A few years ago I worked at a hospital in a self-managed department of about 12-14 staff members. We were pretty successful running things on our own, but we wanted to grow as a department and we felt like bringing in a director was the best move to make that happen. Long story short, we ended up hiring someone with amazing credentials, extensive professional background, and was a person who we felt could take our department to the next level.
The only problem was she ended up being a raging bitch. Within a year, more than half of our department had quit and the other half started seeing acupuncturists, counselors, and holistic healers to cope with the stress of working for this Hitler-esque leader we had regretfully hired. You know how roaches scatter immediately into crevices and wood work whenever a light comes on? That's what it was like for us whenever we'd catch a glimpse of this woman coming down the hall towards us. We'd scatter like roaches for fear of catching the fatal wrath. I could blog for days about the emotional and mental issues this woman caused, but that's not the purpose of this article. Through this horrifying chapter of my professional life I learned something valuable about myself that I've never forgotten...
My colleague and I were having lunch one day and she was telling me about her trip to the zoo over the weekend with her husband. She told me that while her and her husband were in the bat exhibit she discovered something she'd never noticed before- that bats actually have "huge, hairy, grey balls". She said, "They reminded me of you! Chelsea, you have huge, hairy, grey bat balls!" At first I had no idea what she meant (although I found it hilarious), but as she explained it to me, I totally agreed. I do have huge, grey, hairy bat balls! When most of my colleagues were putting up with the bullying of our new boss, I was not. I stood up for myself and my team. I demanded fair treatment. I refused to be talked down to and disrespected. I fought and fought and fought for what was right for myself and for others. Althogh I was freaking out on the inside, I never let her see my vulnerability. I learned the magnitude of my strength during that time. I learned what I was capable of achieving when I set my mind to it. I discovered that I was BRAVE! I was DETERMINED! I was DRIVEN!
I've thought about this comment about my "huge bat balls" a lot lately and I've realized that these "balls" of mine have gotten me through alot. It may have begun when I was 4 years old and my baby sister was born. My mom was worried about how I'd handle losing her attention at first, but she says I just waved and said, "Don't worry about me, mom. I'll be fine" and I took off down the street to play. I must've known there was no point in sulking; I was capable of figuring out how to help myself get by. At 13 years old, I flew to Amsterdam with my sister and traveled Europe with a few classmates. I have stories I'll choose not to share for my mother's sake, but let's just say-I had balls even then. At 16 I was badly hurt by a peer and I refused to stay silent about it, even when it meant major hardships for me at the time. My bat balls got me through that, too. At 21 I had a gun held to my head at a gas station in Dallas, Texas and I looked directly at the shooter's eyes and asked him not to shoot me. Although he shot at my friend, he eventually drove off, leaving us unharmed. And here lately I've had a series of let-downs, one after the other, brutally thrown at me. It kind of feels like being punched in the stomach after already tapping out, but I refuse to let it get me down. Nope, not me.
When I look back at my life, I realize I've endured some serious hardships, some that would make most people curl up and give up, but I've never let them keep me down. I've never layed down without a fight. I've never let anyone make me feel like less of a person or broken in any way, so why now? Why let something like "hormone imbalance" or "irregular ovulatory patterns" get me down? Ha! Watch me! I've got huge, hairy, grey bat balls and more inner strength than should be humanly possible. I may be taking a break from the heinous fertility schedule, but I am sure as hell not giving up! I am too strong to quit; and anyway-ain't nobody got time for that!
"You held me down, but I got up. Already brushing off the dust. You hear my voice? You hear that sound? Like thunder 'gonna shake the ground...I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire, cause I am the champion, and you're gonna hear me ROAR"
Chelsea Vail, MA, CCLS
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