Apologies and hurt feelings

Woman apologizing
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If you’re reading this post, you’re a human being who’s been hurt before. It’s part of life.

Also, it’s guaranteed that you’ve hurt someone else, whether intentionally or not. The worst part of hurting someone is when you do so unintentionally…and they won’t or can’t accept your sincere apology for the miscommunication.

That happened to me recently. I lost some people I cared about because I hurt them with my blog post about my unexpected employment changes. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I was and still am extremely hurt by the whole situation that resulted in my job loss, so I tried to write only facts without weaving too much emotion into the post, but I failed in that effort.

Once I knew I had offended others, thanks to one person giving me enough of an explanation to make me understand their point of view, I was able to edit the post to clarify. I feel terrible that I hurt people with my post and what they read between the lines. Perhaps I could have been clearer in the beginning, but I wasn’t.

It hurts that a few of my former coworkers felt that I said that their jobs were somehow disposable or that they didn’t deserve their salaries. I never said, wrote, nor thought those things for a moment while writing my blog post. I merely stated that my position was paid less and that I felt it would make more sense to keep a current employee than to fill the two vacant positions. It’s basic human rights 101: Me feeling that I deserve more doesn’t mean I think someone else deserves less.

Although I reached out to apologize, I don’t think my apologies were accepted. I never said or meant to imply what those others thought about the post, but the damage had already been done. In our office, we had “norms” or office rules, one of which was “assume good intent.” It means that we were to assume others had good intent with decisions, and we were to consider their point of view before getting angry. I guess that didn’t apply to me.

When I learned of my job loss, I tried to assume good intent from the decision makers, but I could no longer assume that when I discovered lies I’d been told. That was the end of good intent. I had to stop communication to protect my mental health. If that’s what my former coworkers needed to do to me, then I still wish them well. I’m not going to beg for their forgiveness or friendship. They still have mine. They were family. It takes more than one misunderstanding for me to write off family.

Of course, if I’m being honest, it hurt my feelings to feel so alone after learning about my job loss. I made a formal complaint with HR on behalf of everyone who lost their jobs or had to take significant pay cuts because I felt what was happening was wrong. I don’t know if anyone but my husband did that for me. But in the end, I didn’t have anything left to lose at the point of my complaint. Except (what I thought were) friendships that would last longer than my employment at the university.

So what’s the point?

There need to be more powerful words than “I’m sorry” sometimes. Most of the time these past several months, those words have proceeded condolences as many have died from COVID-19 and other ailments. Most recently, my family lost my first cousin on my mother’s side. She was only 45 and left behind a lot of people who loved her including a husband and six-year-old son. My heart breaks for that little boy having to grow up without a parent who loved him so much since I’ve been there with the loss of my dad.

Like I tell my kids all the time, be as kind as possible. The days are long, but the years are short. Life’s too short. If you hurt someone, apologize and try to see things from their point of view. Make things right if you can. If you can’t, let it be a lesson and forgive yourself. Because after all, we’re all just humans trying to come out of what has probably been the worst year and a half for many of us.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

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A New Family Member: An official introduction

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As many of you know, we lost Buddy, a dear four-legged and furry member of our family back in September 2020. By December, we were feeling the pull to adopt another dog. After three months of mourning had passed, I wouldn’t say we were healed; we were just open to expanding our hearts again. After some searching and conversations with our kids, Jonathan and I reached out to Needy Paws Animal Shelter in Clarksville, Arkansas. It was there we became interested in a young adult Kelpie mix named Roscoe, whom we adopted on December 30. I mentioned him in my first post of 2021, but here’s some more information about him.

Family with two dogs

Adopting Roscoe

It was love at first meeting for all of us with this young pupper…well almost all of us. Peanut wasn’t impressed during that first meeting, but we knew he’d come around at some point. We listened to the shelter on the 3, 3, 3 rule. Three days for the dog to decompress, three weeks to develop a routine, and three months to finally feel at home.

Roscoe is the sweetest dog. He’s probably the most affectionate dog I’ve ever had. After a couple of hours, the human members of our family had fallen in love with him. It took two weeks for the fur brothers to get along, but not for lack of trying on Roscoe’s part. Peanut was just a little bit persnickety at times (he can’t help it that he’s a Chiweenie), but eventually he realized that having a bodyguard/playmate was a good thing. There are still some sibling squabbles on occasion, but the boys love each other and snuggle up together now. And boy, do they love to play.

Two dogs grooming themselves

Roscoe and Peanut

Tomorrow is the three-month mark since Roscoe joined our family, and I think he already feels at home. We had a couple of minor hiccups during the first few days with potty training, but we conquered that really quickly with positive reinforcement and treats. The fact that it was pouring rain for the first few days Roscoe was here probably contributed to that. Now, Roscoe’s a pro at going outside through the dog door to take care of his business or just to play or bark at something.

 

 

Dog lying on sofa

Roscoe’s perch

Now that he feels at home, he no longer gulps his food too fast. With some trial and error after consulting with our vet, we have Roscoe on a feeding schedule with a slow feeder that helps with his previous tummy trouble. He’s a champ at taking his monthly heartworm preventive medication, he loves cookies (that’s what we call his dog biscuits), and we’re working on leash training and liking (or at least tolerating) bathing and nail clipping. He’s a good sleeper most of the time alternating between his blanket on the couch in the living room and his dog bed that’s on the floor beside my bed. He’s an expert snuggler, an audible passer of gas, and the funniest big guy. While Roscoe was never intended to replace our dear Buddy, he has definitely helped us heal from our grief, and I look forward to spending many years with him.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

To All The Pets I’ve Loved Before

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I’ve grown up with pets for as long as I can remember. My Easterling family seemed to have an affinity for the feline and canine variety of pets and the Russell side, especially my Aunt Diana, whom we sadly lost about two years ago, loved dogs.

Lucy Ann

The first dog I remember loving was Lucy Ann. She was a little mutt puppy I named after a character on a TV show that I believe was called The Littles. I was 4 or 5 years old at the time. I know she died soon after I got her, but I’m not sure how, but I sure loved that little dog and missed her when she left us.

 

Bobby

Next was Bobby. He was a Labrador-Doberman mix who was all black except for a white stripe all the way around his waist from where he was caught in the zipper of a sleeping bag when he was about six weeks old—just a few weeks before we got him. I remember feeding him in an old metal cake pan, and he was so small that he would just lay in the whole pan to eat. Bobby stayed with us from the first home in which I lived with my mother and stepfather through our move to our next home and the birth of my little sister, Kelli. Continue reading