It is a funny old world sometimes.
I was standing at a fruit stall a few months back en route to an audition. It was the one out front of the fruit stand outside a busy tube station waiting patiently to place my order of a few pieces of fruit to snack on. No big deal. But as I waited and waited people around me kept getting served. The gentleman running the stand hadn’t spotted me. I nudged closer to the centre of the stand and waited, money out, fruit selected.
He turned to me and took my order. At the same time an angry looking brunette turned to give me very aggressive eyes and began to hurl rude comments, along the lines of “thanks for pushing in”, “you’re so rude”. I went to bite back. I was annoyed. I retorted “well actually I’ve been waiting up the other end for a few minutes, long before you arrived.”. She started back at me, even more furious “No you didn’t. I was here first!”, her hot breath close to my face.
I stopped. People around us were staring at us. It was incredibly awkward and I was not going to win this argument. I mumbled an apology. I collected my paperbag of fruit, thanked the fruit man and I left.
As I walked down the street I shuddered. Wow. Her energy was incredibly off-putting pre an audition.
I kept walking and I mulled over the events that had just taken place. And then it hit me. This wasn’t my issue. And she wasn’t to blame. Any number of things could have happened to cause that outcry. Maybe she had a fight with a partner. Perhaps she got a bad grade on a paper. Maybe she had just lost her job.
My job was to not take it personally. My job was to appreciate that sometimes crappy things happen and sometimes we take it out on someone who doesn’t deserve it. On this particular day, as I explained to my partner later that day on the phone, she was obviously having a really rubbish day and needed me to be her virtual punching bag. And my job was to not let it destroy me. I had to shake it off and make that audition work.
And I did just that. I don’t recall if I booked that job or not, but I do remember walking along, smiling to myself, thinking – I hope her day gets better – and then skipping off to my audition.
See the thing is we spend a lot of time wanting to make excuses when things go wrong. Excuses for why this doesn’t happen or we don’t book that. We waste time complaining about all the reasons why this stopped us and that stopped us but really, our only enemy is our on frame of mind. Don’t blame the other person and make them the baddie.
The reason I decided to write this today of all days, is that I am reading a most wonderful book and today I stumbled across this passage. It literally echoed what had happened to me months ago, and confirmed for me that I had indeed made the right decision by shaking off that poor little screaming fruit lady’s terrible anger.
Next time you’re facing a belligerent complaining angered person, ask yourself this – is it really about you or are they just having a bad day? Don’t let it own you. And don’t take that energy into your audition, your job or on set.
If you want to read more on this then check out the incredible book “The Magic of Thinking Big“.
Photo credit: Maks Karochkin / Foter / CC BY
4 thoughts on “The woman who screamed at me”
Great article. Thanks for sharing your experience and reaction. I particularly like the moment where you made the
choice for it not to ruin your day – and, in addition, sent a little bit of kindness her way. A little bit of kindness, compassion and patience can go a long way. Thanks for the reminder!
Aww thanks so much Rebecca. I think it’s really easy to say, and challenging to do. I’m just glad I caught myself that day and realised it wasn’t about me. And I hope I remember to again and again to not take it personally.
Great read. It’s very easy to get swept away with someone else’s energy and let it take over your day. But everyone is fighting their own battle, so best to take a deep breath, wish them well and move on…
Thanks Nicola! So true. Deep breaths fix the world don’t they! And probably stop wars.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I love reading your blog.