I met with the Board. The meeting started as an all-out attack on me. They don't think anything I stated is discrimination or disparate treatment. It was pretty painful. They didn't deny any of the things I said, they just said that my boss is a jerk to everyone, not just me, so I wasn't being targeted.
It took me about 15 minutes of being attacked to gather my courage and find my voice. Those of you who have been reading since CountryTime know I struggle with fighting back. Sucking it up, turning the other cheek, allowing the abuse, all of those things I am good at; but standing up for myself? Not so much.
This whole year of my life seems to be about teaching me to stand up. The day my dad had a stroke, I had to stand up to my mom and my dad's doctors to get him appropriate medical treatment. The day the pit bull attacked me, I had to stand up to the dog's owner who insisted her dog was not vicious. Then I had to go to dog court to prove it again. Drunken Neighbor tries to look in my daughter's window at all hours and I push back so hard I scare the police officer dealing with my case. My boss decides to treat me like crap and I take it and take it until I just can't anymore and I finally say something. But when I say something, I'm "wrong." But even still, I stood up.
Ever since my dad's stroke, we have had a rule that he is not allowed to drive E alone in his car. She may ride in the back seat while he drives if I am in the front seat, but never alone. They have a restaurant they both like to go to on Grandfather/ Granddaughter dates. For a long time he was just thankful that he was allowed to be alone with her because I would drop them off.
About a month ago, my dad caused an accident. He rear-ended another car so hard he caused a 4 car collision. His car came $200 from being considered totaled. My mom was in the car but claimed she was looking the other way and didn't see anything. In essence, my dad and mom said it was not stroke related. It was just a freak accident that could have happened to anyone. I was willing to believe that, but I was not willing to change the ruling on him driving E.
Over the past month, my dad's mental state has been declining. He has always been difficult and combative. He picks on people and always has to correct any slight error one might make. To be in his presence is to be constantly walking on eggshells and managing his temper. It is exhausting. He denies that there is a problem, which magnifies it.
Yesterday my parents came to my house to go to lunch. My dad wanted to take E to the restaurant and started to insist he would drive her. He seemed to honestly forget that we had the rule. Things became heated and my dad's true nature came out. He said I was punishing him for having a stroke, that he was fine, that everyone has accidents and I had three myself. I pointed out that not one of my accidents had ever been caused by me AND the worst accident I ever had involved a woman who had had a stroke just a few weeks before. That woman almost killed me. My dad, true to form, shut down and refused to speak to me.
Hubby came home about that time and my dad talked to him. We ended up dropping him and E off at the restaurant and taking my mom somewhere else. It was at that time my mother finally admitted she was screaming at my dad to stop when he caused the accident. It was as if he didn't even know she was there. He had just zoned out when he hit the car.
So in the short space of 5 days I have been attacked by the Board and my father and pushed outside my comfort zone to hold the line at what I know is right. I have cried so hard this week and struggled against myself so much. The thing is, and this is a big thing, I know that I am teaching E a life lesson right now that was never taught to me. I was taught to just shut up and put up. I was taught that I didn't have a right to stand up for myself. But I am changing that pattern for E. I am teaching her that it may be hard, and it may be mentally exhausting, but there are some things in life you can not bend on and still have respect for yourself.
The Board and I agreed to disagree. They are okay with my boss being a jerk because apparently he is really good at some things they need him to be good at. They don't believe he is targeting me but they guaranteed I have job security no matter what he says. I agreed to keep working there as long as they changed my status from being the sole non-exempt time-sheeted employee with no sick days to making me just like everyone else. When I walked out of the meeting I didn't second guess myself once on anything I said. I had said my peace and defended myself.
When my parents left yesterday, I knew it may be have been the very last time I speak to my dad for a while since he will hold a grudge for months, but I had protected my daughter and taught her that she is a very valued person in my world.
I hate when the Universe decides to teach lessons. I am hurting right now, both physically and mentally from stress. Nothing about this year has been easy. But this I know, 4 years ago I would not, could not, have defended myself. If I had even tried to defend myself, I would have punished myself and cocooned in a dark bedroom and snuck food at all hours. I will admit I have gained back 7 pounds this year, but I have never stopped working out and trying to walk 10,000 steps a day. And 7 pounds is not the 20 I usually gain.
But Dear, Dear Universe, can we just call it even and can I be done with this life lesson? I think I truly get it now.