5 ways to deal with twats when you work with the public

Today was rough. I work in a shop and that means that I have to deal with the public ALL DAY LONG. Nine times out of ten they are lovely people that have been brought up well and don’t want to inflict pain and misery onto their fellow humans.

But then there is always that one that seems to be a little bit unhinged and you wonder how they manage to get through the day without killing someone. And today, I came across one of them.

Now, normally I would just brush it off for what it is: a twat who needs to learn to show some basic manners (sorry, I’m not sounding very patient or kind, but it really upsets me when people are horrible for no reason)! But today, I was tired and already feeling sensitive and it just got to me.

I don’t know if anyone wants to hear my woes but my mother has cut my dad, my son and I out of her life and is being really nasty to us and it’s having a really deep impact on my emotional state. I know that it’s my inner child feeling really vulnerable and I could quote a whole load of Freudian psychobabble, but I’ll save it for another day. However, it is what it is and it has cut me deep to feel that my own mother has rejected me.

Anyway, I spent my entire shift feeling like I could hardly breathe because I was feeling so much emotional pain, and then in the last hour this guy comes in. He started shouting at me about the fact that there was no pictures of the meal deal so he didn’t know what “fucking sandwich” he could have. He then threw said sandwich back into the fridge and stalked off.

It then so happened that I had to serve the guy and I got so overwhelmed by his aggression that I had to walk to the back and cry. I completely crumpled and my colleague found me in a ball on the floor, sobbing.

Of course, that led to me spontaneously crying throughout the final hour of my shift and I looked like crap for the whole time. It was horrific and embarrassing and it made me think a little bit about what it was that was going through this guy’s mind and how I could deal with this in the future.

So here are a few things that I think that you can try to hold on to next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

  1. This is the ‘twat’s’ problem, not yours. There is something in his life that has caused him sufficient pain to think that his behaviour is necessary. People who are happy and in no pain do not go around being a dick to the people who are trying to do their job.
  2. You are a nice person, so don’t let this person’s words chip away at that. Hold onto that thought tightly. My problem today was the fact that I let go of that thought and allowed his words to dig themselves deep inside of me. Sometimes people tell you to just ‘grow a thicker skin’ which can sound a bit insensitive, but it’s really important that you do build a defence so that you can protect yourself for your own sanity.
  3. Be assertive. It can sometimes just take a few stern words to put this jerk back in his place. Don’t put yourself in any danger if the person looks like they may be getting violent, but do tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable if you feel it is safe to do so. Half the time, these idiots don’t even know that they’re causing upset; telling them that they are making you feel uncomfortable and you will be calling a manager or even the police if they continue will normally get them to pipe down.
  4. Walk away if it’s getting too much. You don’t have to subject yourself to that if you don’t want to. Again, it’ll send them a strong message that their behaviour is not acceptable.
  5. If you need a little cry or you need to vent afterwards, that’s absolutely fine. I used to bottle it all up and then it would explode further down the line, normally getting me into trouble. It’s far better to have a cry for ten minutes and get it all out right there and then. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and most people will be really understanding. My colleagues today all rallied around to give me a hug and make me a drink while I took a little time out.

I feel your pain if you are faced with one of these idiots. I call them idiots because I’m angry and upset tonight, but deep down I know that that doesn’t make me any better than them. They are hurting people who just need some love. I hope and pray that the man who yelled at me is now out of pain and that somebody has listened to him and shown him some love.

If you have a friend who is acting out like this, make sure that you take the time today to listen to their problems. Show them some understanding and hopefully we can start to make the world a slightly nicer place to live in for everyone.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Being left behind is hard

I’m right where I need to be….

I sometimes watch the other girls,

Who used to share my year at school.

They glide through life and love

With elegance and gracefulness.

They seem to have this life all sewn up,

They get it in a way that I just don’t.

I’m messy and flawed and I struggle like mad,

To hold it together

In just the simplest of ways.

It’s difficult to hold down the easiest of jobs,

It’s easy to burst into tears when really I shouldn’t.

I can’t seem to act like a grown.

