OX

This might not exactly be a fun post like I said I was going to do next; however, it’s a positive and much needed post. I hope she doesn’t mind me telling her story.

Last week, a friend of mine, let’s call her “Ann”, had a bit of a crisis. It didn’t start out that way; she had gone through the application and interview process, was offered a job at a really great location doing something she loves, and it would make her more money. It was perfect. She gave her notice at her current position, told her landlord she was moving out, and secured a moving truck. Then the crisis happened. She had forgotten to include the extra high taxes they have where she was moving, an oversight any one of us could make, especially with such a good offer. No matter how she tried to re-figure the numbers, she would not have enough to live there. Obviously she was heartbroken and beating herself up in addition to tremendous anxiety about no longer having a job and a place to live. My heart broke for her. She is extremely hard working, generous with her time, creative, smart, patient, and kind. I’m reminded, as I often am with friends like her, of Leslie Knope’s words:

“You are a beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox.” — Leslie Knope

Since I adore her and truly believe in her, I immediately began looking for jobs for her and sent her links. I started asking my friends around for any affordable apartments for her. I told her she’s brilliant, that she’s got this, and everything was truly going to be okay. I believed every single word I was saying. Ann was truly amazing. Through her anxiety and frequent sobbing (obviously) she applied for jobs, talked to people in her field with positions of more power, and Just. Kept. Going. In short, she immediately picked herself up despite all of the emotions, pulling herself through it like an ox (I’m sure she’s going to just loooove that comparison). I was positively stunned, awed, and completely inspired by her resilience.

When I went home that evening, I told Andy what had happened. He was also disappointed for her; he knew she had worked hard for a job like that. I told him that I was trying to help by sending her possible job openings, looking for places for her to live, and telling him how much I believed in her. Andy stopped and pointed at me, “THAT. That right there. Why can’t you do that for yourself? I have seen the kind of person you are- THAT is you. You need to see yourself as a friend.” I nearly cried. Okay I did cry. My self-esteem had gotten so low that I didn’t believe myself capable of anything meaningful anymore, let alone any ability to pick myself up and get on with solving the problem. I had felt like I had lost all of my own resilience, my adaptability, my problem-solving, my tenacity. Maybe I had even forgotten what it looked like at all and that I was capable of it in any sense, I didn’t see that I was doing it for my friends and therefore I STILL had it in me. After I watched Ann demonstrate all of those qualities that I so intensely admired, I knew what I was missing in my own life. After I exercised my own ability in these areas for her I remembered how to do it myself. Ann will be just fine. In fact, she’ll probably be more than just fine; perhaps she will find something even better. Now she has more awareness of her own resilience and that she can pull herself through some really difficult situations.

As for me, I’m determined to see myself as a friend and to remind myself of all of those times when I’ve made things happen despite setbacks and broken hearts. I know there will be times I will forget, but thankfully I have friends like Ann to remind me. ❤

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