.

So I’m a story, but I’m also true life.

Now – I start my story as of today; about this year, about my excitements, my pleasures, my anticipations and what I feel good about.    It’s not perfect; sadness and disappointments sit in my world, as they may do in yours.   But they share space with joys, small delights and big loves.  And, all the good stuff this year – well, I’ve made it happen through connecting with people that I want to, grafting, learning, looking and saying.   I’ve made mistakes too.  Oh yes.   @dougshaw1 invited us to think about our seven word autobiography – old, young, happy, sad, wise, stupid, alive.  That’s me.

Anything you want to make sure goes in when someone somewhere tells your story?

My stakes in the ground this year are to accept with grace my present, whatever it gives me – and to continue to grow the work I have started in the last two years of working with younger people to help them write the narrative they want.

I will continue to build my courage to say what I think, with respect, and to accept that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.     I can’t get it right all the time and I will feel OK about that and I will endeavour to be equally OK when I’m in flow and doing great stuff!

9 Responses to "Day 11: Stories and Paradoxes"

Beautifully written, evocative and thought provoking. I like the contrasts in your seven word autobiography – they really reflect the richness of life. What excellent stakes: building on the past, accepting the now and supporting the future. I hope 2014 proves a year full of flow and “great stuff”.

Morning Meg, what a story as it unfolds with every word of humility, self awareness, acceptance, resilience, tenacity and most of all, gentleness! You have so much to look forward to in 2014 and beyond! Thank you for sharing, I’m so glad that you’re in my world. Here’s to getting to know you a bit more over the years ahead. Xx

“Anything you want to make sure goes in when someone somewhere tells your story?”

A really important point Meg and beautifully made. Many people contribute to our story to a greater or lesser degree but only we can write it – or at least make the decision about the “story arc”. I’m glad you were part of my story this year and hope you will be next year too!

Wonderful tale, wonderfully told.

Well, I’m grateful that you’ve been part of the flow and the stuff that has been inspiring. May need to find a more eloquent word than stuff!

[…] Post number eleven came from Megan Peppin, whose refreshingly articulated intolerance for BS makes her such a delight to be connected with. Megan writes here on how the stories we tell and are writing together are us. […]

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