They tell me to pull it together

Like that’s what I wasn’t aiming for anyway.

It’s hard when you fall behind.

Everybody is taken already.

They’re loved up and married,

When you’re single and stony and cold.

They have the house and the car

And the two point four children to boot.

The anger it bubbles inside,

Every time that I scan through their photos,

Poring over the remnants of my life not lived.

I wish that I’d done something differently;

That I’d not had a baby or I’d taken that job.

But then I remember the love that I have.

The love from the people that peg me to the ground.

Not in a bad way, may I add.

They stop me from blowing away in the wind;

From losing my way in a world that is dark,

Where it’s easy to get lost

And where the bruises and knocks

Are violent and ever so frequent.

I remember that I’m not being left behind.

I’m on the path I was meant to be on.

I’m living the life that was designed for me.

It’s comforting and wondrously soft,

Knowing that someone is there in my corner,

A friend for life,

And a torch to guide me,

When I’m worried I’m too far behind.

Do you ever worry that you’re being left behind by the other people that are your age? I have friends who I was at school with and now they are doctors or lawyers. They are so successful it’s like they are not the same species as me.

But I am lucky that I have the foundation that is my faith. I know that the Lord won’t have put me on a path that wasn’t right for me because it was designed and mapped out before I was even born. That is comforting in times when I feel like I’m losing balance or that I have no momentum at all.

I’d love to hear whether others struggle with the same feelings? How do you get over the feelings of envy towards what others have achieved? How do you get over the feelings of self doubt when you think that the reason you are behind is because you are not good enough?

Remember that you are enough and you are always loved. If nobody has told you this today, then this is your daily reminder that you are incredible and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Your advice sucks!

I know that the title of this post doesn’t sound particularly patient, kind or loving but I think that some of us introverted folks need to say it a little more often. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if a tonne of extroverts need to say it more too because it doesn’t really matter what our personality type is; most of us just want nothing more than to fit in and feel loved.

I do think that advice from friends and loved ones and work colleagues and all manner of other people can be so useful and its always worth taking it on board rather than dismissing it all immediately. BUT, there can sometimes be a tendency to rely so heavily upon advice that we end up refusing to listen to the most important person of all: ourselves. Remember that we are the ones that need to live with our decisions and so our gut instincts are normally quite useful as they are giving us an idea as to what direction to take to make us most happy.

I decided to write this post because it’s a topic that has been playing on my mind a lot since getting sober. I sometimes wonder who I’d be and where I’d be if I had listened to my own little voice that exists in my head rather than worrying what others thought or what they ‘expected’ from me. By the time I had gone down the drinking rabbit hole, I didn’t seem to have any idea how to listen to my own instincts. I didn’t trust myself because my confidence had reached such a crippling low and that’s such a scary place to be.

I have tried to pick apart what led to my problems with trusting myself but here’s what I feel that I have pulled out from it all over the past three years.

My early life was dominated by sport and as a swimmer and student my days were rigidly structured. I loved the disciplined lifestyle but something in my brain went pop when I reached 18 and I ended up running away to London and doing all the drinking and partying that I could handle. I then made my way to South Africa, met my ex husband and got pregnant. He left me after two years of marriage and I was left with a baby that I didn’t know if I even wanted. My life felt like it was in tatters and it was the first time that I had ever listened to my own advice. I had gone totally off the rails and I vowed that I was never going to do it again. From then on I didn’t trust myself and I ran every big decision by my parents for the entirety of my twenties. I became like a child again and that continued until I got sober over a decade later.

And now I look around myself and can’t help thinking that my life would be so much better if I’d just dusted myself off and tried again. I definitely need to have toned it down a bit, but I could have learned and grown like a normal human.

I know that it’s useless to spend too much energy on this wondering, but it has made me think about the advice I would give myself if I could talk to that very frightened young woman.

First and foremost I would tell her not to be frightened. No matter what has happened over the years, I’ve always landed on my feet and this would have continued to be the case even if I’d been a bit more daring and tried things my way. And if things did get really bad then I’d just dust myself off again and start over, just as I did when my husband left us.

