Sunday, October 07, 2012

My Perestroika Path

Cowichan Valley, c. 2010.

"Perestroika means overcoming the stagnation process, breaking down the braking mechanism, creating a dependable and effective mechanism for acceleration of social and economic progress and giving it greater dynamism." -Mikhail Gorbachev

Disappointment. It's hard. This week I was told that I was unsuccessful in a job competition at my workplace. I've aimed towards it for five years - learning, growing, building self-confidence and strength. The micro-team within which I work has undergone perpetual change in this time and I am the longest standing member. I am at the base of the pay and institutional power ladder within the unit. 

I was very well-prepared for my interview and I was told I performed very well yet they selected someone they see as better suited for the position. "Ouch", I say, but I know their decision is not about me; it's about their perceptions and wants. 

So what can I do? I can only be the master of my own actions and reactions. It does hurt that I was not chosen. I know and work closely with everyone on the panel. I know the person they selected. I know I would do an amazing job had I been selected for the role. I know I enjoy and care about what I do and how it reflects up on my employer, my teams and the client base. I know the money would have changed my life. It's hard to work in a city where it is nearly impossible to survive on your own - even if you hold a decent job. I know how grateful I am to have a job, a home and food because I have gone without these in the past. I've been beaten on the streets of Toronto while people passed by - simply because of my sexual orientation; I've been denied employment because of it too. I've not been able to go to my own home because of an alcoholic and abusive partner. I've gone hungry while living with illness and poverty. I've survived this and more and healed from it all because I wanted to be better and stronger and able to continue giving to society in a meaningful way. I was fortunate enough to be able to access positive and useful counselling - sometimes using every available cent to pay for it all in order to be well and strong.

I am an absolute powerhouse of love, intelligence and resilience ...and I didn't get the job. Yes, I'll get over this too but, I have to tell you, it wears a person down at times.

I'd like to believe it'll get easier and, in the end, I'll be seen, valued and rewarded but, at the end of the day, it comes down to me and I know who I am. I will react to this job misfortune with truth, grace and strength and know that I cannot make people see or value me the way I want - I can only do this for myself.

So I will continue to work well, to strive towards personal greatness and know that a panel review of my employment skills in an hour-long question and answer and a forty minute written test does not reflect my worth. I will continue to care for myself and my needs and follow the advice given to me by a dear friend, Mary-Catherine Weymouth, about 35 years ago:

Comes the Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning 
And company doesn't mean security,

And you begin to understand that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises.

And you you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
You learn to build your roads

On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have

A way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate

Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure,
That you really are strong

And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn ...and learn

With every goodbye you learn.
-Veronica Shorffstall, 1971.

And so, I say goodbye to that opportunity; I learn from it and I move on with my head up, my eyes open and with a good heart on my own perestroika path.

-Gillian Cornwall, October 6, 2012.


Lauren CS. said...

Gillian, I love you and wish I could adequately express how you enrich my life. How you have helped, and are helping me, to heal. To be a little kinder to others and to myself. To approach challenges from a place of love. To not apologize for how I feel. To dare. To create art because some of us just need to. Period. Your art, your words, your friendship, your presence on our team have all helped me so much. You are so much more than any posting.

Gillian said...

Loving you right back! It is an honour and a pleasure to work with you and to call you my friend. I am so grateful to walk this path of life with you. We are fortunate to hold up lights for one another when, at times, the journey grows dark. Happy Thanksgiving.

Gillian said...

Here is the link from which I pulled the leading quotation on this post:

nakedplanet2 said...

So sorry these people were not fortunate enough to get to work with you. That's really how I see it: it's definitely their loss. Maybe they will never be wise enough to know enough that they have really missed out. You are a truly great, wonderful, talented and intelligent person. Somewhat of a rarity today to say the least. I hope you too will see it as THEIR loss and continue to live your life and tend your current job with the same love and joy that you did before this happened. I'm so sorry for your disappointment, but then again, we never know what life has in store for us. Something even better and more meaningful might open up for you. Never forget that you are very much loved and appreciated!

Gillian said...

Thanks Nakedplanet2!
I'm no longer disappointed as I really believe it isn't about me. People do what they do and I can truly only manage my own actions and reactions. Life is such a gift. Thank you for your love and appreciation. I am so blessed with the people in my life. So many bright adventures ahead my friend.