There are some people that make me feel small merely by speaking to them.
They just drain me of power and confidence every time I speak to them. I may be fired up or confident or feeling organized and powerful when I walk if; I inevitably leave feeling powerless and cast adrift.
And small. Always very small.
I do not know how to combat this. It is not true of everyone. It is not across every conversation that I have. But when it happens, I find it devastating to my entire day and frame of mind.
Yesterday was obviously one of those days. By the time I was done the with a simple 30 minute conversation about something I was left defeated. That defeated feeling - that small feeling, of being powerless to do anything but what was essentially dictated to me - stuck with me all the way home. The years of empty hopes, of Januaries that never resulted in anything but pats on the head and hollow words, came back to me. My imagination - Defeatism? Realism? - drowned me throughout the evening, through class, and even to the end of the evening. Cascading pictures of life moving on and myself stuck - or even falling behind - filled my head.
Why? Because every time this happens it reminds me that the world does not work the way I believe it does. Accomplishment is not rewarded. People say they want leaders, but really what most want are followers who will be two steps ahead of their requests, who will take all of the responsibility and quietly follow orders, easing their passage through the day and working like automatic transmissions, quietly functioning so effectively that no-one thinks of them or realizes they are there.
Part of me hates this but says "This is simply what you are called to do in life: Be quiet. Be humble. Anticipate needs. Do whatever they say even if you believe it to be against your own best interest - and trust now matter how it you feel all will come out well in the end."
Perhaps that is wise. Perhaps fighting the battles that do not really matter is better in the longer run.
But this feeling - the feeling of disempowerment, of being regarded as merely a tool to execute policy while preserving the illusion of autonomy - pulls on my spirit like a spent balloon falling to the earth.
And feeling small. Always, so small.