If I could do anything differently it would be to try and use my creativity more. I’m sure that there are a lot of airy fairy dreamers out there, just like me, who struggle in the 9-5 corporate world but they slog it out because that’s what they’re expected to do. The advice given to everyone is to get a boring job and just suck it up. It’s well meaning advice because parents and friends don’t want to see you poor and suffering, but it is still really sucky advice because it’s bound to make you unhappy.

So I want to ‘advise’ you to listen to yourself. You will probably get it wrong a few times and if you’re anything like me you’ll probably get it spectacularly wrong, but at least you’ll only have yourself to blame. There’s nothing worse than a plan gone wrong and then feeling bitter towards the person who told you to do it.

And you may not make it in whatever your heart desires but wouldn’t you rather die trying that grinding away at the office because your mum told you it was a safe bet and God forbid that you should go against what she says?! And what if you do make it in that thing that you’re dreaming of? What if you do suddenly find yourself getting that book deal or winning X-factor or gold in the Olympics? Could you live with yourself if you were miserable in a job you hated when you could have had that moment of magic, if only for that moment?

I’m not saying that the 9-5 office job is bad and if that provides you with the fulfilling and happy life that you want then you should absolutely keep going. You are already luckier than the vast majority of people in the world if you are quietly content with your lot because you are happy. But don’t do something because everyone around you says that it’s the right thing to do. Do the thing that gives you satisfaction. You might still have to do something to top up your income but if it means taking a pay cut to go part time and write that book you’ve been meaning to write, then why not?

Have fun out there peeps; it’s meant to be a pleasurable journey!

Rachel xx

What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

Erin Hanson and Winnie the Pooh

A letter to my 21 year old self

It’s the night before my birthday and time to think about how I have grown and changed over the years. It would be nice if a couple of 21 year olds could be reading this blog and stumble upon this letter. It would be nice if that’s you, that you read this letter and realise that you are not alone. Being 21 is such a funny age. You’re no longer a child but you know that you’re not a proper grown up yet. You’re winging it and you hope that you won’t fuck it all up and that nobody will notice that you don’t have a scooby what you’re doing. Well, we all feel the same at your age and this is a letter to me when I was feeling all of those things. I had a bit of a bumpy ride but this is what I would say if I could write to her now that I am through it all.

Dear Rachel,

Happy birthday, enjoy the cake and a couple of glasses of wine. Enjoy this moment as much as you can because things are about to get tricky. That man that you are married to, the father of your child, he is hiding a secret and it’s all going to come tumbling out in the very near future.

It’s going to crush you and it’s going to make you hate that baby you share. You’ll resent him and wish that you never had him. You will think awful thoughts and then you will beat yourself up for it. And unfortunately, the only way that you are going to get through it is by turning to drink. Alcohol will be the only thing that soothes those horrible feelings but it will get its claws into you and eventually it will swallow you whole.

Your twenties will have their moments of fun and success but it all feels a little bit empty because you’re running on vodka. You’re achievements will be awesome. You will run 100 miles races and swim the English Channel. You’ll get a couple of degrees and one of them will be a first. How the fuck you manage it even I don’t know. It’s a shame because if you’d have been sober you would probably have been a raging success.

But you do make it through. You are tough and there is something inside you that is a survivor. You know when things are getting too much and you’re not too proud to ask for help when you need it. You will get sober and you will start to get your life back. You will change your values and re-evaluate what you think is important. You will start to take care of the people around you and become a much nicer person. You will reach your mid thirties and still be far from perfect. Those degrees are all but useless because you work in a shop and you struggle with anxiety so you can’t even work full time. But you enjoy your work and you go at it with enthusiasm. You have raised that baby and now he is fourteen and such a credit to you.

There are going to be so many horrible moments between you and me and I wish that I could stop them from happening or be there to give you a hug when they knock you down. But you’re a little toughie and you’ll make it through. You’ll have some highs too but try not to get carried away. Keep a level head and make sure you make it safely to 35 because I have a feeling things are about to get good.

Much Love

Older Rachel xx