I am Not a Role Model

Not an inspiration, not a hero.

I know that makes me sound like an arrogant grade A level ass hat.  But bear with me here because I actually going somewhere with this.

So where did this come from?  A few things happened recently.  Very few people knew that I had been training for an ultra marathon, never mind a 50 mile run through a few mountains.  I guess it was my way of keeping more people from knowing if I crashed and burned.  Because there’s nothing worse than having people ask how it went and when you tell them you dropped out or injury or whatever it’s always the “ooohhhhh that’s to bad”.  Then when people did find out, they seemed to make a bigger deal of it than I did.  Then I ran a marathon about a month later and hobbled my way through work afterwards.  To me, not going to work was never an option.

So I had friends call me their hero, that if I can do it then they can do it, or that they could never do a marathon never mind farther than that.  I guess the fact that I don’t really look like a runner has something to do with it: I don’t have that lithe frame of wiry muscles or that competitive drive that seems to come with the A types that I work with.

But that wasn’t all.  I recently transferred to a new position at work, a position that has not had a female for a few years.  In fact, some of the new people have asked if women even work there.  I’m not sure why that is and there are all kinds of theories but that’s not what I’m going on about.  Now all of sudden I’m being told “it’s about time” and “you deserve it” and “make us proud”.  Even my previous supervisor told me that the younger women need to have a good example to look up to.  So now I’m not just going to work to work, I’m going to work to represent my entire gender; because if I screw up, it feels like I have everyone watching me.

I don’t run for anyone but me and I don’t work for anything but to have food on the table so having all this attention had been making me uncomfortable and self-conscious.  I like to stay below the radar as much as possible but that has been difficult.

I was out running and I couldn’t get this scene from Labyrinth out of my head.  It’s the climactic confrontation between our heroine Sarah and the Goblin King, Jareth.

Jareth: Sarah beware.  I have been generous up until now.  I can be cruel.

Sarah: Generous?  What have you done that’s generous?

Jareth: Everything!  Everything that you wanted I have done.  You asked that the child be taken.  I took him.  You cowered before me.  I was frightening.  I have reordered time.  I have turned the world upside down and I have done it all for you.  I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me.  Isn’t that generous?

I think I know how Jareth felt.

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13 thoughts on “I am Not a Role Model

  1. Well, talk about sexism that just because you’re the only woman (which sounds like a sexist problem right there) that you have to represent your gender now. Great.
    But don’t worry about the pressure other people put you under. Ignore them. What matters is living up your your expectations.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I work under the umbrella of emergency services. I don’t want to get into specifics but fire, paramedics, and police. Even though I know they are hiring more women into all of these positions, they still tend to be male dominated although I have seen the number of women increase significantly in the 12 years I’ve been there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally can relate…to the running part anyhow. I don’t usually announce any big races I am entered in. I ran the Bay race one year and it was -20 the whole way. I had someone ask how I did, and I was relatively happy with my performance considering the weather, until I go their reaction…’Oh..that’s not too bad I guess’…What? this reaction coming from a non-runner too! People can be so judgemental. It is a constant stuggle to just say F-em…We always have to feel like we are on display or have to perform for people. We wait for their critique of our performance and judge our own value on it. I say…”if they can’t do better…fill your boots”…Congrats on the promotion…;)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So what if you are a role model? It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Be proud of your achievements! I know how nice it is to fly under the radar, but it is in the uncomfortable zone where things get interesting. We don’t want to fly to high and burn our wings, but drowning might actually suck more. You are awesome – just got to live with it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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