“Nobody tells me what to do.”
That has been my battle cry for a good number of years. Doing my own thing and going my own way has been my life.
In college, I had this very strict and “scary” professor. There were rumors that you wouldn’t even get into junior year if you didn’t go through her. The major populace of my all-girl class was scared of this teacher.
Not me. No one scared me. I always thought that the fears of my peers were unfounded. Silly, even. In my young, reckless and rebellious mind: Why would The Paula be intimidated by anyone?
(You can lower your eyebrow now. That’s it. Thank you.)
The big day was up. Before we started with presentation, this professor was not in the best mood. She was in a rage spree and taking it all on my classmates.
Long story short, she tore a month or more worth of paper work me and my classmates prepared. All for the silliest reasons: wrong font size, no folder, etc.
The mistake me and my partner made was that we punched the staple wire in the wrong section of the paper. She tore our paper in two and threw it in front of the class.
My friend was already crying while my professor ostracized us both in front of the class over staple wire. While this professor screamed her head off, and was scanning both our faces for emotion, I stared back at her, defiantly.
I was just staring straight at her: Her whole face, eyes, mouth and how it would feel like to have my right fist box her nose in.
I also began to think why all the terror tactic? Were all these messy emotions necessary for effective teaching?
Or better yet: Why is screaming, cussing and outbursts of anger so highly valued in this society to make one feel and look competent or intelligent? (But more of this topic on a later issue).
Months after that incident, that same professor was telling some senior girls (I can’t remember the exact words but it goes something like…) “That student scared me…”
I felt triumph inside. I scared my terror professor without uttering a single word.
Of course, I passed her class and eventually graduated. But later did I know that there were worse people like her I’ll be meeting at work.
As years went by, I realized that maybe that experience was trying to teach me something. My reckless and defiant spirit had to learn a little bit of humility.
Remember my drink concern? Well, right now the people I am attending sessions with are having a hard time with me, simply because I have a slight problem with authority.
The facilitators in my group are gentle but tough. They expect me to do the exercises, and come on time.
“Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody tells me what to do…” goes my brain…
Last week, I came in late, didn’t do my homework and dozed off the rest of the lecture. I like the singing though. I thought it was quite nice. But other than that, I felt like I wasted my time.
When I told my friend I was loosing all interest in the program, she said they were being tough on me for a reason. They have encountered stubborn and strong-willed people like me who are used to getting their own way or receiving special treatment, which is why they need to be tough so that people like me may straighten up, listen, be pro-active in our own recoveries and become well-rounded individuals.
I truly admire their dedication and patience with me but if the scare tactic won’t work on me, I don’t know what will. But this is what I do know: I am a person who fits the bill of EGR (extra grace required).
How about you? Do you also need extra grace?