* This is a true story and not a weight-loss testimonial.
Once upon a time there was a hard-working donkey who worked steadily at meeting deadlines, helping others and getting things done. Over time, her skills got attention and she found herself recruited for special projects on a pretty regular basis. And her workload grew.
But that was OK because she was a sturdy donkey who could carry a lot – and, when no one was looking, she dreamed of a day when things might be better for her and the others in her group. When he, her supervisor (otherwise known as the rat), would pick up his share of the work, listen to her ideas, and appreciate her efforts. But that was not to be.
But her star shone steadily anyways. And he didn’t like it. Didn’t like it one bit. And then one day a miracle happened – an opportunity appeared. He told that he was moving up. What about his spot, she asked? Could it be for her? No, not for you, he snorted. She couldn’t stop thinking of all the work she’d done – covering his 300+ absences over 5 years – and she knew she had to try. She would get the work, that’s for sure, ought to at least try for the money. Sadly he didn’t support her, in fact, he lobbied for another donkey. Still .. 4 interviews later, and with an armful of recommendations, she triumphed, the job was hers. He moved out, she moved in and brought her team up with her. For one glorious year he was … off in the distance somewhere. But, as sometimes happens, a reorganization brought him back to her again.
It was perfect! For him.
He was used to taking her ideas and packaging them up as his own. How he loved to bring her along to meetings, not prepare and then throw her in at the last-minute. Once again. Once again. And every time a deadline approached he’d have yet another illness. Some real. Some imagined. Yet again. Yet again. And for a while, the donkey, well, she felt defeated. Betrayed. Hopeless. She plodded along the circle, even when it made her sick. She didn’t sleep, she barely ate, dark circles took up residence under her eyes. She cried, she railed, she prayed. Oh, did she pray.
Meanwhile the rat prospered. He worked to convince others what a great rat he was. How he had all these great ideas (hers), he got projects completed (hers), and, from the surface, it appeared he was one good rat. And he was. He was very good at being a rat.
And soon, the load grew again. But this time, it was different. Something had changed. She had grown, too. The yoke no longer fit!! No longer dangling in the air she righted herself and when a much more Sr. Donkey asked her “how are you doing?” she looked him in the eye and she answered. She squared her shoulders, stood in her truth and saw his gasp of horror. He listened and she spoke and she heard his words of understanding. Time passed and she figured maybe he was just one more Sr. Donkey who’d allow a rat in his midst. But she was wrong.
In time, she saw the rat’s unease. She listened to him whine at being questioned why he always had to come to Donkey for answers. And why was Donkey’s name on all the work? Who exactly was doing the work? The questions coming at him were rapid and direct and not easily dodged. That wily rat found himself nailed like a fat kid in dodge ball.
And then, one day, happy news came her way – delightful, happy, wonderful news! Can you guess what it was? The gig was up! The rat was out – leaving the company.
S ecretly Loudly she danced. She danced, she cried, she smiled so much and so often her face hurt. She slept. She finally slept. And dreams returned, in just days. Dreams returned.
One morning, as she finally put into words what she’d experienced in her years with the rat, she felt the weight of a 250lb yoke slipping off her shoulders. No more shackles to his messes, his problems, him. No more cleaning up, fixing up, and covering for. No more. No more. No more.
And as she said it, she saw it, and the tears ran down her face. Tears of liberation.
“You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
– Ann Lamott
I’m that donkey. And between now and 5:00 today I’ll lose 250lbs. By His grace, I’m a believer.
Dance with me, will ya? 🙂
Can you relate to this? Whose yoke have you become used to? What needs to happen before you can put it down?