Pick Your Battles (A story about standing up)

It was lunchtime and I was hungry. I was rushing past the two Manchester United T-Shirts and the whiff from their cigarettes seemed to add to my hunger. One guy said “what are we chowing brother?”  The other responded “I wanna chow that…nice and juicy!”

 

They both laughed as they watched me walk down a longggggggggggg, dark passage that seemed to go on forever.

 

I knew what they were trying to do. I hadn’t been in a situation like that for a long time, but I certainly had not forgotten my old friend “harassment”.

 

I could have turned around.

I could have confronted them.

I could have humiliated them.

I could have humiliated myself too, actually. 

 

But I was hungry.

So, I kept walking.

Defeated.

 

After paying my bill, a young woman’s red shoes caught my attention.  I also noticed the two Manchester United T-Shirts vying for her attention.

 

She turned around.

She took their compliments to heart.

They invited her to join them and together, they had a lovely time knocking back blue shooters.

 

As the waitress brought my bill, one of the men tapped a cleaner on her shoulder saying “excuse me, do you like big or small bananas?”

“Bananas?” she asked, genuinely missing their crudeness.

The girl with the hot bum laughed loud, further adding to the cleaner’s embarrassment. The cleaner was an old woman, with her head covered, wearing a church badge I recognised.

 

I turned around.

I confronted them.

I humiliated them.

I humiliated myself too, actually.

 

But there could have been no other way.

 

So I kept walking.

Conflicted

 

…but completely assured that yes we need to pick our battles, but some battles pick us and give us zero choice but to engage.

 

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The “Brief”

I ordered two young girls.  No, not in a strip club.  I called an agency that dealt with students.

I was organising a large trade show and two of the regular staff members had called-in sick.  I needed backup promo girls.

The brief was simple.  They needed to use their good looks and charm.  Not to get anyone into trouble with their wives. No, just to welcome dignitaries to the event, usher them to their seats and drive alongside them in golf carts twice a day. Simple right?

The first couple of days went well!  The girls were well groomed.  They were professional and I got the feeling that they really understood the integrity of our brand. 

That evening, I saw the girls drinking.  They were off duty, but still at the function.  They were drinking tequila with the important people, and laughing a bit too much for my liking.

As I drove home, I considered that perhaps I was just hormonal.  I had, after all, just spent 15 minutes expressing milk out of my breasts during each lunch break.

The following morning, they were back on the job.  Using their good looks and charm once more.

I heard one of the girls say “We have the best job here. All we have to do is look hot and make the men melt”.  The feminist in me cringed slightly, but I guess they were right.  That was the brief.  Well, I would have settled for something that left out the “melt” bit, but ja, I guess those mama hormones were pretty damn powerful. 

The next morning, one of the girls was in tears!  She was insulted by a text message.  It was from an important client telling her that she was “fat and ugly”.

The HR gurus in our team took over quickly.  They processed the facts and paid due attention to the sensitive young girl.

I was angry.  Angry and sad.

That’s when the other girl appeared in my office. She said “She’s lying”.  She was talking about her colleague.  She claimed that the girl fabricated the text message because “none of the guys like her”. 

I realised there was trouble.  My anger dissipated.  I was just sad. 

I decided to butt out and let the professionals handle the rest of the drama.

But, it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

I didn’t need to know who was right, who lied, who the victim was and who had actually made the girl cry.

The fact is, she was crying.  And, it was about SOMETHING.

So, friends, that got me thinking about the lengths we go to in order to execute “the brief”.    And the position we put other people in when we describe “the brief”.  Because, let’s face it, this story isn’t about whether the girls should have been given a better grounding, whether the men who rule the business world need to change or why sex sells, it really is about boundaries and self-worth.

May every situation you are called to engage in this week, have clear guidelines, crisp boundaries and may your personal mandate always serve the best, and highest version of you.  

Aluta continua, as they say.  The road is still long (for me).

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.