The Strong One

Today I had a moment of weakness when a strongly worded email from a client sent me reeling. I was in a meeting with two colleagues and could not do anything to fight back the tears. They were lovely and supportive, but what one of them said really struck me; “Come on, this isn’t like you!” And I realised how few people have ever seen the real me. Because the person who cries when she’s knocked off course, that judges herself by extreme expectations and that always doubts whether she can do it, really is me.

Is it a good or a bad thing that my work colleagues (well most of them) are completely unaware of the real me? Does it mean I am able to successfully function in spite of my real self? Or does it mean that I am a fake? An actress? A swan, gliding gracefully on the surface but paddling furiously beneath? Does it even matter?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know why I err towards hiding that side away. Is it to protect my colleagues or myself? Is it shame or consideration that keeps me well hidden?

The only thing I will say is that my initial response to my colleague today was “You will have no respect for me now.” Her response? “I think I respect you now more than ever.”

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