[This post was written June 2015]
She is standing at the end of the table with a whip in her hand.
Her body language shows me that she is angry and incredibly impatient.
She is shouting, “Miella, you are a loser! You never succeed. You are too lazy and laid back, instead of working as hard as you ought to. Every time, you are just about to succeed, you ruin it. Man, you are really a fluke.”
I can’t see her face, but if I am not mistaking then she has a very wrinkled forehead and a very downturned mouth.
She is wearing her nicest business suit and looks very stylish.
But to be honest, it would probably have looked better with lacquer and leather, so that it would fit the whip, she has in her hand.
I would like to give her a name, but it is not really possible – therefore, I will call her “the Whipper.”
I breathe for a moment and look around to see who else is present at the board meeting, and when my attention goes away from the Whipper, I suddenly hear someone shouting and screaming.
“I think you should go home to Denmark”
Another one answers,
“I think you should stay in Bali”
“The food is not good enough in Bali ”
Another one yells back,
“But it is so cold in Denmark ”
I breathe again and can feel how tired I am, while seeing these two yell at each other.
I do not know their names either, but let’s just call them 1 and 2.
1 and 2 are standing up, pointing at each other, while shouting.
They do not even make notice of the rest of us.
1 and 2 are ALWAYS disagreeing.
They NEVER want the same.
And each time, I agree a bit with one of them, then the other one begins to shout, and does not shut up, until I have changed my mind.
And then, the first one begins to shout loudly again.
I have often tried to get 1 and 2 to agree, but it just doesn’t seem possible.
I believe that’s what you call a vicious circle.
I stand up against the end of the table and raise my voice, “please, just sit down and breathe!”
1 and 2 and the Whipper all look at me.
1 and 2 sit down, but the Whipper is not ready to do as I say.
“Why won’t you sit down?” I ask the Whipper.
She looks angry and answers, “we do not have time for this nonsense. We have no time to sit and just be lazy. Everything moves too slowly, and you have not yet achieved everything you are capable of. You have to work harder and longer. You have to be a better company manager and a better mother. God, yes – have I told you that I think you are a miserable mother?”
I get upset and have to breathe deeply, before I can ask.
“Whipper – what is it that you want from me?”
The Whipper responds, “I just want you to be successful SO bad, but I think that it is moving too slowly.”
“I am really doing the best I can, and I would like to listen to what you have to say, but I don’t have the energy to do that if you are constantly shouting ugly things at me and whipping me.”
The Whipper becomes more mellow, I notice.
“Well, … I thought I was helping you? ”
“You ARE helping me, but to be honest, I am much more driven by you cheering me on instead of you whipping me. When you whip me, I get tired and want to throw the towel in the ring and just give up – I need you to be my cheerleader more than my whipper. Will you be my cheerleader – Whips?
Whipper sits down, and so do I.
The mood has now softened, and I start to feel how the Whipper really cares.
“Are you sure that it will help you more than if I whip you?”
“I do not know with 100% certainty, but how about giving it a trial period, so that next week, you are my cheerleader instead of my whipper? Just for next week to start with?”
The Whipper nods and says “okay,” and leans back in the chair.
The yelling suddenly returns.
1 and 2 just don’t agree.
“Go to Denmark.”
“Stay in Bali.”
“Get a job.”
Continuing back and forth.
I look around to see that Sofia Sommer, my good friend, and my husband Mark have also sat down at the table.
Sofia says, “I just don’t understand, why you can’t see, how wonderful a person you are? Why can’t you see, how many people you help and how much you contribute with? Why are you being so hard on yourself?”
I can feel that I’m not ready to answer, and I, therefore, look at Mark instead.
Mark is just observing.
1 and 2 are shouting even louder, and I say out loud, “can you two just sit down, so we can talk about this. What is it you want?”
1 replies, “I want you to be happy.”
2 answers, “I want that too.”
I am a little puzzled and wonder for a moment about how their yelling in any way would make me happier.
And then it dawns on me.
They are both so afraid that I miss some good opportunities.
They are both so afraid that I will feel too stuck (because they know very well that I do not like feeling that way).
They are both doing everything they can to make me happy, but they don’t see how confusing it really is.
“1 and 2 – I’d love to listen to you, but you have to talk properly and quietly. You must understand that sometimes I will agree more with one than the other. It doesn’t mean I’m not listening. I just need to do what I feel like. And sometimes, it will be what you say, 1, and sometimes, it will be what you say, 2. Can you understand that?”
They both nod and look a little embarrassed.
“When are we going home to Denmark? ” 1 asks.
“It doesn’t make sense to make that decision, before we are out of the lease on the house here in Bali. So, how about we get the best out of the situation here in Bali right now, and then we will look at it again on September 15th?”
Both 1 and 2 agree on that. Yaaay. Crisis averted.
The door slams, and in comes a 5-year-old girl.
She looks pissed, and crosses her arms while looking at us, saying, “You don’t get to decide what to do – end of discussion. I want to go home now, so I will pack my suitcase right away and get on a flight as fast as possible.”
Her whole body language exudes that she’s sure not ready to listen to us.
I don’t know what her name is, but let’s call her Little Sweetheart.
“Why, Little Sweetheart. What is happening?”
“You know I don’t like it, when someone overrules me,” she answers.
“So, when you say that we should stay, I feel like going home instead. Besides, I agree with 1 – the food is too bad here in Bali.”
“Little Sweetheart – this decision is not up to you. The decision is made that we will look at it again on September 15, and until then, we will live here in Bali and enjoy it. What can I do for you to make you happy while we are here?”
Little Sweetheart looks up at me and says quickly.
“I just want to bake a cake. And fly a dragon kite, and swim at the beach. I think it was SO dumb that we were on the beach yesterday, but that we were not out swimming, because you were too lazy to put on the swimwear “.
“Okay, yes, I see that, Little Sweetheart. I was just very tired. But will you be happy if I promise you that we will play a little more? Bake some more cakes? And fly a kite?”
“Yep – then I’ll be happy.”
Okay, then …
Everybody seems to be satisfied.
I’m looking at Mark, saying, “what about you? What do you think about today’s decisions?”
“Fine with me!” he replies.
I hear Olliver screaming in the distance.
He has woken up from today’s afternoon nap.
“The board meeting is adjourned for now, but we will finish it in a decent manner tonight,” I say.
I run to get to Olliver.
On the way there, I meet both the one I call the Planning and Structure Fascist and then, Desire.
The Planning and Structure Fascist shouts at me, “but what do we have on the agenda next week?”
Desire yells “do you know what you want?”
I am not answering, because now that my Mini man has woken up, I am 100% dedicated to him!
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